Dubai, The Pearl of Middle East Where Luxury Lives
Currency: United Arab Emirates dirham (AED) or (Dhs)
Language: Arabic, English
Tax Refund: Tourists and visitors can claim refund on VAT paid on purchases they made during their stay in the UAE. They can then receive their refund at the departure port. This is valid with a min spend of 250 AED.
From Airport to Downtown
Public taxis from the airport, which are readily available just outside arrivals, which use the meter and start at 25 Dhs. A trip to the city from airport using Uber will cost around 60 Dhs (20 SGD).
Cheaper way will be via the Metro, Terminals 1 and 3 are served directly. It is an affordable option to get to and from the airport. It is also a good way to get around the city, away from the heat. Dubai Metro links most of the city’s most popular attractions. It is composed of only two lines: RED and GREEN. Get one of the contactless card, known as nol. For tourists, get a silver card which cost 6 Dhs. Rides cost from 4 to 8.50 Dhs. Balance credit can be refunded.
Drastically different from the glamour skyscrapers as well as private yacht, the old part of Dubai is where all the culture remains. It is located towards the north east part of the city, near the airport. Old Dubai is mainly separated into Deira and Bur Dubai, in between them is the Dubai Creek. Just wander around here and experience it. There are also tons of stuff to visit like the, Gold Souk
Bastakiya District or Al Fahidi Historical District
The historic quarter of Al Bastakiya dates back to the 19th century and is the oldest residential quarter in Dubai. Visitors can walk around the maze-like streets and admire the original architecture of this neighbourhood established by merchants. The buildings were completed with wind towers, evidence of a time before air conditioning.
Colourful and aromatic, check out this traditional market in one of Dubai most original heritage area. Look at the mounts of herbs and spices piled on baskets lined outside. If you are up to getting some of them, do haggle. It is open from 7.30am to 9.30pm.
The main narrow water way that separates Deira and Bur Dubai. One of the thing to do here is to pay 1 AED and enjoy a fabulous ride in the abra, the traditional water taxi to cross the atmospheric Dubai Creek from Bur Dubai to Deira on the opposite side. There are two main routes that you can take. One is from Deira Old Souk Abra Station to Bur Dubai Abra Station, RTA Route Code CR1. Another is from Sabkha Abra Station to Dubai Old Souk Abra Station, RTA Route Code CR2. Riding close to sunset brings another form of experience.
Like a souk, but this is more of a group of upscale hotels linked together. It is located in the Jumeirah district. Something like an Arabian resort, cafes and restaurants are spread across over 40 ha of landscapes and gardens. Think of it like an upscale bazaar
The tallest building or super skyscraper in Dubai. This is no doubt the most famous attractions or icon of the city. If you are here on festive days, be in awe of the fireworks shooting out of the 160 story building. It is the place to be. The building is connected to the Dubai Mall as well as the Dubai Fountain. It is possible to head up to the observation deck for a hefty price. Tickets range from 109 to 179 Dhs for levels 124 and 125. From 359 to 459 Dhs if you want to go up to level 148. A good alternative is to visit Atmosphere restaurant seeing how expensive tickets are.
In front of Burj Khalifa, there is a fountain show that is free of charge. It is one stunning performance of dancing waters. This is the world largest choreographed fountain system with displays and water jets reaching 140 metres. Set on the manmade Burj Lake. Shows happen daily every 30 mins from 6pm to 11pm. The show also held at day time but only at 1 PM and 1:30 PM.
Consist of mainly The Walk and Marina Walk, this place is located towards the left of Jumeirah Palm. Tons of restaurants here as well as the opportunity to ogle at fancy yacht. You can also head to the beach here. You can check out Marina Beach as well as JBR Beach. Nice for a walk if the weather is cooling.
Super popular white sand beach located in the Jumeirah district. This is a public beach that everyone can visit, it is popular with both residents and tourists.
Another popular public beach in Dubai, this is a little out of the tourist area. It is more popular among the expats. Perfect for an afternoon. There are plenty of cafes nearby as well.
