Our honeymoon journey began in United Arab Emirates in January, where my hubby and I spent three (yes, too short! but amazing) full days exploring the magic, beauty, culture, landscapes and cosmopolitan masterpieces of Dubai and Abu Dhabi.
We wanted to do and experience as much as possible for our short stay, so our program was dynamic, but nevertheless we felt like we still had such a relaxing stay. Keep reading and get inspired of how you can also get the most of your trip, even if you only have few days.
BEST TIME TO GO
We traveled to UAE end January, and I believe the end and the beginning of the year are the best months to visit, before the heat hits! The temperature was about 27-30 degrees C, which for us was perfect. January-February is also the period when the Dubai Shopping Festival is, so that might draw more tourists at that time, but due to the scale and infrastructure of the two cities, I can tell at least we were never once even in a traffic or a crowd.
We stayed in Sourthern Sun Abu Dhabi hotel and when we come back to UAE, we will definitely stay there again. The facilities were excellent, the location was in the city and next to the marina, whereas the restaurant offered a great variety of local and western food. The atmosphere of the whole place was like a oriental fairy-tale, and the outside pool and bar area left like one for sure. Since we were honeymooners, our suit was updated to the 24th floor with great view over the city and the marina. The hotel management and staff were very helpful, and I believe you can always ask them to be moved to higher floor if you like panoramic views (and you are not afraid of heights).
Easily, we traveled both by bus and taxi, also between Dubai and Abu Dhabi, depending on our schedule. The bus transport was extremely convenient, with air condition and timely departures&arrivals, but we also used a taxi on several occasions and we were very satisfied with the pricing (almost seemed cheap compared to Copenhagen) and with the service. It is possible to pay by card in all cars, and note that leaving a tip is expected.
WHAT TO SEE AND DO
Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque – Abu Dhabi
The Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque is rising in a magnificent marble design, which I believe is one of the symbols of the modern Islamic architecture. The Grand Mosque is open for non-Muslims and will leave you breathless and wonderstruck.
We arrived there early, I think it was at about 10 in the morning, which I strongly recommend, since 1) You need time to register, go through security, pick up a burka (long pants for men), and 2) There were much less tourists at that time which gives you much more room and space to wander and take in that majestic place.
Red Dunes Safari, Dunes Bashing, Camel Riding and Dinner in the Desert with Local Food and Dances – Lahbab Desert
The Red Dunes Safari was without a doubt the highlight of our trip to Dubai. I had never seen a desert in my life before, neither had tried Dunes Bashing, and this journey made so many bucketlist experiences come true for me and Jasen, we were overwhelmed.
There is a variety of desert trips you can book, and we booked the Red Dune Safari by Dream Journey. I strongly recommend the 7-hour afternoon journey, it was an amazing experience. Side note: you can wear sandals, but bring sneakers with you as well, later for the walks in the desert, and a cardigan as it gets cold during the evening.
The dune bashing took place in Lahbab Desert (only 50 km from Oman), and the landscape was like nothing I have seen before! Seeing the sunset over the red dunes was truly magical and a sight I will never forget.
I must admit, I had many prejudices for the camel riding, and despite my thorough research, I had not decided whether I will do that, until I could see and approve the conditions the animals are living in. I can safely advise that the company we booked for the whole journey had the highest ethical standards when it comes to animal protection. The camels we visited were outdoors in the open, strong, clean, well-cared for and well-fed. Our ride was a short 5-10 min walk, making sure the camels are not overburdened, and it was a great experience. Before you decide if such a ride is appropriate to take, always look at the condition and treatment of the animal.
We spent the rest of the evening watching fire show, local dances and enjoying BBQ dinner with Arabic coffee, food and sweets. Splendid finish of unforgettable day!
Miracle Gardens – Dubai
We visited the Gardens at sunset, which meant that everything was in golden light making it a truly miraculous place indeed.
At the Top of Burj Khalifa and Rooftop Lunch – Dubai
The highest building in the world is hard to miss in Dubai, but seeing the view from above is something you should not (miss). We also enjoyed their Rooftop Lunch (in a separate part of Burj Khalifa), and it was a nice break with a gorgeous view before we continued with the day.
Isn’t there just everything! I recommend the Underwater World, which was absolutely worth getting lost in the mall few times.