Dubai is a mix of new and old. It is not just about shopping malls, and high rise buildings, but it also has great galleries, museums, and traditional architectural marvels to offer. If you are assuming that Dubai be a city of sands and desert around, then to your surprise there are waterparks, gardens, fountains and even ski resort. City of Dubai is like a dream come true. The city also offers array of world class restaurants, ranging from regional specialities to celebrity chefs. The gastronomic experience in Dubai is truly global.
Whether be it sky diving from a plane with rush of adrenalin, or having meals on one of the skyscrapers, the city never fails to thrill you. The best thing is that Dubai takes its travellers very seriously and regularly comes up with interesting spots. Here are top things to do in Dubai.
At 2722 feet up above ground, Burj Khalifa is the world’s tallest building. The doors of Burj Khalifa were opened to the public in year of 2010,. And since that day it hasn’t seen a dull day. Burj Khalifa also has the record for having the highest outdoor observation deck in world. It is not just this, Burj Khalifa also has the highest number of storey’s in the world that exceed 160. It also has the elevator with longest distance covered. During sunsets, views from the top are priceless.
On observation deck you’ll also find a multimedia presentation on the city of Dubai and the building of Burj Khalifa. The premise of Burj Khalifa also offers many photographic opportunities. The Burj Khalifa building is home to nine of the city’s best luxury hotels. Your trip to Dubai would be incomplete if you haven’t visited Burj Khalifa.
Burj Khalifa is also home to many number of restaurants meant for fine dining. If you visit it, then we highly recommend that you indulge in dining one of these while admiring the views it offers at the same time. We also suggest that you book your tickets in advance for touring it.
Dubai Mall is world’s largest mall with being home to around 1300 stores. Must we mention that Dubai Mall is the best spot for Retail Therapy. It is not just the flashy stores that it has to offer, but It is also home to ice skating rink, gaming zone, and a cinema complex. Dubai mall also houses a aquarium and underwater zoo that has a 2.6 million gallon tank which houses thousands of aquatic species. Dubai Mall is also known to host live music and fashion shows quite frequently.
In Dubai Mall the shopping and eating avenues are endless, while being home to more than 120 restaurants. For the tech geeks it also has a VR Park where you can experience the virtual reality sessions. If you are travelling with kids then this mall got you covered with Kid Zania, which is a kid focused edutainment zone where your kids can not only play but learn something too.
The Dubai Mall is located in close vicinity of the Burj Khalifa which makes it easily accessible, and can swiftly adjust in your itinerary. In short, if you are seeking some holistic entertainment and touristy experience under one roof, then Dubai Mall is your place.
Dubai Museum is located near Bastakiya Quarter, and is housed inside Al Fahidi Fort. The Dubai Museum was built in the year of 1787, and is the oldest building in city, though it was heavily renovated in 20th century. The structure of Dubai Museum is built of traditional coral blocks held together with lime. Inside the museum you will find many exhibits of Dubai’s heritage, ranging from traditional boats to palm leaf houses, to wind towers.
If you want to see the journey of Dubai from being a tiny fishing village to the discovery of petroleum to being a metropolis, then Dubai Museum can give you that glimpse of the transformation. The structure where the Dubai Museum is housed in has once been the base of Monarch of Dubai, with a fortified residence that had sections for arsenal and prison.
Dubai Museum has market wings with artefacts that were sold in 50’s, a sea wing which is based on marine life, a folk fore wing meant for younger audience, amidst others. If you visiting and want to know then ins and outs of the city, then a visit here is must.
Jumeirah Mosque is the only Mosque in Dubai open to Non-Muslims. The idea behind building this mosque was to spread awareness about Islam and its teachings amidst people from different cultures and traditions. It is built in medieval Fatimid style of architecture. This white stone structure is an exact copy of Cairo’s Al Azhar Mosque. The mosque is large enough to have a capacity of holding 1200 visitors at the same time.
The detailed white façade of this mosque also graces the 500 dirham bank note. When visiting here we suggest that you take Guided tours that are of 75 minutes and will grace you with all the information. The best part about this mosque is that you can also borrow traditional attire from the premise when visiting here.
If you have interest in photography then bring your camera along as taking pictures inside the mosque is allowed here, and must we say that the interiors are stunning, which also makes it the most photographed mosque in United Arab Emirates.
Jumeirah Beach is the most popular public white sand strip in Dubai, and is lined with hotels. There are plenty of sun loungers, and restaurants that dot the beach. Here you will also find many water sports avenues like jet skiing, water skiing, paragliding and surfing. In the entire Dubai this beach is the best for some sun tan. Near the beach you will also find a kids park in case if you are travelling with the little ones.
For people that like to binge on food there are many eateries that dot the beach. Interestingly the authorities of Dubai have designated a special day for ladies and children, which is on every Monday. In case if you are a solo female traveller then this special day visit must be on your itinerary. Must we mention that irrespective of nature of your trip, this one is a perfect picnic spot.
