The Total Guide to Your Trip in Dubai

Ashley Akridge - Freelance Writer

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Welcome to Dubai, a city of boundless luxury and beauty!

If you're looking for some of the most incredible shopping in the world, a nightlife scene that's second to none, and more than enough activities to fill your schedule every day of the week, this is the place for you. It's also home to some of the most jaw-dropping architecture known to man—you can visit a palm tree-shaped island or ski down an indoor mountain. There are so many things to do in Dubai that it can be hard to decide where to start.

That's why we've put together this Dubai guide: so you can get acquainted with the city before you even arrive! We've covered all the best things to do in Dubai and some great places to stay, so once you're here all that's left is booking your tours and transportation… or just sticking with us and letting us take care of everything for you. We'll make sure your vacation goes off without a hitch!

10 Best Things to Do in Dubai

Dubai is a haven for adrenaline junkies, luxury seekers, and beach lovers. So what are the best things to do in Dubai? From watching an awe-inspiring F1 race to exploring sand dunes by camel; here's our pick of 10 Best Things to do in Dubai.

Explore the futuristic city of Dubai on a 12-minute helicopter tour

Dubai. The Palm Jumeirah project from a Helicopter view.

As you soar above the skyline in a high-powered helicopter, listen to the onboard commentary about the many sites below, including some of the world's tallest buildings and luxurious hotels. See the world's tallest building, Burj Khalifa, as well as Palm Jumeirah Island and Atlantis Hotel.

This is the perfect introduction for first-time visitors to Dubai who want to see as much of this amazing city as possible in a short space of time. Listen to the onboard commentary about the many sites below while enjoying light refreshments provided.


The Dubai Aquarium and Underwater Zoo

View of Dubai Aquarium inside Dubai Mall

Want to see the world's largest suspended aquarium? How about take a stroll through a 48-meter-long underwater tunnel to get a 270-degree view of the same tank, which holds 10 million liters of water and 33,000 aquatic creatures from 150 species? Or maybe you're more interested in meeting King Crocs, the world's largest reptile, or checking out the night creatures at the underwater zoo?

This is all possible at Dubai Aquarium and Underwater Zoo. Located in Dubai Mall, one of the world's largest shopping malls that also houses KidZania and VR Park, this destination gives you an opportunity to participate in unique water activities like Dive with Sharks or Cage Snorkeling. You could even take a Glass Bottom Ride if you don't want to get wet!

With its strategic location in one of Dubai's most popular areas for shopping and play, the aquarium is an ideal place for families with young children.

Discover Dubai's Miracle Garden

Miracle Garden in Dubai. United Arab Emirates, Middle East

There are plenty of ways to see Dubai – from a ride on a double-decker bus to an evening meal in the desert. But if you're looking for a way to experience Dubai in a different light, and take in its natural beauty, then this is the tour for you.

The Miracle Garden is home to an unrivaled display of flowers: with more than 109 million blooms, this garden is the world's largest natural flower garden. A visit here will allow you to stroll among incredible floral creations and sculptures, with everything from Disney characters, to floral hearts and arches.

Your tour includes air-conditioned return transfers from your hotel, so all you need to do is get yourself ready for your day out in the sunshine.

The Dubai Fountains Show Lake Ride

Dubai fountain show at night

You've heard of the Dubai Fountains, but have you ever seen them from the water? Now you can! With this lake ride aboard a boat, you'll get to experience the show from many vantage points. The music and lights will guide your boat as it travels around the largest fountain in the world.

You'll board a boat and cruise around the magnificent Dubai Fountain, enjoying up-close views of the dancing jets from the water. The fountain has five circles of varying sizes, and each circle has a different theme:
The largest circle is called "Oasis," and it contains 250 fountains that shoot jets of water up to 500 feet in the air. This is one of the few places where you can view all of these fountains at once. The second largest circle is called "The Wave," and it has 150 fountains that shoot jets to 100 feet in the air. The third largest circle is called "The River," and it contains 100 fountains that shoot jets to 50 feet in the air. The fourth largest circle is known as "The Sea," and it features 50 fountains that shoot jets to 20 feet in the air. Finally, there is a fifth circle that consists only of one fountain, which shoots a jet straight up into the sky.

Scuba Dive in Dubai

Scuba divers diving under water next to Burj Al Arab on an early morning day in Dubai

Dubai is one of the most exciting, fast-paced cities in the world. But beneath the giant skyscrapers and shopping malls lies another world: the Persian Gulf and its beautiful ecosystems, full of fish and sea plants, turtles and dolphins.
So if you've never been scuba diving, or want to do it somewhere new, why not try a dive in Dubai? You'll get a training session in the classroom and in the water before diving as deep as 60 feet (18 meters) into the Persian Gulf water. Keep a lookout for sea life and animals in their natural habitat. Pictures and videos are also taken during your dive so you can remember this beautiful experience forever!

