Top 10 Things to do in Dubai

November 01st 2018
Written by: Tracy
Top 10 Things to do in Dubai

For our most up to date recommendations of things to do in Dubai, read our more recent blog post: Top 10 Things to do in Dubai in 2020.

Are you looking for things to do when you visit Dubai? Dubai attracts visitors from all around the world, and it’s no wonder – with so much to offer, this eclectic city has fast become one of the top destinations for seasoned and first-time travellers alike. Whether you are interested in the culture, shopping or the outdoors, there is something for everyone. With so much to do, it can be hard to decide what’s the best use of your time when you visit Dubai. We recommend these top 10 things to do in Dubai:

1. A Desert Safari is a Must-do Activity

The desert is a must-see when you visit Dubai. There are many Desert Safaris to choose from, however the only one that stands out to us is Platinum Heritage as they over a range of authentic and luxury Desert Safaris. Head into the Dubai Desert Conservation Reserve on a wildlife drive in vintage Land Rovers or luxury Range Rovers to spot native animals like Arabian oryx and gazelles. These adventures are not only a great way to experience the desert, but they are also culturally immersive as you get taken on a journey into Dubai’s past to experience Bedouin life in authentic camps, Emirati cuisine and cultural performances. Relive a bygone era and learn about traditional coffee and bread-making, ride camels, watch falcon shows and witness cultural dances and musical performances from local Bedouin. Platinum Heritage are the only ecotourism company in Dubai offering Desert Safaris.

 

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2. See the Dubai Sights as You Drive Your Own Boat

An easy and fun way to tick off several of Dubai’s major attractions is on a boat tour along the iconic coastline. Dubai has many boat tours but there is only one self-drive boat tour, HERO OdySea which gives you the chance to actually drive your own boat, without a boat license or previous experience – it’s much more fun than being a passenger! The professional HERO guides show you exactly how to drive the boats and then accompany you on a tour of Dubai stopping along the way at landmarks like Burj Al Arab and Atlantis, The Palm. At these stops you can get great photo opportunities and learn interesting facts about modern Dubai.

 

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3. Fly with Falcons in a Hot Air Balloon

A once-in-a-lifetime experience exclusive to Dubai is flying with falcons! Balloon Adventures Dubai is the only Hot Air Balloon company in the world which gives you the unique opportunity to share the skies with falcons. Falconry is a strong element of Emirati cultural heritage and this experience puts a traditional spin on Hot Air Ballooning with the addition of a falconer on every Hot Air Balloon. Float over the Dubai desert at 4,000ft during sunrise and watch the world’s only in-flight falcon show! You also get to ride in vintage Land Rovers and enjoy breakfast in a Bedouin desert camp.

 

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4. The Fountains & Aquarium at Dubai Mall

The 2nd largest shopping mall in the world, Dubai Mall is definitely worth checking out during your visit. Almost every shop or brand you can think of exists inside the mall. The view of the Dubai Aquarium from the outside is spectacular (and free) but you can choose to go in and visit the Underwater Zoo. There is also an Olympic sized ice rink if you are more of an activity-based shopper. Make sure to visit the Dubai Fountains located in the outside area of the mall. The renowned fountain show is known as the world’s largest performing fountain. The free shows wow viewers every hour from 6pm onwards and is a captivating spectacle of choreographed water, music and lights set in the 30-acre Burj Lake with the famous Burj Khalifa as the backdrop.

 

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5. Spend the day on the Dubai beach - Kite Beach

With the beautiful weather and stunning coastline, a visit to the beach is a must for most visitors to Dubai. Kite Beach is one of the most vibrant beach spots in Dubai. With plenty of activities like stand-up paddle boarding and kayaking, it’s not easy to get bored at this stretch of white sand. There are plenty of restaurants and food trucks if you need to grab a bite to eat over breakfast or lunchtime. If you would like to burn off some holiday calories and explore further along the coastline, you can walk on the 14km track all the way across several beaches. This beach also has a great swimming area and there are umbrellas and beach chairs for hire to make your beach day that much more comfortable. We nominate Kite Beach as the best and most beautiful public beach in Dubai. Many of the other beaches of its calibre are connected to hotels and luxury resorts which charge large entrance fees to those not staying there.

