Dubai is one of the most prestigious cities in the United Arab Emirates(UAE). With its sleek designed buildings and deeply rooted heritage, it is a travelers dream.
Dubai exceeded my expectations, and it will exceed yours. From the moment you land in Dubai, you will see how this desert oasis came to be one of the most richest cities in the world. They had left no expense behind, no stone unturned, to make Dubai into the marvel that it is today.
Enjoy a Dhow Cruise in the Dubai Marina
If you are looking to relax after your long flight, the Dhow Cruise is the perfect relaxation you need. Make sure to enjoy a BBQ buffet dinner on the calm waters of the Dubai Marina. Also, grab a table at the the top with an open view or enjoy the air conditioning in the bottom suite.
The Dhow Cruise Dinner has become one of the most popular tourist attractions in the city.
There is more to the two hour cruise than just eating. The cruise showcases the traditional Tanura dance. It is truly something remarkable. Also, don’t forget to look out the window once in a while to get a glimpse the infamous Dubai skyline, and see if you can spot the Burj Kahlifa.
Burj Khalifa – The tallest man made structure.
Dubai’s most prestigious land mark is the Burj Khalifa, standing tall at a staggering 2,722 feet to the top. After completing construction in 2010, tourist numbers have been growing ever since. The wrap around observation deck at the 124th floor offers a 360 view of Dubai with the ocean on one side and the city on the other.
The nighttime visits are the most popular due to the 360 views of the Dubai skyline. The best way to get your tickets is booking them in advanced and then all you have to do is pick up your tickets at the counter. Just follow the sign for “At the top-Burj Khalifa” in the Dubai Mall. The only way to get to the Burj Khalifa is through the Dubai Mall.
The evening lines open at 7 pm, so try to get there as early as you can. We got there at around 7:30 pm and took us about an hour to get to the top. The elevators are super fast and take you up to the 124 floor in matter of seconds. The view up top is breathtaking.
After you have enjoyed the view, go down to the fountain show. They do a show every thirty minutes, so there is no need to rush yourself to get down. The fountain show is one the largest in the world, just like everything else in Dubai. Being able to get the best seat is difficult, therefore, I suggest watching it up front or far away as possible.
The Dubai Mall
The Dubai Mall is the city’s biggest mall, it is home to the the Burj Khalifa and Dubai Aquarium. The mall has over 1,400 stores ranging from clothing, home decor, to restaurants; you can find almost anything. Make sure you know where your family or friends are, the mall is pretty big to lose yourself – I know I did!
When it comes to the food, the Dubai Mall offers the widest array of selection. My advice is stay away from the local food chains that can be found anywhere in the world, you know which one’s I am talking about. If you are in Dubai, you might as well try their local food, like Kabob’s or Falafel’s. In the mood for some sweets, Dubai is home to the best sugar tasties in the world.
The first thing we did was head to the Dubai Aquarium, located inside the mall. Although, I am personally against seeing marine life in captivity, my family and friends wanted to experience it; so I had no choice but to tag along. The lines tend be long for this attraction, so make sure to arrive there early. Book your tickets online to avoid waiting in long lines. The tickets are around AED 120 for the basic experience. If you don’t want to pay for the ticket, you can easily watch the fishes from the outside.
The also offer different tours: The most popular being the cage snorkeling and shark diving activities – Yes shark diving!
Jumeirah Beach is the best beach in all of Dubai, and millions of tourist flock to this beach every year. The beach is kept neat year around and is full stocked with modern facilities. The beach is filled with long loungers and water sport activities like jet skiing, paragliding and surfing, you are guaranteed to have a good time.
The water has such clarity, it is such a serene and clean view because of the government’s rules of now allowing trash to go in the ocean-not a single piece.
The Jumeirah Beach is also home to the only seven star hotel in the world Burj Al-Arab. The hotel offers it’s own private access to beach. It also has world class cafe’s that are open to the public, so what you can’t afford a night in the Burj Al Arab, at least you can enjoy a nice cup of tea.
Dubai’s Miracle Garden is worlds largest natural garden. The garden contains over 109 million flowers planted and it also has one of the largest butterfly gardens in the world.
Getting around in taxis in Dubai can be affordable, but the Miracle Garden is not in the city and it could get a little pricey. The public transportation in Dubai is excellent, you can take a bus to the garden for less than half the price of the taxi fare.
