Dubai Today (Photo Essay)

December 22, 2011

People keep talking about the property bust in Dubai but it was easy for casual visitors like us to overlook. After all, the home of the world’s tallest building, tallest hotel and largest shopping mall has so many amazing attractions.

the atlantis dubai

Atlantis, The Palm has over 1,500 rooms, a water park and a place for visitors to interact with dolphins.

dubai mall

Dubai is still a shopper’s paradise. Here’s a peek inside Dubai Mall, the world’s largest with 1,200 shops.

40th anniversary Dubai

Our visit coincided with the 40th anniversary of the United Arab Emirates.

wild wadi water park dubai

Family attractions, like the Wild Wadi Water Park, abound.

Ski Dubai

Ski Dubai, an indoor winter wonderland is one of a kind.

Burj Al Arab Dubai

The super-luxurious Burj Al Arab hotel, with its incredible design, stands proudly on a man-made island.

dubai creek rolex buildings

Back in the “old town,” a view across the Dubai Creek.

mosque Dubai

christmas tree Dubai

While its population is mostly Arabic, Dubai is home to many different people and cultures.

Madinat Jumeirah Arabian Resort

Madinat Jumeirah Arabian Resort


dubai mall ceiling

An opulent ceiling in Dubai Mall

dubai workers

Plenty of hard workers keep Dubai going.

dubai mall aquarium

Visitors check out the huge indoor aquarium inside Dubai Mall.

Burj Khalifa Dubai night

The world’s tallest building, the Burj Khalifa.

 Have you ever been to Dubai? What did you think of it?

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  1. Comment by Cam

    Cam Reply December 22, 2011 at 8:00 pm

    We were in Dubai in 2009 and LOVED it! It gets mixed reviews for its “western” feel, but we had just come from India so it was a welcomed change. Make sure you check out SkiDubai and do some indoor skiiing/snowbaording!

    • Comment by Cam

      Cam December 22, 2011 at 8:01 pm

      Nevermind, just saw the Ski Dubai photo… must have missed my first time around (duh!) ;-)

    • Comment by Andrea and John

      Andrea and John December 23, 2011 at 12:37 pm

      Haha – no worries. We don’t ski so didn’t go in but it did make for a nice backdrop during our dinner – fun to watch everyone inside =)

  2. Comment by Prooster

    Prooster Reply December 22, 2011 at 8:09 pm

    This type of development is unsustainable and frankly ugly

    • Comment by Andrea and John

      Andrea and John December 23, 2011 at 12:36 pm

      I definitely wouldn’t call the new areas beautiful…

  3. Comment by Jarmo

    Jarmo Reply December 22, 2011 at 8:37 pm

    Seems like there is a lot to see in Dubai, quite a lot of it luxurious from the look of it.

    • Comment by Andrea and John

      Andrea and John December 23, 2011 at 12:36 pm

      I’m not sure if there are enough people to afford all that luxury (who would want to live there I should add), but there definitely is a lot to see and do.

  4. Comment by Amanda Williams

    Amanda Williams Reply December 22, 2011 at 9:15 pm

    Dubai strikes me as someplace so over-the-top and wild that I’d love to see it in person someday. Love these photos! And SkiDubai has snow zorbing?? That. Is. Awesome.

    • Comment by Andrea and John

      Andrea and John December 23, 2011 at 12:34 pm

      Just what I think, Amanda. I thought of you when I saw the zorbing, haha =)

    • Comment by Andrea and John

      Andrea and John December 23, 2011 at 12:34 pm

      It’s pretty over the top, I agree. John wasn’t into it – nothing to do there but shop, he said. I look at it more like I do Vegas – ok for a break once in awhile but I wouldn’t want to live there.

  5. Comment by emilyinchile

    emilyinchile Reply December 23, 2011 at 4:33 pm

    How funny, we were just talking about Dubai last night! My nephew hated it and thinks it’s just horrible fake-ness that’s not sustainable, but I wouldn’t say no to seeing the over the top madness for myself someday. Just probably don’t have either the desire or the budget to spend a whole lot of time there.

    • Comment by Andrea and John

      Andrea and John December 24, 2011 at 5:14 am

      John wasn’t keen on it. I don’t think one can stay there too long without blowing a lot of money. But I think it must be seen at least once, for architecture alone.

