Do you have one day in Dubai? This is an itinerary on what to do and see for the best 24 hours in Dubai.
Recently a friend of mine was visiting Dubai for a few days for a short business trip. She was only here for three days in total but only had one free day to see Dubai. Since she had such limited time, she was looking for tips on how to see the best of Dubai in one day. In the How to Spend 2-3 Days in Dubai we share ideas of activities to do over a few days but if you have less time, this 1-day itinerary will help you experience the best of Dubai.
Yes, you only have one day to explore this fascinating city so your 1-day itinerary starts with an early wake up! When you visit Dubai, I would definitely recommend getting out to the desert – the landscape is truly spectacular and the desert is iconic of Dubai. The Al Marmoom Bedouin Experience is the perfect cultural adventure to start your day with. This immersive experience gives you a chance to experience a day in the life of the nomadic Bedouin tribes.
Traverse the desert on a traditional camel caravan to a Bedouin village where you will have an authentic breakfast and meet local Bedouin. Watch a falcon show and learn about the significance of falconry in Emirati culture. Learn a traditional Emirati dance and hear stories about nomadic desert life. This is all set in the Al Marmoom Nature Reserve which is the largest unfenced nature reserve in Dubai.
Approximate Time: Tour pick-ups are usually at about 6am depending on the time of the year
Highlight: It’s a great way to have a traditional experience in the desert and a fun way to experience Bedouin culture in Dubai.
Besides its scenic desert and fancy skyscrapers, Dubai is also known for its beautiful coastline and range of water activities. A fun way to see Dubai’s major attractions is on a HERO OdySea Boat Tour. I prefer this to the traditional bus sightseeing tour as you skip the traffic and it is way more fun as you get to drive the boat yourself! It is the only time you can drive a boat in Dubai without requiring a boat licence, instead of just being a passenger. You get a lot closer to the famous landmarks like Burj Al Arab and Atlantis, The Palm and you can reach speeds up to 50km/h. This is also the perfect activity to get beautiful photos of Dubai’s famous icons. The reviews are great as you really feel like you’ve accomplished something and has often been the activity my guests like best when they are here.
Approximate Time: The afternoon Signature Boat Tour leaves daily at 2:30pm and is 90 minutes long
Highlight: Driving the boat yourself and getting up close to Dubai’s famous attractions
Dubai is a city with countless breath-taking views and impressive spots to watch the sun go down. While there are plenty of amazing locations and rooftop restaurant scattered around the city, nothing compares to watching the sunset from the world’s tallest building. You can view the stunning panoramic 360 views of Dubai as the Arabian sun sets. The best part of going up the Burj Khalifa at this time is that you get to see the view of Dubai during daylight, golden hour and at night time.
Approximate Time: depending on the time of year, check the sunset time
Highlight: It is an iconic view from the tallest building in the world, Burj Khalifa
After your At the Top experience, walk across to Burj Khalifa which is very close. I am not usually a mall person but the Dubai Mall is quite impressive. It’s the largest mall in the world and there is almost every store you can imagine. Even if you don’t want to spend a long time walking around the mall, I’d recommend walking past the indoor Aquarium as it is an extremely impressive site! The Dubai fountains are located outside the mall and the evening fountain shows perform every 30 minutes from 6:00pm-11:00pm – the best free thing to do in Dubai. I personally think that the best time of day to view the fountain show is at night. Burj Khalifa is in the backdrop of the Dubai Fountains and at certain times of the year a there is also an extraordinary light show which takes place. In this area there are plenty of great restaurant options for dinner.
Approximate Time: whatever time suits but I would recommend just before sunset
Highlight: The Dubai Fountains are spectacular to watch and are free
I hope that you enjoy your whirlwind adventure of Dubai. If you are staying for longer, you might be interested in the Top 10 things to do in Dubai.