Glitz, glamour, extravagance and indulgence abound in Dubai. It has one of the most spectacular cityscapes on earth, and it is said that in Dubai, nothing is impossible.
With the world’s tallest building, the Burj Khalifa, standing 828m tall and a collection of man-made islands representing ‘The World’, this certainly seems to be the case. So how much time do you need to see it all?
Length of Stay
There is wide and varied opinion on the perfect length of stay in Dubai, and as with everything in life, it really depends on your preferences and your aim.
Some people come only for sightseeing, and for them 3-5 days might be enough for an express visit. During this time, you can hit the most famous sights and eat good food. Some people come shop. They might stay for a week, just so that they have enough time to explore the many malls, one of which is the biggest mall in the world.
Other people come to relax; they could easily spend 2 weeks lazing around the pool or on the beach. Many people come again and again, for a combination of the factors mentioned.
If it is your first time in Dubai, I suggest you come for at least a week. Give yourself enough time to really get a feel for the city, to do some sightseeing and some relaxing.
Then when you go home, you can start planning your next trip; you’ll soon see there is always more to see and do.
For a bird’s eye view of Dubai, head up the Burj Khalifa, the tallest building in the world. Tickets can be bought for the observation deck, but an insider secret is the lounge At.Mosphere, located on the 122nd floor. It is necessary to pre-book for drinks, but the cocktails are delicious and the experience is a whole other level of extraordinary.
To get a taste of the history and natural beauty surrounding Dubai, a desert safari is highly recommended.
Arabian Adventures will arrange pickup from local hotels and offer a complete package. This usually includes dune-bashing, stopping to appreciate the sunset from a remote desert location, followed by a camel ride, traditional dinner and belly dancing show.
Don’t miss the musical water fountains, playing in the evenings outside Dubai Mall, underneath the towering Burj Khalifa.
The songs and the fountain show is on every 30 minutes and changes every time, so to appreciate a few of these amazing performances, book an outside table at one of the surrounding restaurants.
The Dubai Calendar gets busier every year, as more and more events and artists add Dubai to their destination lists. For detailed information about events during your stay, check out What’s On.
With Dubai always striving to be the best in the world, the New Year’s firework displays are always top class. With coordinated shows off the Burj Khalifa, as well as from Atlantis, on the Palm Jumeirah, you have incredible views no matter where in Dubai you choose to base yourself.
The Dubai World Cup is the richest horse race in the world, and it grows in popularity every year. Normally around the Easter Weekend, the ladies go all out with the hats and dresses.
It is always a “who’s who” in the Bubble Lounge and the Irish Village, and by the end of the night, no one has seen a race but everyone has had a good time.
For the Kids
The Emirates Park Zoo is situated just outside Dubai, and is a fantastic day out for families. Although it is quite small in size, it boasts a collection of amazing animals and encourages feeding and touching of zebras, monkeys and giraffes. It is the only zoo in the UAE to house elephants and there is also a sea-lion show, which is always popular.
The Miracle Garden is a one of a kind sight in the UAE. Open during the winter months only, this slice of heaven is indeed a miracle. Gorgeous flower arrangements and gardens create a peaceful atmosphere where adults and children alike can get lost in the beauty.
Colors explode like paint over a canvas, and it is so hard to believe that something so incredible is created every year in the middle of the desert.
Ski the indoor slope at Mall of the Emirates. This winter wonderland has traditional ski lifts that take you up to the top. More experienced skiers will even be able to practice their tricks on pipes and jumps scattered around the slope.
A play park at the bottom entertains young ones with a luge and slides. It’s a crazy experience to be suited up with scarf and gloves in the freezing temperatures, knowing that outside it can be a scorching 40°C.
Throughout the year, people flock to Dubai to indulge in some serious retail therapy. The sprawling malls offer extended opening hours ensure that shopping is not a rushed affair. All the malls are open until at least 10pm, and on weekends they only close at midnight.
February sees the annual Dubai Shopping Festival, where amazing offers and hundreds of competitions are running throughout the city. Whether you’re searching for a handbag from a top designer, or the latest electronic gadget on the market, now is the time to buy.
The Dubai Mall is the largest in the world, and still growing. Housing every imaginable designer store, retail giants such as Bloomingdales, Paris Gallery and Galleries Lafayette are also represented.
A cinema, ice rink and aquarium can entertain the family in between all the window-shopping, while a whole modern souk area is glittering with gold and diamond jewelry to suit every taste.
This is really just the tip of the iceberg. I could give a thousand more suggestions of things to see and do, from pampering spa sessions to exceptional golf ranges, to sporting events such as the Dubai Rugby 7s and the Formula 1 Grand Prix. You see, you’ll always need more time in Dubai.