What's new

United Arab Emirates - September 2014


Giga Poster
As this is something a little different, I thought I'd share with you all our recent holiday to Dubai and the surrounding area.

Dubai is always somewhere I've had a interest in for more reasons than one. It was somewhere that I've wanted to visit for a few years to see just what it is like for myself. So in February this year, Peter had a flight home from India via Dubai and he was itching to get out the airport but couldn't.
He got home and we booked us some flights with Qantas for September (and for my birthday) and a 5 star hotel to complete the package.

Before September rolled around (which it did at an incredible speed) Qantas moved our flights meaning we needed 2 more nights out there. Turns out it was a blessing in disguise. Unsure how we would've had the time and energy to fit everything in otherwise.

So we planned, watched videos, looked at maps, looked at Trip Advisor and eventually formulated a plan that not only took in Dubai, but Abu Dhabi and Al Ain as well.
We done pretty much everything you can do out there including creds, waterparks and a lot of culture.

For those interested in the creds over there, to summarise quickly there are at the moment 20 operating coasters across the UAE. This is going to change quickly with IMG Worlds of Adventure and numerous other projects out there!
We got 17 of them, this being our intention all along. 1 in Dubai at Wonderland is around £25 to get in and for a Roller Skater, the other 2 are in Ras Al-Khaimah which is a lot further north out of Dubai and off the tourist trail which is something we wanted to try and keep to. The other 17 creds I will cover as the report continues.

So lets begin!

Day 1 - Saturday 20th September

A long time in coming but gone incredibly quick, we woke and were heading for Heathrow at a reasonable time for once! Our flight left at 1:30pm local time and arrived in Dubai at 23:30.
As we arrived at the airport, ready and excited for our journey, we saw our plane on the tarmac awaiting us and the excitement really grew!


We dumped the bags and mooched around T3 and before long, it was time to board the worlds biggest passenger aircraft! Peter's flew on one before, but I've not and being a pretty big aviation fan, I was excited just to see the plane!


That A380 was to be our chariot across to Dubai! The flight was then going onto Melbourne. It wasn't just us taking photos of the plane and there were quite a few amazed faces and remarks of "how does that thing fly?" whilst waiting at the gate!
They even had an amazing sofa just to sit and watch the plane, we made use of that!


We boarded and after a not very long time we were up and away we went!

The flight is just over 6.5 hours from the UK to Dubai. Most of which was spent in darkness as we went through an incredible sunset about 3 hours into the flight.


Soon enough we began our descent into Dubai. The pilot was great in telling us that we would see Dubai from the air on the way in. If only they had remembered to turn the lights off on the plane for landing and we would've seen a bit more! You know it's going to be warm out there when the plane is at 18,000ft and it's only -1 outside the aircraft!



We landed with a heavy bang and moved taxied over to the terminal. However, the parking meter wasn't working so spent the next 20 mins sat just outside the reach of the air bridges until someone came over to help! We ended up being tugged onto the gate rather than the auto park doing it for us!

We disembarked from the plane eventually and began our wondering over towards the arrivals area. Dubai airport can be horrific for incoming traffic at the boarder control. It took us about half hour in the end to clear it. The first taste of the culture you get is from the boarder staff which is quiet remarkable to see especially when the UK control is very different.
Our bags hadn't made it up in the 45 mins it took to get from plane to baggage reclaim. 10 mins later they came around and we were free to find our car!

We progressed through to the exit and then the first wave of what we were about to put up with for a week hit us! OMG THE HEAT, pulling heavy suitcases across a taxi filled outside arrivals area in that heat was quite something.
Then a lovely airconditioned tunnel!
Then an underground carpark which we turned to each other and said that heat is **** vile!

We picked up our car; an ancient Mitsubishi Lancer and proceeded to leave the airport and enjoy our air conditioning again.


We headed to our hotel, one we had to book at a later time due to Qantas moving the flights. We got there after a bit of screaming, missing junctions and sandy car parks! The driving over there takes quite some getting used to - more on that later.

As we arrived, bags were taken from us and we were taken to our room - something we aren't quite used to.

And we flumped in this!


Day 2 - Sunday 21st September

We awoke on our first full day in Dubai ready to explore and complain about the heat! Something to note is that in Dubai, Sunday's are the first working day of the week rather than still the weekend. Friday and Saturday are their weekend days.

Our intention today was quite simple, get used to the place and get us some creds!

So that we did!

First stop would be Antic's Land up in Sharjah. Sharjah is one of the Emirates that makes up the UAE and is one of the more religious areas of the country. Some are much more so than others. Antic's Land is in Sharjah Mega Mall and when we arrived it all looked pretty dead.

Being English and wondering around caused a few stares, but eventually we found someone to ask if the coaster was open. We were told yes and off we went to get the first of many Mall amusement area cards that you pay with. A few dirhams later and we were on our way back to the cred.
Someone arrived and away we went! +1!


It was pretty forceful for a indoor kiddie cred! Something we soon realised is not uncommon over there at all. A few laps later and slightly dizzier we left and headed back the car!


The park is tucked into the top floor of the mall and has a few flat rides and other games to pass the time whilst the parents are shopping.

Next on our list was Adventureland, again in Sharjah and home to a +3. Again, this is another mall cred and in the Sahara Centre.


We arrived and had a little walk around first to see what they had. This is one of the bigger amusement mall areas over there especially with a +3!
This year, the got themselves a Zamperla Motorcoaster and as we looked around, it looked very very dead.

So we asked. Turns out it wasn't open for 3 days whilst they built some more new stuff underneath it! Spite!

But we attempted still to get the other 2.

Both share the same entrance and as we approached the ops said "Fast one" we said yes and then it turned out it was broke and would be down for at least another hour. Spite!

So we got the other one which basically does a little lap of the front and outside area of the park. It was a simple +1 again.

We tried to decide what to do about the spiting creds. We done this whilst nomming our first Arabian McDonalds! Cultural!

It was decided to leave them both and return sometime later in the week when the Motorcoaster would be open.

So we left again and got on the road.



Just one more cred for today and that would be at yet another mall. This time in Dubai and at the Al Ghurair Centre.
We parked up and walked through yet another agonizingly hot car park and found us inside a pretty nice mall!


We asked again if the coaster was open as it was yet again dead in the place and was responded with a yes! Hurrah!
So we purchased yet another mall card, this time for Sparky's which would be useful for the rest of the week as well and ventured on it.


Expecting something tiny, I was amazed at the size of this cred. It's called Roller Coaster and a SBF Visa Group spinner. To see it going all around the Sparky's area was great.

We got 2 laps and it turned out to be really pretty fab! Took us by surprise. We got the back of the train because there was no clear indication as to which was this cred was going to travel and ended up being flung over the top of 2 lift hills and span around many corners.
A really good little indoor cred.



As that was the last cred of the day, it was time to slowly make our way over to our main hotel for the trip. We done this very slowly as we stopped numerous times to take photos and see some sights before jumping back in the car for more air con!



Whilst on the way to the hotel, we got stuck in traffic and saw the extent of how bad the driving really is over there. There doesn't appear to be much of a law on driving, they do it how they want to do it!




We just about got our first glimpses of the Burj Khalifa and the Burj Al Arab. But due to the Sand Smog they have, it was only a tiny glimpse!

We drove via IMG Worlds of Adventure which is still very very much under construction. There was evidence that work was going on, but not a lot of progress happening yet. They do have a brand new Blue Fire clone fully constructed, but I think it'll be more pink than red when it does eventually open.



We drove on a little more to see some of Dubai from the car!




After a short drive, we arrived at the JA Jebel Ali Beach Hotel. Pure 5* luxury from the moment we walked in!

The hotel was not quite in Dubai, but a little further out on one of the new palm islands that they seem to have started to build and stopped again.
It was perfect for us as it was 20 mins into Dubai or 40 mins to Abu Dhabi.

