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Old 26th July 2020, 22:13   #1
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Default Quintessential Dubai - A first timer's holiday log! Ft. Dubai Drives & Car Vault

  • Coconut Oil
  • Banana Chips
  • Mohanlal Mammootty
  • Puttu Kadla
  • Porotta Beef

and finally
  • Duphai / Gelf (ahem... Dubai/Gulf pronounced 'properly'!)

What's with the list? Everyone who has met a Keralite/mallu will know this. It is the quintessential list of stuff that defines us, or used to make fun of us - depending on which side you stand! No Keralite can return from vacation without a pack of coconut chips, no dish is made without coconut oil, no filmstars get more respect than Mohanlal & Mammooty, and a typical breakfast means Puttu kadla with a typical roadside eat-out being Porotta beef.

And then comes Dubai! Keralites love Dubai, supposedly - with a good number of NRIs in the Gulf countries. I've often heard others joking that every extended family in Kerala will have at least one person working in the Gulf countries - and funnily enough, even I had an uncle there earlier - and a few friends now. So naturally, a vacation to Dubai would have been on top of the list. But then, for my first international vacation last year - we chose another Indian favourite - Thailand. This was back in August 2019 and was for the whole family (Wife, mom & dad). Travelogue - https://www.team-bhp.com/forum/trave...-vacation.html (Thailand: Phuket, Krabi & Bangkok - A family vacation)

Soon after, the lady wanted a vacation just for the two of us - and her shortlist had only one destination of choice - Dubai. So off we went in October 2019 and below is my first timer's account of 'touristy' Dubai -

Quintessential Dubai - A first timer's holiday log! Ft. Dubai Drives & Car Vault-20191026_171943.jpg
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Old 26th July 2020, 22:14   #2
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Planning

Air Tickets and VISA

We had never tried Emirates before and it was a bucket list item for her. So choosing the airline was easy! Back then, the round trip cost us 40k INR.

However, one useful tip here - Application for e-visa is made easier if the airlines chosen is Emirates. Typically - the VISA application requires a sponsor and thus many choose to file it via a travel agency (AFAIK), but with return tickets booked via Emirates - the state-backed company is your sponsor for VISA.

Indians do not have the option of VISA on arrival in Dubai, and hence the best choice is the 90 days tourist VISA. The cost was 13,728 INR for the two of us.

Travel Insurance

Opted for Religare as an add-on along with our primary insurance cover. USD 100000 cover for each costed 1047 INR.

Hotel

Selected Atana Hotel, Barsha Heights for the best VFM it offered during the time. Outside of the city, but easily accessible and with good facilities but value pricing compared to other choices we looked at!

Forex

Got it home delivered via www.bookmyforex.com. Had used their services earlier for the Thailand trip as well, and no issues were faced this time around too.

Pre-booked activities

Used www.klook.com for the local activities. We pre-booked the below -
  • Burj Khalifa Observation Deck - At The Top (Prime Time Entry. 4:30 PM)
  • Dubai Aquarium and Underwater Zoo Basic Entry
  • 99 Minute Marina Boat Tour - 5:00 pm slot.
  • Evening Desert Safari Tour by Royal Eagle Tours

All activities were good and certainly recommended to go via Klook. Especially for the Burj observation deck and the aquarium - both these counters had long queues for walk-in visitors.

SIM

Free 'du' SIM was provided along with the klook pre-booked vouchers and could be collected from the airport itself. Just had to recharge it for a small amount.

Transportation

Uber is available easily, but Careem offers slightly cheaper options. While at it - do try the Uber ONE (Tesla) option too - only had a very small premium over the regular when I tried.

BUT - The public transportation system is so amazing - you would rarely need to use a cab. Metro / Tram / Bus / Monorail - all of these are connected at various points, and if properly planned - you wouldn't even need to get out of the air-conditioned pathways to switch between the different services.

Itenerary

Was kept simple. The goal was not to see the entire Dubai in just five days, but only a few chosen ones - not more than one place a day.
  • Day 1: Arrive in Dubai. Relax. Take an evening walk in Palm Jumeriah nearby.
  • Day 2: Relax in the morning. Visit Dubai Mall in the evening for Burj Khalifa, Aquarium and Fountains.
  • Day 3: Relax in the morning. Desert Safari post noon.
  • Day 4: No fixed plans.
  • Day 5: Relax in the morning. 90 minutes boat tour of the Marina in the evening.
  • Day 6: Return travel.
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Old 26th July 2020, 22:15   #3
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Day 1: Bangalore -> Dubai, Relax for the afternoon + Short evening stroll at 'The Pointe', Palm Jumeriah.

The plan for Day 1 was simple - Get to Dubai, check-in and relax. If time and situations permit - visit the 'The Pointe' to see the famed man-made Jumeriah islands by sunset. Although the place was selected primarily due to the location being adjacent to the hotel, it turned out to be an excellent decision. There was a drop and pickup bus service scheduled by the hotel at regular intervals, and the point certainly is a beautiful location by sunset. (PS: Hotel rates clearly affected by the COVID situation as seen in the below picture!)

Quintessential Dubai - A first timer's holiday log! Ft. Dubai Drives & Car Vault-screenshot-20200717-9.57.03-am.png

Emirates turned out to be an average experience! Have heard that most Emirati staff hate the India sector due to surplus of labourers and this attitude seemed a bit evident in their service IMHO - not done to your paying customers! Food was good though - and the timings were rather convenient too. We were in Dubai by 12:45 PM.

Quintessential Dubai - A first timer's holiday log! Ft. Dubai Drives & Car Vault-20191024_091313.jpg

The change in landscape after crossing the ocean is rather fascinating! After a point - you really tend to appreciate all the greenery we see in India.

Quintessential Dubai - A first timer's holiday log! Ft. Dubai Drives & Car Vault-20191024_132554.jpg

Immigration was not too hectic in Dubai, and soon we were out of the airport after collecting the local SIM card. Airport taxi mainly consisted of Fortuners and Innovas, and we received an all too familiar Crysta. Some of the sights down the road -

Quintessential Dubai - A first timer's holiday log! Ft. Dubai Drives & Car Vault-20191024_150157.jpg

Dubai Frame is one of the highlights of the city and over the next few days - we would receive many recommendations from friends and family to visit the place, but it just didn't happen. It is supposed to be a giant picture frame, with the modern Dubai to one side and the old world souks to the other.

