Discover Dubai : What to do in Dubai? [Ultimate guide]

No doubt, in Dubai you will not be bored. Wanting to take the place of “world capital of tourism”, Dubai has no shortage of unique places to visit. We are going to start our city trip with what revealed Dubai to the world.

> Burj Khalifa
> Palm Jumeirah and Atlantis Hotel
> Burj Al Arab
> The World in Dubai
> Dubai Mall
> Dubai Aquarium and Underwater Zoo
> Ski Dubai
> Dubai Wild Wadi Waterpark
> Aquaventure waterpark
> Desert Excursion
> Marina

Burj Khalifa

Burj Khalifa is of course the fashionable place in Dubai, the must-see number 1 in Dubai where you absolutely must pass during your stay in Dubai. Burj Khalifa is indeed an 828m high tower with more than 160 floors. This tower is the tallest in the world. She actually has many records. Here you will find, for example, the fastest elevator in the world (40 km/h). Despite some controversy over the working conditions of employees, nearly 12,000 people participated in its construction.
This tower is located south of old Dubai in the downtown Burj Khalifa district, right next to the Dubai Mall and opposite the Dubai fountain with its highest water jets in the world. A little parenthesis on these fountains which offers you at a fixed time a real sound and light show not to be missed under any circumstances.

Dubai Fountain

Absorbed / Shutterstock.com

This tower can be visited, you can indeed buy tickets for around 30 dollars. If you can, do not hesitate to buy your tickets beforehand on the internet . This ticket will allow you to go to the 124th floor either at 425m high or to the 125th but also to the 148th floor. Beware of earache during the ascent, the speed of the elevator is quite impressive. You will then access a terrace with a view of Dubai and “The World”. In the distance you will see Palm Beach and Burj Al Arab. 

Burj-Khalifa-Dubai

Burj-Khalifa – Dubai

Palm Jumeirah and Atlantis Hotel

This famous palm tree drawn on the water consists of 16 palms and a trunk. It mainly houses villas and hotels for a total of nearly 10,000 inhabitants. Don’t be fooled by appearances, the images are quite misleading, this “artificial palm tree” measures nearly 11 km in diameter and 5 km long. At the end of this palm tree you will find the luxurious Atlantis hotel, with its gold distributor and its rooms with a view of the aquarium. The best ways to get there are, without doubt, the taxi or the mono-rail.

A great way to discover this palm tree but also its surroundings and to book a helicopter flight . You can enjoy stunning views of Dubai.

palm-jumeirah-dubai

Jumeirah Palm Beach Dubai

Majestic-Palm-Island-Palm-Island-Hotels-in-Dubai

Hotel Atlantis – Dubai

Visit Dubai: Burj Al Arab

Symbol of Dubai, the Burj Al Arab (Burj meaning “Tower” in Arabic), was built in 1993. This tower is actually a seven-star luxury hotel. At 321m or 38 storeys, it was long the tallest used building in Dubai. It sits on an artificial island specially designed for the hotel. Famous for its very particular shape representing a sail, this luxury hotel is forbidden to visitors. You can nevertheless enter it by booking to have a tea for a price of around 70 dollars or have dinner there .

A less expensive solution to discover Burj Al Arab but also Palm Jumeirah is to approach it by boat. Indeed a boat trip is a good way to contemplate these emblematic sites of Dubai at a lower price.

Visit Dubai - Burj-Al-Arab


Burj Al Arab – Dubai

The World in Dubai

Another impressive construction of Dubai, the world islands or The World. The World is a set of artificial islands representing the world. Between 250 and 300 islands are under construction, these islands will be sold later, villas will be built there. These are only visible from Burj Khalifa, thanks to a helicopter ride or, according to the architect, from the international space station.

the-world-dubai

The world – Dubai

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Dubai Mall: the largest shopping mall in Dubai

Dubai Mall and Ski Dubai are two must-see places in the city. Dubai Mall, located at the foot of the Burj Khalifa, is the largest shopping center in the world. More than 1200 shops, an aquarium, waterfalls, an Olympic ice rink… It is a place that deserves to be visited, it has many records of all kinds, such as the largest acrylic panel in the world which gives view of an aquarium. The Dubai Aquarium, let’s talk for a moment. A visit to this aquarium is a real must on a visit to Dubai.

