Ask Away: Linger in Dubai

Eli Orzessek finds the answers to your travel questions.

What are the key attractions we should see in Dubai and do you have any recommendations for accommodation? We want somewhere nice, with a bit of luxury (not backpackers or cheap — I’m in my 50s and Jacki is turning 70, so somewhere safe). And what currency do we need in Dubai?
Susan Berridge

It’s always a nice idea to stretch out a stopover and relax for a few days before you head on to Europe — and Dubai has so much to offer, you’ll want to linger for as long as possible. It’s home to the world’s tallest building, the highest shooting fountains, the largest man-made island — and so much luxury that you may as well treat yourselves.

I’ve asked my contact at Flight Centre for her top tips while visiting the city sandwiched between the desert and the sea — here are her must-dos:

Your first stop should be Burj Khalifa’s Observation Deck, where you can look down on Dubai from your vantage point 450m up. The best time to visit is just before dusk — you’ll get to see the city in daylight and then watch the sunset when all the glistening lights of the bustling metropolis come to life.

If you’d like to spend a bit more time enjoying the view during the day, the high tea at Burj Khalifa’s At.Mosphere restaurant is a great way to spend an afternoon — 122 storeys up, the aerial views are incredible. It’s best to book in advance and reserve yourself a window seat.

The Spice and Gold Souks (Souk is Arabic for market) should be next on your list. The Gold Souk is one of the best known, with hundreds of vendors and haggling is expected.

The aromatic Spice Souk next door features sacks of spices, herbs and fruit.

Dinner at one of the restaurants along the banks of the creek near the Souks is a great idea. Here you’ll find traditional Middle Eastern restaurants to indulge in and some of the tastiest and most inexpensive food in the city.

If you’re feeling a bit more adventurous, head to the desert and experience a dune safari.

Get your adrenaline moving in a 4WD, and then finish by watching the sunset over the desert.

As far as accommodations goes, the Jumeirah Creekside is a good 5-star hotel for a short stop-over stay. They offer 24-hour check-in which means you can often get access to your room in the morning, perfect for the early arrival of flights from New Zealand.

The Taj Dubai’s close proximity to the Burj Khalifa and Dubai Mall make it perfect for exploring this part of the city. The Jumeirah Zabeel Saray is a good pick for those looking to indulge in a luxury beach stay.

Atlantis The Palm is a well-known, and popular, large resort at the tip of the Palm. It’s popular for a reason — it has lots of facilities and is suitable for all ages. There are a lot of different pool areas and restaurants to choose from, so although it may be slightly family oriented, there will still be quiet areas.

The currency in Dubai is the United Arab Emirates Dirham — the word comes from the Greek word Drachmae, meaning handful. If you’re exchanging NZD for cash look for the falcon watermark to ensure it’s not a fake note.

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Eli cannot answer all questions and can’t correspond with readers.
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