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Dubai Travel Guide

Things To Do In Dubai

Top 10 Things To Do in Dubai

Top 10 Things To Do in Dubai

1. Burj Khalifa – number one on many tourists hit list is the world’s tallest building, the glittering centrepiece of Downtown Dubai, surrounded by restaurants, hotels and shops, the top affords views across the cityscape and the dessert beyond.

2. Aquaventure Waterpark & Lost Chambers Aquarium – far beyond the average waterpark, the Aquaventure is spread over 42 acres crammed full of exciting things to do, including amazing slides and rides, Lost Chambers Aquarium and the opportunity to swim with dolphins at Dolphin Bay. Entrance Fees are £39 - £47

3. Dubai Dolphinarium @ Atlantis – Praised for its mix of education and entertainment for the whole family, interact with these regal creatures through a mixture of programmes for young and old, with a focus on learning about conservation as well as these majestic animals in general, mixed with once in a lifetime experience.

4. Ski Dubai – Located in Mall of The Emirates the ultimate indoor snow resort, and the first of its kind in the Middle East, this mountain themed icy playground offers skiing, snowboarding, tobogganing and just general snow playing.

5. Dubai Ice Rink – this Olympic sized ice rink offers lessons for beginners as well as the perfect environment for advanced skaters, as well as endless fun for everyone. With ice hockey games organised for the public, mums and tots sessions, as well as roller discos, there is sure to be something for everyone here.

6. Dubai Mall and Kidzania  – Dubai Mall offers fantastic shopping and Kidzania Dubai an 80,000sqm award winning role playing and activity centre for toddlers to 16yr olds

7. Mall of The Emirates – this multi storey shopping centre boasts more than 560 international brands, from fashion and sporting to electronics and home furnishings. As well as being able to shop till you drop, there is also a family enterinemtn area with a 14 screen cinema and a theatre and arts centre. And when all that excitement gives you an appetite, there are 90 restaurants and cafes for you dine at.

8. The Gold Souk – attracting tourists the world over, this authentic Arabian market is bursting with gold goods and a buzzing, vibrant atmosphere. The delicious street food offered here is the perfect mid-shopping sustenance.

9. Bastakiya – Step back in timewith a visit to the old town and spiritual heart of Dubai, with its timeless charm and crooked labrinyth of streets. Here you will also find the Dubai Museum, Al Fahidi Fort and evidence of the city’s origins as a tiny fishing port.

10. Jumeirah Mosque – learn about the Emirati culture as well as get a glimpse of the stunning architecture at this landmark mosque. Public tours are organised Saturday through Thursday and private visits can also be arranged. Please remember to dress respectfully if you intend to visit.

Top 10 Views in Dubai

Top 10 Views in Dubai

1. Burj Khalifa – it’s no surprise that the world’s tallest building offers the best views in Dubai. Jump in the speed lift to the 124th floor to enjoy panoramic views across this metropolis from the viewing gallery. Entrance is through Dubai Mall.

2. Burj Al Arab – No sundown is complete without a view: our number two view in Dubai is the Sky View cocktail bar at the top of this hotel. We suggest heading there just before sundown to ensure you have a front row seat as the sky turns shades of purple and pink and bathes the city in an ethereal glow.

3. Al-Dawaar Revolving Restaurant – Pay a visit to this revolving dining spot for views over Dubai and the Creek – watch planes come into land while enjoying an authentic Arabian dinner.

4. Kris Restaurant – with 360 degree views, this modern Asian restaurant is perched on the 19th floor and serves affordable drinks and spectacular vistas.

5. The Bahri Bar at the Madinat Jumeirah – translating as ‘views of the sea’, this bar doesn’t disappoint: offering breathtaking views of the waterways, the Arabian Gulf and the Burj Al Arab. A drink here once the suns gone down will guarantee you a glittering view across the shore and beyond.

6. Al-Sarab Rooftop Lounge – with views across the desert, this casual bar/restaurant belonging to the Bab Al Shams Desert Resort is the perfect place to soak up the sandy views and enjoy a light lunch or drink. Endless desert as far as the eye can see may come as a welcome rest from the bustling cityscape.

7. At.mosphere – perhaps the most dynamic of all our top 10 views, a quick lift ride up 122 floors will take you to a chic haven of jaw-dropping panoramic views and futuristic interior. An upmarket vibe and dinner distracting views await...

8. Pierchic – It may not be the ‘typical’ Dubai view you would expect but don’t underestimate the serenity of ocean as far as the eye can see during a bustling city break. Jutting out into the Arabian Gulf and voted as serving some of Dubai’s best seafood dishes, Pierchic is worth taking some time out for. Expect blue, blue and more blue as you look out at the water, stretching toward the horizon and instilling a sense of calm.

