Day 1: Arrive and Hit Up Dubai Mall
Upon landing in Dubai, visitors might want to take the first day a little slower and just get a general feel of the city before the real sightseeing begins. Dubai Mall is the perfect spot to do that. The biggest shopping mall in the world, offering 1,200 retail outlets, it is the ideal spot to go grab a bite, people watch and see two of Dubai’s main attractions in one go: the Burj Khalifa and the Dubai Fountains. For those who truly want to get a full overview of the city on their first day, they can buy a ticket to go to the 148th floor of the tallest building in the world and take in the full view of the city from above.
Dubai Mall, Financial Centre Road, Downtown Dubai, +971 800 382 246 255
Day 2: Take a Tour of Dubai
A full day is the ideal time to hit up the “New Dubai”. This essentially means everything that was built within the last 40 or so years. This includes the world-famous seven star-hotel, the Burj Al Arab; although people must make reservations to go inside, there’s a great photo-op of the building in the Souk Madinat Jumeira, another crucial attraction for all visitors to pop by. Other important spots to check out are the Palm Jumeirah, where people can see the skyline of the Dubai Marina; as well as grab a bite at the trendy neighborhoods in town such as Jumeirah Beach Residences or Downtown Dubai.
Everything the heart desires can be done in one day with minimal rush. Visitors can hop on the Big Bus Tour – a popular way for tourists to get around, book a private tour or even get around Dubai by themselves using taxi or metro. Either way, one full day is ideal to see the main attractions in the modern half of Dubai.
Day 3: Check Out the Old Quarter
Dubai’s Old Quarter is where all the history of Dubai can be seen in the present day. Located by the Dubai Creek, there are a series of attractions which can take a whole day to unveil. Here, people can visit the Dubai Museum and learn more about the past of this booming city, as well as how Dubai became what it is today. They can then walk down the historic streets of Bastakiya, while checking out other smaller museums, art galleries and even grab lunch at the Basta Art Cafe, for some traditional Arabic food. Perhaps the most interesting spots in the Old Quarter are the Gold and Spice Souks, which visitors can access by taking a 1 AED boat ride across the creek. Altogether, this makes for a fantastic and educative day, where visitors will be able to discover the city’s roots.
Day 4: Go On a Desert Safari
People shouldn’t visit Dubai and miss out on seeing the desert. This is what desert safaris are for! These day-long tours take visitors into the desert in order to help them get in touch with their inner Bedouin and better understand Emirati culture. The desert safaris consist of dune bashing, where SUVs jump through massive sand dunes – this is not for the faint of heart! Then visitors are taken to camps which resemble the ones from Bedouin times, where they eat traditional Arabic barbecue, watch bellydancing shows, smoke hookah and have a blast – Emirati style!
Day 5: Head Home
This is the day to say a sad goodbye to Dubai and start planning a return – one trip might not be enough. The last day is always a fantastic chance to revisit any favorite spots (should there be time to spare), buy souvenirs and head to the airport early. The latter is especially applicable if flying Emirates. The company has it’s own terminal in the Dubai International Airport, Terminal 3, with a massive Duty Free that can take hours to explore – so it’s best to get there early and enjoy one last shopping spree before leaving.
Dubai International Airport, Dubai, +971 4 224 5555