Once a sleepy port town, Dubai is now known for its glitz and glamor. But this land of liquid gold is much more than just being the shopping capital of the rich and famous. It has a soul that needs to be explored along with its iconic attractions, such as world’s tallest building, Palm Islands, world’s most luxurious hotel, tallest performing fountain, biggest picture frame etc. And if you plan your trip itinerary right, you can too experience the heartbeat of Dubai. Here’s an itinerary devised to help you find the pulse of the city.
It is a good choice to spend the first day on absorbing the glitz and glamor of this so-much-spoken-about city. There are so many posh facades and structures in Dubai and you couldn’t afford to miss them. The bus tour is a good way to sightsee the linchpins of Dubai.
The specialty of these kinds of tours is that you get taken through the major attractions with guided introduction of the city. usually, the tour allots you a specific time for each attraction.
Some of Dubai’s best areas for sightseeing are Downtown Dubai (Here, you can sightsee around on the Dubai Trolley free or on Burj Khalifa’s Observatory Decks for a fee), Dubai Marina, and Palm Jumeirah.
While the first day of your itinerary would be spent on the astounding heights Dubai has achieved, it makes sense to have an insight into its past, its roots. It make sense to visit old Dubai. This is because when juxtaposed with modern Dubai, you’re sure to get inspired. The Bastakiya Quarter is a good place to visit in this regard.
Lying along the banks of the huge Dubai Creek, this historical neighborhood is your sneak peek into the life of old Dubai. You get an insight into when it was nothing but a small Arabian fishing village.
The neighborhood is where merchants lived in their traditional homes with wind catchers (also known as barjeel). The narrow alleys boast unique art galleries, traditional cafes, and so much more. I can’t neglect to mention that the place is a paradise for sightseeing tourists.
For Dubai’s old world, you could also visit the Dubai Heritage Village. Here, you would experience Dubai as a precious trading hub. You shouldn’t neglect visiting Old Dubai, if you want to taste the authentic Arabian cuisine: traditional Arabic dishes such as ‘Madfoon’, the rice dish with lots meat in it. Some other traditional dishes such as ‘ Al Harees’, ‘Kunafah’ and more are worth trying for every foodie coming to Dubai.
Dubai is also famous for its traditional breakfast dish known as Balaleat — an exclusive sweet and salty breakfast snack every Emirati likes.
Dubai is one of the few places in the world where you can see the combination of ice and desert. Your third day should be well spent on this amazing contrast. In the morning, you should visit the Mall of the Emirates to enjoy the Ski Dubai or Dubai Mall for Dubai Ice Rink. You could enjoy ice skating in any of these sensational destinations. Ski Dubai is believed to have the longest ski slope in the Middle East. Indulge in its tobogganing, zorbing and fly on its indoor zip line, 16 meters above the ground.
By late afternoon, get picked up for an exclusive experience of Dubai Desert Safari. From quad biking in the desert to dune bashing, smoking the flavored sheesha and watching the talented belly and tanura dance shows to relishing the sumptuous three course meal with internal cuisine, the Dubai desert safari is an experience you just can’t miss.
You also have an option to choose the overnight safari that lets you to spend the night under the blanket of stars in the desert. It is an absolute surreal experience.
Dubai boasts some spectacular world class malls. They’re a world in themselves with some of the most exotic attractions. Start with the Dubai Mall. Approximately 50 soccer fields large, it boasts over 1300 retail outlets and an endless lists of items across different categories. The mall boasts one of the world’s largest suspended aquariums — The Dubai Aquarium & Underwater Zoo. The Dubai Mall also boasts of the world’s biggest candy store — the Candy Land. A good alternative of Dubai Mall is the Mall of the Emirates.
Another must-visit mall is the Ibn Battuta Mall. Inspired by the explorations of the Arabian traveller Ibn Battuta, it is the largest themed mall in the world. The mall has various courts such as Egypt court, Tunisia court, Andalusia court, Persia, China and India court. The entire mall is a walkthrough from the eyes of Ibn Battuta. If time permits, you can also visit the Dragon Mart, the biggest marketplace for Chinese goods outside China.
See some of Dubai’s cheap shopping destinations.
Dubai is indubitably beautiful but it isn’t the UAE’s capital. Abu Dhabi, only an hour drive from Dubai, is. Believed to be one of the best places to live in the world and being capital of the UAE, you shouldn’t but include this in your six-day Dubai itinerary. The simplicity, serenity and the pace of the city is in stark contrast with Dubai and this is exactly why you need to visit the city of Abu Dhabi.
That the capital is simple doesn’t mean it doesn’t boast modern feats. Given the iconic landmark of Sheikh Zayed mosque — a massive place of worship with 82 white beautiful domes — and the biggest theme park in the world — Ferrari World, Abu Dhabi portrays itself a decent place to visit.
You should check out the Yas Island and the grandiose Emirates Palace. Yas island, no less of a paradise for adventure seekers, is a world of racing circuits and brilliant theme parks. You could select a place or places to visit in Abu Dhabi beforehand or opt for a one-day Abu Dhabi tour package with tour operators and get taken to the capital’s best places.
You could even fly to Abu Dhabi and gain a one-day access to either the Ferrari World or the Yas Island.
This would be your last day in Dubai. You should explore the traditional shopping ‘bazaars’ of Dubai to enjoy authenticity. If gold is what you seek, the world famous and traditional gold souq of Dubai is the place to go. Well-known for its gold purity and attractive pricing, Gold Souq is a must visit. Very close to it is the Textile Souq and the Spices Souq. This is an atmosphere like no other. Colorful and vibrant spices are displayed beautifully in hundreds of shops.
You could simply visit for sightseeing. The souqs are a great place for it. With so many locals and tourists walking by and bargaining with shopkeepers, the atmosphere here is always electrifying.
Dubai is a land of contrasts. You will find vast deserts and also pristine white sand beaches, experience tall sky scrapers and also sleepy lanes with cultural life intact. The city is a place on the bucket list of virtually every traveler today. If you’re an explorer, Dubai is not the city to dispense with but to reckon with.
Article written by Neha Singh of RaynaTours.com and edited by Emmanuel Obarhua.