Dubai is an amazing city with a promise of entertainment and a jolly good time. Wait, but that’s not what the caption says! Yes, because there’s a big BUT that follows my initial statement. It’s a city that thrives on energy and things to do but it majorly lacks on some of the most important aspects that make tourism or a leisure trip complete. Here’s a comprehensive list:
1. Dubai without Friends is like a Cupcake without Sugar
The city thrives on activities like Desert Safari, Clubbing, Dine Outs, Water Parks, Shopping, etc., the kind of activities that make it imperative for you to have company, be it your friends or family. If you’re a lonely backpacker looking for a vacation, then Dubai is NOT the place for you.
2. The Beaches are as Pakistani as they can get
Here’s a fun fact: Most of the beaches in Dubai are artificially created using sand from none other than our very beloved Balochistan. In essence walking on a beach in Dubai is actually like walking in Balochistan. Now that’s some deep shit right there. Plus, you’d find plenty of desis there who, if you happen to be a girl, would like to stare at you incessantly and that’s kind of what you wanted a break from when you decided to take a vacation right? Although you can rest assured that laws in Dubai are extremely strict on harassment and therefore any physical encounter that may ruin your trip is highly highly unlikely.
3. Where do you go for Sight Seeing?
Being an artificially maneuvered city Dubai lacks culture, heritage and history. In a way it’s a global city that has catered to the wants of people around the world and provides something for everyone. For instance there’s a whole road identical to Tariq Road (Karachi) where you can find all sorts of Pakistani clothing brands like Khadi, JJ, etc. and non-branded Pakistani jewellery, clothes and bags. ‘Madam original Prada, Gucci, D&G sirf 50 darham mein’ type. You actually forget you’re in Dubai while you’re there. I digress. Since the city lacks any history or culture to boast about, there’s very little learning and growth for the tourist in terms of cultural understanding. A couple of museums exist but lack quality and vigor that a tourist demands. Similarly there is a dire absence of architecture or sights that flaunt the Emirati culture. Most buildings are modern with a contemporary theme, which I wouldn’t dare deny isn’t fascinating, but lacks the aww factor that the Acropolis of Athens or the Blue Mosque of Istanbul hold.
4. THERE ARE NO PHOTO OPS, LIKE OMG WHAT?!
This for me was the biggest disappointment with Dubai. The one thing I pride myself in is how expertly I manage to journal my entire travel experiences with beautiful pictures. When I feel like reminiscing, I just have to simply go back to the pictures to feel the moment all over again. But Dubai doesn’t help here much. I actually reached a level of frustration and a moment of self-doubt in my photographing skills to the extent that I googled travel pictures of Dubai, just to see what I was missing or doing wrong. To my surprise (and you can google this yourself to see what I’m talking about), most of the pictures were aerial shots! Anyone who’s on a budget trip doesn’t have the money to take a helicopter ride just so they can have a bunch of photos, that too without their faces. Which brings me to my next point.
5. It’s Expensive for No Reason.
Another fun fact: Dubai is a tax-free state. Like Singapore. Yeah! Tax free! Woohoo! I’m gonna shop till I drop!! …….. No you’re not. Sorry. Despite being a tax free state, Dubai likes to rub it in the tourists’ faces that they can do whatever the hell they want and they run their world. So they rip everyone off with higher prices than what you’d get in taxed states. That’s right. What does that mean for you? Torture. You enter a beautiful mall in Dubai which encompasses every brand that exists on the planet. You start drooling immediately only to realize that you can’t have most of the things you’ve been enticed to have because they’re pretty expensive. I call cheating on this one.
6. It’s not Pedestrian Friendly.
I know for some people this might be the least of their concerns, but for me a city can only show its true colors when you live and breathe through it’s very roads, aka you walk your way. Dubai depends heavily on taxis, which means a good budget spent on internal travel. That is one thing that every traveler wants to minimize. There is a sky train but access from residential areas and hotels isn’t very convenient. Being a city with a scorching sun, I’m surprised that there are no sky bridges or shades providing direct access from the sky train to at least most of the main hot spots like hotels or malls. Taking a walk in the heat therefore becomes a battle that only the bravest of warriors tend to fight.
7. Where’s the Mundane yet Exciting Street Life?
Nowhere. No street music for you. No street food for you. No street performances for you. Don’t you know it’s hot outside? Besides we’ve made a building for you with professional artists and a hefty ticket so go spend your money there. Don’t be a free loader. Street life is for poor people. And we at Dubai only entertain the rich. In fact sometimes we even sleep on pillows of cash. Muahahaha. Okay I kid. But seriously that description pretty much sums up how it is.
So what then? There’s no point to visit Dubai like ever?!
Of course not. There are still plenty of reasons to visit. If you’ve got friends and family vacation, then it’s a great place to head to with plenty of things to do and memories to make. If you’re a foodie, you can try a cuisine from every part of the world. If you aren’t short on cash you can actually have a ball shopping in some of the most luxurious malls in the world. Besides, the city of lights holds a charm on it’s own that might take some time to grow on you, or it might just strike you at first sight. There is a reason why people visit it so much. But if you have one shot, one opportunity, to make a trip to remember, then this is not the place for you.
If you’re still interested to know more about Dubai stay tuned to read more on what places to visit, the travel budget and travel itinerary.