We checked in with a little cocktail of Mint with Lemon and Lime which was refreshing given the sweat that was rolling of us from the walk from the car to the hotel. We got upgraded from a Garden View room to a Sea View room was was amazing. Something like this is not usually what we have anywhere and nothing like I've been in before.

We got the room, opened the balcony and WOW!





It was really quite amazing. We dumped our stuff and jumped in the pool to cool off a bit before heading back out again later.

After an hour or so outside we got ready again and headed back into Dubai for some dinner.

We got stuck in traffic as we headed towards the Dubai Mall, something we would become of so familiar with as the holiday progressed. After eventually parking and sweating from walking between the car and the Mall, we got in and didn't know where to start!

The Mall is massive and I mean massive! We started by finding some dinner in which we headed to the Texas Roadhouse. It wasn't quite as good as what we had when we were in Texas in June, but still some good dinner and off we went again to explore.

The Mall is home to a massive set of fountains inside which everyone has a photo of including us!



We ventured outside to have a look at the Burj Khalifa and to see the fountain show which was due to start any moment.

A problem that often happened after moving from inside to out is the camera lens steaming up straight away! Bloody thing!


Anyway, the Burj Khalifa is bloody massive, but incredible to finally see in person. It's just a shame all night time photos were ruined by a massive advertisement board underneath it for the Dubai Opera House - something else they are building. The outside area was lovely though, if bloody boiling even at 9pm!













Whilst we were around the area, I picked up the Burj Khalifa "At the Top" tickets which I got online before we flew out!

As closing time was bearing down on us, we had a little walk around to see if we wanted to buy anything. I noticed a Disney Fashion shop which I had to go in and we also saw a shop named Camel Company which sold nothing but amazing tatty Dubaian Camels!

We wondered past Dubai Aquarium, but decided we'd go in it a bit later in the week as we really wanted our bed. Only in a Mall in Dubai will you see a full size aquarium and Olympic sized ice rink!




We called it a night there and headed back to the hotel for some much needed rest ready for another busy day tomorrow.



Credit Whore 2016
I have to say I love how you report, Rach. It's not just from a goon's point of view, you add the extra detail to make it like a mini travel guide which is, in my opinion, what it's all about.

Dubai looks **** amazing. I can't wait for more...maybe you'll get a bunny ;)


Giga Poster
Loving this trip report! So nice to see people reliving the memories I have lived. The UAE and Dubai especially is amazing!


Giga Poster
Day 3 - Monday 22nd September

We woke up nice and early ready for another day of exploring the area. Our hotel had breakfast included which is not something a lot of the top resorts do over there. If you wanted it in some places, you'd be looking at £18 per person per night!

Breakfast was huge, never saw a selection like it. Cakes and pastries, waffles, fruit, cereals, random Arabian meats and sauces, bagels, fish and best of all PORK BACON/SAUSAGE! Because of it being a Muslim country, you'll see things like bacon, but it'll beef bacon not pork. This applied all over the place, if it came from a pig, it wouldn't but what you knew it to be!

When we pigged out, it was time to hit the road!


Today's first activity would take us to Wild Wadi waterpark right in the centre of Dubai next to to Burj Al Arab!

To make the most of our time, we got there for opening and proceeded to the entrance to wait for it to open. Love turning up to waterparks when there are about 20 people in front of you to get in!

Love the system they have over there that everything gets loaded onto your wristband to get it. Locker access, money for food and drink and tat all goes on there as well. Really clever so you don't have to worry about carrying money around the park with you.


Wild Wadi was a fab little waterpark, really cleverly fit into the area with a good selection of rides.

When we go to waterparks, we always jump in the pool first to cool off and get used to the water. That we did and it was so refreshingly cool.

Next up was the Master Blaster. Something they love in the UAE is water rides like this that is used to transport you around the park so you don't have to get out the water and get burnt by the excessive heat.
The Master Blaster was really good, some great little bits of force through it and some really lazy bits as well. It's brilliant to not have to get burning hot everytime and it keeps you lovely and cool.


They then have 3 main slides, 2 on a ProSlide complex and 1 drop slide. I'm not a fan of the body slides out there as I'm not the strongest swimmer. I left the later to Peter to enjoy!

The ProSlide complex had 2 slides on it named Tantrum Alley and and Burj Surj. Everything was walk on that day, so we got on Burj Surj first up!

A brilliant little raft slide with some moments of pure terror. But it's not the best.

We headed back around to do Tantrum Alley which has a combination of 2 funnels with some tubes between the two to connect them up. It really is bloody brilliant and one of the best we've ever done. Thrown around, water cascading everywhere and no clue where you are until you reach the pool at the bottom.

We had a photo taken at the top of the slides and it was reasonably priced, so we purchased it.


Peter done the Jumeirah Scream drop floor slide where I sat at the bottom waiting for him. He seemed to enjoy it!

We got some lunch with our wristband of magic money and had 2 really good Spag Bols! The heat was starting to bear down again and we had done all we wanted to really so decided for a go on the lazy river and then a re ride on Tantrum Alley and half the master blaster.

I then went and grabbed my camera from the locker to take a few photos.







One thing to note about Wild Wadi is like any waterpark in the heat, the floor gets burning hot and you're wondering around bare foot. They really care about this, most of the walkways are shaded and what's not has water streaming through or under floor cooling systems.

Loved Wild Wadi, it's small and perfectly fits into a half day and you can see and do everything.

As we were right next to the Burj Al Arab, we went to have a little look around outside it as you can't get in it without a reservation and neither of us have that sort of money!

We found a public beach and decided to test the sea water for a little paddle! The sea water over there is like luke-warm bath water.







After our little detour, we were heading out of the city towards Al Ain. Al Ain is another one of the Emirates in the UAE and the main reason for visiting was the mountain there. The highest natural point in the country. It's also just on the boarder to Oman. It took us just under 2 hours to get down to Al Ain.

On the way, we passed the entrance to Universal Studios Dubailand. It was just the entrance arch, nothing else! No construction, nothing!


We had the intention of getting up the mountain for sunset as it could be quite spectacular up there. Sunset was just after 6pm, it was around half 4, so went in search of one of the creds that Al Ain has to offer us.


We headed to the Bawadi Mall home of Fun City and another +1. This place had a bit more life to it than the others we visited the previous day. Plenty more people around in contrast.


The cred was another SBF Visa Group spinning coaster and like the one the previous day, it was actually pretty good! Something we were noticing is that these mall creds are not as small as one originally thought they were!


Time was getting on, so it was time to start to head up the mountain. The mountain road is supposedly one of the best driving roads in the world, something we reckon would be a lot better in a car with a bigger than 1.3 engine!
Our little Mitsubishi trundled on up the very top of the mountain, we were conscious all the way that it would overheat or something so stopped at the stopping points to give it a break and for us to get some photos as we climbed up.










The further up we got, the more incredible the view back down and around got. Annoyingly, because it's the UAE and has so much smog and pollution, visibility is never brilliant and this was no exception. Sadly, this did ruin the sunset a little for us as it was under the smog!

We got to the top around 15 mins before sunset and had a wander around. It's a bit of a dump up there, with a a few portaloos, tacky restaurant and a car park. It's clearly an up the mountain, have a wonder around and come back down again.


There were 2 cats roaming around at the top which had my heart going when they were right on the edge of the mountain!



We then watched the sunset behind the thick layer of smog!






We then headed back down the mountain in search of some food! But not before looking back up the mountain and seeing the trail of lights that we just drove.



We didn't have a clue what to have, so settled on a pizza in the mall where the cred was as it was quick and easy and we knew what we were getting.

We had one more mission for the day and that involved a +2 and a park named Hili Fun City. After a bit of a diversion as the sat nav wanted to take us through Oman and we only realised when on top of the boarder, we finally got there.

I've never seen a theme park so dead in all my life! I managed to count a grand total of 9 people in the park (including us) that had paid to get in!


Our intentions were simple, get the creds and get going back to the hotel.

