Melissa C. Koh

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The Best of Dubai


Having traveled to Dubai before, being part of The Dubai Ultimate Challenge gave me  the opportunity to experience to this intriguing and exciting country through a different and refreshing lens. During each challenge, the pressure was on create the best Instagram stories within a limited amount of time. We were stretched to capture the essence of each location/ attraction and portray it in the most engaging way, in a short 30 sec video! 

I’m glad I still took the time to capture some stills to document my experience in amazing Dubai! 

We embarked on a desert safari to experience the pristine desert, native wildlife and rich culture of Dubai with Platinum Heritage– the only sustainable desert safari in Dubai that strongly stands for ecotourism. 
Travelling is one of the best ways to experience the beauty of the natural world and to learn about different cultures. Ecotourism is responsible and sustainable travel to natural and cultural areas that conserves the environment, preserves the culture and provides economic support to the local people. Their Desert Safaris are part of the bigger picture – conserving the natural environment and cultural heritage of Dubai and the United Arab Emirates. We had a fantastic experience driving through the desert in a vintage land rover before stopping to learn about Falcons. When the sun set, there was a certain calmness and quiet about the desert that seems somewhat enchanting. The night ended with an amazing campfire dinner with music and dance! This has definitely got to be the main highlight of my trip in Dubai.

Experiencing both the old and new dubai from a vantage point can be quite awe-inspiring. It makes me wonder in amazement at how this city or desert land, has so quickly transformed over the years. There is always beauty in preserving the old and also a great way for a country to retain the most of it’s culture and heritage. On the other hand, the modern Dubai proves Dubai’s luxury and modernism. It was a surreal experiencing spectacular panoramic views across the city.
This metaphorical bridge connects the emirate’s rich past with its magnificent present, celebrating the story of Dubai from its early establishment to its ambitious plans for future development.
I would highly recommend this experience to those visiting Dubai as you’ll not only get beautiful birds’ eye view of the city, but you’ll be brought through a very wonderful journey to experience the old and new Dubai.

La Mer is a fine addition to Dubai’s attractions and it was my first time visiting this place even though I’ve been to Dubai a couple of times before. It was a good place to relax, wine and dine, and have a relaxing and slow day. Besides, it’s right next to the beach, if you’d like to pop over, it’s a stone throw’s away. This world-class public beachfront developed by Meraas is aimed at diversifying the fabric of Dubai’s offering to both visitors and residents.

I love the countless dining options and offerings accompanied with breathless views of the endless clear blue sea. We dined at a really fun restaurant with a balcony. Could have stayed longer at this place if time permitted.

The Atlantis Palm offers spectacular sweeping panoramic views of the Atlantis Gulf through its underwater aquarium with its enormous floor-to-ceiling windows. Enter and be transported to the marine realm of Dubai and keep your eyes peeled for unique sea creatures that you have yet to see! We swapped this challenge with Team Indo as I was terrified of going into the tank with the sharks and fishes. I wouldn’t mind experiencing it from outside through the glass though. Now I’m thinking: What can you NOT find in Dubai?

This morning, we got to experience the true authentic side of Dubai at the Dubai Sheikh Mohammed Centre for Cultural Understanding! This place is perfect to learn about the history and traditions of Dubai through award-winning cultural programs and guided tour in a relaxed environment. We roamed around and enjoyed the gorgeous stone buildings.

The Dubai Textile Souk is a traditional market of textile products located in Dubai’s historic Bur Dubai neighbourhood. A walk into the market and you’d see a myriad of colorful fabrics from silk to velvet to satin on display, you name it they’ve got it!

There are hundreds of little shops along the aisles and you can give your best shot in bargaining! We were given a task of shopping for 8 people (including ourselves) with just a USD$50 budget! We did it and even had some change left! If you think dubai is all expensive, you definitely haven’t seen what this souk has to offer!

Mirzam Chocolate Makers was a dream come true for a chocolate lover like myself. Stepping into the chocolate factory was heavenly. I ordered myself a cup of hot chocolate.  There was a tasting area that offered diverse spiced and single origin chocolate bars. Each had a unique flavour notes, depending on where they came from.

I really loved that the chocolates had various spices– an attribute to the city which is known for being a busy spice trading port.  They also offered chocolate/cookie making classes, which Team Malaysia, participated in. Meanwhile, we spent our time there whiffing, tasting and indulging in every bit of chocolate we possibly could.

Dubai offers something for every kind of traveller. My itinerary would usually be more skewed towards food, cultural experiences and shopping. But this trip, I had the opportunity to get a taste of the other aspects which Dubai had to offer. I’m always amazed by how fast they build, and how they can so easily make dreams turn into reality. This city inspires me to chase my dreams and to work hard. Thank you for another wonderful experience, Dubai. Till the next!

Watch all episodes on The Dubai Ultimate Challenge here:

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