9. VU – stunning sea views and space age interior greets you as you step onto the 51st floor of the Jumeirah Emirates Towers – here, a cocktail-sipping, cushion-lounging crowd soak up the surroundings from the grand sloping windows. With over 200 cocktails to choose from, a sophisticated interior and an appreciation for the finer things in life, VU is an intoxicating combo of vistas and mixers.

10. Armani Hotel – Fountain suite – Last on our list, but by no means list, are the Fountain Suites at the Armani Hotel which offer stunning views of the famous fountain as well as Dubai Mall and beyond. Day or night, this ever changing view is sure to delight!

Top 10 Dubai Malls

Top 10 Dubai Malls

1. Wafi Shopping Mall – This mall oozes character, with 350 unique shops, it is in a league of its own, in part due to its range of goods but also due to its extensive artwork collection. An eclectic mix of modern art and art depicting centuries past, both local and international artists are showcases here. Wafi Shopping mall is an all-inclusive cultural experience, all housed within a striking pyramid structure.

2. Dubai Mall – Perhaps the most well known of Dubai’s shopping experiences, with over a thousand shops and an array of leisure activities, this modern shopping centre entices tourists the world over. See the Giant Turtles or try your hand at ice-skating, enjoy brunch in the sun before catching a movie or simply pick up some goodies for yourself!

3. Burjuman Centre – High end fashion brands are available in abundance at the Burjuman, with Louis Vuitton, Cartier and Bvlgari included in its prestigious list. This luxury shopping experience is divided into old and new to ensure your experience is as seamless as possible. A play area with interactive fountain and sunny courtyards and gardens surround the centre, in case you need somewhere to take a well earned rest.

4. Jumeirah Plaza – centrally located and within walking distance of numerous hotels, Jumeirah Plaza was opened in 1994 and so technically means, by Dubai standards, that it is old. However it is still worth a visit, with activities running year round in the exhibition centre and a much calmer atmosphere than some of the busier, larger malls in Dubai.

5. Ibn Battuta Mall – a shopping experience with a difference, the Ibn Battuta is the worlds largest themed shopping centre, designed in honour of Ibn Battuta, the renowned explorer. Divided into six segments all reflecting a different region explored by Battuta, wonder through this historically informative shrine to discovery. You can do a little discovery of your own; in the 275 shops, the 50 restaurants and the 21 screen cinema.

6. Al Ghurair Centre – pick up some unique Arabian garments alongside the usual array of international stores, with local silks and sumptuous textiles available here, as well as an extensive accessory gallery, cosmetic section and cinema showing Bollywood films.

7. Deira City Centre – With a sought after location; perched on the waterfront, the Deira is well known its impeccable service. Greeted with a smile and a complimentary drink is a welcome restbite from the hot Arabian sun and puts you in good mood to explore the hundreds od stores inside. 40 restaurants, a cinema and a Magic Planet entertainment area for children are also available here and the centre is easy to reach, with shuttle buses to and from many hotels.

8. Festival Centre – Lining the banks of Dubai Creek, the Festival Centre is a great place to grab a bite to eat while you watch the luxury Yacht’s come and go in the Marina. Enjoy a Canal walk, indulge in some karaoke, get competitive with a game of bowling or explore the variety of shops, life’s a party at the Festival Centre.

9. Al Bustan Centre – a great experience for the kids, the Al Bustan Centre boasts a large amusement area among the plethora of shops houses inside. Fantasy Kingdom, designed like a medieval castle, is lined with arcade games, as well as bumper cars. With security and trained child minders, you can drop the kids off and go explore the 80 shops available here in the knowledge that your children are safe and entertained.

10. Mall of Emirates – Only last on the list due to its ranking in our other recommendations, we had to include this shopping resort in our list of shopping centres. For more details on this awe-inspiring shrine to entertainment and shopping, check out our ‘top 10 Dubai attractions’.

Festivals and Events in Dubai

Festivals and Events in Dubai

Given its ‘life’s a party’ mentality, it will come as no surprise that Dubai has a year round schedule of exciting festivals and events, a great way for you to immerse yourself in the culture, have a great time and scream and shout till your horse (if that is your kind of thing!).

Here is our festival round up so you never have to miss out, no matter what month you’re travel!

January – February Perhaps the office favourite, Dubai’s shopping festival is a month long shopping extravaganza where bargain hunters and fashion enthusiasts will delight in the city wide discounts, concerts, firework shows and children’s entertainment. Those who are not shopping fanatics will also be able to get involved with the variety of activities and events held that offer a welcome rest bite from this festival dedicated to modern man and its consumerist tendencies.

February – March With the Dubai Desert Classic golfing event (the most popular golfing event in the United Arab Emirates) and the Dubai Tennis Championships taking place across February and March, this is definitely the time to visit if you’re a sport fanatic. Tiger Woods enthusiasts and Federer Fans flock to Dubai to soak up the competitive atmosphere under the sun, stroll around the famous Emirates Golf Club or watch your favourite tennis stars sweat it out under the warm Arabian sun at the Aviation club.

