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Things to do in Dubai

Dubai opens its vistas to the world and never ceases to enchant those who enter. One can find an unending number of things to do in Dubai. The list is never exhausted and many a tourist is left with the hard task of making a choice among the various things to do in the city.  The city stretches some 25 miles along the coast, a straight up-and-down journey from one place to the next. Taxis are cheap and plentiful and now with the metro, getting around is very easy.

There are various tours undertaken by tour guides and the information is available in their websites and other tourist information centers. One can tour the new environs of Dubai and then stop at the Jumeirah Mosque followed by a drive along the Dubai Creek - the lifeline and pulse of the city. They can stroll through the narrow lanes of Bastakiah, old Dubai, and continues to the Al Fahidi Fort, which houses the Dubai Museum. From here, walk through the souks and continue to the spice souk, before walking to the Gold Souk with its 220 glittering shop windows.

The sights and sounds of the Dubai Creek can be best experienced on board a traditional dhow. The trip will take you from the creek mouth and along the creek up to the floodlit Dubai Creek Golf Club. The cruise aboard this traditional wooden vessel offers an intriguingly different view of this city. One can see many other wooden vessels, which still brave the open seas to deliver its goods to faraway places, as well as the modern Yacht's and ships.

The Burj Khalifa

The tallest structure on the planet is impossible to miss from the moment you arrive in Dubai. Soaring above the city like a giant needle-shaped spacecraft, it really is a wonder of modern technology and design. The opportunity to view the city from the observation deck on the 134th floor is not to be missed, and day or night the view is truly spectacular. Click here to read more about it

Burj Al Arab

The world's only seven-star hotel since its construction has been an icon for Dubai. Despite the many new fancy hotels, the Burj Al Arab still has a lure and is on the recommend list of many Dubai residents. It has aquariums that flank the escalator, underwater seafood restaurant, exotic glass elevator and Skyview Bar. The water park, called Wild Wadi, is just a moment’s walk from the hotel.

A new Guggenheim museum, the Yas Island Race Track, the Ferrari Theme park and even a tour of the QE2 are the new addition to attractions of Dubai and Abu Dhabi.

Hop-On Hop-Off Tour

You can discover Dubai at your leisure with a 24 hour ticket on the Dubai Hop-on Hop-off Tour. Open-top double-decker buses travel through Dubai on two different routes. In addition to unlimited circuits during the 24 hour period, your ticket includes free admission into Dubai Museum, a free Arabian Dhow Cruise and a Sheikh Saed Al Maktoum House entrance ticket, which was the house of the grandfather of the current ruler. The Itinerary includes the City Tour (Red Route), which goes through Wafi, Creek Walk and Danat Dubai Berth, Al Fahidi Fort (Dubai Museum),  Dubai Old Souk, Sheikh Saeed Al Maktoum House,  Gold Souk,  Abra Station, Deira City Center,  BurJuman Mall and Karama. The Beach Tour (Blue Route) takes you through Deira City Center, Wafi, Jumeirah Mosque, Mercato Mall, Jumeriah Beach, Park, Jumeriah Public Beach, Souq Madinat Jumeriah, Atlantis on the Palm Jumeirah, Mall of the Emirates and Dubai Mall.

Arabian Treasures Walking Tour

This fully guided walking tour includes a traditional Abra boat ride across the busy Dubai Creek, where you can visit the traditional markets. After exploring the world famous Gold Souk, this tour will also take you around the latest underground Arabian Souk of Khan Murjan. This Souk offers a fascinating insight into traditional architecture, whilst offering a wide selection of shops and restaurants.

Jumeirah Mosque--This is the best known mosque in Dubai made prominent by its huge central dome. This is also the only place of worship for non muslims.

Al Fahidi Fort and Dubai Museum--The fort dates back to the 18th century and houses interesting archaeological finds as spears, khanjar knives and cannons among many others.

Heritage and Diving Village--Displays ancient artifacts from sites dating back as 550BC.

Racecourse-- Nad Al Sheba racecourse has two left handed flat racing courses, a turf track and a dirt track that surrounds it. With the exception of World Cup night, general admissions to the races are free and you can access the Millennium Terrace seats and lawns area.

Dubai Aquarium--The world's largest aquarium window brings you face-to-face with enormous Sand Tiger Sharks, graceful Stingrays, giant Groupers and shimming shoals of pelagic fish.

Dubai Dolphinarium--Dubai Dolphinarium is the first fully air conditioned indoor (temp 21-25c) Dolphinarium in the Middle East. Read more...

Dubai Ice Rink --The Olympic-size ice rink boasts world-class facilities. Whether you want to learn skating, perfect your technique, play ice hockey, socialise with friends or just have a great time, the ice rink provides a perfect venue. Read more about it here.

Beach Parks

Al Mamzar beach park for its four pristine beaches, two swimming pools, children's playground, picnic areas and fresh water showers.

Creekside Park for its barbecue sites, amphitheatre with seating capacity for 1,200 people, 18 hole mini-golf course, 3 jetties for fishing, 2 restaurants and a number of kiosks for refreshments, walking and jogging tracks, and exit points for abras (water taxis).

You can also indulge in Luxury Yacht Charters, Fishing & Cruising Trips, Helicopter Rides, Jet around the world, Luxury Cars. Click here to know more about Dubai Creek.

Four wheel drives across the desert

Tourists can travel by four wheel drives (4WD) across the deserts of Dubai which includes sandboarding, and open air dining. The four wheel drive includes a visit to a camel farm, camel ride and henna designs, Shisha water pipe and belly dancing. The 4WD offers you several photo opportunities and witness a beautiful desert sunset which is one of the highlights of a trip to the Arabian desert. More about Desert Safari...

