Dubai has fast become a very popular tourist destination.Coming from nothing but sand dunes to a fascinating skyscraper city with world class shopping and entertainment, It has come a long way. Discover the Top things to do in Dubai.

Top things to do in Dubai.
Dubai Skyline

I have travelled to Dubai numerous times, yet every time I have returned there is something new to discover. Most people I know have visited this mega city at some point, whether it be a holiday, a business trip or a quick sample on a stopover and have been wowed by this mega city. Dubai is safe and a great holiday destination for all ages.

TOP THINGS TO DO IN DUBAI
TOP THINGS TO DO IN DUBAI
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Best Airline to travel to Dubai

With the national carrier Emirates spreading its wings far and wide, it has become one of the worlds largest passenger airline. The Best way to travel to Dubai undoubtedly would be by Emirates. An award winning airline and personally my favourite.

What is Dubai Popular for?

Whether you are looking to spend a few hours or a few days, Dubai will keep you occupied.Dubai is famous for many things – A top travel destination, a Business Hub and a shopping paradise. The skyline is one of the most attractive features of this city – Visiting the iconic Burj Khalifa (the world’s tallest building) to some of the largest shopping malls that include an indoor ski slope. Apart from the modern city has a rich heritage.

Discover Old Dubai – Gold Souk.

People don’t associate Dubai with history, but there is a beautiful old town just waiting to be explored. The Bastakia Quarter is a great place to start your time in thecity, exploring the ancient buildings and spice souks to sailing on a traditional boat across the Dubai Creek. This gives you a taste of what the old Dubai was.

Top things to do in Dubai.
Old Dubai

Once you cross the creek you are minutes away from Dubai’s famous gold souk. The glitter of this gold souk is a symbol of the wealth and Dubai becoming a very popular gold market. The windows display anything from rings and chains to even a full body outfit made out of pure gold.

A must visit if you are in Dubai but watch out for the Mrs, she doesn’t  spend all your holiday money on the first day.

Best time to visit Dubai

The best time to visit Dubai is between February and April, the mild season with temperatures in the twenties however also the most popular and expensive period to visit Dubai. There are some amazing deals available if you are visiting outside this but be prepared to experience the desert heat.

Do you need a Visa for Dubai? Many nationalities don’t need a visa, but if you do require one you can get one at arrival valid for a 30 days visit.

Visiting Dubai during Ramadan –

If you are visiting Dubai during the holy month of Ramadan please plan accordingly as it is over a 30 day period and everything opens and closes around the time of fasting. All non-Muslims and tourists are prohibited to eat, drink or smoke in public areas during the hours of fasting. This is from sun rise to sun set and many cafés and restaurants remain closed during these hours in Ramadan

Top things to do in Dubai.
Beach Life – Dubai

Do’s and Dont’s of Dubai

  • Dubai might seem very westernized and modern but it is still a Muslim country and it is run by Sharia Law so please be mindful.
  • The sun doesn’t really get hot until about 10/10.30am so plan accordingly. Shops are open till 10 pm normally so you have enough time.
  • Smoking and Drinking in Dubai. Be mindful as being drunk and misbehaving in public is not tolerated and can lead to jail time. Avoid smoking and littering in public spaces as it can lead to fines.
  • Can I wear Swimwear in Dubai? Yes you can wear swimwear. Don’t wear swimwear outside the beach or pool area of your hotel and in general you should keep it modest.
  • Can you drink alcohol in Dubai? Tourists can consume alcohol in licensed venues such as hotels, bars, restaurants and nightclubs.
  • Are Taxi’s Cheap in Dubai – Taxi’s are affordable and available everywhere. In general it is an expensive city, so prepare to pay accordingly.
  • Tips on buying tickets – The theme parks don’t come cheap, so check the park’s website for special promotions, buying multi-day passes or taking advantage of seasonal discounts. Guests of any hotel affiliated with the Jumeirah group can make unlimited visits to Wild Wadi Water park.
  • Monday is Ladies Night in Dubai, and nearly all bars will either serve 2 free drinks free to ladies and if you are lucky some offer free drinks all night long to ladies.
TOP THINGS TO DO IN DUBAI
TOP THINGS TO DO IN DUBAI

On the bright side there are many things to do in this city, from dune bashing and camel riding to shopping and discovering the delicious Middle Eastern cuisine.