Burj Al Arab
The most luxurious hotel in Dubai and probably in the world. It is said to be the only 7 star hotel in the world. Decked in fancy gold and shaped like a sail. It is everyone must see in Dubai. A good place for a photo will be from Umm Suqeim Beach. It is located on an island of its own. Sadly only guests can visit the hotel, one of the cheapest way to do it is to book an afternoon tea there.
Palm Jumeirah & Atlantis
An artificial man made island shaped like a palm. It is also a shopping and dining destinations as well. If you are driving, it is also a very nice experience driving on the crescent road. There are many beach here as well, although mostly private ones. When here you also got to check out The Atlantis, this grand resort, themed on the myth of Atlantis. There is a free shuttle bus to the mall of the emirates
One of the newest attraction in town, here you can find gorgeous landscaped gardens, fully covered with flowers. You can even find a life size version of an Emirates A380 floral installation. Open hours varies and they are only open from mid-November till mid may. Tickets cost 55 Dhs for adults and 40 for children.
Definitely the largest frame in the world, no doubt to Dubai for doing this. This unique 150m tall building shaped like a frame is another new attraction in Dubai. It is open daily from 9am to 9pm. For just a look at it, you can just walk around Zabeel Park. Tickets to the frame itself cost 50 Dhs for adults and 20 for children.
Hot Air Balloon
A ride above the vast desert, this is one of the thing to do in Dubai. You are able to have a good view of the sand dunes or even check out the sunrise. Usually cost around 799 to 1250 Dhs. Some of the vendors includes, ballooning.ae, http://www.hotairballoonuae.com or even klook.
Sky Diving & Gyrocopter
One of the thing to do in Dubai. Imagine yourself jumping off the plane onto the Palm or soaring between the towering skyscrapers. This experience however does not come cheap. Most of the operators are under Skydive Dubai. You can also choose to skydive into the desert. You have to be 100 kg and below. It cost 2199 Dhs for the palm jump and 1699 for the desert jump. You can also go for a Gyrocopter ride and see Dubai from the above. It cost from 400 Dhs to 999 Dhs.
An experience in the desert can’t be missed, there are plenty of tours offered. Most of them included a safari tour, sand dunes, camel rides or even sunset and sunrise tour. You can even choose to stay overnight or have a bbq dinner in the desert.
Al Ain & Jebel Hafit Desert Park
Roughly about 2 hours’ drive from Dubai, this is a great place for a day trip and excursion. There are a couple of attractions in this UNESCO world heritage site city and you can also go to the desert park. Best way is to rent a car. Check out the Qasr Al Muwaiji, Palace museum and Al Jahili Fort too. Jebel Hafit is particularly good for sunsets. The park opens from 8am to 6pm.
The Dubai Mall
It has over 1200 shops of brand names from all over the world. It is currently the largest mall in the world and the most famous one in Dubai. Contains an indoor ice rink and indoor aquarium. It is right next door to the Burj Khalifah, the world’s tallest building as well as the Dubai fountain where there is a daily light show on the fountain. This is the place to be in Dubai. You can probably find anything that you want here. The mall is open from 10am to 11pm daily, with extended hours till midnight from thu to sat. You can even find magnolia bakery and cheesecake factory here. They even provide a coach which connects to a few places in Dubai.
Mall of the Emirates
The other huge mall in competition with Dubai Mall, this mall is located nearer to the Palm, with plenty of stores and dining facility, you can also find a ski centre and cinema here. In the mall there is also a huge Carrefour hypermarket. The mall is open from 10am to 10pm from sun to wed, till midnight from thu to sat.
Dubai Outlet Mall
Located about a 20 mins drive out of the city, this is the only outlet mall in Dubai. There are plenty of shops and free parking here, often with prices 30-50% off. It is open from 10am to 12am on Thu and Fri and till 10pm on other days. They also operates a Free Shuttle Bus services to various hotels in and around Dubai, you will have to email them for the details.
