The second you arrive in Dubai the first thing that hits you is the heat! Although Dubai is hot all year round, July and August are the two hottest months reaching around 40°C most days. Thankfully, everywhere is air-conditioned and I found I was often quite chilly unless I was outside!
Having only three days in Dubai, every day was a long day but we wanted to see as much as possible while still having fun! Here are some of the things I got up to that I would recommend doing!
Things to do
- Souks. These traditional markets are a must-see! The gold souk tends to be the most popular, with walkways lined with hundreds of shop windows displaying gold jewellery in beautiful Arab designs. However, my favourite was the spice souk, a huge range of colourful spices, herbs, incense and traditional medicine. The smell was insane and the colours enchanting! These souks are in Deira, the easiest way to get here is by the metro. Stop at the Al Ras Metro Station, and then it is only a few minutes walk to the souks. Alternatively, I recommend going with an Abra on Dubai Creek. This traditional boat only costs 1 Dirham and it is a great way to see the old part of Dubai. It can be a rather overwhelming experience, many people are shouting at you trying to tempt you into their store, remain calm, smile, and just keep saying no. Despite this, it is very much worth going!
Top Tip! Haggle Haggle Haggle! These souks charge a high price, haggle your way to a better offer, if the price is still too high, just walk away. They don’t like losing customers!
- Burj Kalifa. The tallest building in the world, reaching an impressive 828 metres tall. Opening in 2010, this building has drawn in tourists from all over the world. The cheapest tickets to travel up the Burj Kalifa takes you to the 124/125th floor in the worlds fastest double elevator. At 456 metres up, this is still a belly-turning height! From this floor you can enjoy a 360-degree view, overlooking Dubai and the Arabian Gulf. Sunset is the best time to visit the Burj Kalifa, however between the hours of 4 PM and 6 PM it is considered ‘prime hours’ which cost more. I found early morning a good time to visit as it wasn’t too busy and the views were still amazing!
Top Tip! Stick around until the evening as the Burj Kalifa Fountain (just outside the Dubai mall) does the worlds largest musical fountain performance. Completely free, this performance happens daily from 6 PM for 5 minutes around every half an hour. Get there early as hundreds of people flood to the fountain to watch the performance!
- Dubai Shopping Malls. Dubai is the ultimate place for retail therapy! My favourite two include the Mall of Emirates and the Dubai Mall. The Mall of Emirates has a mix of luxury labels like Christian Louboutin as well as budget-friendly shops such as Forever 21. However, when you’re bored of shopping, there is an indoor ski resort so you can ski, snowboard, ride a toboggan or even play with some penguins! The Dubai Mall is even more impressive. The total internal floor area is 5.9 million sq ft (frickin’ huge!), which includes 1,300 retail outlets offering products from brands such as Armani, Gucci and Chanel, and 200 food/beverage outlets. The mall isn’t just for shopping, it also holds an Aquarium, Ice rink, Dino display, KidZania and VR park.
Top Tip! In public places such as malls, try to remain respectful of the UAE culture and cover-up from the shoulders to at least the knees, otherwise, you may be at risk of a warning! I wore casual trousers and a t-shirt, don’t worry about getting too hot, the air-con makes it almost chilly!
- Atlantis Aquaventure Waterpark. The most impressive waterpark I have seen. There is something for the whole family with 30 rides and attractions spread over 17 hectares. For thrill-seekers there is the leap of faith that drops you at a near-versicle 27-metre drop which leaves you speeding through a clear tube surrounded by sharks and rays! If that is not your thing, the group ride ‘Zoomerango’ was a family favourite which appears to defy gravity as you zoom up a 14m- high wall. There is always the option for chilling out on the beach if the rides don’t take your fancy. In addition to access to the waterpark, your ticket allows you into the aquarium. The Lost Cambers is home to over 65,000 marine animals and defiantly worth the look around. This park is open daily from 10 AM and closes around sunset, the time varies depending on the season. Atlantis is a huge waterpark that gets very busy, I recommend avoiding the weekends (if possible) and getting there early to ensure you have time to try out every ride.
Top Tip! Bring water shoes! The floor in Dubai gets ridiculously hot, its next to impossible to walk around bare foot especially in summer. Water-shoes or flip-flops are fine, on some rides you can wear them on your hands going down, or just leave them at the bottom. You’ll thank me later for that one! 😉
- Desert Safari. I couldn’t recommend doing this enough! This excurtion is all evening starting with dune bashing in a 4×4, it is an amazing way to experience the dunes and so much fun (don’t worry, you’re perfectly safe!). Then you arrive at a traditional desert camp, from here you can experience so much including sandboarding, camel ride, henna, shisha, dinner and entertainment! It was the absolute perfect way to spend our last evening in Dubai. I can’t remember the tour company we used, but there are plenty to choose from online with roughly the same experience, plus additional extras (at a cost).
Dubai completely exceeded my expectations, it all seems so futuristic yet keeps hold of its culture. It is unlike any place I have been before, I definitely want to revisit in the future and hope for a little longer!
Let me know if there is anything you fancy doing off this list.
Thanks for reading!
Travels of Eden