I am sure there are a lot of things to do in Dubai and I only had a short stay there. I had so much fun in Dubai that I went ahead and compiled a list of things to do in Dubai anyway.
Burj Khalifa is the iconic landmark in Dubai, towering over everything else. When I reached the top (124 and 125 floor), I heard another woman say, “this is better than Eiffel Tower!” I have not been to Eiffel Tower so I can’t comment but going to the top of Burj Khalifa is a fun experience. You can find the ticket prices here.
Visit the Malls
You must noticed the plural, malls. Dubai is a city of glitzy, huge malls. I visited the Dubai Mall (largest mall in the world by land area), Mall of Emirates, Ibn Batuta Mall and the Festival City Mall. Each of them is huge. I love to walk about every inch of a place but I had to admit defeat quickly. Not even for one mall I could see it all.
I am not much of a shopper but all top brands are visible. As it was just before Christmas, the malls had a festive look.
After reading countless case studies and attending a seminar in Delhi with Ikea, I finally visited an Ikea store in the Dubai Festival Mall.
Explore Dubai by Metro
I love exploring a place by Metro, as it is cheaper and the local way. There are two metro lines in Dubai, Red and Green and they can take you places. All the malls mentioned above are connected by the metro.
For me there is a thrill in simply going by metro and exploring places on my own. I know not everyone will share the same enthusiasm, but it you like to do things the local way, take a metro ride on the driverless Dubai Metro system.
Take an Abra Ride
Now that you have taken the metro ride, go take an Abra ride too. An Abra is the traditional boat that you can take at Dubai Creek to cross over from Dubai Museum side to the old Gold Souk side. It is fun and one way ticket is 1 dirham. However the Abra will not leave till it is full.
This is the obvious one, go for the famous Dubai desert safari. It is an amazing experience. Our driver decreased the tire pressure before we entered the sand dunes. It is done so that the jeep cruises smoothly over the sand.
If you have motion sickness I advice that you take your anti-nausea for dune-bashing. I barely escaped when I took the medicine in the small break on the dunes. I did not fare well without Avomine for the dune bashing part.
It was fun to go to the camp for snacks and dinner. There was a belly dancer too but we left early as two in our group had their flights that day.
Watch a Falcon in Action
Desert Safari also features a falcon show. I do not like wild animals (or birds) in captivity. But it was intriguing to listen about the old culture of falconry in the desert. Chances are your safari will have such a show. The falcon’s name in the picture was Gizmo.
Visit Old Dubai
The most famous landmarks in Old Dubai are the Dubai Museum and the Al Fahidi Fort. The museum shows the humble beginning of the city by the creek. But wise planning and oil money has changed the face of city beyond any recognition.
You can cross the creek on an abra (see above) and visit the spice market and the gold souk.
Enjoy Great Food
Dubai is home to some great food even for vegetarians! My best experience came at the Wafi Restaurant in Dubai Mall. When we inquired again if the food was vegetarian the server responded, “in the day at least 100 people come and ask for vegetarian food! Trust me it is vegetarian.” We had a great meal of potato cubes, yelangi, saj and local bread. I had delicious Baked Alaska for dessert but at another place.
For fine dining I enjoyed Indian Food at Signature by Sanjeev Kapoor at Meliá Dubai.
Visit the Jumeirah Public Beach
The Jumeirah Public Beach is a nice place to hang out with the iconic Burj Al Arab dominating the sky line. I did not spend much time on the beach but I would like to go back and hang out.
Take your widest lens to the Dubai Marina because the skyscrapers reflect beautifully in the water and only your widest lens is good enough for it. There is a lovely around it and plenty of restaurants to keep you refreshed.
Jumeirah Beach Promenade Walk
Jumeirah Beach Promenade Walk will take you close to the Atlantis Hotel. It is a great place to hang by the sea. You can see food trucks parked by the promenade.
Go to a Sky Bar
The Dubai skyline looks stunning at the sunset. It helps to gain elevation. I photographed from the 7th floor Sky Bar of the Crowne Plaza Hotel across the Creek Metro Station. Next time I will try to find a higher a sky bar much higher up.
Watch the Dubai Fountain
The Dubai fountain near the Dubai Mall should not be missed. They go off for a maintenance run at 1.00 and 1.30 pm. The show starts from 6.00 pm to 11.00 pm at every half hour. The Friday timings differ slightly. I saw it only at the afternoon but even then it was majestic. The rainbow was the icing on the cake!
Take a Canal Ride
The Dubai Canal recently opened and you can take a ride for 50 Dirham. One of the starting points are the water taxi point near Creek Metro Station on the Green Line.
Walk Around Safa Park
If you wish to gain elevation without visiting a sky bar or a high building, you can walk around Safa Park. There are two pedestrian bridges that can provide elevation for your sunset click.
I am sure there is much more to Dubai than what I discovered in a short trip. I could not indulge at the adventure side at all. I had a great first trip to Dubai.
PS. My trip to Dubai was sponsored by flydubai
I started my India travel blog, Travel Tales from India in 2005. In 2016 I realized Travel Tales from India and Abroad better reflected my writings. I love to walk and ride in metros around the world. I have not been everywhere, I am not even close, but it is on my list. I also quit my job as a professor in 2015, it was a happening year! I did a Ph.D. from IIT Kanpur ages ago!
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