What to see and do in Dubai
As I mentioned in my previous article, there is so much to see and do in Dubai. Everybody can choose what they like. Whether you are a young couple, a group of friends, family with children or retired, there are plenty of choices for everyone and you can’t be bored. There are always new things and attractions built, so Dubai will not stay behind and is always the top, the biggest, the largest, the tallest, the deepest, the best.
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What represents Dubai
There are two top things “must-see” that represent Dubai and there are Burj Khalifa and Burj Al Arab. Burj Khalifa, the tallest building in the world is situated next to the Dubai Mall from which you can go inside. There is a viewpoint at level 124, where you can walk around and see the whole of Dubai from different angles. You get to the top by a luxurious lift which takes exactly one minute. It feels like you are going to the sky. You can book your tickets online in advance, which I recommend, or buy at the place. You can book at a certain time you wish. I was there twice, in the evening and during the day. Really unforgettable experience. The view is spectacular. You can see Burj Al Arab, roads, a fountain at the bottom of the tower, and other skyscrapers that look like small ants from the top. I highly recommend it.
The second one is Burj Al Arab, the luxurious 5* hotel. You can see it when you are at Umm Suqeim Beach and you can take pictures next to it. Also, if you go to Wild Wadi waterpark, which is right next to it. Of course, you are not allowed to go inside if you don’t have a book room there. However, you can book a table for lunch, brunch, or dinner or drink in the Skyview bar and you can go in. We used the last option as a surprise for my mum’s birthday. The hotel is very charming and goldish. The drinks are really impressive and the service is excellent, as everywhere in Dubai. We took some pictures on the way to the bar and enjoyed some drinks and the view.
Another very interesting activity is the desert safari. It is basically visiting the desert in Dubai. I went there twice. There are a lot of agencies offering this. Get Your Guide is one of them. They have different options.
They will pick you up from the hotel or flat you are staying in and take you to the desert. In the desert starts sand bashing, which is driving in the 4 by 4 car on sandy dunes. The driver is purposely sliding the car on the sand, making turns, going fast, you are jumping and screaming in the car, thinking the car will flip over. It is a bit adrenalin but a lot of fun activity. Of course, small children and pregnant women are not allowed. Then you arrive at the camp, where you have some drinks, dinner, shisha, a henna tattoo or taking pictures in the traditional clothes, etc. Some companies provide different activities, like sandboarding, camel riding, or quad bikes. In the evening there is a traditional dancer and fakir show, where a guy is playing with fire. Both are very impressive. The time spent in the desert is very pleasant and relaxing. Nice to be away from the city. If you like adrenalin and you are into driving, you can try Adventure by 4WD Dune Buggy.
Visiting other Emirates or cities
In case you would like to see other Emirates, you need to rent a car, book trips with some agencies, or take a bus if possible. I went only to Abu Dhabi twice. First time by bus and using the hop-on, hop-off bus in the city. The second time by car. There are two top things to see. The first one is Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque, which is the largest mosque in the UAE. It is really magnificent architecture. It is so huge, shiny, gold, clean, and a very peaceful place. If there are no prayers, you can go inside in one part, but you have to take your shoes off first. By the way, women who want to enter must wear abaya and hijab. They are providing those at the entrance. I visited it twice during the day, but I’m sure it has a big charm in the evening.
The second thing is Emirates Palace, a luxurious 5* hotel. It is very impressive from outside, all the area with running and splashing water. We also managed to have a look inside. It is huge and full of gold.
There is also Ferrari World in Abu Dhabi. Big amusement park with roller coasters for kids and adults. Unfortunately, I didn’t have a chance to visit.
I also went for a guided tour to Al Ain city, where we visited the Al Ain Oases with a traditional irrigation system, museum, zoo where I could feed giraffes, and to the high peak, where we went by car.
Christmas and New Year’s Eve in Dubai
Spending Christmas and (or) New Year’s Eve is an unforgettable experience. I was there for New Year’s Eve once, so I can tell you all about it. As the country is religion-free, they also prepare the Christmas atmosphere in the city. There are lights everywhere, Christmas trees, in the shops you can buy gorgeous Christmas decorations that you probably won’t find back at home.New Year’s Eve is a big thing in Dubai, the same as in other important cities like Paris, New York, Sydney, etc. You can either book a table in clubs or restaurants, or you can come next to Burj Khalifa to see the best fireworks.