Dubai Airport and Transport.

Becoming one of the largest airports in the World comes with it’s toll. The airport can get very busy at immigration during the peak tourism season so keep this in mind if you want to step out on a quick stopover. The airport is in the heart of the city so not far away and easily accessible by the skytrain and local transport.

Is there a metro in Dubai- Use local transport in the city, a day pass for the Metro will cost you under 20 Dirham for all zones allowing you to hop on and off as you please.

Where to stay in Dubai

Depending on your budget there is a wide variety of hotels, serviced apartments and AirBnb available. There are so many hotels in Dubai that making the right choice can become a daunting task. Spend some time on the comparison websites to get something that suits your budget and the right location for you. If you are planning to stay on the Palm then yes, this will be expensive and is also a bit away from the main city so add your travel costs. The best place to stay in Dubai for beaches are The Palm and Jumeirah.

 

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Top things to do in Dubai.

Dubai has something for everyone so depending on what you fancy you can plan your trip accordingly. If you are a shopaholic it has some of the largest shopping malls. For sports it offers some of the best golf courses and dune bashing trips. Party Animals can enjoy the electric nightlife that it has to offer. Food Enthusiasts can chose from some of the biggest names in the world. So lets discover the Top things to do in Dubai.

Visit the Burj Khalifa – The tallest building in the world.

Head up to the Burj Khalifa, at 828m this is the tallest building in the world. You can see this iconic symbol of Dubai from anywhere in the city and it absolutely stands out amongst the many sky scrapers that this city has.

Top things to do in Dubai.
Burj Khalifa

A standard ticket will allow you to visit up to the 125th floor. If this is not enough then head to the highest observation deck in the world on the 148th floor. The views from the 148 floor are really sensational and gives you a feel of how the city and the numerous sky scrapers around it. Book tickets in advance.

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Shopping in Dubai.

If you are a shopaholic this city is your gateway to heaven.Shopping in Dubai can be divided into 3 distinct categories.

  • Shopping Malls – Some of the best and largest malls for brands from all over the world.
  • Souks – The more traditional way of shopping in this part of the world and a great place if you are looking for gold, clothes and souvenirs.
  • Shopping areas – more used by the locals with an array of shops providing you the same items at a bargain price.
Top things to do in Dubai.
Emirates Mall

Top things to do in Dubai.
SOUK DUBAI

The Dubai Mall If size matters then head to this Mall, the world’s biggest shopping mall. Highlights include 1200 retail shops, an Olympic sized ice skating rink, the world’s largest aquarium, a  gold souk, 50 restaurants and cafes serving international cuisine, refreshments and fast food , and the spectacular Fountain at the foot of the Burj Khalifa.

BurJuman Mall – 300 retail shops, including brands such as Louis Vuitton, Dior, Hermes, and Valentino.

Deira City Centre One of the first malls in Dubai includes a Magic Planet entertainment centre, a large Carrefour, 11-screen Cinema, food court encompassing 15 restaurants, and a direct access to Sofitel City Centre Hotel which is a great hotel if you want to be in the heart of the city.

Emirates Towers Boulevard – located within the Jumeirah Emirates Towers, boutiques of leading designer brands, restaurants and cafes.

Festival Waterfront Centre – 600 retail shops, 25 flagship stores, 100+ restaurants, cafes and bistros, multiplex, and a Bowling facility.

Top things to do in Dubai.
Festival Waterfront Dubai

Ibn Battuta Mall –  This mall divided into various courts based on the different countries of the world such as China Court, India Court, etc, has the only IMAX theatre in the city.