First stop was the spinning mouse named Twister Mountain! We heard it running from the car park so knew it was open. We went over and we were the only ones there of course. Got straight on and it was yet another +1. Was a Zamperla one which thankfully didn't try to kill us!

They do have separate queues for ladies, but you don't need to go through these if you don't want to.



Finally was Hili Mouse. A glorified Big Apple with an extra helix. We seemed to get thousands of laps on it as the staff were clearly bored. Eventually they let us off. It looked like it was going to try and kill you, but surprisingly ok when not on the bonus helix.




We left then and headed back to the hotel. The park looked like it could be quiet good if there was more than 9 people in the place! They had a few flat rides and in quite a big area. Shame it was so quiet, the place was open until 10pm and we arrived at half 7 and had left by 8.
Can see a good afternoon there when not as dead.

This was the car park:


After another long day, we retreated back to the hotel for some much needed sleep!


Strata Poster
I have a feeling that the air seems polluted from all the sand there is, rather than smog. I have seriously never heard of any heavy industry in UAE. Correct me if I'm wrong.


Giga Poster
tomahawk said:
There's no **** lanes on the highways!?!?! Holy **** that's crazy.

They are there. But only just. The sun has faded most of the lines! Even when you can see them, it doesn't stop them coming into your lane when you're in the way. If they want to be in that lane, they will get there no matter who is in the way!

TilySlo said:
I have a feeling that the air seems polluted from all the sand there is, rather than smog. I have seriously never heard of any heavy industry in UAE. Correct me if I'm wrong.

We nicknamed it sand smog as that is what causes most of it. Some of the days it's better than others, but we seemed to be quite unlucky with it. You see over there that many buildings have a thin coating of sand on the outside (noticed in particular at the airport), you get covered in it when walking around and the cars are filthy from the amount of sand about. We didn't take our car near a beach much, but by the time we dropped it back of, it was covered in sand.
Not only this, but add the sand to the amount of construction taking place and the sheer volume of cars on the road, it's quite dirty.

Day 4 - Tuesday 23rd September

Today would be our first venture towards Abu Dhabi. We wanted to hit Yas Island with Yas Waterworld and Ferrari World early in the week just in case Formula Rossa was to spite us and then we could return later in the week.
So that was the plan for today.

First up, we spent half an hour with the concierge at the hotel trying to contact a company we had booked one of Wednesday's activities with to see what time they wanted to pick us up. Kudos to the hotel, they done us proud and let us get on our way and left us a voice mail on the answer phone in the room with the time on for when we returned!


So we head for the road and head towards Abu Dhabi. After not very long at all we arrived on the Island and much to a few squees saw Formula Rossa testing in the distance.
However, preferring to save Ferrari World for the heat of the day, we headed first of to Yas Waterworld.


Like the previous day, there was hardly anyone there. We paid up and once again presented with the cashless wristband which had the locker on it and away we go.
As we walked through the entrance, a really awkward welcoming committee was there. All singing, all dancing staff and mascots. Rather hastily we got in and went to get changed.

Soon enough we were done and headed into the park to see what they had to offer us.

First up as always was a dip in the pool to cool off. First thing to note with Yas is that the flooring there is boiling hot, they just hose it down occasionally to try and stop you burning your feet!


Suitably refreshed, we decide to get the cred out the way first. Cred was Bandit Bomber, a Vekoma splash party with onboard water and on the ground stuff to. It was activated a couple of times as we went around, but nothing more than a face full of water and a +1 was obtained!



We carried on walking around and came across Serpent Spin. A giant slide complex with 6 different raft slides in. As the park was very quiet, we grabbed our dinky and walked up the steps 6 times and rode each one straight after each other.
Some were significantly better than others.


We really enjoyed the toilet bowl one on the far end and ended up coming out of it backwards after getting stuck in the bowl for a couple of circuits. We also enjoyed the green and cream slide as that had a pretty decent drop in it and the green and purple one closest to the camera which had some interesting turns and large areas of water in.
Really enjoyed those!

After we went and jumped in the slower of the lazy river that ran around the bottom of the mountain. It was pretty tedious by the end of it!


Peter done the racing slides and the looping waterslide next whilst I stood on and watched trying to keep cool in the shade and stop the feet from burning! By this point it was getting on for midday so decided on doing one of the bigger raft slides.

We done Dawwama as the other one (Falcon's Flanj) was shut for the day. The ride uses the same LIM technology as Mammoth at Holiday World to power you up various hills and keep the momentum up throughout the ride. The finale drops you sharply into a funnel and into a splash pool! Pretty good fun, but doesn't beat Mammoth!


We decided on lunch next and whilst waiting for it ended up turning into a fried human. Kept running back and forwards between the pool and the seating area to keep cool in the meantime. Temperature peaked at 39 degrees so it was pretty intense!

We were more or less done by this point and the heat and burning hot floor was pretty intense. We headed into the faster of the lazy rivers with added waves before retreating to the air conditioning to get the flops and the camera again.

Peter done the speed slide whilst I stood and watched again!


We then had a little walk around, flumped in a few pools along the way before calling it a day. The heat really had got too much for us, so we were in favour of heading over to Ferrari World!






We enjoyed Yas, good little waterpark with a really good selection of slides and other stuff to keep you entertained. The heat was a little too much for us which hampered our enjoyment a little. Aside from this, the park was great and a good way to spend half a day if in the area.

So we jumped in the car and headed over to Ferrari World!

When the air conditioning hit us, we were in heaven and knew we had made the right choice to spend the heat of the day inside the park rather than out and about!



When we arrived, we had a quick look around and had a look at the map to see what they had to offer. Stuffing the map in the bag, we made a hasty walk over to Formula Rossa.


We joined an actual queue for the coaster, there were people actually there! Amusingly, we did hear one of the rides up say that it was the first time in a while he had actually seen people waiting to ride rather than walking straight on it.

We dumped the bags and donned the fetching glasses and jumped on a back row ride for our first run.


I honestly had no idea what to expect from this. Part of me was half thinking it's just going to launch and be nothing to really shout or scream about.
Boy, was I wrong. I fell in love with it. Incredible coaster and easily one of the biggest surprises of the year for me. Blown away by it!
You launch and you just keep on going and going and going until you pull up and hit the trims which are barely noticeable. Every second you are being pushed further and further back in your seat from the sheer force created from it.
It was amazing and best of all, it kept that speed up right until it hit the breaks at the end.

Incredible coaster, didn't think I was going to think much of it, but loved every second of it!


After the run we had on that, we were full of adrenaline so decided to head over to the other side of the park to grab the other 2 creds in the form of Fiorano GT Challenge; a dueling Maurer Sohne LSM coaster.


As we walked over, the games stall staff tried every method to get everyone to play some of there games. We eventually cleared them and walked straight onto the front row of side 1.
After quite a bit of faff with moving people around in different seats, we finally got going.

Launches you out the station and then meanders around outside before launching a few more times and back to the station. Nothing amazing and a simple +1 to start.


We get off, don't bother walking around, but just jump straight on the other side for the other +1. As this was walk on, they were happy for you to do it. After even more faff with people not realising that 2 seats means 2 people, we get going again.

Nothing brilliant, nothing to write home about, so we took some photos and left the area.




The creds were done, but having looked around and with Peter's interest in cars and F1, we knew we had plenty more to see and do here.


Next was Speed of Magic, a 4D simulator ride similar to the likes of DarKastle, Huntix, Spiderman, Thors Hammer etc.. We had spoken to Dubai_Dave whilst in Sweden earlier in the year who recommended doing these to see just how bad they were.

Speed of Magic was surprisingly good. Have to say a lot better than Thors Hammer which we rode in July. It starts with a pre show to give you the basis of the story. A dad and his kid are about to go out for a drive in his dads Ferrari and his dad trusts him with the keys. The kid has recently been playing a video game and the main character jumps out and steals the keys forcing a chase to try and get them back again.

We board the ride car and the chase begins. The effects worked well, thrown around, bumped, span and more all at the right times. It just worked and probably one of the better ones I've rode and also the better one out the 3 of them that Ferrari World have!


