Each country has its own symbols. They can be monuments of architecture, culinary delights, nature and even shopping centers. So, Great Britain is associated with Big Ben, France – with oysters, Italy – with shopping, Barbados – with amazing beaches. About what attractions are worth seeing on this island, read in the article “Barbados Travel Advice & Recommendations”. But there is a state in which you can find everything – both landmarks, snow-white sand, and warning service, and the world’s largest malls. Even if something is not here yet, it will certainly appear, it is only the local authorities that want to. Oil and competent management to help. It’s about the Emirates, a country that in just two decades has turned from a poor and unknown to one of the richest and most powerful world powers. In the Forbes list, it takes the 16th line. The emirate of Dubai, for example, even has access to the world’s only private artificial satellite of the Earth. In terms of power, it is a competition for Russian and American military vehicles. By the way, it was thanks to this satellite that the Arabs were able to build the famous The Palm Jumeirah (Palm Jumeirah Island).
To a unique structure, in shape resembling a palm tree, had ideal proportions, builders daily received from space images, which were checked in the process of work. But you do not even need to visit the Emirates in order to see this grandiose project, although for this reason too. First of all, in your tourist calendar, mark this state in order to learn in practice how Cinderella turns into a princess. We are going after oriental tales! The United Arab Emirates has a lot of them, and each one has a key to unraveling the secrets of this country, which will not leave anyone indifferent.
Each journey begins with the collection of a suitcase. This process will be facilitated by the advice of Manaljaw, the author of the “9GAC” website, which he shares in the article “What to Pack for Vacation”.
Travel to warmer countries we planned for the anniversary of the wedding. We have it in November. Therefore, in choosing a place to rest there were some limitations. In some countries that I wanted to visit, at this time it’s already cold, others, where the weather is warm, did not like for different reasons, the islands did not fit into the budget … And then we remembered sunny photos of a common acquaintance brought from a trip to the Emirates. The choice was made – we will celebrate the wedding in this country! The air temperature in the Emirates in November is + 30 ° C (in the daytime), water + 21 ° C.
The United Arab Emirates is a federal state, comprising seven emirates, absolute monarchies: Dubai, Abu Dhabi, Fujairah, Ajman, Sharjah, Umm al-Quwain and Ras Al Khaimah. The country is headed by the president, he is the emir (ruler) of the largest emirate – Abu Dhabi. Its capital – a city of the same name – is also the capital of the UAE.
The coast of the country is washed by two gulfs – Persian and Oman. True, the waters of the second – only the emirate of Fujairah.
The official language in the UAE is Arabic. But English is owned by almost all local residents. Recently, due to the great popularity of this resort among Russians, when you work in the service sector, preference is given either to those who know the Russian language to foreigners or to our compatriots. Therefore, Russian-speaking staff is found in many places. So even without the knowledge of English you will not be lost. I pay attention to this fact, because the younger generation speaks English, and for our parents this is an incomprehensible science. If you are thinking about where to send them to rest, consider the UAE. The country is worthy of choice in terms of language.
The monetary unit of the Emirates is Dirham (denoted as AED). In banks and exchange offices, the local currency purchase rate is the same, interest for the operation is not taken. In this regard, the UAE can be calm, not that, for example, in the capital of the Czech Republic, Prague. On the same street, the exchange rate of the kroon in the exchange offices varies very much, not to mention the fact that in many of them the interest is lifted for this operation. In Prague, you need to look for profitable exchangers.
A visa is required to enter the UAE. Do it quickly, the process takes three to five days. We applied for visas on Friday, on Monday they were ready. The Emirates Visa is a printed sheet of A4 format with your data (name, date of birth and other information) on it, it is not stuck in the passport. To obtain a visa, even its original is not required, a scanned copy of the document is sent. Visa processing costs within $ 70.
Many air carriers fly to the UAE. From Moscow, direct regular flights are carried out by Aeroflot and Emirates, charter flights by Ural Airlines, Transaero, and others. Passengers of charter flights from Moscow to Dubai and back arrive (and, accordingly, fly away) to the second terminal. In many sources, I read that the Duty Free zone in the Dubai airport is the largest in the world. Perhaps in other terminals (there are only three), this is indeed the case, but in the second, the choice is limited – several shops with souvenirs and sweets, as well as one with cosmetic and perfume products. The prices are comparable to the Russian Duty Free (compare with Domodedovo). Therefore, if you intend to buy perfume, cosmetics, it makes sense to do it at a Moscow airport.