Dubai Aquarium and Underwater Zoo

Visiting the Dubai Aquarium means meeting more than 33,000 aquatic animals on the third floor of a huge shopping mall. Among these species you can admire rays, sharks and other equally impressive marine species. A 48 meter long glass tunnel invites you to a spectacular underwater walk. A trip in a glass-bottomed boat or swimming with sharks, the experience will leave you with lasting memories!

In view of the crowds of this activity, we strongly recommend that you book your entry in advance, so you can take advantage of a skip-the-line ticket and you won’t waste time.

Dubai Aquarium Skip-the-Line Ticket

dubai-aquarium

Back to this famous Dubai Mall. You can very easily get lost in this veritable maze. Many cafes and restaurants are available. The unlimited and free Wi-Fi access is very practical if you do not have an internet connection. Depending on the length of your stay, I advise you to go there and leave at the end of the day, so you can admire the magnificent spectacle of the water jets and the illuminated burj khalifa. These water jets are also a record for Dubai with the highest water jets in the world, just ahead of Las Vegas.

Another atypical place in Dubai, Ski Dubai . Located in the Mall of the Emirates, Dubai’s second Mall, Ski Dubai is a real ski slope.

Ski Dubai: Dubai Ski Resort

Skiing in the middle of the desert seems inconceivable to you? However, the Mall of the Emirates contains the first indoor ski resort in the Middle East. The 3,000 m2 dry ice park consists of five slopes for all levels, as well as a free zone for snowboarding. You can also go down in a ringo, or toboggan buoy, for even more thrills. Ski Dubai is a very fun activity for children but also for adults. Again skip-the-line tickets for the Dubai ski resort will be recommended .

Skip the line ticket for Ski Dubai

ski-dubai

Dubai Wild Wadi Water Park

Let’s now discover two must-sees in Dubai that will delight children! Get your fill of sensations by defying gravity through some thirty of the most extraordinary attractions in the world! Try your hand at surfing, face the eye of a cyclone and slide down a toboggan at 80 km/h, all in an oriental fairytale setting. This state-of-the-art water park provides fun for the whole family and also offers quieter activities, such as a relaxing tubing ride or a sound and light show. If you stay several days in Dubai then spending a day in this water park can be a good thing especially if you travel during the hot periods of the year.

Your tickets for Wild Wadi Park

Aquaventure waterpark

Dubai’s second water park, Aquaventure Waterpark! The largest water park in the Middle East is the perfect place to escape the heat of Dubai with the family. If you’re looking for adrenaline, the Leap of Faith is a must. This practically vertical slide plunges you into a tube in the middle of sharks! The Aquaconda is an opportunity to navigate at high speed on a five-person buoy. After so many emotions, relaxing on the beach in an exotic setting will be welcome. Of course the goal is not to discover all the water parks in Dubai, however choosing one of them is something to do. You can book your tickets for the aquaventure waterpark on the internet in advance .

Your tickets for Aquaventure waterpark

aquaventure-waterpark-dubai

Visit Dubai: the essential excursion in the desert

Dubai’s proximity to the fine sand dunes gives rise to a host of activities. If you are looking for the big thrill, you will not get tired of going up and down the steep slopes in 4×4 or quad . Then, you will join a traditional Bedouin camp for a typical dinner and a night under the stars. Sandboarding on the famous Big Red is a fun activity. What could be more original than taking a ski lesson on the dunes? Finally, enjoy a camel ride to observe the fauna, before closing the day with a local meal accompanied by a belly dancing show.

