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-   -   Anyone else feel that Dubai is completely overrated? (https://www.flyertalk.com/forum/middle-east/755019-anyone-else-feel-dubai-completely-overrated.html)

mikeinseattle Nov 8, 07 11:26 am

Anyone else feel that Dubai is completely overrated?
 
Just came back from a 4 day trip to Dubai and was disappointed. For visitors, I found the following observations:

1. Not very child friendly. Strollers are hard to navigate on the streets.

2. Taxi's are very difficult to get if you are not at a hotel or shopping mall. Even then there is a lineup.

3. Malls are overrated and overpriced. No sales like Canada and USA. Everything is regular price (unless you go during the shopping festival). Most of the stores are your usual international brand stores

4. Traffic is terrible. Usually jams at any time of the day

5. Weather is hot and humid

6. Dubai zoo is pitiful with majestic animals caged in conditions that would make any animal lover cringe.

7. Wonderland, Children's Park and most other attractions are pitiful.

7. Impossible getting into Burj Al Arab without a restaurant reservation. Cheapest reservation for coffee shop for afternoon tea is about $75.00 USD each. We tried for 3 days straight and couldn't get a reservation. Reality is that most new Vegas hotels would probably be just as nice without the $150.00 entrance fee for a couple.

8. People are generally unfriendly and inhospitable. This is coming from someone who is of Indian origin. I'm sure it's a different experience for caucasian people but we felt there was an underlying tone that we really couldn't afford whatever we were looking at. Starting from the taxi ride from the airport to shopping centres and bazaars.

9. Government sponsored abuse of labour is very sad. Taxi drivers work 12 hours a day, 7 days a week, can't bring their families. The taxi companies are all owned by the government. All the beautiful building being constructed are government sponsored cheap import labour from India and Pakistan.

Before anyone gets riled up, I visit India and other "culturally different" areas and my observations are based on personal experience.

travelmad478 Nov 8, 07 11:46 am

My God, I thought I was the only one. I just spent two days in Dubai on business, as part of a trip that also included Kuwait, Abu Dhabi, Muscat, and Doha. (It was my first visit to all of these places except for Doha.)

When I left, the huge question in my mind was why on earth ANYONE would go to Dubai on vacation. The air is horribly polluted, it was broiling hot--too hot to lie on the beach--even at the end of October, the place is one big construction zone with absolutely nothing green or pleasant, there are no cultural or historical attractions, the traffic is nightmarish and the whole city is the most pedestrian-unfriendly place I've ever seen in my life. I am dumbfounded that this place gets any tourists at all, much less the millions that show up every year. What on earth is the attraction?

Kudos from me to the Dubai Tourist Board, or whatever it is, that has concocted this spectacularly successful snow job.

Meanwhile, 1.5 hours down the road is Abu Dhabi, which was vastly more pleasant (and less smog-choked). And a 45-minute flight away is Muscat, which totally took the prize in terms of tourist charm. Even Doha is better than Dubai (although the fact that they take your alcohol from you at the airport is a bit of a negative, I admit...although now at least they give it back on the way out!).

As for the Burj al-Arab, consider yourself very lucky that you could not get in. One of my traveling companions was staying there, so we went in with her. I have never in my life seen anything more tacky and hideous.

rishiboy Nov 8, 07 4:33 pm

I agree
 
I agree with you, although I have not been to Dubai and I have no wish to either ! The point of going on vacation is to be outside, not stuch inside looking for the A/C. I'm also of Indian and go to Mumbai every 6 weeks for business and hate it- I can't wait to go home. The pollution laden haze over the city I can't stand !

travelmad478 Nov 9, 07 5:50 am

Mumbai is no prize either--I have been going there 1-2x a year for the last ten years, with my last visit a week ago at the tail end of the Gulf trip. The traffic there has gotten so disastrous in the last few years that it's worse than the old days before all the flyovers. But at least Mumbai has a very exciting and dense culture of its own, not to mention history, art, and fantastic food. In Dubai you get none of the above. Yuck!

mikeinseattle Nov 9, 07 4:33 pm

Biggest difference is the people. You don't get warmth or personality in Dubai whereas India if full of vibrant and interesting people. Granted most of the people working in Dubai are from India, Pakistan and the Phillipines, but most are not very happy and are only working in Dubai for the money.

GK Nov 10, 07 10:35 am

Your last sentance says it all... people are there for jobs and to make money. I go every month, and generally have a better experience than you, simply as I am in the airport->hotel->office loop, and avoid the tourist sights.

If you want a week of winter sun and to save the VAT on some expensive purchase then it still suits many people.. just don't plan to go out of the resort very often.

Frankly the less of you that go, the better it is for me, so am enoying this thread.

biggestbopper Nov 12, 07 1:51 pm


Originally Posted by travelmad478 (Post 8697812)
I am dumbfounded that this place gets any tourists at all, much less the millions that show up every year. What on earth is the attraction?

The apparent attraction for Arabic tourists is that it is a little more free than other Arabic speaking countries, in some ways a replacement for dangerous Lebanon.

