Dubai Travel Photos: futuristic space alien city! Famous skyscrapers, skyline, Arabian spice souk.

Dubai sign, bridge, uae travel

Decisions, decisions. Shall I head towards Dubai or Abu Dhabi? Don’t worry: my travel filmmakers and I went to both Middle Eastern cities, and will be sharing the footage with you soon.

I’ve been fascinated by Dubai for a long time. The Arabian emirate (one of the seven making up the UAE) is like a Jetsons space-age city rising out of the desert. The city is oil-rich, and invests in ritzy building projects to keep tourism and finances flowing.

Dubai tall buildings, skyscrapers

What’s emerged from the sand? A city of the future, with skyscrapers straight out of a science fiction novel. Everywhere we went, we saw more mega-towers under construction.

Dubai metro, subway station, alien city

The Dubai Metro stations resemble gold alien pods, and the subway stops have names like “Internet City” and “Business Bay.”

architecture Dubai, hotels

There’s a feeling of possibility in Dubai; the sense that anything you imagine — a peninsula shaped like a map of the world, a mall that resembles an Egyptian pyramid — can be brought to life. I can’t thank Fairmont The Palm Jumeirah hotel enough for hosting us here.

Cat tshirt and leopard print skirt: Banana Fish, from Closet Child Tokyo
White rabbit clock bag: Amavel, from Shinjuku Lumine

arabian sand, beaches, sunset

Not all of Dubai is high-tech and touristy. You can relax on the beach, or drive about an hour out to experience the sand dunes. (Think Lawrence of Arabia.) Some tourists try “dune bashing,” or speeding up and down the mounds in a thrilling car ride.

arab market, souk, travel tv filming

My crew wanted to capture Dubai’s traditional side, so we rode the green metro line to Al Ras station, and walked a few blocks to the spice and gold souk (market).

Above: Japanese kawaii is everywhere! While we were filming, the store owner came out and demanded five dirhams (about $1.50) for the privilege.

united arab emirates, gold souk, marketplace

Travel filmmakers Eric Bergemann and Melissa Rundle were enthralled by the marketplace lights and action. When I saw the shop sign for “Nirmals,” I couldn’t help but think of Garfield sending Nermal to Abu Dhabi. (Apparently, there are lots of stray cats in the United Arab Emirates…)

arabian jewelry, gold necklaces

Shop windows glittered with gold jewelry. At every step, local vendors called out to us: “Sir, would you like to buy a gold watch?”

middle eastern spices, spice market dubai

The spice souk is one of the least touristy parts of the city. In other areas, such as Dubai Marina, you feel like you’re in Times Square.

middle east eyeliner, kohl liner

One of the vendors spoke to me in excellent Japanese! I was intrigued by the black kohl eyeliner, herbal teas, and bizarre remedies for sale (like a yellow rub for eczema).

exotic spice market, souk spices sale

The spelling may be off, but the spice selection is spot on. On the shelves, you can see shisha (or hookah): a traditional waterpipe for smoking flavored tobacco.

arab checkered headscarf, keffiyeh, arabian men scarf

What’s the dress code for Dubai? The city’s cosmopolitan, and there’s no need to wear a headscarf. However, it’s a good idea to dress on the conservative side (cover your arms and legs), especially in traditional neighborhoods.

This mannequin is wrapped in a keffiyeh, or headscarf worn by Arab men. The colors and meanings vary; you can read more about male headscarves in this Wiki article.

herb market, spices market

I wish our photos could convey the scents and energy of the Arabian market!

Coming up next: we dive into the modern side of Dubai, with photos inside our Fairmont hotel (located on Palm Island), the Burj Al Arab, and one of the world’s largest malls.

Dubai marina, boat cruise ride, boat show

Doesn’t Dubai remind you of an alien city? Do you have questions about traveling here? Leave me a comment, and I’ll try to help you out.



  1. Posted June 4, 2013 at 4:43 am | Permalink

    Great article once again! And I love the Garfield Abu Dhabi song! ;)

  2. Posted June 4, 2013 at 7:53 am | Permalink

    Love the buildings!

    • Posted June 5, 2013 at 9:18 am | Permalink

      yes the architecture is insane!!

  3. Posted June 4, 2013 at 7:54 am | Permalink

    OMG SQUEEEE! I so MUST visit!

  4. Posted June 4, 2013 at 7:54 am | Permalink

    yum & fun

  5. Posted June 4, 2013 at 11:46 am | Permalink

    There’s a certain type of Kohl that cleanses the eyes– it removes the yellowness from the scelera. : ^ ; It’s amazing.

    • Posted June 5, 2013 at 9:18 am | Permalink

      that’s amazing! have you tried it, does it work? never heard of.

  6. Posted June 4, 2013 at 3:06 pm | Permalink


  7. Posted June 4, 2013 at 3:11 pm | Permalink

    so cool

  8. Posted June 4, 2013 at 3:11 pm | Permalink

    ohmygod crazy stuff!

  9. Posted June 4, 2013 at 3:39 pm | Permalink

    Cute outfit! Love, Brenda

  10. Posted June 5, 2013 at 1:43 am | Permalink

    awesome city, especially at night

  11. Posted June 5, 2013 at 2:50 am | Permalink

    I loved your article! Makes me want to go to Dubai even more than I already did! Thank you!

    • Posted June 5, 2013 at 9:19 am | Permalink

      aww I’m so glad to hear! it’s an eye-opening place, I hope you will visit.

  12. Posted June 5, 2013 at 9:14 am | Permalink

    Careful. Cover up.

    • Posted June 5, 2013 at 9:19 am | Permalink

      haha i pulled down my skirt there

  13. Posted June 5, 2013 at 9:14 am | Permalink

    Be careful of the virus out there!

  14. Posted June 5, 2013 at 9:15 am | Permalink


  15. Posted June 5, 2013 at 9:15 am | Permalink

    Love the photos and it looks like a really amazing place!

  16. Posted June 7, 2013 at 2:00 am | Permalink

    Beautiful photography.

  17. Posted June 7, 2013 at 4:59 pm | Permalink

    What a great blog on your visit to Dubai! I always thought that someday I’d like to go there, and your peek into the city only reaffirms that. Plus, gorgeous photos! Can’t wait for more on your trip.

    • Posted June 10, 2013 at 9:48 pm | Permalink

      Yes you must visit, I would go back in a heartbeat!! More pics very soon.

  18. Posted June 7, 2013 at 4:59 pm | Permalink

    Gorgeous photos! I wanna go there so badly!

  19. Posted June 7, 2013 at 4:59 pm | Permalink

    I totally LOVE your hair gurl!

  20. Posted June 7, 2013 at 4:59 pm | Permalink

    Go to dubai….thats a great city<3 ^^

  21. Posted June 7, 2013 at 4:59 pm | Permalink

    Must be nice to be you

  22. Posted June 15, 2013 at 4:02 am | Permalink

    wow wow, very nice. Thank your photos, I think I will come dubai once

  23. Posted September 15, 2013 at 10:00 am | Permalink

    If you say that you should cover your arms and legs in Dubai, why are you wearing a t-shirt and a short skirt?

    • Posted September 16, 2013 at 2:03 am | Permalink

      Hi! I mean that when you visit certain traditional areas and mosques, you should cover up. However, at hotels , tourist attractions and malls like these places I am visiting in this post, there is no need to cover up. Later I’ll do a post about a mosque in Abu Dhabi, where I wear a traditional black robe :)

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