Buddhaful Britt

C'mon Inner Peace… I Don't Have All Damn Day

Nomadic Nirvana: Dubai Layover


In my opinion, Emirates Airlines has too many perks to mention, but my absolute favorite thus far has to be the 21 hour layover option… for Dubai.

Most of us are fascinated with the mere mention of this desert oasis. It conjures up visions of gold plated Rolls Royce’s or pet tigers riding in the passenger seat.

It has always been a top destination on my list, but since I am more of the backpacking economy traveler, I couldn’t imagine laying out the cash to go there.

Which is why I jumped at the chance of a 21 hour layover on our way home from India.

Sure, I could have zipped straight home like most people do, but clearly you don’t know me if you think a direct transit home would excite me.


I did a little research before choosing the extended layover. Americans and much of Europe do not need a visa to exit the airport. Emirates will take your luggage to your final destination, all you need is a well thought-out carry on.

On some occasions, Emirates offers a free hotel and chauffer for a layover longer than 8 hours, but less than 24 hours. Please feel free to ask, they are MORE than helpful.

Customs in Dubai was a piece of cake; we zipped out of the airport in minutes. You should read the rules about bringing medicines or other contraband into the United Arab Emirates, because a lot of things we may find banal… are in fact illegal there.

I left all my vitamins in the checked luggage, and only brought a change of clothes for my son and I.

Yes, I ventured into an Arab country… alone, with my son!   ABSOLUTLEY

I never felt anything but respected. In fact, I felt safer in Dubai than most places I have travelled, so don’t let this stop you from going… just do it. The U.A.E. is welcoming, safe, friendly and FUN!


I chose to stay close to the airport at the Holiday Inn express, and I took the free shuttle service provided. There was a free breakfast buffet at the hotel, which was a welcome surprise after being in India and concerned about the drinking water. We could eat whatever we wanted without fear.

Since our flight arrived in Dubai at 6:30am, we had plenty of time to take a nap and a hot shower. There is a tour desk located in the lobby, so we scheduled the  “Desert Safari” at 3pm, for around $50 a person.

The safari included an intense 4×4 jeep tour of the dunes, camel riding, sand boarding, belly dancer show, ATV rentals in the desert, henna designs, and sunset buffet dinner. This was a 6 hour excursion; I couldn’t believe the price for everything we did.  You would think Dubai was going to be outrageously expensive but this was not the case at all.

The tour driver picked us up at 3pm, and drove us out into the desert. First was the 4×4 dune bashing; some say this is scarier than a roller coaster, but my son LOVED every second of it. It is a bumpy ride, not for the weak of heart but also not too bad.


Then we are taken to the Oasis Palm, where you have plenty of options of things to do. I kept feeling like the episode of Sex and the City where the girls went to Dubai and had their desert picnic. The only thing missing was my girlfriends to have a glass of wine with. Yes, you are allowed to drink in Dubai in hotels or certain tourist areas, but do not get drunk and do not try carry alcohol  from one location to another, you need a permit for that.

For a very long time, my son had this vision of sand-boarding in Dubai being like a warm snow boarding junket. He was very disappointed that it wasn’t as fast, risky or intense as his vision, but instead he and a few guys from Amsterdam found dune-jumping to be a great alternative. The endless Arab desert did not disappoint him after all.

We enjoyed laughs and deep conversation over dinner with some new friends from Pakistan as the sun was setting over the dunes. The dinner was magnificent; honestly I was not expecting much, but I was blown away at the taste, quality, and abundance of food for the humble price of this tour. Dubai was leaving its mark in my heart with each warm and friendly smile we encountered.

After our day in the desert we were dropped off at the hotel around 9pm. There was still PLENTY of time to take a taxi downtown to see Burj Khalifa, the tallest building in the world, and even the Mall of Emirates to see the indoor skiing… which did not close until 1am.

The indoor skiing is also relatively cheap, costing around $14 for ski rental and jackets, but the Burj Khalifa will set you back you a shocking $150. to go to the top.  I opted to save that for the next layover, but there is a STUNNING water fountain show at the bottom each hour, which is not to be missed.

Our flight was heading out of Dubai at 3am, so we relaxed in the hotel for awhile and zipped back on the shuttle in time for our plane to Orlando. And, as always, Emirates Airlines did not disappoint… we were given free food vouchers because of the “inconvenience” of spending the day in Dubai.

Damn, I love this airline!

Easy-peasy… cheap, and SO MUCH FUN.

In total, our day trip cost about $120. We cant wait to go back to Dubai for another extended layover.  The Atlantis Beach Resort lets you come for the day to use their water park, and the walk along the Persian Gulf is supposed to be incredible.

I think we will make the Dubai layover a new tradition each time we travel to Asia, and you should consider it too. It was a very cool experience.

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Related links below:

For more stories in the Jersey Girl and the Sikh category, click—> HERE

Read about “My Indian Boyfriend “—>HERE

My Big Fat Sikh Wedding: Indian Astrology —> HERE

My Big Fat Sikh Wedding: The Dress —> HERE

My Big Fat Sikh Wedding: Prelude —> HERE

My Big Fat Sikh Wedding: Show Time —> HERE

Surviving Long Distance Love—> HERE

Open Letter to my Husband—> HERE

Our Honeymoon, Rishikesh India—> HERE

Fiance Visa Process—> HERE

US Embassy New Delhi Interview—> HERE

Journey to New Delhi—> HERE 

First Trip to Jaipur India —> HERE

Our First Diwali—> HERE

Giving Thanks, Shukryia  —> HERE

Being Sikh in America—> HERE

The Indian Grocery—> HERE

A Path to Happiness—> HERE

4 comments on “Nomadic Nirvana: Dubai Layover

  1. Britt
    April 23, 2016

    Reblogged this on Nomadic Nirvana.


  2. carolanneb
    April 24, 2016

    Sounds fantastic! I am heading back to India at the end of the week and having a 19 hour layover in Abu Dhabi on route back. Looking forward as have never been to the Middle East. Just adds even more excitement to the trip 🙂


    • Britt
      April 24, 2016

      You will LOVE IT! enjoy! That next on my layover list! Haha have a blast and let me know!


  3. Smitha V
    October 8, 2017

    Beautiful pics and write up.


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