- Dubai is a city full of life.
- It’s a very modern place.
- There is so much to do that you’re never going to be bored.
- The architecture is stunning!
- There's a lot o culture.
WHEN TO GO
The best time to visit Dubai is from November to April. If you’re planning to go from May to October, you’re probably going to regret it because of the heat.
WHERE TO STAY
We stayed at Arabian Park Hotel. We just needed a place to sleep and take a shower. It was more that enough and perfect for our budget. It was very close to the metro station and had shuttle from and for the aeroport.
HOW TO MOVE AROUND
Dubai has the world’s largest, completely automated, driverless metro network.
We started the trip by exploring the old town that is very different from all the modern skyscrapers that you’re used to see. Be prepared to get lost like we did, literally. I think it’s where you really see the cultural shock so pay special attention to what you’re wearing.
Here you can find the old souks and the Dubai Museum. I would recommend you to go to the Gold and Spice Souks (markets) for the experience. You’re going to feel like you are in a movie set like Aladdin with all the spices and the colors. But let me warn you: local sellers will grab you and put scarves around your neck all the time. It’s a little uncomfortable but they aren’t agressive or anything like that, it’s just their strategy. Just try to embrace it and have an open mind.
We had lunch at Arabian Tea House. If you want to try authentic Emirati food this is the place for you. Besides, it’s beautifully decorated with turquoise benches, white rattan chairs and lace curtains. It has such a relaxing vibe and you can really feel the Emirati hospitality there. The food is delicious and it’s also a great place to hide from the sun.
After lunch, we took a ride on a traditional boat called abra. It’s surprisingly cheap, only 1 dirham per trip. Fun fact: abras were the oldest form of the public transport system in Dubai.
DUBAI DANCING FOUNTAIN
Back to the modern part of the city, we went to the Dubai Mall just to admire the beauty of the Dancing Fountain. You have a different show every 30 minutes. It’s breathtaking, one of the highlights of the trip. We got to see countless shows and I can say that it’s even more beautiful at night. It’s an experience that I really recommend and it’s totally free.
Burj Khalifa is the tallest building in the world! It’s a must go in my Dubai City Guide. You can’t go to Dubai and not go up to the tallest building in the world. It’s a once in a life experience! I really recommend you to go to the level 148, it’s a little more expensive but it’s so worth it. It’s where you can find the world’s highest observation deck with an outdoor terrace at 555 meters. The view is amazing, you can see the Dubai Fountain from above and all the beautiful architecture of the city. And don’t forget to book your tickets in advance like I did.
Fun fact: The Burj Khalifa’s design was inspired by a regional desert flower called Spider Lily.
ABU DHABI BUS TOUR
On the second day, we got to see the sights of Abu Dhabi. It’s was a day bus trip around the main attractions. The first stop was the Yas Viceroy Hotel to have some snacks and drinks. The hotel is only a short walk from Yas Marina Circuit so we went to see it.
Then, the bus stopped by a street market and we got to see some exotic fruits and buy some souvenirs. It was very interesting.
UNIQUE EXPERIENCES IN Dubai
Next, we got to see the Presidential Palace from the outside and then stopped at Marina Mall to have lunch and strecth our legs.
SHEIKH ZAYED GRAND MOSQUE
The highlight of the day was visiting the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque. It’s a masterpiece! All the beautiful details, the architecture, the gorgeous chandeliers, you will be speechless. It’s something you can’t miss! Once again, you need to pay special attention to what you’re wearing. You need to cover yourself from head to toe, cover your hair with a scarf and take off your shoes.
On the third day, we went to see the sunrise in the Dubai Desert Conservation Reserve. Our safari guide was so nice and picked us up at the hotel in a 4-wheel drive vehicle and drove us there. I had the chance to ride a camel for the first time and it was so much fun. Even if you don’t know how to ride a camel, the guide will help you and prepare you for a special ride experience, don’t you worry. We booked our experiences on the Arabian Adventures website.
We tried to go to the beach in the afternoon, but things didn’t work out as we planned. When we got there, it was already dark, I couldn’t even see the beach. We ended up going to The Palm to see the Atlantis Hotel. And that was it.
WHAT WE MISSED
We didn’t have the time to go there but I’m sure it’s a breathtaking place. The garden is closed during summer due to high temperatures so check it when you’re planning your trip.
I really wanted to take a helicopter ride but it was a little pricey and we didn’t have time to do everything. But if you get the chance, go ahead and send me pictures.
Like I said before, we tried to go to the beach but we didn’t make it. I heard wonders of Dubai’s beaches and how the waters are warm and crystal clear.
And this is my complete Dubai City Guide. Hope you liked it!