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Things To Do In Dubai

Updated on June 17, 2015
Azure11 profile image

Marian (aka Azure11) lived in Dubai for 7 years and now travels over there once or twice a year for business and pleasure.

Things To Do In Dubai

Dubai is a great place to choose as a holiday destination. Whether you choose to go there for the weather, the shopping or the many activities that are available then there is a great range of choice when it comes to things to do in Dubai. There are so many expats living in Dubai that they also have a lot of friends and family visiting so this brings in another level of tourists to the area.

Dubai is one of the less strict and more holiday-friendly of places to visit in the Middle East. Although it is a Muslim country, to a certain extent some of the rules and regulations for visitors are relaxed slightly compared to places like Saudi Arabia. However, you must still be on your guard not to offend the locals or to inadvertently break the law or you could end up in trouble.

Dubai is about a 7 hour flight from the UK and about a 14 hour flight from the US. It is very conveniently located for a lot of tourists and hence its airport has become one of the busiest in the world, particularly for transit passengers. Emirates even has its own terminal at Dubai International Airport and there is also a second airport which is aiming to be even bigger than the first. So if you are transiting through Dubai, maybe you should think about stopping off for a few days there.

Dubai Location Map

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Desert Safari

An Essential Trip in Dubai - The Desert Safari
An Essential Trip in Dubai - The Desert Safari

Top 10 Things To Do In Dubai

  1. Desert Safari - this is a must on the list of things to do. You can organise a trip with one of the many tour operators that offer desert safaris or you will certainly be able to book one from your hotel tour desk. You can do an afternoon safari which then continues into the evening or else you can do an overnight one where you camp in the desert. You will be taken in a 4 wheel drive for an exhilarating ride over the sand dunes - the scenery is amazing and the sky is pretty much always blue! Hold on to your stomachs for the ride of your life - these local drivers like to take it to the edge! In the evening they often run a desert camp where you are served traditional food, can take a ride on a camel and can interact with a falcon. Altogether a great experience.
  2. Shopping! - This is a shoppers wonderland with some of the biggest shopping malls in the world all in one place. From the Dubai Mall which stands next to the tallest building in the world (the Burj Khalifa) to the Mall of the Emirates with its indoor ski slope, to Burjuman Centre with its wealth of designer stores, there is a mall for everyone. A lot of these malls are attached to the Dubai Metro line so you can travel in air-conditioned comfort from one to the other.
  3. Beaches and Waterparks - Although in recent years a lot of the public beaches have been bought up by property companies to build tower blocks on, there are still some lovely beaches with white sand and beautiful azure seas. If you love the beach the make sure you are staying in a hotel that has its own stretch of beach and you won't even have to leave the hotel to relax and enjoy the peace. Otherwise, take a trip to Jumeirah Beach Park where you can rent an umbrella and a sun lounger. There are 3 waterparks in the Dubai area and they are all of a great standard and worth visiting with fun for all the family.
  4. Soukhs - Otherwise knows as markets - these are traditional trading places for local and imported goods. The most famous is the gold soukh which is a must see just to amaze at the wealth and extent of jewellery on offer even if you can't afford to buy it. Next to the gold soukh is the spice soukh and on the other side of the creek you will find the textile soukh.
  5. The Creek - A trip to Dubai is not complete without a trip across the creek in an Abra (open wooden boat) which costs only 1 dirham (not even a dollar or a pound!) and gives you a different view of the city. You can see a video of the trip across the creek below.

Abra Across The Creek

Roger Federer at the Dubai Tennis Championships
Roger Federer at the Dubai Tennis Championships
  • 6 - The Jumeirah Mosque - this large mosque on Jumeirah Beach Road is open to the public at certain times and here you can learn some interesting facts about the Muslim faith, in particular UAE Nationals, as well as seeing the inside of the beautiful building. You will need to book your tour of the mosque in advance - check your hotel tour desk for dates and times.
  • 7 - Big Bus Tour of Dubai. Take a tour of Dubai from the top of an open top bus - catch some sun whilst seeing the sights and stopping off at some of the most popular spots. There are 2 routes that you can follow - the Red Tour of Old Dubai and the Blue Tour of new Dubai. Tickets are valid for 48 hours so take advantage and visit as many places as possible.
  • 8 - Tea at the Burj Al Arab. Take tea at the wold's only 7 star hotel - an experience not to to be missed even if it is a bit on the expensive side. You get all the sandwiches, scones and cakes that you can eat as well as a massive selection of different types of tea. The view is the major attraction though as you look over the Palm island and the rest of Dubai. Book early though to avoid disappointment - sometimes you will have to book a month in advance to get a reservation.
  • 9 - Sporting Events - if you are lucky enough for your visit to coincide with a major sporting event then make sure you get some tickets! Whether it is the richest horse race in the world, the Dubai World Cup at the end of March, the Dubai Tennis Championships (Jan/Feb), the Dubai Desert Classic Golf (Jan) or one of the many other events that take place, the hospitality and facilities at most of the events are not to be missed.
  • 10 - Boat trip around the Palm Jumeirah. This is for me a must do - you can do a 2 hour cruise around the Palm with a few companies either at dusk or in the morning, there are also dinner trips along the creek but the best must be sitting on the deck of a yacht sipping a cold drink whilst cruising past the Atlantis Hotel.

Number 11 & 12

Well I have to add number 11 to the things which you must do when in Dubai, and that is to go up the Burj Khalifa, the tallest building in the world. Book tickets in advance and save yourself some money if you know when you can go. The view from the 124th floor is pretty stunning if you catch it on a day with good visibility but all in all it is an experience in itself.

12 - is to visit the old town and see the historic part of Dubai. There are some amazing old buildings and traditional windtowers.


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    • travelholidays profile image

      travelholidays 4 years ago from India

      Desert safari image is awesome :) great hub with cool information. Thanks for sharing :)

    • Azure11 profile image

      Marian L 7 years ago from UK

      Thanks Steve, yes it's a great place to visit and the weather is lovely most of the year so definitely worth a trip.

    • steve-bc-ca profile image

      steve-bc-ca 7 years ago from West Kelowna, BC, Canada

      Sure makes me want to travel to Dubai. I didn't know a thing about this place until I read your hub, thanks!