Dubai is a beautiful city full of amazing architecture. From the highest building in the world (the Burj Khalifa Tower – standing at 828m) to the world’s largest shopping mall (with its own skating rink and aquarium) one thing is sure: you will not be bored in this modern city full of extremes and surprises around every corner.
For the amateur photographer, there are many interesting places to visit and photograph. I took my Canon 80D DSLR and a few lenses but you can take some great pictures with whatever camera you have to hand (be it a DSLR or your mobile phone camera).
There are many stories about how conservative Dubai is but if you are sensible and respectful of other cultures (and Dubai is definitely a multi-cultural city) you should not have any problems. It is a tourist destination and so of course people are taking photos but you should always ask before taking pictures of people as it is illegal if you don’t have permission.
The architecture is truly amazing (Photo # 1) and Dubai has to be one of the most beautiful cities in the world. There is the old part of the city (Dubai was originally a fishing village) and you can take a trip on a river boat and wander round the Souk (Photo # 2) whilst the river is a lovely place to see the sunset (Photo # 3).
There is a large wildlife sanctuary in the city (the Ras Al Khor Wildlife Sanctuary) which is well worth a visit – there’s a huge lake with over 150 recorded species of birds – the dominant species being the flamingo and there were hundreds there when we visited. There are three different viewing hides dotted around the lake (best access is by car or taxi) and it is designed so that the birds are really not disturbed by visitors whilst allowing fabulous viewing conditions (photo # 4).
Whilst in Dubai, try to get out of the city if you can – we visited an abandoned village called Sharjah – apparently empty since the 80s – it’s a hauntingly beautiful place to spend a few hours and you can easily arrange a trip from the city. There’s a mosque and one street of houses, some with furniture still inside (photo # 5) but it is quite an eerie and sad place in some ways. Sunset in the desert, surrounded by sand dunes with not another soul to be seen, was a special experience (photo # 6)
You can’t visit Dubai without a trip to the previously mentioned tallest tower in the world (the Burj Khalifa), though be warned, you usually need to buy tickets beforehand and it is not cheap. You will queue to get in and you will queue to leave, especially if you go at very popular times (as we did for the sunset & evening – photo # 7). Having said that, it is spectacular and well worth the effort – the views are out of this world as you stand so far above everything within sight and as the sun sets it is just breath-taking.
Finally, we visited Abu Dhabi for the day – mostly to visit the Louvre (photo # 8) and the largest mosque in the Middle East (the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque – photo # 9) – fabulous at sunset or sunrise.
We enjoyed our trip there so much we intend to return next year and I am planning to treat myself to a day out with a local photographer who will be my guide for the day – hopefully taking me to some really top photography spots.