The thing about Dubai is no one comes here knowing exactly how long they’re going to stay. Even if you have a vague end date in mind, it’s probably meaningless. I’ve lost track of the number of times I’ve asked someone how long they’ve lived here, only for them to reply: “I said I’d give it a year or two… that was 10 years ago.”
As for me? Well, I’ve said I’ll give it a year or two. Dubai was never on my radar, but it all happened very quickly. In October, I was offered a job. The horoscope section of the Australian Women’s Weekly said I should take it. So I did. In January, I boarded my very first Emirates flight, with a one-way ticket paid for by my company.
Time goes fast in Dubai. I’ve been here almost four months and feel like I’ve barely unpacked my suitcase. At the same time, life here has become disconcertingly ordinary. It’s all too easy to fall into the same old routines as back home, especially when you live in Dubai Marina (as I do), which has every creature comfort a western expat could possibly desire. I can have my baked beans, and sausages, too.
But I know there’s so much to discover, which brings me to my Dubai “bucket list” (you’d really think someone would have come up with a better term by now). The idea is I will work my way through, ticking things off, and adding to the list as I learn more about this rather misunderstood city.
Hopefully, by the time I’m ready to leave Dubai – whenever that may be – I’ll feel like I gave the place a good go.
So, without further ado…
- Take a food tour with Frying Pan Adventures.
- Visit Dubai Museum.
- Visit Etihad Museum.
- Spend a night at the XVA Art Hotel.
- Go on a ghost tour of Al Fahidi.
- Have a drink in the High Mile Club in Bur Dubai.
- Have a drink in Sunken Garden in DIFC.
- Learn how to swim.
- Learn how to paddleboard.
- Visit the Deira Fish Market.
- Watch a camel race.
- See a show at Dubai Opera.
- Spend a day at Kite Beach.
- Check out Alserkal Avenue.
- Visit Jumeirah Mosque.
- Visit the Sheikh Mohammed Centre for Cultural Understanding.
- Try the carrot cake at The Lime Tree Cafe.
- Check out The Ripe Market.
- Shop at Boxpark.
- Shop for knock-offs at the Karama Market.
- Eat curry in Karama.
- Eat fried chicken and banana ketchup at Max’s Restaurant.
- Dine at Pyongyang Okryu-gwan, Dubai’s very own North Korean restaurant.
- Visit the flamingos at the Ras Al Khor Wildlife Sanctuary.
- Get inside the Burj Al Arab. Somehow.