Don’t Leave Dubai Without Seeing These Places
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With the holiday season fast approaching, everyone is looking for the ideal travel destination. Dubai has grown to become a global leader in this respect and is a must-visit place for anyone who loves life. If you genuinely do, then you are in the right place. I have compiled for you a list of the best places to visit while in Dubai.
What are the best places to visit in Dubai? The best places to visit while in Dubai include Burj Khalifa, Dubai Mall, Kite Beach, and Dubai Museum. There are several other must-visit places, depending on the activities that tickle your fancy, be it sunbathing, camping, learning about the history of UAE, shopping, etc.
The city is full of sights and wonders, and you can never run out of places to get new experiences whether you are interested in architectural development, sight-seeing tour, camping at the Sahara Desert. Also, those who love water thrills and spills, and fans of lazy afternoon sunbaths have a lot to explore. In Dubai, there is something for everyone.
Places You’ve Got to Check Out While in Dubai
- Burj Khalifa
- Dubai Mall
- Dubai Museum
- The old Dubai (Bastakia)
- Dubai Creek and Al Seef District
- Jumeirah Mosque
- Heritage and diving village
- Kite Beach
- Dubai Parks Resort
- Mall of Emirates
Did You Know?
- Kissing in public is a grave offense. Countless people have been deported for committing this “unforgivable offense.” Check out this quick read on unmarried couples visiting Dubai.
- There was a time when 25% of all the cranes in the world were located in Dubai! That was when the city was undergoing an exponential growth phase.
- The Police force in Dubai uses luxurious supercars, ranging from Lamborghini, Ferrari, and Bugatti. It substantially aligns with my secret dream of becoming a police officer- if you know, you know. Anyway, good luck trying to escape arrest with your Toyota Corolla.
- For those who fear being discriminated against for being a foreigner, isn’t it comforting to learn that close to 90% of the population in the city at any given time consists of foreigners?
- No income tax policy. Dubai is among the fewest places in the world where you can earn your salary in peace, without the government getting its “share” of your hard work.
- Some ATMs dispense gold bars instead of cash. Also, there is a rumor that there are some tycoons homes have gold dispensers. The duality of life, right? While some of us are struggling to afford a mere water dispenser.
- You get six extra minutes of sunshine before it sets when you are on top of the world’s tallest building, Burj Khalifa.
- You can drink in Dubai! But there are rules…
- The most extensive flower garden in the world, the miracle garden, is located at the heart of Dubai. I’ll rephrase that again… The most extensive flower garden in the world is found in a city situated in the middle of one of the largest deserts in the world!
- Burj Al Arab. The only seven-star restaurant in the world. I’ll let you guess its location.
- Even though Dubai is in the middle of the Arabian desert, it has some of the best skiing spots in the world. How about you give water skiing at the mall a chance?
Now that your spirit of adventure has been fired with these fun facts, we are going to jump straight to the list of places you must visit in Dubai.
Burj Khalifa. I’m sure you’ve definitely heard of this building. It is the tallest structure in the world, standing at 829.8 meters. If you couldn’t see anything else, then it would have been worth it to see only this.
The magnificent structure has an observation deck on the 124th floor, where you can have an excellent view of the city. Trust me; the views will leave you in a state of wonder, even if it is your tenth time. I know it because it happens to me every time (Though it has been a while since I last had such a dream). Additionally, you will get a once in a lifetime chance to watch a 3600 view presentation documenting how the magnificent structure was constructed. That is good news for Civil Engineers and all their friends.
For the rest of us, who take little interest in construction, we also have our fair share of delight, though at night! (I know. Life choices.) You can have intricate photographs of you taken when the city’s general lighting is in full beam. However, you should book your “At the Top” tickets for the same earlier enough, or you may end up spending a better part of the night on the ticketing queue at the entrance.
Word of advice: You are going to be surprised by the stunning sight of the city from above. Be there. Enjoy the moment. Take photos, freeze the moment. Nonetheless, don’t be too absorbed with your camera.
And if this name, Burj Khalifa, has caught you by surprise, or is foreign to you for some reason best known to you, then congratulations are in order; you are officially the enemy of fun lovers all over the world, with me being the self-appointed chair.