Mall of Emirates – One of the largest and home to the indoor ski slope in the middle of the desert. Visit Ski Dubai, a 22,500 square metre indoor ski slope covered with real snow ,if thats not enough then take the kids to the Magic Planet family entertainment centre – with lots of rides, games and experiences.

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Wafi Mall – Based on an Egyptian theme includes retail shops, 30 multi cuisine restaurants, Encounter Zone for kids, Cleopatra’s and Medi Spa for luxury and rejuvenation.

Top things to do in Dubai.
Wafi Mall Dubai

 

Dubai Desert Safari – Dune bashing.

A pick up from your hotel in a 4×4, and driving out of the city to the sand dunes for a thrilling 6 hour adventure. Discover the beauty and customs of the desert starting from a camel ride to dune bashing on a quad bike. Enjoy a sand board down the sand dunes and relax at a desert campsite as the sun sets. Complete your evening with a delicious barbecue dinner and a exotic belly dancing show under the stars around the campfire.

Passing camels and desert camps, this is the ultimate contrast to the bright lights of the city.

Best Beaches in Dubai

There are plenty of beautiful beaches to visit in Dubai. If you’re staying around The Palm then most of the hotels here include a private beach with perfect calm waters. However if you want to taste the true beach experience, head to JBR Beach or the Jumeirah Public Beach for views of impressive 7-star hotel The Burj Al Arab.

Top things to do in Dubai.
Beaches of Dubai

Barasti  – One of the famous beach bars and popular with both tourists and locals. It has made a name for itself because of its nightlife and you will find people of all nationalities here.

barasti

The Dubai Creek

Flowing between Deira and Bur Dubai and supporting the initial trade with the outside world this protected inlet was the obvious choice to develop a commercial seaport.

The creek ferries passengers between the souks of Deira and the historic district of Bur Dubai. You can take a relaxing ride on a traditional wooden water taxi called an abra or watch the sun set over the water. Using the abra is a great way to take in some of the older parts of the city.

 

Safa Park

Safa Park is one of the largest and oldest spots for greenery in Dubai. Enjoy the lake with small boats floating along it, bikes for hire and even a small waterfall.A popular picnic spot for the locals during the cooler months. If you fancy a walk head to Safa park and relax.

 

Day trip to Ferrari World.

Dubai is fast becoming the Theme Park capital of the world, with more then five new parks opened in the last 5 years. For the Car fanatics a perfect opportunity to experience the wild adrenaline rush at the Ferrari World theme park in Yas Island. A day trip to Ferrari World – one of the world’s largest indoor theme parks. It showcases Ferrari’s story, design, and features 20 rides and attractions, restaurants, and facilities.

Best Things to do with Kids in Dubai.

Legoland –

One of the world newest Legoland has more than 40 rides and spreads over six themed lands – Factory, Kingdoms, Adventure Lego City, Imagination, and miniland. You will need at least 1 full day for this park alone so plan accordingly.

Top things to do in Dubai.
Dubai Legoland

IMG Worlds of Adventure – 

The world’s largest indoor theme park with superheroes, dinosaurs and ghouls. The park’s four zones deliver rides and attractions ranging from mild to wild. Superheroes packed Marvel zone, where you can become part of a showdown on a lunch- on a spiralling roller coaster.

Bollywood Park

Based on some of the largest blockbusters in the history of Bollywood. Themes based around some of the classics like Sholay, Dabangg and Krrish. The park offers live entertainment, explosive stunt shows, song and dance performances, presented in the palatial Rajmahal Theater.

Motiongate – 

This is ‘Hollywood in the Desert’, with more than two dozen rides, attractions and live shows inspired by classic and new blockbuster. The heart of the park is the indoor DreamWorks zone with animated characters from, Madagascar, Shrek and Kung Fu Panda and How to Train Your Dragon.

Wild Wadi Waterpark – 

Dubai’s first aqua park has lured visitors from around the world since 1999 and packs plenty of fun into a fairly compact frame. Its offers 30 rides and attractions and add a beach and a lazy river, your it water park heaven. The bonus is the views of the iconic Burj Al Arab.