The natural rock pools of Hatta and Wadi Wurrayah, home of the UAE's only natural waterfall are perfect places for day trips. You can also have a private overnight safari which will have an additional feature of pitching a tent underneath a starlit sky in the desert.

East Coast tour

The East Coast tour takes you through the full variety of landscapes within the Emirates which include the desert plains, the rugged Hajar mountains cut through by deep wadis, and the Gulf of Oman and Hatta in East Coast.

The East Coast is remarkably green with its date palm groves, agricultural areas, local markets and fishing villages. It is here that we can find UAE’s oldest mosque at Bidiyah. Snoopy Rock which is famous for snorkelling in the UAE is an added attraction in the East Coast.

Fishing Trips

Inshore coastal fishing is ideal for barracudas and bottom fish like Hammour and Shari, wreck fishing and pursuing sailfish 30 knots out, or for coastal cruising and creek tours. Waterworld Dubai’s location on the beautiful coast of the Arabian Gulf offers the chance to sailing, fishing and RIB trips.

Dubai Hot Air Balloon Flight

One can join this early-morning hot-air balloon expedition deep in the heart of the desert. The balloon flight will be an exhilarating experience with unrivalled views over giant red sands, emerald green oases, gazelles and wandering camels. The balloon ride is taken best in the morning as the air is cool and pleasant then. The flight time is approximately one hour.

Shopping

Most of the shops in Dubai are familiar to malls in other greater cities of the world and you may find the odd bargain on electronics. Many such malls have their own attractions such as the Souk Madinat inside the Madinat Jumeirah Hotel, which has its own waterway to transfer people from its shops, bars and restaurants to the neighbouring clutch of hotels. The Mall of the Emirates has an indoor ski slope with real snow. The Khan Murjan souk connects the Wafi Mall, home of Chanel, Marks & Spencer and Montblanc, with the Raffles Hotel. In addition to this is the Mall of Arabia at 10 million sq. ft., complete with a real-life Jurassic Park–like dinopark called Restless Planet.

If you want to buy gold, there are few better places to do that than in the Old Gold Souk (or market) in Dubai. Walking around the Gold Souk you will see dazzling window displays of gold on a scale rarely seen in the Western world. The stores also offer platinum, diamonds and occasionally silver, and the government keeps tight control over the quality of all the merchandise, thus assuring you of its genuine nature.

The Dubai Mall  The Dubai Mall is huge with the shopping and eating almost a side attraction. It has a 22-screen cinema, an indoor theme park called Sega World, a world for children called Kidzania, a giant Aquarium with an underwater zoo, and a full-sized ice rink. Added to this is the Dubai Fountain, which has shows every evening starting at 6 p.m.

Places to Dine-in

The best way to experience the distinct social strata in Dubai is through your stomach. At the top end is five-star cuisine of the highest order. British chefs Gary Rhodes and Gordon Ramsay have culinary outposts in the Grosvenor House Hotel and the Hilton Dubai Creek. They are joined at the top of the tree by the excellent Chinese restaurant Noble House in the Raffles Hotel.

On the other end of the social spectrum lies Al Dhiyafah Road, Dubai's cheap-eats street. Here restaurants catering to the city's less affluent residents spill out onto the sidewalk so you can people-watch while feasting on food from Lebanon, Iran and the Indian subcontinent. On the northern end of the street lies Sidra, with zesty salads and mixed grill that gives you a taste of the Levant. On the other end of Al Dhiyafah Road, Pars Iranian Kitchen dishes out succulent lamb and fresh seafood straight from its outdoor grill. Opposite Pars is Pakistani spice-peddler Ravi Restaurant, one of the city's best regarded, curry houses.

Asado, The Address, Downtown Burj Dubai: The rustic Argentinean grill restaurant is the perfect place for succulent meat cuts prepared in the Asador Criollo-style served with selected Argentinean wines. Dine outside in cooler months to make the most of the terrace or relax in the warmly lit interior whilst enjoying Tango and live entertainment.

The Promenade at four Points by Sheraton, Bur Dubai: Look out for Enchiladas, fajitas, Cajun, tortilla soup, beef green chilli stew.

Prime Rib, Le Royal Méridien Beach Resort & Spa:  Hearty steaks are the stars of this award-winning restaurant.

Dubai Seaplane Flight

The Dubai seaplane flight is a 40-minute journey consisting of  a bird's eye view of Dubai's iconic landmarks such as Burj Al Arab Hotel Jumeirah, Burj Dubai, Jebel Ali, historic Dubai Creek and fly over the largest man-made islands including The World and The Palm. The flight will provide you with unforgettable photo opportunities of Dubai with its magnificently built skyscrapers and some of the marvels of human engineering.

Tours to the neighbouring Emirates

You can take day tours to the nearby emirates. The emirate of Sharjah, the cultural centre of Middle East with its museums is only 20 minutes from Dubai.  One of the many landmarks to see during the tour is King Faisal Mosque, one of the largest mosques in the Emirates, the renovated Fort of Sharjah and the Heritage Museum.

You can discover the wonders of Abu Dhabi, capital of the Emirates, known as the Arabian Jewel. On the way to Abu Dhabi you will pass by Jebel Ali Port, which is the biggest man-made port in the world. Visit UAE's ‘garden city’, Al Ain is a large oasis surrounded by spectacular desert formations and rocky outcrops, and just approximately 1.5 hours away from Dubai.

Click here to know about the places to visit in Dubai.

Updated on: 
Tue, December 11, 2012