Dubai is both a middle eastern business hub and a burgeoning vacation destination. A visually stunning city, Dubai surpasses leisure expectations and is filled with many surprises, such as a stunning marina dappled with comfortable restaurant decks, world class jazz and film festivals, horse racing, stunning beaches and more. A city reputed for its sand, surf, shopping and sun, Dubai is as much a city of leisure as it is a business destination.
So our Editors have put together some must experience suggestions for both the daring and the not-so-daring visitors to Dubai.
- Desert Safari Tour
An experience for thrill-seekers, most of these tours will pick you up at your hotel mid-afternoon and return you well after sunset. Four wheel drive vehicles and trained drivers take you into the desert for an adventurous trek through sand dunes and over Dune Mountains for a 90 minute escapade. Once your heart slows down the adventure is followed by a viewing of the desert sunset (incredibly beautiful) and then a delicious barbeque complete with beverages. Viator and Lama Tours are among the most highly recommended.
- Dubai Creek
Take a water taxi or “Abras” tour of the Dubai Creek. Abras are small passenger boats used to transport passengers from one side of Dubai creek to the other. An affordable way to tour the water, a 30-45 minute tour is a scenic and enjoyable way to see a different side of Dubai.
- Burj Khalifa Observation Deck
Formally known as the Burj Dubai, the Burj Khalifa is the tallest building in the world. At over 800 metres (2625 feet) and more than 160 stories, the Burj Khalifa is an amazing structure. The view of Dubai is phenomenal from the observation deck and really should not be missed. Tickets can be purchased on the lower level of the Dubai Mall and should be bought at least a day in advance.
Dubai is infamous for its world-class shopping and over-the-top malls. The Dubai Mall boasts a giant aquarium, a waterfall and “The Grove” a relaxing area with a retractable roof to take advantage of the weather. Without question, all designer brands and high-end products can be found in this amazing shopping mecca. Dubai is also famous for its Gold Market or “Gold Souk”, located in the heart of Dubai’s commercial business district in Deira. The souk consists of over 300 retailers trading almost exclusively in jewellery. (*The UAE is home to the second highest number of international retail brands after the UK, according to a study by CBRE).
- Out After Dark
Enjoy the nightlife in Dubai. While Dubai maintains strict drinking laws (alcohol is only available after 6: pm and connected to hotels), the lounges and clubs are world class and unique. A variety of trendy bars exist such as iKandy (seasonal and located in the Shangri-La) reminiscent of a beachy Miami scene, but surrounded by the lights and opulence of Dubai. This poolside lounge is an immersion in cushiony, comfortable, hip pink wonder! While the Kempinski hotel across town has 897 Bar, with the color purple as its theme, it’s a different experience that offers comfy seats and low sofas. Both are the perfect place for ex-pats to meet and enjoy their time in a great world class city.