How Did I spend 16 hours in Dubai?!

After a few years of passing through Dubai, I finally decided to extend my layover so I can meet up with two special people, my niece Erlie and my nephew Moel. And it was one of the best travel decisions I've ever made, all because of those two who made sure that my first ever travel to Dubai was nothing but memorable.

I arrived at Dubai International Airport via Emirates (of course) just after midnight. My niece Erlie picked me up from the airport and we went straight back to her apartment. I haven't seen this beautiful lady for over a decade and seeing her in Dubai was so surreal. There was so much to catch up on and I can tell you now that the 16 hours I spent in Dubai was definitely not enough. As it was almost 1am, we decided to sleep as the following morning, we would meet up with Moel.

We picked up Moel from his apartment around 0730. And just like Erlie, I haven't seen Moel since he was a young boy. I am so blessed that despite the distance, we remained close and kept in contact all these years. It was a very sweet reunion and well, introduction for Erlie and Moel. After a short catch up in Moel's apartment, we headed out so I could see a bit of Dubai before I flew to Manila at 5pm on the same day. By this time, it was 8am. As I only had six hours left, we had to optimise our time. Luckily, both of my "tour guides" were very knowledgeable of Dubai, hence I saw most of the places I wanted to see and more, infact. Actually, I only wanted to see Burj Khalifa because you know, you've never really been to Dubai if you don't have a photo with the tallest tower in the world.Haha. And so, here's my Dubai itinerary, put together by Erlie and Moel:

1. Souk Madinat Jumeirah 
- From Moel's apartment, we took the taxi to Souk Madinat Jumeirah, one of Dubai's most famous shopping and dining destinations, only in traditional Arab market style. The market is located along a canal, near the Burj Al Arab. Unfortunately, it was still closed when we visited, hence I was unable to explore the Souk. This of course, is definitely one of the places I will go back to when I visit Dubai next time.

2.  Burj Al Arab
- We were conscious we didn't have much time to linger around in one place, hence we headed to Burj Al Arab which is just a few minutes walk from the Souk. Again, as this is a "taster" trip, I was happy with a photo with Burj Al Arab from afar. And I did exactly that.

3. Museum of the Future
- From Burj Al Arab, we took the taxi to the Museum of the Future. It was still closed when we got there, but I was very happy to see this incredibly unique building in person. I will definitely go inside next time.

4. Dubai Mall
- Of course I wasn't in Dubai to shop, however it was almost mandatory to visit the Dubai Mall as everyone who has been to Dubai talks about it all the time. So, from Museum of the Future, we walked to nearby Emirates Tower to take the train to Dubai Mall. I was happy to see the Patchi shop and of course, the Dubai Mall Waterfall. The waterfall runs from the 4th floor to the ground floor and has sculptures of men diving in, which I read, represent pearl divers in Dubai. Whilst at the mall, we decided to have a quick coffee then headed to our next destination.

5. Burj Khalifa
- Just outside Dubai Mall is The Dubai Fountain, overlooking Burj Khalifa. I know you can go up to the 148th floor for stunning views of Dubai, however this will (hopefully) for next time. I also would like to watch the light show.

Where we ate:
1. Papparoti - 1st Floor, Dubai Mall
- As I didn't have a list of restaurants and cafes to try in Dubai, I left it for Erlie and Moel to surprise me. For breakfast, they took me to a cafe inside the Dubai Mall called Papparoti. I read about it afterwards and found out that this is actually a Malaysian cafe. I must say that their butter buns were really good. I had the Lotus Biscoff as topping which was very rich. Overall, it was a good choice of cafe.

2. Observatory Bar and Grill- Marriot Hotel, Dubai Marina
- Lunch at the Observatory Bar and Grill was a surprise from Moel and this is probably one of the most unforgettable restaurant experiences I've ever had. Everything was outstanding.  The restaurant has a breathtaking 360  panoramic views of the Dubai Marina and Palm Jumeirah. Whilst I am not that keen on restaurants with a view because in my  experience, they're often loud and food is mediocre, I really, really enjoyed our lunch at The Observatory. Everything was outstanding in my opinion and I would certainly recommend lunch here.

And that's how I spent my 16 hours in Dubai. I am most grateful for Erlie and Moel for going above and beyond in ensuring that I had the best experience in Dubai. This was my first trip and I am definitely going back. 

Tin x


  1. Wow! Your adventure in Dubai sounds amazing! From the desert safari to the towering skyscrapers, it seems like you made the most of every moment. Your detailed account makes me feel like I was right there with you. Keep sharing your adventures! did you need a Dubai Visa UK to make the most of your time in Dubai?


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