  6. Comment by Andi Perullo

    Andi Perullo Reply December 23, 2011 at 7:02 pm

    It really is over the top! But I want to visit sooooo badly!!!

    • Comment by Andrea and John

      Andrea and John December 24, 2011 at 5:13 am

      I’m sure you’ll get there sometime – just do a stopover next time you head to Asia. Emirates is a fantastic airline! =)

  7. Comment by Diana Edelman

    Diana Edelman Reply December 23, 2011 at 8:00 pm

    Dubai looks amazing! What a mix of modern and regal.

    • Comment by Andrea and John

      Andrea and John December 24, 2011 at 5:12 am

      I found Abu Dhabi to be more regal – you should see the mosque there!!

  8. Comment by Oneika the Traveller

    Oneika the Traveller Reply December 25, 2011 at 9:07 am

    Lovely photos but it’s crazy to think that the UAE is only 40 years old! I’m going in February so thanks for these pics! I’m excited to go now!

    • Comment by Andrea and John

      Andrea and John December 26, 2011 at 3:54 am

      Fun! Don’t miss some of the attractions like the water parks and dolphin experience (if it’s warm enough) =)

  9. Comment by The World Stroll

    The World Stroll Reply December 26, 2011 at 3:39 pm

    Amazing photos! Dubai seems to be beautiful..

    • Comment by Andrea and John

      Andrea and John December 26, 2011 at 3:41 pm

      Some parts are, though it felt overdeveloped and a bit cold to us…

  10. Comment by Annie - FootTracker

    Annie - FootTracker Reply January 2, 2012 at 11:23 am

    Dubai looks so pretty with all the new buildings and attractions. What $$ can do nowadays is crazy. (Still want to see it sometime though with my own eyes ^^)

    • Comment by Andrea and John

      Andrea and John January 2, 2012 at 12:15 pm

      It’s certainly a fascinating place to explore…I love architecture so just seeing all the incredible buildings was enjoyable for me!

  11. Comment by Abby

    Abby Reply January 9, 2012 at 12:12 am

    Property bust that tourists don’t see: sounds like Vegas! I’d love to see Dubai one day — the indoor ski slope kills me.

    • Comment by Andrea and John

      Andrea and John January 9, 2012 at 1:00 pm

      Vegas is the place it reminded me of, actually! Is that still going on there?

  12. Comment by Anne slater-brooks

    Anne slater-brooks Reply June 4, 2012 at 12:33 am

    Dubai is fake in the way Las Vegas is…but fun in the way Las Vegas is. It’s definitely not going to give you a taste for the real middle east but you don’t have to go far from Dubai to experience that! It’s a great introduction to the Middle East for people nervous of travelling to this area but don’t be fooled by the hype. Whilst you must exercise caution in this area it is a truly fabulous, unique and amazingly cultural region!! I find it truly fascinating

    • Comment by inspiringtravellers

      inspiringtravellers June 4, 2012 at 8:02 am

      Thanks so much for your comments, Anne – I wish we had more time in UAE to get out of the cities and see a bit more off the beaten track. Will have to return one day! =)

  13. Comment by Jennifer

    Jennifer Reply August 23, 2012 at 10:50 pm

    Fantastic photos! We’re headed to Dubai in November and can’t wait to see it in person.

    • Comment by inspiringtravellers

      inspiringtravellers August 24, 2012 at 8:46 am

      Thanks, Jennifer! It’s certainly an interesting city. I recommend the hop on – hop off bus tour because you can see the whole city in one day like this for an overview (the distances can be quite far otherwise…unless you have your own car).

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  15. Comment by Rashad Pharaon

    Rashad Pharaon Reply November 9, 2013 at 2:21 pm

    Gorgeous photos. You’ve really captured the essence of Dubai’s tourism, Andrea. I currently am on a job assignment in Saudi Arabia, and considering Saudi is far wealthier a country, I am surprised it doesn’t hold a candle to Dubai’s grandeur. We don’t even have a developed public transport system… but considering general tourism is forbidden, I can understand why. Thank you for sharing your wonderful experience :)

    • Comment by inspiringtravellers

      inspiringtravellers November 10, 2013 at 5:05 pm

      So glad you enjoyed them, Rashad! I’m so surprised to hear that SA isn’t as grand. Being a female I’ve never even considered a visit but my father worked over there for some time. I am trying to find some photos on your blog now but don’t see any…will you be writing about your experiences there?

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