Queer Dubai: Safe for Queer Travelers? – The Nomadic Boys

Author: , August 30th, 2018

Queer Dubai

Dubai is regarded as the Vegas of the Middle East. Just like Las Vegas it’s a new, modern city built in the middle of a desert. Unlike Las Vegas however, you risk getting into quite a bit of trouble if you openly express your sexuality in public…

Dubai is one of the 7 “Emirates” of the United Arab Emirates, a country ruled by a monarchy with Sharia Law in place. The other 6 Emirates are Abu Dhabi (the capital), Ajman, Fujairah, Ras al-Khaimah, Sharjah and Umm al-Quwain.

We explore whether queer Dubai is safe for gay travellers to visit, particularly in light of the anti-gay laws in place.

Is it legal to be gay in Dubai?

Short answer, no. Sadly, in Dubai, good old fashioned Sharia Law rules the school. If you’re caught having consensual gay sex, you face a short prison sentence and deportation.

In reality however, the Sharia police don’t come knocking on your door spying on your every move. The previous arrests of LGBTQ tourists happened as a result of public occurrences, like a Lebanese/Bulgarian lesbian couple kissing on a public beach, or a Pakistani/Filipino gay couple having oral sex in a car. In both situations the couples were arrested, imprisoned for a few months, then deported. One famous trans celebrity, Gigi Gorgeous, was denied entry to Dubai in August 2016 when the immigration staff realised she is trans.

Is there a gay scene in Dubai?

As it’s illegal to be gay here, there is no official gay scene in Dubai or LGBTQ organisation. However, thanks to the large expat population and the 20,000+ Emirates cabin crew who are based here, Dubai is seen as a sort of gay mecca by Arab men from surrounding countries. This is because there are a number of underground unannounced gay events taking place each week.

By Stefan Arestis – Full Story at Nomadic Boys

Dubai Gay Bars

Author: , December 31st, 2016

Dubai Gay Bars

SPEAKERS boom in the darkly lit, smoky room. It’s 2 am and the club is packed with a sea of sweaty, gay men getting their groove on to a Madonna classic — and I’m one of them.

After an all-day drinking session, followed by a spot of impromptu karaoke, during which I made friends with a lovely lesbian couple (we bonded over our love of ‘80s power ballads) I’ve ended up at this underground hotspot. Nothing strange here you might think, I mean, there are gay clubs the world over, right? But what makes this unusual is that I’m not in the relatively liberal West; I’m in Dubai.

A province of the United Arab Emirates governed by a dictatorial royal family and a tourism hotspot attracting the gaze of the world thanks to its constant sunshine and headline-grabbing world’s “biggest” and “tallest” buildings, shopping malls and man-made islands. Like Las Vegas, Dubai was built in a desert from nothing and like Vegas, Dubai (in the Arab world anyway) is known as sin city.

By Paul Ewart – Full Story at news.au.com

Dubai in One Photo

Author: , October 1st, 2016

Dubai - Alain

These photos show Dubai in a nutshell. You’ve seen the city’s futuristic and postcard-perfect skyline many times, perhaps, but you’ve never seen a photo that speaks volumes of contradictions that aren’t really hard to see.

At Jumeirah Beach, where these photos were taken, these camels and their master go for a walk along the beach, luring sunbathers and tourists for a short ride, in exchange of few dirhams.

By Alain – Full Story at Keep CValm and Wander

The Most Beautiful Starbucks in the World

Author: , July 9th, 2016

Starbucks Dubai - Alain

A friend (whom I’ve never seen in ages) and I went to Ibn Battuta Mall in Dubai with one purpose – to see, try and experience what it’s like sitting in the most beautiful Starbucks in the world. Well, apparently.

It’s not just gorgeous but it’s grand and magnificent! The high ceiling dome filled with Persian-inspired art is tantalizing. The arches are resplendently monumental that you’d feel so small when you’re under them.

