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A Trip to Dubai
HFS, this October, explored Dubai as a destination for its International Trip. Months before the trip, the Thomas Cook planned an exhaustive itinerary, focusing on children's attractions in Dubai.

Thirty five students along with the Principal Mrs. Neelu Lamba, Mrs. Surekha Garde and a Thomas Cook Tour Manager Mr. Arif Shaikh boarded an Air Arabia flight to Sharjah on October 26, 2013.

A bus ride from Sharjah to Dubai gave a glimpse of the beautifully planned Dubai city. Samna Hotel Al Raffa seemed perfect for our comfortable stay for this five day trip. In the evening we were taken for a Dhow Cruise. What could be more exciting than a dinner on a dhow cruise as it glides silently along the Dubai Creek by moonlight. The cruise offered an intriguingly different view of the amazing city - old town, Sheikh Saeed's house, birthplace of Sheikh Saeed, Heritage village, golf club, parks as well as the famous modern skyscrapers of the city in the spectacular night lights.

The next morning after a sumptuous breakfast we visited the Dubai Museum. It is located in the Al Fahidi Fort, built in 1787 which is the oldest existing building in Dubai. The museum was opened by the ruler of Dubai in 1971, with the aim of presenting the traditional way of life in the Emirate of Dubai. It includes local antiquities as well as artifacts from African and Asian countries that traded with Dubai. It also includes several dioramas showing life in the emirate before the advent of oil.

Our Dubai sightseeing began with a photo stop at Burj Al Arab, the fourth tallest hotel in the world. The highlight of the day was visiting the Dubai Mall for a lifetime experience, 'At the Top'. Burj Khalifa, known as Burj Dubai prior to its inauguration, is a skyscraper in Dubai, and is the tallest man-made structure in the world, at 829.8 m. We experienced 360 degree sweeping views from level 124, that offers unparalleled vistas from the Gulf to the Arabian Desert and beyond.

Day 3 was eventful for we visited the Lost Chambers Aquarium at Atlantis. With 65,000 marine animals and 10 beautiful chambers, this amazing Lost Chambers brings the myth of Atlantis to life! The marine life includes delicate seahorses, stunning jellyfish, graceful rays and the world's largest freshwater fish, the Arapaima.

In the afternoon we boarded the Land Cruisers for yet another breathtaking experience on a Desert Safari. This is one experience one can't miss when in Dubai. Dune bashing gives a thrilling ride

across the desert of Dubai to the first destination a camel farm. The drive continues across the desert. We stop to watch the beautiful sunset before reaching our campsite where we had the opportunity to do a camel ride, sand boarding and try out a henna design on the hands or the feet. After working up an appetite we enjoyed a delicious barbecue dinner followed by a belly dancer performing her show around the campfire by starlight.

Day 4 we drove to Abu Dhabi to visit Ferrari World, the largest indoor and first Ferrari theme park, located on Yas Islands with over 20 attractions. Formula Rossa is the world's fastest roller coaster with a top speed of 240 km/h (150 mph). The coaster train accelerates to its top speed in approximately 5 seconds using a hydraulic launch system. Children aged 11 to 16 thoroughly enjoyed it.

At night we witnessed the world's largest choreographed fountain system set on the 30-acre manmade Burj Khalifa Lake, illuminated by 6,600 lights and 25 colored projectors, accompanied by a range of classical to contemporary Arabic and world music.

On October 30, 2013 we took a flight back to Mumbai, pondering over the largest, tallest, longest, fastest and oldest features of Dubai, with a mesmerizing impact on us.
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Thane (West), Maharashtra, India
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