However, you can join us by having a glimpse of the magnificence through the countless YouTube videos.
More parking, more shopping, more dining. Those are but the starter park for any mall. With the Dubai mall, shopaholics get a thrilling dining experience and an excellent exploration of a one-of-a-kind aquarium with a water zoo. Additionally, it is the home to gamers since it has the most significant gaming zone in the entire Middle East.
For those who cannot fathom the magnificence of the mall, mentioning that this is the largest mall and shopping destination in the world will probably change your perspective. It occupies a whopping one million square kilometers, an equivalent of 200 international standards football pitches.
If you love fashion, breathe fashion, live fashion and can’t get enough of fashion, then this is the place for you. Imagine getting over 70 world-renowned signature outlets all under one roof, Dubai Mall.
Apart from that, you can revel in the vast options of entertainment- fun for the entire family. There, you will get a chance to see an Olympic sized ice rick and an underwater zoo. It doesn’t end there; you can also visit a large indoor cinema.
It is the oldest structure in Dubai that houses the history of the entire city. Dubai museum is one of the best places to learn the pre-oil discovery life of the City. Additionally, there are Arab houses and architectural designs of ancient Mosques.
The museum was built in back in 1787, and at that time, it housed the monarch and was the center for defense. Later it was converted to weapon artillery, where the desert mercenaries hid their arsenal. During the late 18th Century, the fort was once again turned to a prison for the outlaws. The fort was officially opened as a museum during the reign of the late Sheikh Rashid.
Those who get a chance to visit the fort get a first-hand feel of the ancient civilization-that, of course, depends on how imaginative one can be during the visit. You will be guided through the fort with experts who carry the Biblical stories of the old on marine, coastal, and desert life.
Apart from that, there are rare monuments that you only get to see once in a lifetime. They include original drawings, diagrams, and plans which were used when preparing for battles. You will also get the ancient ships and learns the art of shipbuilding and other war crafts, that made such vessels to withstand the harsh sea tides, with zero technology.
The Old Dubai (Bastakia)
This is where it all began. The present Dubai wouldn’t have come to exist were it not for Bastakia. In a city full of skyscrapers and ultramodern infrastructure, Al Bastakia is the only place of peace and sanity, where the natives can trace their origin.
The origin of the neighborhood takes us back to the early 19th century. As more traders of pearl interacted with other merchants, the participants of the trade amassed wealth, which resulted in the construction of the neighborhood. It is one of the very few places which holds the essence of the business to date.
The main reason why the traders were attracted to Dubai during those days was the income and trade tax-free policy, which drew a lot of businesses. It is still the same reason why people always opt to work in the city.
Dubai Creek and Al Seef District
Dubai Creek is dived into separate districts, Bur Dubai to the South and Deira to the North. The first settlers were attracted to this region because of its excellent fishing potential. That was 4000 years ago before even the Bani Yas traders migrated to the area.
The dock of the creek has some ancient dhows; some believed to be over 150 years old. Worth noting is the fact that through the years, there have been no many changes in the resident’s lifestyle. It is still the same port, with people loading and unloading the cargo. Surprisingly, some of the workers you will see have been there since the early 1950s, and they always have a story to tell.
While at the creek, you will gain insights on ancient sailors and infamous pirates who ruled the waters of India, Iran, Oman, Kuwait, and down to the Horn of Africa in Somali waters. The good thing is that the remnants of the ancient cultural and economic activities are still in existence in this region.
Another remarkable site in Al Seef District that is worth mentioning is the floating shopping center.
Things to Do While in Dubai Creek and Al Seef District
The creek is one place that you can never bored. While on your trip you can:
Dine as you cruise on a dhow;
You can enjoy a five-star treatment of traditional dishes while on a cruise after a long day. Dinner consists of a starter, which is often a non-alcoholic drink followed by a buffet comprised of traditional Arabian cuisines. You can follow it with tea, or a soft drink with musical entertainment while watching the sunset across the city. A perfect treat for a romantic date.
If you are expedient, you may take a selfie with dolphins in the background. If you are not into selfies and photography, you can as well have a good time watching the mammals.
