Dubai is home. My family moved there when I was three. I've seen it rise from the sand dunes into the bustling metropolis it is today. I've never been more proud of its growth, especially when I tell people I'm from Dubai and watch them gush in awe!
Although I was going "home" to Dubai this holiday season, it felt as though I was visiting as a tourist. I was going back after a good four years! And with Dubai, you never know what new mall or brand new attraction comes up where and when. The city is just always growing more and more beautiful!
Being the well informed traveller I am, I made a list of places I absolutely wanted to check out while also leaving time to revisit all the old jaunts that remind me of my childhood.
Dubai Mall/Downtown Dubai
Ah Dubai Mall. The one place that probably has the highest density of visitors per sq ft at any given time of day. There are multiple reasons why Dubai Mall is SO popular. It's the best amalgamation of great shopping, dining, staying (yes there are hotels) and also neighbor to the pride of Dubai, The Burj Khalifa
More attractions: The Dubai Mall dancing fountain shows
I first hit up Vogue Cafe at Dubai Mall. Its got the coolest Vogue wall art. I love their salads but my favorite is the Zaatar and Cheese croissant (yum!). The Cafe is situated in the "Shoe District" of the mall. Say hello to exclusive designer shoe stores. Zanotti, Louboutin, you name it! *DREAM*
Move over Rodeo Drive, Dubai has Citywalk. Well hey I still love Rodeo drive, but Citywalk is a beautiful collection of shops, cafes and hookah spots in Jumeirah.
If you're eating, I recommend Aubain for coffee and snacks or Farzi Cafe for spicy Indian fusion food.
Adjacent to Citywalk, you'll find BoxPark, which gets its name from the stacked shipping container decor. All the shops and cafes are housed inside stacked containers. Pretty cool!
Jumeirah Beach/Kite Beach
As if Dubai wasn't already awesome enough, its got a fairly vast coastline, located along the Arabian Sea. I love going to Kite Beach for some stunning Views of the Burj Al Arab hotel, one of the first iconic landmarks of New Dubai.
Madinat Jumeirah/Souk Al Madinat
Madinat Jumeirah or Souk Al Madinat is a beautiful place to walk around and explore the historic Arabian architecture, while browsing traditional shops and crafts. There's also some great places to eat and is just a fun outing overall with gorgeous views of the Burj Al Arab.
Prepare to be vertically challenged when you visit Dubai Marina. With its choc-a-block high-rises and a waterfront, its the coolest place to chill and hangout. You could even rent a speed boat or yacht and go out on to the Marina for some water action.
Eat: Reem Al Bawadi for some authentic Arabic fare and Hookah overlooking the Marina waters
Jumeirah Al Naseem/Wild Wadi Waterpark
Who doesn't LOVE waterparks?! Dubai has one of the best adventure waterparks in the world. The rides have something for all ages. Wild Wadi (wadi is arabic for stream/river) is a great place to take your family for an all day fun in the sun. I used to go here a lot as a kid and took advantage of the December sunshine to get splashin'!
Just next door is Jumeirah Al Naseem, a beautiful hotel overlooking fantastic views of the Burj Al Arab.
Al Wada Dubai!
And that folks, is a wrap for my Dubai travel diary! These were the major highlights of my trip. I also did love being home with family and meeting close friends after what was a very long time. I'm so lucky to call Dubai home <3