A direct flight from the Russian capital to Dubai lasts five hours. Time in the UAE coincides with Moscow. It’s early here, but it’s getting dark too. The sun starts to set at 17 o’clock, at 18 it’s night already.
Transport in the United Arab Emirates
We rested in Dubai, so I will talk about this emirates. You can move on it by metro, bus or taxi. Hiking is problematic – and the distances are large, and road junctions are such that it is impossible to go to the other side of the street, and there are few sidewalks. The Metropolitan in Dubai (by the way, the first in the Persian Gulf region!) Was opened in September 2009. There are two branches in it – red and green, most of the stations are terrestrial, all are marked on the diagram, even those that are still under construction. The stations are announced in Arabic and English, this information is also duplicated on the LED displays installed in each car. The Dubai Metro is fully automated. There are no machinists in it. As part of one train – five cars, there are no doors between them, except Gold Class. Air in the cars, as well as at stations and in the transitions between them, is conditioned and maintained at +20 ° C. Therefore, the subway in Dubai is not only a way to travel, but also a great way to cool off after a walk!
There are separate wagons for women, including children, as indicated by the corresponding image and inscription. When we first went down in the subway, we did not pay attention to it. Already in the car we were alert, why only women around us. At one of the stations an employee came to the car (he probably saw us on the video camera, they are in the UAE everywhere) and said that my husband should go to another car, this one is intended only for the fair sex. So be careful.
The first car in each train belongs to the Gold Class. You can sit in it only if you have purchased a gold travel card. It costs twice as much as usual.
In the rest of the cars there are no restrictions. I note at once that there are few seats in them, but the cars are wide, so the road does not seem tiring, even if you stand. By the way, places are often inferior to women.
To travel to the subway, you need to purchase a smart card. They can be bought in special terminals, which are on each station, for payment they accept coins, bills and even bank cards. Passes are sold and in the ticket offices, they are also available at each station. It is more profitable to purchase reusable cards, and then replenish them (also through the terminal or cash register). On a one-time trip is more expensive.
There are several types of cards – Red, Blue, Silver and Gold. Tourists come Silver. It costs 20 dirhams, 14 of which will remain in the account. This card is valid for five years from the date of purchase. It also gives a 10% discount on all tariffs. One trip costs from 1 to 6.5 dirhams, depending on the zone, in the Dubai metro they are five.
The metro operates from six in the morning until midnight, some stations are up to 23.30, 23.45, 23.55. The schedule is on each of them. On Fridays the subway starts work at 13.00. It is connected with the fact that in the UAE this day is a day off. The Arabs do not go on duty also on Saturdays, but the subway works on this day in normal mode. The working week starts on Sunday.
The fare on buses is carried out on the same smart card as for the metro. Cash is not accepted. Terminals, where you can replenish the balance of the card, there are not at all bus stops. So do it in the subway.
The buses also have sections for women only. They are located in the first half of the vehicle (in the same place as the driver’s seat). There is no Gold Class in buses.
How to pay for travel in the metro and buses? At the entrance to the metro there is a turnstile, to which you need to apply a smart card. When you exit the subway, you need to do the same, at this point the money for the trip is written off. In the bus the system is identical, only instead of turnstiles they have special automatic reds. At the entrance and exit the card is applied to them.
In Dubai, a very developed taxi system. They constantly travel the streets, and also stand in popular tourist places. The fare is paid by the meter. Landing from 6 am to 22 pm costs 3.50 dirhams, each kilometer paid for by 1.69 dirhams. For landing from 22 pm to 6 am from you will take 4 dirhams, kilometer “worth” 1.71 dirhams. In general, it is inexpensive.
The Miracles of Engineering
Emirates – a country to the structures of which the appropriate epithet is “the most.” If the skyscraper, the highest in the world, if the shopping center, then the biggest one. Even in the oceanarium, they inhabit 65,000 marine inhabitants, which also allowed him to become the largest in the world. The most significant buildings are in Dubai.
The first place we wanted to visit was the famous Arab child – the handmade island of The Palm Jumeirah. In total, Dubai has three artificial Palm Islands. The Palm Jumeirah has already been erected, the construction of others – The Palm Jebel Ali and The Palm Deira – is still ongoing. The names of the islands are consonant with the regions of Dubai, to which they adjoin.
