Dubai is an absolutely stunning place and its rich culture is something to be greatly admired, but like any popular destination in the world there are endless tours, trips and attractions that you simply cannot miss. So what are the main things you should be doing during your trip to the UAE?
The Palm Jumeirah
Home to the majestic Atlantis Hotel and surrounded by the emerald waters of the Arabian Gulf, this man-made island which connects to mainland Dubai via a highway is really quite something. With seventeen fronds and a large outer-ring, the Palm Jumeirah is dotted with only the finest hotels, houses and apartments you’ve ever laid eyes on. Even if you don’t stay at a hotel on the Palm, be sure to visit the Palm either for dinner at one of the hotels or simply for a drive around, as its vast, luxurious design and build is out of this world. Depending on your location, you can also visit Palm Jebal ali (to the west of the Palm Jumeirah) which is slightly newer.
The Burj Khalifa
This building is the tallest artificial structure in the world, standing at a whopping 829.8 metres tall. Situated smack in the middle of the city beside Dubai Mall, this building can be viewed from just about anywhere in Dubai. Not only is this stunning to look at from the outside with its mirrored, glass finish, but inside is even more amazing. You can buy tickets for either the At The Top or the At The Top Sky experiences which is worth every penny. At The Top Sky allows you to stand on the world’s highest observation deck with an outdoor terrace sitting on level 148 of the sky scraper, with the At The Top experience giving you the opportunity to observe 360 degrees of sweeping city views from level of 124 – also featuring an outdoor terrace. Sunset is meant to be an incredible time of day to visit, but either during daylight or nighttime is just as fantastic.
Compared to the likes of the Las Vegas Bellagio Fountains, the powerful display that takes place within the gigantic lake between the Dubai Mall and the Burj Khalfia is quite a show. With water that jets as high as 450 ft, which is equivalent to a 45-storey building, the Dubai Fountains are not to be missed. Afternoon shows run daily except Fridays at 1:00pm & 1:30pm, with the Friday shows taking place at 1:30pm & 2:00pm, and the evening shows run daily from 6:00pm to 11:00pm (every 30 minutes). With a bustling atmosphere, that welcoming warm breeze and uplifting music during the show, it makes your visit to Dubai even more magical. Looking to make the most of the fountains? You can also hop on a gondola for a romantic lake ride around the main attraction itself.
The Dubai Desert is everything you could hope for, and then some. With deep red sands and dunes taller than buildings, the idyllic landscape that lies around you will take your breath away. I strongly recommend booking a tour via a company such as Desert Safari Dubai, as they will without a doubt leave you with unforgettable memories. From a high-speed dune drive in a jeep, to spectacular photography opportunities, to a delicious Arabic meal paired with entertainment and camel rides, among more, your day will be jam-packed with every desert activity possible.
Burj Al Arab
Known as the world’s most luxurious hotel with a magnificent seven stars to its name, the sail-shaped Burj Al Arab Hotel is on another level. Although room prices are made for a king (literally), you don’t have to stay at this hotel to experience its impeccable service, architecture and atmosphere. With unbeatable hospitality and menus on offer, taking advantage of its delicious breakfasts, brunches, lunches, afternoon teas and dinners is highly recommended, so long as you’ve got the cash to splash, as even their cappuccinos are topped with gold.
Helicopter or Sea Plane Flight
What better way to see the city than from above? These tours will come with a fair price, as I’m sure you can imagine, but they really are worth every single penny – or Dirhams in this case. Even if you opt for a basic twenty minute flight, you’ll be able to look down on everything Dubai is proud to offer to its residents and us tourists. A company such as Seawings offer simply the best flights above the city, allowing you to sit back, relax, and take in Dubai’s beauty as you journey across the ever-changing skyline.
Home to yet more exquisite hotels, restaurants and bars, the Dubai Marina is the perfect location for a spot of brunch or a romantic dinner, though with endless hot spots you’ll be left spoiled for choice no matter what time of day you visit. Located near to the Palm Jumeirah, a tram station and a metro station, finding your way to and from this beautiful area will be a piece of cake.
The hundreds of shops, restaurants and cafes aside, the Dubai Mall is also home to a stunning waterfall which floods across all floors and a fantastic aquarium and underwater park. If you choose to visit the 140 species of sea life home to the Aquarium, you can choose to either stroll through the 48 metre walk-through tunnel, take a glass-bottom boat tour, hop into a snorkeling cage or even opt for an oxygen tank to go swimming with the sharks.
Al Fahidi District
If you’re looking to experience the ultimate culture and history of Dubai, the Al Fahidi District is for you. With bustling streets, markets, shops and eateries all situated by the picturesque Creek, a days visit to this area of Dubai with leave you with an even more developed outlook on the great city. With Al Ras nearby, which is home to the spice and gold souks, you can spend you day strolling around at a pace that suits you, inhaling the rich scents and meeting the friendly locals.
Wild Wadi Waterpark
Perhaps not for everyone, but trust me when I say that the Wild Wadi Waterpark is a fabulous day out – kids or no kids. With water slides that make your heart race and a gorgeous, warm lagoon, spending the day soaking up the sun beside the Burj Al Arab and Jumeirah Beach Hotel is worth the slightly pricey tickets. Though make sure that you check with your hotel first, as some offer free entry!
As I’m sure you can imagine, Dubai has plenty more to offer, but these attractions are merely a snippet of what this incredible city has to offer! Let me know if you’ve visited Dubai and what you got up to on Twitter, Facebook or in the comments below…