You can experience all of the following in just one city in the world – Dubai. The tallest, longest, highest and largest – and the most mindblowing – you’ll find record-blowers everywhere. Take the Burj Khalifa, for example, or the Burj al Arab, or the Palm Islands, and even the Palm Fountains! Each one blows a record. Dubai is famous for its penchant to set and then break its own records. It’s hard to document only 12 things to do in Dubai, but we’ll try, and here they are!
1. Check out the Palm Jumeirah Islands
Palm Jumeirah is a manmade island on the Persian Gulf, shaped exactly like a palm tree. Immense, and exotically beautiful, the Palm Islands are lined up with many classy hotels and resorts. There’s the One&Only, Waldorf Astoria, Jumeirah Zabeel Saray, Atlantis The Palm and Fairmont. The island is connected to the main land via a monorail. The best way to enjoy fabulous views of the Palm Islands is from a sea plane or helicopter.
2. Explore Dubai’s Past
Don’t let Dubai’s glam exterior make you think that there’s no culture here. Head to Dubai Creek, the ancient saltwater estuary, where the Bani Yas tribe first settled. Pay 1 AED to cross the creek in an ancient wooden vessel, the Abra. Deira is awash with history, its labyrinthine cobbled alleyways full of spice, gold and textile souqs. Explore the Al Fahidi District, home of the original Persian settlement in the 19th century as well.
3. Visit Theme Parks and Green Parks
Dubai Butterfly Garden, Dubai Parks and Resorts, IMG Worlds of Adventure, Miracle Garden – the list is endless. Green Planet is an indoor rainforest dome with local flora and fauna, and educational services for kids. Dubai Parks and Resorts, and IMG Worlds of Adventure offer fantastic themed immersive rides and experiences. The Dubai Butterfly Garden is an indoor dome filled with exotic butterflies, while the Miracle Garden is a marvel of spectacular structures created out of flowering plants.
4. Experience the Best of Waterparks!
Atlantis Aquaventure, White Wadi River, the Dubai Dolphinarium, Laguna Waterpark – all of them offer amazing wave pools, surf pools, exciting death-defying rides, and much more. Each waterpark also has plenty of eateries and shops, to keep grownups occupied. Dubai burns hot for the most of the year, so these waterparks are always full of visitors.
5. Helicopter Ride over Dubai!
Want to check out if the Burj Khalifa truly cuts through the clouds? Of all things to do in Dubai, signing up for a helicopter tour is one of the best. Enjoy a bird’s eye view of the spectacular cityscape, the Dubai Canal, Marina and the Creek. Dubai city is a city planner’s delight – from high above, the whole city appears like a work of art. Enjoy aerial views of the Palm and World Map Islands, the Burj al Arab, the Burj Khalifa, the Dubai Frame and other major landmarks.
6. Hit the Spas!
People from all over the world come to Dubai to de-stress and rejuvenate at the Spas here. Here are some of the top-tier relaxation spots in Dubai – The Westin Dubai Mina Seyahi, Sens Asia Urban Spa, Talise Ottoman Spa, and Spa Intercontinental. These Spas offer an unbelievable range of beauty and wellness treatments, including steam, aromatherapy, gold facials and body scrubs and so on.
7. Nomadic Desert Safari
Here’s a chance to pull on a Bedouin’s robes and explore the desert. The regular desert safari offers various activities – dune bashing, quad biking, ATV riding, sand boarding, camel and horse riding and so on. Evening safaris offer a fabulous dinner that comes with spectacular cultural entertainment. Camp overnight in the desert, under the stars, and capture the sunrise on film.
8. Hit the Beaches!
Most of the top-rated beaches in Dubai offer excellent hygiene facilities, showers, lifeguards, changing rooms, and free public Wi-Fi hot spots called Smart Palms. These come with solar-powered handheld device charging stations. Check out the Jumeirah Beach, Kite Beach, Umm Suqeim Beach (for best views of the Burj al Arab), Al Mamzar Beach Park, Marina Beach and others. You’ll find plenty of food trucks and convenience trucks parked along the beaches. You can surf, jet-ski, kayak, swim, and lounge and do much more.
9. Hot Air Balloon Flight over the Desert!
What fun to float at a serene pace high over the desert in a hot air balloon, getting an eyeful of its unique flora and fauna! Hot air balloon rides usually take place in the early morning, when it’s cooler, so that you can enjoy the sun breaking out over the dunes. For about an hour or so, you’ll be in heaven, feeling weightless, with the spectacular desert laid out in front of you. After the ride, you’ll set down in the desert, enjoy breakfast and drinks, and be driven home.
10. Dubai Aquarium and Underwater Zoo
The Dubai Aquarium’s 10-million liter tank holds 485 aquatic species from all over the world. Long acrylic tunnels go under the ocean, so you can get up close to deadly sharks and other killers of the deep ocean such as King Crocodiles and Sand Tiger Sharks. The Dubai Aquarium also has a shark cage in which you can literally swim with the sharks. A visit to the Dubai Aquarium is one of the best Dubai things to do! A visit to the Dubai Aquarium and Underwater Zoo alone is completely worth applying for your Dubai Visa!
11. Feast on the Sunrise from Up High
Take the fastest elevator in the world all the way up to the 125th floor of the Burj Khalifa, and enjoy 360 degree views of Dubai, and the surrounding desert. Spend some time learning how this marvelous structure was built, through the interactive presentations in the café on observation deck. If you book the sunrise hour viewing, you’ll get to enjoy the spectacular sunrise over Dubai’s desert and skyline from the observation deck.
12. Set Off On A Dhow Cruise!
Dhows have been used in the UAE since time immemorial, for transport, smuggling and trading. Today, that same dhow is fully transformed – renovated into a luxury cruise vessel, surrounded by floor-to-ceiling glass. A dhow cruise – on the Dubai Canal, Marina or Creek – comes with a full onboard barbeque dinner, belly, tanura and fire dancing, henna tattooing and other cultural entertainments. For a couple of hours, you’ll enjoy the enchanting views of the Dubai skyline and the Burj Khalifa’s light show and more.
Dubai offers a rich store of incredible and unique experiences. A single visit will only titillate your desire to see and experience more of the city. You’ll need to make another visit to enjoy marvels such as the Burj al Arab, the Museum of the Future, Dubai Frame, the Palm Fountains – and many, many more.