In close vicinity to Jumeirah beach you will also find Majlis Gardens that exhibits impressive Arab irrigation system. The Jumeirah beach is also known for hosting an annual food festival where you will find delicacies from all around the world in your platter.
Burj Al Arab
Burj Al Arab is world’s tallest hotel standing on its own manmade island. For internet users it is highly unlikely that you haven’t seen the picture of Burj Al Arab. The iconic sail shaped structure becomes more spectacular during light show in evenings. The height of this hotel is 321 meters, which also makes it the tallest hotels in the world. Yes, it is even taller than Eiffel Tower, though the latter might not be a hotel, but this comparison is indicative.
It has been featured in number of films and television shows. Must we mention that Burj Al Arab is also one of the top five super luxury hotels in the World. We understand that booking a room in Burj Al Arab is quite costly, but you can consider dining in underwater Al-Mahara restaurant, or Scape or Skyview Bar. But if you can afford a stay here then be ready to be pampered.
Here you will be treated with airport transfers in Rolls Royce. You will have food menu from Michelin starred chefs. The toiletries in the rooms will be from Hermes. The flowers adorning your room and the lobbies of the hotel will be from Netherlands. This is just the tip of luxuries you will get here.
Dubai Miracle Garden
Dubai Miracle Garden is the world’s largest flower garden, and is spread over 18 acres. It is home to whopping 100 million flowers. The entire place is infused with flowery scent and the feeling of visiting this place is purely sensational. It has floral replicas of life size Emirates Airbus A380, English styled cottages, windmills, trucks and Burj Khalifa. If you are into photography then too this place is a must visit, as it offers some great picture opportunities.
Interestingly Dubai Miracle Garden is also popular for holding many world records, like ‘World’s Largest Vertical Garden’ and ‘World’s Largest Flower Arrangement’. If you are planning to visit this spot then you got to take note that it is open for public only through October to April. This spot is ideal for a picnic, or a laid back day especially if you are travelling with your family.
Inside the premise of the Dubai Miracle Garden you will also find the Dubai Butterfly Garden. This butterfly garden is home to more than fifteen thousand butterflies belonging to more than 50 species of the butterflies. This also makes it ideal to visit especially with kids.
Dubai Opera has a seating capacity of 2000 visitors. This one is rather a newly built night time entertainment spot that is turning to be city’s top cultural attraction. This Opera house is built by the Middle Eastern giant Emaar Properties. The outer appearance of the Opera House resembles a Dhow, which is the traditional sailing boat of the region. Dubai Opera is known for hosting musical plays, musical concerts by world class artists, opera, ballet, classical music, and comedy nights.
While visiting this spot you can also take a guided tour in English or in Arabic to learn about this venue and learn about the performing arts landscape in the city. It also has a rooftop bar for refreshments which is named as ‘The Loft’, where you will find some lip smacking food while enjoying the views of the iconic Burj Khalifa.
Inside the opera house you will also find an eleven thousand pound glass chandelier. The Dubai Opera House is slowly finding its place in the international opera scene, and if you are visiting the city and if you like performing arts, then do visit this spot.
Dubai Aquarium is located in the premise of Dubai Mall. This huge suspended tank houses more than 140 species of marine life. The Dubai Aquarium is housed inside a 10 million litre large tank, making it one of the biggest in the world. The entire set up of this aquarium rises up to third floor of the Dubai Mall. You can also walk through the 48 meter long aquarium tunnels to see spectacular views of the oceanic lives swimming above you.
You can also choose to immerse yourself in Glass bottom boat tours (on top of the tank), or cage snorkelling, or see animal feeding or you can dive with the sharks. The Dubai Aquarium is also home to the ‘King Croc’ that weighs over 750 kilograms, and is 5 meters long. The King Croc is popular across the world for being the largest crocodile.
Dubai Aquarium is also home to the Penguin Cove where you will find an average temperature of 2 to 4 degree Celsius and a swarming colony of Gentoo Penguins. The Dubai Aquarium is also known for housing the largest collection of Sand Tiger Sharks.
This creek divides Dubai into two towns, Deira in the north and Bur Dubai in the south. Dubai Creek is known for having dhows anchored here for as long as 100 years. For a small price you can tour these Dhows and get sneak peek into traditional sailor’s life. When visiting Dubai you must indulge in taking an Abras (wooden ferry) ride to cross the creek. The construction of Dubai Creek was done primarily to make the city trade with India and Africa in the by gone days.
The best time to visit the Dubai Creek is in the evenings, when the music and light shows dazzle the beauty of this spot. The backdrop of Dubai Creek and the Dhows parked here give it a unique blend of the new and the old. Dubai Creek is probably one of the places in the city that truly represent the spirit if the city and its commendable transformation.