Quintessential Dubai - A first timer's holiday log! Ft. Dubai Drives & Car Vault-20191024_150310.jpg

A humble Honda Unicorn reminds me of home while gazing at the grandeur of the frame. Two-wheelers from the Indian market like the Unicorn and Bajaj Pulsar are common in Dubai, especially with delivery agents.

Quintessential Dubai - A first timer's holiday log! Ft. Dubai Drives & Car Vault-20191024_150316.jpg

Hotel Atana turned out to be an excellent bargain deal. Very nice facilities, a cosy room and good pricing in comparison.

Quintessential Dubai - A first timer's holiday log! Ft. Dubai Drives & Car Vault-20191024_153218.jpg

Nice glass area with a cityscape view. Note - It is not really close to the city, but well connected by the metro station which is at a walkable distance (10 minutes walk). The hotel also offers pickup and drop facilities to multiple landmarks nearby, including the metro station.

Quintessential Dubai - A first timer's holiday log! Ft. Dubai Drives & Car Vault-20191024_153600.jpg

Settled in and ordered a late lunch from the in-house menu.

Quintessential Dubai - A first timer's holiday log! Ft. Dubai Drives & Car Vault-20191024_160601.jpg

Quintessential Dubai - A first timer's holiday log! Ft. Dubai Drives & Car Vault-20191024_160652.jpg

As mentioned above, Atana has a nice value-add feature - they offer drop services to various nearby locations. We wanted to take an evening walk nearby at the Palm Jumeriah - and well, turned out they had a shuttle ready for the evening and dropped us off at 'The Pointe'. A nice little open complex and food court at the end of the Palm, with a beautiful view of the Atlantis.

(Below pic from Google Maps)
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Nice place for an evening walk. Really enjoyed the place and took it slow for the first evening in Dubai - counting cars, watching the sunset, photographing the Atlantis, taking a night stroll through the dimly lit walkways and having dinner at one of the open (but expensive) eateries there.

Quintessential Dubai - A first timer's holiday log! Ft. Dubai Drives & Car Vault-20191024_180733.jpg

View at the end, overlooking the Atlantis.

Quintessential Dubai - A first timer's holiday log! Ft. Dubai Drives & Car Vault-20191024_180950.jpg

Atlantis, the Palm! A couple of photographers were trying to get a good shot of it -

Quintessential Dubai - A first timer's holiday log! Ft. Dubai Drives & Car Vault-20191024_181052.jpg

So I gave it a shot as well! A Very difficult task though - considering I wasn't carrying a tripod! Anyways, one of the rare occasions when I managed to take out the camera from the bag. Mobile phone did the job everywhere else!

Quintessential Dubai - A first timer's holiday log! Ft. Dubai Drives & Car Vault-img_8144.jpg

No social distancing back then! The open gym had good participation levels and good loud music was being played as well. Quite a nice way to exercise!

Quintessential Dubai - A first timer's holiday log! Ft. Dubai Drives & Car Vault-20191024_183204.jpg

The walkways, however, were devoid of a crowd, dimly lit and quite nice for a slow walk.

Quintessential Dubai - A first timer's holiday log! Ft. Dubai Drives & Car Vault-20191024_183652.jpg

Variety dining options were available, and we chose 'The Kasap' for its Turkish cuisine. The restaurant has open dining available, and the food was rather tasty as well. Went with the waiter's recommendation - Lamb Shaslik. Good, tasty food - though this dimly lit picture doesn't do justice!

Quintessential Dubai - A first timer's holiday log! Ft. Dubai Drives & Car Vault-20191024_190539.jpg

Complimentary Turkish Tea to wash it down. Didn't quite enjoy the flavour at first, but a nice unique tea experience indeed.

Quintessential Dubai - A first timer's holiday log! Ft. Dubai Drives & Car Vault-20191024_195710.jpg

Back at the hotel, post a nice, relaxing Day-1 in Dubai:

Quintessential Dubai - A first timer's holiday log! Ft. Dubai Drives & Car Vault-20191024_212410.jpg

Initially thought these cars belonged to the guests, but turned out these were rentals! Oh damn - wish I could afford to take one of these babies for a spin.

Quintessential Dubai - A first timer's holiday log! Ft. Dubai Drives & Car Vault-20191025_055843.jpg

View from inside the room:

Quintessential Dubai - A first timer's holiday log! Ft. Dubai Drives & Car Vault-20191024_224157.jpg

By the end of the day, we had the currency sorted with all major denominations in hand. Didn't face much of an issue converting the bigger notes in Dubai, and most shops were happy to give back the required change post-shopping.

Quintessential Dubai - A first timer's holiday log! Ft. Dubai Drives & Car Vault-20191025_050331.jpg

Last edited by CrAzY dRiVeR : 26th July 2020 at 22:40.
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Old 26th July 2020, 22:17   #4
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Day 2 - Part 1: Early morning drive with a good old friend and BHPian crazybiker46

Our original plan was to relax and take the morning easy - for we had pre-booked the Dubai Mall visit for the evening - along with tickets for the Burj Khalifa and the Dubai Aquarium as well - all inside the mall premises. And the wife did exactly that. I, on the other hand, had a blast of a day - thanks to this guy - BHPian and good friend crazybiker46. I hadn't given him a heads-up, just dialled him casually while walking around the previous night and he was at the hotel by 5 AM on the next. Anif owns a beautiful little hot hatch - the Focus ST, and also recently aquired a nice little Porsche. Hope he blesses us with an ownership report at the earliest.

Simple pleasures in life - an unexpected early morning drive, meeting up with some bikers, drooling at awesome cars! And falling in love with the city - the same morning! LOL! All thanks to this BHPian -

Quintessential Dubai - A first timer's holiday log! Ft. Dubai Drives & Car Vault-screenshot-20200402-2.26.43-pm.png

Early morning drive in his Focus ST -

Quintessential Dubai - A first timer's holiday log! Ft. Dubai Drives & Car Vault-20191025_061326.jpg

Pitstop at ENOC to catch up with the weekend crowd, whereas I take a moment to admire his hot hatch. Too bad we don't have such choices in the Indian market! Just look at the sinister thing - even if we had this in the Indian market, those tints would have been illegal and the alloys - impractical. Such beauties are best enjoyed abroad.