Yes, you are right, I mean gold, the real gold. Visiting the creek offers a rare opportunity to visit gold markets, where you will find one of the largest gold collections in the world. Treat your eyes with an exceptional site of tones of gold.
Spice window shopping;
Arab countries are known to be the home of most spices, herbs, and natural condiments. While at the creek, you can visit the spice market, where you will get some of the best exotic and native spices for your kitchen.
Be part of the street shows;
Live musical bands and concerts are hosted frequently at different locations in the creek. If you are into nightlife and partying, then sunset should find you in either.
Go to Al Rigga or Al Muraqabat streets;
These streets have a vibrant nightlife, particularly as the Dubai Shopping Festival approaches.
Watching the sunset;
It is one of the most underrated pass-time activities. Just because the sun sets, every night doesn’t mean the experience is the same for everyone. While it marks the end of the day for many, the romantics are the only people who can relate to the magnificence of the sun’s last rays.
At Jumeirah mosque, you get to learn all there is about the Islamic religion. It is one of the rare mosques in the world which openly accepts non-Muslims, thanks to their “Open doors, Open Mind” policy. In Dubai, the only other Mosque that allows non-Muslims to visit is known as Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque, which is located in Abu Dhabi.
The mosque, which has a capacity of 1,200 worshippers has a unique architecture, based on the medieval fatmid tradition. Part of the tour in the mosque involves learning the reasons and logic behind the Islamic architecture, such as the large towering domes and the huge frames.
Additionally, you will get answers to all the questions you may have regarding the religion from the tour guides, who are sheiks from the Sheikh Mohammed Center for Cultural Understanding. It is the perfect place to visit on a hot afternoon.
One thing they are strict about is the dress code. Part of the preparation before visiting the Jumeirah Mosque is getting modest clothes. As a rule of thumb, anything below knee length is too short. “My dress, my choice,” contenders should take note of the same. Here, there will be no room for negotiating as to why you think your style is appropriate. In the unlikely event that all your clothes may be considered “indecent” for a visit, you can borrow a traditional dress at the mosque.
A typical visit to Jumeirah Mosque involves registration with the Majilis. Their registration desk is usually across the mosque. There, you can enjoy a cup of freshly brewed light Arabic coffee tea, specially prepared with ancient skills and knowledge which has been passed through the generations. You can also taste their tea.
After you register, you will be guided to the Fountain directly in front of the mosque for cleansing. Don’t be scared. It is the guide who will do the cleansing as part of their religious practices. You will only watch and ask any questions if you may have. However, if you have been battling some mysterious superpowers in your dreams, as some people claim, then you have nothing to lose by giving the cleansing process, commonly known as ‘wudu’ a chance.
From there, you will have a short prayer session before heading to the mosque, where you can learn all about the Emiratis culture and have all your questions answered.
Jumeirah Mosque has morning and Afternoon mosque visits, and booking is done before 10 am and 2 pm for the morning and afternoon sessions, respectively. However, you are not allowed to visit the Mosque on Fridays. Find out why.
Heritage and Diving Village
Away from the bustling city life and the endless skyscrapers, Heritage and Diving Village is the perfect place for your time on a hot afternoon. It is relatively quiet as compared to other parts of the city, and portrays real life of the Emiratis, before the emergence of skyscrapers. Then, Dubai had several tiny villages occupied by the Bedouin communities. These people earned their living through weaving, fishing and making pottery. There were a few who were skilled in pearl diving, and they were the wealthiest members of the community. Remember, this was pre-oil discovery.
The heritage and diving village was created in 1997 to ensure the continuation of the Bedouin heritage. It is the perfect place for those who are interested in art. There, the craftspeople will give you some secrets they use to ensure that their craftsmanship is top-notch. You will also learn why their antiques are highly sought after globally, yet they are made with skills hundreds or probably thousands of years old.
By interacting with people in the villages who have still maintained the traditional life, you will get the perfect opportunity to travel 100 years back in time momentarily.
The diving village is less the same as the heritage village, with the only difference being that it primarily has a history of marines during the bygone era. Did you know that boat racing was a thing as early as the 16th Century?
While in the village, you will learn the boat making craftmanship. Additionally, there are antiques from the ancient marine industry, and you will be taught a thing or two on boat making, and pearl diving.
You can wind up the day with a cup of coffee from an ancient traditional coffee house. It will be a nice change from the regular Java, Art Café, or any other coffee house you frequent in your other life.
Fortuitous visitors who visit the villages between October and April get an opportunity to have a first-hand advice on healthy living from traditional medicine practitioners.
Dubai Kite beach is the premier destination for watersport enthusiasts, especially kite surfers. The white sandy beach is located to the South of Jumeirah Beach. There, you will find several activities you can do besides sunbathing and tanning by soaking the sun’s rays.
You can visit the rope park (children friendly), run at the tracks, kite surf, or any other activity that may excite you. It is the ideal hub for good vibes and watersport activities in Dubai and offers an excellent opportunity for those who are serious about testing their surfing skills.
Additionally, the beach’s management has quality water sports equipment, which you can rent for the duration you expect to be at the kite waters. Often, most of these watersports are done in the afternoon, since the wind speed is much higher and predictable. Don’t be discouraged if the only water-related activity you are skilled in is soup tasting. Here, you can learn wakeboarding, stand up paddleboarding, and kitesurfing with experts in the watersports.
Also, water phobic people have a lot in store, specially planned with them in mind. You can join the beach volleyball games to have fun. Most people like the sport since it offers an excellent opportunity to make new friends. Apart from that, you can opt to go for a jog along the spectacular 14-kilometer running track next to the coastline, while enjoying the scenic view of the city’s skyscrapers.
After a long day of bustling activities, an evening is well spent by laying on the beachfront while watching the sunset and enjoy vibing with other visitors from all walks of life.
Any single people out there? Kite beach should be your number one spot. You never know when the universe will speak the language of the hearts to a random stranger.
Dubai Parks and Resorts
Dubai Park is a Mega theme destination. The site has over 120 different indoor and outdoor sights and attractions. Some of the most preferred locations are Legoland Water Park, Parks Dubai, Motiongate Dubai, Lapita hotel, Bollywood Parks Dubai, and many more.
Awesome and wonder awaits here for families looking for a fantastic day out. The park has been themed meticulously and is fun for ages 2-120. Imagine running free with 50 different Lego-themed rides, while viewing over 16,000 different Lego models, in six different settings- both indoors and outdoors. The finesse employed in coming up with the site makes the place a must-visit.
For more fun, you can proceed to LEGOLAND water park. It is another ideal location for families and friendly for young children. It has 20 waterslides designed with Lego themes. One of the most sticking activities offered in the pool is building your own Lego draft and testing it out in the raft river. An excellent bonding opportunity with your kids.
Bollywood Parks in Dubai
Bollywood park features live passionate performances from famous Bollywood actors and actresses, based on the top blockbusters. The place is action-packed, with dance music, and romantic films, making it a perfect spot for those on a romantic holiday. The best part is that you can learn one or two stunts from Salman Khan, and enjoy musicals at the Raajmahal theatre.
Riverland Dubai is a fun-themed shopping and dining destination, where you can visit without purchasing a ticket. It is a whopping 234,000 square feet and themed like a park. It has over 57 restaurants, spas, banks, and food kiosks. The area also has even spaces where you can hold celebrations or meetings.
The best thing about visiting Riverland Dubai is the fact that it is free during the opening hours (10 am-1 pm) daily, and the river that runs through the 57 dining and event locations is simply amazing. Plans are underway to make water the main mode of transport while in Riverland. That will be achieved by adding boats to the waterbody.
Where can I spend the night in Dubai?
Dubai has an active nightlife, and many visitors spend the night exploring. If you don’t want to settle for an ordinary restaurant accommodation, you can go camping. Other good options to help you get through the night include visiting Dubai markets at night or exploring global villages.
There is also a wide range of motels and accommodation facilities that you can settle on depending on your budget.
Where can I visit in Dubai with no money?
The best thing about experiences is that they do not have to be expensive for them to be worthwhile. Some of the inexpensive yet impressive places to visit without money or while on a lean budget include:
- Riding an Abra
- Hitting the beaches
- Free walk tours around Dubai
- Visiting the coffee museum
- Seeing the Ras Al Khor flamingos.
- Viewing art at AlSerkal Avenue.