Dubai is quickly becoming the centre of the world, a hub for many flight transfers and a holiday destination in its own right. Dubai is literally the place you can do anything! A morning at the beach followed by skiing or an afternoon or shopping local souvenirs in souks followed by being in the largest shopping Mall in the world, anything is possible. I’ve been to Dubai a few times now and hope these tips will help you have an amazing trip.
The magnificent palm is a post card location for Dubai and is an amazing place to stay with luxury hotels including the fabulous Atlantis but if you want to actually see Dubai the palm may not be the best place to stay, especially if you are short on time. Getting on and off the palm can take between 30 minutes – 2 hours if the traffic is bad so if you want to be able to get around most places i would recommend staying some where more central such as Down Town Dubai or the base of the palm if you are looking for that post card destination.
There are so many hotels in Dubai but Trip Advisory have a good list of Central ones with detailed reviews here: https://www.tripadvisor.co.uk/HotelsList-Dubai-City-Centre-Hotels-zfp45245.html
The biggest destination is the Dubai Mall, with its huge aquarium, waterfall, ice rink and of course hundreds of shops. The good thing about the Mall is the stores are grouped well, you can usually find what you are looking for relativity easily. There are also numerous help points around the Mall both electronic and manned stands which have a huge index and easy to follow maps. Although Dubai is a place known for its wealth a number of things are actually more expensive in Dubai, designer goods, make up and Victoria Secret being just a few, so make sure you check the prices before going on a shopping spree. There are many restaurants and the majority are well known chains so its easy to spend a full day here viewing the sights and shopping.
The Creek area is filled with market stalls and usual tourist gifts, there is also a vast spice market in this area too. With that comes the traditions of a market, forceful selling techniques and constantly saying no thank you as you head head through the streets. I would definitely recommend the Creek Area just for a look around and to sit at a cafe on the Creek with a a Rose Tree Cooler or Saffron Karak Chai (a traditional tea).
If that isn’t for you but you would like a for more of a traditional shopping experience the Souks at the Madinat are the perfect compromise. Although usually more expensive than the traditional market’s you can wander through the Aladdin cave style stores, pick up some souvenirs then head to a Cafe Rouge for a glass of wine. In this area you can also find great views of the Burj Al Arab and see the small Venice style rivers which wind through the area.
If you would life to have a view from the top its best to book this in advance, tickets sell out fast at peak times! If you really want to explore the views there is a great bar and restaurant, but neither are cheap and both have a minimum spend. If you want to see the view at dusk or night going to to bar is a great way to relax and see the view as you can easily meet the minimum spend by having a couple of cocktails and there is no fee to go up.
The Dubai Fountain
The Fountains are best to be viewed when spending time at the Mall, this way if you miss a show you can either go back to your shopping, grab a soft drink or bite to eat while waiting for the next show. There are only 2 day time shows these times change depending on the day but the evening shows are every 30 minutes from 6pm – 11pm. The evening show is very popular so it may be best to try and get a good view form a near by restaurant and wait it out or wait till one show is ending and try to get to the front. You will have to wait 30 minutes, defending your spot if you are desperate for a prime view. The evening shows are broken up with a light show on the Burj Khalifa so you will be entertained no matter which option you go form.
You can’t go to Dubai with out going into the Desert. A Desert Safari is the best way to ensure you get the full experience. This trip is a long one, starting in the afternoon and not getting back till 9pm, the majority of time spent in the vehicle so make sure you are wearing something comfy. It also can be cold at night in the desert so take a jacket or jumper if you are used to the Dubai heat. You will go into the desert, bouncing round the dunes, get a chance to do quad biking, camel riding or dune surfing then will be served traditional food while watching live entertainment. I would recommend this trip, especially if you want to make the most of your time if Dubai but driving through the dunes isn’t for the faint hearted!
People forget how young Dubai is as a city and that not that long ago there were no sky scrapers and Ex Pats. I went on a cultural tour at the Sheikh Mohammed Centre for Cultural Understanding. On the tour you see how the people of Dubai used to live and get an opportunity to ask a local anything. You will be served traditional food and coffee while discussing the culture with your guide followed by a walk through the Centre ending at a Mosque. Women will be required to cover with an Abaya and Hijab but this is provided by the Centre. It was amazing to see a side of this city that is forgotten, the locals as well as the culture and I would highly recommended this excursion.
Burj Al Arab
To get that perfect Dubai image the Burj Al Arab at night is a must! You can see this from the Madinat Souks as mentioned earlier but a great way to see it is by booking a meal at Shimmers Restaurant in the Madinat Jumeirah. You can have great food with a view of the beach and the Burj Al Arab then shisha and drinks on the beach with the best backdrop. If you want to see the Burj Al Arab in the day light you can do a paddle board tour, I am desperate to do this on my next trip
I hope these inspire you to visit Dubai or make your next trip even more amazing. I’ll be following this up with where to eat and party in Dubai!
Love Lottie xxx