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4×4 desert tour

excursion-desert-dubai

Marina District

To visit Dubai is also to visit its marina. The Marina District in Dubai is one of the most beautiful areas in the city. The marina is the largest in the world, with nearly 200 buildings, including some of the most beautiful in the world. Strolling along the marina is very pleasant, the canals surrounded by buildings offer a unique view.

Visit Dubai - Marina-Dubai

Marina District – Dubai

Old Dubai: Deira and Bur Dubai districts

Old Dubai is the historical districts of Dubai. The 2 main districts of old Dubai are Deira and Bur Dubai. They are located in the northern part of the city, on the banks of Dubai Creek, an arm of the sea that sinks into Dubai.

These 2 districts are in the must-see places during a visit to Dubai. And this, in particular for:

  • the souks of Old Dubai and in particular the best known, the Spice Souk and the Gold Souk (gold jewelry)
  • the traditional architecture of many restored buildings
  • a crossing of Dubai Creek in an abra (traditional wooden boat)
  • the Al Fahidi fort located in the Bur Dubai district which has been transformed into a museum

These 2 districts are served by several metro stations. It is therefore easy to get there by public transport. It takes a big half-day, or even a whole day if you want to visit the museum, the souks, take a short crossing by abra, for example.

Old Dubai is also full of small restaurants where you can eat for cheap. In short, it is a place to discover in Dubai. Do not miss these 2 neighborhoods.

Where to sleep in Dubai?

Both state and city, Dubai continues to expand towards the desert. Each of its neighborhoods has its own atmosphere and culture. This quick guide will help you easily find accommodation in Dubai:

Find a hotel in Dubai

The city center

The oil economy has enabled this previously modest neighborhood to break all records today. The Burj Khalifa tower, with its 163 floors, is indeed the highest in the world, but also the most vertiginous hotel on the planet, the largest fountain on the globe, the largest shopping center that can exist on earth, etc., sleeping in the city center is a wise choice for permanent ecstasy!

Good addresses for accommodation in downtown Dubai:
Downtown Dubai includes the most prestigious addresses in the city such as the

 Armani Hotel Dubai occupying no less than 11 floors of the famous Burj Khalifa tower.Not far from there is another renowned hotel,

 The Address Boulevard , located very close to Burj Khalifa, it offers a breathtaking view of the tower and its fountains.Another prestigious hotel, this one located on the shores of Dubai Lake (the body of water at the foot of the Burj Khalifa),

 the Palace Downtown hotel . An exceptional hotel ideally located to enjoy the magnificent spectacle of the Dubai Fountains every evening.

The Media City

Opt for this district if you want to enjoy nightclubs, taste Arabic specialties in a trendy restaurant or attend music festivals. To have a drink in front of a breathtaking panorama, go up to the 42nd floor of the Media One hotel !

Al Barsha

This neighborhood near Media City is made up of a multitude of hotels with affordable rates. The subway, the bus and the taxis are legion and this, at all hours of the day and the night. For your shopping, you will find large supermarkets and oversized shopping malls.

Find a hotel in Dubai

Khor Dubai

For a total immersion in the real Dubai, it is in this picturesque district that you must stay. This arm of the sea, which acted as a port for the export of pearls and the exploration of the seabed, is indeed at the origin of the birth of the city. Even today, wooden boats called “abras” transport tourists from one bank to the other.

Jumeirah

Nicknamed the “Beverly Hills of Dubai”, this residential area offers the opportunity to stay close to the beach. On the sand, admire the iconic Burj Al Arab hotel in the shape of a giant sail and smell the spices of the Madinat souk. Bars, nightclubs, shops, restaurants established alongside sumptuous villas are all opportunities to enjoy Dubai’s effervescence.

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The Palm Jumeirah

Symbol of Dubai, this artificial island built on the sea is full of luxury hotels and palaces. Staying on the palm is a unique experience! Take the opportunity to visit the legendary Atlantis hotel , some parts of which are free, and have fun with the family in its giant Aquaventure water park.