Quintessential Dubai - A first timer's holiday log! Ft. Dubai Drives & Car Vault-20191025_062622.jpg

Bikers and Jeepers galore!

Quintessential Dubai - A first timer's holiday log! Ft. Dubai Drives & Car Vault-20191025_062724.jpg

I love early morning drives - it is just pure peace. Never planned one in Dubai, but sitting shotgun on this beautiful highway drive was just bliss! Key takeaway: When in Dubai, accelerate towards the roundabouts.

Quintessential Dubai - A first timer's holiday log! Ft. Dubai Drives & Car Vault-20191025_064530.jpg

Watching the camels walk past, while we wait for the bikers to catch up!

Quintessential Dubai - A first timer's holiday log! Ft. Dubai Drives & Car Vault-20191025_072142.jpg

Angry little ST:

Quintessential Dubai - A first timer's holiday log! Ft. Dubai Drives & Car Vault-20191025_070752.jpg

Quintessential Dubai - A first timer's holiday log! Ft. Dubai Drives & Car Vault-20191025_070815.jpg

Driving back into Dubai - the typical skyline seen with the Burj in the distance:

Quintessential Dubai - A first timer's holiday log! Ft. Dubai Drives & Car Vault-20191025_082431.jpg

Last edited by CrAzY dRiVeR : 27th July 2020 at 00:44.
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Old 26th July 2020, 22:18   #5
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Day 2 - Part 2: Checking out Dubai Drives Meet & Greet at Car Vault.

Another unexpected, but brilliant twist to the day - thanks to crazybiker46. When he first proposed that we take a peek at this event happening at a 'shop' - I was quite scepitcal. We had planned activities later on in the day, and I was not sure what to expect to see in a shop! Little did I know the actual event was conducted by 'Dubai Drives' with their drool-worthy collection of member's cars, along with CarVault - a premium used supercar dealership.

Quintessential Dubai - A first timer's holiday log! Ft. Dubai Drives & Car Vault-instimage.jpg

Beautiful old world charm with a modern retro-classic. Jaguar XK120 with the modern, but retro-styled Morgan Aero 8 Coupe. This image was shared by Morgan Motor Company and the owner reached out after a few days.

Quintessential Dubai - A first timer's holiday log! Ft. Dubai Drives & Car Vault-20191025_084351.jpg

One of the stars at the meet - the Lexus LFA. Seeing one for the first time brought back memories of the Top Gear review where Hammond described how the car made them eat humble pie for their prejudices against the brand.

Quintessential Dubai - A first timer's holiday log! Ft. Dubai Drives & Car Vault-20191025_084438.jpg

Not exotic - But I liked the sober exclusivity of the Jaguar XK8 -

Quintessential Dubai - A first timer's holiday log! Ft. Dubai Drives & Car Vault-20191025_084530.jpg

No such attitude with the Mustang. It stands as a proud little muscle car should!

Quintessential Dubai - A first timer's holiday log! Ft. Dubai Drives & Car Vault-20191025_084555.jpg

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Quintessential Dubai - A first timer's holiday log! Ft. Dubai Drives & Car Vault-20191025_084850.jpg

Hot hatches turnout - Focus ST takes on the Megane RS:

Quintessential Dubai - A first timer's holiday log! Ft. Dubai Drives & Car Vault-20191025_084609.jpg

Timeless design! Modern-day BMW designers should learn a thing or two from this classic E30:

Quintessential Dubai - A first timer's holiday log! Ft. Dubai Drives & Car Vault-20191025_084628.jpg

Fifth-generation (R34) Skyline GT-R. Drool!

Quintessential Dubai - A first timer's holiday log! Ft. Dubai Drives & Car Vault-20191025_084645.jpg

Quintessential Dubai - A first timer's holiday log! Ft. Dubai Drives & Car Vault-20191025_085657.jpg

E31 8 - Series:

Quintessential Dubai - A first timer's holiday log! Ft. Dubai Drives & Car Vault-20191025_084723.jpg

R35 Nissan GT-R v/s J29 Toyota Supra. Delicous!

Quintessential Dubai - A first timer's holiday log! Ft. Dubai Drives & Car Vault-20191025_084745.jpg

Beautiful Ferrari 348 in a rare (for a Ferrari) shade of blue:

Quintessential Dubai - A first timer's holiday log! Ft. Dubai Drives & Car Vault-20191025_084844.jpg

Ah! When Ferrari used to have sexy manual gearboxes!

Quintessential Dubai - A first timer's holiday log! Ft. Dubai Drives & Car Vault-20191025_084950.jpg

A humble blue roadster next to Ferrari, but one of my favourite designs! The Datsun 240Z.

Quintessential Dubai - A first timer's holiday log! Ft. Dubai Drives & Car Vault-20191025_084958.jpg

Beautiful, isn't it? In fact, I was sad when Nissan revived the Datsun brand to make cheap small cars for emerging markets like India. Quoting myself -

Quote:
Originally Posted by CrAzY dRiVeR View Post
I had no idea personal connection with the Datsun brand and its history, but I just loved this one particular car - the 240Z. I mean, just look at it. What clean lines and proportions - this could very well have been a poor man's Ferrari at one point.

This car represented Datsun in my mind till Nissan resurrected the brand to make models like the Go and Go+.
Glad I could see it next to a similar coloured Ferrari later on in life -

Quintessential Dubai - A first timer's holiday log! Ft. Dubai Drives & Car Vault-20191025_085010.jpg

Mean looking Nissan Silvia:

Quintessential Dubai - A first timer's holiday log! Ft. Dubai Drives & Car Vault-20191025_085037.jpg

Cute little Honda S2000:

Quintessential Dubai - A first timer's holiday log! Ft. Dubai Drives & Car Vault-20191025_085231.jpg

Italian muscle - Ferrari 348 GTB:

Quintessential Dubai - A first timer's holiday log! Ft. Dubai Drives & Car Vault-20191025_085048.jpg

And American muscle - The Dodge Viper:

Quintessential Dubai - A first timer's holiday log! Ft. Dubai Drives & Car Vault-20191025_085449.jpg

As many BHPians would know, this car is indeed a familiar face in the Kerala supercar scene:

Quintessential Dubai - A first timer's holiday log! Ft. Dubai Drives & Car Vault-20191025_085527.jpg

And more of American muscle - the 'Vette.

