Highlights of DubaiUnited Arab Emirates
Dubai, majority of the time, is known as a lay-over location for those on the journey to Europe and beyond. But what some don’t know is that it’s an incredible holiday destination in it’s own right. Dubai is the largest and most populous city in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and known for it’s luxury shopping, ultramodern architecture, lively nightlife scene and amusement parks – it’s just an all round great location for all ages!
Best time to visit Dubai?
The best time to head to this scorching hot city is during its cooler months, so in between November and April. But if you happen to visit the city during the rest of the months you will find the air-conditioned hotels, malls and other complexes well-equipped to easily keep away the heat.
Witness unforgettable, panoramic views over Dubai from the observation deck of the iconic Burj Khalifa, the world’s tallest building. Your jaw will literally hit the floor as you are elevated up 125 floors to fantastic 360-degree views over the Arabian Gulf. Entry can be found via the Dubai Mall and the elevator ride to the 125th floor is all a part of the adventure.
HOT TIP: Book your tickets in advanced so you don’t have to waste your time lining up for ticket purchases. Tickets can be brought online here.
Offering unobstructed views of Burj Khalifa and The Dubai Fountain, Burj Park is a 11,300 square metre lawn that accommodates thousands of guests. The park was designed for a range of events, including banquets, weddings, concerts and product launches, but it also makes the perfect family destination if you want to picnic with a view. You can also cycle around the area, with bicycles available to hire at the park entrance.
The Dubai Fountain
Located on the 30-acre manmade Burj Khalifa Lake, The Dubai Fountain is the world’s second largest choreographed fountain show. Being a massive fan of The Bellagio fountain display in Las Vegas I was looking forward to seeing how Dubai put on the similar show and to say I was blown away would be an understatement! It’s INCREDIBLE! The fountain is animated with performances set to light and music and it is visible from every point on the lake promenade and from many neighbouring structures. All of the fountain’s performances are accompanied by music played through speakers around the lake and some of the titles include; “Thriller” by Michael Jackson, “Skyfall” by Adele, “The Prayer” by Celine Dion and Andrea Bocelli, “Hero” (Spanish version) by Enrique Iglesias and a favourite of mine, “I Will Always Love You” by Whitney Houston. With over 40 tunes on rotation there is something to please everyone and the best thing is, the show is absolutely FREE!
Performances take place at 1:00 pm and at 1:30 pm as well as every 30 minutes from 6 pm to 10 pm on weekdays, and from 6 pm to 11 pm on weekends (weekends being Thursday, Friday, and Saturday).
Old Dubai is often referred to as the heart and soul of Dubai. Dubai is well known for its magnificent and luxurious high-rise buildings and its state of the art malls, but to discover the real Dubai and understand it roots and history, it’s well worth a trip to Old Dubai. Dubai creek splits the town into two main areas – Deira and Bur Dubai – which is where you will find textile souks on the south side and spice and gold souks on the north side and you can visit each of these banks by a traditional Abra ride across the creek.
Atlantis The Palm
Atlantis the Palm is one of the most famous resorts in Dubai – or even, the world. This massive oversized pink resort is located at the tip of the Palm Jumeirah is a sight to be seen. If you are lucky enough to staying here you are in for a treat, but if like most of us and you can’t afford to sleep here, you will still just want to head on over and check it out. One of the main attractions which draws many people to this resort in the The Lost Chambers Aquarium – this jaw-dropping display is home to sharks, stingray, piranhas, lobsters, and the tiniest of seahorses are just some of the creatures you’ll come face-to-fin with in this underwater world. So whether you want to see or literally become part of the underwater scene, The Lost Chambers Aquarium is a must visit for the whole family.
Burj Al Arab
The distinctive sail-shaped silhouette of Burj Al Arab Jumeirah is more than just a stunning hotel, it is known as a symbol of modern Dubai. It’s the third tallest hotel in the world and situated on its own island, which features ultra-luxurious suites overlooking the sea. Now like majority of us normal folk who can’t afford a stay at the “Worlds Most Luxurious Hotel”, I still think it’s worth the effort head down to Jumeirah Beach to admire this incredible landmark – who knows, you may spot a celebrity or two pulling up in their Rolls Royce or arriving via helicopter on the roof’s landing pad.
