As the city n°1 of UAE, Dubai can quickly be impressive. There seems to be so much to do and see that it can be complicated to see clearly.
To help you, you have grouped things to see, to do, to test, different activities, so that you can have some ideas for your stay in this city of excess !
There is an international airport in Dubai, so you can get there as well as get back on your itinerary.
The city of Dubai is considered an emirate in its own. To visit it, there is no need for a car, and it's even better without, because there are often traffic jams which is not the most pleasant.
The city is well served by transport, you always have the unavoidable taxi, but also the metro that crosses the city.
Walking is also an option, but as we often told you the Emirates are not the most accommodating country for pedestrians. Nevertheless, there are still some nice corners to walk especially on the Palm Jumeirah.
A big Bus ride :
The company - present in other countries - offer different tours to visit the city and its key points! It's ideal because it avoids the car, and to do everything on foot if you run out of time. You can stop at the various points and take one of the next buses (about one every 20 minutes if there is no traffic problem), and make the tour on the open part of the floor, which is much more sympathetic. Another advantage is that there are audio explanations during the tour available in more than a dozen languages. It's really a very good way to visit Dubai which is recommended despite somewhat excessive prices.
Three circuits are available with different durations :
- 2h20 for the « City tour »
- 1h30 for the « Beach Tour »
- 1h30 for the « Marina Tour »
There are 24 hrs, 48 hrs or 72 hrs Pass, at an extra charge a 2h45 night tour of Dubai is also possible.
Prices :Between 160Dh and 320Dh (38€ and 80€). You can buy tickets at every bus stop. Via the official website, it's also possible to book your tickets in advance and enjoy some promotions.
« Official website »
Take the Dubai Metro :
A rather original way to discover the city is to take the metro. It covers a fairly large space, but the plus point is that it's outdoors and in height which allows to have another view of Dubai. To have taken it, it's true that it's nice, but sometimes it's so long!
A special woman wagon is available for each line.
If you want to take the metro, you must first go to a ticket office and buy a card indicating where you want to go. You will have a certain package on it. It's neither the easiest of solutions nor the most economical !
The emirate and the city are full of hotels. You will find a place to sleep ! On the other hand, for small budgets, "low-end" hotels are not very widespread in the country. And when one finds them, it seems that they are not very clean, nor very recent. It’s mainly international channels that dominate the market. But you can find for very reasonable prices ! If you need a boost, check out our Travel Cheap article which gives some ideas for saving in the country and our section « Accommodations » in Travel Guide.
To see :
Burj Khalifa :
The biggest tower in the world with its 829.8 meters height, it's spotted of the kilometers in the round! It's easily recognized (by its size obviously) but also by its very pointed shape, like a peak piercing the sky. This is surely the unavoidable element of Dubai, as the best known.
You can go up by buying tickets whose price vary according to the timetable and the floor :
- Floors 124-125 :
125Dh between 10am and 5pm and from 7.30pm until closing.
200Dhs between 17h30 and 19h
- Floors 148 :
350Dhs from opening at 5pm
500 Dhs from 18h until closing.
Schedules change, so it's best to check before you go. The best thing is to book online « sur le site » to avoid getting scammed on the price by paying the high price despite the time you go.
You can't go higher than the 148th floor, and the difference between the two levels is not really significant. Going in the evening, obviously allows you to enjoy the sunset over the view, and remains the best time to take pictures. The shops are overpriced, as are the drinks and food!
« Site officiel »
Burj Khalifa is :
- $ 1.5 billion in construction costs
- 160 floors
- 1000 apartments
- 57 Elevators (18 meters per second, they are among the fastest in the world)
Dubai Fountain :
Directly at the foot of the Burj Khalifa and at one of the entrances to the Dubai Mall, is the Dubai Fountain, which offers a water and music show and light by propelling water up to 150 meters!
The night shows are magnificent with the Burj Khalifa shining a thousand lights behind. A show every 20 minutes, and there is not the same show that follows. The whole thing is completely free and ends at 23h.
Dubai Creek :
Despite all the infrastructure built, Dubai Creek remains the heart of the city. It's the oldest place in Dubai, and also one of the most beautiful and soothing! It's here that you will find authentic souks including the one with spices that embalm the senses.
In addition to this, it's possible to take a tour in traditional abra-boat for only 1Dhs. Don't hesitate to take advantage of it !
Burj Al Arab & its beach :
7-star hotel, it was built to represent a sail of a boat while being careful that there are never any shadows on the beach that can disturb the guests. In addition to being an emblematic element of Dubai, it's one of the most luxurious hotels in the world. From its 321 meters, the hotel has an indoor aquarium, a swimming pool with a panoramic view and a heliport on the roof.
To sleep there, it's necessary to count almost 1 300 € minimum for one night ( yeah, it hurts the wallet). Otherwise you can admire it from the beach which is also one of the most appreciated.