March – April The Dubai Art Fair entices some of the best artists from around the world to showcase their work to a captivated crowd, purchase some pieces of your own or just enjoy a drink and foray into this creative world. If you’re more into racecourses than art courses, never fear! You can drop your loved ones off at the art festival and then head to the Dubai World Cup, with its $10 million prize fun making it the richest horse race in the world! The state-of-the-art facilities at the Nad Al Sheba Racecourse where the event is held make it a great place to socialise as well as soak up the unique atmosphere and get your pulse racing!

April – May The Heston Blumenthal’s among us will most want to visit during this period as the Festival of Taste, a weeklong festival dedicated to food and food lovers, is held in a variety of venues. World renowned chefs flock from far and wide to share their techniques in live demonstrations, give you tips on preparation and presentation and most importantly, give you the chance to taste some top class dishes.

June – July – August Come and meet Modhesh, the spongy yellow mascot of Summer for the Dubai Summer Surprises festival, which is exactly what is says on the very luxurious tin. Running for ten weeks, the affectionately known DSS is divided into different themes from food and art to adventure and nature, with special shopaholic offers available during this time. Celebrate the sun in Arabian style whatever your age or interest!

September – October The largest of its kind in Dubai, the Motexha Textile Show attracts both exhibitors and buyers from across the Middle East and beyond. Spread across a variety of venues and exhibition spaces, with the largest (Dubai’s International Exhibition Centre) featuring over 500 different exhibitors dotted between the 30 pavilions and covering all aspects of the clothing and textiles industry. Whether this is your field of expertise or you’re just intrigued by how it all works, you’re welcome to join!

November – December Dubai’s international Film Festival will introduce you to a new genres and directors, focusing on independant and art-house cinema and attracting a star-studded audience in the process. George Clooney and Morgan Freeman have been among the attendees in past years, will you be on the guest list? Religious Festivals Ramadan lasts for 30 days during October and September and is observed by many residents in Dubai. They refrain from partaking in any pleasurable activities between sunrise and sunset, including food, drink and smoking.

Visitors and non-Muslims in Dubai at the time are also expected to be respectable of this festival of abstinence and breaking them in public is seen as disrespectful. This means if you are visiting you should check with your hotel before travelling, most will still serve food in rooms or away from public eyes, however it is worth finding out what is available and what isn’t during this period. Diwali takes place between November and December and due to the large Indian population is seen as a significant celebration through the city. This Festival of Lights is marked with firework displays and street parties.

Dubai Beach Holidays

Dubai Beach Holidays

Jumeriah Beach is lined with luxury hotels and resorts and also plays host to the Wild Wadi Water Park.

The Palm

Jebel Ali Beach,

Ras Al Khaimah, an up and coming area north of Dubai with glorious beaches and also an ideal destination to combine with the desert and mountain resorts

Fujairah, located just 90 minutes from Dubai on the Indian Ocean and is a favourite with divers and those looking to relax on fabulous beaches with mountain backdrops

Deira has five main beaches and are mainly used by locals with barbeque and picnic sites, playgrounds and refreshment outlets

Cultural Dubai Holidays

Cultural Dubai Holidays

Dubai has a strong Islamic culture, which still play a big part in the modern Dubai lifestyle; a blend of past and future, it is known as the entertainment capital of the Middle East. Souks selling authentic clothes, textiles and jewellery sit in the shadows of glistening skyscrapers. Mosques can be found dotted around the city and the evening call to prayer carries across the rooftop bars across this glamorous metropolis – most impressive of all is the Jumeirah Mosque.

Visitors should dress in a manner which respects this strong religious heritage, bikinis etc may be worn but only when on the beach. Interesting fact: it is customary to accept food with your right hand and this is also the hand you should use to eat.

Dubai for the Guys

Dubai for the Guys

Golf: Dubai is renowned for its world-class golf courses and luxurious clubhouses, with spectacular views from the greens and events aplenty. From The summer golf Academy at the Emirates Golf Club to help golfers of any level hone their game, to the Earth and Fire golf courses which host many championship events and both offer totally different yet equally as exciting golfing experiences, you’ll be spoiled for choice! Spa: The days where spa’s were seen as strictly for indulgent high-maintenance woman are a thing of the past, the well groomed man is the future and Dubai is well prepared for the growing demand for pampering for men.

No longer are you banished to the corner while your wife relaxes, but with a range of body scrubs, facials and massages specially designed for you, you’ll be able to indulge with the best of them. Aside from men’s treatment menus at many resort spas, there are also ‘men only’ spas around the city, such as Cool Aroma and their plethora of relaxing, cleansing and rejuvenating treatments.

Alternative Middle East Countries