When we got out, we had a wonder around to see what took our fancy whilst taking some pictures along the way. In all honesty, the park is very smart and looks good. There isn't much there, but what there is is pretty good. Construction is going on all around to improve the place even more with new rides coming in the future.




Formula Rossa was tempting us again as we really wanted a front row ride to see what it was like there. So we headed over and waited 20 mins or so for our turn.
Donning the delightful glasses again, we board and look down an incredibly long launch track!


It launched and we were sucked back into the seat, face wobbling from the force and the speed of the thing. Again, it just didn't let up, it kept going and going and going right until it hit the breaks. Still amazed by it especially after thinking I wouldn't think much of it.

We got the ORP as it was pretty funny seeing how much force you could see on our bodies!


We continued then around the park, we done another of the 4D simulators. This time The Racing Legends. It basically gives you a history of Ferrari from day 1 until present F1 whilst on one of these simulators. It didn't work as well as the Speed of Magic one did, but gave a good insight if you're into that thing.

Next, we had a look around the showroom of various different Ferrari road cars and F1 cars from a few seasons back. We were in and out pretty quickly, but it looks like they need to do some re-theming of the history and the showroom in light of recent changes within Ferrari! :lol:


We got some ice cream before heading over the 3rd of the 4D simulators that they own. This one; Made in Maranello took you through the stages of design and building a modern day Ferrari whilst again in these simulators. It's quite obvious they got a deal on these and decided to do one really well and try to decide what to do with 2 others which they didn't do a brilliant job with.

The sun was starting to set and we were pretty much done, so we headed over to Formula Rossa again for 1 more ride before we left.
As the front row was quiet, we decided to go there again as it's not something you ride every day! Still just as amazing. Seriously a brilliant cred with some phenomenal force to it.

We headed outside to take a few photos:







We decided to call it a day there. After bumping into a couple of the mascots on the way out, we had a look in the tat shops and ended up with some overpriced shot glasses and pin badges thanks to it being Ferrari branded!


Ferrari World took us by surprise, we wasn't expecting much from it but it turned out to be a really good afternoon. There's plenty to do there to keep you going for a while, good food places, reasonable rides with 1 stand out attraction. It's brilliant for any F1/Ferrari fans as it gives you a brilliant insight into the company. If you're not a fan, then you can still see the thought that went into it. Tea cups themed to tyres was a brilliant little move I thought. They have a long way to go to become an amazing theme park, but they are on the right track and with the continuing upgrades and re-themes, I wouldn't hesitate to return!

As time was with us that night, we aimed to tick one more of the +1 creds in Abu Dhabi off our list.

Mazyad Mall was our destination which was home to Speedy Coaster. Another SBF Visa Group, but just a standard kiddie coaster. Needs to be said that this was the smallest of the mall creds we rode all week.


Image from RCDB as didn't take any photos of this one

Some 10 laps later, we were free of the cred and another simple +1 for us. We decided to get some dinner in the Mall as there was a conveniently located Applebees which saved us trekking around trying to find something to eat!

After a leisurely dinner, we headed back to Yas Island but this time to see a bit of the Yas Marina F1 Circuit mainly for Peter. It was just closing up when we arrived, but managed to have a look at it from Johnny Rockets about the race track.
Peter likes visiting F1 tracks so when he watches them on TV can associate with them. With Abu Dhabi in a few weeks time, it was good to see it and know what the track is like! [/f1faninthemaking]


After another hectic day, we headed back to the hotel for some much needed sleep as we had a very early start the next morning!


Giga Poster
I'm so glad someone else sees formula rossa for what it really is! I'm stuck between shambhala and rossa for my number 1.


Giga Poster
Day 5 - Wednesday 24th September

I'm going to break this day into 2 reports as it's a bloody long day!

We had a very early start this morning as we had booked a Desert Dune Bashing and Sunrise excursion with a local company called Delta Adventures. They had some incredible reviews on Trip Advisor and for £85 each, we got to watch the sunrise, 1 hour dune buggy, breakfast, sand boarding, hotel pick up and drop off and breakfast.

Sounds good? Yeah, it certainly does! 4:30am, the phone in the room rang! "Mr Gibbons, Delta Adventures are here for you"
Joy, so we headed down and was met with a very nice man who was to be our guide for the morning.

One thing that really let this company down (I've been meaning to Trip Advisor myself, but not got around to it yet..) was the complete lack of communication from them. We booked it and all was fine. Peter confirmed the booking in August and asked for an approximate finish time. No response.
We were told to email on arrival in Dubai with hotel and room number, that we did on Sunday. Monday passed, nothing. So we went chasing them on Tuesday with the help of concierge who were very helpful. Peter eventually got email confirmation around 5pm the night before.

We jumped in the car and made our way towards Al Faqa. A desert area 1 hour from the hotel. We stopped at a petrol station for the best part of 20 mins which annoyed me slightly especially when realising the guy had just picked our breakfast up from there. So far, wasn't overly impressed with the service especially given the Trip Advisor reviews.

We off-roaded in the road car part of the way into the dunes to the base of the company where we transfered to the 4x4 and collected the dune buggy.

It's quite an experience bouncing all over the place in the car as it goes over the dunes and wondering how far we were going into the desert.
Few mins later, the bumpy nauseating car ride ended and we pitched up to watch the sunrise.



Deserts are pretty chilly places before the sun has rose! The sand was cold to the touch. We were glad we chose this time to do it as we thought it would be pretty intense in the heat of the day!



This is the first time I've actually sat and watched a sunrise and it was quite a setting to do it in! A short while later and it made its first appearance of the day over the top of the dune. Quite a sight to see! We watched (mainly behind a camera lens) as the tiny little dot made a spectacular full circle in the sky and continue to rise bringing some heat with it!





We took many a picture over the next half hour from different angles and trying not to fall down sand dunes! Not an easy task I have to say!





It was lovely just to sit there and take it all in and to do it with Peter too!






We pitched up and had part of our petrol station breakfast! Neither of us felt like much really given the fact it was 6:30 in the morning!



Whilst we had breakfast, the guys went over and prepared the dune buggy which had been parked a little away from where we



Soon enough the buggy was ready and we drove over to that! The fun really begins now. I'm not the most confident of drivers, especially something as big as this! I hate Go Karts so this was quite something to get back into after Finland last year. I let Peter drive it all as it wasn't for me and I would've avoided all the dunes!


We drove in the wake of the lead car and followed them around. I enjoyed it, but won't deny there were a few screams of terror issuing from me at various dunes throughout the run we done.


We briefly stopped and Peter had a go at sand boarding. I would've had a go, but I was really struggling to walk on the dunes and just kept slipping down and back over! I parked myself at the top of the dune and didn't move until Peter came back up to take me back down!






We jumped back into our little dune and trekked back over towards the base. By now I had relaxed into it and had began to enjoy it a little more than when I first got in it!



We ended and drove back to the base. We then spent another 20 mins sat in the road car whilst the guy done god knows what. Seemed to just be waiting for something. It took us a while to get back to the hotel as the traffic was a bit of a nightmare. It showed us as well how the locals really do drive out there and there were some moments we were thinking something was about to bump into us.
We made it though! The base in the desert also had a selection of cute and very loud desert cats!


Overall, it was a brilliant experience and a good way to see the desert without spending too much time in the burning heat out there. The dune buggy was fun when I got into it, but the highlight for me was sitting and watching the sun peak out over the top of the dunes.
I would recommend Delta Adventures if anyone wanted to go out there and do it. But be prepared for some pretty dire communication from them!

I'll continue Wednesday later as there's 3 more things we done that day and this bit was quite a heavy bit to type!


Credit Whore 2016
Rach said:
They had some incredible reviews on Trip Advisor and for £85 each, we got to watch the sunrise, 1 hour dune buggy, breakfast, sand boarding, hotel pick up and drop off and breakfast.

