Dubai was just a stopover for us before we would head off to our next destination: India! It was cheaper to fly through UAE, so we decided to stay couple of days longer to take a rest and enjoy some luxury in Dubai before we followed our path further.
This is how we experienced our backpacking adventure in Dubai;
1. When you arrive at the airport, you’ll probably feel like you’ve landed in Pakistan or India because of all its people around you wearing their ‘Peran tomban’ (traditional Pakistani/Afghan clothing for men) and females wearing ‘Punjabis’ (traditional Indian/Pakistani clothing for females).
2. Around 75% of the population is actually foreigners (immigrant workers), from different countries like Pakistan, India, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh and Nepal. It’s very sad to see that they actually keep the economy going and growing, yet having the poorest working conditions and paychecks. You don’t get to see many Arab people on the streets, maybe here and there in some fancy cars passing by or in exclusive shopping malls and cafes/restaurants. I don’t believe they work at all. They just hire people to do it for them.
3. There is a big contrast; you get to see women wearing long black hijaabs and women wearing modern clothing showing off lots of skin. Many of them are tourists, but also expats from Western countries or actually modern Arabic women. Most of them look gorgeous (guess that’s quite an easy task when you got the money).
4. Many Arabic men wear long white traditional clothing showing their exclusiveness from the mortals.
5. Due to the multicultural society you’ve got some excellent food options: from spicy Indian curries till Chinese fried noodles and rice and even Afghan qabeli & kebab. Let’s not mention all those western foodchains in the XXL-sized foodcourts giving you so many options & leaving you in doubt what to choose for lunch and dinner.
6. Malls, malls & malls! If you like shopping and spending unnecessary money, go there 😉 If you still have too much money left, you can go ice-skating or take a ride in a rollercoaster. Yes, in Dubai it’s possible in a mall. When you have enough of malls, there’s an amazing beach you can go to to relax.
7. Trying to get into the Burj-Al-Arab is not easy; we wanted to have some tea @ the skybar since we’re not rich enough to sleep in it for a night (I wouldn’t do it anyway even IF I had it though), but we heard you got to make reservations weeks beforehand! So that didn’t happen. We got to know afterwards that drinking tea was not even that cheap. You have to pay around 50 euros. Guess you get your tea in golden cups or something?
8. It is very difficult to find low-budget hostels in Dubai, the cheapest aren’t actually cheap. You have to pay more than for a cheap hotel which is quite weird. That’s why we decided to stay in Sharjah which would suit our daybudget much better. We took the bus to Dubai every day.