The Paleo Panda + GPSMyCity Apps

Live. | January 30, 2017 | By

Imagine reading a great travel article and thinking to yourself, “I wish I could use this article as a guide while I’m traveling…”

If you have access to the internet, you could always bookmark the article and go to the website again. But more often than not, you’d rather not use up data to access the internet. And you might not even have a cell phone plan for the country you are visiting.  Besides, just reading through the article again will remind you of the places you wanted to visit — that well-reviewed restaurant or that popular beach — but you’d still have to stop and look up the directions to find it.

There’s a much better way! Use a GPS-guided travel article. This is a travel article that has GPS coordinates embedded in the article and a map of the route the author described in his/her article.  Once this app is downloaded to your phone, you will not need any internet to use the article as a guide. It will show you right where you are on the map and guide you to each subsequent location!

I’m pleased to announce that I’ve partnered with GPSmyCity to convert my travel posts into apps.  You can download these apps for free, or pay for an upgrade to guide you wherever you are in the world!

What Are GPSMyCity Article Apps?

GPSMyCity produces city walk apps for over 750 cities across the world. The walks may be general (like “San Francisco’s Highlights”), or thematic (such as the “Murray Hill Architecture Walk” in New York). They use GPS tracking on your iPhone to chart your progress around the route and to make sure you don’t get lost. Many of the city apps now have links to articles covering different aspects of the area, including places of interest, restaurants and shops.

Each article is an individual app which you can download for free. This allows you to access the article offline, meaning that you can read it on the airplane, or while following a walk, even if you don’t have internet access. There is also the option to upgrade for a small fee ($1.99). This assists with your travel planning by providing an offline map showing the points of interest. And it links the app to GPS, so that when you are actually in the city you can get a route to the places mentioned in the article.

As a bonus (and to introduce you to how great this concept is), GPSMyCity is offering free upgrades of my most popular travel articles in the GPSmyCity directory for 1 week starting Monday, January 30th until Sunday, February 5th.  You can access GPS-guided travel articles two different ways:

  1. Click on a link below for the article you are interested in (if you haven’t already downloaded the free GPSmyCity app, you will see a prompt to do so). After downloading the app, you will be directed to the article, where you can choose UPGRADE to get the GPS-guided version.
  2. From the GPSmyCity app, you can browse by city to see which articles are available.

A Weekend in Phuket

A Weekend in Capri

A Weekend in Panama City

You can download any article for free or upgrade for offline GPS-guided use.  Happy travels!

Dubai

The Burj Khalifa

Dubai | January 24, 2017 | By

Dubai, the glittering gem of the Middle East, is located on the southeast coast of the Persian Gulf and is the most populous city in the United Arab Emirates.  In 2012, Dubai was proclaimed the 22nd most expensive city in the world and the most expensive city in the Middle East.  Known for luxury shopping, ultramodern architecture and lively nightscene, the opulence and extravagance of the city is apparent everywhere you go and begins from the moment you step foot in the magnificent Dubai airport.  Endless skyscraper and development projects are continually ongoing and constantly transforming the Dubai skyline.  The city hosts the Dubai Shopping Festival every year as well as the annual Dubai International Film Festival and Dubai Food Festival. 

Best time to visit…

The best time to visit Dubai is between November and March, although Dubai is ALWAYS scorching so it’s either hot or hotter!  The weather is beautiful with blue skies in the winter but these are also the peak months which means greater crowds and higher prices.

Getting there…

Situated midway between the Far East and Europe and an equal distance from Londong and Beijing, Dubai is a trek.  It’s well worth the trip but be prepare for a lengthy travel day!  Less than an eight-hour flight away from most major  destinations in Asia, Africa, Europe and Russia and with a superb network of roads and highways, Dubai is easily accessible by air, land and sea.  Emirates Airlines has a great direct 16-hour flight from Los Angeles International Airport to Dubai International Airport.  Be sure to take advantage of the extended Dubai layover deal that Emirates Airlines offers – a great (and FREE) way to see Dubai if you’re traveling to the Middle East.  Upon arrival at Dubai International Airport, Downtown Dubai is merely a 20 minute taxi ride away!

Where to stay…

There are a multitude of options as it relates to lodging Dubai that stretch from Jumeriah Beach to Downtown Dubai and all around and in between.  On artificial islands just offshore is Atlantis & The Palm, a resort with water and marine-animal parks.  My favorite place to stay is the luxuriously modern Nassima Royal Hotel in the heart of Downtown Dubai with its stunning views over Dubai and more than reasonable prices.  Located on Sheikh Zayed Road, the 51-story hotel offers a great pool outdoor rooftop pool, kids center and fabulous restaurants, bars and nightclub.  Ask for a room with a view of Dubai’s iconic skyscraper, Burj Khalifa!

Nassima Royal (5-Star, Downtown Dubai)
Plot 49 Sheikh Zayed Road, Trade Centre District
Dubai, United Arab Emirates
+971 4 3080000
$$

View of the Burj from our room at the Nassima Royal

View of the Burj from our room at the Nassima Royal

For the ultimate in luxury, the Armani Hotel Dubai, envisioned by fashion icon Girogio Armani, occupies 11 floors of Burj Khalifa and has a private entrance, direct access to the Dubai Mall and 7 restaurants to choose from!

Armani Hotel Dubai (5-Star, Downtown Dubai)
Lobby Level, Burj Khalifa
Dubai, United Arab Emirates
+971 4 888 3888
$$$$

If you’re looking to stay near the water and to pay a pretty penny, you’ll recognize the famous Burj Al Arab hotel with its striking sail-shaped building set on an island…arguably the most luxurious hotel in the world. The hotel offers suite-only accommodation, 9 world-class restaurants and bars, 5 swimming pools (3 outdoor and 2 indoor), a private beach, free breakfast buffet, complimentary access to Wild Wadi Waterpark and a private reception on every floor.

Burj Al Arab (7-Star, Jumeriah Beach)
 3 شارع جميرة 
Dubai, United Arab Emirates
+971 4 301 7777
$$$$$ ($$$$$$)

In front of Burj Al Arab, the most luxurious hotel in the world!

In front of Burj Al Arab, the most luxurious hotel in the world!

A weekend in….Dubai

Friday

Once you’ve settled into your hotel, head over to check out the Bur Khalifa…the tallest building in the world standing at 2,722 feet!  Aside from being one of the most spectacular sights in the world, the Burj Khalifa also features two observation decks (one of which is the highest in the world), sky lobbies, swimming pools, the world’s highest nightclub and the world’s highest restaurant.  The first 15 floors of the structure are the luxurious Armani hotel and further up the tower are apartments, corporate offices and observatories. 

The Burj Khalifa, the tallest building in the world!

The Burj Khalifa, the tallest building in the world!

The Burj is a towering symbol of Dubai’s opulence with its Neo-futurist design and that’s evident in the hefty price tag to visit the building.  You must have a ticket or a reservation to enter and visit the Burj.  If you’d like to make a reservation at Al Mahara, the iconic seafood restaurant within the Burj with a floor-to-ceiling aquarium, be prepared to pay a pretty penny as the average price for two with a bottle of wine is approximately $600!  Another alternative (still not cheap but slightly better) is to make a reservation for afternoon tea at At.mosphere on the 123rd floor and enjoy high tea with bird’s-eye views.  There are two observation decks (lower outdoor observation deck At The Top on the 124th floor and indoor deck At The Top Sky on the 148th floor) and ticket prices will vary depending on which deck you choose and the time of day.  The best time to visit the Burj Khalifa is just before sunset.  If you arrive early enough, you can take pictures from the top during the daylight hours, through sunset and dusk then into the evening.  Tickets for the sunset hours (5:30 pm to 6:30 pm) increase by AED 75 or around $20 so it’s recommended that you purchase a 5:00 pm ticket if you just plan on spending a couple hours at the top.  Sunrise tickets are available from 5:30 am on Fridays and Saturdays only.  Make sure to make arrangements in advance as tickets for the Burj purchased on the spot can cost 75% more!

Burj Khalifa (Downtown Dubai)
1 Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Boulevard
Dubai, United Arab Emirates
+971 4 888 8124

In front of the Burj awaiting the Dubai Fountain show!

In front of the Burj awaiting the Dubai Fountain show!

After visiting the Burj, skip on next door to The Dubai Mall, the largest mall in the world (by total area) with 1,200 shops and over 13 million square feet!  It also has a 250-room luxury hotel, 22 cinema screens along with 120 restaurants and cafes. You cannot miss the Dubai Aquarium and Underwater Zoo and its 300+ species of marine animals, including sharks and rays while you are at the mall.  Wander through the aquarium’s 270-degree acrylic walk-through tunnel where you can see the underwater animals up close.  The Underwater Zoo is located above the aquarium and features penguins, crocodiles, piranhas, giant spider crabs, water rats, sea horses, jellyfish and more!  If you’re feeling active, take a spin at the olympic-size Dubai Ice Rink…the go-to place for ice skating in Dubai.  The rink offers professional ice skating lessons as well as lessons for figure skating, ice hockey, Disco and Mega Skate sessions.  Kids will also find hours of entertainment at SEGA Republic, a 76,000 square foot indoor theme park dedicated to SEGA’s Sonic the Hedgehog, and KidZania, an award-winning children’s ‘edutainment’ concept that features an 80,000 square foot mini-city that combines play with learning!  To check out Ski Dubai, the Middle East’s first indoor ski resort and snow park), head over to the nearby Mall of the Emirates with its 630+ retail outlets and 500-seat capacity Dubai Community Theatre and Arts Centre and Magic planet (one of the largest indoor family entertainment centers in Dubai).

The Dubai Mall (Downtown Dubai)
Financial Centre Road
Dubai, United Arab Emirates
+800 38224 6255

Mall of the Emirates (Downtown Dubai)
Sheikh Zayed Road
Dubai, United Arab Emirates
+971 4 409 9000

So much shopping, so little time!

So much shopping, so little time!

Great white sharks at the Dubai Aquarium

Great white sharks at the Dubai Aquarium

Here fishy fishy!

Here fishy fishy!

Upon leaving the Dubai Mall, you can’t miss The Dubai Fountain Show, the world’s largest choreographed fountain system set on the 30-acre manmade Burj Khalifa Lake at the center of the Downtown Dubai development.  Illuminated by 6,600 lights and 25 colored projectors, it is 275 meters long and shoots water up to 500 feet into the air accompanied by a range of world music.  It’s truly a magnificent sight to see!  Performances take place at 1:00 pm and at 1:30 pm as well as every 30 minutes from 6:00 pm to 10:00 pm on weekdays and until 11:00 pm on the weekends (Thursday, Friday and Saturday).  

The Dubai Fountain Show

The Dubai Fountain Show

For the freshest fish and an experience in itself, try the seafood at Bu Qtar Fish Restaurant for dinner after a long day.  Featured in CNN Travel and shortlisted by Foodie Hub as one of Dubai’s Essential Eats, this restaurant requires more than an hour longwait to even place an order!  The menu consists of 5 menu items and is definitely a no frills joint with plastic stools and plastic tables out front of the restaurant.  Crispy fried fish, spicy shrimp, Malabari fish curry …whatever you order will be marinated in a mildly-spicy seasoning before being friend and served rice or paratha and curry sauce!

Bu Qtair Fish Resaurant (Jumeirah Road)
4 D Street Al Sufouh
Dubai, United Arab Emirates
+971 55 705 2130
$

Saturday

Beach day!  Set out to discover the glorious Jumeriah Beach with its stretches of soft white sand and crystal clear blue waters. Jumeriah Beach islocated and named after the Jumeriah district of Dubai, on the coast of the Persian Gulf.  If you’re lucky enough to stay at one of Jumeriah’s hotels like the opulent seven-star Burj Al Arab, you’ll have private beaches with waters sports.  Otherwise, you’ll be able to enjoy Jumeriah Beach Park, the public portion of the beach buzzing with action with people playing beach games, jet-skiing, picknicking, jogging, sunbathing and swimming in the warm Gulf waters.

Fun at Jumeirah Beach

Fun at Jumeirah Beach

After spending the day in the hot Dubai sun, get ready to explore the Dubai desert at sunset.  After researching countless tour companies and itineraries we decided that the evening night safari with Desert Safari Dubai was the best bang for our buck and incorporated everything we wanted to do in the desert!  They pick you up at your hotel around 4pm and take you on the 40 minute drive out to the desert.  Upon arriving in the desert, the driver releases the air out of the tires of your vehicle and takes you on the thrilling experience of dune bashing up and down the miles of mountainous sand dunes.  Your stomach will drop and you’re unsure whether you’re in a vehicle or a roller coaster…an experience of a lifetime! 

The crew! Dune bashing with our new friends from India!

The crew! Dune bashing with our new friends from India!

After dune bashing, you’ll head to camp where you’ll be able to take a short ride on a camel (great photo opportunity) and ride quad bikes or sand boards for an additional charge.  They also offer henna painting, shisha smoking, and traditional attire for you to wear for pictures.  The highlight of the night is the belly dancing and fire dancing show performed while you enjoy a buffet dinner and BBQ underneath the stars!  You’ll head back at your hotel once the evening concludes around 9:00 pm.

Desert Safari Dubai
+971-50-2768-111
www.desertsafaridubai.com

Camel riding in the Dubai desert

Camel riding in the Dubai desert

Embracing the traditional attire

Embracing the traditional attire

Sunday

Wake up and stroll around the Dubai Marina, the famous artificial canal city built along a two-mile stretch of Persian Gulf shoreline.  When the entire development is complete, it will be the world’s largest man-made marina and will accommodate more than 120,000 people in residential towers and villas.  The Dubai Marina walk is a 7 km long pedestrian walkway that runs around from the start of Dubai Marina until the end of Dubai Marina with cafes and restaurants along the waterfront.  Phase I has already been completed and Phase II will consist of high rise buildings, which are mainly clustered into a block, known as “Tallest Block in the world”.  The Dubai Marina Mall, the shopping mall located in the center of Dubai Marina, features 140 retail outlets spread over 390,000 square feet of gross leasable space consisting of shops, a supermarket, an entertainment area for children and a six-screen Reel Cinemas.

The beautiful marina

The beautiful marina

If you’re a shopper and in the market for amazing knock-offs, be sure to stop by The Karama Market…Dubai’s number one market for replicas.  For the good stuff, you’ll be taken into a secret room or upstairs.  Make sure you do your research what kind of items you want beforehand and be sure to bargain, bargain and BARGAIN!

The Karama Market (Downtown)
18B Street
Dubai, United Arab Emirates
+971 50 000 0000

Before you leave Dubai, experience excellent and genuine Pakistani food in a local neighborhood restaurant.  Although small, Ravi’s has garnered quite a gobal reputation and is well-known to be Craig David’s favorite restaurant in Dubai.  The curry here is out of the world!  The staff doesn’t speak much English, but they will tell you what menu items are good to order.  Try the Chicken Jalfrezi, Lamb Green Masala and Paneer Butter, yum!

Ravi Restaurant (Al Satwa Rd)
Shop 245, Al Dhiyafa Rd, Satwa
Dubai, United Arab Emirates
+971 4 331 5353
$

Panda’s Tips for Dubai:

  • Dubai’s laws concerning sexuality morality restrict public and private acts and kissing in certain places is illegal and can result in deportation.
  • Adult non-Muslims are allowed to consume alcohol in licensed venues but restaurants outside of hotels in Dubai are typically not permitted to sell alcohol so alcohol is hard to come by (your best bet is a hotel bar) and therefore pricey!
  • Women typically wear the “Abaya”, a long black robe with a hijab (head-scarf which covers the neck and part of the head) and men can be seen wearing the “Kandurah” (long white robe) and headscarf but the dress code is not compulsory and many people wear western clothing wihout any problems as long as clothing is not indecent.

Chocolate Glazed Paleo Donuts

Breakfast, Dessert | January 8, 2017 | By

These are hands down my favorite donuts in the entire world. Unlike the sugar headaches I inevitably get from “regular” donuts, I can devour these suckers guiltlessly with the only consequence being a big ol’ protein boost. If you don’t already have a donut pan, it is definitely worth the investment for a future filled with these fluffy chocolate-y treats. The trick to making these donuts is to be patient to make sure they cool at each step before glazing and after glazing – pop them in the fridge to speed the process up! Enjoy these donuts for breakfast, with a cup of steaming coffee or for a mid-afternoon snack!

Chocolate Glazed Paleo Donuts
Serves 6
The all-time paleo donut!
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Prep Time
15 min
Cook Time
15 min
Total Time
30 min
Prep Time
15 min
Cook Time
15 min
Total Time
30 min
Ingredients
  1. 1 ¼ cup almond flour
  2. ¼ tsp baking soda
  3. 3 tbsp pure maple syrup, grade B
  4. 1 tsp apple cider vinegar
  5. ¾ tsp vanilla extract
  6. 2 tbsp coconut oil, melted
  7. 2 eggs, separated
  8. ¾ cup dark chocolate
  9. 2 tbsp coconut oil
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees and grease 6-mold donut pan with coconut oil.
  2. Combine almond flour and baking soda in large bowl.
  3. Combine maple syrup, apple cider vinegar, vanilla extract, coconut oil and egg yolks (set aside the egg whites) in a separate medium bowl.
  4. Mix the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and set aside.
  5. Whisk the egg whites together until firm peaks form then fold egg whites into the batter.
  6. Distribute the batter evenly between the 6 molds.
  7. Bake for 12-15 minutes until lightly golden then allow the donuts to cool.
  8. Microwave the dark chocolate and the coconut oil together in a glass bowl for 15 seconds at a time until melted, stirring in between.
  9. Use a knife to “frost” each donut then chill in the refrigerator until the glaze hardens.
The Paleo Panda http://thepaleopanda.com/

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