On New Year’s Eve 2018 I was in Dubai. During this time all hotels are more expensive, fly tickets are very expensive too, but hey, you can always make money, but you live only once.
I was in Dubai since mid-December and I spend the time there every year now. In that time everything is absolutely superb. I really enjoy Dubai and I enjoyed New Year’s Eve. I believe this article can help you with the organization on the next New Year’s Eve (if you are going to go for it).
When you go to Burj Khalifa 8 hours before midnight and it’s already too late
In Dubai, during New Year’s Eve, are millions of people. People from other emirates, an enormous number of tourists – as I have expected, but I could not imagine it until I saw that. I went to Burj Khalifa 8 hours before midnight and believe me it was nearly too late. There were no available taxis (I know it sounds crazy – It’s Dubai), the metro was full of people and I had to let go the first one that came, in order to be able to get into it and believe me, you had to fight for your place.
No stopping near Burj Khalifa
While travelling there, subway radio announces that the metro stops further from Burj Khalifa than ordinarily, which was reasonable at the time, it is impossible to bring millions of people to one place. The stop after Burj Khalifa was very precisely prepared, it was a rapidly built corridor system and around Burj Khalifa was around 20 large areas prepared from which you could watch the show. A great way to give millions of people the experience without having them all in one place. The route to Burj Khalifa was really long, estimated 3-4 km. As the masses of people walk, at different intersections, cops always send you to the direction that is most likely to be the least “populated” and so they manage to spread the gigantic crowds of people.
You need to sit somewhere AKA a big problem
The idea of standing on a temporary home-made stand and wait for 6 – 7 hours for the show came to me as a really bad one. A lot of Indos, Pakistanis and many other people do it anyway. Maybe because it might be one of few ways to have a really good spot for watching the show. Luckily, I found out that closer to Burj Khalifa and to complex hotels they let in families with children and tourists mainly. I just grabbed one lady’s hand and walked through. I made a deal with hotel personal and gained “All you can eat” service – meaning you can eat as much as you like and pay a reasonable price – and sat in a roof garden of the hotel which had around 70 floors. I took it as a win at that moment. Here is my advice – try to get to a hotel with a clear view of Khalifa, you will not be surrounded by a gigantic crowd and will enjoy the whole evening in relative comfort.
Top organization and dozens of drones overhead
For me the best of the whole New Year’s Eve was a perfect organization, just imagine 5 millions of people. That is a lot. Though everything was ready. The routes to places from which you could watch the show, the giant areas for such a huge amount of people, order control, traffic, etc. And it needs to be said that everything got prepared within hours. In the morning I didn’t come around any restrictions and calmly went swimming at Jumeirah beach. I’ve seen over my head drones that have been monitoring everything for the whole night. I think there were hundreds of them.
Unfulfilled expectations, but primarily an action that will bring many tourists to Dubai
After seeing videos from the previous year, I thought it was going to be an unforgettable experience. I’ve expected that all Dubai, Khalifa and the neighbourhood will be full of top fireworks and the reality? There was no firework at all. Dubai decided to organize New Year’s Eve without any firework at all and make a light show on Burj Khalifa instead. As the light show started, I stood at a small niche by a hotel, there could be an estimated 500 people. A 2-minute show took place. After it, all the present people just stood for 5 minutes and waited for some firework to come. A lot of people thought that the light show on Khalifa was just the beginning. It was pretty nice, but those millions of people came here a great show, not for 2 minutes of projection. There is projection on Khalifa very often (even during the year). I was waiting too, but still, there was nothing going on. So I decided to go back to the subway.
The naive idea of going back by subway or taxi, plus the fact that taxis bargain a lot at this time
By the metro thousands of people. There is no word that could describe the enormous crowds standing by the subway. Once I saw what is happening, I immediately knew that I am not going to get anywhere for a minimum of 2 hours. Taxi was nowhere to be found. By the way, Dubai has made New Year’s Eve the only day in a year during which taxi drivers don’t have to use a taximeter and so they bargain with you instead. Probably because they want all the taxis to be there and ready to drive people around the city. I am just glad for the taxi drivers. They are mostly Pakistani people, who work there for no big money, and often they feed their families, they do not have a single day off, they work for 24/7, so I see this as an opportunity for them to make some real money and the city profits of it as well. I walked out of the crowd, about 2km away, waited by the road in a cafe, and after 2 hours I saw an empty taxi. I waved, I made a deal with the driver and went back to my hotel.
At the hotel, I finally understood why the New Year’s Eve was so good. Want to know why?
At the hotel, I went on the internet and I saw everywhere articles about Dubai. Reading the articles I found out that Dubai made a world record by screening at the tallest building in the world. That is a priceless advertisement. How many hundreds of thousands of people around the world were wishing they could see the light show that they should be there next time. So that’s how it’s done. The fireworks are said to have been in some larger hotels, but not in the centre of Dubai. On the other hand, it shows that people can do the event without fireworks all night just fine. There was a countdown on Khalifa that from time to time appeared there and you could hear people having fun all night.
Dubai precisely planned and organized the whole night. The city is just able to sell these things to people. You know Dubai, it is about the biggest, the longest, the best, the most expensive, etc. things and in combination with its marketing makes every year more and more people come. People are going to Dubai these days like crazy and the fact generates for Dubai a lot of money. I’m glad I experienced it, I have never seen so many people. I was on soccer matches where there were 70,000 people, which is absolutely nothing compared to New Year’s Eve in Dubai. The day was beautiful and quite interesting.
By the way – good news! Fireworks to return at this year’s Dubai NYE celebrations.