Is Dubai one of your dream destinations?
Dream no more, Dubai has become more tourist-friendly! If you factor in a tight budget, you can make the most of your visit to Dubai. The key is research and preparation.
As a general rule, book your tickets ahead. You’ll get the best rates at least three months in advance. Avoid traveling during the holiday season.
The best time to visit Dubai is from November to March. I traveled to Dubai in February and the weather was still cozy. Dubai can be hot and humid during the rest of the year.
Whether you’re up for a luxurious holiday or a budget trip to Dubai, this shortlist of must-see and must-dos can come in handy:
The Burj Khalifa
Burj Khalifa is believed to be the tallest building in the world. Understandably, it’s a must-see for visitors. Tourists can get a magnificent sky view of the sunset from Levels 124 and 125. Tickets are available online, from $48 to $68.
On a budget? Marvel at the skyscraper for free from the ground. Burj Khalifa is located next to Dubai’s biggest mall, the Dubai Mall.
Dubai Mall has over 1,200 retail stores to date. You can skip shopping from this high-end mall but don’t miss the experience of strolling around UAE’s top shopping destination.
The mall houses the Dubai Aquarium and Underwater Zoo. Its 48-meter tunnel gives everyone a complete fish-eye view of thousands of aquatic animals. Tickets start from $32.
While you’re at Dubai Mall, take some steps to the Dubai Fountain. It’s the world’s largest choreographed fountain set on Burj Khalifa Lake. The colorful fountains come to life from 6 p.m., daily.
Souks are Arab traditional markets. Serious shoppers might have to spend a whole day sweeping Dubai’s souks. Be amazed at the hundreds of stores in Gold Souk. They sell mainly gold jewelry in intricate designs.
If you’re into spices, hunt through the Spice Souk for cinnamon, saffron, turmeric, and many more herbs and spices.
The Gold Souk, Spice Souk, and Textile Souk are all in the same district.
If the Global Village is what you’re looking forward to exploring in Dubai, plan your visit. It operates from October to April each year.
The Global Village is one of the most crowd-drawing destinations in Dubai for multi-cultural shopping, dining, entertainment, and attractions. Each year, it becomes grander that one visit isn’t enough. The best that 90 countries have to offer is showcased in one massive theme park. Entrance tickets are priced at $5.
Al Seef is Dubai’s heritage district “with a twist”. The Starbucks and Dunkin Donut stores are built in old architecture. Al Seef’s contemporary touch on the local culture makes it visit-worthy for tourists. Al Seef also offers an incredible view of Dubai Creek.
Put on your best dress for the Dubai Miracle Garden because every spot is IG-worthy.
The Miracle Garden is a 72-thousand square meter space full of scented and colorful flowers. Have you seen a 12-meter-high Mickey Mouse wrapped in natural flowers?
You’re in luck if you’re in Dubai in October. You can explore both the Global Village and the Miracle Garden. This massive flower paradise operates in season. Entrance tickets are priced at $15 for adults and $11 for children.
Burj Al Arab
Burj Al Arab is tagged as a “Global Icon of Luxury”. It’s the iconic 7-star hotel that stands on an island and connects the mainland by a bridge. It is famous for its shape, resembling a ship’s sail.
Rooms are priced from $1345 a night. It has become a home to celebrities like Roger Federer, Andre Agassi, Justin Bieber, and Selena Gomez.
If you want a souvenir shot for free, head off to Kite Beach where you can pose with the tower as a backdrop.
This beach is very popular among sun-seekers. If you’re into water sports, the Kite Beach is also perfect for kitesurfing, kayaking, water skiing, and paddle boarding.
It’s a long stretch of white sand beach with a jogging track and kids’ play areas. It’s perfect for families and friends who want some outdoor fun. Kite Beach is spotless and ideal for just-sit-and-relax weekends.
If London has the London Eye, Dubai has its Ain Dubai.
Dubai claims that its Ferris wheel is now the world’s tallest. It is located off the Jumeirah Beach Residence beachfront. Ain Dubai is said to have 360-degree views of the city’s skyline and coastline.
Ain Dubai, however, is temporarily closed, for enhancement works.
Jumeirah Beach Residence
If you’re up for a beachside boulevard stroll, head for the Jumeirah Beach Residence.
JBR is a long stretch of a waterfront neighborhood overlooking the Arabian Gulf. It has a stunning and lively beachfront. Even the camels take a stroll through the soft white sand. There are beachfront cafes and shops around and a pathway called The Walk.
The towers are luxurious, but the beach is open to the non-resident. There are showers and changing rooms for everyone.
La Mer is another stunning beachfront attraction to explore in Dubai. It has a tempting combination of “palm tree-lined boulevard, graffiti art murals, and laid-back charm”.
La Mer boasts of four zones — the beach, leisure, and entertainment hub, North Island and South Island. For IG-ready tourists, La Mer is such a charming spot.
It’s a giant picture frame, yes. The structure stands at 150 meters and now holds the record for the most giant frame in the world. The Dubai Frame stands for Dubai’s past and present, as viewed from different directions. It’s open to visitors all year round but entry is $14.
This is a popular activity for tourists in Dubai as it offers a view of the Dubai Marina at night. Prices start at $42 for a relaxing cruise, a grand buffet dinner, and entertainment onboard.
Don’t travel to Dubai without riding a camel. Unlike elephants, camels can carry heavy loads and travel for hours. That said, they are known as “ships of the desert”.
Desert safari tours in Dubai are pure adventure. The thrill starts when you zip through the desert in a 4×4 vehicle. The desert safari experience includes a tummy-filling barbecue dinner (or lunch), free henna art, belly dancing, and fire dances. All these activities happen in a Bedouin-inspired camp right after a desert adventure.
Skydiving and Zipline
Dubai has you covered if you’re up for some exhilarating outdoor experience.
Dubai has a zip line that lets thrill-seekers swing across the city’s skyscrapers. Tour operators say daredevils can soar as fast as 50 mph about 560 feet in the air.
You might as well save up for skydiving, too. Thrill-seekers won’t regret spending $200 to jump 13,000 feet high and enjoy the stunning views of the Palm or the desert on a freefall. The best time to skydive is between October and March as Dubai’s weather is pleasant around that time.