10 of the Best Things to do in Dubai
Updated: Feb 13, 2018
Dubai. A thriving metropolis in the heart of the desert created in less than 50 years. Visitors are dazzled by the whiteness of the sand and the scale of the skyscrapers, but it’s also still possible to step back in time and contrast with a desert safari or boat trip on the creek.
Any Dubai holiday will be memorable whether it’s with family, friends or just the two - soaking up the sun on the prominent beaches, or sampling the limitless culinary delights in award- winning Michelin starred restaurants, some with awe-inspiring iconic views of the city. Or watch your sporting heroes take part in prestigious international sporting events year-round.
For shopaholics and fashionistas, shop till you drop in any one of Dubai's 96 malls or souks.
From beaches that fringe the warm waters of the Arabian Gulf bathed in year-round sunshine, to the architectural marvels that punctuate the skyline and define the destination, Dubai is irresistibly dynamic, with some of the world’s most unique and modern attractions.
DUBAI – For ThrillSeekers
This adrenaline-pumping waterpark set within Atlantis, The Palm, Dubai includes the chance to take the Leap of Faith or zoom through the darkened tunnels of Shark Attack; as well as an invite to tackle Aquaconda, the world’s largest water slide.
At The Top, Burj Khalifa
Dubai holidays aren't complete without a visit to the tallest building in the world. The experience starts with the lift up to level 125, where you can marvel at the view from the 380-degree enclosed observatory. Then you can choose to go up a little more, to the 148th floor at 555 meters, where you step onto the world’s highest outdoor observation deck. After all that sightseeing, visit Level 122 which is home to the restaurant and bar, Atmosphere.
IMG Worlds of Adventure
Dubai’s first mega themed entertainment destination will be the largest temperature controlled indoor park in the world and will wow guests with its four epic adventure zones. Two are created with global adventure brands Cartoon Network and MARVEL, while IMG Boulevard and the Lost Valley – Dinosaur Adventure are original concepts from the IMG Group. Think rollercoasters, thrill rides and attractions – all based on popular characters and hair-raising dinosaurs. Combine with the amazing array of retail temptations and exclusive dining venues and you have a day of fun for the whole family.
Wild Wadi Waterpark™
One of the best family days out while on your Dubai holiday, Wild Wadi Waterpark™ is set in front of the iconic Burj Al Arab Jumeirah, and offers 30 watery rides and attractions. Themed around the tale of Juha, a character from Arabian folklore, the rides range from sedate “lazy rivers” where you can bob along in a rubber ring, to the Jumeirah Sceirah, which has two tandem slides you zip down from a 32-metre-high tower.
The 270-degree acrylic walkthrough tunnel takes you under one of the largest tanks in the world, so you can see some of the 33,000 animals - representing more than 85 species including 400 sharks and rays. You can also just stroll past it from The Dubai Mall, with one of the world’s largest viewing panels to gaze through to the aquarium.
Seawings Seaplane Tours
There’s only one way to really get to grips with the scale of things here - from the air and these tours by seaplane do just that. Giving the finest views over Dubai, these comfortable little planes can use 27 different water landing strips and runways across UAE, so any combinations can be arranged. The 40-minute Dubai Silver Air Tour flies you over all the Dubai classics, taking off from either Dubai Creek or Jebel Ali Resort, then cruising along the coastline, giving you a bird’s-eye view of The World, Burj Khalifa and Burj Al Arab Jumeirah.
Situated within the Mall of the Emirates, this made the world sit up and take notice of Dubai’s many ambitious projects when it first opened – and still does. It was the Middle East’s first indoor ski resort and today offers a snow park, Ski School, Penguin Encounter and Snow Bullet.
Dubai Parks and Resorts
Calling all adventure seekers, Dubai Parks and Resorts opened its doors in October 2016 and should be at the top of your must-visit list. Home to three world-class theme parks, one water park and over 100 attractions ranging from rollercoasters and waterslides to cinematic rides and live shows, Dubai Parks and Resorts is sure to delight guests of all ages. Lapita, a four-star Polynesian style hotel is located within the parks and offers guests the convenience of a night’s rest only a few minutes from the rides. Located on Sheikh Zayed Road, opposite Palm Jebel Ali, a trip to this fun-filled resort is a great option for guests staying in Dubai or Abu Dhabi.
This ambitious artificial archipelago, created using land reclamation, was one of many projects that put Dubai on the map, with its crescent-like “fronds” extending out from a “trunk” that runs the length of the central section – all the way from the mainland up to Atlantis, The Palm, Dubai. The 5.4km Palm Jumeirah Monorail also runs from the Gateway Towers at the base to Atlantis, The Palm, Dubai and is home to many thousands of private homes, and numerous hotels by some of the world’s leading brands, such as Fairmont, Sofitel, Jumeirah, One&Only, Waldorf Astoria and Anantara. No Dubai holiday is complete without visiting this unique spectacle.
One of the original homes of tourism here in the emirate, Dubai’s main beach area is washed by the warm waters of the Arabian Gulf and lined with excellent hotels, such as the iconic wave-like Jumeirah Beach Hotel. Also here is Wild Wadi Waterpark™, which will keep everyone amused for hours, while Jumeirah beach park is a great public space that’s also popular with local families.
DUBAI TRAVEL FACTS
Flying time: UK to Dubai 7hrs
Time zone: GMT + 3 hours
Currency: Emirati Dirham. Currency is easily exchangeable beforehand. ATMs are plentiful and credit cards widely accepted
Languages: Arabic, with English is widely spoken
Dialing code: +971
Plug sockets: 240 volts AC, 50Hz. British-style plugs with three pins are standard
Transfers from Dubai Airport to Dubai City: 20 to 30 minutes
Transfers from Dubai Airport to Jumeirah Beach/Jumeirah Beach Residence: 40 to 50 minutes
Transfers from Dubai Airport to Palm Jumeirah, Jebel Ali or desert: 50 to 60 minutes
With thanks to Emirates Holidays for this blog content