11 Best Places to Visit in Dubai

Burj Al Arab, Dubai

Dubai is the first name to come to mind when one thinks of a fabulous vacation spot loaded with unbelievable attractions. Whichever direction you look, there’s something fantastic to claim your undivided attention. When you manage to tear your eyes away from one attraction, there’s another one close-by, waiting to take your breath away. That’s Dubai for you.

1. The Dubai Mall – What Does Shopping Mean to You?

Dubai mall, shopping in Dubai

The sprawling Dubai Mall is more than just a mall – it’s an experience of retail grandeur never before seen. It’ll take days just to window shop all of the 1,200-plus retail outlets. Apart from 150 fantastic restaurants, Dubai Mall has an ice rink, an indoor theme park, an enormous indoor waterfall and the piece-de-resistance – the fabulous Dubai Aquarium and Underwater Zoo.

2. The Dubai Fountain

The Dubai Fountain, located at the base of the Burj Khalifa, is the world’s largest choreographed dancing water fountain. The water jets shoot up to 150 meters, illuminated by a thousand lights, swaying in time to an amazing array of musical scores. This incredibly mesmerizing show is even more spectacular at night when the LED lights that cover the Burj Khalifa are lit and the fountains light up the night. Watching the incredible fountain show is one of the best things to do in Dubai.

3. Burj Khalifa – The Height Says It All!

Burj Khalifa Dubai

At 828 meters, there’s not much to challenge the mighty Burj Khalifa but the eagles up high. The tallest building in the world not only dominates the city’s skyline, it provides stunning 360-degree views from its level 124 observatory. The view from Dubai Burj Khalifa’s the At The Top Sky Lounge on the 148th floor is even more spectacular. Linger for a lovely romantic meal in the clouds at the At.mosphere hotel on level 122, and watch the city buzzing away hundreds of feet below you.

4. Dubai Parks and Resorts

Dubai Parks and Resorts is a labyrinth of theme parks, water parks and more attractions than it’s possible to enjoy in a week. There’s the exciting Motiongate, Bollywood Parks, Legoland theme park and Legoland waterpark, plus the enticing Riverland Boulevard which is lined with amazing restaurants and cool entertainment options. Lapita, the luxury Polynesian-style hotel brings its own glamor and style to the theme park with its incredible architecture and design.

5. Palm Jumeirah

Atlantis, Palm Jumeirah, Dubai

Over time, human ingenuity has triumphed over nature again and again, but never with some spectacular audacity. Only Dubai could do it. The Palm Jumeirah is a beautifully sculpted manmade island in the shape of an open palm tree. The island caters to a select audience, with its high-end hotels. Here you’ll find the Waldorf Astoria, Jumeirah Zabeel Saray, Fairmont, One&Only and the iconic Atlantis, The Palm. A monorail runs along the trunk of the island’s palm tree structure, which in turn connects to the mainland’s tram system.

6. Dubai Creek

The Dubai Creek is the saltwater estuary where the Bani Yas tribe dived for pearls and fish. Today the Bani Yas tribe rules Dubai, and that says everything. The Creek is rife with the history of Dubai. Cross the Dubai Creek in a traditional Abra, and explore the towns of Bur Dubai and Deira, with their magnificent gold and spice souqs.

7. The Desert

Desert Safari Dubai

Take another step into the past by entering the magnificent Arabian Desert. A Dubai-style desert safari with quad biking, off-roading, sandboarding, camel riding and a full traditional barbeque is just the ticket. The lovely red desert with its majestic dunes has been the true home of the ruling tribe for millennia. Sign up for a Heritage Dinner Safari for a truly cultural experience, or a night amongst the dunes at the Al Maha Desert Resort & Spa.

8. Dubai’s Parks

You might think parks are commonplace, but Dubai’s parks are some of the most beautiful, clean and tranquil you’ll ever see. For 5 AED, you’ll see families of various ethnicities enjoying themselves on pristine green lawns and flower gardens. Safa Park’s 150 acres of lawns, waterfalls, and hills are made for park lovers. Mushrif Park has extensive woodlands and a zoo. There are several other incredible parks to enjoy in Dubai. The city isn’t just about magnificent landmarks, right?

9. Burj Al Arab

Burj Al Arab, Dubai

The world’s first and only 7-star hotel, the Burj soars to a height of 321 meters and is visible for quite a distance across the Palm Jumeirah islands. Its distinctive sail-shaped outline has been the background for a million selfies that have been taken in front of it. The Burj is expensive, so the best way to see it would be to take tea at the Aswan Lounge for AED 280 and then explore this beautiful landmark.

10. Ski Dubai

How about checking out the mystical, hot desert dunes and hit the ski slopes on the same day? Is that even possible, unless you took a Mach whatever flight to the other side of the world? It’s possible in Dubai when you get to Ski Dubai at the Emirates Mall. Here you’ll transition from 50°C desert heat to below zero temperatures before you’re sure what hit you. You can hire all your ski stuff here, plus warm clothing. Enjoy a cup of piping hot chocolate at the café-bar halfway up the ski slope. Enjoy skiing, snowboarding, and tobogganing to your heart’s content and when you’re done, spend some time with Ski Dubai’s cute Snow Penguins!

