Birthday Getaway: Dubai & Abu-Dhabi
It's been over two months (birthday was November!) but I'm finally getting around to this. I think it's because I was wishing for a holiday this past weekend, and naturally looked through these photos.
This wasn't exactly a planned holiday, but when our initial trip to Dubai didn't happen, in April, we considered moving our tickets. Since we had a birthday getaway in November 2015 - to Spain & Portugal, we thought maybe a birthday getaway could become one of our yearly couple traditions so we managed to move the tickets to November.
We flew from Heathrow, and I was pretty excited because I'd heard lots of good stuff about the Emirates A380, which is a double decker plane. If you've also seen the ad with Jennifer Aniston, you'll agree it's quite something - with the business class section on the top level with an entire bar.
Thanks to air miles, we bumped up our tickets to business class - and if nothing else, the ease of the process would make me pay for it if I had the money! It was really stress free. A chauffeur picked up us from home, and the waiting lounge at the airport was so comfy with so much free food & drinks. It really did take out the entire stress of travelling.
Tip: if possible, try to fly with at least 3 airlines most of the time. And don't delay, register for those travel miles and collect them!
But you could probably tell I was going to take advantage of all the freebies! Before boarding I loaded my arms with about 30 of the free magazines. The air hostess and other business class passengers seemed to be having quite a laugh, possibly knowing it was my first time. And one guy jokingly asked if I was travelling to Dubai or Sydney - as there was no way I was going to read all those magazines on a six hour flight! He was right, as I still haven't read them till this day!.
The bar stood out, and a few passengers in PJs and socks gathered by the bar for drinks. Totally couldn't tell I was in a plane!
We arrived Dubai & immediately got driven to Abu Dhabi. The idea behind the holiday was to really just chill - so we really didn't attempt to take loads of blog or Instagram worthy pictures. So although I had my camera, I barely used it. The weather was also perfect. As it was November, it wasn't too hot or humid.
But of course, once we arrived at the hotel, we let them know it was my birthday (or did we say honeymoon?!) and asked for freebies. They sent a cake on the house.
This was simply exploring Abu Dhabi - and finding lots to eat. We really wanted to go the Yas Water World - a water park, but unfortunately when we arrived we were told that as it was a Monday & only open to women. I wasn't too fussed, as I had being to the Wild Wadi Water Park in Dubai which is really similar. But still, I wanted a fresh experience because Tee didn't let me know on that first experience, that I'd need a swim suit at the water park - so I did all of the water games in my play suit! That was slightly embarrassing.
Tip: Always do your research on destinations before you head there!
So we headed to Ferrari world & explored the malls for a bit.
The rest of day 1 was spent in the hotel, the outdoor bars, the gym and the spa!
The one thing I however wanted to do while on this trip was the desert safari. And for me, that was the highlight of the entire vacation, and pretty much most of day 2. I'd heard stories of how crazy those rides were and wanted to experience it! We were in the jeep with another older couple from the US, and two gentle men who were on holiday from Japan. Maybe I'd prepared my mind so much that it didn't seem too bad. But it's definitely one to do! At the end of the ride, we had a buffet dinner under the stars with just one belly dancer as entertainment. I got a henna, and we both rode on a camel - now that took me by surprise! I didn't realise how tall it was!
When in Abu Dhabi, everyone says to stop at the Sheik Zayad Mosque as it's quite a breathing piece of architecture and design. So we did.
The one thing to point out though is that you have to be fully clothed to enter. So no knees or arms exposed - and ladies had to have their hair covered in a scarf! Obviously, again I didn't do any research and got there with an off the shoulder summer dress, that was very clearly above my knees! But it's fine and provided you don't mind they give you an abaya to wear.
The rest of Day 3 was a quick stop by the beach behind our hotel. Can't believe we didn't have a proper beach day!
After that we headed to dinner at our friend's house. They recently moved from the UK to Abu Dhabi and she loves it more at the latter! And finally, it was time to bid farewell to Abu Dhabi and we took a taxi back to Dubai - an hour and a half travel time thereabout. We arrived Dubai at about 11 pm!
Early hours of Wednesday and my birthday, Tee had to head back to the UK for work. So we had to leave at about 12 midnight. *sniff sniff*. But not before he got me this cute birthday cake, and as usual prayed for me! I guess it technically wasn't a birthday getaway. But it couldn't be avoided. I spent a lot of the day sleeping, ordering room service & planning for the year ahead!
Blogger Meet Up
The great thing about being a blogger (and social media in general) is there's probably a person in another city you can always meet up with. So for the rest of day 4 & 5, I met up with Tega of TegaEnai.com and Lara of LaraTeshola.com. We actually had quite a bit of fun - window shopping, exploring the malls and streets of Dubai - and taking a million photos!
All in all, it was a pretty relaxing holiday. It could have been a bit more adventurous but I guess I was just exhausted and needed to rest! That said, I've fulfilled my desert safari tour desire, so I really don't think I'd be headed there for a vacation soon - well, except it's free because there's still so much to do there - including swimming with the dolphins and skydiving. But if not, I think this is fine to tick the UAE off the list of countries I've been to, and I could always do these outstanding activities in some other locations.
Have you been to the UAE? What was your experience like?
pS: Kemi's 30Countries by her 30th birthday obviously made me count mine. Little chance of meeting that, but I've been to 9 (including Nigeria & the UK). You can check out our Barbados & Malaysia trips. And 4 countries in Europe. Hopefully I can add a few to that list the year.
ppS: Interesting that I've gone on all of the 7 destinations with Tee. He's been on a few more without me - mostly for work, and a couple of times with his male friends alone. What do you think? Should your husband go on a men-only vacation?