Dubai: While Expo 2020 Dubai is set to be a great propeller for tourists to visit the city, expat residents living in Dubai tell us why they love the city. They also reveal their favourite spots, so new visitors don’t miss out on them.
An empire built from the desert
Lizan Gray, a South African account manager for a public relations firm, said: “Dubai is a city where you go through a day, meeting people of five to 10 different nationalities. This city has built an empire from the desert. There’s a lot that other countries can learn from Dubai.”
Gray particularly loves to visit Al Qudra. “It is the most touristic spot. It’s one of those gems that many tourists miss but residents love.”
She says the city offrs a healthy mix of cuisines too. “I love Downtown and Garhoud because of the amazing places to eat. I also think Fujiya is an amazing Japanese restaurant as is Akio,” Gray added.
Second home to expats
Indian expat Arjun Raman, a banker, said many expats like him call Dubai their second home. “Dubai ensures that it is always a few steps ahead of its worldly peers,” he said.
Raman loves to head to Koko Bay and its beach-facing cafes and restaurants in West Palm Jumeirah and Bluewater Islands. He also loves to visit the Dubai Creek Yacht Club.
“Dubai offers the best nightlife whether at Armani Prive, Cavalli Club or any other venue.”
Filipina expat Pamela Angela Tumolva, a 39-year-old account manager, loves Dubai because of its great leaders. “The leaders of the city and the UAE are visionary. They make us feel safe and secure to live here," she said.
“Dubai is my second home, my home away from home. It gives expatriates like me an opportunity to fulfill my aspirations in life. This opportunity enables me to better support my family back home,” she added.
She loves the Burj Al Arab and Burj Khalifa. “For me, the Burj Al Arab Is the most iconic and classic spot in Dubai. Burj Khalifa is Dubai’s pride that symbolises strength and might.”
Options galore for a visit
Syrian expat Mohammad Diab, a media relations executive, said the diversity in cultures and Dubai’s beaches have hooked him to the city. “I like to spend time at the Kite Beach and La Mer. The older areas of Dubai like the Gold Souq, Al Shindagha, Bastakiya, Karama are treasures. There is so much history there. Hatta too is getting famous among tourists and residents. And how can we forget the malls that add so much value to Dubai?” Diab said.
He added that Dubai is a melting pot of cultures and a place like Global Village exemplifies this best.
Water park attractions
For Pakistani expat Mariam Mumtaz, a marketing professional, the Aquaventure Waterpark in Atlantis is a major attraction. “I can go there in the summers and in the winters just to hop form one slide to another. The most popular water sport here is the Leap of Faith that is 60 feet high. The free fall is super-exhilarating. I would say all waterparks in Dubai are thrilling and full of excitement. The Dubai Ice Rink, Aquarium and Underwater Zoo and the latest Infinity des Lumieres, a digital art museum, are all must places to visit, not just for visitors but residents too,” she added.
A safe haven with so much to see
Egyptian national Reem Ibrahim, who works as a communications executive for a Dubai firm, said Dubai provides a safe haven for its visitors and residents. “No matter what your culture or tradition is, Dubai is a welcoming place. It also offers a huge variety of locations, activities and lifestyles that suit each and everyone’s lifestyle. You have unlimited options for everything, depending on what you want,” she added.
Ibrahim said the deserts in Dubai are a major attraction for her. “They are my go-to spot in winter. You will find people staying up till the sunrise just enjoying each other’s company.”
She added that Dubai Mall is another major tourist spot for visitors. “It attracts people from all over the world. Whether it is to watch the world’s biggest dancing fountain or the world’s tallest building or experience the beauty of the underwater wonders at the aquariam,” said Ibrahim.
A city full of life
Syrian expat Zeina Mathbout, a 27-year-old social media manager, loves Downtown Dubai as it reflects the fast-paced lifestyle of Dubai. She said: “Dubai is a vibrant city full of life. The air is positive and give people a chance to realise their hopes and dreams. It’s a hub that offers a variety of activities and houses famous attractions like Burj Khalifa, Dubai Mall, the dancing fountain. I love to walk on the beautifully-lit boulevard of this area.”
Mathbout also frequents the Bluewaters Island. “It is such a beautiful spot to visit with many entertainment, leisure and dining options. It is also home to Ain Dubai, the world’s largest observation wheel [set to open soon]. Dubai is a truly unique city that is immensely diverse with residents from different cultures. It is dynamic and vibrant and there is never a dull moment in Dubai with many attractions to visit and things to do.”