Dubai Essentials Travel Guide
Updated: Apr 26
Dubai is a city of innovation that shines like a jewel in the desert. With record-breaking architecture, world-class malls, al fresco dining areas, cerulean canals, indoor ski resorts, and even man-made islands, it's clear that Dubai is a city firmly in charge of writing its own narrative. Its bold and daring developments despite the history of a small fishing village are jaw-dropping. The fact that the luxurious and suave city still embraces its heritage makes the travelers fall for its charm even more.
If you are planning to discover such a fascinating destination for your next vacation, this ultimate Dubai travel guide will save you from all delays and hassles.
Guest Blogger: Neha Singh, Dubai Wikia
Disclosure: Our site contains Affiliate Links. As an Amazon Associate, we also earn from qualifying purchases. Clicking an Affiliate Link and purchasing something we recommend, won't cost you anything extra - it probably will save you some bucks. It will though give us a small commission which will help this site remaining a free resource for travelers to explore our world together.
Sightseeing, Activities, and Tours Exploring Dubai
1. Skydive above Palm Jumeirah
Skydiving has become one of the most sought-after adventure sports. Indulge in this breathtaking adventure and enjoy the pristine views. Experience a hair-raising free-fall at the iconic artificial island Plam Jumeirah or over the expansive Arabian desert. The instructors guide you throughout the aerial journey including a demonstration.
2. Take a winter break at Ski Dubai
Supported by great facilities and seasoned trainers, skiing in the snow at Ski Dubai is a fun polar activity. It is unbelievable to find this winter wonderland in the middle of a desert. This is the Middle East's first indoor ski resort, where you can snowboard, take a chairlift ride, play games in a snow cavern, and even build your own snowman. You can also meet the penguins, watch their shows, and warm your heart with a hot cup of chocolate.
3. Zipline across Dubai Marina
Adventure level has gone up a notch in Dubai with one of the steepest and fastest ziplines around the globe. Located in Dubai Marina, XLine is 1km in length, up to 170m in height. Hang and hold on tight to slide across the most picturesque view at an average speed of 80km/h.
4. Swim with sharks at Dubai Aquarium
140 species of thousands of magnificent aquatic animals, a 10-million liter tank, 48-meter long walk-through tunnel, and 40 different display tanks, the Dubai Aquarium and Underwater Zoo is a sight to behold. It is an awe-inspiring destination that lets you explore the underwater world. You can dive with sharks, feed them, do cage snorkeling, and meet the most powerful reptile.
5. Cruise along the Marina/ Creek
Skip the ordinary way of traveling, and hop on the dhow converted cruise. Similar to gondola rides of Venice, this is an embellished and well-maintained cruise for the guests to savor the delicious meal with the view of posh Marina or the ecstatic Old Dubai. Admire the live entertainment shows and the city's modern skyline in an uninterrupted 2-hour cruising.
6. Book a Desert Safari Dubai
Whisk away from the glittering skyline to the untamed desert where you can still ride the camels, enjoy belly dancing, and smoke the shisha like good old Bedouin days. The evening in desert safari is well spent with the camp-style arrangements, a wealth of adventure activities, a mouth-watering Arabic buffet, culturally-inspired activities, and unmatchable hospitability.
7. Visit the Souks
To uncover the other side of Dubai, drive to the souks, which is a buzzing and vibrant marketplace. In the maze of walkways, you can find the gold, spice, textile, and perfume souks. There are quality gold pieces of jewelry available at cheap rates. Shop the mounds of herbs, the aroma of perfumes, handmade fabrics, and best souvenirs to reminisce memories back home.
1. Burj Khalifa
World's tallest building, Burj Khalifa rises at a whopping 828 meters and boasts 160 stories. It is home to the highest observation deck from where you can immerse yourself in the sweeping panoramic views of the city. There are high-powered telescopes, exhibits, lounges, and restaurants.
2. Burj Al Arab
A manifestation of innovation, a resemblance to the sail shape, and an icon of Arabian luxury, Burj Al Arab is the first seven-star hotel in the world. It features interiors in gold, an infinity pool terrace, a man-made beach, the tallest grand atrium, Michelin-starred chefs, a spectacular spa, and wonderful service.
