Located on the Eastern coast of the Arabian Peninsula, in the south west corner of the Arabian Gulf, Dubai is actually two cities in one: the Khor Dubai, an inlet of the Persian Gulf, separates Deira, the old city, from Bur Dubai. Dubai covers an area of 3,885 square kilometres and is the second largest emirate in the UAE. Since 1833 the reigning Al Maktoum family have ruled Dubai.
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|Port Rashid Cruise Terminal|
As there was quite a strong breeze which kicked up a sandy storm the skyline was quite hazy during our entry into Dubai harbour. We barely got a glimpse of the famous Burj al Arab hotel and the unfinished World Hotel way in the distance. We docked at Port Rashid Terminal, considered to be one of the top 5 luxurious ports. It is more like an airport terminal than a cruise ship terminal with a whole bank of comfortable wifi terminals for everyone’s use, plus regularly scheduled, reasonably priced hop-on, hop-off buses to ferry you to downtown Dubai, shops, cafes and many other services. The port terminal itself is massive and quite complicated that even cabs have trouble finding it.
On our first afternoon there we made the mistake of doing a 4wd desert safari. The only good thing about this adventure was the experience of seeing the outer areas of Dubai and the massive sand dunes.
Our next morning was spent on the hop-on, hop-off bus which took us around the city. As time was limited, we managed to cover a sizable area though we did miss the famous Atlantis the Palms Hotel and Burj al Arab hotel. We drove through Deira, the commercial center, past the famous Burj Kalifa (Tower of Arabs), the world’s only 7 star luxury hotel and tallest man made structure, Emirates Tower, World Trade Centre, ending up in the old quarter (Bur Dubai) on the left bank of Dubai Creek. Here we strolled the creek watching the dhows which represented the luxurious trade of the Indian Ocean over many centuries. This is where the House of Sheik Said is also located, which is an impressive 19th century mansion, formerly the residence of the grandfather of the current rulers, now a museum.
|Dhows on the Creek|
The Al-Fahaidi Fort dating back to 1787, the oldest building in the Emirates and served as the government center until 1971. Al Fahidi Fort is also considered to be in the Bastakiya district. In this area are some of the oldest Souks and interesting markets.
Al Bastakiya, the oldest residential area in Bur Dubai, near Dubai Creek is famous for its narrow lanes and wind towers. The tallest structure is the Bastakiya Mosque. It is situated along Dubai Creek. Al Bastakiya was built by rich Persian merchants.
Dubai is an amazing city. The city is immaculate, extremely modern, almost a model city with nothing out of place, certainly larger than I had expected and very spread out. Dubai boasts a population of 1 million people.
At 1:00 pm we sailed out of Dubai and headed through the Western Indian Ocean towards the equator and to the Seychelles Islands. We are still in the “Pirate Zone” so our captain and staff are still on alert status.