Walking on the Palm Jumeirah :
This palm-shaped island that stretches over the sea has quickly become the unmissable place of Dubai. In addition to offering a nice stroll along the coast, you can find many tourist activities, food trucks, and especially a good number of mostly luxury hotels. The most notable and known is the Atlantis Palm which is recognizable by its shape but also includes a waterpark Aquaventure Waterpark and a park with dolphins : Dolphin Bay. To sleep there, it is necessary to count between 250 and 300 € per night. Once again, it's not for all budget!
you can enjoy the Palm Jumeirah with an aerial view, and for this, you can easily find different activities that offer this.
Shopping Addict :
Dubai Mall :
It's the largest shopping center in the world. In addition to the numerous shops, there is a ski slope, a giant aquarium, a multiplex, theme parks, etc. People come from all over the world especially for shopping, especially during sales.
Shopping addicts will fulfill all their expectations and even more !
Dubai Mall is :
- 1,1 million m²
- 1200 shops
- 750 000 visitors per week
- The most visited tourist destination in the world in 2014 with 80 million visitors. (This equates to the tourists of the Eiffel Tower, Time Square and DisneyWorld gathered ! )
Nature & Animals :
Dolphin Bay :
If you dream of swimming with dolphins, here is the place in Dubai. Located in the Atlantis Palm, several experiences are offered to visitors (no need to stay in the hotel) going to meet them, swim with them, swim with them but in dive mode, etc. Prices often include packages such as access to the aquarium and/or Aquaventure Waterpark.
Prices : Between 200€ and 400€
« Official website »
Dubai Aquarium & Underwater Zoo :
Located in Dubai Mall, it's one of the largest in the world. You can see multiple fishes, but also rays and sharks. There are several ways to enjoy it :
- From the "outdoors", that is, to look for free from a passage area in the mall. There are restaurants right across that allow you to enjoy the view while enjoying a good meal. This is the option we chose when we were there as it is free and you can see very well.
- By taking the tunnel that passes through the aquarium and thus enjoy another point of view. But it seems that it's very short as experience, so in view of the prices we thought that was not worth it. It costs about 25€ for this.
- Take a ride on a boat with a transparent bottom.
- Immersion in a cage.
- Traditional diving.
- Shark Scooter : A kind of seas scooter in immersion.
We only found out later that there is also a mermaid show some days! You can consult the timetables on the website.
Prices : Between 100 Dhs and 250Dhs (25 and 60€)
« Official website »
Dubai Aquarium & Underwater Zoo is:
- 10 million liters of water
- 140 species
- 300 sharks
- 33 000 animals
Culture lovers :
Dubai Museum :
Located in Fort Al Fahidi, the oldest building in Dubai, the museum allows visitors to discover the traditional way of life of the past through reconstructions, photos, and artefacts.
Price : Free.
Center for Cultural Understanding Sheikh Mohammed :
Forget the boring lessons, here you can eat while asking all the questions you want to know about Islam. No restraint, curiosity is the key word of the place, since its purpose is exchange and intercultural understanding. Their motto speaks of itself "open doors, open minds".
Price : Free, Paying meals.
Jumeirah Mosque :
The only mosque you can visit if you're not Muslims. You can visit it on your own or through the Sheikh Mohammed Cultural Insight Center.
Price : Free.
Don't forget to have a suitable outfit for the visit, and for women plan a veil to cover your hair.
Thrill seekers :
Dune bashing :
On board a 4x4, go to the desert dunes to challenge the gravity ! This is one of the most popular activities in the UAE. Many excursions are organized with often packages where there is meal and show at night.
Know that it is also possible to make it in the desert of Abu Dhabi.
If the activity interests you, an article is dedicated : « Dunebashing and evening in desert ».
Dubai by the air :
If the simple panoramic view of the Burj Khalifa is not enough, the city offers many aerial activities to discover the city otherwise. Whether it's a helicopter, microlight or parachute flight, there's something for everyone.
Those who are looking for thrills must travel through Dubai because the city is ideal for some extreme activities !
Jumping from Burj Khalifa :
Do you know the Base Jump? It's risky, impressive and not always legal. So, it's funny ! This consists of jumping in a free fall of a building that it natural or built by the man then finish its fall in parachute. Two French have already experienced jumping from the Burj Khalifa beating the world record. Normally, it's not legal, but with the right sponsors, who knows, you may have your chance !
Dubai Ski :
You're addicted to skiing, but traveling to the Emirates? No problem ! The Dubai Mall has its own indoor ski resort with 5 slopes including one of free-style. As if that were not enough, you will find restaurant chalets, toboggans of sledges, a zip-line, and ... Penguins. Yeah, you can meet them, or even swim with them. Dubai Ski in addition to having a strong ecological impact, is not given. There are several hour-trail-activity packages. So be careful when you buy your ticket especially on the internet. Rates include access to ski runs, ski lifts, rental of equipment (except helmet required for freestyle) and clothing (except hats and gloves). It's also possible to take ski/snow lessons.
Prices : Between 200Dhs and 510Dhs (50€ and 125€). To swim with the penguins, you must count 1300Dhs = 325 €.
« Official website »