If you are considering a Dubai holiday, this guide may be of some help.
Dubai is a fast-paced city graced by some staggeringly ornate world-renowned hotels and offers a perfect blend of shopping, relaxation and unique Middle Eastern culture. I have broken this guide down into relevant sections.
From the hustle and bustle of the Gold and Spice Souks, where many a bargain can be found to historical sites of archaeological interest at Al Ghusais and Al Sufooh, there is no shortage of inherent culture in this eclectic city.
Wander down to the Jumeirah Mosque for a fine example of modern Islamic architecture.
Don’t miss a photo opportunity of the 39-storey Dubai World Trade Center or an informative afternoon at the Dubai Museum.
The Bastakia district, with its narrow lanes and tall wind towers, will give an insight into the older, simpler Dubai, which is gradually being replaced by elegant modernity in all its glory.
Newer attractions include the incredible Burj Khalifa, the world’s highest building at approximately 818 metres tall (visible from 60 miles). You can venture to the viewing gallery at the top via a super speedy lift. Here you’ll look down on all the monstrous skyscrapers below you, and the photo opportunities must be taken advantage of.
Dubai is a stimulating city with a whole array of excursions of the offer. The most popular ones include:
Dubai City Tour
This is a great approach to explore the city, taking in the busy markets and shopping precincts, gold and spice souks and museums, along with the Bastakia district and the impressive Jumeirah Beach Tower. In addition, the tour allows for time to look around many of the city’s attractions.
This is one of the world’s most advanced water parks, a hugely appealing attraction for the whole family. Tumbledown powerful roller coasters or amble along on a gentle water ride: Wild Wadi has it all. Situated between the Burj Al Arab and the Jumeirah Beach Hotel and featuring no less than 90 lifeguards to guarantee optimum safety.
A high octane ride down the cascading dunes in a 4×4 jeep and a stop at the Al Shamsi Bedouin village signals the start of the desert safari, a hugely popular Dubai excursion. Enjoy freshly made Arabian sweets, learn about the local falcons, and sip an Arabic coffee before enjoying a delicious BBQ meal with grilled specialities whilst a belly dancer performs in front of you.
You can make your Dubai shopping experience as traditional or as modern as you wish in this diverse city where anything is possible. From the varied stalls of the local markets selling various foodstuffs and trinkets, which you can freely barter for, to the more glamorous larger malls where a wider variety of international goods can be purchased.
The Mall of the Emirates is perhaps the largest and best known and features everything from small, independently run stores to larger, luxurious chain stores such as Gucci and Prada.
However, this is dwarfed by the opening of the largest shopping centre in the world, the hugely impressive Mall of Arabia, in the Dubailand theme park. This showcases some of the best leisure and entertainment facilities over an astonishing 930,000 square feet of floor space! If you’re after a slower pace, you will find many backstreets to explore where you can pick up some great value fabrics, china, scented candles and traditional Middle Eastern clothing.
From Fire & Ice at Raffles to Verre by Gordon Ramsay at Dubai Hilton Creek, Dubai offers some astounding places to eat, many of which are hotel-based and open to the general public. Reservations are standard, so make sure you book in advance to guarantee seats at the best restaurants.
Locals love the fine dining Mexican rooftop restaurant Maya located within Le Royal Meridien Beach Resort and Spa. This majestic venue is a great place to relax under the stars with a cocktail and some great spicy homemade Fajitas.
Another popular choice is the EauZone at the One&Only Royal Mirage for a beautiful beachfront venue serving innovative Asian cuisine.
There’s a restaurant for every setting here, and exploring further into the city will yield a wide range of cuisines, including specialist Indian, Persian and Lebanese restaurants.
Dubai Bars & Nightlife
Like with the restaurants, many of the best evening locations in Dubai are based within the larger, more luxurious hotels. However, locals and tourists alike are wooed by the intrinsic appeal of the Buddha-Bar located at Grosvenor House Hotel, where you’ll almost certainly require a reservation if you want to have a table.
If you’re searching for a club bar with live music, look no further than the trendy Kasbar within One&Only Royal Mirage. Other great evening venues include 360 at the Jumeirah Beach Hotel, or why not meander down to Vu’s within the Emirates Towers, where you can enjoy a cocktail on the 51st floor overlooking the city and the Arabian Gulf.
Dubai Family Attractions
Dubai’s 42-acre water metropolis is located within Atlantis The Palm Hotel Hotel. A host of thrilling waterslides and wave machines make this a children’s paradise, and there are some fantastic adult slides for the brave! You can also train a dolphin for a day at Dolphin Bay, the resort’s animal habitat, or explore tunnels and winding trails at The Lost Chambers.
Believe it or not, you can now ski in Dubai! Located on the Sheikh Zayed Road and part of the Mall of the Emirates, this fantastic venue features five slopes that range in difficulty from beginner to expert. And what’s more, this is not artificial snow on the slopes; it is real. Also featuring a snow park, this is an excellent location for a family day out and a fantastic break from the city’s heat.
Take a trip to the skies aboard a Cessna 208 seaplane, and see Dubai in true style. This is a sightseeing excursion not to be missed and gives the thrill of both land and water take-off and landings. Experience stunning aerial views of Palm Jumeirah: the best way to fully appreciate the depth of architecture and level of detail. Luxury leather seats, air conditioning and fully trained pilots with global flying backgrounds ensure optimum comfort and safety.
Other Dubai Travel Information
Currency: United Arab Emirates Dirham (AED)
Language: National language is Arabic
Time Difference: +3 from Greenwich mean Time (GMT)
Voltage: 220. Most plug sockets are three-pin, adapters are available for two-pin in many hotels.