Dubai is the Middle East’s most popular city and the UAE’s second-largest emirate. Spanning over an area of 4115 square meters, its offerings are quite massive, making it overwhelming for visitors, especially first-timers, traveling to Dubai. So if you are trying to figure out what to include in your bucket list during your debut trip, this list of epic things to do in Dubai will help you to plan a failsafe holiday program.
1. Take to ‘At the Top’ at Burj Khalifa
Burj Khalifa is the ultimate symbol of modern Dubai. Located in the glamorous Downtown Dubai, it is a structure of superlatives; from holding the title of the world’s tallest building to the world’s highest observation deck, it is a must-see on your first time Dubai visit. One of the best ways to see this building up-close is via booking ‘At the Top’ ticket. It allows you visit its observation deck on the 124th alone or both 124th and 148th levels (subject to your ticket choice.) Catch the most stunning views over the whole of Dubai’s cityscape as you stand here. Watch multimedia displays on Dubai’s history and enjoy one of the world’s fastest elevator rides as part of your Burj Khalifa visit.
2. Head to the Dubai Mall & Dubai Fountain
Before or after your Burj Khalifa expedition, make your way to the Dubai Mall, being right next to this massive structure. Things to see and do here are so endless that you should set aside some generous amount of time to make the most of them. Shop at its over 1200 outlets, dive into its dining scene with some 200 plus options, and drop into some of its top leisure and entertainment attractions.
See over 33000 aquatic animals freely swimming within Dubai Aquarium and Underwater Zoo and feel one of the region’s ultimate icy attractions at Dubai Ice Rink. Little ones must check out KidZania Dubai, while teens must definitely enter Ekart Zabeel and VR Park Dubai for that extra dose of adventure and amusement. Give a perfect wrap up to your Dubai Mall visit by watching the iconic Dubai Fountain (dancing) show.
3. See the Whole of Palm Jumeirah from the View
If you are not aware of Palm Jumeirah, it is the world’s most luxurious and largest man-made island. It has an intricate palm-tree design rounded out by a crescent on the top. Until recently, the only practical way to admire this majestic sight was on a pricey helicopter ride or an insane sky diving session. If you are planning for a Dubai trip, you can now catch this view risk-free without shelling out a fortune. Simply make a visit to the View at the Palm! Perched on the 52nd level of Palm Towers, this dedicated observation deck is sure to leave you in awe with the 360 degree views over the entire of Palm Jumeirah and beyond.
4. Take an Inside Tour of Burj Al Arab
Burj Al Arab is the legendary sail-shaped structure that would never to impress! Placed in Dubai’s graceful Jumeirah area, it is the most luxurious as well as the tallest all-suite accommodation in the world. If you can’t imagine a stay here, limit your Burj Al Arab visit to a selfie or take it to a next level by taking a butler guided tour of this imposing hotel that is set on its own private island. The exclusive Inside Burj Al Arab tour allows you to glance into some of the hotel’s choicest sections such as the largest-of-its-kind Atrium, one-of-its-kind Experience Suite, and most of all, the Royal Suite which costs an average of $25,000 to spend a night here. So what better way to return home with the perfect Instagrammable snaps against this beloved Dubai structure?
5. Explore Al Bastakiya Quarter
For a sneak peek into the Dubai’s humble past, this is the top place to go in Dubai. Also called Al Fahidi Historical Neighbourhood, this 19th century enclave is tucked away in the city’s old part. Its old world charm is still intact, featuring over 50 Arabian houses (with antiquated wooden wind towers and traditional courtyards) that are immaculately preserved to its original state. You can make an entry into these timeless dwellings as most of them now function as an art gallery, a museum or a cultural landmark. Most popular among them is Sheikh Mohammed Centre for Cultural Understanding (SMCCU). There is also Coin Museum and Coffee Museum where you can enjoy free entry. You can further step into Arabian Tea House to relish typical Emirati delights.
6. Desert Safari
While Dubai is packed with unrivaled contemporary sights, its isolated and pristine desert landscape away from city centre is something that is straight out of an Arabian tale. Embark on a guided desert safari tour to get the best out of this off-road adventure. Select morning desert safari or the activity-packed evening desert safari. You can also choose overnight desert safari which is a sum up of both morning and evening desert safaris. All desert safaris include the electrifying dune bash plus camel ride, sandboarding etc, while evening and overnight desert safaris comprise BBQ dining and live traditional performances such as Belly Dance and Tanura show.
7. Enjoy a Rotation on Ain Dubai
This newest Dubai attraction makes into this list for a variety of reasons. The first and foremost of them is that it is colossal and obviously, the highest observation wheel in the world. A revolution in one of its fully enclosed and air-conditioned cabins allows you take in the city skyline stretching over the Bluewaters Island, Dubai Marina and Palm Jumeirah like never before. You even get to upgrade your tickets to premium experience with food and drinks served during this roughly 40 minutes spin.
8. Dhow Cruise
This is another classical experience that you should not miss in Dubai. It gives you the chance to navigate Dubai’s water (along Dubai Creek or Dubai Marina) in a rustic yet refurbished Arabian dhow that was once extensively used for pearl farming and fishing in the Arabian Gulf. With a two hours cruise, you will get the chance to see Dubai’s mix of well-known and hidden delights from a new standpoint on water. It is most ideal to set out on this cruise after sunset; it lets you glide past the illuminated landmarks while enjoying scrumptious food and amazing live shows like Tanura onboard. Now if you are looking for a more stylish alternative to dhow cruise, book a yacht charter Dubai.
9. Visit Dubai Parks and Resorts
Dubai Parks and Resorts is the first integrated resort in the Middle East. Besides its high-end accommodation options and a spectrum of dining and retail choices, it is where you can experience the pinnacle of theme park fun and entertainment. There are four parks – the biggest of all is Motiongate Dubai which is a surefire favorite of Hollywood movies. This is followed by Bollywood Parks Dubai with some amazing Hindi-movie based attractions and rides. Finally, LEGOLAND Dubai and LEGOLAND Water Park are a treat for families with younger ones from two to 12 years.
10. Experience Water Thrill at Dubai’s Largest Water Park
For this, head out to Aquaventure Waterpark! It is a part of one of the region’s most regal resorts, Atlantis, The Palm, which overlooks the Arabian Gulf and placed at the crescent part of the Palm Jumeirah. Not to mention, it has some of the most exhilarating rides, jaw-dropping slides and cool of its kind kid section. Hardcore adventurists can hit the nerve-wracking rides such as the Leap of Faith and Poseidon’s Revenge, while families can have amusement of the lifetime with Aquaconda, Slitherine and Zoomerango.
From Dubai Expo 2020 site to Dubai Miracle Garden and Dubai Garden Glow, there more attractions and experiences to add in your travel program if you plan for a Dubai trip in near future. Whenever you choose to visit Dubai, you can be assured of a great Arabian escape. For a vacation packed with outdoor fun and thrill, visit Dubai in pleasant winter months (November to March.) If you are looking for a relaxed holiday with fewer crowds and incredible price-cuts on accommodation, airfare, sightseeing etc, consider a trip here in summer season (June to September.) Apart from all these, make sure that you have all documents including Dubai visa in place.
So, keep these above things in mind and of course, take some cue from our suggested list of Dubai things to do – you all are ready for an unforgettable getaway.
Author: Neha Singh
Neha loves traveling, seeing different places, and learning about their history. She also likes adventure sports like skydiving, bungee jumping, and zip-lining. In her free time, she enjoys cooking, sketching, and chilling with her pet dog.
Check below more details from my visit to Burj Khalifa and the Dubai Miracle Garden