By Femke, SeaBookings cofounder:
I was super excited when I heard that SeaBookings was invited by Turismo de Portugal, the Portuguese Tourism Board, for a trip to Dubai and participate in the big Arabian Travel Market in Dubai. And guess who went? Me! You can read about my experience visiting Dubai as a woman in another article I shared.
During my trip to Dubai, as I wanted to meet other travelers, I decided to book a hostel near Dubai Marina. From the hostel I was staying, I had an amazing view over the Marina. The hostel even had a swimming pool. The pool made my holiday, as temperatures rise easily over 40ºC.
Dubai Marina is amazing and impressive and you should definitely go there on your trip to Dubai. By day it can be very hot to walk around in the marina. Make sure you bring comfortable shoe wear and refreshments. You can also opt for a nice break at one of the cafes around the Marina. It’s amazing to see how many luxury yachts you find in this marina, a must for yacht fans! By night, the marina is imposing. The skyscrapers turn on the lights, a view I’ve never seen before, it’s truly breathtaking.
On my business trip to Dubai, I still wanted to take some time to discover the local culture. I went by metro to Deira to discover the gold and spice souks. As I arrived at the Deira Metro station, it was like entering a different city. My first impression was that this place was Dubai for the poor people. Actually, it made me remember Morocco. Deira has many narrow streets. The souks are nice, the gold souk has plenty of gold shops. The spice souk makes you want to discover new flavors. The shops at the entrance normally are more expensive.
One thing that really shocked me during my visit was the difference between poor and rich. Some people are living the life in Dubai, while others are working very hard and live with many people in small apartments and in extreme conditions.
Alcohol is not something you can drink and buy everywhere. In the airport, hotels and some private businesses, it’s available. I would not recommend the use of any drugs in a country like Dubai, as sentences are really harsh.
Fooooood! Well, I love the fact that in shopping malls there are so many Indian fast food restaurants. I’m a big fan of Indian food and loved the concept. Even in the nearest supermarket to my hostel, mostly all the food for takeaway was Indian food. You can also find many vegetarian curries. I really enjoyed the lentil curry.
As a massive horse fan, I did not resist and booked a horse ride in the desert! This was quite an adventure. Even to find and go to the meeting point wasn’t very easy. I had to catch 2 busses to finally go to Silicon Oasis. Silicon Oasis is a business center located in the middle of the desert, quite an impressive and interesting business hub. At the meeting point, there were two other girls, who were also going on a horse ride.
As I have quite some experience with horses, I was invited to go out on a ride with locals. This was so cool! It was an amazing ride in the desert and we still had time to talk about local customs and business. After the horse ride, we were invited to drink tea and eat some local dates. As transport to Dubai, was quite complicated, and one of the staff members was going in that direction anyway, I took a ride. Even the ride I took was impressive, actually a good way to see all the big and impressive cars driving around. So yes, if you’re fond of horses, a ride in the desert is definitely a must for an escape during your business trip to Dubai.
What would be a SeaBookings trip to Dubai, without a boat tour? Of course, the main goal of this trip was to taste a bit of Dubai’s boat tour market. Thus, I went on a boat tour departing from Dubai Marina. If you want to see Dubai Marina, Atlantis, Palm Jumeirah and Burj Al Arab, I definitely recommend discovering these landmarks by boat. By boat, you get a unique perspective and it’s also way too hot to walk around Palm Jumeirah.
I chose the speedboat tour on a RIB. It’s always exciting to go on a speedboat, and even more with amazing views over the skyscrapers. Service is something the tour operators in Dubai know how to provide. Almost at the end of the boat tour, they offered a bottle of fresh water and asked for our WhatsApp number to send us the cool pictures made during the tour.
On my next trip to Dubai, I would like to rent a Jetski. You see many jetski tours around the Palm Jumeirah area. It looks like a so cool way to enjoy some refreshment.
Now back to business: the Arabian Travel Market is an amazing opportunity to better understand the travel market of this region. I have made many interesting contacts, and got really excited to start to expand SeaBookings to this market. I learned a lot about the demands of this market. And now, SeaBookings in Dubai is now longer a dream! Check it out!