The Dubai Frame

Aerial view of Dubai Frame near downtown Dubai with old Dubai skyline in the United Arab Emirates

Dubai Frame offers a glimpse of Dubai's evolution from a small fishing village to a bustling port and, more recently, a modern metropolis. The structure itself is a 150-meter-tall, 93-meter-wide frame that has been carefully positioned to offer gorgeous views of Old Dubai on one side and New Dubai on the other. Inside the structure, you'll find a museum and gallery that provide insight into the city's history and its rapid modernization. Then, take the elevator up to the bridge, where you can see spectacular panoramic views of the city.

Dubai Red Dune Desert Safari

Dune Buggies being driven by tourists at aa Desert Safari park in the red sand dunes near Dubai

One of the biggest draws to Dubai is the desert, and one of the best ways to experience it? With a desert safari! These all-inclusive tours are great for visitors who want an adrenaline rush without all the planning.

A typical desert safari tour will take you dune bashing—riding your 4x4 over the sand dunes with a professional driver at the wheel. If you're feeling extra adventurous, you can also get your blood pumping with camel rides, sandboarding, and even photo ops from atop the highest desert dunes.

The main event is usually after sunset, when you'll enjoy live entertainment showcasing Tanura and belly dancing, then treat your eyes with live entertainment showcasing Tanura & Belly Dance. You'll also be able to enjoy a delicious BBQ buffet (with vegetarian and non-vegetarian options).

Dubai Top Five Attractions Tour

Burj Khalifa standing tall in Dubai

Dubai's Top Five Attractions Tour is a great way to get acquainted with the city if you're there for a short visit or only have a few days.

You'll be accompanied by a professional guide who will show you all of Dubai's top sights and attractions in one day: from Atlantis The Palm to the Burj Khalifa.

The tour starts at 9am, when your guide will meet you at your hotel. From there, it's off to see the iconic Atlantis, The Palm and Burj Al Arab hotels before heading over to the Dubai Marina, where you'll board a scenic Arabian dhow cruise along skyscraper-ringed waters.

After lunch on your own, you're off to experience one of Dubai's most spectacular sights: the 124th floor of the Burj Khalifa. This viewing platform offers stupendous views of the city and desert beyond, which you'll enjoy before heading down for dinner at the swish Armani Hotel, where you'll savor a delicious buffet overlooking the iconic Dubai Fountain Show.

Private Luxury Everest Yacht Cruise

Families and tourists cruising on Luxury yacht in Dubai Marina with Atlantis Palm Jumeirah hotel at the background.

Cruise around the Persian Gulf, run by a skipper who is willing to take you anywhere and stop for whatever you feel like doing on your boat ride. The best part? On this cruise, there are no strangers, and you can bring up to 14 of your friends or family with you!

This is your chance to get out on the water on a modern yacht and make it your own. Take in the view, lounge around on deck, play some music… or if you're feeling more active, drop a line and see if any fish are biting.
The price includes choice of day or evening departure times, plus sodas, water, and fishing equipment.

Dubai City Tour with Gold Souk

A tourist is busy for exploring heavyweight expensive gold jewellery at Dubai Gold Souk in Dubai, UAE

Your trip to Dubai isn't complete without a tour of the city's heritage district, as well as its famous souks (markets).
This walking tour will take you through the historic districts of Deira and Bur Dubai. You'll explore the Al Bastakiya Heritage Area and see Dubai's oldest building, the Al Fahidi Fort, which houses the Dubai Museum. You'll also walk around the Gold Souk and spice markets in Deira. From there, you'll board an air-conditioned minivan for a panoramic city tour, seeing such sights as the Burj Al Arab and Atlantis The Palm. Then it's off to Souk Madinat Jumeirah and Dubai Marina. And finally, you'll finish your day with photos at the Burj Khalifa, followed by watching a sparkling Dubai Fountain Show!

5 Day trips and tours in Dubai

If you are visiting Dubai, there is a good chance that you have already planned most of your trip in advance. However, if you happen to be still looking for some things to do in Dubai during your trip, then you've come to the right place. This section will give you a list of 5 Day trips and tours worth considering for your visit to Dubai.

Hot Air Balloon Ride, Vintage Land Rover Ride & Breakfast

Hot air balloon over Dubai Desert

Start your morning with a hot-air balloon ride over the desert plains and canyons as you watch the sunrise. After landing, hop into a vintage 1950s Land Rover and travel to a gourmet breakfast site in the desert, where you'll also enjoy a falcon display. This morning tour includes round-trip transport from select Dubai hotels.

Go up, up and away on a hot-air balloon ride over the spectacular Dubai Desert Conservation Reserve. The reserve is home to rare desert wildlife such as gazelles and Arabian oryxes (the national animal of the UAE), which roam freely in its vast expanses.

