First of all- I hope everyone’s Holidays and New Year’s celebrations were great and you got to spend time with your loved ones.
For all of my life we have had the same Christmas traditions. The whole family comes together, we eat a bunch of food, we have Santa Claus visiting and everyone has to read a poem / sing a song / dance for every present they got.
This year we decided to do it a bit differently.
Me, my sister and brother all have pretty big age differences. I am 27 (soon 28), Eeva just turned 22 and Richard is 13. Me and Eeva have been to a lot of trips together and she and Richard, but since by the time Richard was 4 years old, I already moved out of home, we had never actually been on a trip the three of us together. So we made it happen.
We wanted to go to a place where no-one in the family had been before and with coordinating the schedules of 6 people, Christmas week was the only one that worked for everyone.
We chose Dubai.
Since I know it’s a popular destination for a lot of Estonians to visit in the colder months of the year, I figured I’d share some of the fun things we did there.
Off we go
We stayed at JBR Sonder Suites located in the Jumeirah Beach area. We absolutely loved the place, since it was huge, great views and nice neighbourhood. We had a kitchen, big living area an four bedrooms, four bathrooms.
Our home for the time in Dubai
Especially good kids still had elves visiting them in Dubai
The first day we just hung out by the beach and the pool. Our luggage for some reason was not put on the plane in Estonia, so we spent the first days mostly lounging.
Jumeirah Beach is a great area to stay. It has a lot of food places, nice water-side walk and like the name says- good beach.
Jumeriah Beach is just a 10 minute walk from Dubai Marina mall and a beautiful promenade. We went there multiple evenings to walk around and enjoy the views.
One of the first sightseeing activities we did was visiting the Dubai Miracle Gardens. It’s a park full of colourful flowers and Disney characters. For kids it’s probably an especially memorable experience and I surely get giddy visiting places like that too.
Dubai Miracle Garden sights
Near the Miracle Gardens is a very cool place called The Global Village. They have a lot of countries, their food and specialities represented. We watched a stunt show, ate and walked around. It is ginormous so if you want to look through the whole place you can easily spend most of the day there.
One of the days we went on a Desert Safari. It consisted of ATV driving, jeep cruise in the desert, sand boarding, dune pictures and dinner with 6 different Arabic shows. That was one of the favourite things for most of our crew, that we did on the trip.
Since there are a lot of service providers, it might get a bit overwhelming at times looking what to choose. Pretty much all the things we did were recommendations from friends who have lived in UAE or visited multiple times. That was also the case with the Safari. We had great jeep driver, who made the journey even more enjoyable.
Desert safari with all of its activities was definitely a highlight
Dubai has a lot of “the biggest / tallest / fastest in the world” attractions. One of them is the grandiose City Center with the world’s tallest building- Burj Khalifa. Obviously- we couldn’t miss seeing that.
In the evening time we visited the Dubai Frame. On one side you can see the Old Dubai and on the other side the New City Center. It also tells a bit about the history of the city and the future vision. Very neat experience.
Dubai Frame views
At night there is a big fountain and light show in front of Burj Khalifa, which is beautiful. Next to Burj Khalifa, Dubai Mall is definitely worth a visit. For the underwater world lovers- Dubai Aquarium, one of the largest of its kind, is also located in the Mall.
In between sight-seeings, eating and swimming, a little bit on working out and reading fit in the daily agenda too.
“Do your squats and read your books. Grow your booty and your mind”
Since Abu Dhabi is just an hour drive away from Dubai we rented a car one day and took a road-trip to the capital of United Arabic Emirates.
We visited the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque, which was amazing.
Mind-blowing Grand Mosque
On our way back we also explored an area called La Mer, which is a beach front near the City Center. It has colourful little restaurants and great vibe. For my Estonians- resembles a bit of Telliskivi in Tallinn. It’s a beautiful place for an evening stroll.
All the previous years our Christmas Eve has been filled with blood sausage, sauerkraut, potatoes, veggies and cakes. This time we had our dinner in Dubai Marina in a place called Pier 7. It is a restaurant with 7 floors, different cousins and a view to the water. We enjoyed Lebanese food.
One day while me and Nick were hanging by the pool, my sister, her boyfriend and my brother went to the Atlantis Waterpark. My 13 year old brother loved every minute of it. As much as I heard from them and saw the pictures- it has some wild and fast tracks but also pretty view to the Palm and to the City.
Overall we really enjoyed our time in Dubai. It is one of the most clean big cities I’ve been in and there is a lot to do for various preferences. Also seems to be very kid-friendly with changing rooms, playgrounds everywhere.
Dubai was great, but the most I cherish the time we got to spend together as a family. So blessed to call my family members one of my best friends!
Wishing you all an amazing 2020- a lot of adventures and memorable moments with close ones!