Despite what you may have heard about Dubai, you don’t have to be a millionaire to make the most of a visit here. Dubai can be a great, affordable, and fun place to visit and has something to offer everyone.
Check out this list of 6 things to do in this otherworldly destination, and make the most of your time in Dubai.
1. Take A Water Taxi Across Dubai Creek
Get a sense of the old Dubai with a trip on a water taxi (known as an ‘abra') on Dubai Creek, a salt water creek which flows through the heart of Dubai.
This is an excellent (and cheap) way to get around. It also gives you a real sense of the hustle and bustle of the old city.
Don’t expect too much from health and safety though; just get on board and hold on tight. Typically, the abras are full of local workers as well as tourists so space is scarce, but this makes the whole experience all the more fun.
2. Visit The Tallest Building In The World
The Burj Khalifa is currently the world’s tallest building. Standing at 829.8 m (2,722 ft.), with 163 floors, it certainly makes an impressive impact on the already amazing skyline of Dubai. Let’s put it this way, you can’t miss it!
Visitors can go up to the 124th floor where there is an observation deck where, quite literally, you will be on top of the world. Night or as the sun sets is a good time to visit. Pre-booked tickets can work out cheaper. It’s guaranteed to be an experience that you are unlikely to forget.
3. Take A Trip To The Arabian Desert
Make sure you take a trip to the Arabian Desert. There are many tours offering a range of excursions. These can include anything from an exhilarating 4×4 desert safari to more sedate camel rides followed by dinner at a Bedouin camp.
If you get a chance to camp in the desert, I highly recommend it; there is nothing like seeing the sunset and sunrise in a desert.
Whatever you decide to do, make sure you go with a proper tour guide as opposed to wandering off into the desert on your own. You don’t want to find yourself bartered for a camel now do you!
4. Go Shopping
If there is one thing you can definitely do in Dubai, it’s shopping.
Dubai has many shopping malls and offers some of the best shopping experiences in the world. If it can be bought, you will be able to find it in Dubai.
The malls themselves are the real attraction and many have themes and ‘side’ attractions such as the Wafi Mall, which has an Egyptian theme.
Alternatively, you can always visit the Mall of the Emirates complete with its very own indoor ski slope and real snow.
5. Do Friday Brunch
Friday is brunch day for the large community of expats who live in Dubai.
However, it is not quite like any brunch you may have been to before. For a start, it is more of a long lunch where the champagne flows liberally, and the variety of gourmet food on offer is incredible.
Brunches are offered by many restaurants in Dubai and typically start from around lunchtime until about 4pm. A set price will allow you to have as much food and drink as you like for the duration of the brunch.
But it’s not just about the food (and by the way, you can literally get any food you like at these brunches from Italian to Lebanese cuisine). A Dubai brunch is a great opportunity to glam up for the day. This is the day for your cocktail dress and heels! Dubai is not a place for holding back when it comes to putting on the bling.
A Dubai brunch is worth going to just for the people watching alone.
6. Visit The Souks
Get ready to haggle!
The Dubai Gold Souk and the Spice Souk really are a sight (and smell) to behold! The souks are my favorite places in Dubai: There is so much going on, and if you like gold, then you really can find some great bargains at the Dubai Gold Souk.
The souks are close to each other, so if you visit the Gold Souk first, the Spice Souk is easy to find as you just follow your nose. The explosion of color, sound, and smell is a blast to the senses, and you will definitely need a sit down after a visit.
So there you have it: 6 great things to do in Dubai. And I haven’t even mentioned a trip to the beach to dip your toes in the gulf sea, a visit to the Aquaventure waterpark with the world’s tallest water slide, or a stay in the 7 star Burj Al Arab where you have your very own butler on each floor are also a must.
So, what are you waiting for? Experience Dubai for yourself and see what all the hype is about.
Note for visitors
Dubai is a Muslim state, so there are things you need to be aware of if you are a first time visitor.
When in public places (such as shopping malls) you are required to dress conservatively. For women, this means your shoulders must be covered and skirts/shorts should cover the knee. Swanning around the local market in your bikini will not go down well, and will most likely be highly offensive to locals.
Furthermore, alcohol can only be bought in licensed places such as your hotel or restaurant. Being drunk in public places is a big no-no.
However, neither of these should detract from your enjoyment of this top destination, and it certainly did not pose any problem for me whatsoever during my visit. Dubai is an extremely safe destination for visitors, but just like anywhere, you are required to take into consideration local rules and customs and, of course, common sense!