 

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6. Go to the Top of the World’s Tallest Building - Burj Khalifa

Well-known as the world’s tallest building, standing at 828m tall, you have to see it to believe it! Burj Khalifa is one of the most famous skyscrapers in the world. It is as impressive from the ground as it is from the interior. Experience At The Top where you can take in views of Dubai from the highest point or down below at the Dubai Fountain area where you can admire this stylish giant from a slight distance. This stylish icon is so tall that it’s difficult to even capture it in one photo!

 

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7. Sundowners at Folly - Souk Madinat Jumeirah

Souk Madinat is one of the most beautiful areas in Dubai. The maze-like retail space has been created with the style of a traditional Middle Eastern Bazaar and is built in and around stunning water canals. If you would like to get some classic Dubai gifts and memorabilia, Souk Madinat is a haven for this. Walk the alleyways and feel like you are living in the set of Aladdin as you walk pass Arabic carpet shops and boutique gift shops selling Arabian trinkets and souvenirs. There are also lots of restaurants, bars and hotels in this area worth visiting. Folly by Nick & Scott has happy hour daily from 3pm to 9pm with a menu offering a range of intricate cocktails and mocktails prepared by professional bar tenders. Make sure to try their trademark – the Folly Pop, a sorbet popsicle with a twist. The venue spans over a few stories with a main restaurant, bar, outside terrace and the rooftop. It has spectacular views of Souk Madinat, the ocean and the famous Burj Al Arab. Slightly alternative with a laidback feel, this is the ultimate spot for sundowners in Dubai!

 

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8. Gold Souk and Arabian Tea House

Get a glimpse of the historical part of the city in the Old Dubai area which falls on the other side of the Creek. Here you can visit the Dubai museum, explore the souks which are the traditional markets and dine in the renowned and very instagramable Arabian Tea House. Make sure to dress a bit more conservatively in this area as it is more traditional than the rest of the city.  Walking around Al Fahidi Historical Neighbourhood is a great area to wander around and offers is a window into the vibrant day-to-day life of some of the city’s locals. If you visit on a Friday just keep in mind that it is the weekend in Dubai and a religious day so many of the restaurants and museums will be closed in the morning. Near Al Fahidi is a new area called Al Seef. You can catch an Abra to the other side of the Creek and visit a newer area called Al Seef. This area has been recreated for you to retrace the steps of local fishermen, pearl-divers and tradesmen who originally came to Dubai to trade. Most of the restaurants in this area are licenced which means you can enjoy a cheeky sundowner over with views of the Creek and old Dubai.  Zabeel House is a very trendy and unique place to stay in Dubai – it’s charm and quirk makes it different to any of the other hotels in Dubai.

 

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9. Learn about Bedouin Culture

Dubai has a rich cultural heritage and there is a fascinating way to experience it first-hand. Situated in the heart of the largest unfenced Desert Conservation Reserve in Dubai, Al Marmoom is a traditional Bedouin village and you can visit it on the Al Marmoom Bedouin Experience. This immersive experience offers an encounter with a day in the life of a Bedouin in the Dubai Desert. This experience showcases a period in time in Dubai history pre-1920’s. Traverse the desert dunes on a traditional camel caravan, watch a Bedouin falcon show with a Saluki dog, explore a Bedouin village built traditionally and learn all about nomadic Bedouin culture and life in the desert. Try typical Bedouin dishes, watch how the food is prepared and take part in cultural performances. Hear stories from Bedouins passed down through the generations about Dubai before 1920’s and learn about this unique culture.

10. JBR beach & the Dubai Marina

Meander through Dubai’s beach district, shop, dine or go to the beach all in one place. There are often DJs playing music on the weekends adding to the vibey atmosphere. This is a buzzing area and great to visit during the day or the evening. It’s not too far from the Marina which is home to some of Dubai’s best yachts and boats of all kinds. Pier 7 is home to several wonderful restaurants and bars which offer great views of the marina and the surrounding area.

 

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