Lost in translation? Dubai apps guide tourists as they explore city

Visitors using the Metro Moments would get information on attractions found along the Dubai Metro route between Dubai Airport Terminal 3 and The Dubai Mall. (Courtesy Dubai Media Office)
Updated 01 February 2018
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Lost in translation? Dubai apps guide tourists as they explore city

DUBAI: It is always difficult to know where to visit when you are in a new city, but this issue might have been solved for visitors in Dubai thanks to a mobile app that offers audio guides to the city’s landmarks and historical sites.
The app-based tours, Metro Moments and Al Fahidi Architecture Tour, use audio tours to guide visitors through the city, drawing the user from one point of interest to the next in real time, depending on the person’s location.
The audio guides are available in English, Chinese and German and both tours also come in text form, accompanied by a map to help with navigation. They can be downloaded for free from Apple Store and Google Play.
International tourist arrivals in Dubai were up 6.75 percent as of November last year to 14.24 million from 13.34 million during the same period in 2016.
And people are traveling from all over the world to see the city, including India with 1.86 million visitors; Saudi Arabia with 1.43 million; the UK with 1.14 million; Oman with 791,000; China with 696,000 and the US with 564,000.
With Metro Moments, available on Voice Map, visitors are given information on attractions found along the Dubai Metro route between Dubai International Airport, Terminal 3 and Dubai Mall, where the iconic dancing fountains and Burj Khalifa are the premier tourist spots.
Meanwhile, those using the Al Fahidi Architecture Tour, which can be found on the Pocket Guide app, get an insight into the history and heritage of Dubai’s popular Al Fahidi District, part of the wider Dubai Historic District.
“The launch of these audio tours will help people from all over the world gain an enhanced understanding of Dubai and some of its most historically and culturally important sites. Moving forward, we are working to develop further applications and services that enable visitors to discover more of the city’s tourism highlights through smart, convenient and accessible platforms,” Yousuf Lootah, Executive Director of Tourism Development and Investments at Dubai Tourism, said.


Gili Lankanfushi: A gourmet getaway in the Maldives

Updated 19 May 2018
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Gili Lankanfushi: A gourmet getaway in the Maldives

  • This island resort is the perfect destination for foodies and sun-worshippers alike

DUBAI: The Maldives is one of those destinations that nature has bestowed with an embarrassment of riches. And what nature has given, numerous resorts have taken and perfected with their ultra-luxury offerings. Which is what makes choosing exactly where to go that much more difficult. And while each island has its own special charm, anyone seeking a gastronomic experience should look no further than Gili Lankanfushi.

This intimate resort, located a 20-minute speedboat ride away from Male airport in the north Male atoll, is home to just 45 over-water villas. Everything on the island ¬— and beyond, as several of the villas are perched on stilts offshore — from the villas to the restaurants and the spa, is done up in a rustic-chic style, making for a pared-back, but still luxury, setting.

The inviting villas, complete with direct access to the crystal clear lagoons; curated collection of activities including snorkeling and sunset cruises; and Insta-perfect spots — think idyllic hammocks swinging between drooping palms — are temptation enough for tourists, but it’s the gourmet offerings that make Gili Lankanfushi a must for gourmands. And with a sustainable ethos at its heart — much of the food is created using local fish, and produce from the resort’s own organic vegetable garden — you can feel good about yourself while you’re eating too much.

We’d recommend taking the Gili Tasting Journey as soon as possible after your arrival. It takes you through the island’s main dining destinations for a teaser of what each has to offer, through a mini course and beverage at each, led by the resident sommelier Fabrice Blazquez who colors the evening with enjoyable banter.

A typical evening could start with canapés at the over-water bar, the perfect sundowner spot, before moving on to the spectacular underground wine cellar, built around a tree trunk that washed up during the 2006 tsunami — a great example of how this sustainably minded resort works with the environment, rather than imposing on it. This intimate space boasts organic features and pebble floors (you’re provided heated foot pads, as everyone is expected to walk around barefoot around the island, in line with their ‘no news, no shoes’ policy) which, combined with the modernist glass and metal, make it feel as though you’re walking into an art installation.

Here you can try intricate creations such as octopus with mango salsa, and beetroot jelly with goat’s cheese mousse, after which you are led into the leafy surrounds of the organic vegetable garden. As the sunset casts a magical glow over the rustic wood ‘leaf table’ you can sample some traditional Maldivian smoked fish snacks.
You then make your way to Fini Foni, a cute ice-cream parlor which, for this tour, offers foie-gras macarons. The evening ends with sushi and sake at specialty Japanese restaurant By The Sea.

The breakfast offering, too, is superlative. And best enjoyed beachside. The morning buffet offers a range of regional delicacies, including Mas huni (tuna and coconut served with flatbread), while the a la carte menu features eggs to order — we’d recommend the Maldivian spicy omelet with tuna and curry leaves. Alternatively, keep it light and healthy with fruits, smoothies, and detoxifying spa beverages.

Personalization is key to the Gili Lankanfushi experience. Each guest’s stay is managed by a private butler, resulting in bespoke dining experiences. The island is dotted with picturesque spots perfect for romantic meals, whether a gazebo tucked away in the tropical jungle, a secluded slither of beach, the outdoor jungle cinema, or the tiny One Palm island just offshore. Pick your spot and a personal chef cooks up a three-course meal of your choice for a magical experience.

Or, if you fancy staying in and enjoying the plush décor of your villa, just order in and chill. Unusually for a resort, ordering in-villa doesn’t cost a premium. Try dinner on your upstairs terrace, after which, weather permitting, you can even sleep out under the stars.

And once the guilt sets in, there are plenty of water-based activities — diving, fishing, surfing, sailing, waterskiing — to help you work off a few pounds.