I Don’t Want To Visit Dubai; Am I Wrong?

by joeheg

Recently, one of my newer co-workers asked me if I had ever visited Dubai. I said no and he looked surprised. He followed up by asking, since we’ve gone to other places, why not there? I didn’t have an answer other than I couldn’t think of any reason we’d want to visit.

Admittedly there are places in the world that are just not on our radar. There are many places within a day’s drive of our house where we’ve never gone. We would never have visited Helen, GA, Panama City Beach, FL, and Hilton Head Island, SC, if it wasn’t for the changes in our travel style due to Covid.

Iceland wasn’t a place we ever thought about going until it was one of the only places we could travel outside of the US. That trip turned out to be pretty fantastic and opened up my eyes to the fact that there might be other places I might be skipping over when they’re excellent places to visit.

Back to Dubai.

I thought about why I didn’t feel it would be a good fit for us. All of the things you see advertised aren’t things we like to do.

  • We’re not into ultra-luxury places to stay or eat.
  • We don’t like sitting at the beach or the pool for hours
  • We aren’t super shoppers for fancy goods
  • We don’t like generic tourist traps (that you can find in any tourist town)

That’s pretty much what I know about Dubai. It’s a place for rich people to spend money staying in fancy hotels and shopping in malls or lounging by the pool all day.

I’m not saying it’s correct, but that’s the impression I have.

I also get the feeling that everything is so new that it would be a bit boring. We love visiting places like London and Tokyo, where there’s a mix of the more contemporary with the older. If everything is brand new, where’s the history? A city with a bunch of big buildings is just that.

So here’s your chance to convince me I’m wrong. Give me the reasons why Dubai is a great place to visit.

Or tell me I’m right and it’s all glitz and glamour and I wouldn’t like it.

Either way, I appreciate your comments.

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This post first appeared on Your Mileage May Vary


Tony M October 1, 2021 - 6:27 pm

Dubai has more to offer than all the luxury hotels and fancy restaurants. We flew LA to Dubai via Emirates Business Class – 777, which was fantastic! We were on our way to Kenya for a Safari I won on an auction. We stayed in a Hilton Garden Inn, near the mall with the indoor ski run. The hotel is just your basic level HGI, the food was a level up than most American HGI restaurants but still very accessible. We did go to the mall because we wanted to do the ski run, which is amazing! Also, they have a penguin encounter that was worth the visit, especially when you get to sit next to a Emperor Penguin! We took the metro train to the old town, where the city started way back and visited the old quarter, had camel milk ice cream, visited the museum, walked through the Souks. We sat through a dinner hosted by an American who married into the Emirates and was explaining their culture and the food was amazing! Yes, we also couldn’t pass up a chance to say we went to the worlds tallest building! With the following visit to Shanghai we have now been in the two tallest buildings on the planet! Yes, it is a bit out of the way but more and more the UAE seems to be drawing more people through as a serious hub…so why not stick around for a couple days? Just don’t go during the months of May through Sept….you’ll melt.

Daniel October 1, 2021 - 6:48 pm

I have loved every trip to Dubai. It’s fascinating people watching, among all the other reasons to go.

Christian October 1, 2021 - 10:30 pm

Never been myself for some of the reasons you listed and the fact that there’s so many other places that I do want to see. I suppose that if you ever went you could call it “A Skeptic’s Tour Of Dubai” or some such.

Max October 1, 2021 - 10:36 pm

I spent a month in Dubai as a digital nomad. I found it to be a really interesting place and going back again next month. People were multinational, kind and thoughtful.

AN October 1, 2021 - 11:54 pm

I had a 12 hour layover in Dubai a few weeks ago and it was the first city in the world I haven’t been able to fill even 6 hours in before going back to the airport. It is a boring tourist trap with no discernible culture of its own, even the old souk wasn’t as interesting as most other middle eastern souks.

Ricky Thirion October 2, 2021 - 1:06 am

Behind everything you lost there is a lot to see and do on the cultural side, exploring nature and the multicultural population tends to be super helpful and kind. It will surely open your eyes and shatter some of the many uninformed misconceptions of those that have never been here. Ive been living in Abu Dhabi and Dubai for almost 15 years and call the UAE home.

JohnnyBoy October 2, 2021 - 1:19 am

I sort of feel the same way, except…..the Burj Khalifa. As a fan of amazing buildings, there is nothing like the Burj. It is almost twice as tall as any other occupied structure in the world. I would visit Dubai just to see it.

Deanna in Dubai October 2, 2021 - 1:51 am

UAE is much more than Dubai. Check out hiking and camping in Hatta or diving in Fujairah. If you need some UAE inspiration, check out this Instagram https://instagram.com/glimpsesoftheuae?utm_medium=copy_link

Not my own but one I follow and yes I currently live in Dubai and have enjoyed discovering this country beyond the glitzy image that most know it by. Definitely worth a trip.


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