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Updated: Aug 7, 2021
At the end of November 2014 I had the amazing opportunity of going to Dubai with 24 other Instagramers from all parts of Australia. Twenty two of these these guys were selected on how many followers they had as well as the quality of their content. Three of us, including myself won the trip on the merits of a photo entered in an Instagram competition. My photo was a Blue Bottle Jellyfish I shot on Surfers Paradise beach.
Dubai Tourism is also known as Mydubai sponsored and organised the trip to promote Dubai as a destination. They got Australian professional Instagramer @laurenepbath involved and away we all went on the adventure of our lives.
Dubai is a city that has grown out of the sandy desert in an amazingly short amount of time, it's hotels are world class and opulent is a word often used to describe the design and architecture of it's buildings.
We were all treated like kings and each given a villa with a butler at the Madinat Jumeirah Resort that is located along the same beach as the renowned 7 star hotel The Burg Al Arab.
The Madinat Jumeirah was built in the traditional Arabian style and has canals running right through the property. We could opt to travel to our villa by a buggy or an Abra which is what the local boats are called.
Our adventures had begun, We went to the Dubai Mall where we got to see the massive Aquarium and went to Ski Dubai and had a snow skiing lesson in the snow then were sent to see the King Penguins next door who happily posed for my selfie shot.
We had dinner in the desert at the luxurious Al Maha Resort where we also had a Camel ride and met one of their Falcons. Four wheel driving through the desert was also part of the adventure.
We got to go to the most luxurious Spa Resort Zabeel Saray, which had an amazing bathhouse, in fact everything was amazing there where-ever you looked. Detail was in the floor, ceilings and walls of the resort from one of the many themed restaurants to the Penthouse suites where rock stars and celebrities stay.
Another trip we had was to Wildflight Dubai where we had an Instameet with some of the local Instagrammers and met a whole lot of Falcons which is the National bird. Falconry has always been a part of life here and these birds are really quite amazing. They can spot their prey from miles up and swoop down and grab it so fast.
The also had a baby fox and other animals there but the fox cub was the cutest little thing with super pointy ears.
On the image at the right is the arm of Steen Jones, (@steen_jones) fellow Instagrammer who was good enough to hold this Falcon on his arm for my photo. Quite heavy birds after a while apparently.
The image below was shot at the Al Maha Resort where they had a Falconry display, while we had sundowner drinks in the desert followed by an exquisite meal at the resort.
How could the trip of a lifetime get any better you may be asking? What about the trip to the Atlantis on the Palm This is another Palatial hotel resort with amazing facilities, built on the Palm Tree shaped islands that were created for Dubai.
A tour through the hotel, penthouse suite where rock stars and celebrities stay then on to The Lost Chambers Aquarium followed by a few hours spent playing at the Aquaventure waterpark which has some great slides and a very long river ride. What thrilled me was that one of the Tubes goes right through the Aquarium so you can see the fish and everything as you pass through.
Our trip to Dubai was over the UAE National day which was celebrated with the colours of the UAE flag everywhere, special date snacks of all descriptions and a fireworks display where from the beach the whole of the Burg Al Arab was lit up with fireworks and projected light while we snapped away with our camera's on the beach followed by a cocktail party of course.
Our final night was to be another eye opening treat for us all. Not only did we get to enter the Burj Al Arab, the only 7 star hotel in the world, but we got to have Canapés in the penthouse suite which is two levels, multiple rooms designed with the most opulent decor. Revolving bed, gold everywhere including the staircase and bathrooms. This was followed by having a meal across the road at a a world famous Jamie Oliver restaurant.
Burj Al Arab penthouse suite (below: the UAE National day fireworks)