Breakfast twice? Now I know why it was £85 ;)

Those pictures of the desert are so amazing. I can't even begin to express how jealous I am, I should think there is nothing quite like seeing such a massive expanse of just sand and sky, it is certainly high on my bucket list.

Looking forward to hearing more!


CF Legend
Interesting trip report Rach! Weird to see the Universal entrance just chilling there by itself.

The dunes looked interesting. Look forward to reading more!


Giga Poster
Thanks for all the comments guys! Sorry for the delay in the next parts, someone put a weekend in Germany in the way!

Day 5 - Wednesday 24th September: Part 2

After getting stuck in burdenous traffic on the way back to the hotel, we eventually got back just after half 9 and went straight for our second breakfast! This time from the hotel breakfast buffet!

Once we had had some proper food, we ventured down onto the beach to cool off and relax a bit.


We had another venture into the sea but this time for an actual swim! The sea over there is like bath water and there were tiny fishes swimming around on the shore. This was when we also discovered the fact the hotel had an infinity pool. Taking a bit more time than we thought we would, we had a cocktail and made our way back to the hotel to get changed again and go back out for the rest of the day.

We had quite a busy day ahead despite the fact the alarm clock had gone off at 4:30.

We jumped in the car and headed towards Dubai for the first stop of the day at Dubai Marina.


The Marina is currently under a lot of development, building tram lines, finishing off and starting many new high rise buildings. However, what had been built was fab. We entered via the Marina Mall and had lunch first before heading outside to tolerate the 37 degree heat!

We had a quick wonder around the area before agreeing it was far too hot to be walking around outside, so headed back in! The Marina was lovely and will look a lot better when all the construction work has finished!








Once we had finished, we jumped back in the car and headed down towards the Dubai Mall where we would be spending the rest of the day doing various different things. The early morning combined with the intense heat was already starting to takes its toll, so we were glad of an easy afternoon wondering around the mall and seeing the Khalifa.


There were a few things that we wanted to buy from the mall which we had seen on Sunday night, so thought this was the best day in which to do it!

However, first things first, we headed to Sega Republic to get us a cred!


Sega Republic is another of the indoor entertainment areas. This one had another +1 in the form of a Gerstlauer spinning coaster.

We had a quick walk around to see if there was anything else we wanted to ride and see how much the cred was on its own. Once again, the place was dead and we were one of very few paying guests within the area. We didn't hang around much either.


We purchased yet another card and topped it up with the cred amount and wondered over to Spin Gear. We were met with a rather rude woman who was scanning the cards to go through who asked us "if we had played before" meaning had we rode before. Answer being no, she gets out her card and starts checking us of against rules in which you can and can't ride. The way in which she was asking these questions was particularly rude and patronising.

Eventually, getting fed up of her, we got through and onto the ride area. Meeting yet another rude and patronising women, this time telling us how to work a locker and where to hang the key on your body. Getting steadily more pissed off with their idea of service, we finally got on the ride. Seems like we were being an inconvenience to the staff!

We got on the cred and were told by this time a very patronising man that the lap bar is to stop you from falling out and to hold onto it tightly. He was being deadly serious.



Fuming with the service (well I was in particular) we got off eventually after another +1 and left hastily. The cred was reasonable and shows what can bit fit into a mall. It's just a shame that the staff were appauling and marred the experience. We grabbed us some ice cream for a much needed sugar boost. They had some brilliant flavours. Peter had a mint and bubblegum combination and I had strawberry and lotus (Belgian) biscuit and it was fab!

We headed outside the mall to take a few photos of the Burj Khalifa in the daylight before it was time for our evening activity.





We still had a little while to kill before it was our time to head up the top of the Burj Khalifa. So we wondered around again, found some more stuff we wanted to buy and had a little snack.

Soon enough it was time to head up the top of the Burj Khalifa to enjoy the sunset. We saw the sunrise in the desert that morning and now we're about to watch it set from 124 floors up the Burj Khalifa. :)




As you walk through to the base of the building, you are given a history and timeline of the Khalifa and when noteable achievements happened like when it became the tallest building etc.

After a very rapid lift with plenty of ear popping, we arrived at the 124th floor. Annoyingly for us, it had once again been a very sand smoggy day and visibility was pretty poor. However, we made the most of what we could and enjoyed it nevertheless.




There is also a very small outside viewing area where the reflections from the glass are removed. Pretty humid that high up in that heat!





Before long and after a few green screen photos which were just too expensive to purchase. 6pm had arrived and it was time to watch the sunset over the city. Despite the sand smog, it was still beautiful to watch and we really enjoyed the time we were up there.





We also managed to catch one of the Fountain shows whilst we were up there which was brilliant to see from such a height.



Deciding we had spent long enough up there, we headed back down. There is a brilliant set of models running along the timeline of the building showing the various major stages of construction.
The building is quite something and fantastic to head up it to see Dubai. It was a shame that it was so sand smoggy outside and we couldn't see much, but I'm sure behind all that is a stunning view from the top.

We exited via the tat shop and picked up a few souvenirs before heading back into the mall. We had a look around the Gold Souk inside the mall and got a few more little souvenirs before heading to the Disney Fashion store where I ended up spending 350AED on a tshirt and bag! Whoops!

It was dinner time now, so we headed over to the Rainforest Cafe! Same as all Rainforest Cafe's out there with the effects every so often. Only difference was this one backed onto the Dubai Aquarium and Underwater Zoo. So occasionally whilst you were eating, some underwater marine life would pass by!


One last thing to do before we headed for our much needed bed was to visit the Dubai Aquarium. On planning the holiday, this was one thing we were umming and arring doing and decided in the end to have a look at it as it is one of the recommended things to see. So in we went!


The Aquarium is basically a tunnel through the middle of the Mall. Not your average size tunnel and one with quite a few more interesting things in than what you get back here in the UK. Really glad we done it as it was pretty fab. It had all manor of things from tiny fish, to rays and sharks. Well worth a quick walk through if in the Mall.







It's very short, but worth just having a look at! Included in the ticket is the Underwater Zoo which is a couple of floors up in the mall from what the Aquarium is. So we headed up there to have a look to see what they had to offer. Given the size of the Aquarium being fairly small, we expected this to be small to, but was pleasantly surprised with it.
This is certainly more like your SeaLife centre, but with a bigger variety of species.








Inside the Underwater Zoo is also a massive Crocodile and a little one too! Incredible to think that this beast of an animal is in the middle of a shopping mall!




We carried on around to see all manor of other animals. Including some that don't quite live Underwater! :p



Really enjoyable little area within the mall and we both really enjoyed looking around at the different animals in there. It beats anything I've seen before in SeaLife centres and the likes and shows what can be done in an aquarium even within a mall. Highly impressed with what they had to offer and would easily recommend a visit.

After a very long day, we retired back to the hotel for some much needed sleep! And sleep we done well!


Giga Poster
^Just by the number of areas in which you walk through whilst in the Aquarium as it is just the one tunnel. It's certainly not small in terms of the amount of water in there, but the walk through area is pretty small when you look at it like that.
Dubai Aquarium is also not the biggest in the world, it's the 2nd biggest in terms of gallons of water with 2.64 million gallons. It's 2nd to the Georgia Aquarium which holds 6.3 million gallons.
So it's by far small, but when you look at it with the areas in which you walk through, it is a little smaller than some out there I've been to.

As I've got nothing better to do with my life tonight, may as well do the next day as well as it's a pretty short one!

Day 6 - Thursday 25th September

We woke after a much needed sleep and at a lot more of a leisurely pace, we headed down to breakfast! Soon enough we were heading for the road. Our destination today was simple; Atlantis: The Palm.

There were a few things we wanted to do at the hotel including Aquaventure Waterpark and The Lost Chambers Aquarium. We also wanted to head over there just to have a look at it as you always see pictures of the hotel when you see an advert for Dubai.


When we arrived, we parked up and got the shuttle bus from the car park over to the main entrance for the waterpark. We had booked online a Dolphin Encounter in shallow water to start the morning off. It was a little bit of a birthday treat for me as this was something I had always wanted to do.

