Dubai is a city in the United Arab Emirates that has transformed rapidly in the recent decades to emerge as a destination of modern architecture, opulence, shopping and lively nightlife. Sadman Sakif Zaman shares his experience of visiting the city
NEVER had I imagined in my wildest dreams that I would ever get a chance to visit Dubai, a city that I had craved since long after watching about it in social media. One day the dreams turned into reality. On April 9, 2019, I along with my family packed for our destination, boarded off for a short stint of three days. As soon as we landed in this dreamland, I was literally amazed to notice the Dubai airport, a one of its kind in the entire world with its class, service and greatness. Such an airport equipped with all the modern amenities would certainly create a positive image about the city. As we had completed all the formalities, my excitement crossed beyond limits as I was eager to step on this new destination.
When we entered the city, I could not believe my own eyes as I was literally spellbound by the eye-catching beauty of this city, indeed a crossroad of modern and ancient civilisation, which makes itself a gem. The first impression that caught my mind is the vastness of the high rise skyscrapers that seemed like touching the cloud and the sky along with the wide roads and expressways, the skyline of the downtown, ultramodern infrastructure which would certainly prove that the city is a class apart with its opulence and grandeur. As we arrived at our hotel, we took a brief break and set out to explore the city and its nightlife that afternoon. The day started with a river cruise on traditional Arabian boats, Dhow, a symbol of the Arab Bedouin culture which were used by Arabian merchants and fishermen since the ancient days along the Dubai Creek, a canal that separates the new and the ancient suburbs of the city. Besides, it was a fortune to fulfil our appetite by tasting some of the local traditional cuisines like Khabsa, a dish made with skewed lamb meat, spices and semi boiled rice which were mouth-watering.
As we got to explore the nightlife, I was captivated with the cosmopolitan vibe, multi-ethnic culture, the vibrant atmosphere filled with the dynamic movement of people in each and every corner of the city. Over the years, this city has enjoyed a meteoric economic rise and a drastic boom of urbanisation. Ever since its establishment in the middle of the 19th century, from being a fishing village and a pearl hunting port along the Persian Gulf, the city has evolved itself into being one of the major international metropolises and a regional trading hub. Its bustling landscape, extraordinary lifestyle make it seem like a rose blooming in the barren Arabian desert. Indeed, its lively atmosphere, thriving cityscape and dazzling nightlife certainly make it a city that never sleeps. The next day was commenced with the city tour. We set off early in the morning and our first stop was the Al Fahidi Fort, a castle built during the British colonial era, located in the old part of the city, Bur Dubai, which still symbolises the ancient Arabian culture. In recent times, although being re-innovated with its ancient theme, this fortress
has been turned into a museum. The artefacts, historical relics, silhouettes, sculptures, antiques take us back to the ancient nomadic ages. Even the museum and its collections artificially simulate
ourselves by taking us closer to the traditional Arabian culture, lifestyle, desert
ecosystem, living environment, oasis, marine, wildlife habitat of the people around 400 years ago.
Our next stop was the Palm Island, one of the architectural wonders of the modern era,in fact the largest man-made island, shaped like a date tree lying on the lap of the azure sea. We were astonished at such a lavish and outlandish structure. After about fifteen minutes, suddenly it was impossible to believe our eyes to witness the iconic Burj Al Arab, one of the major landmarks that signifies the city in the global arena.
It is the only seven-star hotels in the world, immaculately designed like a sailing ship in the middle of the sea on an artificial island that reflects the phenomenal prosperity that the city had experienced. Moreover, we also caught the sight of the Atlantis, an eye catching palace that rests on the Palm Island facing the sea. We spent a pleasant time wandering through the lost chambers of Atlantis, a large aquarium that give us the feeling of the underwater marine life in the lost world of the Atlantis. When we were done, we spent our time exploring the streets of old Bur Dubai and the suburb of Deira on foot. A morning walk along the Bastakiya Quarter gives one the atmosphere reflecting how life had been here, how old the city might be before the discovery of oil. Although the buildings have been refurnished and look rather new, I
really loved to stroll through the narrow and calm lanes and squares which offers a
peaceful distraction away from the artificiality of the city. Meanwhile, after a walk along the old city, we indulged ourselves into the textile, souvenir, jewelleries, trinkets and spices at the bazaar, the Bur Dubai Souk, near the docks. This area still bears distinct marks of the heritage of this city reflecting through
the charming atmosphere of the old buildings, the old port, the makeshift shops and the
creek itself, including the beautiful abras, wooden boats anchored nearby. The trip would have been totally incomplete without the desert safari. So the next day after being done with the city tour, we set out for the desert safari around 2:30 pm in a SUV. After a three-hour drive along the highways, it was hell of a ride as we had broken through the desert, an experience of a lifetime that one can ever imagine. Some nerve-wrecking desert surfing across the sand dunes in a 4x4 was not for the faint of the hearts, nothing less compared to a surreal roller coaster ride. Meanwhile, as soon as we had reached the camp, we were overwhelmed with the surprises awaiting us. We had a bit of falconry, quad ride above the dunes, an hour camel ride in the desert and especially the belly dance, the tanoura show and above all, the fireworks that needs special mention. We enjoyed the show till midnight alongside having barbeque dinner at the camp. The final day was filled with some action packed surprises, something that I had always cherished. It was nothing other than the monumental landmark, the centre of attraction
of the total trip, the ever magnificent, marvellous Burj Khalifa which has been an epitome of the present Dubai, a jewel itself in the world. As I was mesmerised by its sight, I repeatedly kept asking myself whether miracles occur in reality.
This 831 metre majestic structure impeccably stands at the heart of the city with its
pride and legacy as an evidence how creativity and innovation had progressed over the
generation and being the tallest man-made structure of the present times.
Humans have always crossed the boundary of impossibilities. As we had ascended to an
observatory at the peak of the tower, about 141 floors from the ground at a superfast
speed of 40 kilometres per hour within just a minute, I was experiencing an adrenaline
rush running through my body thinking myself lucky enough to stand at the top of the
tallest structure in the world.
From vast stretches of dunes to crystal clear seas, the city appeared charismatic as we had enjoyed a bird’s eye view of the entire city which was absolutely marvellous. As we had left the place, that night we were done and dusted with some shopping and souvenir on our way from the Dubai mall, the world’s largest shopping mall. Our last night there ended by watching the Dubai fountain, the world’s only choreographed fountain on the way back to our hotel.
Sadman Sakif Zaman is a student of the University of Dhaka.
Want stories like this in your inbox?
Sign up to exclusive daily email
More Stories from Travelogue