Dubai boasts wealth, class, and confidence. What was once just a small fishing village in the United Arab Emirates has become an affluent world-class city, thanks to the discovery of oil.
Dubai is a mixture of old and new, traditional and modern. It one of the most popular travel destinations in the world. Anyone seeking opulence, shopping, business development, will find it here.
Things To Do In Dubai
From old traditional souks and historical buildings (now being preserved for cultural reasons or already part of the national heritage) to modern Dubai’s overwhelming shopping malls, incredible artificial islands and giant modern skyscrapers that include the world’s tallest building, Dubai is a world in itself and offers plenty of wonderful attractions.
Dubai has a justified reputation as a concrete jungle, but there are nice pockets of greenery within the city, such as Safa Park. The city parks are modern and very well-maintained, with the most popular located in Jumeirah.
The city has numerous museums and historical buildings, but Dubai Museum is a must-see for first-time travelers to the Emirates. It provides a glimpse of the old life of Dubai, its people and their culture and heritage. A number of other museums are located in nearby Sharjah.
Best done at night in the cool weather and to enjoy the city lights. Abras can be hired for a private tour (for a price negotiable with the driver, but usually very cheap). This is quite a popular activity at sunset on a clear day, particularly if the driver is able to enliven the tour with stories about the structures on either side of the Creek.
Just make sure that the purpose of one’s abra hire is made clear at the outset – otherwise, you will be in for a very expensive cross-river trip or a crowded private tour. See also the Get around section above.
Beaches and sea
There are endless water sports opportunities as Dubai has some of the whitest and sandiest beaches in the world. Ocean temperatures range from 22°C in winter up to 35°C in summer, there are few wave breaks and the strong winds can make swimming difficult.
The water is also very salty so many prefer to use their hotel swimming pool. Diving activities have been severely affected by offshore construction work for the Palms and The World; consequently, long boat trips are necessary to reach wreck sites.
Alternatively, one can make the 90-minute road journey to the East coast Emirate of Fujairah or the Sharjah enclave, Khor Fakkan, for top class diving on coral reefs supporting extensive marine life.
Camel Race Track
One of the more unusual attractions, with races being held on Thursday and Friday in the winter. You can watch the races, and you’ll have the opportunity to visit the paddocks. Vendors sell everything from beads to rugs and blankets, so you can purchase souvenirs.
Head out to the desert in an SUV with specialist desert drivers. The drivers will take you for a thrilling roller-coaster ride over sand dunes, show you the sunset from a strategic vantage point and then take you to a traditional Arabic Bedouin campsite where you’ll be offered lavish barbecue buffet dinner with music and belly dance to complete the atmosphere.
The duration of the tour is usually around five hours and cost per person at around 150 dirhams. You may want to stay clear of the dune bashing if you get carsick easily.
A desert safari is one of the best things to do while in Dubai. Another option would be renting/buying a 4×4 and joining the many growing 4×4 clubs in the UAE, but only if you’re an extremely experienced driver and hold an international driving license.
Many of them have websites including Emarat 4×4 and UAEoffroaders. Neighboring cities including Abu Dhabi also have their own, such as AD4x4. For all of the Dubai-based clubs, membership is free of charge and they conduct trips for beginners into the desert on a regular basis.
Although at first glance the outdoors may seem dull and uninteresting, and even dangerous due to the desert conditions, there are actually amazing natural destinations in the Emirate of Dubai, which extends into Hatta. There are pristine waterfalls, cliffs lined with fossils, even freshwater lakes.
An easy way to explore the man-made Palm Islands and coastal skyscrapers. Fleets are available for hire from Dubai Marina from many of the yacht charter agencies.
Dubai Creek is the foundation from which Dubai grew. It was built as a port for trading vessels plying to and from India, Africa, and the Middle East. Today a bit of the old shipping culture still remains. In and around the Creek one can see some of the original buildings that have served as customs houses and defense structures.
You can book a ride (usually four hours) on the Dubai Marina cruise or rent a private boat to take you on an hour-long ride up and down the Creek.
Visit the tallest building in the world with the magnificent centerpiece of Dubai, Burj Khalifa is surrounded by hotels, must-visit shopping destinations and a world of entertainment options. More info can be found in the Jumeirah district article.
Not that Dubai doesn’t have green world class golfs money can build in a desert, but we recommend trying a more local flavor, aka, Sand Golf. Yes, sand golf exists and it is actually quite fun. Plus, where else you would get to swing in the sand.
Hot Air Balloon Ride
Great fun seeing all the sand dunes and mountains early in the morning or during sunset. It is pricey though, so make sure to call and check.
Big Bus City Tour
You can take a bus tour, both daytime and nighttime, of many of attractions in Dubai.
Explore Downtown Dubai
Bur Dubai is in essence of downtown Dubai. It stretches from the southern side of Dubai Creek to 2nd of December St or D 73 Rd, formerly Al Dhiyafa Rd. It has experienced the most development in the past decade. Jumeirah is to the south, and Deira to the north, across the creek.
Downtown Dubai can be explained in one word: mammoth. Everything from buildings to shopping centers is immense. The hotel Burj Khalifa is located in the central part of the city.
The Satwa is a mine where shoppers can both explore and buy gold in tons. Occupants here are primarily Indian. If you are craving food that is both authentic and spicy, dine in one of the many restaurants here!
Most of the occupants here are primarily Indian. If you are craving food that is both authentic and spicy, dine in one of the many restaurants here!
Bur Dubai is next to a creek. Enjoy the unique experience of floating restaurants here. Both Emirates Hills and Arabian Ranches are beautiful, affluent areas. The International City is home to a considerable Chinese population. It also has affordable accommodations.
Mirdiff is near the airport. You’ll spot classy apartments in this neighborhood. Deira is the epitome of old Dubai. Attend its markets, which are both traditional and exotic.
Dubai Marina holds a sizable population of both Europeans and Americans. It has posh restaurants which can serve you a one-of-a-kind meal. Jumeirah is very diverse, and also boasts gorgeous villas lining its beaches.
Dubai’s souks are a treasure to discover. You’ll find a little bit of everything, from aromatic spices to intricate handicrafts. Open museums in Shindagha are full of culture. Jumeirah Mosque, Burj Khalifa, Burj al-Arab Hotel, Dubai Fountain, Palm Islands, Dubai Marina, and Al Safa Park are also landmarks you must visit while you are here.
- How to Get Around in Dubai
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October 1, 2016 7:44 pm
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