From Velociraptors to penguins, desert dunes to city skyscrapers, Dubai left our favourite Instagrammers, @helloemilie and @jasoncharleshill absolutely dumbfounded. The desert city has stunning accommodation, incredible theme parks, amazing animal encounters, indoor snow sports, white-sand beaches, tantalising food and an intoxicating mix of old and new. Here are Jason and Emilie’s highlights.
What was your first impression of Dubai?
It felt like a New York of the desert! We were driving through the middle of the city and we couldn't even see the tops of the buildings out the window. The city is incredible!
What was your favourite thing to do/see in Dubai?
With all the amazing buildings and beaches, it was still the beautiful desert and sand dunes of the Dubai Conservation Reserve that really took our breath away.
You stayed in the Madinat Jumeirah – what was that like?
Wow…. The Madinat Jumeirah is simply one of the best places we’ve ever stayed. From the moment we arrived, our room was one of the best we have ever stayed in and the on site facilities are almost unbelievable!
What was your best meal in Dubai?
We had some mind-blowing meals during our stay and with so many restaurants on site to choose from, the Madinat Jumeirah has every craving covered. The one meal that was a highlight was at the Hide, which serves some of the best steak imaginable but make sure you save some room for dessert.
You had a few animal encounters – what was the best?
Surrounded by the desert, Dubai has some really amazing animals, like Arabian oryx and the falcon, which we had the chance to meet in the Dubai Conservation Reserve. It was such an incredible experience to see the local wildlife but to also see the penguins at Ski Dubai and actually get up close and hug them! It’s crazy that it could be blazing sunshine outside one minute and then you enter the Ski Dubai complex and it’s -5C with snow and penguins… only in Dubai!
You visited IMG Worlds of Adventure, the world’s largest indoor theme park – what was your favourite ride?
We get the chance to do and see some pretty amazing things but on this day a dream really did come true. To be able to have a theme park to ourselves for a day is like something out of a movie and we didn't need to be asked twice to run and try all the rides we could. Our two favourites were the Velociraptor rollercoaster, which is just insane; and the Haunted Hotel, which is actually really scary so bring a friend, haha!
More Dubai inspiration:
Bygone era: Old Is Golden In Dubai
Open Shutter: City Glitz Meets Desert In Dubai
You visited the Burj Khalifa – how does it feel at the top of the world’s tallest building?
To think that the Burj Khalifa is three times as tall as the Eiffel Tower and nearly twice as tall as the Empire State Building is crazy. Without a doubt it’s the best aerial view over Dubai and at sunset it’s not to be missed.
What was the most unexpected thing to do in Dubai?
Well we didn't expect the beaches to be so amazing. With white sand and perfect temperature, it’s not something we really expected when coming to Dubai.
Best aspect of old Dubai?
Take an abra (boat) and walk the thought the local markets, smell the spices and see the way of life from a local.
Best aspect of new Dubai?
It’s just insane to see a city the size of Dubai in the middle of the desert and to think it’s only 46 years old shows just how quickly this place is growing and evolving. Come back in six months’ time and there will always be something new and crazy to see.
Best place for sunrise?
It has to be the Dubai Conservation Reserve! With its endless untouched sand dunes, it’s crazy to think that this is only 30 minutes from the hustle of the city.
What was the most amazing thing to photograph?
If you want to capture cityscapes, then Dubai has some amazing opportunities but again we can’t get over just how good the sand dunes were. We have so many images that we love from that morning.
What is your absolute must-see in Dubai?
See everything! Dubai is crazy and completely different from anywhere else we have travelled. Give yourself four days minimum to experience the city, the surrounding landscape and all the food you could ever dream.
Next up: Jason & Emilie Fly With Emirates.