– Rai Umraopati Ray
Home to a breathtaking skyline, architectural wonders and cultural richness, Dubai is a veritable playground for those seeking modern marvels and luxurious experiences. Yet, beyond its glitzy veneer, this city also reveals a rich cultural heritage, offering travelers a unique opportunity to explore a diverse and captivating melting pot of traditions. In this two-part article, we will take you through the top 15 must-do and must-see experiences in this thriving metropolis.
7 Must-Do Experiences in Dubai
Soar above the city in a hot air balloon
Experience the stunning aerial view of Dubai’s skyline and desert landscapes by taking a sunrise hot air balloon ride. Float over the dunes of the Dubai Desert Conservation Reserve and keep an eye out for the indigenous wildlife. A hot air balloon ride is a once-in-a-lifetime experience that will leave you with unforgettable memories.
Dine at the luxurious Burj Al Arab
No visit to Dubai is complete without dining at the iconic Burj Al Arab, known as the world’s most luxurious hotel. Enjoy an exquisite meal at one of its many high-end restaurants, such as the underwater-themed Al Mahara or the sky-high Al Muntaha. For an extra special experience, book the extravagant Sky Tea at the Skyview Bar, which boasts breathtaking panoramic views of Dubai’s coastline.
Explore the Palm Jumeirah
Dubai’s most audacious architectural marvel, the Palm Jumeirah, is a manmade island in the shape of a palm tree. Home to luxury hotels, private villas, and high-end shopping centers, this landmark is a testament to Dubai’s innovation and ambition. Take a leisurely stroll along the Palm’s crescent, indulge in some retail therapy, or dine in one of its many fine dining restaurants.
Dive into adventure at Aquaventure Waterpark
Aquaventure Waterpark, located on the Atlantis, The Palm resort, offers a fun-filled day for all ages. With a variety of thrilling water slides, a lazy river, and the region’s largest aquarium, the waterpark is a must-visit destination. For the brave-hearted, try the Leap of Faith, a near-vertical waterslide that catapults you through a shark-infested lagoon.
Ski in the desert at Ski Dubai
The surreal experience of skiing indoors in the heart of a desert city is a must-do in Dubai. Located in the Mall of the Emirates, Ski Dubai is an indoor ski resort with five slopes, a snow park, and a colony of real-life penguins. From skiing and snowboarding to building snowmen and enjoying hot cocoa, Ski Dubai offers a magical winter wonderland experience.
Cruise along the Dubai Creek
A traditional wooden dhow cruise along the Dubai Creek provides an authentic glimpse into the city’s rich history. As you glide along the water, you’ll see the city’s old trading ports, bustling souks, and ancient architecture. Complete the experience with a delicious dinner onboard and enjoy the illuminated skyline of Dubai at night.
Unleash your inner adventurer with a desert safari
A desert safari is an unforgettable way to experience Dubai’s untamed natural beauty. Venture into the desert on a thrilling 4×4 dune bashing adventure or ride the waves of the sand on a sandboarding excursion. As the sun sets, enjoy a traditional Bedouin-style dinner beneath the stars, complete with live entertainment, henna painting, and camel rides.
7 Must-See Destinations in Dubai
Standing at a staggering 828 meters, the Burj Khalifa is the tallest building in the world and an iconic symbol of Dubai. Take a high-speed elevator ride to the At The Top observation deck on the 148th floor for breathtaking panoramic views of the city. Make sure to visit the Dubai Fountain at the base of the tower, which comes alive with synchronized water, light, and music shows every evening.
The Dubai Mall is more than just a shopping destination; it’s a sprawling entertainment complex that houses over 1,200 shops, an ice-skating rink, an underwater zoo, and the mesmerizing Dubai Aquarium. Spend a day exploring the mall’s array of high-end and high-street shops, or simply wander through the many themed zones that showcase different cultures and architectural styles.
Al Fahidi Historical Neighborhood
Step back in time at the Al Fahidi Historical Neighborhood, one of Dubai’s oldest and most culturally significant areas. With its traditional wind-tower houses and narrow alleyways, this heritage site offers a glimpse into the city’s past. Explore the many museums, art galleries, and cafes tucked away in this charming district, or sign up for a guided walking tour to delve deeper into its history.
The Jumeirah Mosque, one of Dubai’s most beautiful and iconic religious sites, is a must-see attraction for its stunning Islamic architecture. Open to non-Muslims through the “Open Doors, Open Minds” program, this mosque offers a unique opportunity to learn about Emirati culture and religion. Make sure to catch one of the guided tours, which provide valuable insight into Islamic practices and customs.
The Global Village is a multicultural extravaganza that brings together the best of food, shopping, and entertainment from over 90 countries. Wander through the various country pavilions to explore different cultures, sample exotic cuisine, and discover unique souvenirs. Enjoy live performances, thrilling rides, and colorful fireworks displays, making for an unforgettable evening.
The vibrant colors and incredible floral displays of the Miracle Garden make it a must-see attraction in Dubai. Home to over 150 million flowers arranged in intricate designs, this 72,000-squaremeter garden is a feast for the senses. Don’t miss the record-breaking floral sculptures, such as the life-size Airbus A380 and the 18-meter-high floral castle.
The View at the Palm
Enjoy incomparable views of one of Dubai’s most talked about landmarks at The View at The Palm. Located 240m high, the observation deck presents never seen before 360-degree panoramas of Palm Jumeirah alongside the sparkling waters of the Arabian Gulf and Dubai skyline in the distance. The View at The Palm is located on level 52 of The Palm Tower, which also houses a café, a creative exhibition that showcases the development of the island, interactive aquarium-themed tunnels and a gift shop.
Opened in April 2021, approximately 15 years after Palm Jumeirah opened, the view has direct access to the Nakheel Mall, a popular shopping centre with a great range of restaurants and entertainment. It is also situated close to Atlantis, The Palm Resort. In 2022, the venue further elevated expectations for sky-high experiences with the opening of The Next Level. At 250m above ground, the private, barrier-free viewing space has clinched the title as Palm Jumeirah’s highest vantage point.