The Palm Jumeirah is located in the Jumeirah area, today the most prestigious and expensive in Dubai (again the epithet “most”). This island is the smallest of the three, its diameter is 5.5 km. The Palm Jebel Ali is 8, The Palm Deira is 14 km. The Palm Jebel Ali is planned as a calm island, it will have only 29 luxury hotels and an inner ring of houseboats arranged in the form of lines of an Arabic poem written by the Crown Prince himself. He began to build it in October 2002. The Palm Deira, the largest of the three islands, will have 8,000 villas built. The project was launched in October 2004.
Construction of The Palm Jumeirah was started in June 2001. In March 2004, it was already given for construction, and in 2008 it was commissioned. The island consists of a “trunk” and 17 “palm leaves”. It is surrounded by a crescent moon, which functions as a breakwater.
The island is designed for 120,000 people. Most of the villas on it belong to the stars – for example, David Beckham and members of the England national football team. By the way, when the “Palm” was presented to the public, the houses in it were sold out in three days (!). The most expensive is 1 million 200 thousand dollars. There are more than 1800 villas on the island.
During the construction of the island only natural materials were used – sand and stone. This was the wish of the ruler of Dubai. First, because all other structures in the emirates are made of concrete and steel, artificially reinforced materials. Crown Prince of Dubai, Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, wanted to see an amazing, incomparable structure in Dubai, including materials. Secondly, the desire to use only natural material was due to the fact that the construction of the man-made island has an impact on the ecology of these places. Natural materials can reduce it to a minimum. Sand for the construction of the island was extracted from the bottom of the Persian Gulf. It was ideally suited to its characteristics for the erection of such a super-structure. Sand of the desert for these purposes is not suitable, it is too small and loose.
On the “Palm” visit the hotel Atlantis. It was opened in 2008 and became the first hotel on the island. At present there are about 20 of them.
On the territory of Atlantis is the famous oceanarium The Lost Chambers (“Lost Atlantis”). Entrance is 100 dirhams per person, children 70 dirhams. Before the cash register are the guides to the oceanarium in different languages, including Russian.
The design of the oceanarium used the idea of the legendary Atlantis. It is a labyrinth in which you can see not only marine life (more than 65 thousand), but also objects belonging to the inhabitants of the lost Atlantis. Of course, they are all stylized, but when you see, for example, the technological center of the Atlanteans, the spirit captures even adults. In aquariums live lunar jellyfish, arapaimy – the largest on the planet freshwater fish, piranhas, lionfish, leopard moray eels … Be sure to look into the lagoon “Ambassador” (The Ambassador Lagoon). This is an aquarium with a volume of 11 million liters (!). Here you can get acquainted with the sea world of the Persian Gulf. The aquarium is supplemented with artifacts and ruins of ancient Atlantis. Visiting the lagoon is already included in the cost of the ticket to The Lost Chambers, the entrance to it is separate. Therefore, do not discard the ticket.
Aquaventure Aquapark is also open on the territory of Atlantis. Entry is 225 dirhams per person. Rent towels – 30 dirhams, a storage box – 40 dirhams. The water park is huge, we saw it when a train was waiting for the “Palma” (about him later). But they did not go for water rides, because they are not fans of this kind of rest, and the cost is quite high.
Now about the so-called monorail road – the railway line on The Palm Jumeirah. It was opened in 2009 and became the first monorail road in the Middle East. Trains run along the “trunk” of the island from its base to the hotel Atlantis. The trip lasts five minutes, now there are only two terminal stations – Gateway Towers and Atlantis Aquaventure. It is planned to open two intermediate ones. Trains run every ten minutes, starting at 10am and ending at 22pm. One way ticket costs 15 dirhams, in both – 25. Trains resemble metro. It’s worth the trip to admire the stunning views of the island.
The next point of tourist pilgrimage is the Tower of Khalifa (Burj Khalifa). You must have heard of it. To date, this structure is the tallest building in the world. Its height is 828 m. The grandiose construction, the construction of which lasted only six years (from 2004 to 2010). In Burj Khalifa is the hotel Armani, as well as offices of major international companies and private apartments. Originally, the structure was called Burj Dubai (Burj translated as “tower”). It was planned to open it together with the Dubai Metro in 2009, but due to the economic crisis that was raging all over the world, construction dates have shifted. Dubai did not have enough money (it’s hard to believe, right?) And even talked about freezing the project. The ruler of Abu Dhabi, Sheikh Khalifa ibn Zayd al-Nahyan came to the aid.
Mecca of tourists – observation tower of the tower, At The Top. It is located at an altitude of 452 m (124 floor). The ticket costs 100 dirhams when purchased through the company’s website (www.burjkhalifa.ae) and 125 dirhams if you purchase it at the checkout. If you want to get on the observation deck on the day of buying a ticket, you will have to pay 400 dirhams.
