Here are a few of the things that I did when I went to Dubai. Hopefully this will inspire you if you are planning on visiting this incredible city.
It is worth visiting the Burj as is not only the tallest building in the world (for the moment) but also because you will have a great panoramic view of the city from 120 or 160 floors up (to go to the higher viewing deck costs a lot more). There are great photo opportunities from the top.
– Book online to ensure you can visit, and book up at least a day in advance as the most popular hours quickly sell out. This will also help you avoid big queues to purchase the tickets
– Go on a day when the sky is clear to get great views. The Burj is so high that the viewing galleries can be above cloud level!
– If you want to see the sunset be prepared for crowds, and not seeing much as it gets dark quickly. My preference is to go during day time when you can see the most!
Dubai Fountain in Downtown
Right outside The Dubai Mall on Lower Ground Waterfront Promenade and next to the Burj Khalifa, you will find the fountain. Every evening from 6pm to 11pm, there is a fountain show with light and music that starts every 30 minutes. The spectacular show is free and you can watch the fountains dance to a different tune twice an hour. Famous songs are played, whether in English, French, Spanish or Arabic etc.
– Get to the fountains 10 minutes before the show starts to stake out a good spot ahead of the crowds
– For a great view go to the Apple Store and watch the show from their balcony
– It’s more spectacular at night, so have dinner in the mall, or al fresco next to the fountains, to enjoy a show or two
Shopping malls are taken to the next level in Dubai. Not only do you have an incredible variety of shops and restaurants but there are also amazing things to do and see inside, such as a 5 storey fish-tank that holds sharks and rays and every other sea creature you can imagine! Even if you don’t like shopping it’s worth visiting one!
– In the Dubai Mall don’t miss the aquarium, the underwater zoo (Starfish, turtles, parrots etc.) and the massive 155-million-year-old dinosaur skeleton to view
– Visit the Mall of Emirates if you want to see an ski resort in action (or even join in!)
– Taxis are affordable and are waiting outside every shopping mall
If you have never been to a desert, I recommend the experience. You have different tour operators and different activities to choose from. I booked an all day adventure with Arabian Adventures. They picked me up at the hotel and drove for an hour to the desert. In the desert, we saw a falcon show, we drove through the dunes, saw the sunset, had a camel ride, enjoyed dinner and watched a belly dancing show.
– Talk to your driver before you have a ride through the dunes if you get car sick. Even though it was a great experience, the face-paced ride lasted for 30 mins through the dunes and I started to feel like I was inside a washing machine
– This was not an authentic experience in the desert as it was full of tourists and so the activities were very packed and tightly scheduled. The positive things was that I was able to do lots of different things in a short period of time. However, if you want to take more time to enjoy the activities, think about staying a one night in the desert, or else booking a private tour
If you have enough days in Dubai think about taking some day trips or making a quick getaway to Oman or Abu Dhabi.
I spent one night in Abu Dhabi and visited the new Louvre museum and the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque. I will highly recommend both of them.
– Take a taxi from Dubai to Abu Dhabi. It will take around 1 hour and will cost you about 70 pounds.
Other things to do
– Having brunch, especially on Fridays, is one of the top activities to do in Dubai. Not only you can eat but many of them also have DJs so they practically turn into clubs at midday. Pretty much all the hotels offer brunches, however some are more decadent than others and they can last for hours. A good brunch can cost approx. £120 per head. Take the opportunity to visit the Palm Jumeirah area, which is an artificial archipelago and have brunch in one of the hotels there. Ensure you book in advance to ensure you get a space as brunch is very popular and generally only take place on Fridays (the start of the weekend in Dubai)
– Enjoy the beach and the nice weather
– Check out the available concerts and shows
I hope this has given you some inspiration for your visit to this region. I loved it so much, I want to go back soon!