Top 5 Things to Do in Dubai
Featured destinations: United Arab Emirates, Dubai
Published 30 March 2016
Many people associate Dubai in the UAE simply with world-class shopping, but there is so much more to see and do in this futuristic metropolis than just wandering around the gleaming malls. In this post Snigdha Jain takes us through the five best things to do in Dubai.
Explore the Old Town
A visit to the soul of Dubai, the Old Town, is a must. It comprises the areas of Deira and Bur Dubai, which are separated by the old and historically significant Dubai Creek.
You can start your visit from the Bastakia Quarter, which has the traditional houses, two stories high, with large central courtyards. The traditional carved doors with wooden bordering and beautifully crafted hanging lamps will take you back in time. These houses also have traditional wind towers (for cooling in the hot climate). Today this area represents the arty side of the city, with narrow streets, trees and flowers in contrasting colors, small museums, art galleries, heritage houses, souvenir shops, spice stores and cafes. For the sweet lovers – don’t forget to try the date and apricot muffin!
Continue on to the small Dubai Museum, then through the traditional textile souk, on to the promenade along the creek and finally take a dhow (a local wooden boat) to cross the creek and visit the Diera area. In Diera, you can visit and shop at the spice and gold souks, see the Heritage House (for a glimpse into the history and earlier way of life in Dubai), the Al-Ahmadiya School and finally finish the day with a dhow cruise while watching a splendid sunset.
Visit Jumeirah Mosque
The Jumeirah mosque is the only mosque in the UAE which is open to the general public and women. The Sheikh Mohammed Centre for Cultural Understanding (SMCCU) opened this mosque to the public to raise awareness about local culture, customs and religion of the UAE, and to thereby increase cross-cultural dialogue with guests. During this visit a local volunteer takes you around the different parts of the mosque, explains the customs and rituals and then answers all your queries on Islam.
Go up Burj Khalifa
Burj Khalifa is a definite must. This visit showcases the various architectural, design and engineering feats associated with this truly iconic building, which is the tallest in the world. A visit to its 124th floor (Observation Deck) shows you some fantastic views of the Dubai skyline.
The desert safari is a quick and easy way to experience a traditional Bedouin lifestyle in the deserts along with the adventurous “dune bashing”. A typical desert safari takes one day and includes a pick and drop from Dubai, fun-filled dune bashing, camel riding, belly dance performances in a desert camp, sheesha-smoking, Arabic coffee and dinner. To get a sense of dune bashing, imagine a large sand hillock which the car first climbs upwards, then it rides along a narrow ledge (only 2 tires on the ledge and 2 downwards hence you are inclined sideways) and then climbs downwards (so you feel you are falling down). It is super fun!
Visit the malls
Malls in Dubai are not just for shopping alone, but are full of architecturally authentic souks which provide an insight in the traditional marketplaces and numerous other modern options such as the Snow World, Dubai Aquarium along-with an Underwater Zoo, an Ice Rink, an indoor Theme park, Dubai Fountains, a trip along with Ibn Batuta to seven countries, to name just a few.
Expert tip: Always book your visit online for the best slots in Burj Khalifa few weeks in advance, as the good slots tend to fill up quickly.