Bur Dubai

In constant turmoil, this district is one of the oldest in the city. While staying here, you will have the opportunity to visit the Heritage Village to discover the way of life of yesteryear, or the old fort transformed into a museum to relive the evolution of the city. Embark on Dhow Cruises for dinner on the creek , stroll through the souk and enjoy mint tea at a hookah bar.

dubai-cruise

Find a hotel in Dubai

Deira

Sleeping in this historic district will immerse you in an atypical atmosphere, where tradition mixes with modernity. Browse the maze of tangled alleys and push the door of inexpensive restaurants. Go deep into the small souks to learn how to negotiate according to the rules of the art. On the quays, contemplate the incessant movement of the dhows, these long open boats transporting goods of all kinds. This is where you can find the most affordable hotels.

Find a cheap hotel in Dubai

You will certainly have noticed that the prices of hotels in downtown Dubai or tourist areas are generally high in high season. So, is it possible to stay cheaply in Dubai? Do “cheap” hotels exist in Dubai?
Well yes, as in all big cities it is possible to find these famous cheap hotels in Dubai. For this it will still be necessary to make some concessions, in particular on the location even if this is not necessarily embarrassing. The Deira district has a large number of low-cost accommodations. You will also find some on the side of the Jumeirah district (for Palm Jumeirah, it is better to forget without a somewhat comfortable budget 🙂 )

Good addresses for cheap accommodation in Dubai:
Here are some of the best rated hotels in Dubai where it is possible to stay for less than 80€ per night, or even less than 40€ depending on the period.These hotels are located not far from the airport, towards the Deira district:

I suggest two other hotels located closer to the city’s points of interest on the outskirts of downtown Dubai

Visit Dubai: How to get around?

Claiming the title of world capital of tourism, Dubai is not to be outdone when it comes to transport.
To visit Dubai you will have to use a means of transport. You will therefore have the choice of traveling by taxi for very reasonable prices. They are numerous in this city, and regularly stop at the edge of the roads offering tourists who are a little too reckless to facilitate their journey. Indeed the distances are quite impressive and misleading. We quickly find ourselves having to travel 5 or 6 km to go from one point of the city to another in the heat that is sometimes difficult to bear.
Another means of transport, the metro, which you will find at different places in the city, will take you to tourist sites, thus connecting the city center to Palm Beach.
Buses are also available. If you decide to opt for this means of transport you can take advantage of the air-conditioned stops.

Dubai Metro

Metro station, Dubai

When and when to visit Dubai?

With its arid subtropical climate, Dubai supports temperatures that can reach 50° from June to September . From May to the end of October, the rain is rare. Thus, the ideal time to visit Dubai is between November and April, the thermometer not showing more than 28° in the afternoon. In terms of events, don’t miss the Dubai International Film Festival, whose mission is to open up to all cultures. Filmmakers from the Arab world also present their latest works, proving that the Middle East has plenty of talent. As for the gastronomic festival, it takes place at the end of February to discover the cuisine of the emirate with your feet in the sand. Simultaneously takes place the jazz festivalwhich aims to be international in scope. Enjoy the summer season with the Dubai Summer Surprises . The stores offer interesting sales and many activities are offered to families. On the program: sand sculpture, puzzle game, video games and many more!

Jan.Feb.March.Apr.MayJuneJul.Me.Sep.Oct.Nov.Dec.

Least favorable period Intermediate period Most favorable period

Temperatures and weather forecast in Dubai

MonthAverage temperatures in the shade (in °C)Length of day
Jan.1808h
Feb.1907h
March2208h
Apr.2408h
May2610h
June3010h
Jul.3409h
August3509h
Sep.3109h
Oct.2709h
Nov.2409h
Dec.2008h

Cover photo credit: Dubai

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Mohamed SAKHRI

I am Mohamed SAKHRI, the creator and editor-in-chief of this blog, 'Discover the World – The Blog for Curious Travelers.' Join me as we embark on a journey around the world, uncovering beautiful places, diverse cultures, and captivating stories. Additionally, we will delve into mysterious and, at times, even bizarre destinations.

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