3. Dubai Mall
A one-stop destination for shopping, entertainment, and leisure, Dubai Mall assorts the biggest brands from around the globe. During DSF it has blockbuster discounts and sales for the shopping maniacs. Besides fashion and furnishing, it has plenty of other places to see in Dubai- VR Park, Dubai Dino, Ice Rink, Reel Cinemas, Hysteria, and Dubai Aquarium.
4. Dubai Fountain
World's largest choreographed fountain system, Dubai Fountain is a spectacle of light, music, and water. Situated on 30-acre Burj Lake, the fountain performs to a range of songs with the use of over 6,600 WET Superlights and hundreds of color projectors.
5. Atlantis The Palm
At the end of the Palm Jumeirah, alongside the calm turquoise waters of the Arabian Gulf, sits the rose-hued Atlantis resort. Whether you want to stay in the deluxe suites, dine on menus from Gordon Ramsay, play in the biggest aquarium — this is a perfect getaway.
6. Bastakiya Quarter
Dubai travel guide is incomplete without the Old Dubai. With a history stretching back to the 19th century, Bastakiya Quarter is the oldest neighborhood in the emirate. Today it consists of art galleries, cafes, and boutique hotels behind those brown wooden doors and lattices, to help you understand more about the Emirati culture.
7. Jumeirah Public Beach
The surfing beach in Dubai, Jumeirah is perfect to lounge in recliners overlooking the view of the sunset with a backdrop of Burj Al Arab. The white sandy strip and blue water offer great water sports opportunities for the visitors accompanied by all facilities.
8. IMG Worlds of Adventure
It is a themed, air-conditioned, indoor amusement park that spans an area of 1.5 million sq. ft. Perfect for all age groups, this park is divided into five zones. Dedicated to Cartoon and Marvel characters, the rides are fun-filled and spine-chilling. There is a Haunted Hotel and Lost Dinosaur Valley that are designed to take you to otherworldly reality.
9. Dubai Miracle Garden
Amidst the lofty skyscrapers, Dubai Miracle Garden is an extraordinary wonder made of over 50 million natural flowers. It is a space full of colors and scents. The floral renditions like Lost Paradise, Mickey Mouse, Floral Clock, Floral Castle, and other attractions such as Trampoline, Lake Park, and Butterfly garden offer a pleasant stroll.
Restaurants and Eating Out in Dubai
Dubai is proud of its exquisite dining and how the best chefs prepare dishes from all cultures in the kitchen of first-class restaurants. Either you look for French cuisine paired with panoramic views or want to gobble seafood cooked by award-winning chefs, Dubai is the place to be. From street food to continental, some top restaurants are Nobu Dubai, BB Social Dining, Buddha Bar, Zheng He's, Pierchic, Chuan, and Bab Al Shams. And if quirkiness is all you seek, Dinner in the Sky is rated as one of the most unusual restaurants in the world.
Best Time to Travel and Visit
Dubai is hot, no matter what time of the year you will visit. However, during the winter months from November to March, the climate becomes pleasant and balmy. This is the crowd-puller season which sees the city in its high-spirited and dynamic state. July and August are the hottest months with an average high of 36C — when you aren't able to enjoy any outdoor activities like desert safari.
Best Ways for Transports
Dubai is a metropolitan city. It is well-connected with networks of public transportation like buses and metros. You can buy the passes and explore the emirate and its popular neighborhoods under the budget. For privacy and little more convenience, you can choose the metered taxis which is yet another ubiquitous mode of transportation.
To think about before you go
Ramadan month is the quietest time of the year when most of the shops and activities are shut down. Restaurants are closed to respect Muslims that are fasting.
Dubai is a city intertwined with Islamic traditions. So, follow the customs and abide by the rules.
Do not wear revealing, short and transparent clothes.
Public Display of Affection is strictly prohibited.
Consumption of alcohol in open areas and malls can lead to hefty fines.
Do not be openly vocal about the government, as it could be taken from a negative perspective.
Book desert safari Dubai in advance to avoid hassle and wear light, cotton clothes for the excursion.
Dubai has you spoilt with its choices of entertainment, food, and shopping. Everything is larger than life in Dubai. From loads of adventure to culinary and retail therapy, this Dubai guide will help you squeeze the maximum fun of the city. Pack your bags, carry essentials, follow the rules and no one can stop you from having the best holiday of your life.
Guest Blogger Neha Singh is a postgraduate in Mass Communications and a keen writer. She is passionate about traveling to new places, reading fiction, learning new things, and loves being a nature trekker. She is frequently published on Dubai Wikia.