The elevator overpasses 124 floors in one minute. There are a lot of people who want to see Dubai from a bird’s eye view. Therefore, people are distributed through elevators, which are used by employees of companies whose offices are located in the tower. But there are also “tourist” elevators. If you want to go up on them, then tell the staff when your turn comes. The queues are large, but it takes 10-15 minutes to wait, all work very dynamically. In the “tourist” elevators music sounds, and on the walls there are screens showing videos about the construction of the tower, the Armani Hotel, the Atmosphere restaurant, which is located two floors below the observation deck (at 122). On the observation deck you can be an unlimited amount of time, no one chases. We bought the ticket at 15.30. The most popular watch for visiting is 16.30, 17.00, 17.30, the time of sunset, when the city is particularly beautiful. The number of tickets is limited. Therefore, if you want to get to the site at the specified time, buy tickets in advance (for a week). Tickets to visit At The Top in the morning and lunch hours are always available.
Views from the observation deck open up so fantastic that time flies by completely unnoticed. We climbed it at 15.30, and went down only at 19 o’clock. What’s there to do for so long? Admire Dubai! And make beautiful panoramic shots. For security reasons, the observation deck is surrounded on all sides by a glass wall, but there are open areas on one side of it. Through them you get the best photos, without glare, which are inevitable when you take pictures through a glass wall. By the way, if you wait at At The Top 18 hours, you will see from the height of another Dubai miracle – a dancing fountain. Is it worth adding that it is the largest in the world? From the viewing platform his “performance” looks quite different than when you admire them downstairs.
A dancing fountain is a grand show of water and light to music. You can see it every 25 minutes on weekdays from 18 to 22 hours, on weekends from 18 to 23 hours. One “performance” lasts about five minutes. There is a fountain opposite the Dubai Mall. The musical design of his “performances” are different compositions, ranging from Arabic and ending with the songs of popular Western performers. The spectacle is truly impressive. Just imagine how 83 thousand liters of water are raised in the air at the same time! The height of the jets of the fountain can reach 150 meters. It is illuminated by 6 thousand light sources, mostly white. Engineers conceived so deliberately that the audience was not distracted from the bewitching dance of water to the music. This landmark of the category of those that are better to see once than hear a hundred times about them. Directly in front of the fountain there are street cafes. If you come early, then take a good place and watch what kind of bizarre forms water can take, over a cup of fragrant coffee, for example, which the East is so famous for.
Emirates – a Muslim country. Religion occupies an important place in the life of the local population. Several times a day from the loudspeakers installed on the minarets of mosques, in shopping centers and even street lights, calls for prayer are heard. Do you want to get to know Islam more closely? Visit the Jumeirah Mosque. This is one of two mosques, where not Muslims are allowed. The other is in Abu Dhabi. But the championship belongs to the Jumeirah mosque. It was opened in November 1979. Can simultaneously accommodate 1300 worshipers. The image of the mosque is placed on a bill of 500 dirhams.
For the entrance to the Jumeirah mosque you need to pay 10 dirhams per person. Its doors for tourists are open on Tuesdays, Thursdays, Saturdays and Sundays. There is only one excursion per day, beginning at 10 am. To get there, come to the mosque at 9.45. Collection in the courtyard. The only point – guided tours are only in English. The duration is one hour.
And the external and internal decoration of the mosque did not impress us. It looks like dozens of the same, located throughout Dubai. True, the size of the Jumeirah mosque is the largest in Dubai. To go is purely for the sake of excursion, but again, if you understand English well. The guide will talk about the five commandments of Islam, explain why Muslims wear abayas, demonstrate how they pray, and dispel many myths surrounding this religion.
Photographing inside is allowed. Representatives of the fair sex need to take a handkerchief with them. You can only enter the mosque with your head covered.
To talk about Emirates is endless. This is a very ambiguous country. Now I began to understand the expression “Modern trends are closely interwoven with centuries-old traditions.” In the Emirates it is so. Super-modern Burj Khalifa and women, wrapped in abai and hijab.
Dear car brands and markets, as if carrying over to the middle of the last century, when the UAE was a country of fishermen and pearl fishermen …
Even after visiting the Emirates, I do not cease to wonder how all this can intertwine, and so harmoniously. Go to the coast of the Persian Gulf and you. I assure you, the time spent there will become a magical period when you will open the world anew and be surprised by everything. As it was once in my childhood.