Dubai is one city that screams diversity - from its inhabitants, to its food offering and the many amazing activities that can be explored. There really is something for everyone. I was fortunate enough to spend a few days at the Dubai Food Festival and was blown away by all the different options available.
Here are 5 things you MUST do when you're next in Dubai:
1. Visit the Burj Khalifa
The Burj Khalifa is the world's tallest building! A real work of architectural brilliance - twice the height of the Empire State in New York City. In fact, Dubai's buildings are on another level. The Burj Khalifa was built in 2004 but only finished in 2010. The tip of the building can be seen from almost 100km away and it has an impressive observation deck from which the whole of Dubai can be seen. If you're afraid of heights this might not be your cup of tea but it's well worth the experience of making it up there. Even just to say you were at the top of the tallest building on earth.
2. Have some camel milk (or camel meat!)
We got to experience a taste of ice cream made out of camel milk. It was rich, creamy and totally delicious! Camel milk is known for its health properties - including an amazing insulin effect making it great for diabetics. Its natural antibiotics keep the milk fresher for much longer than cow's milk. Research is even being conducted to access whether camel milk should be used as a treatment option for cancer!
If you love burgers - I suggest you try a camel burger just for something different. We had ours at a very vibey restaurant called Switch in the Dubai Mall. A perfect pit stop for a meal and to rest wary shopping feet. What's great is that they offer a 15% discount if you tweet or Instagram about your experience.
3. Enjoy a desert experience
Visiting the desert is a must! It's quite fascinating if you've never been to one before and I highly recommend you get to have a traditional Bedouin meal while you're there!
4. Shop, shop, shop!
If you see yourself as a shopoholic, then chances are you won't make it out of Dubai alive. There are malls everywhere and we were lucky enough to stay in a hotel quite literally attached to the Dubai Mall which is officially the biggest mall in the world. It even has an aquarium and and ice rink in case, you know.. you felt like ice skating! My SA Rands didn't get me very far but I did manage to come back with a few key items of clothing and gorgeous tablecloth from the Zara Home store (Cape Town needs one of those!).
5. Stay at an amazing hotel (if budget allows)
Dubai has more hotels than you will ever imagine and recruitment for the hospitality industry is growing faster than any other sector. With this comes the competitive nature between the hotels - all striving to be better than the next. I was lucky enough to stay at The Address Dubai Mall which, as I mentioned is attached to the mall but you would never say so. Look for a hotel with state of the art facilities (My room had its own iPad with Wifi) and top quality service with attention to detail. One member of our group ordered a special pillow from the pillow menu! I was fortunate to enjoy a massage at the hotel spa which was such an amazing experience. A true atmosphere of relaxation is created with all the therapists and staff making sure all your needs are covered at all times. My massaged finished off with a warm bean bag around my neck and a delicious cup of herbal tea before going back to my room and having a hot bath.
Disclaimer: Food24's trip to Dubai was paid for by Dubai Tourism.