“You name it, Dubai has it. Or if it doesn’t, it’s building it”
That statement couldn’t be truer about Dubai, it seriously has it all! It has any store you can think of, any activity that you could possibly do (some that are unique to Dubai), and all types of delicious food. We stayed in Dubai for 12 days and could’ve stayed longer because there is so much to do and so much to see. If you are willing to pay a pretty penny, then you can do anything you can dream of here.
Dubai has lots of different areas that you can hang out in and explore (new town, old town, Dubai marina, Le Mer beach, the palm, the desert and more). We rented a car and explored most of them!
Dubai is very clean, very shiny, and very fancy. It also felt very Western to us, especially after being in SE Asia for so long, it was really nice to feel like we were at “home”.
Initially we came to Dubai thinking we will only be here for 4-5 days and then move on but we ended up loving it so we extended it to 12 days. We met a couple from Seattle here (@irinaminchuk and @_alexminchuk) and hung out with them which made the stay more memorable. They are a fun couple and are up for anything, so we did a lot and went everywhere (or at least it seemed that way). Here is a list of the things we did in Dubai.
Top 12 things to do in Dubai:
1.Visit the tallest building in the world (for now), Burj Khalifa:
There are walkways around the building where you can see it from the ground or you can pay to go up to the highest observation deck in the world. There is also a fountain show and light show every hour on the hour that’s by the building.
2. Visit the biggest mall in the world, The Dubai Mall:
The mall is right next to the Burj Khalifa. If has EVERY store that you can possibly think of as well as an ice skating rink, large aquarium (that you can scuba dive in), indoor waterfall, and so much more. We came here 4 times and don’t think we saw most of it.
3. Hero OdySEA:
Hero OdySEA was one of the best things we did here. This is a guided tour around The Palm on a boat that you drive yourself. The boats are assembled in Dubai and are nothing like we’ve ever seen before. You sit on them like you would on a jetski but it looks like a small inflatable boat. The best we would describe it is the Rolls Royce of jetskis. The guide will stop at the iconic landmarks (Burj Al Arab, Atlantis, and even the Palaces) and tell you information about them. It was amazing to see the city from the water and the tour was super fun. Make sure to do this when you’re in Dubai!
4. La Mer Beach:
This was one of our favorite beaches. It’s a new beach and still has some construction going on but we absolutely loved it! There are shops and restaurants as well as a really nice beach on both sides of the main shopping area. It felt like we were in southern California when we came here. We also watched the sunset here which was incredible.
5. JBR Beach/ The Walk:
We loved coming here in the evenings. Everything lights up, the vendors are out, and there is plenty of shops and restaurants. It also seems like everyone that has a fancy spots car comes here to show off, so if you’re into cars then come here to see them.
6. Dubai Marina:
If we were to live in Dubai, we would live here. We love this area! It kind of reminded us of the Sydney harbor. We would walk around here, look at the big and small boats, and enjoy the views.
7. Ferrari World:
Visit Ferrari World and ride the fastest roller-coaster in the world! We had a lot of fun here especially since the lines aren’t too long and the rides are pretty extreme. The also have slower rides for kids. It really is a great place for the whole family to enjoy!
8. Sheikh Zayed Mosque:
This in’t in Dubai but its only about an hour away from Dubai. This is one of the largest mosques in the world. You have probably seen it on Instagram and rightfully so, its really beautiful.
On the way to the mosque, stop by The Last Stop. It is a rest area that is designed to mimic Mad Max. Its pretty cool.
9. Weekend brunch:
The weekend in Dubai is Friday-Saturday and brunch here is an event. We went to brunch both days and both lasted over 3 hours. The Sean Connolly brunch was out of this world delicious. You HAVE to go when you’re in Dubai. Its at the Dubai Opera House in the most beautiful setting.
10. Old Town Dubai:
Deira and Al Fahidi historical neighborhood is a fun visit. Deira was the center of Dubai 30 years ago. This is where their souks (markets) are including the gold market and spice market. The Al Fahidi historical neighborhood is across the river from Deira. You can take a water taxi for 1 AED ($0.27) to cross the river and explore that side of the old town. We spent a few hours there and had fun weaving through the narrow alleys.
11. Desert Safari:
We had such a fun experience doing this. First we started out with dune bashing (who knew this would be so fun!), then we went to the desert camp where we could ride camels, listen to traditional music, eat traditional food, and experience the Bedouin camp. There are a lot of companies that offer this, we went with Desert Safari Tours.
12. Visit The Palm:
There are many hotels on the Palm as well as private residences. You can’t see the private residences because they are on the private branches, but you can go around to see Atlantis and drive around on the crescent.
Like mentioned above, we loved the food in Dubai so we thought it would be necessary to let you now where we had such amazing experiences.
Where to eat in Dubai:
- SushiArt: some of the best and most unique sushi we’ve ever had. Make sure to try the fois gras sushi. They have a few locations and they deliver!
2. Malolo Poke: they have 3 locations that serve fresh poke the Hawaiian way. So amazing.
3. Al Dawaar Revloving Restaurant: this is the only revolving restaurant in Dubai. Its in the Hyatt Regency in Deira which is the first 5 star hotel that came to Dubai over 30 years ago. The views from the restaurant are incredible and the food is top notch. Definitely make a point to come here.
4. Sean Connolly at Dubai Opera: we came here for brunch on a Friday and it was amazing. You can see the Burj Khalifa from the terrace too.
5. Liqd at Tryp by Wyndham: we had the tapas brunch here.
6. Eggspectation: this is a great place on The Walk that serves great lunch and dinner.
There is so much construction and building going on preparing for the 2020 World Expo. Next time we come it will probably be very different and bigger. Can’t wait to see what Dubai comes up with next. Till next time!