Quintessential Dubai - A first timer's holiday log! Ft. Dubai Drives & Car Vault-20191025_085243.jpg

Iconic Japanese muscle - Evo 6. You can read a beautiful article on this particular car here.

Quintessential Dubai - A first timer's holiday log! Ft. Dubai Drives & Car Vault-20191025_085112.jpg

The Evo X pales in comparison! But then again, its really sad knowing that this generation would be the last of the series!

Quintessential Dubai - A first timer's holiday log! Ft. Dubai Drives & Car Vault-20191025_085219.jpg

Pristine NA1 NSX! Sheer beauty!

Quintessential Dubai - A first timer's holiday log! Ft. Dubai Drives & Car Vault-20191025_085144.jpg

Mclaren mp4-12c! The design has not aged very gracefully, has it?

Quintessential Dubai - A first timer's holiday log! Ft. Dubai Drives & Car Vault-20191025_085201.jpg

Speaking of timeless designs - See this shiny behemoth - Cadillac Eldorado!

Quintessential Dubai - A first timer's holiday log! Ft. Dubai Drives & Car Vault-20191025_085210.jpg

More humble origins and ones we can visualize closer to home. Suzuki Jimny shares a parking lot between its offroader friends - the Jeep Wrangler and the Land Rover Defender.

Quintessential Dubai - A first timer's holiday log! Ft. Dubai Drives & Car Vault-20191025_085750.jpg

A closer look at the Jimny with the Wrangler. Will help someone trying to decide between a Jimny and a Thar. Jimny looks all nice and fine on paper till you meet it in person and realize that it is just too small a car to make sense for anyone but those looking at a hardcore off-roader, and probably a second or third car in the family. Good luck to the 1000s of sales per month predictions, especially with that 1.5 petrol motor that runs 4000rpm at 100 kmph! Love it but just can't buy it!

Quintessential Dubai - A first timer's holiday log! Ft. Dubai Drives & Car Vault-20191025_085814-copy.jpg

Last edited by CrAzY dRiVeR : 27th July 2020 at 17:22. Reason: Typo
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Old 26th July 2020, 22:19   #6
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Day 2 - Part 2 (contd): Checking out Dubai Drives Meet & Greet at Car Vault.

Nice silver paint shade on this Ferrari 458:

Quintessential Dubai - A first timer's holiday log! Ft. Dubai Drives & Car Vault-20191025_085917.jpg

And then there is this! The custom wrapped Ferrari that previously belonged to famous Youtuber 'Mo Vlogs'.

Quintessential Dubai - A first timer's holiday log! Ft. Dubai Drives & Car Vault-20191025_091416.jpg

Pure awe! The hardcore Porsche 911 GT3 RS.

Quintessential Dubai - A first timer's holiday log! Ft. Dubai Drives & Car Vault-20191025_085934.jpg

And some British elegance - The Aston Martin V8 Vantage:

Quintessential Dubai - A first timer's holiday log! Ft. Dubai Drives & Car Vault-20191025_084704.jpg

Quite a pretty lineup, isn't it?

Quintessential Dubai - A first timer's holiday log! Ft. Dubai Drives & Car Vault-20191025_085055.jpg

And a lovely 718 Boxter on the opposite end:

Quintessential Dubai - A first timer's holiday log! Ft. Dubai Drives & Car Vault-20191025_085133.jpg

Another star on the show - A beautifully maintained Lancia Delta Integrale!

Quintessential Dubai - A first timer's holiday log! Ft. Dubai Drives & Car Vault-20191025_085950.jpg

That rear! All childhood memories of 'Colin McRae Rally - The game' comes rushing back:

Quintessential Dubai - A first timer's holiday log! Ft. Dubai Drives & Car Vault-20191025_091333.jpg

A menacing sight to welcome one into the Car Vault showroom! A Polaris Slingshot:

Quintessential Dubai - A first timer's holiday log! Ft. Dubai Drives & Car Vault-20191025_090128.jpg

Take a look at this one! Alfa Romeo 4c launch edition.

Quintessential Dubai - A first timer's holiday log! Ft. Dubai Drives & Car Vault-20191025_090145.jpg

Like I said earlier - the MP4 12C did not age all that gracefully!

Quintessential Dubai - A first timer's holiday log! Ft. Dubai Drives & Car Vault-20191025_090154.jpg

Ferrari 550 Maranello with the front-engined v12, RWD grand-tourer layout and a manual gearbox.

Quintessential Dubai - A first timer's holiday log! Ft. Dubai Drives & Car Vault-20191025_090258.jpg

That iconic face!

Quintessential Dubai - A first timer's holiday log! Ft. Dubai Drives & Car Vault-20191025_090320.jpg

2017 McLaren 570S. Now we're talking better design from McLaren!

Quintessential Dubai - A first timer's holiday log! Ft. Dubai Drives & Car Vault-20191025_090419.jpg

And the 720S. Now we're really talking!

Quintessential Dubai - A first timer's holiday log! Ft. Dubai Drives & Car Vault-20191025_090458.jpg

But they're not even close to this old beauty! Mercedes-Benz SLR McLaren! Still drop-dead gorgeous after all these years!

Quintessential Dubai - A first timer's holiday log! Ft. Dubai Drives & Car Vault-20191025_090646.jpg

Yes! Thats the menacing Urus parked near to the SLR.

