The things to see and do in Dubai can never be limited to a list. In reality, there are plenty of places to see and several interesting things to do in this opulent Emirate city. However, if you are short on time or if you are on a stopover holiday in Dubai, there are some important things that you should not miss. Hence, we have put together the top 5 places to see and top 5 things to do in Dubai. Although it would not take you all around the city, it would give you a glimpse of the things that Dubai is best known for.
Raising 828 meters, the Burj Khalifa is the tallest building in the world and has 162 floors. Comprising a luxury hotel, fine-dining restaurants, corporate offices and residential units, the Burj Khalifa has awed the world right from the time of its inauguration. The building also has two observation decks that offer incredible views of the city. Located on 124th and 148th floors of the Burj Khalifa, these observation decks give 360o view of Dubai. While the observation decks are open from 8:30 PM to 11 PM, the sunset time is the best time to visit Burj Khalifa.
The luxurious city of Dubai is home to one of the most luxurious hotels in the world, the Burj Al Arab. Considered to be the only seven star hotel in the world, the Burj Al Arab is a hotel fit for royalty. If you choose to stay at the hotel, you would get to stay in plush rooms with all the amenities and facilities known to human beings. Another way to check out the lavish interiors of the hotel is to dine at one its restaurants. The best dining experience here is the afternoon tea at the hotel's Sky View Bar. You get to feast on a delicious meal of cakes, creams, pastries, sandwiches, teas and coffees, while admiring the beauty of the Arabian Gulf.
If you want to know about the history of Dubai, the Dubai Museum should be the first stop for your visit. Located in Bur Dubai, the Dubai Museum preserves the history of the city. You would get to go back to the times when the Bedouin tribes lived in the desert. Right from the clothes to their occupations, you would get to know everything through interesting exhibits inside the museum. At the end of the museum tour, do not forget to watch the video, where you would get to marvel at the stupendous growth of Dubai from a simple desert land to the marvellous city it is today, and that too at such a short time. Another reason to visit the Dubai Museum is that it is located in the oldest building of the city, the Al Fahidi Fort.
Not too far from the Dubai Museum is the Bastakiya Quarter, where the past has been preserved beautifully. Although you would be able to see modern buildings from Bastakiya Quarter, the area itself is lost in the world of the yesteryears. Here, you can revisit the times when Dubai was a simple fishing village. Persian merchants who came here for trading built the unique homes that you see here. While some of these buildings, with their beautiful doors and wind towers, are still residential units, many of them have been converted into cafes, museums, art galleries and even boutique hotels. This gives you the chance to visit these buildings and look at their interiors. Some of the places that you must visit at the Bastakiya Quarter are Coffee Museum, XVA Art Gallery, etc. The Sheikh Mohammed Cultural Centre of Understanding (SMCCU) offers tours almost every day, for those who want to know the details.
The Jumeirah Beach is one of the best public beaches on Dubai's side of the Persian Gulf. While the free access is one of the reasons that bring people to this beach, it is the amazing view of the Burj Al Arab that attracts most to this beach. Jumeirah Beach is the perfect place to sunbathe during the winter months. Families would have a great time making sandcastles as well as playing and swimming in its calm waters. There is also a play area on the beach, to keep the little ones occupied. Adventure lovers can indulge in host of water sports to keep theme engaged and entertained. There is an array of cafes on the beach for a quick snack and drink as well as to cool off from the heat.
If you have to choose just one best thing to do in Dubai, you should opt for desert safari, without thinking too much. The best part here is there are different types of desert safaris, and you can always choose one as per your interests and convenience. The morning desert safari is for lovers of adventures, who would be able to enjoy dune bashing, camel riding and quad biking along with witnessing a beautiful sunrise on the desert. On the other hand, evening desert safari offers entertainment programs along with the adventure ones. You can also extend your stay at the desert with the overnight desert safari. There are various other versions of these desert safaris, some of which include luxury desert safari, dinner in the desert, desert safari with hot air balloon ride, etc. Whichever you choose, you would definitely have an awesome time.
As many people know, Dubai is a paradise for shopping lovers. Home to enormous shopping malls, crowded traditional souks and quaint little boutiques, the shoppers are spoilt with choices. When it comes to shopping malls, the Dubai Mall takes the cake. Comprising around 1200 retail stores, there is nothing that you can buy here. Be it international fashion brands or the latest gadget, you can buy everything here. Some other popular malls here are The Mall of Emirates, Dragon Mart, Ibn Battuta Mall, Deira City Centre, Dubai Marina Mall, etc. On the other hand, if you want to buy local gifts and souvenirs, you must head to Old Dubai, where you would find the traditional souks. The gold souk, spice souk, perfume souk and textile souk are the four popular souks located on the sides of the Dubai Creek. Apart from all this, Dubai is also the host of the largest shopping festival in the world, the Dubai Shopping Festival. During the festival, shoppers would get to enjoy massive deals and discounts on all merchandise.
Most people know Dubai for its sightseeing and shopping opportunities. However, lately, Dubai is seen emerging as a land of adventures. Right from air to water, Dubai covers almost all kinds of adventures known to human kind. When it comes to aerial adventures, you can try skydiving, paragliding, ziplining and bungee jumping. Both outdoor and indoor skydiving are available here. Water adventures include parasailing, kite surfing, surfing, jet skiing, kayaking, etc. Most public and private beaches offer water sports. On the other hand, land adventures include mountain biking, hiking, trekking and dune bashing. The best way to enjoy all these adventures would be to book a special tour package that includes all these adventurous activities.
Apart from the ones mentioned above, another kind of thrill and adventure await you at Dubai through its numerous theme and waterparks. There is no dearth of theme and waterparks in the city. Right from the ones that cater to the tiny tots to the ones where families can have an amazing time, you have numerous options to choose from in Dubai. Some of the most popular theme parks include IMG Worlds of Adventure, Bollywood Parks Dubai, Motiongate Dubai and Legoland Dubai. These theme parks have numerous zones, and each zone has thrilling rides and state-of-the-art attractions. This is the same with waterparks. Few of the waterparks that you should visit in the city are Wild Wadi Waterpark, Legoland Dubai Waterpark, Atlantis Aquaventure Waterpark and Laguna Waterpark. The slides, pools, attractions, amenities and facilities of the Dubai waterparks have made them some of the best in the world.
Dhows were the only modes of transport in the olden days. Today, they are no longer used for their original purpose. Still, even today, these vessels have been preserved in the form of floating restaurants. One of the best ways of checking them out is going on a dhow cruise dinner either on the Dubai Creek or the Dubai Marina. The dhow cruise dinner is the perfect way of spending a quiet evening enjoying the beauty of the city. Whichever place you choose, you get to see a different side of Dubai. Apart from this, you also get to enjoy the wonderful Tanoura dance by a professional dancer. However, the highlight of the two-hour cruise is the delicious dinner spread that you would get to devour. Even if you are in Dubai for a short time, this is one thing that you should not miss.
The 5 things to see and do in Dubai would give you a gist of what the city is all about. Still, you cannot define the city with just these. On the other hand, if you start exploring the city, the many hidden gems that it holds would surprise you.