Top things to do in Dubai.
Wild Wadi – Dubai.

Legoland Water Park – 

The new kid on the block of water adventure – Legoland Water Park.

The Atlantis at the Palm.

DSCN4645

An imposing hotel located on the man made island in the shape of a palm tree. The Atlantis is a lavish hotel and water park. With the sun always shining and  guaranteed weather this is the perfect destination to enjoy aqua adventurers such as the Dolphin Bay, Aquaventure and the Lost Chambers. One of the most popular aspects of the hotel is The Dolphin Bay, a lush lagoon modelled on the natural habitats of the dolphins.

The Atlantis has a variety of experiences to offer including a spectacular helicopter tour of the island. The Atlantis has its own private beach and a must visit location for the entire family.  

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Walk around the Marina and JBR.

Visit the Marina for a perfect evening walk particularly around the JBR waterfront area. Finish the evening with a dinner cruises and see the city light up. Some of the other areas where you could go for a walk is around the Burj Al Arab and Madinat Jumeirah, which is designed like a Souk with shops and restaurants and great views.

My list of Top things to do in Dubai.

If you enjoyed reading about Dubai, you will surely find some of the other city breaks interesting.

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Top things to do in Dubai.
Burj Khalifa at night.
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Dinner Cruise – Dubai
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58 COMMENTS

  1. Wow, with so many options, it’s no wonder you can travel there so many times and still find new things to do! I haven’t been to Dubai, but I’d love to explore it’s history and do some shopping! And of course try to get a selfie with the Burj!

  2. Dubai is a marvel. How it has risen from the sand, astonishes me. Although I haven’t been to Dubai yet but after reading your post, I think, I am gonna love it.

  3. We only got to spend a day in Dubai, but now your post makes me want to go back and see everything we missed! It’s such a fascinating city. We did have high tea at the Burj Khalifa and we went on the desert safari. Both were AMAZING!

  4. You have literally listed down all possible places to visit in Dubai and its one comprehensive list. Dubai has been sitting on my list since long and I am aware of most of the places you mentioned, but your pictures and the way you have described each place has really triggered my need to visit Dubai soon

  5. Very informative and helpful post! I will definitely bookmark it, as I want to travel there soon. I think I will take your advice and start with the Bastakia Quarter – I love old parts of cities and then see how the city evolved in time. I would absolutely loved to do some shopping in the souks :):) I love these type of places. Much better than the big shopping malls 🙂

  6. That is a very detailed blog on Dubai. I have been to Dubai twice. Being so close to India, it is quite popular amongst Indians. I particularly liked the Bur Dubai area and the Deira. I would love to visit Bollywood Park someday. Though I am not in favour of Dolphin shows. I had not seen anything like the Burj Khalifa before!

  7. I’ve never been to Dubai but always want to visit there. It’s great to know the perfect time of the year to visit Dubai – between February and April. I’d love to visit the Dubai Desert Safari and go to one of their Theme Parks.

  8. I never been to Dubai, and if I have that chance, definitely I will grab it! It is one of the best place in Middle East, the food, fashion, travel, etc. It will be a dream come true to visit Dubai.

  9. Dubai was my weekend destination when I stayed in Abu Dhabi. Having spent a lot of time here, I do know that it has a colorful history. Glad you found that part of Dubai. The Deira area with its old souqs is a pleasure to walk through. Of course, the safaris and the malls are world class but there is something charming in this old part of the city. Loved reading this post for it got me all nostalgic.

  10. I’ve never been to Dubai but may well do a stopover there in coming year. I think for me it’ll be the traditional Dubai in contrast with the super modern, and then the amazing restaurants as well, that I want to see.

  11. Dubai has always fascinated me, though never quite had the drive to actually visit. now I really want to go for one of the festivals and to explore the historic quarter, in addition to the tallest building, of course. Thanks for such a complete guide, this complex place is a little less confusing now!

