Few cities in the world can offer the same variety of attractions as Dubai, a destination where natural landscapes can be found next to modern skyscrapers, ample shopping and contrasting experiences. Take for example a one day itinerary; in the morning, you can visit the world’s tallest building, spend the afternoon in an underwater zoo and after dark, you can take a helicopter ride above the city for a new perspective.
There are just so many unique things to do in Dubai but with visitors having a limited amount of time in this grand, neon city it can often be difficult in terms of deciding how to spend your time.
Whatever you decide, this emirate in the United Arab Emirates never fails to delight visitors when it comes to variety. Here are the top five things to do in Dubai:
- Experience Dubai Aquarium and Underwater Zoo
The Dubai aquarium is the largest suspended aquarium in the world and home to a huge tank which holds ten million liters of water. Inside this tank, you can find over 140 species of fish and incredibly, more than 300 sharks. You can see this tank in the shopping mall for free but the opportunity to walk through a tunnel and gaze up at the fish should be enough reason for the entry fee.
Hosting a variety of fish and animals including a crocodile and penguins, the Underwater Zoo is a great experience and a particular favorite for families. At £21, the tickets are priced reasonably and the aquarium, which opens between 10am and 10pm, is best to visit as soon as it opens in order to avoid the crowds.
- Stand on top of the World’s Tallest Building
The Burj Khalifa is the world’s tallest building and an iconic sight on the skyline of Dubai. It reaches a height of 829 meters and finds itself on the outskirts of the city, where it towers high above any neighboring buildings.
Modern and sophisticated, there are two observation decks from which you can marvel at the awe-inspiring panoramas. The first observation deck on the 125th floor has an outdoor viewing platform and you can also walk around the many souvenir shops while the second is on the 148th floor. Named aptly as “At the Top Sky”; this view-point is also the world’s highest observation deck and promises an unforgettable experience.
Most visitors go to the 125th floor where an entry ticket will cost the equivalent of £34 before 3 pm while the peak time tickets are a little more expensive at around £44. If you would like something different and fancy a trip up to the more exclusive “At The Top Sky” observation deck to mingle with the VIP’s, a non-peak ticket will cost you £76 while after 3pm this price increases.
As for the views, Dubai is a city of contrasts and you can see this in full from the top of the world’s tallest building. Surrounded by desert, this shining city is an insight into just how fast it is rising . Simply put, there is no better way to take in the city and taking a trip to the top of the Burj Khalifa is one of the best things to do in Dubai.
- Get Lost in Dubai Mall
Dubai Mall is, you guessed it, the largest in the world. High-end boutiques and designer names can be found here next to classy restaurants and a plethora of locals going about their daily business. Although this may not seem like one of the most cultured things to do in Dubai, it still offers an insight into daily life in this part of the world while symbolizing the great strides the city has taken in recent years.
It’s just easy to spend hours in Dubai Mall wandering from one store to the next and people watching. You can also expect to see many locals and expats from all around the world. The Dubai Fountain show is simply amazing. Imagine water sports choreographed beautifully to music and lights outdoors. Located on the Burj Khalifa Lake, this show takes place every 30 minutes after 6pm and it is absolutely free.
- Enjoy Old Dubai
Believe it or not, there is an Old Dubai. Situated next to the creek, Old Dubai is also home to an enormous souk where you can find an endless array of interesting items. Inside you can find many stores selling many products, from gold and spices to ancient rugs, pottery and electronics.
Old Dubai is also an interesting cultural experience and possibly the most cultural on this list as even just walking around this enchanting souk can be an enlightening experience. That being said, you must also be ready for the persistent vendors who will most likely increase the prices, so best get working on your negotiating bargaining skills!It is all part of the experience and all considered, the sublime mix of local lifestyle, souvenirs and interesting stalls are a great reason to make this, one of the most popular things to do in Dubai. It is one of my favourite places to go to in Dubai and chill with some Karak (Arabic milk tea) and shop around for bargains.
- Take a Trip on a Desert Safari
Yes, Dubai is famously located in the middle of a desert and you absolutely must get out there to experience it. While a desert safari gives you the chance to get out of the city and into the sand, it is also a cultural thing to do given how at one point in time, this was all you could find in the region of Dubai.
Starting early morning, you can be picked up from your hotel before driving into the desert for a full day of fun on top of some truly immense dunes. On the other hand, maybe you don’t have all that much time and in which case, you can always venture out there on a sunset tour to capture some spectacular photographs. Including a buffet and show, these tours are amongst the most popular things to do in Dubai and you can expect them to cost between £30 and £40 for a decent excursion.
Most visitors will travel to enjoy everything they can’t do at home and in this way, Dubai is an unforgettable experience. Stunning city views, ample shopping, enchanting souks and exciting desert safaris; you will find many things to do in Dubai, and many more for the next time you return.