7 Things to do in Dubai that makes it the crowned jewel of the Middle East

Dubai needs no introduction. While some love the city for its colossal manmade wonders, many are intrigued by its unprecedented growth from a small Bedouin fishing village to the world entertainment hub. Visiting Dubai is on the bucket list of almost every traveller.

From the best of skyscrapers to the local markets, we bring you the insider tips on the best things to do that will make your Dubai trip truly memorable.

Admire the view from the observation deck of Burj Khalifa

burj khalifa

People who hear about it are in awe but the ones who get to see the grandeur of Burj Khalifa personally are speechless. For the world who never thought beyond Eiffel tower, the Burj Khalifa brings you to three times the height of the pride of Paris, thus making it, the tallest building on earth. Get tickets to the its observations deck at the 128th floor and see the world below in a completely mesmerising way. Whether you’re in Dubai for a day or for a month, ensure you get the 30-minute experience of the observation deck that is sure to make you feel on top of the world, literally.

Enjoy an Abra ride at the Dubai Creek

traditional abra in dubai

‘Abra’ is an Arabic term used for the boats that were used to transport people from one side of the Dubai creek to the other. These Abras are still prevalent and are the cheapest mode of transportation even today. But what’s so special about the Abra rides when there are much faster means of transportation now available? The answer is that there’s nothing else that will quite literally make you a part of history than experiencing an Abra ride. It is the oldest and means of transport used since the ancient times when Dubai was nothing but a small trading village.

Experience the adventure of Desert Safari

Desert Safari In Dubai

They say that no trip to Dubai is complete without experiencing the desert safari, and we can’t blame them, for it is one of the most adventurous and fun experiences of Dubai none should miss. Bashing the sand dunes, admiring the sunrise/ sunset at the serene dessert, enjoying quad biking and spending an evening in the middle of the desert in a Bedouin style desert camp with barbecue dinner, shisha, entertainment and loads of fun activities; the Dubai desert safari is an eclectic mix of fun, adventure and serenity. Companies like Rayna tours also include belly- dancing and falcon handling in their safari packages. You can also request for special food preferences.

Visit the Sheikh Mohammed Centre for Cultural Understanding

sheikh mohammad centre for cultural understanding

There’s nothing in Dubai that can be compared to the experience you’ll have at the Sheikh Mohammed Centre for Cultural Understanding. The visit will take you from the superficial level of the glittering skyscrapers and commercial malls of Dubai to a more in- depth reflection on the soul of Dubai.

It is your best chance to get an insightful introduction to the religion of Islam, Emirati cuisine, and the history and culture of the city of Dubai in the most positive way. The centre works under the banner of “Open doors. Open minds”, and the tours take you through the traditional mosques, Creekside excursions, heritage expeditions, and treat you with authentic Emirati meals, while introducing you to the world of Arabs.

Enjoy a Dhow cruise dinner

Dhow Cruise in Dubai Marina

The exceptionally relaxing Dhow Cruise Dinner Dubai Marina is one of the best ways to unwind from the hectic day’s outing and spend some quality time away from the hustle- bustle and the traffic in the tranquillity of the Dubai creek. Dhow cruises are the most popular way of experiencing the glittering Dubai at night. These large boats have special air-conditioned lower deck and the open air upper deck where you can enjoy a sumptuous array of international buffet with drinks, entertainment, and fun activities. The two- hour cruise gives you a memorable imprint of the Dubai’s skyline while giving you the much-needed break from the busy touristy schedule.

Insider tip:

  • Don’t go by name, there are various dhow cruise options available. Choose the one with the most well maintained boat and don’t forget to check out the menu before booking.

See the grandeur of the world’s biggest malls

dubai mall

Out of the list of the biggest malls in the world, at least three of them are in the city of Dubai and your Dubai trip cannot end without experiencing their grandeur. Known for the best of the best malls in the world, Dubai is every bit a shopper’s paradise. Even if you’re not a shopaholic, the irresistible malls of Dubai is sure to make you go weak on your knees.

Whether it is the Dubai mall with the world’s biggest suspended acrylic aquarium housing 33000 aquatic animal species, or it is the Mall of Emirates that has the world’s biggest indoor ski resort; visiting the malls of Dubai is an unforgettable experience.

Visiting the most engaging neighbourhood of Dubai- the Bastakiya quarters

bastakiya quarter

Bastakiya quarters is your chance to take a sneak peek into the life of Dubai before the discovery of oil, when it was nothing but a humble Bedouin village. The Bastakiya quarter was established by the Bastaks who came in the early 19th century for pearl and textile trading here. They formed these quarters with admirable wind- tower houses. Today the area is like having a calm past in the middle of the busy present-day world. Filled with amazing art galleries, glorious merchant houses, and small cosy cafes; the Bastakiya quarters is a must visit in Dubai.

A passionate traveller doesn’t want anything but exceptional travel experiences and intriguing places that take you beyond the obvious and makes you introspect your journey. Dubai is a destination that does all that along with offering you many of the once in a lifetime experiences. So, wait no more, Dubai is calling you.

Published in Destination, Middle East
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5 Comments
  1. Brigitte 5 months ago

    Just wondering whether you have been to other places in the Middle East. If anything Dubai is the least Middle Eastern place I can think of, and although there is some charm to it (as you describe), when talking about jewels in the crown, I would think more of Oman for example!

  2. Travelling Tom 5 months ago

    This is a great list of things to do, that includes a few off the beaten track places. Will come in handy when I visit Dubai in the future!

  3. Rosemary 5 months ago

    Wow, how amazing. It’s been a dream of mine to visit Dubai. Would love to try the Abra ride! Dubai is indeed calling and can’t wait to answer that call soon!

  4. Wendy Awai-Dakroub 5 months ago

    I used to live in Dubai from 1993-2007! Thanks for the memories… wonderful photos!

  5. Shedi 2 months ago

    WOW. I’m planning to go desert safari in next month. I’d visit these locations.

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