We got our wristbands which included admission to Aquaventure and took the long walk back towards Dolphin Bay which is right next to the car park.
We checked in and waited a short while for our 11:10 time slot.


We entered the room and had to sign your life away before waiting then to go through to the changing rooms as a group to get the wet suits and be briefed.
Soon enough we were called through and into Orientation Room 3 we went! The guy conducting the safety speech spoke some of the most broken English imaginable and at a rapid speed so no one understood what he was saying. I still have yet to work out why he was giving a safety speech when no one could understand and he was rude about everything.
The only thing we worked out was you either get a choice of a vest suit or a full on wet suit. It was your choice. We both opted for the vest and went to get changed.

As I emerged a few mins later, Mr Rude demanded in the most inpolite fashion that I took every loose article of my person now. Whilst others were walking through we earrings, rings and hairbands in. He was made aware of the rudeness in which he spoke to us and also a brief note that no one could understand him as he spoke too quickly.

One thing I had noted was that whilst the staff mean well in most places, the customer service is a lot to be desired and something in particular I noticed at Atlantis which is shocking for a hotel of that calibre. I work in top end hospitality and know what should be given and get frustrated when others demonstrate a complete lack of customer service in the field in which they work in.

Anyway, feeling a bit down because once again another member of staff in another place had ruined our experience by the way they spoke to people, we sat through a 15 minute lecture on dolphins. Nothing of use for the actual experience aside from a safe position to stand in when the dolphin is passing close to you and where not to touch it.


It was then finally time to meet the dolphins. We were split into 3 groups and lead outside to the pool where they were waiting for us. Each group had 2 trainers with them, 1 taking care of the dolphin, whilst the other the group of us. They managed to redeem themselves here after the earlier encounter with rude staff. The 2 we had were brilliant and kept everyone entertained. And even managed to control a women who didn't want to pay attention in the slightest and had a bad case of dolphin tunnel vision.

It was a very hands on encounter. We got to stroke the dolphin, kiss it, hug it, have a lot of photos taken and then play with it. Could either throw a ball or ring or dance with her.
It was a lovely half an hour and really good to do something calming.

We got a nice photo bundle from them as there were some stunning pictures!







After the earlier problems with the staff in the room who did apologise for the way he came across, it turned out to be a really good morning with the dolphins and one I would recommend if the price is right. We paid £85 per person which is a lot really for what you get but worth it if you're going to enjoy it.
The trainers were brilliant, it's just a shame the before you get in the water can let it down for you.


We headed back to the entrance ready for some time in the waterpark. I didn't take any photos as the camera was in the locker and it was a very long walk between the lockers and the park area.

We really enjoyed Aquaventure, we spent a lot more time there than we thought we would do. It has a really good water transport system where you get in a dinky and have some wild lazy river times before heading through calm bits and up master blasters to be shot back down. You can end up going around it all day trying the different slides.

Having that water transport system is brilliant as it does save getting burnt feet in the process. The rest of the rides are all spread around 2 major towers.
The first tower has the master blasters on as well as the leap of faith drop slide and the dinky slide through the aquarium. Peter done the Leap of Faith which he really enjoyed and we both done the dinky slide through the aquarium. Quite novel to be going through the middle of an Aquarium in a dinky after just exiting a slide! Still it was good!

The other tower had 2 large multi person dinky slides which both turned out to be pretty bog standard and nothing to really write home about. They had some great drops, but aside from that quite standard in comparison to some of the stuff you have out there these day.
They also had 2 loop slides which were both closed and some smaller body slides which were pretty slow to say the least.

We enjoyed Aquaventure and it had some reasonable attractions to enjoy. We spent a lot longer there than we thought we would do and could've spent longer, but we were turning into prunes and wanted to see the Aquarium in the hotel before we left. It turns out that out the 3 parks we went to, each had their own really good bits which but together would make a perfect waterpark. Put the slides from Yas Waterworld along with the water transport system of Aquaventure with the master blasters from Wild Wadi and it would be perfect.

If we had known what was going to happen when we left Atlantis, we would've stayed longer in the waterpark before going to the Aquarium! But we didn't know, so nevermind.

Our next stop was to be The Lost Chambers Aquarium which is right next to the entrance to Aquaventure. So we headed in.


I'd never seen an Aquarium like it, it was very heavily themed and again had some interesting creatures within its tanks. We spent a good hour looking around and taking much use of the flumping cushions they had in front of some of the tanks.




It's all themed around the lost chambers of Atlantis with various different areas with different theming.



Again, the Aquarium was mainly around 1 main tank that had a variety of sharks, rays and fishes of all shapes, sizes and colours.







A quick walk around to the rest of the tanks and we were done for the day here.





Atlantis was a really nice place to spend the day but we were very glad we didn't book the hotel as this was something we were originally thinking of doing before we booked the Jebel Ali hotel. It's good for a day trip but I wouldn't want to spend any longer there.

As we got the shuttle bus back to the car park, we noticed that the traffic was horrific, much worse than anything we had seen in the time we had been over there. Thinking it wouldn't take too long, we jumped in the car and off we went.
Turns out we were very wrong, the traffic was so incredibly slow. We watched the sunset from the edge of the Palm before we entered the tunnel and took a few photos of the hotel from the outside.



It took us ages to clear the traffic. 2 and half hours to get from Atlantis to the end of Palm. So slow and it turned out to be a load of roadworks which had reduced a multiple lane road into 1 lane at a very slow speed. It was infuriating and a good job that we never really had many plans for that night.






We were going to head to the Abra Docks at Bur Dubai to see the Souks, but decided to do that on Friday instead due to how long it had taken to get off the Palm.
Instead, we headed to Mall of the Emirates which we hadn't been to yet to have a look around and also see what Ski Dubai had to offer as that was something else we wanted to do.


We got some dinner whilst there before heading back to the hotel after a long, slightly infuriating but pretty enjoyable day at Atlantis.
We ended up booking a Penguin Encounter for the Friday at Ski Dubai before we left which was to be another animal treat for my birthday!




Strata Poster
Interesting read this Rach - keep it up! :)

Some rather good aquarium pics in there too - nicely done!


Giga Poster
Day 7 - Friday 26th September

Happy Birthday to me! So today was my 22nd birthday and I'd already had a week of amazing times in Dubai and today was going to be no exception! Peter brought a card and a little present with him from home that I could open on my birthday! Everything else was to be left until I got home!

Today would be a bit of a catching up on stuff we had missed during the week as this was to be our last full day in Dubai.

After another good breakfast, we left the hotel and headed straight into Dubai. First stop of the day was to be Bur Dubai in the old town which is home to part of the Dubai Creek and the Abra Boats that head across to the other side of the creek towards the Souks.


Friday in the UAE is the first day of their weekend, so all the attractions are much busier and parking can be a good laugh! On arrival to Bur Dubai, we found the first problematic parking of the day! We managed to get lucky pretty quickly and soon enough had us a spot for the car and we headed down to the creek to catch us an Abra Boat.

The Abra Boats are a must whilst in Dubai, tourists use them for the experience and the locals use them to cross the creek. It only costs 1 Dirham per trip per person, so it's dirt cheap! 17p roughly!



We caught the boat across for a 5 min ride over to the other side. When we arrived, we headed straight for the nearest Souk. Souks are basically markets, but independently owned. Luckily, there was a very large group of tourists there which helped us to blend in a little. However, when we moved away from them, we were literally swarmed by the rest of the stall owners trying to get us into their shop to buy something.
The main things they do in the Souks are gold and spices.


Feeling a little uncomfortable with the persistent asking to go into shops and buying things, we retreated back towards where the large tourist group were and braved one of the shops. This one sold plated camels and other ornaments as well as many spices.

We entered the shop and had a good look at what they had. We decided to buy 2 medium sized camels and I got my mum a genie lamp. In a shop in the main areas it would've cost a good 100+ AED, but we only paid 50 for the lot! :D

After buying our tat, we headed back to the Abra to cross the creek. Another 1 Dirham later and we were on our way back over towards the car.





