DubaiFeat

Exactly one year ago, I boarded a flight from Jordan to Dubai. It was my first ever trip to the Middle East and I had just spent the last two weeks exploring the sights and indulging in the tastes of Jordan. While I knew to expect the ancient wonders of Petra, the natural beauty of the Dead Sea and the magic of a starry sky in Wadi Rum in Jordan, I had no idea what to expect in Dubai.

Would Dubai really just be a massive concrete jungle lacking any real culture or history?

My feet touched the first bit of pavement, upon landing in Dubai, and I felt my bank account shudder. The skyline reached to the heavens and nearly every car in sight was a Bentley, Rolls Royce or some other luxury sports car. But upon befriending some locals, I soon learned that Dubai was overflowing with culture- borrowed from the thousands of foreigners that called Dubai “home.”

I only had three days to see all that I could- but, with the help of my new friends in Dubai, I was able to truly experience the city. As I wandered around the world’s largest mall, next to the world’s largest fountain and within view of the world’s largest building, I realized Dubai was everything people made it out to be-

over the top!

But, the city was also trendy– with major shows like Swedish House Mafia’s “One Last Tour,” lounges like Buddha Bar and nightclubs like Cirque Le Soir (that made Las Vegas look like child’s play).

The city was bustling with international influence– one night I ate dinner with around twenty people (each from a different nation) and then attended a garden party hosted by expats from the Seychelles.

The city was safe– despite the massive amounts of wealth, most people left their luxury vehicles unlocked and their doors open to visitors.

And the people were incredibly friendly– being dubbed “Princess Kiki” by my new smiley friends from Abu Dhabi and Egypt.

 “To travel is to discover that everyone is wrong about other countries.”

-Aldous Huxley

So, Dubai is my little story of a destination that was SO much more than I could have ever expected. Between the tourism offerings and my “locals” experiences, I fell in BIG like with Dubai. There is beauty to be found in every corner of the world- you just have to be open to experiencing it.

Check out my photos from Dubai below!

Fly Dubai safety video

Fly Dubai safety video

Yes, they even have holiday drinks in Dubai!

Yes, they even have holiday drinks in Dubai!

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Al Mamzar Park- Complete with BBQs and grassy picnic areas!

Standing in front of the Burj Khalifa- the tallest man-made structure in the world

Standing in front of the Burj Khalifa- the tallest man-made structure in the world

The Dubai Fountain- the world's largest choreographed fountain

The Dubai Fountain- the world’s largest choreographed fountain

The manmade Burj Khalifa Lake spans 30-acres!

The manmade Burj Khalifa Lake spans 30-acres!

The Aquarium inside the Dubai Mall- the world's largest shopping mall

The Aquarium inside the Dubai Mall- the world’s largest shopping mall

The aquarium is made with the world’s largest acrylic panel

The aquarium is made with the world’s largest acrylic panel

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Sunset from the Shangri-La Hotel

Who let ME lifeguard?

Who let ME lifeguard?

Looking up! (This shot was nearly impossible!)

Looking up! (This shot was nearly impossible!)

Opening show for Swedish House Mafia's "One Last Tour"

Opening show for Swedish House Mafia’s “One Last Tour”

"So far from home, it's for the better. What we dream, it's all that matters."

“So far from home, it’s for the better. What we dream, it’s all that matters.”

Beach day on Palm Jumeirah

Beach day on Palm Jumeirah

The Atlantis hotel in the background

The Atlantis hotel in the background

Coolest geo-location ever!

Coolest geo-location ever!

Inside the Burj Al Arab- the world's only 7-Star hotel

Inside the Burj Al Arab- commonly referred to as “The world’s only 7-Star hotel”

Dinner inside the Burj Al Arab... Not quite backpacker prices!

Dinner inside the Burj Al Arab… Not quite backpacker prices!

An out-of-this-world dinner in and out-of-this-world city!

An out-of-this-world dinner in an out-of-this-world city!

Have you been to Dubai?

What did you think?

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Kiersten Rich
Kiersten Rich is the bikini-obsessed author of award-winning solo female travel and lifestyle blog, The Blonde Abroad, featuring travel tips, fashion, food, festivals and photography from around the world.