For years, Dubai has ranked high on the list of most popular travel destinations in the world. The city has an alluring mix of both old and new and its diversity is what adds to the appeal of this city. Whether it is glitzy skyscrapers, delicious food, vast stretches of shimmering sands, opulent shopping malls, or historic neighbourhood, the city offers something of interest for every traveler. With so many amazing places to choose from, it may seem like a daunting task for a first-time traveler to decide which places to visit in Dubai first. Well! We have got you covered. Read on to know our top picks in this splendid destination.
Situated on the lively Dubai Marina, this mosque is one of the few in the world that allows entry to non-Muslims. The mosque has a white marble façade with two towering minarets that looks incredible especially in the evenings. Constructed in the medieval Fatimid style of architecture, the intricate carvings, motifs, and architecture within are astounding. The mosque is one of the largest in the UAE and houses approximately 1200 worshippers at one time. If interested, you can book the guided tours that are available on all days except Fridays to learn more about Islamic culture and customs. It is mandatory for visitors to dress modestly here and women must wear a headscarf called ‘Abaya’ while visiting the mosque. The mosque is one of the most sort after places to visit in Dubai.
Burj Khalifa is one of the primary attractions that should make it to your Dubai itinerary. The planet’s tallest structure is a stunning masterpiece that stands like a beacon in the Dubai skyline. Riding the fastest elevator to the top itself is an interesting experience. Head out to the Observation Deck to feast your eyes on the spell-binding views of the city. If you visit in the evening, you can enjoy a gorgeous sunset and also the colourful Dubai Fountain from here. You can also spot some of the most renowned landmarks such as Dubai Marina and the Palm Islands with the help of the telescopes placed here. Visiting Burj Khalifa is one of the most memorable experiences that you will cherish throughout your life.
One of the best places to visit in Dubai, the massive Dubai Mall is a complete entertainment package. This is the best place for all the shopaholics with an array of international and local brands. You can spend an entire day here and still not cover it from one end to another because of its colossal size. It also has several other recreational attractions such as an ice rink, many multiplexes, a huge indoor waterfall, a theme park, and a mesmerizing aquarium which is unmissable. Head outside the mall in the evening to witness the magical Dubai Fountain that paints a pretty picture with vibrant colors, glittering lights, and soothing Arabian music.
The Atlantis Aquaventure Waterpark has more than 30 thrilling water rides and attractions and is one of the largest waterparks in the UAE. A day filled with fun and excitement is in store for you here with rides such as Leap of Faith, Aquaconda, and Poseidon’s Retreat. It also has a kid’s play area and a private beach where you can relax once tired. Don’t forget to visit the Lost Chambers Aquarium that will take you to the mystical underwater world where you can get up, close, and personal with sea lions, dolphins, sharks, piranhas, and stingrays. High on adventure, this place should rank high on your list of places to visit in Dubai.
Currently, Dubai is known for its luxury and glamour, but there was a time when it was just a small fishing village and pearl diving region. To get a taste of the ancient days a visit to the Al Bastakiya quarter is a must. It is one of the oldest residential neighborhoods and the houses here are made of mud, gypsum, palm fronds, and coral. You will find wind towers on the top of most houses that represent the olden ways of air conditioning. This charming Arabian district is dotted with art cafes, restaurants, and boutiques. Visit the Dubai Museum to understand the customs and traditions of Emirati life. Another stop in the old part of the city is the historic Dubai Creek and the souks surrounding it. You can shop for spices, traditional garments, teas, footwear, herbs, and other Arabian products. The Gold Souk is the largest and you will be left speechless with the amount of jewellery and precious stones on display.
One of the unmissable attractions in Dubai is the desert safari. The city has vast stretches of rich Arabian sands that draw thousands of visitors every year. There are several tour options, and the desert safari Dubai price depends on the package that you choose. Enjoy exhilarating activities such as sandboarding, dune bashing, and quad biking. At the Bedouin-style campsite, you can enjoy activities like camel riding, shisha smoking, henna painting, and more. Watch spectacular cultural performances such as Belly Dancing, Tanura Dance Show, and Fire Show. Relish a scrumptious buffet dinner with an assortment of local and international dishes.
One of the latest additions to the fantastic Dubai skyline is the Dubai Frame. The structure is 150 meters high and 93 meters wide and resembles a picture frame. You can go to the Sky Deck connecting the towers and see sweeping views of the major landmarks of the city such as Burj Khalifa and Emirates Towers on one side and the old areas of Deira, Umm Harare, and Karama on the other side. The frame is believed to act as a bridge between Dubai’s past and present.
Ski Dubai is an ideal place to take a break from the extremely hot and humid weather of Dubai. One of the largest indoor ski resorts in the world, it covers an area of over 22500 square meters. It has an ice cave for the kids, an 85-meter-high mountain, and five different slopes of varying steepness and difficulty levels. You can enjoy many snow activities including tobogganing, snowboarding, or skiing. The ‘March of the Penguins’ show is a major highlight here and you can interact with these delightful creatures.
Want to travel to every country in the world without actually boarding a flight? Once you visit the Global Village, you will feel as if you have seen different countries at the same time. Numerous pavilions and stalls represent different nations and have a replica of some famous monument from that country. It’s the perfect family destination to indulge in great entertainment, shopping, and food. The Global Village is open only from November to April and welcomes over 5 million visitors every year.
Resembling a palm-tree when seen from above, this breathtaking piece of engineering marvel is the largest man-made island in the world. The magnificent Palm Jumeirah is lined with lavish resorts, fancy restaurants, luxurious spas, and swanky apartments. It covers a huge area and is also visible from space. You can indulge in plenty of thrilling activities such as sailing on a speed boat or yacht, skydiving, a helicopter tour, or just hopping into a monorail to enjoy the striking views of the island. The famous hotel Atlantis, The Palm is also situated at the edge of the island.
Dubai is constantly revamping itself and adding more feathers to its cap. The above list does not even touch upon one-fourth of the attractions Dubai has to offer. If you have time, you can visit the Kite Beach, Dubai Marina, Bollywood Park, IMG Worlds of Adventure, Dubai Miracle Garden, and even plan a day trip to Abu Dhabi So, it is better to do your research and plan a long holiday so that you can do justice to this outstanding city.
Hope this guide helps you making best of your first time experience in Dubai. We thank our guest writer Neha for summing this up for us. Let us know in comments which one you would like to try first or which one is your most favourite. Also read 4 best weekend holidays in Dubai