Named after the Jumeirah district of Dubai, this white sandy beach is a great way to spend a lazy day by the water. And with a great view of Burj Al Arab in the distance, the setting is perfect.
Now if you are devoted to shopping, than you’ll find retail heaven at The Dubai Mall. Located at the foot of the Burj Khalifa and stretching across 1.1 million sq/m, it is the world’s largest shopping, entertainment, and leisure destination. There are more than 1,200 retail outlets, from Armani to Zara, or visit the Dubai Aquarium, children’s theme parks and the Dubai Ice Rink. Whether it’s books, electronics, candy or high fashion you’re after, The Dubai Mall probably has it. What I really love about this shopping centre is it’s a great fusion of all things American and British and is home to many of my favourite American dining experiences including Johnny Rockets, California Pizza Kitchen and my all time favourite The Cheesecake Factory. It will take your days to get around this shopping centre in it’s full entirety so if shopping is your thing, make sure you have plenty of free time to wander!
Mall of the Emirates
Considered the world’s first shopping resort, Mall of the Emirates boasts more than 560 international shops selling lifestyle, fashion, sports, electronics and home furnishing products, including more than 80 global fashion powerhouses. The mall is also home to a huge array of family-friendly offerings like Ski Dubai (the first ski resort and snow park in the Middle East), the Dubai Community Theatre and Arts Centre, the 14-screen VOX Cinemas multiplex, the Magic Planet family entertainment area and more than 90 dining and cafe options.
Gold Souk is a traditional market located in Dubai’s commercial business district in Deira. The souk consists of over 300 retailers, most of whom are jewellery traders and if you are in the market for some new bling – gold, silver, diamonds and other precious stones – this is your place to find it! Even if you aren’t planning on buying anything I would still recommend it as a fascinating place to visit.
Hot Tip – Always barter on the price of anything you wish to purchase as the sellers will initially set a high price. The weight element of the price is non-negotiable but the charge for workmanship is.
For a quintessential Arabian experience, book yourself a desert safari in a 4×4 that braves crescents of sand dunes. Say hello to a camel, get photographed with a falcon, let henna adorn your hands, and dig your toes into the sand at the camp site. Complete your experience with a traditional fireside feast and performances as the sunset brings in a sky of a thousand stars. It will be a highlight of your stay, I promise!
Aquaventure Water Park
Located next door to Atlantis the Palm Resort, this prime location of a water park is like no other water theme park I have ever experienced – in all the right ways possible! Most of the rides are connected via a lazy river which I didn’t realise what this would mean until we got started. Basically you just jump on your floating tube and let the river take you to and from each of the rides – don’t feel like walking you say? Well you are in luck! If you are wanting to join a ride’s queue, simply veer straight onto the large conveyer at each ride opening and you will be transported onto the slide all whilst staying seated in your tube! Bonus of this being you don’t have to step foot on the hot cement surface to and from each ride – so smart!
This theme park also offers shark filled lagoons, zip lines and splash pools for the kids, but my top thing to do here was take part in a dolphin swim encounter at Dolphin Bay and learn all about and swim with these incredible species.
Ski Dubai is an indoor ski resort with 22,500 square meters of indoor ski area, located in the Mall of the Emirates. It’s a welcome change of temperature from the scorching desert heat and if skiing or snowboarding isn’t your thing, there are penguin encounters, snow bullet rides and much more snow fun to enjoy at Ski Dubai. Hot Tip – it’s best to book your ski or penguin experience session in advanced to avoid missing out!
I absolutely LOVE Dubai and am sure I will be back again in my lifetime, so if you have any tips you would like to suggest we are all ears!
Comment below and we will be sure to add that to our Dubai bucket list!
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