The thing about traveling during Ramadan in the Middle East is that most restaurants are open only after sunset. This Starbucks shop is no different. We were there around 5:30 in the afternoon but they informed us they’d start serving people at 7 in the evening. All we could do was pose and be natural in front of the camera.

By Alain – Full Story at Keep Calm and Wander

View from the Top of Burj Khalifa

Author: , March 10th, 2016

Burj Khalifa

The view from the top of Burj Khalifa in Dubai shows the fast-growing pace of wherever the city is heading to. Since The Burj is the tallest building in the world, the other skyscrapers you see when you’re overland look nothing but skinny matchsticks from above. It is amazing to see the vast expanse of the desert that still surrounds the city—and, piece by piece, buildings are starting to rise in the middle of it.

Best time to visit: Go in the morning. And if possible, be one of the first few people to be there when it opens. I love the serenity when there are only few mortals walking around sans selfie sticks. And the sun isn’t blinding yet, good for your camera lenses when taking photos. But, if you love sunset and night views, then, you know what time to go.

By Alain – Full Story at Keep Calm and Wander

The Divers at Dubai Mall Waterfalls

Author: , February 25th, 2016

Divers at Dubai Mall Waterfalls

Dubai Mall won’t stop surprising you with lots of things to do. It’s a mall not just about shopping but there’s also so much work of art everywhere. There’s one installation art that impressed me most—the Dubai Mall Waterfall where silver-colored sculptures of divers complement the cascading, gentle flow of the waterfall itself.

The waterfalls gush through the entire four floors of the mall.

By Alain – Full Story at Keep Calm and Wander

Burj Al Arab Dubai is Not a Seven-Star Hotel – Keep Calm and Wander

Author: , February 5th, 2016

Burj Al Arab Dubai - Alain

Burj Al Arab Dubai is not a certified seven-star hotel in the world. You read the title right.

No one ever rated it as such. In fact, its website doesn’t boast of itself as “the only seven star hotel in the world.” No, they don’t use that, too, in their advertising anywhere. Also, the hotel doesn’t rate itself as five-star hotel but a luxury hotel. Period.

And oh, if you’re really curious how much will it cost you for a night, check here. The truth is: a British journalist dubbed it as the “world’s only seven star hotel” during its press briefing. She was so impressed that she rated it herself–and the world believed her. So, now, no one can ever stop the gossip she spearheaded. LOL….

By Alain – Full Story at Keep Calm and Wander

The Tallest Building in the World – Keep Calm and Wander

Author: , January 22nd, 2016

Burj-Khalifa-Facade-10

Burj Khalifa in Dubai is the world’s tallest building. Or tower. From a distance, it looks like a futuristic spire that goes or points nowhere but up. It is Dubai’s most-famous structure, eclipsing Burj Al-Arab, the world’s first 7-star hotel. It is Dubai’s centre of attraction or the city’s “apple of the eye.” It is the most dominant sight wherever you are in the city.

Visiting this wondrous structure, I’ve learned that it holds and breaks numerous records worldwide. Here’s some of them:

Burj Khalifa is the world’s tallest freestanding tower (2,722 feet), a record previously held by Toronto’s CN Tower.

By Alain – Full Story at Keep Calm and Wander

Dubai’s Arabian Nights – Keep Calm and Wander

Author: , January 15th, 2016

Dubai - Alain

Arabian Nights is, perhaps, associated with talented belly dancers showing off their dancing prowess to the delight of the crowd (mostly men?) while breathing their hookah in and out. Throw it with an rhythm of the inviting arabic music and the air is filled with amorous desires for mid-eastern beauties with hypnotizing, tantalizing gazes that would stick in your memory forever.

Ok, I think that’s a very graphic description that raises internal libido—Hollywood style.

While staying in Dubai for 4 days, I joined a desert sunset safari just 45 minutes drive outside the city. The sunset, of course, was magnificent–but that’s another blog post later here.

By Alain – Full Story at Keep Calm and Wander

Carlos Melia: Seven Hours in Abu Dhabi

Author: , November 9th, 2015

Carlos Melia - Dubai

My connection in Abu Dhabi with ETIHAD Airways was of 7 hours, so my options where. either to stay at the airport and enjoy the fantastic ETIHAD Business Class Lounge, or go an explore Abu Dhabi for the first time… of course you I chose the second one. I did my research, and with either of my passports Italian/Argentinean, VISA to enter the UAE was not required. So I decided to spend my connection time exploring the destination. For more insight on my Abu Dhabi experience check out my Instagram Photo Gallery on my recent visit.

Carlos Melia - DubaiThanks to the help of the Tourism Office of Abu Dhabi and the professional services of Arabian Adventures, a luxury tour operator servicing not only the UAE but also Qatar, Bahrain, and the upcoming destination of Oman, I managed to discover for the first time, the capital of the the United Arab Emirates. As I arrived, since I was flying Business Class, I was given a FAST TRACK card which go me out of the airport in less than 20 minutes. My luggage was checked in all the way through so, I didn’t have to worry about that. As I walked out of immigration, my lovely guide for the day Odette, and my driver with a luxury card were both waiting for me with a sign under my name, and off we went to explore Abu Dhabi,

First obligated stop, was the incredible Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque. Considered to be the key for worship in the country. A structure which unites the cultural diversity of Islamic world, the historical and modern values of architecture and art. The design of the Sheikh Zayed Mosque has been inspired by Persian, Mughal and Moorish mosque architecture.

Next stop, the Abu Dhabi Heritage Village. Very touristy, but quite interesting when you need to see the destination in only a couple of hours. This reconstruction of a traditional oasis village provides an interesting glimpse into the emirate’s past. Traditional aspects of the desert way of life, including a campfire with coffee pots, a goats’ hair tent, and a falaj irrigation system, are attractively displayed in the open museum. There are workshops where craftsmen demonstrate traditional skills, such as metal work and pottery, while women sit weaving and spinning. The craftsmen are happy to share their skills, and may occasionally give you the chance to try them out. The little spice shop is a treat – you can get a range of dried herbs, handmade soap and plenty of chatter.

Carlos Melia - DubaiFollowing stops, included driving around Abu Dhabi, passing by the area of Corniche, and a stop at the Grande Dame of Abu Dhabi, the Emirates Palace Hotel. The Corniche Road spreads across an impressive eight kilometres of manicured waterfront that includes children’s play areas, separate cycle and pedestrian pathways, cafes and restaurants, and the Corniche Beach – a lifeguarded beach park. Abu Dhabi’s pristine Corniche beachfront has been awarded coveted Blue Flag status – the internationally renowned eco-label for beaches and marinas that guarantees clean and safe bathing water.

The Emirates Palace Hotel, beyond 5 stars. Unprecedented luxury in the heart of Abu Dhabi, is what Emirates Palace is all about. From our private beach, which stretches across 1.3km, to their very own marina overlooking a private natural bay, their hotel is the ultimate destination for guests.

It was time for a break, to relax and freshen up. Thanks to the hospitality of the lovely Rosewood Hotel Abu Dhabi, I had an uber comfortable suite waiting for me. I had at least 3 hours to take a shower, rest for a while, enjoy a Dirty Martini, have a late lunch at their Lebanese Restaurant Sambusek, have a swim at their outdoor pool and a cocktail at Glo Bar. Now I was ready to head back to the airport and continue my journey onward to Bangkok, Thailand. Read more

There is plenty more I had to see while in Abu Dhabi. But this was the perfect introduction to a destination that it is growing at a unbelievable speed. If time would have allowed, I would have loved to also include into my itinerary the following, you should not miss: The Falcon Hospital, Yas Marina Circuit, Ferrari World, Observation Deck at 300, of course a night in a dessert, and many more. But this are all the many reasons, why I should plan to return. Thank you Arabian Adventures and my excellent guide Odette for such a lovely day exploring the capital of the United Arab Emirates.

By Carlos Melia – Full Story at the Carlos Melia Blog