The Garden is open from October through April and remains closed from May through September due to the hot temperatures. The tickets are fairly affordable with 40 AED for adults and 30 for children.
One of my favorite parts of the garden was the Emirates Airbus A380. An actual plane covered in flowers from front to back.
Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque
Although not in Dubai, Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque is a must visit for everyone. It is located in Abu Dhabi, the capital city of UAE, and a hour drive from Dubai.
Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque was built by the first president of the United Arab Emirates Sheikh Zayed. It accommodates over 40,000 guests in the prayer halls. The mosque is recognized purely by its white colored marble and gold intricate art work. With over a 1000 pillars each hand painted with unique floral work and 82 domes with various sizes, the biggest one being in the center of the mosque.
Visiting hours are from Saturday-Thursday 9am to 10pm and 4:30 pm to 10 pm on friday.
What to wear?
Mosques all over the world hold a religious and sacred position for Muslims. Visitors must adhere to the rules of the mosque and wear proper clothing attire. Women are required to be covered from head to toe, the head must be covered with a scarf, no transparent clothing, no tight clothing. They do however provide women with an Abaya free of charge. Men are required to wear short sleeve shirts and pants at the minimum.
The are several chandeliers hung up in the main prayer hall. Some being the largest in the world and the largest in any mosque in the world. The largest one weighs 12 tons and holds about 40 kilogram of 24 karat gold.
They recently built a new coffee house on the northern side of the mosque. It also includes a gallery for artwork and souvenirs. The mosque is completely free to enter unlike other tourist attractions.
Ride the Palm Jumeirah Monorail
The Palm Jumeirah is Dubai’s first artificial island. The monorail runs straight down the middle for 3 miles starting at the Gateway station and finishing at The Atlantis Resort.
The tickets can be purchase at the gateway station, a one way ticket costs 20 AED and a return is 30 AED. We bought a one way ticket and our tour bus picked us up at the Atlantis Resort.
The monorail is the best way to experience the beauty of the island. Once you are on it, you can really admire how big the island is and see rows of real estate. It gets you to wondering how they achieved something so spectacular.
Outside of the glamour lights, wide highways, and staggering sky scrappers there is also another side of Dubai; The Desert. So many people come to Dubai and get lost in the lights but they forget about the Arabian Desert. If you are looking for some blood pumping & adrenaline filled adventures, the Desert Safari is perfect for you. Even if you are not in to the rush, I still recommend you take part.
Leave everything up to the driver
We had booked the evening desert safari from 4 – 10 pm. The driver will pick you up from your hotel and drive you out to the desert. It took us around forty-five minutes to get to the desert. On the way, we made a stop, so they can take out some air from the tires, there is also a shop nearby where people buy traditional clothing and head gear. We tried buying some lemonade, but they were charging us 20 AED for a tiny bottle. We didn’t obviously buy it, but just be careful of getting scammed.
Rolling around in the sand with a big SUV was by far the most intense part of the whole adventure. At the beginning, its just a flat desert, but the real fun begins when you start to make your way deeper in to the desert. Your butt is going to be lifting off the seat, quite high and often. I was sitting in the front and had the best experience by far, going down a hill you feel like the car is going to flip over. Don’t worry the drivers are well experienced and know what they are doing, our driver had been doing this for eight years. It’s not something you can learn overnight, it requires proper training. But how awesome would it be, right?
Shortly the driver will stop in some random part of the desert with other cars. You can get out and walk around on the sand and take some pictures and truly enjoy the Arabian Desert.
Dinner and a Show
Once you are done jumping around in your seat, your driver will take you to your Desert Camp, somewhere in the different part of the desert. Once you get there, make sure to get the best seat with a view of the center stage. The Bedouin style camp offers comfy couch cushions with dinner tables. Before the show starts grab, your dinner plate with Pasta, salad, pita bread, hummus, rice, BBQ and much more. It is all you can eat, so don’t be shy of going for a second round. There is a also a bar on the other end that offers alcoholic beverages, beer and free soft drinks. The camp also offers sisha for a small price.
Enjoy a traditional belly dancing show and watch a man play with fire. After the show is over, make your way towards the cars parked outside to find your driver and he will drop you off to your hotel safe and sound.
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I hope this list has helped you plan your trip to Dubai and I hope you have an amazing time. Let me know if you have any questions or concerns in the comment box below, or even if you want to just say Hi!.
Happy Travels!! 🙂