It was an enjoyable little trip over and another one of the main tourist things to do in Dubai. We enjoyed it and got ourselves a camel out of it!

We jumped back into the car with the intention of locating the Gold Souks the ones that specialise completely in gold. We found it no problem at all, but half of the places were shut and we were having it's Friday in the UAE troubles and couldn't find a single place to park the car. So we decided to leave it.

Next on our list of catch up was to head back to Adventureland to pick up the creds we had missed on Sunday because of spite issues.
When we arrived, we headed into a very quiet Adventureland and got straight on Kukulcan. This was only after trying Rocket Cycles first where we were told it would open at 1pm, it was just before midday at this point.


Photo from RCDB again as no pictures

Kukulcan was another powered coaster that had a bit more of a speed to it with some vile helixes along the way that slammed you into the side of the car. It was a +1 which we were relieved we had got.

Something that we didn't know was about to happen next. The Mall closed between 12 and 1pm which meant we had to wait a little while for the other cred to open. Luckily, we just managed to get some lunch before all the shops shut. We aren't entirely sure as to why certain places are either closed on Friday morning until 1pm or close between 12 and 1pm. It turns out that as there is a bigger emphasis on communal prayers on a Friday, most people head to Mosque to pray. As we were in one of the more religious Emirates, this now makes sense as it is not something that happens in Dubai, but does in Sharjah.

The hour quickly passed and soon enough everything was back up and running again. All shops were open and Adventureland even had people in there!

We topped our card up with the remaining balance to ride the new Zamperla Motorcoaster; Rocket Cycles. We headed over and waited for it to open. We didn't have to wait long, the ride op was just doing the start up procedure when we arrived and soon enough we were locked into the seats!


What I really loved about this was just how intergrated it is within the amusement area. You wouldn't think something like that could be constructed in a mall, but it was! We got 2 laps on it and it was pretty good! Didn't hurt like other Motorcoasters do and had some good speed and turns on!


Another +1 obtained and that was all of Adventureland ticked off. With this being one of the more major parks within the malls, I expected it to be a lot easier to get the creds than some of the others. As it turns out, they are currently building a lot more new stuff in there which we knew about prior to going over but took a risk as we knew it had opened up.
Luckily, we managed to get everything and I can see that being quite a good little park when it's all finished.
When we left, there were actually other people in there too!


We were heading back to the hotel at this point as there were a few activities we wanted to make the most out of whilst we were there. On the way back we headed to Dubai Mall again as we really wanted to go to the Emirates Airline shop because we are both plane goons and the model aircraft were really cheap over there.
We originally thought it was in Mall of the Emirates, but turns out we were both wrong and it was in fact in the Dubai Mall!
We left with one Emirates 777 model and one Emirates A340 model!


We arrived back at the hotel shortly after and got changed ready to head out onto the beach and into the pools. The main reason for returning was to ride a camel! Yes, we had to do it and we took the opportunity to as it was something the hotel offered!
We also hadn't taken any photos of outside the hotel apart from on the balcony, so we headed out!


We had a little dip in the sea first before Nadia the Camel came out for some walks along the beach! We were first on!


It was brilliant, if a little scary when she got up and down as you do get thrown forward and backwards quite a bit! It was something we really wanted to do and we really enjoyed it. Everyone who was sunbathing on the beach was staring as we trotted along!
I was grinning like a Cheshire cat for most of it! I really loved it!






After our Camel ride, we headed into the other 2 pools again and had a walk around the gardens. We bumped into some of the local Peacocks and had another couple of cocktails thanks to it being my birthday! :)




As the sun was starting to set, we headed back inside as we had some other animals to meet that night in Dubai. When we got into the room, it took us a good 5 minutes to realise that someone had been in during the 2 hours we had been in there and dropped off a little gift!


They took a little chocolate cake up for me that we could share between us. It was a really nice touch as as far as I'm aware, no one told the hotel that it was my birthday! Peter says it wasn't him and my parents wouldn't have done it as they wouldn't know how. I've only come to assume that when they took my passport details on check in, they noted the DOB and it flagged something up on their system on the day!


It was **** delicious!

Anyway, we headed then to Mall of the Emirates. It took us a good half hour of driving around the car parks to try and find 1 little car park space for our car! Eventually, after a very long time, we got lucky and waited as one car happily stuck its reverse lights on and we nabbed the spot!

We decided to head to Cheesecake Factory because it's so dammed good. Or so I had been told! We went to one in Charlotte in June when we were in America and I wasn't overly impressed there. This time again, I was failed to be impressed by it! Yes the menu is massive and there's a lot of choice, it's just not brilliant what you actually get! Find it very overrated.


The redeeming factor is of course the Cheesecake, but seeing as we had a chocolate cake back at the hotel, we passed on this and decided to leave the place.

Right next door to the Cheesecake Factory is Ski Dubai, the largest indoor Ski centre in the world and it's in the desert!

We booked a Penguin Encounter the previous day as it was surprisingly cheap. It wasn't what we were originally going to do as we were going to do some of the snow activities that didn't involve Skiing. They had a toboggan run, zorb ball, zipline and some snow tube slides.

We done the Penguin Encounter first as this was booked for 9pm. We donned some more fetching clothes, this time to keep us warm and headed in!



The guy who lead the talk at the start was brilliant. Really good insight into the penguins and how they are looked after without being boring and tedious, something that the previous days Dolphin talker wasn't brilliant at.
It turned out the Penguins had come from Sea World San Antonio which both me and Peter said we'd been to earlier in the year, the guy seemed amazed!

They had 2 types of Penguins; Gentoo Penguins and King Penguins. The encounter included experience with both of them!

Firs up we met the Gentoo Penguins, as they are very young, you couldn't touch them. They were fantastic little creatures which were happy as larry waddling around the area. Both let out a pretty good **** which we were told they do every 20 mins. Again, the lady who done the talk was really informative without being tedious.

We had some photos taken with them and it turns out this was the one we purchased!


We then moved onto the King Penguins which again where phenomenal creatures. 1 of them was particularly hungry and didn't want to give us the time of day, but it was amazing to see.
These ones we could touch and they were so unbelievably soft and cuddly! We also got to give them a little kiss. We had photos taken again, but these didn't turn out very well so settled for just one.

Incredible birthday present that I really really enjoyed! :D

Finally, we had a little look around Ski Dubai at what they had and a chance to say we've been in there. When we got in, we decided we didn't really want to do any of the attractions as it was all upcharged, but it was good to see inside the worlds biggest indoor ski centre!
We took a few photos and left as we were bloody freezing!





We headed back to the hotel as we had to repack and sort our lifes out as it was our last night in the Jebel Ali hotel as we were somewhere else for our last night.
I had a phenomenal birthday from creds to camels and pengiuns it was brilliant! Couldn't have asked for a better day!

Would easily recommend the Abra Boats as an experience and to go along to Ski Dubai even if you don't have an interest in Skiing as there is something for everybody there! We had a brilliant day and I had a 22nd birthday that I'll never forget!


Giga Poster
Day 8 - Saturday 27th September

Our last day over there before we began our long journey back home.

We packed up all our things and checked out from the lovely Jebel Ali, wish we could've taken everything about the place with us home as it was simply lovely! We bid farewell to the hotel through a selfie on the balcony and one last compulsory shot of the pool from our balcony! Wouldn't hesitate to recommend this hotel to anyone especially if wanting to visit Dubai and Abu Dhabi as it's nice situated between the two.



When we had collected it all up and left, we hit the road towards Abu Dhabi. The main thing to do down here was to have a look around the city, visit a few points and get us a few creds along the way!

The one thing that is rated highest anywhere with regards to attractions in Abu Dhabi is the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque. It really is something to see and marvel over. Such an astounding building steeped in decoration.
Tourists are welcomed from all over the world at the Mosque. You must be dressed modestly to visit. This is key for women. Men are fine as long as they are suitably covered. Women have to hire a Abaya for the duration of their visit which is complimentary. This is mainly to cover the head, but also the shoulders and legs.


