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’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

Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque – Keep Calm and Wander

Author: , December 17th, 2015

Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque

Whiter than snow, Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque in Abu Dhabi is an incomparable architectural place of worship. It’s not just massive but it is detailed in every way, every corner, every arches, every domes and every minarets. Wherever and whatever your eyes laid on, things and designs are seemed to be expensive, impressive and illusive.

At the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque, Remember These:

Visitors are expected to be covered from head to toe, especially women. That doesn’t mean you’ve got wear a niqab. Women are advised to wear the abaya (a black, full-length outer garment) when entering the premises. Men aren’t allowed to wear shorts. However, you need not worry just in case you’re not dressed properly. You can rent a thobe (for men) and an abaya (for women) at the basement parking. Bring your ID or passport which you can claim back later.

When inside, you just can’t walk around and take all the photos you want. There are certain areas where you’re not even allowed to stand–even if there’s no cordon / cord barrier. Watchful guards are everywhere. So you better behave.

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Keep Calm and Wander – Qasr Al Saneh, A Nabatean Architectural Wonder

Author: , November 24th, 2015

Alain Qasr-Al-Saneh-Madain-Saneh-6

When visiting Madain Saleh (in Saudi Arabia’s Tabuk Province), Qasr Al Saneh would be a good place to start to learn about the Nabatean architecture which are richly obvious in the carved tombs you’ll see everywhere around the area.

If you’ve been to Petra in Jordan, the architectural wonder you’ll find in Madain Saleh isn’t that different from Jordan’s most photographed tourist attraction. They’re actually similar from top to bottom. Only that, Petra is more stunning than these ones here in Madain Saleh.

Do not expect too much to see here if you’re not into history or archaeology. Or if you’re not into taking a selfie in caves that used to be tombs. No more human skulls and bones there but some are certainly creepy.

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

What to Do in the United Arab Emirates

Author: , March 23rd, 2013

camelOver the past several years, the United Arab Emirates has skyrocketed from near-obscurity to one of the premier destinations in the Middle East. This is because of the incredible city of Dubai, the ever-global Emirates airlines and the Emirates’ variety of incredible poker, which you can click here to learn more about.

Although the tallest structure in the Emirates (and, well, the world) is Dubai’s Burj Khalifa, the Emirates’ glitzy, glamorous cities are really only the beginning of things to do in the United Arab Emirates, which is also known simply as the “UAE.”

Authored By Robert Schrader – See the Full Story at Leave Your Daily Hell

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From Athens to Singapore 9 of 12: Dubai

Author: , October 22nd, 2010

by Mike Shaughnessy, Traveler

Email Mike

Purple Roofs is happy to welcome back an old friend. Last time, Mike regaled us with tales of his trip through South America. This time, he brings us details from his two month trip from Greece to Singapore. Enjoy!

Dubai, UAE

Dubai, UAEOur next stop in the United Arab Emirates was the amazing but crazy new city of Dubai. Not sure how to describe this place, I am sure they would not appreciate it if I were to say it is like Las Vegas on steroids or Las Vegas times 100.

Dubai, UAE

This is where they built from sand the huge manmade Palm Islands that can be seen from space by the naked eye, built the world’s tallest building from the top of which you are so high you can actually see the curvature of the earth.

Dubai, UAEIn fact something like 30% of all the tallest buildings in the world are here in Dubai. The icon of Dubai is the huge Burj Hotel on a manmade island that looks like a large sail boat, another self-proclaimed seven star hotel (ratings actually only go up to five stars).

The world’s largest theme park, called Dubai World, is/was under construction but also because of the world economic crash it is currently $60 billion in debt default and causing a nervous banking situation here in the Middle East.

With the world economic slowdown, some of the underway huge construction projects not yet completed in Dubai have been put on hold and construction workers sent back to their home country. The advantage is that now it is much easier to find a taxi, there is less traffic in Dubai and you can buy a local apartment or property at half the inflated price before the economic slowdown.

However, it seems much of the city is still under construction as everywhere you look there is metro stations or buildings or malls still being worked on and edging more toward completion.

Dubai is known to be a great place for shopping, with low prices on all kinds of electronics and gold items. Again, there are no import duties levied on any of the goods and no taxes to pay on purchase.

Skiing in Dubai

The world’s largest malls are located in Dubai; one of the malls even has an indoor snow skiing mountain, another mall has an indoor ice skating rink.

They have built some world class golf courses here on the sands in Dubai. Since this is really a desert originally consisting of nothing but sand there is constant irrigation going on everywhere to keep the grass, flowers and trees all green.

When my friend Jerry visited here a few months ago he enjoyed the air conditioned huge malls as a place to go to be cool and get out of the desert heat.

Across from the Dubai Mall are the huge dancing fountains. They are very much like the Fountains of Bellagio in Las Vegas, only bigger.

ubai, UAEDubai has clean, large well functioning city bus system. All of the bus shelters are enclosed and fully air conditioned so you can stay cool and comfortable while you are waiting for the air conditioned bus to arrive.

The new metro is space age looking and fully computer controlled. I was told it was driverless too but I saw a man sitting in the front car of the train.

One portion of Dubai is being developed as “Internet City” a place where all of the high tech companies are concentrating.

Dubai, UAEDubai city is divided by what is called Dubai Creek which is really a huge salt water inlet. There are three ways to cross from one side of Dubai Creek (old Dubai) over to the other side; modern highway bridges, road tunnels and the old fashioned abra (boat taxis) that cost one Dirham or about 25 cents to cross.

The traditional way of life in Dubai has disappeared in the shiny reflection of glass and glitz of high rise buildings and modern highways. Some parts of old Dubai still retain the souk (market) and Arab feelings as they go about their business in this mix of old and new. In the many huge modern malls every brand name product can be found. There are even the ever present MacDonald’s and KFC in the food courts.

Dubai MosqueThe largest mosque in Dubai “only” holds 1,000 worshippers which is tiny compared to the 20,000 in Muscat or 40,000 capacity in Abu Dhabi. However, mosques in Dubai are like Starbucks in the US, one on every corner.

I went out to that man-made Palm Islands development. The sheer size of it is hard to comprehend, it was sea prior to dredging up all that sand, no wonder you can see it from space with the naked eye. There are a total of 17 fronds on the palm, each lined with condos, apartments, houses and marinas for the wealthy. Many of the buildings are still being completed and much of the completed ones are still not occupied. I cannot imagine where enough people will come from to occupy all the living units put up in this massive development!

IKEA DubaiTraveling along the center of the ‘palm’ is both a major highway and a monorail system. The entire palm development is separated from the mainland so you cross over a bridge to reach the beginning of the palm.

There are breakwater developments circling the entire palm. All the way out at the very end, furthest out in the ocean, is a huge new glitzy Las Vegas style five star hotel called the Atlantis, named after the lost city under the sea.

Dubai AquariumOne of the newest fun things to do in Dubai now is to go out to Atlantis and spend the day playing in their huge water park, swimming with dolphins, or taking a gigantic water slide down into their lagoon. They also have a big aquarium called The Lost City.

Dubai has the world’s tallest building, scheduled to open in January 2010 so just in two months.

Dubai a few months ago opened its first metro line to assist people getting to and from work and to lessen the traffic during the commute hours. There is a second metro line under construction to open next year. This makes it the only Emirate in the UAE to have a major public transportation system. This comes none too soon because with all the cars there is growing air pollution.