Quintessential Dubai - A first timer's holiday log! Ft. Dubai Drives & Car Vault-20191025_090722.jpg

A lesson in doing big wings with style! The Porsche GT2 RS:

Quintessential Dubai - A first timer's holiday log! Ft. Dubai Drives & Car Vault-20191025_090801.jpg

Ferrari 308 GTS:

Quintessential Dubai - A first timer's holiday log! Ft. Dubai Drives & Car Vault-20191025_090929.jpg

Shelby Cobra 427:

Quintessential Dubai - A first timer's holiday log! Ft. Dubai Drives & Car Vault-20191025_091123.jpg

I was under the impression this is a Caterham, but realized later that it is a Westfield instead.

Quintessential Dubai - A first timer's holiday log! Ft. Dubai Drives & Car Vault-20191025_091154.jpg

One for the sheer size - Mercedes-Benz G500 4x4 Brabus

Quintessential Dubai - A first timer's holiday log! Ft. Dubai Drives & Car Vault-20191025_091449.jpg

One more look at that Alfa Romeo 4c

Quintessential Dubai - A first timer's holiday log! Ft. Dubai Drives & Car Vault-20191025_091009.jpg

And it was time to bid farewell to Car Vault and their nice collection of cars.

Quintessential Dubai - A first timer's holiday log! Ft. Dubai Drives & Car Vault-20191025_090106.jpg
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Old 26th July 2020, 22:20   #7
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Day 2 - Part 3: Burj Khalifa, Dubai Mall, Dubai Aquarium and fountain:

The day was supposed to be all rest in the morning, and that is exactly what wife did!

She slept nicely and woke up by around 10AM, and by the time I received the dreaded call - Anif had already dropped me off at the lobby of the hotel. Talk about perfect timing! Time for the free morning breakfast, but to me - it already felt like a day's worth! What more to a BHPian that one awesome morning with exotic cars! More was lined up for the day though -

By noon, we took the metro to Dubai Mall. The place is majestic and screams of the wealth and power of the Emirates!

Quintessential Dubai - A first timer's holiday log! Ft. Dubai Drives & Car Vault-20191025_155019.jpg

Beautiful as well. The artificial lake in the middle separates the Mall from Souk Al Bahar - the “sailor’s market”.

Quintessential Dubai - A first timer's holiday log! Ft. Dubai Drives & Car Vault-20191025_155104.jpg

The Burj Khalifa towers over everything else, making other skyscrapers look like pillars for the tower's front lobby!

Quintessential Dubai - A first timer's holiday log! Ft. Dubai Drives & Car Vault-20191025_160159.jpg

Take the world's fastest elevator to get to the 124th floor -



The view from up top is unparallelled - perhaps bettered only by the views from a plane -

Quintessential Dubai - A first timer's holiday log! Ft. Dubai Drives & Car Vault-20191025_164808.jpg

Quintessential Dubai - A first timer's holiday log! Ft. Dubai Drives & Car Vault-20191025_165722.jpg

Funny part though - is realizing that you still have a long way to go! Looks like a skyscraper from up here as well!

Quintessential Dubai - A first timer's holiday log! Ft. Dubai Drives & Car Vault-20191025_170702.jpg

We selected the evening 4PM express slot and it was well worth it for the sunset views -

Quintessential Dubai - A first timer's holiday log! Ft. Dubai Drives & Car Vault-20191025_165254.jpg

As mentioned earlier - I love sunrise / sunset views! This day was special because of the beautiful surise witnessed during the morning drive, and the special sunset from the top of the tallest platform in the world.

Quintessential Dubai - A first timer's holiday log! Ft. Dubai Drives & Car Vault-20191025_174141.jpg

Beautiful Dubai aquarium has a giant display facing the general mall audience. Looks like the place for selfies and photoshoots and was pretty crowded here, compared to the actual facility inside.

Quintessential Dubai - A first timer's holiday log! Ft. Dubai Drives & Car Vault-20191025_145738.jpg

Entrance through the underwater tunnel! Frankly - it is rather small and looks majestic only in pictures.

Quintessential Dubai - A first timer's holiday log! Ft. Dubai Drives & Car Vault-20191025_115207.jpg

Some of the sights from inside -

Quintessential Dubai - A first timer's holiday log! Ft. Dubai Drives & Car Vault-img_8152.jpg

Quintessential Dubai - A first timer's holiday log! Ft. Dubai Drives & Car Vault-img_8162.jpg

Quintessential Dubai - A first timer's holiday log! Ft. Dubai Drives & Car Vault-20191025_115312.jpg

Quintessential Dubai - A first timer's holiday log! Ft. Dubai Drives & Car Vault-20191025_115848.jpg

This one below was interesting - Two-tone Indian glass catfish, with its transparent flesh and skeleton-like appearance.

Quintessential Dubai - A first timer's holiday log! Ft. Dubai Drives & Car Vault-20191025_120812.jpg

Quintessential Dubai - A first timer's holiday log! Ft. Dubai Drives & Car Vault-20191025_120827.jpg

Some more sights from inside -

Quintessential Dubai - A first timer's holiday log! Ft. Dubai Drives & Car Vault-20191025_121153.jpg

Quintessential Dubai - A first timer's holiday log! Ft. Dubai Drives & Car Vault-20191025_122018.jpg

Quintessential Dubai - A first timer's holiday log! Ft. Dubai Drives & Car Vault-20191025_122150.jpg

Quintessential Dubai - A first timer's holiday log! Ft. Dubai Drives & Car Vault-20191025_122223.jpg

Quintessential Dubai - A first timer's holiday log! Ft. Dubai Drives & Car Vault-20191025_122351.jpg

Quintessential Dubai - A first timer's holiday log! Ft. Dubai Drives & Car Vault-20191025_122812.jpg

Once outside - it was time for the Dubai Fountain Show.

Quintessential Dubai - A first timer's holiday log! Ft. Dubai Drives & Car Vault-img_8188.jpg

Quintessential Dubai - A first timer's holiday log! Ft. Dubai Drives & Car Vault-img_8202.jpg

Quintessential Dubai - A first timer's holiday log! Ft. Dubai Drives & Car Vault-20191025_183419.jpg

Quintessential Dubai - A first timer's holiday log! Ft. Dubai Drives & Car Vault-20191025_183353.jpg

Quintessential Dubai - A first timer's holiday log! Ft. Dubai Drives & Car Vault-20191025_183443.jpg

Burj is a majestic sight in the night as well. However, in retrospect (after the mess this COVID situation has created) - the Arab countries could have been a bit more careful in their expenditure?

