Top things to do in Dubai!

 
Dubai is the ultimate glam and futuristic city like no other! Skyscrapers, fantasy and adventure parks, architectural marvels and traditional souqs – right in the middle of the desert! And if you are there for a transit or a weekend or short stay, you should definitely set out to explore some of the marvels in this little luxury oasis.
 
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A perfect blend of traditional and modern – gives you the flavors of the Dubai of the old arab world  with monuments and markets nestled in the heart of the city along with an ever-growing, ever changing glittery skyline reaching for the clouds! What it was 20 years back, and what it is today, is a marvel in itself! The possibilities are endless – of what this city could be in the next 20 years, defying all architectural boundaries! Planning a trip to Dubai soon? We have got you covered.
 
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How to get there

Dubai International Airport(DXB), the fifth busiest airport in the world by passenger traffic, has amazing connectivity with all major cities in the world. Dubai’s flagship airlines, Emirates has its services extending to Africa, Asia, Europe, the Americas, Australia and New Zealand and within Middle East.
 
So, this travel destination could literally be a single and the most convenient flight away from home. The airlines of the Middle East, do take your comfort seriously – it’s a treat! 🙂 . You may also choose to fly into Abu Dhabi and take a 1 hr taxi or shuttle bus to reach Dubai.

Do you need a Visa?

Dubai or UAE, has some exceptional rules for entry visas. For example, if you are an Indian citizen holding a normal passport and a US visitor visa or green card, you do not need a visa to visit UAE.

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Best time to visit Dubai

Winter and spring months between November and April is the peak tourist season. Amazing weather and shopping festivals attracts crazy loads of visitors during this time. As its peak season, the prices for flights and activities may soar higher than usual!

Summer months from May to September could be unbearable due to the scorching sun and desert heat. During the day, you will not be able to do any outdoor activities at all. The prices are generally low as its off season! So, if you plan your itinerary perfectly, avoiding the heat of the day by planning indoor activities, you could have an ‘in budget’ Dubai Trip!

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Getting around

Hospitality in Dubai is delightful and some hotels do arrange airport pick ups and drop offs for their guest as part of the booking package or with some additional fee.  You can also hire a taxi easily from the airport itself. All Dubai taxis accept cash or card. Meter fare starts at AED 5 and minimum charge of AED 12 per trip. By law, only 4 people excluding the driver, can hop on to a regular taxi. Careem (a subsidiary of Uber) is available as well.

All areas in the city are well connected with the metro, buses or trams. There are specific cabins for women or gold class passengers. You can buy an unlimited travel pass from ticket offices or vending machines. Do note the whole city is divided into seven zones and tickets are based on tiers valid for a certain number of zones.

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Hop-on hop-off buses for two different routes are available from the Dubai Mall. During weekdays, traffic can be a little taxing, so we recommend avoiding peak hours.

Water taxis are also available to cross areas especially between Deira and Bur Dubai, which give you amazing views of the Dubai Creek over sunset. Hone in on your bargaining skills for this one!

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Here is a list of top activities you should consider while you are in this golden Oasis:
 

1. Get on the top of the world, literally!

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Burj Khalifa, at 829m in height, is the tallest building in the world. Even if you are transiting via Dubai and have some time on hand, you have to visit the Burj Khalifa, to literally be the person on the top of the world for a few hours at least.  The tickets to the Observation decks on 124th and 148th floor will give you an access to the breathtaking  360 degree views of the horizon.
 
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Our two cents: The best time to visit is in the evening as you can see the sun setting down the horizon as well as the sparkling city just lit at night! To avoid queues online, check out the tickets and packages here.
 
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We recommend taking the SKY experience including the 148th floor access, for the ultimate luxury treatment for a few additional bucks. You’ll be welcomed with authentic arabic coffee and cookies. While admiring the views from the less crowded 148th floor from couches besides the glass walls of the deck, enjoy the amazing Arabic hospitality and complimentary refreshments . Time needed to cover : ~3 hours. Excited much ?
 
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2. Bask in the glory of The Dubai Fountain!

Part of the Burj Khalifa manmade lake and at the base of the world’s tallest building is the Dubai fountain. Illuminated by beautiful lights, coordinated water shoots up dancing to Arabic music – this display is a treat to your eyes. Right beside the Dubai mall on the lake promenade, this show takes place in afternoons as 1:00pm and at 1:30pm and in the evenings from 6pm to 10pm (weekdays) / 11 pm weekends (every 30 minutes).
 
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Note: Weekends in UAE are Fridays and Saturdays, just in case you are unaware.
 

3. Shop your heart out!

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Dubai is one of the favourites among Shopaholics! And why not? The shopping experience on the scale of price may range from $ to $$$$$, based on how much you want to shell out and literally where you shop from. All ‘branded and luxe’ is available in the glittery malls like Dubai Mall,  Mall of the Emirates and a few others. The Moroccan themed Ibn Batutta Mall and Dubai Outlet Mall have reasonable middle tiered brands with high discounts : ). 
 
