Things To Do In Dubai: Discover A Truly Iconic City!
Dubai is among one of those cities that keeps evolving with time. Whether you are a first time visitor to Dubai or have been to the place several times, you will always find something or the other new in this magnificent city. Exploring the entire city in a short trip be difficult as there are so many world’s biggest structures and attractions in Dubai. However, in this article, you will get to know about the most popular and must-see places of Dubai, which you can add to your checklist. So, here you go!
In a hurry? Navigate to the right place:
- Best Time To Visit Dubai
- Dubai Attractions
- Dubai Beaches
- Dubai Nightlife
- Best Hotels In Dubai
- Traveling Around Dubai
- Travel Tips For Tourists
Best Time To Visit Dubai:
This is a common question that arrives in the mind of each traveler. If you want to visit Dubai when the weather is pleasant then you should plan your trip for the month of November, December, or first half of March. However, that is the peak season as thousands of travelers visit at that time. The hotels will be crowded but not really expensive, so you shouldn’t worry about that.
Alternatively, if you want to shop and enjoy at the world-famous Dubai Shopping Festival then you should visit in January and February. It is advisable not to visit Dubai in the month of July and August as at that time the heat is unbearable and you will not be able to step outside at all. However, during these months, hotels offer excellent deals to attract travelers as the crowds are less.
The month of April or May is the beginning of summers and they are the best time to visit Dubai beaches for a swim or tan. Summers are hot, dry, and humid. The maximum temperature in summer reaches about 45 degrees Celsius. Sandstorms in summers are quite common, which could lead to breathlessness and reduced visibility. Rainfall is occasional and can occur in the months of December to March. In winter season, the average minimum temperature is 15 degrees Celsius.
Rightly considered to be the world’s most visited destination, Downtown Dubai has several Dubai attractions located in its centre, which comprises of Burj Khalifa, The Dubai Mall, and The Dubai Fountain. It is the famous city hub, which is forever thriving with tourists and locals. There are various world-class hotels like Armani Hotel, Vida, Manzil Hotel, and more that are located in Downtown Dubai.
If you enjoy shopping, then visit The Dubai Mall and shop till you drop! Consisting of more than 1,200 retail stores and over 200 restaurants, you are certainly going to get spoilt for choice. To make your trip comfortable, you can use the Dubai Trolley service, which is a hop-in and hop-out double-decker trolley tram that tours inside Downtown Dubai for visitors as well as residents. Moreover, if you want to spend several days in exploring Downtown Dubai then book a room in The Address Dubai Mall, which has 449 serviced residences and 244 lavish rooms.
The Dubai Fountain:
The Dubai Fountain is a captivating sight as it is the world’s tallest performing fountain. It is built on the 30-acre Burj Lake and has a unique design, which consists of two arcs and five circles that are of different sizes. The water nozzles shooting to remarkable heights, 25 color projectors, and more than 6,600 WET Superlights create a visual spectrum of more than one thousand varied water expressions. This beautiful sight with different songs in the background should not be missed at all during your visit to Dubai.
Another way to discover the Dubai Fountain is by taking a ride on the Burj Lake, which will provide the front row seats for you to enjoy the mesmerizing sight. The timings for the Lake Ride are 5:45pm to 11:30pm. The cost of ticket for the Dubai Fountain Lake Ride is 65 AED per person. Alternatively, check out the Dubai Fountain Boardwalk that will take you so close to the fountain that you will just be 9 meters away from the musical waters, which is exactly what we did.
Desert Safari Dubai:
Your trip to Dubai will be incomplete if you do not go for a desert safari on the magical Arabian Desert. There are several safari options available on the Internet, so you can choose any of them. Among them, a popular safari is the Premium Red Dunes and Camel Safari with BBQ at Al Khayma Camp.
In this safari, you will get several facilities like pick up and drop off from your hotel, dune bashing for 30 to 45 minutes, transportation by AC Land Cruiser, Sand Boarding, Camel Ride, Tanura and Belly Dancing show, Barbeque meal, unlimited soft drinks, complimentary sweets, coffee, and dates, among others.
