I stopped in Dubai for 2 days in June 2013. It was the first place I ever went completely alone. I’d travelled alone before but had always had a tour group or friends to meet me at the other side.
It wasn’t typical of a “traveller” experience- more just like a holiday alone. I stayed in a hotel and didn’t really make any friends but I didn’t mind as I was only there for a short time and I honestly loved exploring on my own. That was the first taste of true freedom I ever had. Being able to do whatever I wanted whenever I wanted was so exciting for me and it started my addiction for solo travel.
Having read online about the strict rules and dress code in Dubai, I made sure to have my shoulders and knees covered at all times. I felt so safe and never had any problems or negative experiences. However two of my friends went to Dubai shortly after me wearing shorts and strappy tops and said so many Arab men where shouting out of their vehicles and making rude comments. So maybe that’s something to keep in mind (especially as a solo female)- always respect the cultural norms.
I stayed at Marina View Hotel Apartments in a huge apartment which was located conveniently close to the malls and obviously the marina. I spent my first day wandering around the marina and enjoying the sunshine but didn’t last very long due to it being 42 degrees. I lounged around the pool, wrote in my journal and prepared a devotion I had to do for my trip to Cambodia. Then I took a nap and ordered room service. So wild… Probably not the best use of my first day in Dubai but I was enjoying just relaxing and living like a queen.
The next day I looked into doing a skydive over the palm but was told they didn’t run it in the summer months as it was too hot. So instead I went up to the top of the Burj Khalifa which is the tallest building in the world. The views were incredible and I realised then how much of a challenge it is to get photos of yourself when you’re travelling alone. But it also helped me to just enjoy the moment rather than worrying about getting a good picture. I then had my first experience eating alone in a restaurant (pretty liberating), had my first bubble tea, walked around Dubai mall for hours (it is HUGE) then watched the dancing fountain show just outside of the mall.
Now that I’m more confident travelling by myself I’d love to go back to Dubai and do all of the things I missed last time. Jumeirah beach, the skydive, Atlantis water park and a desert safari. I was kind of scared to do these things by myself but I’m sure I’ll get another chance one day. Regardless, I’m glad that Dubai was my first experience of travelling completely solo that gave me so many wonderful memories.