Dubai is an exciting and happening destination that has to be seen - and experienced - to be believed. Of the seven emirates that make up the United Arab Emirates, Dubai is known for its welcoming hospitality and the wealth of amazing experiences that await. Here is a handful of those ‘not-to-be-missed’ attractions that every visitor to Dubai has to tick off.
The Burj Al Arab, perennially voted “The World’s Most Luxurious Hotel”, promises pampering, service and blissful surroundings like nowhere else. Whether you stay in a suite attended to by your own personal butler, indulge in afternoon tea in the lobby, have drinks at the Skyview Lounge or go ‘underwater’ to dine in the Al Mahara restaurant, you’ll soon understand why this iconic hotel is often billed as ‘the world’s only seven-star hotel’.
If there’s any icon that symbolizes Dubai, it’s the Burj Khalifa. It’s unmissable – probably due to the fact that it’s 828 metres high and dwarfs the whole city. Wherever you are in Dubai, you don’t have to look too far to see this shining pinnacle of glass and steel soaring into and beyond the clouds. Enjoy the views from the outside, but also be sure to see Dubai from the inside out when you venture up the world’s tallest tower. Head to the At The Top experiences on the 124th or the 148th floors – the highest outdoor observation deck in the world.
There aren’t many places in the world where you can go snowboarding or skiing in a shopping mall whilst in the desert. At Dubai’s Mall of the Emirates you’ll discover Ski Dubai, a snowy mountain resort with five ski runs, tube slides, toboggan runs, an alpine café – ideal for sipping hot chocolate in minus four degrees – a zip wire and a colony of Snow Penguins.
Make a splash in two of the region’s most exciting and thrilling waterparks. Are you brave enough to tackle the JumeirahSceirah at Wild Wadi when you’ll plummet down a 120-metre slide at an astonishing 80 km/hours before heading off to face the park’s remaining 29 thrills and spills. Then head to Aquaventure at Atlantis to experience the shark infested lagoon in the Tower of Neptune or the world’s largest waterslide, the Aquaconda with the Tower of Poseidon.
Step back in time and trace Dubai’s history by wandering through the original souqs (marketplaces) where tradesmen still sell their wares and customers haggle. Explore the Textile Souq on the Bur Dubai side of the Creek, then board an abra (traditional wooden boat) and head to the aromatic Spice and dazzling Gold Souqs.
You don’t have to venture far out of the city to reach the rolling desert. Here the waves of sand dunes disappear into the horizon creating a spectacular landscape. Head out on a desert safari for a rollercoaster journey across the waves, ride a camel, admire the falcons flying and enjoy traditional hospitality and cuisine around a campfire under a star-filled sky.
Fancy a quick swim with a shark while on a shopping spree? At The Dubai Mall you can delve into life below the ocean at the Dubai Aquarium and Underwater Zoo. Here you’ll see 70 different marine species including some 300 sharks and rays at close quarters. And if you’re still not satisfied, head to Atlantis, The Palm and lose yourself in the tunnels of the Lost Chambers aquarium where the delights (and horrors) of the underwater world await.
The best (and free) shows in town take place every day on the lake at the base of the towering Burj Khalifa. Be mesmerized by the dancing Dubai Fountain as 150 metre-high jets of water swing and sway in time to stirring music.