If anyone tells you that all you need is four days to visit Dubai, please trust me when I say that they are wrong! We found that out recently. There is just so much to do and see if you really want to experience Dubai properly. If you’re planning to visit Dubai soon, I hope that these highlights from our Dubai trip will be of help to you and motivate you to turn that plan into a reality.
When we eventually got to Dubai, we realised that we needed to prioritise in order of preference what we wanted to do and see, as we figured by then that we were not going to be able to visit all the tourist attractions. In no particular order of preference, here are some of the highlights of our Dubai trip:
Dune Bashing Desert Safari
If the thought of a Desert Safari appeals to you and even if it doesn’t, a trip to Dubai isn’t complete without having this experience. It was adrenaline pumping! We had a roller coaster ride in the desert, with a Toyota Landcruiser.
For me, watching the two vehicles in front of us, made you feel more on edge as you see them manoeuvre the sandbanks at angles where the vehicles looked like they were about to capsize and you have many sighs of relief. You put your life in the hands of these drivers, who evidently know what they are doing, I’m writing this post, so it means I survived! It was my first ever experience of dune bashing and I loved it! If you’ve never experienced this as yet, make a plan to do so.
You could choose amongst a variety of packages, from very affordable to very luxurious. There is a package to suit every pocket and every preference.
Most of the packages include the following as a standard:
- Dune bashing
- Sunset/Sunrise photography
- Camel rides
- Entertainment: Belly Dancing, Fire Show, etc.
- Buffet Lunch/Dinner
- Henna painting
- Traditional Costumes – Photobooth
- Quad bikes
- Private Lunch/Dinner
- Hubbly Bubbly/Shisha and many more extras
- Wear sunglasses to help prevent the sand getting into your eyes when it’s very windy
- Carry and use sunblock
- Carry a facecloth
The concierge at the hotel will have brochures of the different packages and providers or you can also do your own research online and book directly, which is what we did, a few hours before on the day we arrived.
Note: The standard Camel ride is free, which I think probably lasts not more than 5 minutes. The longer ride is at an additional cost, depending on which package you chose.
Soft drinks and water are unlimited. Alcoholic drinks from the bar have to be paid for cash as extras.
Here are a few photos from our experience:
Atlantis, The Palm
I watched a documentary about the development of this manmade astonishing island about 2-3 years ago. I wasn’t planning to visit Dubai before that, it just didn’t seem to interest me. However, the engineering background in that video appealed to me and since then, I wished that I could someday visit and woohoo! Luckily for me, this is one of my dreams that was also realised.
Standing in front of Atlantis, The Palm, watching the ocean was truly spectacular, whichever direction you turned, the view was magnificent.
There are a variety of restaurants to choose from. Then there’s the Lost Chambers aquarium which is good to visit. If you prefer a speedboat tour with Atlantis, The Palm as a backdrop, you can have that too. You can also see the Burj Al Arab from here.
Burj Khalifa, the Dubai Mall & the Dubai Fountain
We happened to visit when there was a light show as well as a laser light show. This was impressive. From the water fountain below the Burj Khalifa to both light shows. I can imagine the amount of work that took place in the background to have such an end result. The viewing point was full of people that evening, all staring in amazement at this beautiful building, with amazing light shows that wowed everyone.
I have some videos, which at some point I’ll stitch together and post on my YouTube channel, so that you may also see what I am raving about. For now, you can enjoy having a look at the still photos below.
We entered via the Dubai Mall – which boasts shopping, entertainment, and leisure. The Dubai Aquarium and Underwater Zoo in the Mall is a huge hit, with long lines to enter but a must see, especially if you like the idea of walking through an underwater tunnel, filled and surrounded by sharks and rays. The Mall itself is a shoppers’ paradise with a huge variety of brands.
This 5-star luxurious Arabian resort has the most tranquil ambience with picture perfect views. It has a traditional souk that you can visit and when you’re tired from the walk in the souk, you can relax at one of the many restaurants. It is not cheap if you convert to Rands.
Our lunch cost just under R3000. Also, note that alcoholic drinks across Dubai are rather expensive. For the beautiful views from the restaurant, it made it all worth it. Once you’ve had enough to eat and drink, you can enjoy a tour of the resort via a traditional Abra boat, which we did.
Dubai Global Village
Whoever thought of this idea…wow….I was amazed! Different cultures from around the world and what each represents, all within one property. It is phenomenal in size and different smells of the different cuisines from around the world attract you, giving you so much to choose from, that it becomes difficult to choose when there is such variety. It is a place where the entire family can visit.
From sitting in the park to enjoying live culture entertainment, to shopping, to eating and to going on rides, there’s just so much to do here. There is also so much to see and it is absolutely interesting to learn about the diversity of different cultures across the world through this Global Village. Just to give you an idea, each area represents a different country and what that specific country is famous for. It includes things like the country’s flag, traditional-wear, food, crafts and so much more!
You need lots of time to go through it all, when I say there is so much to see, it is an understatement. When you arrive in the parking area, that in itself will give you an idea of how huge the Global Village is. Representing cultures of over 75 countries, in a space of 1,600,000 m 2.
Jumeirah Beach Residence (JBR) / Dubai Marina
The Walk at JBR is just awesome! From fancy cars parked on the side of the road to tall buildings, to tourists roaming the streets in the vicinity of shopping and fine dining, it’s hip and it’s buzzing. It’s the place to be.
Whether you’re on the beach or on the street, the views from every single angle offer something delightful to look at. From the world’s biggest Ferris wheel to the beautiful ocean, or camel rides when the sun sets, you’ll wonder how such a place has so much of awesomeness altogether.
Kids can enjoy rides along the walk, with the opportunity to play games and win adorable human-sized plush toys! If I could have carried that around with me in our luggage, I would have certainly attempted to win at least one, which was very easy to do. They were just so adorable!
The following are things we did not experience but certainly have to and of course, want to in the future! So Dubai…I hear you calling…just didn’t have enough the first time!
- Ski Dubai – Mall of Emirates
Kayden is too young to have enjoyed this and some of the other attractions below to the max, so we didn’t make this a priority. However, we did visit the Mall of Emirates
- Dubai Creek
- Wild Wadi Water Park
- Aquaventure Waterpark
- Dubai Spice Souk
- Gold Souk
- Dubai Miracle Garden
- Dubai Dolphinarium
- IMG Worlds of Adventure
- LEGOLAND Dubai
- Dubai Zoo
- Ferrari World – Abu Dhabi
That’s just a few places we have yet to see and experience, of course, there is so much more to do and see and not everything is of interest to us.
WHY ELSE SHOULD YOU BOOK A DUBAI TRIP:
I loved that everyone we came across in Dubai, was so friendly and well mannered. Every place we went to was neat and clean. The service was excellent! So much passion and commitment exists and was evident in every role. If you love architecture, you will be in awe of all of the buildings all of the time. There is a feeling of safety. There is ample transport to get you from one place to another. There is no shortage of hotels to choose from. The water temperature of the beach is perfect!
The only thing that I did not enjoy is the humidity but if you prepare well, it is expected and you work around it.
Have I missed any attractions you would like to recommend? Please let me know in the comments below, so that myself and other readers, may consider visiting when planning our next Dubai trip.