The Best Things To Do In Dubai
Considered one of the most luxurious regions in the entire world, Dubai is best known for it’s breathtaking architecture, energetic atmosphere and some of the wealthiest shopping centers around the globe. At every turn you will be mesmerized by the ultramodern landmarks and astounding points of interest – one of the iconic landmarks being the Burj Khalifa, which stands at 830 meters and is a quintessential skyscraper in the Dubai skyline. Visitors to the skyscraper also have the opportunity to head up to the observation deck for views that are literally out of this world!
As the most populated city within the United Arab Emirates, Dubai is situated on the coastline of the Persian Gulf and is also the capital of one of the emirates that make up the entire country. Those who are looking for the utmost in luxury, whether it revolves around fine dining, accommodations or shopping, Dubai has gained a reputation for offering the best and boldest throughout the world. One of the most beautiful accommodations in Dubai is the Burj Al Arab, which features opulent rooms and suites as well as multiple restaurants, numerous pools an ultra-luxurious spa and private beach. When you want an exceptional experience full of extravagance, a trip to Dubai is highly recommended. The shopping malls in the city are no exception and are just as opulent as anything else throughout the region – the Dubai Mall boasts of dozens of high-end department stores, as well as a movie cinema, ice rink and aquarium.
Though Dubai is definitely known for its over-the-top landmarks and attractions, it is possible to enjoy more down to earth experiences. Whether it means visiting one of the many lounges throughout the neighborhoods or spending time listening to live music, Dubai offers a blend of experiences — though most of it does cater to an affluent crowd. Despite its location in the Middle East, Dubai is unique in that it features a vast diversity of cultures, cuisines and arts — ideal for those who are traveling to the region for the first time looking for a memorable experience.
HERE ARE OUR PICKS FOR THE BEST THINGS TO DO IN DUBAI…
Atlantis, The Palm
The Atlantis Palm Hotel is so much fun to stay in, but if you don’t want to stay the night, you can also just visit! Located on the man-made Palm Island, you’ll never get bored. With 42 rides and attractions you could spend an entire day just in one place – the Aquaventure Waterpark – but there is so much more! See and learn about marine life at Dolphin Bay and the Lost Chambers Aquarium, and finish with some fine-dining in one of the many high-end restaurants. This one hotel you will never forget!
Visit the Burj Khalifa; the world champion of man-made high-rise buildings. Start your tour on the ground, as you meander through the beautiful gardens that surround this unique structure. Once you’re ready to leave earth, ride the lift 124 floors to the observation deck, and take-in the magnificent views of the city and the Arabian Gulf. The Burj Khalifa is at the heart of metro Dubai, so when you’re finished with the views, wind down with some “retail therapy” at the Dubai Mall!
Dubai Desert Conservation Reserve
Dubai has a reputation for creating infrastructure that is visionary, and the Dubai Desert Conservation Reserve is no exception! A massive 225 square kilometres, you join a tour to discover the wide range of animals, including the Arabian oryx that has been brought back from the precipice of extinction. Ride camels and horses, go sandboarding, and then finish off the tour with a traditional Bedouin meal!
Surely this must be a mirage – snow skiing in Dubai! The magnificent Ski Dubai resort – located in the Mall of the Emirates – has five ski slopes spread over 3000 square metres. Go tobogganing, enjoy the sled runs, or snowboard down the 400-metre slope, and if you want something a little more laid-back, have a peek at the penguins, take in the view from the chairlift, or ride on the Giant Ball! Wait till your friends hear you went to the snow in Dubai!
Dubai Creek (Khor Dubai)
Take time out to relax and visit Dubai Creek (Khor Dubai), which flows from the trading port on the Gulf, to the desert edge of Dubai, where the Ras Al Khor Bird Sanctuary is located. The small trading vessels – known as dhows – are busy on this creek and give a fascinating glimpse into the workings of the city. If you want to take a closer look, take a taxi dhow (called an Abra) to travel along the water’s edge, or a romantic sunset cruise, if you want to finish your day in style!
Bastakia Quarter (Bur Bastakia)
A visit to the Bastakia Quarter (Bur Bastakia) will take you back to another era – just as beautiful as today’s modern city, but ever so different – you can almost hear the tales of the past as you meander along the narrow laneways. These traditional homes were typically built around courtyards, and you will catch glimpses of the fountains and gardens are you wander. If your in the mood for some shopping, a souq market is held in the Bastakia Quarter each Saturday, so stop by and get a bargain!
Calling Dubai Mall a shopping complex just doesn’t do it justice – this mall is like a town! With over 1200 retailers and 200 food service outlets, you could wander for days and still not see it all. If shopping is not for you, the Dubai Mall also offers a suite of world class leisure activities, including an ice-rink, aquarium and a 22-screen cinema!
Palm Islands & The World
Inspired by nature and created by visionaries, the Palm Islands & The World have often been called the eighth wonder of the world. Named because of the palm tree shape of the development, the area is a perfect mix of residential property, marina space, commercial activity, and leisure! If you’re looking for a bit of excitement, visit Palm Jumeirah for a day of shopping and fine-dining at “Atlantis”!
Get away from the hustle and bustle of Dubai and take a trip to a Bedouin Camp! The Bedouins were nomadic traders who learnt to live in harmony with their harsh climate. These camps provide an insight into the lifestyle of these nomads, and when you visit, you will enjoy a delicious traditional barbeque, belly dancing, and a lot of socialising around the Hookah. Stay overnight as you sleep under the stars, and extend your trip to include a camel safari or sandboarding!
Sheikh Saeed Al-Maktoum’s House
Now a museum; learn about the living history of Dubai with a visit to Sheik Saeed Al-Maktoum’s House. This house was built in 1894 and was the family residence for many years. There is much to appreciate in the architecture of these old houses, designed to capture the cooling breezes from the Gulf. But it’s not all about the beauty, the museum will also take you through the history of Dubai, with photographs, documents and traditional furnishings!
Wild Wadi Water Park
Wild Wadi Water Park is one of the coolest parks in Dubai – with 30 rides for all ages, you just cannot get bored here! There are wave pools, water slides, waterfalls and a chance to try surfing! You can lie around, or be adventurous on the Jumeirah Sceirah Ride – climb the 32 metre tower with a friend and ride back down at up to 80 kilometres an hour! Has all this excitement made you hungry? Never fear, there are plenty of great restaurants and cafes on site!
Dubai Aquarium & Underwater Zoo
When you visit Dubai you expect the best, and the Dubai Aquarium & Underwater Zoo is no exception. Enter a new world below the ocean surface and see over 33,000 marine creatures from oceans spaning the entire planet – the tanks are over 50 metres long and 20 metres deep, so there is plenty to see! If you want an even closer encounter, make it an extra special day with a cage dive, or take a unique view through a glass bottomed boat!
Jumeirah Beach Park
One of only a few public beaches, Jumeirah Beach Park is like a resort. This is a great place to experience the real Dubai; when many of the city’s beaches are restricted to resort patrons, this fully-patrolled beach has facilities that many would envy. Enjoy a swim and then a game of beach volleyball, or relax to a barbeque and admire the spectacular views while the children explore the playgrounds. Jumeirah Beach Park is a great budget day!
Dubai Spice Souk
While the modern shopping malls and skyscrapers dominate the Dubai skyline, a visit to the Dubai Spice Souk will provide a unique history lesson for all! Take a step back in time to the traditional ways of trading, and walk the narrow alleyways that have been part of the city since its earliest beginnings. You will see spices that you’ve have never heard of, but be prepared to haggle if you intend to buy!
Cannons and battlements will greet your approach to The Dubai Museum, which is housed in the oldest building in Dubai – the Al Fahidi Fort. The museum will take you on a unique journey through the city’s rich history, with displays of the Bedouins, as well as the pearl fishers of an earlier era. Be immersed in the souks of the old world, experience traditional homes and buildings, and learn about life in the United Arab Emirates, as it was, pre and post discovery of oil.
Mall of the Emirates
If you wanted to, you could live in the Mall of the Emirates and never leave! More like a city than a mall, there are over 560 retailers spread over more than 230,000 square metres – talk about retail therapy! A visit here will make your home town mall look like a side-street! But it’s not just shops, this mall houses leisure activities such as Ski Dubai and the Magic Planet arcade, so whether you’re looking to shop, or for something a little more exciting, the Mall of the Emirates is well-worth a visit!
A visit to Dubai Marina is to visit the “New Dubai;” the city’s playground if you will. Stylish, hip, luxurious and affluent, you can combine your visit to popular leisure centres such as the Wadi Wadi Water Park, with a stroll along the boulevard that will take you past beautiful residential areas, and a myriad of inviting restaurants and cafes. If one day is not enough, stay the evening and visit some of Dubai’s most popular nightclubs for a cocktail, or two!
For non-Muslim visitors to Dubai, a visit to the Jumeirah Mosque is a unique opportunity to better understand Islam. This mosque is the only mosque in the United Arab Emirates open to non-Muslims, and your 75-minute guided tour will help you learn about the religion, as well as the Emirati culture, including rituals and traditions. In respect to traditional rules, women will be asked to wear a scarf over their head during the visit.
Often referred to as the “Oasis City”, Al Ain was once considered a mere spot along the road to Oman. Now known for its surrounding mountain ranges and ancient architectural forts, this magnificent tourist destination is one of the oldest inhabited locations of the UAE. Discover its history today!
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