We have often had long layovers in Dubai for our connecting flights. On two occasions we also considered “layover day trips” to get out and see around. Dubai never charmed me much then, because all I thought of Dubai was “malls, shopping and tall buildings”!
Not long after, my close friend in Dubai made me plan Dubai as a ‘proper’ vacation. We then reluctantly planned 4 beautiful days to experience Dubai; its magnificence and the culture! So yes, Dubai is not meant for a Layover-tour! Day trips will never justify what the place has to offer.
Dubai Tourism has exponentially increased in the recent days. It is no wonder why because the city definitely has a lot to offer.
Dubai Mall – Shop, Eat Indulge!
Of course, you must visit this mall and spend a day here! And why not? – Dubai Mall is the biggest mall ever in terms of area, hosting over 1200 shops, 120 restaurants, multiplex with over 22 screens and more entertainment possibilities than you can imagine!
You won’t be done seeing this mall in a day but you will love the exquisiteness, all under a single roof.
Okay, so even if you don’t plan to shop, eat or indulge here, do take a stroll inside the mall. You might appreciate the enormity of the place, see the rich Arab lifestyle, and happily end your journey at the Dubai Aquarium and Underwater Zoo!
If not anything, go there for the amazingly choreographed water fountain show which is impressive and much bigger than the Bellagio fountain in the Vegas!
Burj Khalifa – Climb up for the Bird’s Eye View!
Now, if you have read my articles, you probably know that I am a big fan of views from an altitude! If you love such top views too, then nothing can beat viewing from the 148th floor of Burj Khalifa.
I would strongly suggest booking ahead of time and choosing to be there somewhere around the sunset. This would give you the day view, twilight view and the night view as well!
With a dedicated elevator taking you 555 meters high, you cannot miss checking out the magnificence from the world’s highest observatory!
Desert Safari – Experience Dune Bash, Belly Dance and Arabic Cuisine!
There is no way you can miss a desert safari whilst touring a desert! The entire safari experience is typical to Dubai’s sandy ambiance!
A Range Rover will pick you up from your preferred location in the city sometime in the afternoon. As you proceed outside the city limits with short breaks, the dune bashing starts! The company that we chose for the safari gave us the best driver and he gave us the great dune bashing experience ever! There is a quick sunset pit stop for some photography and then you go straight to the campsite. Most of the things/activities here, come as a part of the price you have already paid. At the campsite, hookah, mehendi, Arabic costume experiencing, food and entertainment is all taken care of!
There are camel rides, and an opportunity to quad bike in the dessert as well. However, do check if these are a part of the safari ticket you have purchased!
For those not into Dune Bashings, there are safaris without Dune Bashing which only includes dinner and entertainment. There are morning desert safaris too, for those who don’t have the entire day! And then for the audacious, there are overnight safaris with BBQ Dinner and stay at the campsite!
Tip – Evening desert Safari is the best!
Spice and Gold Souk – Visit the ‘Distinct’ Dubai!
Depending on your area of interest, you will probably show the curiosity in visiting these places!
Spice Souk will manifest an array of spices, fruits and nuts on a massive scale! The vendors have tremendous sales pitches so prep up with some bargaining mechanisms before you turn yourself into buying stuff. Most of all, visiting this place is mainly for the experience and maybe for just a bit to take back home if you are into cooking.
Gold Souk will leave you wondering about several things – Money, fashion, people, culture, natural resources etc. There is gold, gold and gold everywhere!
I will not debate about whether it is the best place to buy gold jewelry, but it is definitely a great place to soak yourself in that atmosphere and get out with some amusing experience of extravagance!
Dhow Cruise with Dinner – For that Night Photography of the Vista!
This may sound boring (which it actually can be to some), but it is a great tactic to click some beautiful night pictures of the Marina Skyline after dark. Most companies offer a complimentary pick-up and drop from your preferred location.
If you choose a good luxury cruise, it will offer you high quality food and some nice shows alongside the brilliant views you get to see.
Catching a foretaste of the bright lights of panoramic Dubai is possible only when you float! So, do keep one evening for this activity!
In addition to the unbounded shopping and the city tour that you already plan to do, these are some must-do things to consider to perceive the right sense of Dubai!
I can assure you, you won’t be bored with Dubai! If you are looking for some entertainment sidelined with good indulgence, then Dubai is where you should head to!
If you feel more adventurous or have some extra time at hand, don’t forget to check out my post on – Offbeat things to do in Dubai
Note – Some pictures in this post are from Pexel