Planning Dubai? Here is a detailed itinerary for Dubai. This article explains all the things to do in Dubai.
Dubai is an amazing fusion of modern architecture and ancient traditional culture and food.
Here is an ultimate travel guide to Dubai!
Best time to Visit Dubai
Summers are very hot in Dubai. The temperature during the day time can exceed over 40-45 degree Celsius as compared to the night which could be 34-38 degree Celsius.
Never plan your visit to Dubai in Summer, irrespective of discount offers.
The best time to visit Dubai is during the winters from November to April. January and February is the peak season to visit Dubai because of the Dubai Shopping Festival. You will see heavy tourist traffic across the city.
Tip: If you planning to visit Dubai during the Eid Festival then you will end up regretting the trip because most of the businesses, city, etc remain closed during the festival.
UAE’s official language is Arabic, but English is the spoken language almost everywhere in Dubai.
The currency in Dubai is called as DIRHAM (AED)- the Indian currency exchange rate is Dhs 1 to INR 18.92 (When I visited Dubai which was back in 2007, the currency rate was 16 INR)
Dubai is very particular about the dress code if you paying a visit to a cultural site or mosque, make sure to carry long sleeves and full-length clothes.
Public Transport in Dubai
During my visit to Dubai, we had customized our itinerary and planned our days for different sightseeing. We did not book the travel package with the group as it gets tedious to walk along with the group in rush.
So one of my friend’s best friend (who stays in Dubai) helped me a lot in booking hotels, sightseeing and taking us around Dubai city. We saved a lot of money on transport, as most of our travel routine involved Dubai metro and not Taxis.
Metro is a fairly convenient mode of transport in the country and is 10x cheaper than a taxi ride.
Our pick up and the drop from the airport was included in Hotel booking but when you land there are taxi stands at the airport in case it is not included in your package. A most convenient option is to book an Uber.
Using Public Transport in Dubai
The metro stations are so well organized, disciplined and punctual. Do follow the rules like no eating or drinking or chewing gums in the metro. Do not walk on the escalator or else you will have to pay fine for the crime. Also, similar to our Mumbai local they also have different compartments dedicated to women only, gold class, etc.
You can purchase an NoI card (Mumbai equivalent of Metro Card) from the ticket counter. It is best for tourist usage and you can keep refilling as you out of cash. You can access their buses, metro and water buses with this card.
If you are an adventurer you might be interested in renting a bicycle. Dubai has a dedicated path next to the pedestrian walking only for bikes. You can rent a BYKY bike at the curbside station to explore the Dubai streets and return the bike when you are done with your day.
30 minutes (AED 15), 1 hour (AED 20) and for 24 hours (AED 80)
Best hotels to stay in Dubai
There are many options around Dubai city for staying, Bur Dubai is the best option if you are looking to stay in the city center.
We stayed in the Rainbow Hotel near Bank Street, Khalid Bin Al Waleed Road, Bur Dubai.
I had paid AED 450 Per night for an Executive Double Room as we were a family of 4, we paid extra for the extra bed. With this we had the airport pick up and drop included along with breakfast.
There are many options around, Dubai is developing so fast that it is now easy to access around any part of the city so you can accordingly plan your stay basis your itinerary.
My suggestion: Check Booking.com for apartment stay for a family/friends group. It is convenient and private.
Things to see in Dubai
Burj Khalifa defines Dubai today, and no one can skip visiting this when in Dubai.
We explored the world’s highest lounge at 585 meters, with an exhilarating outdoor terrace. You can book the tickets online at check out for different options and book the ticket and slot as per your budget.
They have Non-prime hours 07:00 pm until closing and Prime hours 09:30 am 06:00 pm so pick the slot accordingly.
The best time to visit at the top is during the sunset. Burj Khalifa is so massive and mesmerizing. The view from the accessible floor was breathtaking.
A free show which you do not want to miss, once you are done with the Burj Khalifa at the Top you can go to the backside of the building to see the world’s tallest performing fountain with captivating music and light spectacle.
The Dubai Fountain is situated on the 30-acre Burj Lake and performs to a selection of different melodies at a time interval.
Wooden dhow meaning a lateen-rigged ship which is converted to give you a great dining experience on the Dubai Creek. If you like the idea of soaking in the surrounding and feeling the air on the creek than this is a must do.
You can cruise along the Dubai Creek by enjoying some scrumptious meal on the Dhow.
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Dubai Desert Safari:
A combination of a thrilling car ride in a desert followed by feast and entertainment.
You can skip the thrilling car ride if you are scared of the high-speed car being driven in the desert with no air in tires.
The package includes hotel pick up, drop from hotel as the desert is at a far distance from Dubai City.
Take some time off from the routine and soak in some sun at Jhumeria Beach. There is an entry fee of about 10-15 AED, the beach has changing room facilities if you plan to take a dip.