Moreover, you can even pose with a falcon for an amazing picture in traditional Arab dress. It is a wonderful off-road adventure that you should experience with a delicious Emirati meal. A few things to keep in mind before heading to the safari are that kids below the age of 3 years are not allowed. Pregnant women and people with back problems should not participate in the safari as it may be unsafe for their health.
Honestly, this tour by Ocean Air Travels was the best thing that happened in Dubai and left us the biggest impression. Just imagine so many things happening in one perfectly planned day. Awesome service and its quality.
Did you know that the world’s tallest building is in Dubai? Yes, it’s the magnificent and mesmerizing Burj Khalifa! Tourists from across the world come to Dubai to have a glimpse of the beautiful architecture of this massive building and see mesmerizing views from the top. There are two observatory decks in Burj Khalifa; the two-storey on 124th and 125th floor as well as on 148th floor.
Depending on your preference, you need to buy tickets for reaching the top of Burj Khalifa. The VIP tickets starts from 370 AED and will take you to Level 148 + 125 + 124. If you want to reach Level 125 + 124 then you need to buy tickets that start from 135 AED. You can even consider buying tickets to reach the top and have a 3-course dinner by purchasing tickets that start from 275 AED. Details of each ticket can be found here.
We have chosen to go up just to 125 and 124 floors and we didn’t regret it at all. It was an amazing view and experience. Just keep in mind that taking a photo with the magnificent view during the night is pretty difficult because of the so many people walking around as well as windows reflecting the inside.
Dubai Aquarium And Underwater Zoo:
If you are traveling to Dubai with family then you should add the Dubai Mall Aquarium to your itinerary. Your kids will love the place as there are thousands of aquatic animals that comprise of more than 140 species. Moreover, there are various packages available to explore the aquarium and zoo. Depending on your budget, preference, and time, you can book one for your family. Details of the tickets to Dubai Mall Aquarium can be found here on their official webpage. The timings to visit are 10am to 12 midnight.
If you have time then you can stay and admire the animals for the entire day, if not then the average time to visit underwater zoo is 1.5 hours and Aquarium Tunnel is 30 minutes. If you are planning to watch the shows held there then that will take longer.
Before heading to the Dubai Mall Aquarium, don’t forget to book your tickets in advance for the Bottom Boat ride so that you do not have to wait in long queues. You can either book tickets online or at the entrance on Level 2 of Underwater Zoo.
Palm Islands, Dubai:
Palm Islands, Dubai is a paradise for vacationers as it consists of three man-made islands. On the coast of Dubai, three artificial islands namely; Palm Jumeirah, Deira Island, and Palm Jebek Ali are being made to pique tourists. Among the three islands, Palm Jumeirah has been constructed completely while the other two are still in progress. However, due to financial crises, the plan to make other two islands may get delayed.
Construction of Palm Jumeirah, the smallest of the three projected Palm Islands, Dubai took almost a decade. It is one of the most wonderfully engineered projects that have been created in the world. After several years of hard work, the island has been built in the shape of a 17 fronded palm tree, which has a crescent. The island consists of residential, commercial, and recreational structures.
Mentioned below are some of the things to do in Dubai, Palm Jumeirah:
- Aquaventure Waterpark: The #1 park in the Middle East and Europe, the Aquaventure Waterpark has been built on a massive 17 hectares of land, at Atlantis, The Palm. It is a perfect place to spend your day with family. There are innumerable record breaking slides and rides in the park. It is open on all days from 10am till sunset. Online tickets for the waterpark can be booked on their official webpage.
- Dolphin Adventure: If you know to swim well, then you should experience this one-of-a kind interaction with the Dolphins. Kids below the age of 8 years are not allowed for the Dolphin Adventure. With every dolphin, there will only be a maximum of six guests so that you can enjoy to the fullest. After having an amazing interface with the dolphins, you can visit the Aquaventure Waterpark on the same day as it will be complimentarily included in your tickets that you purchased for Dolphin Adventure. The Dolphin Adventure is open every day from 9:30am till sunset.
- The Lost Chambers Aquarium: To explore the fascinating marine life, you should book your tickets for The Lost Chambers Aquarium. Here, you can dive or snorkel through more than 65,000 marine animals. Also, on every Tuesday and Friday mornings, you can participate in the yoga sessions that are held overlooking the aquarium. The timings for the yoga classes are 8am to 9:30am. Seats are limited so ensure that you buy your ticket in advance by paying 130 AED per person.
Dubai Creek Tower:
The Dubai Creek Tower is an upcoming observation tower that is going to become the tallest tower in the world. Built in the heart of Dubai, the tower is going to be completed in the year 2020. It will consist of various shopping malls, hotels, apartments, restaurants, villas, penthouses, and much more. Once completed, it will become Dubai’s most desired residential and recreational destination for travelers as well as residents.
For the time being, you can view a captivating replica of Dubai Creek Tower with lights and sounds at Grand Atrium, The Dubai Mall. There are three shows held on weekdays that begin at 5pm, 8pm, and 11pm. On weekends, there are four shows held at 3pm, 5pm, 8pm, and 11pm. Ensure that you do not miss this opportunity on your trip to Dubai.
Global Village Dubai:
If you want to enjoy the cultural shows and concerts of various countries, then you should visit the Global Village. As the name suggests, the Global Village, Dubai brings forth cultures of over 90 countries under one roof. It is considered to be the world’s largest leisure, tourism, entertainment, and shopping project. The park provides entertainment for all ages, so it is a great place to visit with family.
Some of the events at Global Village that you can enjoy are Bollywood Workshop, Angry Birds Show for kids, and Circus, among others. The entrance ticket to the Global Village Dubai is 15 AED per person. The park opens at 4pm till midnight. There are different timings for the park to close on each day, which can be checked here. The park presents 23 different cafés and restaurants that serve traditional as well as international cuisines. Moreover, there are several retail shops that offer varied varieties of specialties from various parts of the world.
Dubai Miracle Garden:
If you are traveling to Dubai in the month of November to May then you should add the Dubai Miracle Garden to your itinerary. The garden is built on 72,000 sqm. of area, which is filled with beautiful colors and scents of various types of flowers. Located in the heart of Dubailand, it provides a magnificent experience as you will be able to see over 150 million flowers that have been arranged in various arches and patterns.
Timings to enter the park are 9am to 9pm on Sunday to Thursday. On Friday and Saturday, the timings are 9am to 11pm. The entrance ticket to the garden costs 40 AED for children below the age of 12 years and 50 AED for those above the age of 12 years. Kids below 2 years of age and disabled persons can enter the garden for free of cost.
The sun, sea, and sand are abundant in Dubai. You will find specific beaches that will suit everyone’s preferences. Depending on your choice, you can either select a lazy beach or a fun-filled one that is ideal for activities like paddle boarding or kite surfing. Most of the beautiful Dubai beaches are owned by resorts and without booking a room in the resort, you cannot use the beach. However, there are some beaches of Dubai that are open for public and are free to enter. Listed below are some of the Dubai beaches that you can visit during your trip:
- Jumeirah Open Beach: Located on the coast of Persian Gulf, the Jumeirah Beach is a beautiful white sand beach that attracts travelers from different countries. As per research, Jumeirah Beach is rated as one of the best things to do in Dubai. It is the longest public beach in Dubai, which provides facilities such as parasols, chaises, showers, toilets, etc. for a small fee. The beach is open 24×7 and there are several beach kiosks that sell snacks, drinks, and ice creams. The lifeguards present on the beach work relentlessly to ensure that you have a safe and enjoyable day.
- Al Sufouh Beach: Commonly known as Black Palace Beach, the Al Sufouh Beach is the quietest beach of Dubai as you won’t find many tourists or locals out here. The reason is that the beach is hidden from the hustle-bustle of the city and difficult to find. The beach offers wonderful views of the Burj Al Arab and Palm Jumeirah, so don’t forget to click some memorable pictures. As it doesn’t attract visitors, you will not get any facilities like sun lounger, umbrella, or restaurant out here. So, you should visit the beach only if you want to spend peaceful and secluded time while relaxing on the white sands with your family.
- Umm Suqeim Beach: If you want to have a perfect view of the Burj Al Arab, then you should visit the Umm Suqeim beach. It is an ideal beach to swim for long hours; however, ensure that the current is not too strong as that could be dangerous. Visitors usually enjoy playing beach volleyball here or simply lie down to get some tan. At close vicinity, there is an International Surfing Association that provides surfing classes to all. However, you need to book for their private or group classes well in advance, which are held on different days.
For all the late-night entertainment lovers, Dubai’s nightlife will not disappoint you! There are a wide range of nightclubs and bars in Dubai. Majority of the famous clubs of Dubai namely; Cavalli Club, Blue Marlin Ibizzare, White Dubai, Le Soir, and more are extremely crowded on Thursdays and Fridays. Usually, on Tuesdays and Wednesdays the clubs host Ladies Night, wherein women can enter for free or are offered free drinks and food.
However, as a traveler to the city, you may require to show your passport as an ID to enter the bars or nightclubs. Most of the clubs remain open from 9pm to 3am, so you can party really hard at Dubai.
- If you are visiting Dubai during the month of Ramadan, then you will be disappointed to know that most of the clubs remain closed during the holy month. So, confirm with the club about their events beforehand.
- Wear proper clothing as most of the clubs have strict dress codes. Ensure that you confirm the dressing code with the club in advance.
- Locals as well as visitors require license to consume alcohol. Acquire one before visiting the club. The legal drinking age in Dubai is 21 years.
- Carry proper identity cards so that you can enter the club without any difficulties.
If you do not like enjoying in the nightclubs, and prefer spending your night in playing golf then you should head straight to the Faldo Golf Club. The club is open on all days and you can enjoy your game of golf from 4pm until midnight. Ensure that you follow their dress code and dress up accordingly. The beautiful landscape and salt lakes around will enhance your golfing experience completely.
If you are a shopaholic, then you should visit the innumerable night markets in Dubai for shopping. There are several street markets as well as luxurious malls that are open in the night. Most of the shops in The Dubai Mall, which is one of the largest shopping destinations in the world, are usually open until midnight during weekends. Even if you do not want to spend, just by going to the malls for window-shopping would keep you entertained.
Best Hotels in Dubai:
Burj Al Arab Jumeirah:
To have a luxurious and cozy stay in Dubai, you should consider booking your room in the award-winning Burj Al Arab Jumeirah resort. Depending on your preferences, you can select bedroom suites from 202 lavish duplex suites that they offer. Some of the amazing amenities that you will get here are lavish Jacuzzis, comfortable and over-sized sofas, iMac, separate guest restroom, Wi-Fi, remote controlled environment, and personal butler services, among others.
Most of the bedrooms provide mesmerizing sea views. Their finest hospitality will make your stay comfy and memorable. Nine restaurants and bars, private beach access, five swimming pools, spa, chauffeur-driven luxury cars like Ferrari or Rolls-Royce for rentals, and complimentary access to Wild Wadi Waterpark can be availed during your stay. What else could you ask for?
M Hotel Downtown by Millennium:
For travelers on a budget, the finest hotel rooms that you could consider booking for your stay is at the M Hotel Downtown by Millennium. Located in the heart of the city, your stay would be convenient as well as comfortable. The hotel is about 10kms away from Dubai International Airport. The Dubai Mall is a short walk away, so you can spend your entire time in shopping and exploring Burj Khalifa. The check-in timing for the hotel is 2pm and checkout timing is 12 noon. However, we came 3 hours earlier and instead of waiting we got even a bigger room on the 22nd floor with an amazing view!
Depending on the number of people traveling with you as well as your preference, you can either book a Standard Room, Family Room, Executive Room, Business Class Room, One Bedroom Suite, or the Premium Room Skyline. The wonderful amenities that you will get here are well-equipped gym, spa facilities, restaurants, nightclub, stylish lounge, etc. So, make your stay a memorable one by booking a budget room in M Hotel Downtown by Millennium.
It is a 4 star hotel, which is about 10 minutes walking distance from the Dubai Internet City metro station and 4km away from the Sufouh Public Beach. There are several types of rooms available and you can select any of these; Standard Twin Room, Deluxe King Room, Standard Triple Room, Standard King Room, etc. Some of the facilities that you will get with the rooms are locker, air conditioner, living room, mini bar, wardrobe, toiletries, TV, tea/coffee maker, and hair dryer, among others.
The hotel offers a free bus service to all their guests for reaching Dubai Metro Station and the beach. The swimming pool and kids club available in the hotel will keep your kids busy and entertained. Some of the amenities that will make your stay comfortable are shisha terrace, upscale buffet restaurant, spa treatments, gym, and more.
Traveling Around In Dubai Via Metro, Bus And Taxi:
The Dubai Metro is the fastest mode of transport for reaching several parts of the city. It is a completely automated and driverless metro line, which provides seamlessly fast and reliable travel experience. Usually, the highways of Dubai are choked with traffic; thus, making Dubai Metro a convenient way to travel each day for locals as well as visitors. The Green Line and Red Line are the two kinds of metro lines that are available for traveling. Details on the metro lines and their tickets can be found on their official webpage. Traveling on metro is a totally different experience, which you should explore while on your trip to Dubai.
Hire A Taxi:
If you are not planning to travel by metro, then the best option is to hire a taxi for reaching various places in Dubai. All taxis in Dubai are metered and regulated by the government, so you won’t have to bargain for the fare. The minimum fare for taxis is 10 AED. Taxis are readily available outside shopping malls, Dubai International Airport, and various tourist attractions, so you can hop into them anytime. To check the fares of taxis for daytime and nighttime, kindly click here.
I was really impressed by the taxi service in Dubai because the cars are brand new and it costs like 3-4 times less than in main Europe cities. Highly recommend to use it and you can even use Taxi to Abu Dhabi!
There are five different types of buses plying on the streets of Dubai namely; double-deckers, standard buses, intercity buses, articulated buses, and small buses. The Dubai buses are the cheapest form of transportation within the city. You can purchase a single NOL Card, which is a smart card that lets you pay for various RTA (Road and Transport Authority) transport modes in Dubai. Silver, Gold, Blue, Personalized Gold, and Red are the five types of NOL Cards available to suit your requirements. You can gain information on them and purchase any one card as per your choice.
Traveling Tips And Facts For Tourists Visiting Dubai For The First Time:
- Can You Drink In Dubai? Drinking alcohol is allowed only in licensed venues like clubs, hotels, and restaurants. Drinking in public or being under the influence of alcohol and behaving badly is a punishable offense under UAE law.
- Can You Use Electronic Cigarettes In Dubai? A short answer is no! Electronic cigarettes are banned and illegal in UAE. So, if you are traveling with them then they are likely to be confiscated.
- Are Drugs Allowed In Dubai? Absolutely not! Possession of drugs, trafficking, and smuggling drugs will lead to severe penalties under UAE law.
- Is There A Dress Code For Dubai? There isn’t any specific dress code for Dubai; but, it is recommended for men and women to dress up modestly while visiting public places. Skirts and shorts above knees for women should be avoided. The shoulders should be well covered with an appropriate t-shirt. Swimming costumes should be worn only in swimming pools or beaches.
- Can A Couple Kiss In Public In Dubai? No! Displaying affection in public by kissing and hugging should be avoided in Dubai as there have been several arrests in the past. However, married couples can hold hands while walking on the streets. Making rude gestures or swearing could lead to jail, so be careful.
- Is Sex Allowed Outside Marriage? No! Irrespective of your relationship with your partner in any other country, having sexual relationship outside marriage is an offense in UAE. Moreover, if a woman gets pregnant outside marriage then the couple could face imprisonment or deportation.
- Is Same-Sex Relationship Legal In Dubai? Same-sex marriages and homosexual sex is an offense in Dubai. Residents as well as tourists can be punished for the same.
To conclude, Dubai is a beautiful city that offers something for all ages. As it is one of the safest Middle Eastern countries for tourists; solo women travelers, backpackers, and families are happy to be here on a holiday. There is so much to discover in Dubai that a short trip won’t be enough. Now that you have read all the important things to do in Dubai, just book your tickets and have a wonderful holiday.