  12. Dubai has always fascinated me, though never quite had the drive to actually visit. now I really want to go for one of the festivals and to explore the historic quarter, in addition to the tallest building, of course. Thanks for such a complete guide, this complex place is a little less confusing now!

  13. I have transitted in Dubai airport a lot but have never actually been into Dubai. For some reason it just doesn’t appeal to me and feel like I have so much more to see before I do Dubai. But I have to admit I am a bit curious. You’re right when when you say I don’t associate Dubai as a place filled with history. I would enjoy the Old Town I reckon.

  14. I’ve been to Dubai a bunch of times but not for a long time. In fact the metro had not even opened at the time. I really want to head back to see the Burj Khalifa and to revisit wild wadi. We got that free as we stayed at jumeirah beach. Great tips thanks

  15. I’ll be honest, I don’t have a great desire to visit Dubai, I’ve only passed through for a connecting flight, on Emirates too (it’s a great airline!). However, I’d be keen to head to the Old Town, and see what Dubai might have been like before the fancy hotels and skyscrapers came along. Safa Park is very pretty and nice to see some green in the city too!

  16. So many things to do in Dubai. We live in Dubai and didn’t even did everything yet can you believe? Our fav is still to grab our car and get out of the city though!

  17. Haven’t been to Dubai and I don’t have immediate plans as well.
    The only thing I’d love to do in Dubai would be to see the sand dunes and ride an ATV on them.

  18. Beautifully summed itinerary on things to do in Dubai. It’s been a long time I have visited Dubai, your post just makes me pack my bags and head to this gorgeous destination soon. Loved the picture of pink lit Burj Khalifa, looks very eye catching.

  19. I live in Dubai and that’s what I love the most about the city – that there’s something new happening here all the time. The city is so dynamic that new attractions, places are constantly coming up here and that is why, people love to visit here very often because there will always be something different to explore every time. The pace, the vibe, the people – its all good here! Just that its such a concrete jungle, I sometimes miss greenery and natural beauty 🙂

  20. The massive rise of Dubai as a city in recent times has definitely been nothing short of phenomenal. Although I have not yet visited, everything I have read and heard is that it is an amazing place on a huge scale. Your post is just so comprehensive in detailing so much to see and do and was really enjoyable to read. I so look forward to experiencing some of what this fascinating city has to offer one day.

  21. Dubai is a great destination and September onwards is the best time to visit. It has come up with new attractions for tourists in Dubai – the Dubai Frame and in Abu Dhabi , Warner Bros theme park is attracting many visitors. Great read you had a great time it seems.

  22. Dubai has many tourist attractions which are suitable for all ages and tastes. It is good that you shared all the details about staying and shopping. Not only Barasti, but many beach resorts in JBR area serve alcohol on beach with exotic beach parties. JBR and Dubai Marina is my favorite area too and I hit these places every morning and evening for long walks. Hey you missed Miracle Garden – world’s largest blooming flowers garden and Global village too, which are truly interesting and worth visiting.

  23. This is quite a detailed list with so many places that can be visited. Dubai has always been famous as a world class tourist destination. Hoping to visit soon!!

    • There is always something new in Dubai as an offering to its visitors. Hope you can visit soon.

  24. Dubai is one of my favorite destinations. The deserts are awesome. There are so many places to visit and keep yourself entertained at the same time. It just keeps growing. Great post!

  25. I always dreamed of visiting Dubai, my dream finally came true last October and Dubai really put a spell on me! It was better than I expected, very clean, safe, and so much to see and do. Now I can’t wait to go back one day soon!

    • It does surprise, you as most visitors under estimate what’s on offer. I would live to go back too.

  26. Dubai is one of those bucket list destinations I hope to visit one day! The sky line is gorgeous and thinking about the city makes me think of advancement and think of it as the most modern city. It’s great to know there is an old city in Dubai, I never would have thought about that when I think of Dubai. I would love to visit some of the shopping malls in the area too.

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