Al Fanar Restaurant & Cafe
Various outlets in Dubai
Popular chain restaurant serving up good Emirati food, it is available in both Abu Dhabi and Dubai. They serve up a variety of local food and sweets. Perfect for an introduction to local food. You can find meals from breakfast to dinner. Open from 9am to 10pm or 11pm on Thu and Fri daily.
Popular American chain restaurant famous for its cheesecake that can be found in various location including The Dubai Mall as well as Mall of the Emirates.
Popular bakery from NYC famous for its banana pudding that can be found in various location around Dubai. Some of the outlets open till pretty late.
Entrance Via Armani Hotel
Located at the top of the Burj Khalifa, this is the place to be for some fine dining at 122nd story up, 422 metres off the ground in the air with the view of Dubai all under you. This is also the world highest restaurant. It is not a cheap affair but definitely one of the thing to do once in your life. It might be a good choice to come here instead of paying for a hefty observatory ticket. Reservations are definitely recommended, a 3 course lunch comes in at 245 Dhs which is one of your cheapest option. They also have a ladies night on Tuesday. Dinner in the lounge is another option.
Yansoon 9,Shaik Muhammad bin Rashid Road، Near Al Manzil Hotel, Downtown, Dubai – – Dubai – United Arab Emirates
Popular restaurant serving up Middle East favourites, it is also near the Dubai Mall. Open daily from 12pm to 12am. They also have takeaway available. Good place to try some local food.
Dubai Fish Hut
Various locations in Dubai
Highly recommended seafood restaurant in Dubai. You can find most of the seafood here and at a reasonable price for Dubai standards. It is open daily from 12pm to 12am, the one near Mall of the Emirates is even open 24 hours. They grilled fish is a must order, menu changes daily depending on what is available. Get the shrimps too.
Jumeirah Mina A’Salam,Madinat Jumeirah, Jumeira Road, Umm Suqeim 3 – Dubai – United Arab Emirates
Popular Mexican restaurant located by the bay, it is one of the best in town. It is located in one of Jumeirah hotels. They have very varied opening hours, mostly for dinner and only lunch on fri and sat.
Basta Art Café
63 Al Faheide – Al Fahidi – Dubai – United Arab Emirates
Charming café in the heart of the Old Quarter – offering a comfortable and chic atmosphere in the traditional buildings of Al Bastakiya. This is a perfect spot to try typical Arabic food and further indulge in the region’s culture. The setting is very beautiful.
Bu Qtair Fish Restaurant
Old 32B Street, Fishing Harbour 2 – Dubai – United Arab Emirates
It’s a restaurant that started off as a street food shack along the ocean, but has since developed into an indoor, yet still local and bare-bones, restaurant. You choose your fish and prawns, which are all marinated south Indian style. Then everything is deep fried, and it’s seriously tasty. One of the cheapest place in town. Open daily from 11.30am to 11.30pm. A must visit.
Near Al Fahidi Metro Station – Al Mussallah Rd – Al Hamriya – Dubai – United Arab Emirates
A popular local joint with over 40 years of history located in the historical district serving up kababs and other Persian favourites. Perfect choice when you are in the vicinity. It is open daily from 11am to 1am. Simple and delicious.
Jumeirah St – Jumeirah, Jumeirah 1 – Dubai – United Arab Emirates
Come here for traditional Emirati food, here they served up some of the most authentic biryanis and curries in the city. Get some of the grilled meat as well. The grilled shrimp machboos is doused in shredded parsley and coated in tomato is a must try. Open from 7am to 12am daily.
Al Mallah Restaurant
Various outlets around Dubai
Lebanese restaurant for fuss free eating. Grab some of the best shawarma sandwiches and fresh juices. Prices are easy on the wallet as well. They are also available for delivery. They are open for super long hours.
Various outlets in Dubai
Arabic street food in a market style environment. It brings the good food in a nice ambience. Dishes on the menu are influenced by many different arab countries. You can also find old favourites like the falafel, fried halloumi and chicken shawarma, plenty of options here. Some outlets are even open 24 hours! Prices are affordable. Perfect for anytime of the day.