Women are not allowed to enter without one, so after picking mine up we headed towards the mosque for a good look around the place. Cameras are allowed and pretty much everyone is taking pictures at all times. It really is stunning.

I soon turned into a small sweat box within my little Abaya. With the heat again being in the high 30s, it was soon stuck to me and as I was wearing trousers today, it was even worse!


We spent a good hour in there wondering around and taking photos. Islam is celebrated through decoration and colours and the mosque was incredible. It has the worlds largest piece of carpet in and some of the biggest chandeliers ever created.

The outside of the building was beautiful.



The outside was something like I'd never seen before. This is nothing to what the inside is and how amazing it is to the eye.






Once we had finished marvelling in the building, I dropped my Abaya off and we hit the road again. As we drove on, we stopped briefly to see the scale of the building from a distance. It sure is a wow moment to see it!


Beautiful, that beautiful in fact we return later in the day when it's slightly quieter and the sun is setting, More on that later!

Next part of the day then was to hunt us down some creds to complete our cred whoring out there.

First stop was to be Mushrif Mall, home to yet another Sparky's Fun Park, this time the cred in question was Crazy Twister. A spinner from EOS Rides on a much smaller scale to the ones we had rode earlier in the week. Had a few laps too many and soon enough we had got our +1 and left the area.


We sat and munched a cultural McDonalds in their food court whilst working out our plan for the rest of the day.

Next on the list was Khalidiyah Mall for yet another Sparkys! This one housed Roller Coaster, an aptly named cred! For the first time all week, there were actually other people riding the cred rather than just us looking awkward!
Nothing amazing here, the cred just lapped a couple of times around the Sparky's area! +1


RCDB picture as no photos taken again

16 out of the 17 creds obtained. We had one left to get! This one we knew had been SBNO for quite some time and no real information knowing if it had re-opened at all. RCDB had it listed as operating, but from various places, we knew it was going to be a bit hit and miss whether we got it.

So we entered Abu Dhabi Marina Mall. Today was another baking day in Abu Dhabi with temperatures now easily around the 39/40 degree mark making it quite a hot walk from the car park to the Mall.

When we entered, we had a quick look around the place trying to find an Abu Dhabi shot glass for our collections! Sadly, our attempts weren't rewarded as we found nothing. Marina Mall was very nice though!


Anyway, we headed up to Fun City. The amusement areas are normally always on the top floor and shoved in a corner somewhere. Doing this all week had made us experts in finding the creds!

We came across Shark Coaster, not entirely sure who made this one but it looked of a reasonable size.


RCDB photo again...

Was it open?!

YES it was! We'd done it, managed to get all 17 creds with not a single problem all week aside from Adventureland trying to spite us! Thanks to some free time we managed everything! As I said in the start of my report, there's a possible 3 more we could've got. But due to the location of 2 and the cost of 1, we opted against them!

Shark Coaster weaved all around the play area with some nice helixes! Few laps later and we were done!


We headed back to the outdoor heat and back towards the car. Next thing on our agenda was to have a drive around the city. It was a bit too warm to be walking anywhere, so we opted for our air conditioned car!
Abu Dhabi is certainly the most complete part of the UAE we saw. There is still some construction, but most of it is finished and it looks like a very nice city to spend a few hours!

However, as we found out, there isn't actually much there to really see and do. So our couple of hours was adequate to see all what we needed to.

We braved the heat to have a look at the Marina from somewhere that wasn't a car and it was stunning.



Famous Etihad Towers within their Skyscrapper complex.
As we drove around, we also saw the Emirates Palace and Presidential Palace.




There is certainly a more finished feel to Abu Dhabi than what there is in Dubai! Lovely city, just not much really there to keep you entertained for more than half a day.

We then decided to head back to the Mosque to have a look at it when it was slightly quieter and when the sun was just about to set!





To go into the actual Mosque area, you do need to take your shoes off and leave them outside. The inside of the building was so refreshing and cool with the air con!









Returning my Abaya once again, we headed towards the car to try and decide where to head to for the rest of the evening. I suggested that we headed back to Yas Marina to see the Yas Circuit and see if we could see a little more than what we could when we visited on Tuesday.

This time we found the restaurant area and managed to capture a few good pictures!





The area was very grand and pretty expensive, you could see this by the size of the private boats on the Marina. Stunning to see and will be able to say when I sit down with Peter next month and watch the Abu Dhabi F1 Race that we've been there!
One very happy Peter, we decided to leave food for a while as it was still a bit early!

We had to drop Dusty the hire car off that night as we were staying in a hotel literally on the airports perimeter and our flight was early next morning, so we decided to head once again to the Dubai Mall as this got most of the driving from Abu Dhabi done in one go.

We arrived around an hour and 20 later and dropped the car off in the car park and headed in. It looked a bit clearer out there that night so you could actually see the top of the Burj Khalifa!

First we got some dinner from Carluccio's before heading outside to have one last look at the tallest building in the world and also one of the prettiest on the other side of the water!



We got ourselves a little camel mug from the tat shop as we had a little bit of money left over and jumped back in the car. Our time in Dubai had come to an end and we were both feeling a bit down.

We drove to our hotel by the airport. It took us 3 trips to empty out the hire car and drop everything in our hotel room. All the hotels we stayed in were amazing. This one was good, but a little old fashioned. Glad we stayed in a beach hotel for the main duration of the time we were over there. Still comfortable though!


We then headed to the airport and dropped our dusty off! She done us very well and would really recommend anyone that goes to Dubai to get themselves a car if they can. The fuel is dirt cheap and gives you the ease of getting anywhere you want whenever you want. Also to note, we didn't pay for parking anywhere over there so it's even better.

We jumped in a taxi and headed to the hotel for a quick nights sleep!

Day 9 - Sunday 28th September

The alarm rang around 6am and it was time to pack up and head for home! Sad was an understatement to how we both felt to be leaving.

We got a taxi to the terminal and proceeded to get our boarding passes, managed to change us to a window seat rather than the middle seats Qantas had allocated us when checking in the day before.

We decided to do a bit of shopping! Dubai's Duty Free is massive and because it's out of the EU zone, everything is so so cheap! Made my mum incredibly happy by getting her 400 cigs for £27!!
Amusingly, at the time of buying these, all our Qantas cabin crew were stocking up on cigs and booze too as it is really that cheap in there!
We also got ourselves a few more camel souvenirs.

Our chariot awaited us home!


We boarded onto what was a much fuller flight than what we had flown out on! Soon enough, we were taxing off stand towards the Runway! Sad times ensured as we hit the runway and up we went!


It was a 7 hour flight back to Heathrow. We had some good clear visibility as we were over Europe. To the extent we could see other planes hurting towards us some few thousand feet underneath our 40,000ft altitude. We also got a very clear view of Budapest where we were this time last year!



We landed on time and our holiday was over! :( We were both a little tired, but we had had such an amazing time over there.

I wouldn't hesitate to recommend Dubai and the UAE to anyone. There is so much to do over there from creds and waterparks to mountains and beaches and to buildings and malls.
We had such an incredible time over there and we really enjoyed everything we done! Hoping to make a return visit in a few years time when some of these new park projects are completed!

Thanks everyone for reading! :D


Credit Whore 2016
I have absolutely loved this report, Rach. I'm so glad you and Peter had an amazing time, the places you visited sure do look amazing, as does Dubai and Abu Dhabi anyway.

That mosque you visited looks stunning, for someone who considers them self an atheist I still find other religions fascinating, especially their places of worship, and if I can I will visit a 'place of worship' if I go somewhere exotic. (Mosta Dome in Malta for example and several Jewish synagogues in Poland).

It is certainly a place high on my list of places to go, but I think that'll have to wait until after I finish my degree ;) but if I do go at least I now have my own map of Ferrari World to help me out :lol: