14 Responses

  1. Brian Cohen
    Brian Cohen at |

    I have been to Burj Khalifa, Seth:


    The premium experience is not worth the extra money — and yes, the constant haze does diminish the views. I have photographs of that, which I intend to post in my backlog of trip reports.

    In the race for the tallest building in the world, there are others currently under construction. Unless being at the observation deck in this building once is a goal of yours — and it is not all the way at the top — I would consider skipping it.

    You are based in New York. I do not need to tell you that the views from virtually any tall building in New York would be more scenic than those in Dubai.

    For what it is worth, I have similar thoughts as yours about Dubai. It is an artificial manmade desert oasis — and quite expensive overall as well.

  2. Gwayrav
    Gwayrav at |

    not sure what the point of this post was: other than to paint an orientalist image of how the orient can’t be like “us” no matter how hard they tried: their views are of desert, which has no appeal to you but the way you word it makes it seem like it should have no appeal to anyone, even if the statement were taken at face value.
    Then the image of pool side chilling with a beer during the call to prayer is meant to… Conjure up… Fakeness? Contradiction? Orientalist? I’m not sure.
    Either way, I don’t think you meant for it to come off this way.

  3. FInalCall
    FInalCall at |

    I’ve lived in Dubai for 8 years and it perplexes me why people come on vacation here. It is a hugely easy city in which to live, it works spectacularly well for a developing country…the transport links are epic – a direct flight to everywhere important, it’s very easy to run a business here, it’s a safe / easy place to base your family and there’s no tax. In an abstract way it’s even a cultural experience. Yes, it lacks embedded culture but not all culture is inherently old, and there’s definitely something interesting about living in a city that is so rapidly expanding and at such cultural odds with its near neighbours. But as soon as I’m on vacation I’m out of here.

  4. Sean M.
    Sean M. at |

    You seem to have spent your entire time in “new” Dubai. No wonder you find it confusing. New Dubai is less of a city than a loose confederation of shopping malls.

    My first memories of Dubai from the 1980s were of a small town where Jumeirah was the outer suburbs and visits to my uncle’s villa in Jebel Ali involved a packed lunch and a camel train (ok, maybe not that bad but close). Sheikh Zayed Road wasn’t the monstrosity it is today, the center of town was Deira and the airport was a glorifed bus station with Duty Free. It was still an everyone-knows-everyone kinda town, but with the simmering excitement of ambition bubbling under the surface.

    You still can find this spirit elsewhere in the country. My current home of Ras Al Khaimah is just an hour drive north and is a world different from Dubai. Locals are not outnumbered 10 to 1 like in Dubai, there is still a strong feeling of local pride and community. Heck, you can find this spirit even in the less salubrious parts of Dubai north of the creek, or next door in Sharjah.

    There is plenty not to like about the UAE, just like there is plenty not to like about other places in the world. However, the Burj Khalifa, DWC and Marina are hardly representative of the country or indeed even of the city itself.

  5. Adam
    Adam at |

    I completely agree with the image you paint. I’ve been twice and I immediately question the intelligence of any well-traveled person that thinks Dubai is a destination unto itself. There’s a lot “to do” but it mostly revolves around shopping or business or, well, money. I think the fact that a really tall hotel and a giant mall are some of the biggest attractions should be quite telling. As FinalCall mentioned, it doesn’t have it’s own culture, rather it sort of borrows from around the world. So, I guess that’s unique unto itself, but anyone with the means to travel globally would really do better to experience “culture” at its origin instead of opting for the McCultural experience of Dubai.

  6. Nic
    Nic at |

    I didn’t have high expectations and had a great time. Dune bashing, sand boarding, skiing, plus all the touristy stuff, it was great.

  7. DaveS
    DaveS at |

    I had a good time in Dubai but it was just a few days as part of a larger journey. I would hardly make it a priority as a vacation destination, but it was an interesting contrast, in my case, to the historic sites in Jordan and Israel.

  8. dave
    dave at |

    I think the answer to why some like it is much simpler. The foundation is their basic needs are being met, and by basic, I mean modern conveniences such as AC, decent restaurants and entertainment, stable employment etc. Once those needs are met, all some people need to make life enjoyable is the company of other people. Dubai, Singapore, what does it matter the locale? I wouldn’t live in either of those places by choice since i find them too sterile, but to each his own. Sean’s point that one can find interesting culture outside of “new” Dubai is taken. But the people I’m referring to wouldn’t much care about those areas anyway.

  9. SG
    SG at |

    I have not visited Dubai yet but does not seem that appealing. I would not go out of my way to visit but I would stop by if I was in the region.

  10. Trevor
    Trevor at |

    Dubai is an interesting city. I didn’t really get the feeling it had its own culture in my experiences there either (and I’ve spent many a one night layovers, and one trip a few days longer). I have yet to venture over to the more traditional souks and “old dubai”, but, I do find the paradigm interesting. Here you have a city that so very wants to be western, yet the “locals” can be very traditional, that seemed even more prevalent, visiting during ramadan.