Dubai Travel Guide
Plan your exploration of Dubai strategically. Visit its icons – the tallest, the biggest, the most daring, the most expensive, and the most unusual. But don’t let it slip your mind or your list; there is the intrinsic Dubai that is where the heart of the nation sits. Look for these, as well, to complete your Dubai experience.
1) The Burj Khalifa
Start exploration with Dubai’s centerpiece and world record holder – the Burj Khalifa, officially the world’s tallest building at 828 meters and 163 storeys. This skyscraper provides unparalleled views of Dubai. Its observation deck at the top floor, aptly called At the Top, can be accessed day and night for a 60-minute tour. Tickets are available at the ticket office on the ground floor of The Dubai Mall which is near the entrance to the Burj. General admission is USD 35 and for adult visitors, and USD 26 for children. General admissions are date and time-specific. If immediate admission is desired, the entrance fee is USD 109 for children or adult visitors. Infants, 0 to 3 years old, can be tagged along to the observation deck with no fee.
Address: Emaar Blvd, Downtown Dubai
2) The Burj Al Arab
The Burj Al Arab’s massive structure, now recognized as the symbol of Dubai, represents the sail of the dhow, a traditional sailing vessel. Considered as the world’s fourth tallest hotel with a height of 321 meters, it is truly a world-class destination for tourists. The hotel houses a galore of luxurious restaurants dishing out exquisite cuisine. Enjoy spectacular view at 200 m above the ground from the hotel’s panoramic elevator. If you’re not a guest staying at the hotel, you can still enjoy by reserving a table in one of its restaurants. Meals in the complex are not really as expensive as often assumed. Be attentive to the dress code, which is generally semi-formal or smart casual.
Address: Palm Jumeirah
3) The Palm Islands
One of the most acclaimed arrays of reclaimed lands just offshore the city is the highly-admired spectacle, the Palm Islands of Dubai: the Palm Jumeirah, the Palm Jebel Ali, and the Palm Deira. Touted as the world’s largest artificial islands, which can be seen from space, they are being promoted by Dubai as the 8th wonder of the world. Palm Jumeirah is the location of Burj Al Arab, some residential properties including that of David Beckham, and commercial centers like The Trunk, 16 Fronds, and Crescent. From Downtown Dubai, take a taxi to the Palm Gateway Monorail Station. Take the elevated ride for 10 minutes and admire the view several meters above the ground. Monorail tickets cost USD 4 one way, USD 7 for returning passengers. Aside from the Burj Al Arab, there are various attractions in the Palm Jumeirah, like the Aquaventure Waterpark, Dolphin Bay, and The Lost Chambers Aquarium. Entry to the Palm Jumeirah is free although the entertainment attractions will have their own admission fees.
Address: Palm Jumeirah, Jumeirah Road
3) The Desert
You can book for safari tours to go to the sand dunes on Hummers or Land Cruisers. This popular activity is great for those who enjoy the wild dune-bashing rides, which will throw you in every direction and the smouldering heat of the sun. Even in winter, the sun in Dubai can still get so harsh. This adventure is not for everyone, unless you are an absolute sun-worshipper and love the jolting ride. Tours usually include village tours where you can observe Bedouin life, try camel rides and sandboarding. There can also be barbecues complete with henna painting and belly dancers, food and drinks, and camping facilities. Safaris can be booked online and package price ranges from USD 41 dollars per person for a minimum group of around 6 persons.
4) Dubai Mall
This is The Dubai Mall, dubbed as the world’s largest shopping destination, is part of the Burj Khalifa Complex. Around 750,000 tourists converge here weekly to shop and enjoy the 1200 retail shops, 2 department stores, 22 cinema screens, a hotel, and around 200 food outlets. It is also home to the Dubai Ice Rink, Gold Souk, Oasis Fountain Waterfall, Dubai Aquarium, Underwater Zoo, and an indoor park.
Address: Doha St.
5) Dubai Museum
What better way to learn of Dubai than study its past in a museum? This museum was put up in an 18th century fort. Dubai Museum contains a vast display of ancient pieces showing traditional Dubai, some dating back to 4000 years ago. There are domestic, souk, fishing, village, and desert travel scenes. There are scenes depicting traditional Arab houses, mosques, the Creek, and date farms. This would be ideal for a cool and lazy afternoon when you want to spend a less active day in Dubai. Entry to the museum is USD 1 for adult visitors. Children will be charged half that fee.
6) Ski Dubai
Experience skiing in the Middle East! Well, that is possible because this is Dubai and there is an indoor ski resort called Ski Dubai. The snow mountain-themed resort has 22,400 square meters of ski area with varying heights and gradients. It is a treat for skiers, toboggan enthusiasts and snowboarders, and for people who just want to enjoy snow. There is a slope pass that will cover usage of skiing equipment, except for gloves and hats which are considered personal things. Full day pass is USD 41 per person. Locker rental is about USD 5.50 per locker, which can be used by several persons.
Address: Mall of the Emirates, Dubai
7) Gold Souk
Dubai is a center for traditional gold markets selling gold ingots to jewelry, as well as other precious stones and metals like silver and platinum. Gold Souk (or Gold Market) has enormous collections and variety of gold commodities, all priced reasonably and guaranteed genuine. Prices are determined by weight and the daily gold rate. When planning to buy gold, be aware of international gold rates and Dubai gold rates that shift daily, before you haggle with the price of a piece. Stroll around the Souk in the evening when it is lively with people and the gold glistens more brightly.
Address: Sikkat al-Khali Street, Deira