Quintessential Dubai - A first timer's holiday log! Ft. Dubai Drives & Car Vault-img_8192.jpg

Met up with family friends and went to their side of the city for a nice dinner at 'Naadan Adukkala Restaurant'. Like the name suggests - it is one of the many Kerala restaurants in Dubai, and didn't disappoint!

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Day 3: Relax in the morning. Desert Safari in the evening:

Plan for Day 3 was quite simple - Take the famous desert safari, or atleast the touristy version of it. For a more realistic experience of the desert, please read this beautiful thread - https://www.team-bhp.com/forum/inter...rs-decade.html (My Automotive Life in Dubai - Memoirs of a Decade)

Our ride arrived by noon - an old, slightly broken looking Toyota Landcruiser. It had clearly seen a lot of abuse - but didn't look prepared to give up just yet. We had 45 minutes of drive out of the city, before heading offroad.

Quintessential Dubai - A first timer's holiday log! Ft. Dubai Drives & Car Vault-20191026_163358.jpg

Finally offroad and picking up some sand. Funny part - The a/c blower was throwing sand on me sitting in the front passenger seat, and I had sand everywhere on the dress by the time we were done.

Quintessential Dubai - A first timer's holiday log! Ft. Dubai Drives & Car Vault-20191026_164157.jpg

Driver met up with a group of cars from his company - before all of them moved ahead in a convoy.

Quintessential Dubai - A first timer's holiday log! Ft. Dubai Drives & Car Vault-20191026_164929.jpg

Pictures don't do justice to the drive -

Quintessential Dubai - A first timer's holiday log! Ft. Dubai Drives & Car Vault-20191026_164935.jpg

Quintessential Dubai - A first timer's holiday log! Ft. Dubai Drives & Car Vault-20191026_165010.jpg

Quintessential Dubai - A first timer's holiday log! Ft. Dubai Drives & Car Vault-20191026_165127.jpg

A short video taken handheld from inside the LandCruiser during the dune drives -



Finally figuring out the real Toyota! My experience with the brand has mainly been limited to the Etios and Fortuner 2WD Automatic -

Quintessential Dubai - A first timer's holiday log! Ft. Dubai Drives & Car Vault-20191026_170654.jpg

No wonder the brand has a huge fan following.

Quintessential Dubai - A first timer's holiday log! Ft. Dubai Drives & Car Vault-20191026_170811.jpg

The mid-way stop is their desert camp sight. An hour of rest was scheduled where tourists can engage in other activities of their interest before dinner and other camp activities began.

Quintessential Dubai - A first timer's holiday log! Ft. Dubai Drives & Car Vault-20191026_171128.jpg

While wife decided to take a break, I walked out to get a proper view of the sunset from a nearby small dune.

Quintessential Dubai - A first timer's holiday log! Ft. Dubai Drives & Car Vault-20191026_171423.jpg

Climbing for a good view!

Quintessential Dubai - A first timer's holiday log! Ft. Dubai Drives & Car Vault-20191026_171629.jpg

View from the top -

Quintessential Dubai - A first timer's holiday log! Ft. Dubai Drives & Car Vault-20191026_173739.jpg

As mentioned earlier - I just love the sunrise and sunset. This view was priceless!

Quintessential Dubai - A first timer's holiday log! Ft. Dubai Drives & Car Vault-img_8265.jpg

Quintessential Dubai - A first timer's holiday log! Ft. Dubai Drives & Car Vault-img_8275.jpg

Quintessential Dubai - A first timer's holiday log! Ft. Dubai Drives & Car Vault-img_8280.jpg

Back at the camp - dinner was served along with customary performances to entertain the audience. Starting with a Tanoura performance -

Quintessential Dubai - A first timer's holiday log! Ft. Dubai Drives & Car Vault-img_8307.jpg

Then Fire dance -

Quintessential Dubai - A first timer's holiday log! Ft. Dubai Drives & Car Vault-img_8341.jpg

And lastly - Belly dance -

Quintessential Dubai - A first timer's holiday log! Ft. Dubai Drives & Car Vault-img_8361.jpg

Was dropped back at the Hotel by around 9PM, and we crashed for the night soon after!

Last edited by CrAzY dRiVeR : 26th July 2020 at 23:51.
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Day 4:

Nothing was planned for Day 4! Since a few reviews of the desert safari drive mentioned motion sickness and all - we had planned to take the day off and rest, just accounting for the worst case scenario! However - nothing like that happened and so, we had a full day to ourselves to come up with ad-hoc plans! And the plan was simple - roam around the city using public transportation, have a nice lunch at a very famous old restaurant in town, and visit friends post lunch. In short - just a relaxing day off!

Calling Uber for the first sector. From the Hotel Atana to Atlantis, the Palm. The premium and electric options are nice in Dubai and give you an upgrade for a relatively small premium. The normal option was showing an estimate of around 43 AED, with the electric costing ~48 AED.

Quintessential Dubai - A first timer's holiday log! Ft. Dubai Drives & Car Vault-screenshot_20200521223322_uber.jpg

Ride for the morning - 'Uber' cool Tesla Model S. Wife was expecting a Reva sort of vehicle to arrive, when I mentioned the choice of electric Uber - and got a shock with the sheer class of the Tesla.

Quintessential Dubai - A first timer's holiday log! Ft. Dubai Drives & Car Vault-20191027_090001.jpg

Have a look at this classy official video from Uber One -



Drooling at the famed giant touchscreen. Refinement, torque and acceleration was evident even in the passenger seat with a grin plastered on her face as well. BUT -

Quintessential Dubai - A first timer's holiday log! Ft. Dubai Drives & Car Vault-20191027_090126.jpg

Interior quality seemed like a big letdown. Tesla is certainly no match for the German luxury cars in that aspect and even the Toyota Camry is better for the chauffer-driven! But anyways - a good experience to have, till Tesla makes it to the Indian market someday.