Burj Al Arab:
You can check out this magnificent sight while visiting Jumeirah Beach. It is a luxury hotel located on Jumeirah Beach- it stands on an artificial island and is connected with a private bridge. The design of the hotel resembles the sail of a ship.
If you have planned a leisure day in your itinerary you can visit Wild Wadi waterpark which has more than 25 rides and other attractions for family and friend in a large group. This waterpark is themed around the tale of Juha, a known character from the Arabian folklore.
Dubai Miracle Garden:
One of the city’s signature creation- created on a 72,000 sqm space loaded with colorful and scented flowers which bloom from mid-November to mid-may, is an incredible experience to see.
The sight is a remarkable picture captured in front of your eyes, where flowers are arranged in different arches and patterns they form.
A theme park which is the region’s largest multi-cultural festival place to enjoy the rides, attractions, food, and entertainment with your friends and family. You can easily spend a day here creating happy memories to cherish.
Malls in Dubai
Right adjacent to the massive Burj Khalifa is the Dubai Mall, a 12 million sq ft mall equivalent to 200 soccer pitches. This place is like a paradise to a shopper, it is so huge, that even a shopper like me got tired walking around.
The Dubai Mall highlights the world-class Dubai Aquarium & Underwater Zoo starring thousands of aquatic animals and a 270-degree walkthrough tunnel; and Virtual Reality Park.
Location: Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashed Boulevard, Downtown Dubai, 31166 – Dubai – United Arab Emirates
Ibn Battuta Mall
The world’s largest themed shopping mall inspired by different regions which Ibn Battuta traveled- Andalusia, Tunisia, Egypt, Persia, India, China.
It is again a shopper paradise with endless brands, entertainment options, kid zones, and food court to enjoy. Even if you are not planning to shop or eat at the mall, you must visit the mall, solely enjoy its architectural perfection.
With colorful walls, quirky art design, and giant murals there is a lot to look at the City Walk along with shopping, food, and entertainment.
You can find upscale high-end brands and attractions like rainforest and gaming zone for kids. It’s a complete family package.
Mall of the Emirates
Yet another mall with luxury labels and good restaurants, theatres and indoor ski resort. Ski Dubai is the best option to try out if you are going with kids- there are many activities like ski, snowboard, toboggan, zip line chairlift ride, etc to experience.
Shopping in Dubai
Deira Gold Souk:
If you are an Indian, you just cannot skip this place, I can say this because we shopped from this place. Reason: Gold here is comparatively cheaper and quality is far better than what you get in India. Most Indians visiting here, make a gold purchase from Gold Souk.
There are about more than 250 retail stores offering tons of gold to the buyers. Even if you not planning to buy gold but a visit to this place is sure to make you stunned.
Bur Dubai Souk:
It is known as textile souk where you will find colorful fabrics from velvet, silk, satin, wool, etc across the souk walkway. It is also a good option to pick souvenirs from your last day of the trip. Along with textile, you will also find interesting shoes, t-shirts, jackets, etc around the market.
Al Fahidi Street:
Known for its electronic shopping, Al Fahidi is the best stop to buy smartphones, laptop, DSLR or tablets at a good rate. But make sure to check the gadget for international warranty.
Strong fragrance and colors of the spices all around mean you have reached the Spice Souk in Dubai. It is a typical market with chaos and noise around where locals and tourists meet. Carry cash as cards are often not accepted. Check out the old Deira Market, for dry fruits, dates, fresh fruits and vegetables.
Sharjah is just an hour far away from Dubai. You can take a metro to visit this place or use Uber. Sharjah is comparatively cheaper than Dubai so if you have a leisure day in your itinerary do not miss out on checking the place.
Food in Dubai
If you are an Indian and a pure vegetarian do not worry you will get plenty of options to eat but if you are a Non-Vegetarian you will really enjoy some of the local cuisines here. Here some local food you can try in Dubai.
Falafel is a fried ball patty made from chickpeas and is typically paired with bread. You are generally served Falafel with hummus and pita bread.
It is nothing compared to what you get from your street vendor in Delhi or Mumbai.
It is a local pizza dish served on a flatbread with toppings like akkawi cheese, herbs, olives, chicken, etc. It is an on the go dish to try and you can find the shops in any corner of the Dubai city and is popular among locals and tourists.
If you like sweet than Arabic desserts has a wide variety of option to pick and choose. Knafeh is a pastry made from gooey sweet cheese. It is topped with rose syrup and pistachios sprinkled over it.
It is made of flour, eggs, sugar, yeast, cardamon, Kesar and rose water, and compliments best with tea and coffee. You can easily find them in every nook and streets of the city.
Hope you enjoyed reading this ultimate travel guide to Dubai.
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Also read: How to travel on a budget to Europe?