Dubai is a city that must be experienced first-hand to be believed. Record-breaking architecture stands alongside old-style residences, while man-made islands protrude out of the coastline.
Welcome to the city of modern luxury, a place of pioneering elegance and one of sophistication. I’m about to tell you about all the best things for you to do in Dubai to make your first visit memorable and great.
Once you land in Dubai, it’s hard to believe, at one time, Dubai was just a tired exchange pole, largely composed of sandy desert. Today, however, it includes artistic high-rise buildings which border the Creek. You’ll also find luxurious shopping centres, pristine beaches, and five star hotels and restaurants dotted on every corner.
Which area to stay in as a first-time visitor in Dubai
There is no scarcity of hotels in Dubai, especially extravagant 5-star hotels. In terms of the best location, you should first think of Dubai as a long strip like that of Las Vegas. On our first visit, I remember that we kept driving back and forth, up and down the same main road to complete our list of sights we wanted to see an experience. The most central site, and hence the most packed, is around the Dubai mall which is where Burj Khalifa is located. At the other end is the Dubai Marina with Palm Jumeirah and Burj Al Arab close by. On the far end of this main road, we keep going up and down on, is the Dubai airport and Old Dubai with the souks. Along most of this strip is Jumeirah Beach occupied with beach resorts, shops and eateries. Depending on your holiday interests in Dubai, choose the location based on where these landmarks are placed.
The delicious food you won’t want to miss
Thanks to a large migrant population, including a huge influx of people from around the globe, Dubai has an unbelievably tasty food scene. Merely wander the streets of Deira, one of the city's older and cheaper neighbourhoods, and you'll find tasty treats from around the world, available on the street for only a few dirhams. And for the best Pakistani food, call past the suburb of Satwa to dine at the shabby -but-famous Ravi restaurant.
Dubai has a status for fine-dining superiority too, and it definitely lives up to that, with more than a handful of famous chefs from around the world setting up bases in hotels and resorts across the city. You'll have to lay down some serious coin to enjoy meals by the likes of Nobu Matsuhisa, Gordon Ramsay, Gary Rhodes, Jamie Oliver, Marco Pierre White and Sanjeev Kapoor, but it will be worth the expense.
The most iconic ways to experience Dubai:
Here are some of the sights and activities are really give Dubai its wow-factor and you should try to fit in as many of these as you can for the most remarkable time in Dubai:
Burj Khalifa – Book to go right to the top for a spectacular view of Dubai Skyline
Standing proudly at 828 metres high, the Burj Khalifa is a sight to behold. The world's tallest tower naturally dominates the Dubai skyline, but the true majesty of the building is best appreciated up close or, even better, from inside from the very top floor. On an airy cloud-free day, the view from the observation deck on level 124 is undeniably stunning, outdone only by the view from the luxurious At The Top Sky Lounge on the 148th floor. And for those who would like to remain for a meal in the clouds, At.mosphere on level 122 will delight.
The Dubai Mall is a shopper’s dream come true, with 1,200 plus shops!
Beside the Burj, you’ll find the hugely popular - Dubai Mall. To call the expansive development of The Dubai Mall a simple “shopping” mall is doing not doing the place justice. Even an entire day spent here isn't enough to the vast 1,200-plus shops and 150 restaurants, the venue is home to an indoor theme park, an ice rink, a huge indoor waterfall, and so much more! I recommend you spend your time well here.
Explore Palm Jumeirah, the palm-shaped island and the largest artificial island in the world
This man-made island shows an achievement of human inventiveness. Locals and tourists alike enjoy the Palm's vast array of high-end hotels, including the Waldorf Astoria, Fairmont, One&Only, Jumeirah Zabeel Saray and, perhaps most notably, the iconic Atlantis, The Palm.
Dubai Creek gives travellers a taste of old due - trade routes, Dubai’s snaking waterways and souks
Before Dubai became the glamorous destination it is today, it was once known for its pearl diving and fishery – so many like to think that the real heart of the city is, the Creek. The saltwater bay is the original site where the Bani Yas tribe settled, and its waters were vital for what used to be Dubai's main forms of economy: pearl diving and fishing. Today, this part of Dubai is crammed with the history of the emirate, as it's home to the Dubai Museum as well as the intricate alleyways of the gold, spice and textile souks.
You cannot visit Dubai without an expedition to Dubai’s desert dunes
Less than 20 minutes driving from Downtown Dubai, you will arrive at the Arabian Desert, the original tourist attraction of Dubai. Take a desert safari on the dunes, try quad biking and sandboarding followed by traditional barbeques, henna and camel rides.
The things Dubai is known for makes it a great holiday choice for 2018
The places and landmarks listed on this blog are some of the things that make Dubai such a fabulous holiday choice. It’s gained massively in popularity as a holiday resort choice over the past five years.
To capture the spirit and the culture of what Dubai is all about, then try to tick off as many of these activities, and you’ll be sure to have a trip to Dubai that will be memorable. You’ll be looking to book your next adventure in the Emirates soon after!