“We are meant to be the central players in our simulation.” ~ Amber Khan
Never in a million years would I have considered myself a solo traveler. If you had told me five years ago that I’d be all packed and loaded onto a plane with my face glued to the window with excitement, as the aircraft soars above 30,000 feet, headed to the Middle East, I would’ve thought that you were crazy! Funny how life works. Up until recently, I’d always felt that a vacation wasn’t a vacation without “the girls”. But life happens, people change, we change and eventually we have to decide if we’re going to let life pass us by, or if we’re going to make the decision to live it on our terms.
The beginning of my solo travels started at the top of the pandemic. I broke out of the isolation of my home and into a life of exploring within the states. With so many Covid restrictions, for a long time I was afraid to leave the country. Then in April, I mustered up the courage to make a childhood dream of mine come true and visit Paris. The freedom that I felt after conquering my first international trip alone was so euphoric, that I guess I became addicted.
I’d always dreamt of seeing places like Bali and Thailand, but for some reason Dubai was always at the top of my list for Asia. I fantasized about lying on the beach in Jumeirah while staring at the tall buildings along the skyline, riding camels in the desert and even experiencing nightlife in popular clubs and restaurants. Perhaps Paris gave me the boost of courage that I needed because I decided to stop fantasizing and actually take the leap.
Here are some of the cool things I experienced on my trip to Dubai:
1.) BURJ KHALIFA, THE TALLEST BUILDING IN THE WORLD!
2.) 101 DINING LOUNGE & MARINA AT ONE&ONLY THE PALM
By far one of the sexiest restaurants I’ve visited in a long time, the 101 Dining Lounge & Marina located in The One&Only The Palm resort in Jumeirah is perfect for date night. From great food prepared by a Michelin-starred chef and breathtaking panoramic views of the marina, this place is nothing short of amazing!
3.) SHEIKH ZAYED GRAND MOSQUE IN ABU DHABI
4.) SIRAJ RESTAURANT FOR AUTHENTIC EMIRATI FOOD
Siraj restaurant-located in downtown Dubai, just across from the Dubai mall prides itself on serving authentic Emirati cuisine (traditional Arabian food). Along with great food, it boasts a gorgeous terrace with views of the Dubai fountain. Out of respect for the local customs, Siraj does not sell alcoholic beverages.
5.) DESERT SAFARI TOUR
OTHER COOL SUGGESTIONS:
1.) November to February are the best months to visit Dubai. The weather was 80 degrees and perfect during my visit in mid-December. The summer is NOT the time to visit the Middle East, as the temps get up to 113 degrees or higher!
2.) The Dubai fountain (just outside of Dubai Mall) is a great place to sit, relax and cool off with an ice cream cone. The kids will love the show during the day or at night.
3.) Tea at the Four Seasons Jumeirah is definitely a beautiful experience to add to your list. Shai Salon and Terrace is a gorgeous space offering a variety of finger sandwiches, pastries and loose-leaf teas that are sure to make you feel like a king or queen! The teas that they serve can be purchased through an online shop called AVANTCHA™ Boutique Specialty Tea. I ordered the jasmine sapphire tea, which was subtle, calming (and with a dash a honey), absolutely exquisite.
4.) Take a day to shop at the souks! From gold and fabrics to unique perfumes, the souks have souvenirs way cooler than the typical keychain that you’d bring home to your loved ones.
5.) Who says that you have to spend your entire vacation running around and sightseeing? Why not lay on the beach in Jumeirah? I stayed at The Five Palm Jumeirah, which has a beautiful beach and a view of marina skyline. It was the perfect way to relax and soak up some sun during my stay. FULL DISCLOSURE FOR THE BEACH SNOBS: The beach in Jumeirah is man-made! It will not feel like a Bahamas, Puerto Rico or Barbados experience. The sand is not as comfy under your feet as it is in other locations. So, manage your expectations.