Outside and More of Dubai

December 2007 Jabal Hafeet, Al Ain, UAE

United Arab Emirates is composed of seven emirates namely Abu Dhabi, Ajman, Dubai, Fujairah, Ras al-Kaimah, Sharjah and Umm al-Quwain. Good thing these are all within the same island and are reachable by driving.

I had the opportunity to visit the other emirates - Abu Dhabi, Fujairah and Sharjah. However, I didn't thoroughly explored these as it was all within a day's trip and most of the times I was just visiting friends. 

Abu Dhabi

The capital city of UAE, it is approximately just 1 hour and 30 minutes drive away from Dubai. Buses from and to Dubai operate regularly though it will take longer.

One of the most visited places here is the Grand Mosque, also known as Sheikh Zayed Mosque. This is the largest in the UAE and ranking eighth in the world. I only managed to get a glimpse of it during its construction back in 2007.

The Grand Mosque still under construction in 2007

I haven't seen much skyscrapers at that time, but they do have some interesting-looking structures as well.

Jabal Hafeet, Al Ain

Also sometimes called as Jebel Hafeet (Jabal means Mountain), this magnificent mountain lies on both sides of Al Ain, the second largest city in the emirate of Abu Dhabi, and border of Oman. At 1,249 metres (4,098 ft), it offers a breathtaking view of Al Ain. It is approximately a 2 hour drive from Dubai.

At its foothills lies Green Mubazarrah. It is a beautiful scenery with a lake, hot water springs which then flows into little streams. My shot below looks like it has been snipped off from a post card.  

Green Mubazarrah with Jabal Hafeet at its backdrop

We ascended a few hours before sunset. The viewing platform is so huge you'll have a lot of options to see Al Ain from different angles.

For some people, they may find the view a bit depressing as it is just a wide span of desolate terrain.  I however find it calming, like it gave me this moment of solitariness, away from the hustle and bustle of Dubai.  

Road to Jabel Hafeet with the sun starting to set as we descend


From Dubai to Fujairah
This emirate is the only one among the seven with the coastline solely on the Gulf of Oman and none on the Persian Gulf. It is approximately a 45 minute drive from Dubai. I didn't see much of this emirate. I only visited it once for the Eid Holiday and stayed at Hilton Fujairah. 

Private Beach Area of the hotel


The third largest emirate in the United Arab Emirates, and is the only one to have land on both the Persian Gulf and the Gulf of Oman.

It is approximately a 50-minute-drive from Dubai. Some of the people working in Dubai actually prefer to live here because the housing is way cheaper and larger than in Dubai. They don't mind the long drive, gasoline is cheap anyway.

More of Dubai

For some reasons, not that I am being biased or anything, there is just something about Dubai that makes it stand out among the other emirates that I have seen. It's like when you say "UAE", it is mostly identified with Dubai.

Three years living in Dubai is so hard to squeeze in just one blog entry! So I have continued in here a few more things that can be seen/done in Dubai.

Beach Parks

I must say I am beyond impressed with the white sand beaches Dubai has. Though they are man-made, these beaches look so pristine you can't even tell. Two of my favourites are Al Mamzar and Jumeirah Beach. They are all very clean and well maintained. These beach parks have kiosks, barbecue areas, mini playground for kids so it's very suitable for families' or friends' weekend getaways. 

Al Mamzar Beach Park

Jumeirah Beach Park

Sunset at Jumeirah Beach

X-Games Dubai

This ESPN-sponsored event is held annually where men showcase their skills on extreme sports. I am not a big fan of any, but it was so cool to have seen it live.

X-Games 2007, held at Dubai Festival City

Dubai Dolphinarium

This could be most likely to be similar to any other dolphin shows that you may have seen. Believe it or not, at 24, this was my first time to have watched one. It was fun and worth checking out anyway.

It is located near the Creek Park in Bur Dubai, which is also worth visiting for a stroll after the show. You might think that in Dubai only cacti can survive but thanks to their amazing water system, trees and flowers can grow abundantly in this desert-like weather city.

Dubai Creek Park

Dubai Aquarium and Discovery Centre

Located inside Dubai Mall, it is one of the many aquariums that have opened in Dubai. This is smaller in comparison to the Lost Chambers in Atlantis. 

Wild Wadi

Apart from its fun water slides, artificial surf waves and other activities, this water park offers a great view of the Burj Al Arab and the Jumeirah Beach Hotel too. 

A day in Wild Wadi

Whether to just visit or to live at, Dubai will always be an interesting place to go and I don't mind visiting it again. I have been asked if I would want to live there again. For now, I don't think I would want to. I do miss the life sometimes but I guess there are some things that you think you miss but then once you realise how long it has been since you have called that place your home, you have that apprehension of whether it will still be the same since you left. It is the same place but may feel new because of the changes it has gone through. So maybe in a way, I'd like to preserve the memories I have of Dubai and venture onto my next second home.

View of Dubai from Burj Khalifa

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