In evenings, it is a pure delight to walk along the Dubai creek under the shimmering lights of the skyscrapers surrounding it. This place is perfect for people bitten by the bug of photography. The captures from this spot are very scenic and will adorn your Instagram Page.
Dubai Fountain is located in the Burj Lake, with Burj Khalifa in backdrop. This spot is like no other in Dubai, and it will surely mesmerise you. Dubai Fountain is 900 feet in length and shoots water up to 140 meter up in air. The water undulates like a dolphin or a belly dancer. The ejection of the water in the fountain is synced with English and Arabic songs that are played in background. The best time to visit the Dubai Fountain is in the evenings when the water and music is coupled with lights.
The Dubai Fountain was designed by WET which is a California based organization, and are also the creators of Fountains of Bellagio in Las Vegas. You can also choose to take a ride on the wooden Abra which will give you a closer glimpse of the fountain, by sailing through the lake. The Dubai Fountain attracts more than thousands of visitors every day, such is its popularity.
Just to give a glimpse of the grandeur of this fountain, there are around 50 color projectors, and 6600 lights that are installed. The combination of these produces around 1000 combinations of lights and water patterns. If in Dubai, do visit it.
Dubai Frame is located in Zabeel Park. The location of Dubai Frame is in between the old and the new Dubai, which is a perfect spot for insight into the history of city. It has two towers 150 meter high that are connected with a glass bridge. The Ground floor of the tower showcases galleries of old Dubai, while the top floor showcases the present times, and final stop is about the future of city. The future Zone is a must visit, and is the most interesting section of the Dubai Frame.
The future Zone showcases on how the city of Dubai will look like in 50 years, with flying taxis, under water living, and space missions. If you are travelling with kids, then they will certainly like this section. The appearance of the Dubai Frame is like a picture frame, from where you can capture the view of the city.
From the north end of the frame you can view the old district, and from the south end of the frame you can view the modern day Dubai. Just like its name, the Dubai Frame is a perfect spot for picture opportunities, and you can get clicked here along the frame.
There are many Souks (markets) in Dubai, but the best one is in Deira near to Dubai Creek. The gold souk in the Deira Souk is one of most important markets in world, with close to 300 retailers selling gold items and jewellery. It is estimated that around 20 percent of the World’s gold passes from this very market. The Deira Souk was established in 1850’s, and since then has been a centre of attraction of the traders from all across the world.
In the close vicinity of the Deira Souk, you will also find the Spice souk, and you will know it through the fragrances in air when you will enter the souk. The Deira Souk is an ideal place for shopping souvenirs, and traditional Arabian products. In here you will find Arabic toys, perfumes, fabric and some of the other handicraft items.
Back in the time, the establishment of this souk in this particular region was done because it was close to the Dubai Harbour, which made it easy for the traders to come here to buy and sell. If you are seeking some truly local experience, then do visit here.
Wild Wadi Waterpark
Wild Wadi Waterpark is located near Burj Al Arab. In Dubai, Wild Wadi is the best water park. It is home to more than 30 water rides and play areas. The slides on Jumeirah Sceirah tower are quite popular for plummeting visitors at 80 km/hr from a height of 32 meter. Some of the other popular slides of the water park are Tantrum Alley, Burj Surj, and Lazy River. In total there are more than 30 rides and slides in the Wild Wadi Waterpark.
Another great spot within the premise of the water park is the The Wipeout and Riptide Flow Riders, which gives you an experience of real sea waves. The theme on which this water park is built is based on an Arabian folkfore, ‘The Legend of Juha’ which is a character who along with Sindbad the Sailor travels around the world.
Wild Wadi Water Park is also home to the Wadi Washed which is a light, sound and water show that takes place in the entrance of the park. The show lasts for 7 minutes, but will be etched in your memory for ever. This spot is ideal for people travelling with family or friends.
Ski Dubai is known to maintain a continuous temperature of -4 degree Celsius in middle of a country that is located in some of the hottest desert of this world. Ski Dubai has world’s third largest indoor ski slope. It has freestyle snowboard zone, a chairlift, and an indoor black run. You need not to worry if you are a newbie in skiing, as the place also offers ski lessons for kids and even adults. In here you will also find a penguin colony.
The best thing about the ski Dubai is that you can find all the equipments for rent from the premise of the ski Dubai. Since the opening of this place, it has been gaining popularity amongst the locals for being the ultimate resort to beat the heat. This spot is a must visit if you are travelling with kids. They are surely going to enjoy making snowman and playing with snow balls.
The experience of Ski Dubai is truly like no place else in Dubai. You would be sliding down the artificial snow slope while watching shoppers pass by through the glass windows. Within the premise you will also find many restaurants, and cafes for hot food in dropping temperatures.
Great memories happen, when you don’t know where you’re going!