Everyone else goes there to make money.

I did meet a crazed Ron Paul advocate recently who was moving there because, he claimed, it was a Libertarian society. I have my doubts. :D

travelmad478 Nov 13, 07 6:47 am


Originally Posted by biggestbopper (Post 8718128)
The apparent attraction for Arabic tourists is that it is a little more free than other Arabic speaking countries, in some ways a replacement for dangerous Lebanon.

Everyone else goes there to make money.

I can understand the attraction for Arabic tourists (although Beirut is so much nicer and more pleasant that it is just a crime that people are not going there). But as for the everyone else going there to make money part, that's not at all what I saw--Europeans are going there on vacation, in droves. It's stunning (and kind of horrifying). I went there to make money :cool:, and a lot of other people do too, but not the vacationers! What are they thinking!?

graraps Nov 13, 07 7:24 am


Originally Posted by travelmad478 (Post 8721795)
I can understand the attraction for Arabic tourists (although Beirut is so much nicer and more pleasant that it is just a crime that people are not going there). But as for the everyone else going there to make money part, that's not at all what I saw--Europeans are going there on vacation, in droves. It's stunning (and kind of horrifying). I went there to make money :cool:, and a lot of other people do too, but not the vacationers! What are they thinking!?

It depends. For example, there are quite a few Russian tourists in the UAE. It's easier to go there than mess about with getting a Schengen visa just so they can sunbathe a bit!
Others are just stopping over on the way from/to Asia/Pacific. EK and EY usually offer free stopovers, so you can effectively get an extra holiday at the same time as saving money on flights (typically, Middle Eastern carriers are cheaper from Europe to Asia/Oceania than LH/BA/AF). There is no VAT and a bit of bargaining can net you cheap watches/electronics without any of the fear that you would have in China/HKG that they may just be good quality fakes.
Hot weather year-round, too. Shorter distance, many more flights, and much less crime compared to the Caribbean.
DXB may not be the world's most exciting destination, but it works for an awful lot of people.

moocherx Nov 13, 07 9:21 pm

Have lived in Abu Dhabi, Dubai, and Kuwait - each for long periods (now back in Kuwait).

Each of the Gulf state's cities are better/worse for something/someone. In terms of liveability, Abu Dhabi, Kuwait and Bahrain are perfect, but as a tourist there's very little for anyone in those places. Other Gulf Arabs like to go to Dubai for the shopping, and for tourists at least the weather's warm to sit on the beach, the desert is an expanse for sand-boarding or dune-bashing in a 4x4, and it's good to be in-between Abu Dhabi and Oman to do a bit of exploring (the mountains in Oman or Khor Fakkhan on the eastern UAE coast are really pleasant).

But Dubai as a single-venue holiday destination? Nope.

mikeinseattle Nov 14, 07 11:43 am

We really enjoyed the dune bashing and desert safari. That was the highlight of our trip, however, I inclined to think that "sand boarding' is not really a sport you can try. Climbing up sand dunes is quite difficult (once you are at the bottom) and it's really hard to catch any sort of speed. It's nice to try out once, but I wouldn't qualify "sand boarding" as a sport just yet.

trach500 Nov 15, 07 12:33 pm


Originally Posted by mikeinseattle (Post 8729447)
We really enjoyed the dune bashing and desert safari. That was the highlight of our trip, however, I inclined to think that "sand boarding' is not really a sport you can try. Climbing up sand dunes is quite difficult (once you are at the bottom) and it's really hard to catch any sort of speed. It's nice to try out once, but I wouldn't qualify "sand boarding" as a sport just yet.


which company did you use for the safari and dune bashing? I am going in April and looking into mini excursions. Thanks.

moocherx Nov 15, 07 1:02 pm


Originally Posted by mikeinseattle (Post 8729447)
Climbing up sand dunes is quite difficult (once you are at the bottom)

LOL! :D

You're not wrong there. But our guide would come down in the Landcruiser and drop us off at the top of the dune again ^

moocherx Nov 15, 07 1:06 pm


Originally Posted by trach500 (Post 8735996)
which company did you use for the safari and dune bashing? I am going in April and looking into mini excursions. Thanks.

I used to use - and recommend to friends and visitors - Arabian Adventures. Never had a problem with them at all.

http://www.arabian-adventures.com/To...sp?nav=2&sub=1

http://www.tripadvisor.com/Attractio...res-Dubai.html

sculler1x Nov 19, 07 6:28 am

I would agree. Given that I've been there when it's mid-summer in the mid-forties (C!) and very humid, I have a hard time picturing how it's going to be a major tourist desitnation. Combine that with the fact that it rivals Vegas for perhaps the most artificial, manufactured destination on Earth, and I fail to see the appeal.

Having said that, there are other regions in the UAE (Fujeirah, Abu Dhabi) which are quite appealing, but I don't get the appeal with Dubai either.

Not to get overly philosophical, but what is a country's identity if there are no (only about 10% of population) native population?


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