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Help...can't do Egypt, looking for certain experience

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WA
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Help...can't do Egypt, looking for certain experience

Hello,

My husband and I really wanted to go to Egypt to celebrate a huge milestone this summer but we don't feel like is the time. I'd love to be immersed in a true Arabian market or "souk" and see some cool antiquated architecture etc. And...not to mention see the beauty of a desert landscape and ride a camel at sunset. Will I get this experience in Dubai or has it lost all of it's charm and originality as it has catered to tourism? We are also planning on heading to the Maldives afterwards- we just got back from Bora Bora and while beautiful it just isn't the same as the beauty we found in the Maldives. So Dubai and Maldives is what we are thinking and hopefully will give us the "Arabian Nights" experience! Any thought or suggestions?

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1. Re: Help...can't do Egypt, looking for certain experience

I think Dubai has what you're looking for. It's not all modern and glass. Excellent hotels and lots to see and do. You can also do the desert experience.

If you want to look around a souk there are plenty of them.

Here and there
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2. Re: Help...can't do Egypt, looking for certain experience

The Maldives has the beauty whereas Dubai has the activity.

You will get to do all the things you want to do in Dubai and if you want to experience older Dubai then best to stay in that area.

Do you have a budget per night for an hotel ?

WA
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3. Re: Help...can't do Egypt, looking for certain experience

Thanks...this is great advice. No budget...unlimited. We just want a true Arabian type experience to supplement our beach time.

Here and there
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4. Re: Help...can't do Egypt, looking for certain experience

OK that makes it more difficult.

Dubai is a city that is only 20% Emirati and the rest of the population are expats. This means that there is a very large Asian community and a large population of expats from the rest of the world.

You can eat in Arabic restaurants and visit some of the heritage areas or the souks and travel on the creek between Deira and Bur Dubai but in either of these areas you will see many more Asians than Arabic people.

The only Emiratis you are likely to meet are at the immigration counter in the airport and anyone else e.g. those that work in hotels, shops, souks, restaurants and taxis will not be Emirati

Or you could arrange to have breakfast, lunch or dinner at the Sheikh Mohamed Centre for Cultural Understanding in Bastakiah.

http://www.cultures.ae/

I would also recommend a desert safari with Platinum Heritage, in particular their Heritage Dinner Safari or Breakfast with a Bedouin.

http://www.platinum-heritage.com/

Now on to hotels. The reality is that you could stay anywhere in the city and visit all of the above places BUT if you want to be closer to them then you could stay at

Arabian Courtyard - good 4* opposite Dubai Museum and only 250 yards from Bastakiah, however, it is not luxurious and the pool is not great.

So instead if your budget is unlimited then I would go for

Park Hyatt - low rise, boutique style and next to the creek so only 10 mins by cab from the souks and heritage areas. Some lovely restaurants and my top recommend in that particular area.

The Palace at the Old Town - this is in the new downtown area (despite the name) and whilst this is all new Dubai the hotel is beautiful Arabic styling and the facilities are excellent. Even better it has fabulous views of Burj Khalifa and the fountains on the lake. Maybe 20 mins by cab to the souks and heritage areas.

If you do go to the heritage areas and souks then these maps will help

…nationalgeographic.com/travel/…

…nationalgeographic.com/city-guides/…

…nationalgeographic.com/city-guides/…

Finally, as you say summer but don't say when I'll just advise you to note the high temperatures and high humidity in July, August and September and advise you to check the Ramadan timings as this may impact your holiday - more information about Ramadan can be found in the top questions to the right of the posts page

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5. Re: Help...can't do Egypt, looking for certain experience

If you're looking for old-world Arabia and have some time, you could head over to Oman. It's a short flight from Dubai and there are many old buildings, souqs, castles, seaside towns, mountain villages, etc even within a short distance from Muscat. Although Muscat is pretty vibrant and modern, even the corniche there has an old-world feel with all the old men drinking tea and playing chess.

Dubai, United Arab...
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6. Re: Help...can't do Egypt, looking for certain experience

When you say "Arabian experience", "desert landscape" and "unlimited budget"- Al Maha Desert Resort & Spa is the first that springs to mind. I would consider spending a couple of days there. I felt like I'd taken a step back into the past there, kind of like walking into my grandparents' place. In the price, you get to choose a couple of "activities" a day. To give you an idea: http://www.al-maha.com/en/desert-activities

I would consider spending the rest of the time @ The Palace Downtown near the arabian styled "Souk Al Bahar" and the very modern Dubai Mall. I would visit the souks, take a ride on the Abra, do the SMCCU lunch/ tour- but at the end of the day come back to new Dubai. This should give you a taste of what life in Dubai was.... and what it has now become. The old and the new are so closely intertwined that we live them simultaneously every day- why shouldn't your trip reflect just how magical that is?

Edited: 13 January 2014, 09:21
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7. Re: Help...can't do Egypt, looking for certain experience

You will get lots of magical experiences in Dubai, but "antiquated architecture" and "true Arabian market" is not Dubai's strongest points. As one poster mentioned, Muscat offers something more on that line, but Dubai's attractions are great as well and even if some of the "authentic" stuff is made for and geared towards tourists, they make for an interesting visit

Dubai, United Arab...
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8. Re: Help...can't do Egypt, looking for certain experience

@ Latimer, Sadly the latest surveys have us at less than 16% of the population in the UAE, and less than 10% of Dubai's. Not quite sure how much "less than" actually means.

Here and there
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9. Re: Help...can't do Egypt, looking for certain experience

How interesting. I guess that was bound to happen as the Dubai population has grown overall but not with Emiratis.

I wonder what it will be like in another 10 years.

Dubai, United Arab...
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10. Re: Help...can't do Egypt, looking for certain experience

Hi Fiji, first off...sounds like you guys have some awesome travels ahead! Depending on how much time you have, Muscat, Oman is a great destination and more "old Arabia" feel to it, there are many options for flights from Dubai to Muscat, and the flight is 45min...so you could easily pop over for a few nights.

If you want to experience classy serentiy in the desert, then Al Maha desert resort is a must especially if the budget is not a problem. There are plenty of outdoor activities like dune bashing etc at Al Maha so don't bother with a desert Safari in Dubai.

Think about something like this:

2 nights Muscat, 3 nights Al Maha Resort in Dubai (take one day for some Dubai sightseeing) then head off to Male (direct options on Fly Dubai and Emirates).....awesome!