25 photos that will inspire you to visit Dubai

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Dubai photography

I am fresh off the plane from 2 weeks in Dubai and my mind is still reeling. It is not often that I visit a place only to have every expectation of mine blown out of the water. Everything I though I knew about this sprawling metropolis in the Middle East was wrong and I learned more than one lesson of not to judge a book by its cover.

It seems to me that the theme of Dubai itself is that anything is possible. How can such a place exist and have been imagined into reality?

To say Dubai is beautiful is a massive understatement. It has its own complex beauty that, to be fair, took the nature photographer in me a few days to truly begin to appreciate.

To be perfectly honest, I didn’t know what I was going to think of Dubai. I am not *really* a city girl but I have always tried to keep an open mind while traveling. Luckily, it didn’t take long to wow me into submission. Fangirl over here.

A photo posted by Lauren Bath (@laurenepbath) on

I was privileged enough to explore Dubai with 9 other inspirational Instagrammers which was a huge opportunity for me to learn and grow as a photographer.

You guys know I love the ‘gram, so I couldn’t resist putting together my first Dubai post of my favorite shots of mine from the trip and also from the guys who joined me there (be sure to give them a follow for more epic travel imagery). If you follow me on Snapchat (YoungAdventures) or on Instagram, you will already have seen some of this travel goodness, otherwise you can check out my friend Matt’s daily vlog here from the trip, in which you might catch a glimpse of my face, as hard as I tried to avoid it.

Are you ready for a visual overload? You’ve been warned. Here are 25 photos that will make you want to head to Dubai STAT. 

Dubai photography

The Burj Khalifa

I feel like you can’t begin a post about Dubai without mentioning the most iconic building in the city – the Burj Khalifa. The world’s tallest building, the Burj, dominates the Dubai skyline, and I mean dominates. I couldn’t believe how far back I had to lean back to see to the top when I was by the mall.

I caught my first glimpse of the Burj during the drive from the airport to my hotel in the desert in the sunrise, and I could just see the top of it blinking above the predawn haze, like a rocketship about to be launched. It was so astonishing, I popped quickly up from my 36 hour travel lethargy to say “oh shit” and scare the crap out of the driver who thought I was sleeping.

Did I mention it’s impressive?

Dubai photography

The view from the Burj Khalifa

If a view of the Burj itself doesn’t tickle your fancy enough to hop on the next 14 hour flight to Dubai, the view from the 124th floor will. If you only do one activity in Dubai, let this be the one. And my oh my did we get lucky when it was our turn to step into those elevators. 

Very rarely, usually between seasons, the weather shifts enough to blanket Dubai in cloud and fog, that eventually burns off with the heat of the day. And sure enough when we stepped outside on the viewing platform, the fog began to roll in and cover the skyscrapers in cloud, making for the most epic photos you could ever wish for. Thank you weather!

I don’t think I’ve ever seen photographers so giddy!

Dubai photography

Dubai photography

The people

For me, the most valuable and important thing I learned in Dubai was about the culture and the people. More on this coming soon, but I can safely say every stereotype I had imagined for the UAE was utterly and completely wrong.

The people there are just incredible.

Dubai photography

Dubai photography

The Al Hajar Mountains

I almost don’t want to spill this secret, but I trust you guys are cool. Did you know that Dubai has mountains? Nope, me neither. I’m not going to lie, my image of Dubai before this trip was sand and skyscrapers.

So when my alarm beeped at the ungodly hour of 3:30 in the morning to head out of the city to the nearby Al Hajar Mountains for sunrise (this is what happens when you travel with photographers) I knew I was going to see something special and unexpected, which is pretty much the only thing besides coffee to get me up that early.

As the sky began to change from purple to gold, the surrounding mountains began to emerge from the darkness transporting us to what felt like the moon. Dubai, you’re full of surprises.

Dubai photography

A photo posted by Rob Mulally (@robmulally) on

The luxurious hotels

If there is one place in this world to treat yourself and splurge, it’s Dubai.

I’ve never seen so many 5 star hotels in one place before, and many of them are the same price as a regular hotel here in New Zealand. So save your pennies and check yourself in somewhere fancy next time you are in the big city. In Dubai even luxury can be affordable.

And oh my giddy god do the hotels have the absolute best breakfasts ever?! Thankfully I packed my leggings and stretch pants.

A photo posted by Li-Chi Pan ☁️ (@lichipan) on

Dubai photography

Dubai photography

Dubai photography


There are many traditions in the United Arab Emirates, but none so protected or respected as falconry.

You guys know I am a #BirdNerd, so I couldn’t resist the opportunity to hold a beautiful falcon in Dubai. I have a photo of my mom when she was young holding a hawk in Virginia where she volunteered rescuing birds and releasing them back into the wild.

The world’s biggest falcon hospital is in Abu Dhabi, and falcons in the Emirates all have passports and fly business class cage-free on Emirates. What do I have to do to get that kind of treatment?

Dubai photography

Dubai by night

I don’t think I have ever said a place is more beautiful at night, but it’s DEFINITELY true for Dubai. The city comes alive as soon as the sun goes down and the temperatures drop, and all the buildings become on beautiful colorful show.

Whoever imagined the lighting of Dubai deserves an award because it’s spectacular.