Quintessential Dubai - A first timer's holiday log! Ft. Dubai Drives & Car Vault-20191027_090246.jpg

Atlantis, the Palm is a 5-star luxury resort, but you have other adjacent public spaces to visit - including the Aquaventure Waterpark and the lost chambers aquarium along with some commercial sections.

Quintessential Dubai - A first timer's holiday log! Ft. Dubai Drives & Car Vault-20191027_093606.jpg

Did not interest us much though - and soon we headed back to mainland using another of Dubai's transportation services - the monorail.

Quintessential Dubai - A first timer's holiday log! Ft. Dubai Drives & Car Vault-20191027_093859.jpg

Views from the monorail -

Quintessential Dubai - A first timer's holiday log! Ft. Dubai Drives & Car Vault-20191027_094508.jpg

Quintessential Dubai - A first timer's holiday log! Ft. Dubai Drives & Car Vault-20191027_094555.jpg

Quintessential Dubai - A first timer's holiday log! Ft. Dubai Drives & Car Vault-20191027_095150.jpg

Monorail took us from the Atlantis Monorail station to Al Ghubaiba Marine Transport Station. The good part about Dubai is the ease with which you can switch transport modes. a/c walkway connects the monorail station with the Al Ghubaiba Metro Station. And soon we were on yet another of Dubai's public transportion - the Tram.

Quintessential Dubai - A first timer's holiday log! Ft. Dubai Drives & Car Vault-20191027_101048.jpg

After a couple of stops - we had to switch once again, to get to our lunch destination. This time, on to a bus! Good part though - one card can be used to buy tickets on all these platforms.

Quintessential Dubai - A first timer's holiday log! Ft. Dubai Drives & Car Vault-20191027_122356.jpg

Lunch destination - The unassuming Ravi Restaurant, famous for their Pakistani / North Indian style dishes, especially non-vegeterian. Many articles and reviews can be read online, but here is an interesting one I came across, before planning the visit - https://fridaymagazine.ae/life-cultu...egen-1.2092320

Quintessential Dubai - A first timer's holiday log! Ft. Dubai Drives & Car Vault-20191027_123606.jpg

Yummy Mutton (Peshawari, IIRC!). Had a particular smoked flavour about it that I absolutely loved -

Quintessential Dubai - A first timer's holiday log! Ft. Dubai Drives & Car Vault-20191027_124700.jpg

And delicious butter naan to go along with it! Mouth-watering stuff! Wife ordered Biryani and wasn't really up to her taste though.

Quintessential Dubai - A first timer's holiday log! Ft. Dubai Drives & Car Vault-20191027_124704.jpg

Post lunch, back to the public transport system - first up a bus and then metro to the other side of town, Rashidiya. While waiting in the cool comfort of the bus stop. Bus arrived on the dot, as per the time mentioned in Google maps!

Quintessential Dubai - A first timer's holiday log! Ft. Dubai Drives & Car Vault-20191027_132618.jpg

From the station, we were picked up by friends and proceeded to their home 30 minutes away. From Tesla -> Monorail -> Tram -> Bus, now it was a personal car, a Toyota Rav4.

What a typical apartment complex garage looks like -

Quintessential Dubai - A first timer's holiday log! Ft. Dubai Drives & Car Vault-20191027_151337.jpg

Spent a good part of the evening there, chatting in the lawn, watching the sunset and the twilight later! A good relaxing day spent in the company of friends.

Quintessential Dubai - A first timer's holiday log! Ft. Dubai Drives & Car Vault-20191027_180131.jpg

Post dinner, we went with their advice to visit the nearby mall - Dubai Festival City, for a short visit and to watch the laser fountain show.

Quintessential Dubai - A first timer's holiday log! Ft. Dubai Drives & Car Vault-20191027_200221.jpg

At the mall - wasting time on their cycling track. Posing below is their son, Russel, a budding car enthusiast -

Quintessential Dubai - A first timer's holiday log! Ft. Dubai Drives & Car Vault-20191027_201939.jpg

Nothing natural about this pose! However, quite an interesting day when it comes to various modes of transport though! Uber Tesla -> Monorail -> Tram -> Bus -> Metro Train -> Private car -> Cycle. And soon we'd be taking a typical Dubai Camry taxi back as well.

Quintessential Dubai - A first timer's holiday log! Ft. Dubai Drives & Car Vault-20191027_202323.jpg

View of the Dubai Creek from Festival City -

Quintessential Dubai - A first timer's holiday log! Ft. Dubai Drives & Car Vault-20191027_201810.jpg

And the laser show. They had a story of a lost elephant playing in the 10 minute show, although not quite obvious in the picture.

Quintessential Dubai - A first timer's holiday log! Ft. Dubai Drives & Car Vault-20191027_210356.jpg

Better seen in the below short video of the climax. There was an Indian-themed festival going on, which explains the Hindi soundtrack -


Last edited by CrAzY dRiVeR : 29th July 2020 at 11:19. Reason: Added Uber One video.
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Old 26th July 2020, 22:22   #10
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Day 5:

Once again we were free in the morning and had a planned activity for the evening. However, since we had nothing else to do - headed out morning itself to visit the nearby 'Ibn Battutta Mall'. Reason: Wife wanted to do some basic shopping. Opted for the premium Uber Black this time around, and was picked up in a Lexus ES. Just because - you can't do this once back in India where Toyota charges a hefty premium for this car.

The driver was of Pakistani origin and seemed genuinely interested and soon the conversation developed into a long chat about the similarity of culture, their love for Bollywood, and how the two communities live together outside of the sub-continent.

Quintessential Dubai - A first timer's holiday log! Ft. Dubai Drives & Car Vault-screenshot_20200521223416_uber.jpg

Ibn Battutta Mall has traditional styling cues and looked quite different from the other modern malls -

Quintessential Dubai - A first timer's holiday log! Ft. Dubai Drives & Car Vault-20191028_105122.jpg

Quintessential Dubai - A first timer's holiday log! Ft. Dubai Drives & Car Vault-20191028_115426.jpg

Quintessential Dubai - A first timer's holiday log! Ft. Dubai Drives & Car Vault-20191028_121306.jpg

On to Dubai Marina post-lunch. We had a boat ride of the Marina scheduled for the evening. Marina is just sheer luxury and shows off the wealth of the Emirates. The entire 3km stretch of the waterway was artificially created and is now lined with luxury properties on either side. If you can afford one - take a Yatch for rent by paying just about 15k an hour!