Rise early for a convenient hotel pickup, then travel to the launch site to board your hot-air balloon for an awe-inspiring flight over the desert landscape. See camels grazing below as you take in views of the sprawling sand dunes, craggy canyons and mountain foothills.

After landing, hop into a vintage 1950s Land Rover and travel to an exclusive gourmet breakfast site in the desert. Relax in a private tent while indulging in delicious food and beverages, including Arabic coffee and dates.

Musandam Khasab Day Trip and Dhow Cruise from Dubai

Khasab, Oman: Dolphins and tourist dhow boats, fjords of Musandam peninsula

Musandam Peninsula, the "Norway of Arabia," is a rugged, mountainous exclave of Oman that's separated from the rest of the country by the United Arab Emirates. If you're visiting Dubai, this full-day trip to Musandam gives you a chance to experience a different way of life without flying or driving for hours.

With round-trip transportation from your hotel in Dubai, ride through the desert to reach the border crossing into Oman. On arrival in Khasab — Musandam's capital city — board a traditional dhow (wooden boat) and cruise along the coast past fjord-like bays, hidden coves and dramatic mountains. Keep an eye out for dolphins and drop anchor at Telegraph Island or Taqah Castle for some snorkeling.

Full-Day Tour of Abu Dhabi City

Sea and skyscrapers in Abu Dhabi

The best way to start your trip is with a full-day guided city tour of Dubai, complete with a visit to the observation deck at Burj Khalifa and shopping at the Mall of the Emirates.

With your guide, you'll explore the old quarter of Bastakiya and admire the architecture on a visit to Jumeirah Mosque. You'll also get to see Burj Al Arab from a distance before exploring the Sheikh Saeed House, which is dedicated to the former ruler of Dubai.

Your tour also includes time at Souk Madinat Jumeirah, where you can check out traditional handicrafts and souvenirs. Enjoy lunch at your own expense (not included). In the afternoon, head to Burj Khalifa for your pre booked timed ticket to At The Top observatory deck. Then conclude your tour with a stop at Mall of the Emirates for shopping.

Atlantis Aquaventure & Lost Chambers

Waterpark of Atlantis the Palm hotel, Dubai, UAE

If you're looking for a dose of adrenaline on your Dubai vacation, head straight to Atlantis Aquaventure & Lost Chambers. The Middle East's leading waterpark is packed with awesome rides and attractions.

Take a plunge down Poseidon's Revenge, the tallest and craziest free-fall slide in the Middle East. Then float around the park on the mile-long Lazy River, or let your little ones loose at Splasher's Island.

Once you're all partied out, relax on the beach and refuel with snacks. On top of all that, this tour includes full-day entry to The Lost Chambers Aquarium, where you can discover more than 65,000 marine animals!

Legoland Dubai

Entrance of Legoland at Dubai Parks and Resorts

The much-anticipated Legoland Dubai is now open! The region's first theme park dedicated to the Lego brick, Legoland Dubai, welcomes families to a full day of fun and adventure.

As you explore the park, you'll discover six themed lands: factory, lego city, imagination, kingdoms, adventure and miniland. You can interact with lego models from all over the world at miniland, or hop on a raft for a white-water adventure in kingdom quest. From watching lego being made at the legoland factory to riding the dragon coaster and skiing waves on the wave racer ride, there are plenty of rides, attractions and shows to keep kids entertained for hours.
Legoland Dubai has more than 40 rides and attractions as well as 15,000 lego model structures made from more than 60 million Lego bricks. Kids can build their own creations at interactive play areas throughout the park. When they need to refuel there are several restaurants and food outlets spread out across the park.

10 Restaurants to try in Dubai

Tourist resort pool at night with table and chairs in Dubai UAE

There's no end to the incredible restaurants in Dubai. We've narrowed it down to 10 awesome ones you should try, but there are many, many more.

Sputnik: This one is a bit of a drive from the city center (about 30 minutes) but it's worth it for the surrealist decor, delicious fusion cuisine and excellent wine list.

BOCA: This Spanish-Italian restaurant is located in DIFC and offers delicious pasta, fresh seafood and decadent desserts.

Fume: If you're looking for organic food that won't break the bank, you need to try Fume! They have creative sandwiches, smoothies and coffee drinks that are all made with fresh, organic ingredients at a reasonable price point.

Grand Grill Steakhouse: If it's steak you're craving, this spot has some of the best steaks in town! From filet mignon to ribeye to sirloin, they have all your red meat favorites plus an extensive wine list and delightful desserts like chocolate soufflé or tiramisu.

Reem Al Bawadi: The original branch of this popular Middle Eastern restaurant chain is located in Al Barsha; there are smaller branches scattered around the city as well. Readers love their hummus with lamb and tabbouleh salad!

