As any of my faithful readers know, or even those of you stopping by just for this post, I love to travel.
Visiting places I’ve never been before and seeing different corners of the globe with my own eyes is my biggest passion. Even when I’m not actively traveling, much of my brainpower is devoted to thinking about travel.
When I lived in Madrid I covered the shabby walls of my room overlooking the noisy street of calle Fuencarral with maps and large sheets of white paper. I filled those sheets with the names of all the places I wanted to go, from Toledo and Barcelona to Krakow and Marrakech. I turned into a bit of an insomniac, staring at those maps and names before trying to fall asleep, my brain running wild crunching made-up itineraries and logistics, trying to figure out how I could stretch my limited income from teaching English to get to as many of the destinations on my wall.
I still like to daydream about all the places I want to visit and one destination at the top of my bucket list is Dubai.
Recently, it’s seemed as if every other day a photo of Miracle Garden pops up in my Instagram feed, taunting me with colorful beauty. Solo traveler Liz Stephenson also recently wrote about taking a weekend trip to Dubai while living abroad in Kuwait in her post for Something In Her Rambling’s Women Who Travel Solo column.
My new neighbors in Los Angeles, The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills, (ok, maybe not quite my neighbors) also visited Dubai this season. I shamefully admit I watched these episodes with envy, unable to comprehend why they wasted such a golden opportunity to be immersed in a new culture by fighting over meaningless gossip.
I have no plans to go to the United Arab Emirates and soak in the wonders of the country’s most opulent city (yet), but one can always dream (and research for a future trip). With that in mind here’s my Dubai Bucket list:
Climb the tallest tower in the world
The tallest tower in the world is the Burj Khalifa and is located in Dubai. With 163 floors, the tower is more than three times as tall as the Eiffel Tower and nearly twice as tall as the Empire State Building. An observation deck sits at floor 124 and offers sweeping views of the city and popular attractions such as the Dubai Fountains.
Sky dive over man-made islands
To add to its limited coastline, Dubai has created man-made islands in the Persian Gulf. Living up to Dubai’s over-the-top image, the two islands, Palm Jumierah and Palm Jebel Ali are constructed to resemble palm trees. With Skydive Dubai, thrill-seekers can get a bird’s eye view of the palms as they jump out of a plane in an ultimate skydive experience. Sign me up!
Participate in a glamorous photo shoot at the Miracle Garden
Flowers in a desert? In Dubai it’s possible. The Miracle Garden is home to more than 45 million flowers, arranged in creative ways such as a path with hearts and igloos. There have been so many cute photos of visitors at the gardens posted on Instagram lately and I really want to go! How do they keep the flowers alive in the desert heat, you ask? They are irrigated with 200,000 gallons of water a day.
Ride a camel in the desert
I’ve ridden camels before, in the outback of Australia and mountains near Marrakech, but I’ve never trekked through such a rolling stretch of sand as the Arabian Desert before. This is way high on my travel bucket list in general!
Visit Jumeirah Mosque
Islam is the official religion of the UAE. I would love the opportunity to learn more about the religion by visiting a mosque, and perhaps the most famous mosque in Dubai is Jumeirah Mosque. Non-Muslim guests can take tours six days a week through the Seikh Mohammed Centre for Cultural Understanding to learn more about Emirati culture and the Muslim faith. This mosque is so large it can fit 1,200 worshipers!
Learn about culture in Bastakiya
I am really intrigued by the culture of the UAE and Dubai, and would want to learn as much as I can during my visit. Bastakiya is Dubai’s historic district, home to neighborhood houses, museums, shops and restaurants. It seems like a great place to take a guided walking tour and soak up knowledge.
Pamper myself with Luxury
While I’m not usually the type of traveler to fuss much over accommodations, I couldn’t go to Dubai and not pamper myself in luxury. After all, Dubai is known as the City of Gold. The city has the only 7-star hotel in the world and a wide range of six star options as well. In Dubai you can also take a taxi ride in a Lamborghini!
Have you been to Dubai? What’s missing from my bucket list? Let me know in the comments below!