11. Dubai Aquarium & Underwater Zoo

The Dubai Aquarium

The Dubai Aquarium and Underwater Zoo are filled with scary huge saltwater crocodiles and sharks of every description. Walking through the 48-metre acrylic aquarium tunnel and coming face-to-face with the incredible marine life is an unbeatable experience. The simulated virtual reality VRZOO experience takes you into the jungles of Asia and the African Savannah even as you stand right where you are. Plus, there’s shark diving and cage snorkeling, fun ways to get really up close to the dangerous sharks.

Conclusion

Dubai is adding to its list of wonders every day. Soon Ain Dubai will become public, as will the Dubai Frame and the Dubai Canal. If there weren’t sufficient reasons to visit this amazing city, there will be more soon! So pack your bags and head out to Dubai at the earliest. You don’t want to miss out on the best of Dubai.


A Guest Post by Neha Singh

As a Mass Comm postgraduate, Neha naturally has an artistic take on everything about life. This is quite evident in her writings as well. An avid trekker, explorer and a true foodie; Neha finds happiness in small endeavors of life and loves to pen them down as a cherished memory. A firm believer that “we have just one life to live and so much to do”, Neha lives every moment to the fullest. You can follow her journey at dubaiwikia.com.

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Discover the Other Side of Dubai – Art and Adventure in the Desert City

dubai beaches, dubai skyline

Over the years, Dubai has grown to be a major business and commercial hub in the Middle East. Despite its several hotels, duty-free shopping, and world-class entertainment, Dubai is more than a business and leisure destination. The city offers an eclectic mix of art, culture, technology, and architecture. There is a different side of Dubai that should be explored if you believe in experiential traveling. To discover the other side of the city, stay at a Dubai hotel near Deira or Bur Dubai and explore the various art and adventure activities the city has to offer.

Once your touristy zeal is satiated by exploring Dubai’s manmade wonders, try these things to make the most of your Dubai vacation:

Desert Safari

desert safari dubai, dubai attractionsImage via Flickr by SimSullen

Dubai is a desert city, so your travel is incomplete without a safari to the Arabian Desert, a half-hour drive from downtown. There are several ways to explore and enjoy in the desert, such as camel rides, dune driving, quad biking, and sand boarding. As dusk falls, your Arabian Desert safari ends with a traditional belly dance performance followed by a barbecue dinner at a resort or a camping site.

Skydiving and Hot Air Ballooning

skydiving, dubai, dubai skyline

Image via Flickr by pictcorrect

A hot air balloon ride is, perhaps, the best to way to witness the beauty of the desert from a different perspective. Glide over the desert and watch the sun rise over the golden sand dunes. The more adventurous can try skydiving for a “one-of-a-kind” experience. Jump into the void from an altitude of 4,000 meters and take in the bird’s-eye view of the iconic Palm Jumeirah as you swoop down to the landing turf.

Waterpark Amusements

wild wadi water park, dubai attractions

Image via Flickr by Sarah_Ackerman

With exciting water rides and fairy tale-like structures, Wild Wadi Water Park is one of the main attractions in Dubai. The amusement park’s cool wave pools, multiple water slides, and surfing machines let you beat the heat and have fun all day. If you are traveling with kids, Wild Wadi is not to be missed.

Skiing

Ski Dubai, Skiing in dubai

Image via Flickr by jonrawlinson

How does it feel to walk on the snow in a desert city like Dubai? Well, you can enjoy all those winter sports at Ski Dubai that you usually enjoy during the winter in North America. It’s not just skiing and snowboarding; you can go crazy with fast-paced rides like Snow Bullet. You can even meet the polar penguins and swim with them. Isn’t it amazing?

Water Sports

dubai beaches, dubai skylineImage via Flickr by *_* (Guilhem Vellut)

Dubai’s long stretches of white-sand beaches are ideal for relaxation and leisurely walks. They are equally ideal for a wide range of water sports activities.  There are extreme water sports like wakeboarding, stand-up paddle boarding, jet-blade flyboarding, wind surfing, and kite surfing, which requires a bit of training and skill. But Dubai has something for everyone. Beginners can try Frantic Ride, Shark Safari, parasailing, or jet skiing for the adrenaline rush. You can also take your family on a speedboat trip and enjoy the view of the spectacular Dubai skyline.

Arts and Crafts

Dubai art gallery, Dubai international art centre

Image via Dubai International Art Centre

Although Dubai is a symbol of modernity with its high-tech architecture, technology-driven entertainment, and man-made wonders, the city is also fond of arts and crafts. Discover the artistic side of Dubai at Dubai International Art Centre (DIAC). Art connoisseurs can join painting or sculpting courses or simply visit an exhibition in DIAC and admire the works of contemporary artists. Kids can also learn crafts, such as glass painting and sculpture mosaics, at the workshops.
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