I chose the second option as I really wanted to see it in real life, not just on video. You can book a table in one of the restaurants, but that is very expensive, or you can just wait outside. If you spend time outside, it is good to come early to get a good spot as it is very crowded there. There is some show, music, and fountain to entertain you before midnight. Then it started the countdown 10,9,8,7,6,5,4,3,2,1 WOW!!!!! The big laser show on the tallest building Burj Khalifa started with lots of fireworks around it. Every year it is different. It is amazing how much creativity and imagination they have for this. This was really one of my top experiences and left unbelievable memories inside me. And not only me, but also my parents who were there with me were totally fascinated by it.
The way back to your hotel however is another story. The streets are totally full of people. Cars can hardly move, people walk on the roads and streets everywhere. Getting a taxi is an impossible thing. I didn’t try the metro cause I thought it was not working, however, it was, but it was fully packed. In the end, we were lucky for one taxi driver, who saw my dad and because he is older, he stopped and took us. The journey which normally takes 15 minutes, took about one hour or more. Nevertheless, it was all worth it.
The rest of the activities
I already wrote about the most interesting things, however, there are still many activities worthy to see and do. There is a hop-on-hop-off bus that takes you around the city and you can see many sights depending on your choice. I recommend going for the Dubai creek cruise.
There is the Miracle Garden, which is a huge garden of flowers from which many big statues are made. For example a car, Eiffel tower, house, gate, train, and many more. Very nice place to visit even with children.
The next one is the Dubai Frame, the largest picture frame in the world. You can go up and see the view. This is a new thing and I didn’t go there, so can’t give you my opinion on it.
If you love adrenaline, there is a skydive over Dubai. You will jump from a plane over Palm Island and see the city from the sky. A relatively new thing is the Zipline over Dubai Marina. I haven’t done those things either, but I wish I did.
Besides spending time at beaches, you can visit water parks. I personally visited Wild Wadi, next to Burj Al Arab. Lots of fun for adults and kids. There is one adrenalin attraction, where you stand in the tube and after a few seconds the floor under you gets open and you are falling straight down. Amazing feeling and great experience.I also visited the Aquaventure waterpark in Atlantis hotel. The only reason I went there was to go swim with dolphins. This was the most fascinating thing I have done. Dolphin gives you a kiss or you hold him and he swims with you. I didn’t even want to leave.
There is a new thing called Dubai Safari Park. It replaced the zoo and is similar to safari in Africa. I haven’t been there, so again, can’t judge.
For shopping lovers, it is heaven here. There are so many shopping malls and outlets. The main ones already mentioned Dubai Mall, Mall of the Emirates, Ibn Battuta Mall, Marina Mall, Dubai Outlet Mall, Dubai Festival City Mall, and many more.
At night, you can visit one of the nightclubs, for which you have a big choice in almost every hotel, or they have bars on the roofs of the hotels, sometimes with pools. I visited the Armani club in Burj Khalifa and Cavalli club, which I highly recommend. You can book a table with friends or you can just come and stay at the bar or dance. Don’t forget to dress well.
Other things to do are visiting Palm Island, walking, or having dinner or shisha in Dubai Marina. It is a very nice place for evening walks. There are even small playgrounds for kids.
You can ski or snowboard inside the Mall of the Emirates, you can ice-skate inside the Dubai Mall or visit the aquarium there too. In Front of Dubai Mall is the musical fountain that is playing music and shooting water with lights about every 10 minutes. More beautiful during the dark. There is also opera, galleries and believe it or not, you can go mountain climbing. I haven’t done it, but my friend is an expert.
Definitely holiday for everyone
As you can see, Dubai is a holiday destination where there is so much to see and do for everyone. And to be honest I didn’t write about all the things that are there. Therefore, if you are choosing your next holiday destination where you want to stay at the beach and also be active and see and experience a lot of new things, Dubai is the right choice. Wishing you an unforgettable adventure.
Hi Nat. Just before the pandemic began, my family and I were planning a trip to Dubai. Thankfully we had not booked reservations or plane tickets yet. But we are excited to go now that there is the freedom to move around. I would love to go to the Burj Al Arab, and the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque.
Hello Paolo. That is great news. Duba is almost in normal life again. You will enjoy it. Burj Khalifa is a must-see. It is amazing to see during day and night too. For Burj Al Arab you will have to book a table. If you need any advice or tip, just let me know. Have a great holiday.