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No trip to Dubai is complete without visiting its traditional arab Souqs. The Dubai Gold Souq in Deira is famous for its traditional gold artisan shops stretched over miles. It is a sight like no other in the world. Visit the spice market near the Gold Souq for traditional middle eastern spices. Right across the creek in Bur Dubai is the famous traditional Textile Souq. If you are looking for souvenir kashmiri shawls, intricate arabic lamps and turkish art, tile work and paintings, this is the right place to be. Work on your bargaining skills if you do go these markets! 
 
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4. Get away to get lost in the Desert!

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This is a MUST DO! After all the glitz and glamour of the futuristic city in the day, you deserve this adventurous as well as relaxing experience in the heart of the desert – take a desert safari! Many tour companies in Dubai will book you for an evening of Desert Safari! Start your day hopping on to a 4WD vehicle. Just hours from the city is the endless desert.

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The safari drivers are experienced enough to give you the thrill of the lifetime by jumping the SUVs off the sand-dunes. This is followed by a quiet evening with bonfire, free henna, sandboarding, taking pictures with a falcon, camel ride, traditional wear photoshoots, cultural dances and performances and traditional dinner in the middle of the desert in a glamping set-up. Isn’t it amazing to experience all of this in the luxe Dubai style under the stars?

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5. Palm Jumeirah & its glitz!

Okay! You need not stay in one of the posh hotels in Dubai, Atlantis, to get a glimpse of one of the biggest land reclamation projects in the world. You can take tours with ferry rides that will bring you up close to this palm shaped artificial archipelago. You may also take a train or cab to reach the tip of Palm Jumeirah.

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The hotel Atlantis has gained much of its buzz through top celebrity stays from Hollywood and Bollywood and many reality shows have been filmed here! With Celebrity Chef restaurants and theme parks, there is plenty to do on a one day trip to this side of Dubai! There are amazing rooftop bars and restaurants around Dubai Marina for a perfect view of the Jumeirah project on a clear, non dust-stormy day.

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6. Sand, Sun and Sea!

Atlantis shouts out luxe, but other hotels are not far behind such as Burj-Al-Arab and Jumeirah Madinat. And stunning views with these hotels in backdrop forms one of the coolest places to chill and dust off the heat! Visit the Public Beach with Burj-Al-Arab on one side and surfboards on another. Further along is the Kite beach, full of kayaking, kite surfing and other water sports options. Along the coast further down, is the Jumeirah Beach, with a different view all together, with the white sands separating the high rises and the sea. 

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7. Choose your favourite theme park!

When in Dubai, you have to visit a theme park and the options are literally unlimited! So based on your inner child and fantasy, you have an option to choose from Nature Parks, Gardens, Adventure Parks, Theme Parks, Water Parks, Ice Skating Parks and more. A few famous ones are the seasonal Dubai Miracle Garden, Dubai Dolphinarium and aquariums in Dubai Mall and Atlantis, Dubai Ice Rink and Ski Dubai, Wild Wadi Water Park, Bollywood and Hollywood theme parks, Ferrari World (an hour drive from Dubai, in Abu Dhabi) and many more.

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8. Take a day trip to Abu Dhabi!

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For day trips from Dubai, there are multiple combinations of places to cover in Abu Dhabi. These tours can be booked from hotels itself. Book online for more discounts and promotions though. Just an hour ride away from Dubai is the Ferrari World and other amusement parks. Qasr Al Watan Palace is an experience in itself! Must visit on this tour is one of the world’s largest and most beautiful Mosques – Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque. It is beyond beautiful! The officials ensure that you dress appropriately – do wear fully covered attire as it’s absolutely compulsory. Many tour companies give the abaya and scarf for ladies (long black dress) to be allowed entry to the mosque. 

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9. Watch the sunset over Dubai Creek!

Take a water taxi or a guided tour with dinner experience, while watching the sunset along the Dubai Creek. There are numerous private water taxis available near the Textile Souq and you can bargain for a trip across the Creek, to see various traditional style villas light up in all its glory around dusk. There are tour companies that offer ferry and dinner experience with traditional performances to give you the ‘best experience ever’ of the creek!

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10. The Rest and Best Of Dubai!

Dubai is the only city within the Emirates with an amazing nightlife scene. If you are not a party person, the bustling city is full of amazing celebrity chef restaurants as well as small traditional local shops – for food to die for! Dubai Frame, famed as the biggest picture frame in the world, is an architectural marvel in itself. Dubai Museum, housed in the Al Fahidi Fort is the oldest traditional building existing in Dubai, built in 1700s. It is a testament of what Dubai was for years before it turned into this futuristic city in the last two decades. 

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All set for your adventure in this amazing desert paradise? Happy Exploring! : )

*This is not in partnership, affiliation or a paid promotion with any of the companies or websites mentioned.

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