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Middle East: Dubai

The 10 Best Things to do in Dubai

by Neha Singh

Dubai is the UAE’s second largest city and also one of the Middle East’s premium holiday destinations. Attractions include colossal shopping malls, an array of dining and accommodation options, untouched nature, and inspiring culture and  a rich heritage – plenty of great options to keep you busy.

So whether you want to indulge in its glamorous side or are looking to make the most of its mix of modernity and culture, this list will give you a taste of what the city has to offer.

1.Visit the Legendary Burj Khalifa 

First things first – Burj Khalifa in Downtown Dubai is one of Dubai’s most iconic sights. It is the world’s tallest building and is home to the world’s highest observation deck, highest restaurant, and  most luxurious hotel. It is perhaps a must to take a selfie against this mighty structure. An ascension to its observation decks on 124th and 148th levels is highly recommended. 

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2.Discover the massive Dubai Mall 

You may visit the Dubai Mall as part of a trip to the Burj Khalifa or vice versa.  With over 1200 outlets, it is a great shopping experience, and also boasts 200 places to dine and offers fun attractions such as The Dubai Aquarium and Underwater Zoo, Dubai Ice Rink, VR Park Dubai, and Ekaart Dubai. There are also many cool free attractions to explore here such as the Human Waterfalls, and Dubai Dino – the skeleton of  a dinosaur that dates back over 155 million years. 

3.Watch Downtown Dubai Fountain Show 

 This free attraction is choreographed in sync with classical music and a fantastic light show – this is a must whether it is your debut in Dubai or are revisiting. For a great view of the show, head to either the Fountain Boardwalk or go on an exclusive abra ride across Burj Lake. A nominal charge applies for both.

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4.Wander the Al Fahidi Historical Neighborhood 

Nestled away in Old Dubai, this place of simplistic allure is also known as Al Bastakiya Quarter. Visitors, locals, and residents alike come here to amble along its narrow lanes dotted with ancient sandstone structures enhanced by charming wooden courtyards and wind towers. There are many museums and cultural attractions which give you a dose of the region’s long-standing traditions, rich culture and humble past. Dubai Museum (inside the region’s oldest of its kind The Al Fahidi Fort), Sheik Mohammed Centre for Cultural Understanding, and Coffee Museum are the pick.

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5. Soak up the Bustling Retail Scene of Dubai’s Souks 

A refreshing contrast to the city’s gigantic malls, the traditional Arabian bazaars across Bur Dubai and Deira showcase you a slice of the age-old Emirati retail scene. Even if you don’t have plans for shopping, walking down the souks is a feast for the senses. There is the fragrance-filled perfume souk, aromatic spice souk, and the bustling old textile souk and the glittery gold souk. And unlike at the malls, don’t hesitate to haggle..

6.Enjoy a relaxed and gentle cruise down Dubai’s water 

Sailing aboard a traditional Arabian dhow, this cruise gives you the chance to experience the age-old Emirati way of life. It was once used for pearl farming and fishing before the discovery of oil in the region. Admire the city and relish scrumptious delights and enjoy traditional entertainment on board. You can board at either the Marina or Dubai Creek. 

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7.Desert Safari 

Taking in Dubai’s nearby unspoiled nature and seas of golden sands and dependent on whether you go for morning, evening, or overnight desert safari, there will be dune bash in a 4X4 vehicle, camel ride, quad biking, shisha smoking, henna tattooing, BBQ dinner, and traditional shows like tanura and belly dancing. 

8.Keep a whole day aside for Dubai’s Theme Parks 

IMG Worlds of Adventure is the world’s largest indoor theme park and is packed with dinosaurs, cartoon, and super hero based rides and attractions across its four zones. Another theme park worth visiting is Hub Zero which is a great destination for video gaming enthusiasts. But of all theme parks, the top choice is probably Dubai Parks and Resorts where you can enjoy 100 plus rides and attractions spread over its four uniquely themed parks -Motiongate, LEGOLAND, LEGOLAND Water Park, and  Bollywood Parks. 

9.Take in Live Performance 

From live dolphin and seal shows to the La Perle by Dragone show, Dubai’s entertainment scene is vivid, lively, distinct. Apart from these year-round events, there are amazing seasonal events that take place during winter months (November to April), such as the Dubai Shopping Festival (DSF) and Global Village where you can take in cultural shows and performances from different parts of the world. 

10.Check out Dubai’s Brand New Attractions

Further activities may include checking out the world’s biggest fountain – The Palm Fountain at the Pointe, Palm Jumeirah or a City Tour.  Visitors may also take the City Walking Tour or visit Bluewaters Island, and Dubai Creek Harbour.