The Black Lion: A traditional English pub serving hearty classics like roast beef and Yorkshire pudding, plus some of the best fish and chips in town! They also offer a wide range of bar games if you feel like testing your skills while you dine.

Salt: Located in the modern Al Serkal Avenue Arts District, this restaurant features innovative interpretations of traditional Emirati cuisine in an industrial-chic atmosphere.

Le Petit Maison: This restaurant serves traditional French cuisine with a Mediterranean twist, as well as some of the best gluten-free options in the city.

Villa Toscana: This family-owned restaurant is located on Jumeirah Beach Road and offers authentic Italian food in a warm and welcoming atmosphere—and for a pretty great price, too!

La Cantine du Faubourg: You'll feel like you're dining at a French mansion when you sit down at this beautiful bistro known for its chic decor and lively atmosphere.

5 Hotel ideas for staying in Dubai

Dubai Skyscraper and Burj Khalifa, United Arab Emirates

We've looked at everything from value for money to cool perks like free breakfasts and hot tubs, so that no matter what your style is, we've got something for you!

Atlantis The Palm - $911 per night

Dubai, UAE: The Iconic Atlantis, The Palm Hotel Located On The Outer Crescent On The Man Made Island, The Palm Jumeirah

This hotel is not only located on the Palm Jumeirah island, but it is also an architecturally stunning resort that has been built to look like a mythical lost city. The property includes an aquarium and water park, dolphin encounters, dining options (including Nobu), nightclubs, and more.

4 nights 5 days Dubai package with 4 star hotel - $850.00

View of Burj Khalifa, Dubai, UAE, on a beautiful day

From the sand dunes of the desert to the soaring heights of Burj Khalifa, this 4-night, 5-day package will take you from one breathtaking location to another.

You'll be staying at the Hilton Garden Inn Hotel in a four-star room, with a total cost of $850 for two people. The hotel includes round-trip transfers from the airport, plus the tours included in the package, access to restaurants, shopping malls, and retail outlets.

6 nights 7 days Dubai package with 5 star hotel - $1,700.00

Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque

This 7-day, 6-night Dubai package starts off with lunch and continues with 6 nights of hotel accommodation in a 5-star hotel. You'll get to see the Grand Mosque as well as Burj Khalifa, the tallest building in the world, and experience the musical fountain show. You'll be able to do some shopping and visit the Dubai Garden Glow & Ice Park. Other visits include Ferrari World, Louvre Museum, Aquaventure water park, and more! All fees and taxes are included in the trip price. Transportation is provided by private car throughout your stay. Breakfast is included every day except one day of your stay, when you will be dining out. Dinner is also included on two days of your stay.

7 Nights 8 days Dubai package with 4-star hotel - $1,800.00

Dubai Garden Glow

Spend 7 nights and 8 days exploring the city of Dubai, and experience all of the amazing sights it has to offer—from the beautiful Burj Khalifa skyscraper to the gorgeous gardens of the Dubai Garden Glow & Ice Park. You will be staying in a 4-star hotel (with daily breakfast included!), and walking through history at the Louvre Museum in Abu Dhabi. You won't want to miss out on this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to see such incredible sights—all while enjoying incredible savings.

Your trip will include:

7 nights hotel stay with daily breakfast
Dubai city tour
Dhow cruise with dinner
Desert safari with dinner
Burj Khalifa tour
Musical fountain
Dubai frame tour
Dubai Miracle Garden & Butterfly Garden tour
Global Village tour
Dubai Garden Glow & Ice Park tour
Abu Dhabi city tour with Grand Mosque visit
Ferrari World entrance tickets and Louvre Museum entrance tickets

7 nights 8 days Dubai & Abu Dhabi package with 5-star - $1,900.00

 mosque in Jumeirah, with Emirates Towers in the background on Sheikh Zayed Road, Dubai, United Arab Emirates

This package comes with everything you could want in an experience - a 5-star hotel stay, delicious meals at renowned restaurants, and exciting adventures. Discover old and new Dubai on city tours, go for a desert safari, and try dune buggying. Experience nature at Dubai Garden Glow and Butterfly Garden, and take some time to visit famous landmarks like Burj Khalifa and more. This trip also includes sightseeing tours of the world famous Louvre Museum and Jumeirah Mosque. This package is sure to make your travel dreams come true!

Final Thoughts

Panoramic view of popular La Mer beach in Dubai, UAE

Dubai is a place that can be enjoyed by tourists of any background and has plenty to offer travelers who are looking for somewhere unique and action-packed. With soaring skyscrapers, camel rides, art exhibits, luxury shopping, and historical mosques the city has something to enjoy for everyone. Whether you want to go out on a long day trip or stay in a luxury destination hotel, you can find it all in Dubai.

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