If you want to know where to get the best views of Dubai, you should ask a local. That’s why we asked Sidheeque, our Chauffeur of the Month for May.
Twenty years ago, Sidheeque moved to Dubai from Kerala in South India, and five years later he began his career as a chauffeur. After 15 years of transporting locals and tourists alike throughout the city, he has developed a level of expertise that goes beyond being a long-time resident.
“Since I came to Dubai I realized that Dubai is one of the safest cities and is always kept green and clean,” Sidheeque said.
Dubai’s status as one of the fastest growing cities and one of the youngest major cities might have you picturing the future, but Sidheeque pointed out the city has a fascinating past, too.
Did you know the entire region used to be made up of different tribal states? It wasn’t until the early 1970s they joined together to form the United Arab Emirates. These origins and the massive influx of expats make it a fascinating intersection for a variety of different cultures.
See the city from all angles
Dubai is a feat of engineering, showcasing the best in modern architecture, so it’s no surprise Sidheeque has plenty of recommendations for how to see the city skyline.
Start at ground level with a Dhow cruise through Dubai Creek, which goes right through the middle of the city, or opt for a dinner cruise along the coastline. Either way, it’s a relaxing ride with a beautiful view.
Next, take things up a level (124 levels to be exact) and visit the observation deck of the Burj Khalifa, the tallest building in the world. Be sure to buy your tickets ahead of time to make sure you beat the rush and go at a time that suits your plans for the day.
Finally, you can see the city from a true birds-eye-view with a seaplane tour. Whether you’re squeezing in a quick 20-minute tour or opting for a longer trip bundled with a tour guide on the ground, you’re in for a treat.
Sidheeque also highly recommends going on a desert safari. He said the coastline is stunning, but you’re only getting half the experience if you stay in the busy city the whole time. Seize the opportunity to go on a camel ride, go sand surfing, or just soak in one of the most dramatic landscapes our planet has to offer.
Taste the flavors of the region
Dubai is populated by a variety of different cultures, so naturally, the food on offer reflects that.
“I recommend dishes and restaurants like Reem Al Bwadi restaurant, Byblos Restaurant… for Asian food I prefer biryani, and for Arabic, Mandi,” said Sidheeque.
Biryani is a rice dish most popular in India with lots of different spice, vegetable, and meat variations, while Mandi and Mazbi are traditional Yemeni dishes that have become staples across the Arabic world. Mazbi is meat slow-cooked under hot stones and usually served with rice, and Mandi is meat cooked even slower in a pit where it is hung over spice stock and steamed.
Reem Al Bwadi serves Levantine food, which comes from the Eastern Mediterranean region. The best way to get a feel for this cuisine is to order an assortment of small dishes, called meze, to sample a little bit of everything.
Head to Byblos Restaurant for a more low-key lunch of delicious Lebanese food. The restaurant is right in the middle of the city, making it the perfect pit-stop in a day of sight-seeing.