Quintessential Dubai - A first timer's holiday log! Ft. Dubai Drives & Car Vault-20191028_144541.jpg

We were to take a humble boat ride though, which in itself was quite expensive post the currency conversion. Few pics while waiting for our yellow boat ride -

Quintessential Dubai - A first timer's holiday log! Ft. Dubai Drives & Car Vault-20191028_164255.jpg

Quintessential Dubai - A first timer's holiday log! Ft. Dubai Drives & Car Vault-20191028_170451.jpg

Quirky building construction -

Quintessential Dubai - A first timer's holiday log! Ft. Dubai Drives & Car Vault-20191028_164430.jpg

Boat ride started soon and we were full! People from different countries joined us - but probably the worst of the lot was a family from India only who were shouting all the time from the first to the last rows in their regional language - despite being possible to take adjacent seats! Such a shame!

Quintessential Dubai - A first timer's holiday log! Ft. Dubai Drives & Car Vault-20191028_171058.jpg

Guide explaining the features of the Marina and some of the major landmarks nearby. Must say that the entire ride was well explained and co-ordinated.

Quintessential Dubai - A first timer's holiday log! Ft. Dubai Drives & Car Vault-20191028_171301.jpg

Slowly heading out of the Marina into the open waters -

Quintessential Dubai - A first timer's holiday log! Ft. Dubai Drives & Car Vault-20191028_171420.jpg

Quintessential Dubai - A first timer's holiday log! Ft. Dubai Drives & Car Vault-20191028_172335.jpg

The last landmark of the Marina before hitting the open ocean - The Dubai Eye.

Quintessential Dubai - A first timer's holiday log! Ft. Dubai Drives & Car Vault-20191028_173430.jpg

Ain Dubai, or Dubai Eye is an XL sized version of the London Eye, which will be the highest in the world at a height of 210 metres, when completed.

Quintessential Dubai - A first timer's holiday log! Ft. Dubai Drives & Car Vault-img_8371.jpg

Yet another beautiful sunset -

Quintessential Dubai - A first timer's holiday log! Ft. Dubai Drives & Car Vault-20191028_173631.jpg

From the majestic sunset on top of the Burj Khalifa, to the mesmerising sunset view in the desert, to this, in the Persian Gulf - it would be really difficult to pick my favourite moment from this trip.

Quintessential Dubai - A first timer's holiday log! Ft. Dubai Drives & Car Vault-img_8379.jpg

A few scheduled stops and cliche photo opportunities -

Quintessential Dubai - A first timer's holiday log! Ft. Dubai Drives & Car Vault-20191028_174757.jpg

In front of the Atlantis -

Quintessential Dubai - A first timer's holiday log! Ft. Dubai Drives & Car Vault-20191028_175008.jpg

The 7-star Burj Al-Arab etc -

Quintessential Dubai - A first timer's holiday log! Ft. Dubai Drives & Car Vault-20191028_180253.jpg

Before returning to the mainland -

Quintessential Dubai - A first timer's holiday log! Ft. Dubai Drives & Car Vault-20191028_182251.jpg

The Marina is just a beauty post nightfall -

Quintessential Dubai - A first timer's holiday log! Ft. Dubai Drives & Car Vault-20191028_184426.jpg

Quintessential Dubai - A first timer's holiday log! Ft. Dubai Drives & Car Vault-20191028_184520.jpg

An excellent way to mark the end of this trip.

Quintessential Dubai - A first timer's holiday log! Ft. Dubai Drives & Car Vault-20191028_184906.jpg

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Default re: Quintessential Dubai - A first timer's holiday log! Ft. Dubai Drives & Car Vault.

Day 6:

We had an afternoon flight out of Dubai, so nothing else planned other a nice breakfast at the hotel. Had a better experience with Emirates on the return flight and post another beautiful sunset - we were back home in Bangalore by 8 PM -

Quintessential Dubai - A first timer's holiday log! Ft. Dubai Drives & Car Vault-20191029_164350.jpg

Epilogue:

Dubai is the city of dreams for many - and was truly an eye-opener for me in terms of the comfort offered by a modern city.

From all the artificial canals and lakes to the man-made greenery and grandeur in the middle of the desert, from the rugged harshness of the outdoors to the flawless public transportation system and infrastructure, from exotic supercars to delicious culinary choices - six days went like a dream indeed! We left the city hoping to return another time - to experience some of the other wonders this city has to offer - like Sky Dive Dubai, Dubai Frame, etc - and even nearby wonders like Abu Dhabi and its Ferrari World etc.

Speaking of cars, the scene is just so vibrant there - Offroaders, hot hatches, well priced used supercars - the whole deal! Wish we had at least half of the range available in India.

Makes me wonder though - our beautiful country is blessed with an abundance of everything and all they had was a desert!

Last edited by CrAzY dRiVeR : 26th July 2020 at 23:43.
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Old 27th July 2020, 02:57   #12
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Default re: Quintessential Dubai - A first timer's holiday log! Ft. Dubai Drives & Car Vault.

Note from Support: Thread moved from the Assembly Line to the Travelogues section. Thanks for sharing!
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Old 27th July 2020, 06:37   #13
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Default re: Quintessential Dubai - A first timer's holiday log! Ft. Dubai Drives & Car Vault

Lovely narrative and beautiful pictures, thanks for sharing @crazydriver

We visited Dubai couple years ago and your Travelogue brought back great memories. Made my day already, no more Monday morning blues

Last edited by vb-san : 27th July 2020 at 17:40. Reason: Corrected as requested
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Old 27th July 2020, 06:47   #14
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Thanks for showing me the changes if the decade.

Regarding Visa on arrival for Indians, I may add

https://traveltriangle.com/blog/duba...y-for-indians/

So even a valid US visit visa also entitles visitor Indian to obtain VOA in Dubai
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Old 27th July 2020, 07:23   #15
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Brilliant T'log Sujai. Very well written.

A car/TeamBHP meet during a vacation shows the level of enthusiasm in you .
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