Whether you are watching the fountain shows in front of the Burj or talk your way up to a private presidential suite of a fancy skyscraper or just hang out with your friends at one of the many high rise hotel bars with a view, do not sleep through Dubai after dark. Trust me on this one.

Dubai photography

  A photo posted by Jarrad Seng (@jarradseng) on

Camel ice-cream

Self-explanatory. Opinions on flavor were divided. I didn’t hate it.

Dubai photography

The Souks around Old Dubai

Guys, you know I love old stuff, so I jumped at the chance to visit the souks, markets and winding narrow streets of old Dubai. This was more of the Middle East I imagined and was familiar with.

Bright colors, smells of spices, more pashminas or hookahs than I ever need; this was my favorite part of town.

Dubai photography

Dubai photography

Shake Shack

I’m American guys, bear with me. I know this will be the most controversial thing I say in this post, but Shake Shack are the best fast food burgers in America and OMG the are everywhere in Dubai!

I haven’t sunk my teeth into one since I was in NYC in the spring of 2013 (yes I remember that), so obviously I went three times when I was in Dubai and I wholeheartedly suggest you do too.


A photo posted by Tara Milk Tea ? (@taramilktea) on

The desert

I have to finish with the most iconic imagery of Dubai and the UAE – the desert.

This city was built from nothing into one of the most beautiful skylines in the world in a place people thought impossible. I could watch the red sand blow around the dunes for days and never get bored. What a site!

I will always be a nature girl at heart so this is one of my favorite memories of Dubai. Can I go back now? Just maybe when it’s a little less hot.

Have you been to Dubai? Are you curious about the Middle East? Have I convinced you to visit yet?

A photo posted by Lauren Bath (@laurenepbath) on

Dubai photography

Dubai photography

Many thanks to Dubai Tourism for hosting me in the UAE and thank you Lauren Bath for inspiring me and making me part of the team. Like always, I’m keeping it real, like you can expect less from me. 

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121 Comments on “25 photos that will inspire you to visit Dubai

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  1. It’s funny that a few comments down you say you’ve worked with some of the most famous photographers and videographers and how popular you are……..but, who are you? I could ask a hundred photographers and none would know you. TV shows? Any worth anything? Where are your awards? If you’ve worked with the best videographers in the world?!?!?!?!? No one knows you. You act like you’re famous….there’s Twitter feminists more famous than you. More people know who Goth Lord is than Liz Carlson. honestly, your social media like Twitter is always dead, you think 55k instagram likes is “super famous”, you barely get 3k likes on your own posts, and you are relatively unknown among anyone worth a grain of salt….ever. You barely even get any comments here! You are an unknown except in a super small niche part of the internet (hell, I wouldn’t know who you were unless I was an expat who lived in Spain), and even there….you aren’t the most popular. I’m confused on how someone like you can be so cocky when you are honestly so small. You brag about so much but it’s so clear that that is just a facade for how minuscule you know you are. Your impact is tiny. Your work is mediocre. You’re so bitter, it’s actually rather amusing. You’re even more delusional, it’s more amusing.

    1. First off, I was leaving a sarcastic reply to a truly bitchy comment above, which I don’t really see why I have to explain to you. But my god, are you happy now you’ve left me such a rude and spiteful comment? I am not going to argue with you about my value or work, I just feel sorry for you. So thanks.

    2. Really not an appreciated comment. Simply put if you don’t like Liz or her content then don’t come to her blog. Also talking down about the social media she has built up really doesn’t prove any point. Yes others have more of a following, but do you have any following? If so please send a link. Otherwise don’t be a hater.

    3. Hi Thomas,

      As one who is in the travel blogging world, I find your comments about her impact and work hurtful to not only her, but those who enjoy what she’s doing. You don’t get to tell someone they don’t matter. Everyone matters. Even you. While you’re projecting your opinion about Liz (which is totally cool, everyone has their own), I ask for what? Did she personally threaten you? Did she steal your work? Did she physically abuse you? I’m going to say that the answer is no. So why all the hate?

      I don’t think ANYONE who reads this blog or follows her on any of her social media sites cares one goddamn fucking bit that she’s not the most popular. But again, who cares who is?? The point is that Liz is shedding light on incredible places around the world and inspiring others to travel. She IS impacting others. And while you may think her outreach is minuscule, it’s not. Inspiring one person makes a difference. You should be happy that she’s been able to reach a SMALL NICHE in the travel industry. If you ask any successful entrepreneur, they will tell you the first thing you need to do is find your niche. So technically, you just praised her for a job well done. She’s impacted thousands if not millions, and to me, that’s pretty incredible. Instead of being a negative infestation, why don’t you try your hardest to focus on the great things people are doing around the world, like showing others how incredible this place really is…just like Liz.

  2. Beautiful photos! I always hear mixed things about Dubai, frequently I’ve heard ‘there’s nothing there’ but I still really want to visit, and it’s no wonder after reading this post.

  3. we are going to dubai late feb and after seeing your photos we cant wait my son lives there so it will be interesting thankyou for letting me see your beautiful photos

  4. I used to work and live in Dubai for about 4 years until early 2013. Unfortunately I only took up Instagram last year and every time I see photos of Dubai on Instagram, I feel very frustrated about not being on Instagram much earlier. Lost opportunities. 😐

    Anyways, great photos! Love seeing your perspective of Dubai! And yes, I’m totally jealous, haha!

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