Are you planning a trip to Dubai for the first time? As this city becomes more diverse and advanced there is ever increasingly list of things to do and see. There are two basic ways to experience Dubai, high intensity or low intensity.
It is good to remember that the United Arab Emirates is a Muslim country located in the middle east. This may limit what you can do, especially during Ramadan.
Experience Dubai with Low Intensity Things To Do & See
Situated along the coast of Dubai, Jumeirah Beach is a Middle Eastern beach that rivals the top beaches in the world. It is clean, safe, and has a plethora of restaurants and beach activities. Feel free to wear a bikini at the beach, however nude sunbathing is strictly forbidden. Make sure to cover up when walking to and from the beach.
Smoke hookah and people watch
Sit back, relax, throw on your sunglasses, and unwind while you smoke some hookah and people watch. While alcohol may be hard to find, hookah is offered at most restaurants and bars. It doesn’t have the same effect on everybody, but it’s normal to get a weird little high from it, similar to cigarettes.
The Dubai Fountain Show
If you are headed towards downtown Dubai, make sure to watch the spectacular Dubai Fountain Show. The Dubai Fountains are located between the Burj Khalifa and the Dubai Mall. They are free, and it does get crowded, so you may have to get there early if you want a good view. I recommend watching this during the day and night. At night you will get the laser light show as well, which is a nice addition. There is one daily show between 1pm and 2pm, and an evening show every 30 min from 6pm to 11pm.
A 2 hour cruise through the Dubai Marina is a top choice for many visitors. You will dine on some of the best food in the city, while enjoying the lights from the buildings that engulf the marina. Not all dinner cruises will serve alcohol, so double check if you are looking for alcohol.
If you are at Jumeirah Beach, chances are you have already been on The Walk. The Walk is a pedestrian only pathway running parallel with Jumeirah Beach and lines with hotels, shops and restaurants. It’s also a great spot to watch the parade of $100,000 + cars go by.
Take in a spectacular view of Dubai by day or night at the Dubai Marina. Home to boats and yachts of every size, the marina is lined with mega tall buildings filled with hotels, condos, restaurants, malls and more. Many of the dinner cruises and boat tours are based at the marina.
Burj Al Arab
Experience Dubai through architecture. A visit to the Burj Al Arab, designed to look like a sail, will have you leaving with a new appreciation for the art that goes into these building designs.
Atlantis The Palm, Dubai
You can probably spend a week plus at the Atlantis the Palm Dubai and still not run out of things to do. With 23 restaurants, including a NOBU, you can spend days sampling just food alone. If eating your way through the resort isn’t your thing, you can enjoy their private beach, waterpark, dolphin cove and more.
Experience Dubai with High Intensity Things To Do & See
Dubai Desert Safari
Topping the list of things to do is a Dubai Desert Safari. There are several companies that work together to plan a somewhat similar 7 hour day filled with activities and dinner. Most tours include: a 45 minute drive out to the desert, a 30 minute pit stop in which you can rent quads and ride in the sand dunes, about an hour of off roading on the dunes in the SUVs, and then about 2.5 hours for a dinner, belly dancing, hookah, camel rides and more. ( note: bring tissues for the bathroom, dress in layers because the desert gets cold when the sun sets. ) Read my experience with the Dubai Desert Adventure.
At The Top of Burj Khalifa
Experience Dubai from the worlds tallest outdoor observation decks at the top of Burj Khalifa; at 148 levels up, you are nearly 2000 feet up in the air. This is not a cheap trip to the top, it will cost you about $135 USD during prime hours (roughly 5pm).
Dubai Helicopter Tour
Everything is elevated in Dubai, even the tours of the city. There are several business that offer private Dubai helicopter tours, for about $200 to $300 USD a person.
Dubai Sunset Boat Tour
Tour the coast of Dubai, boating along the shore to the of the Burj Al Arab, around The Palm for sunset, and finish off at dusk in the Dubai Marina.
Ever wonder what it’s like to go skiing in the Middle East? No, not on sand, but on snow…. kind of. Wonder not more, check out Ski Dubai located at the Mall of the Emirates. For about $60 USD you can get an adult day pass to access ski equipment, lifts and slopes. Ski Dubai comes complete with a toboggan hill, knockerball slope, and bunny hill for the beginners. Ski Dubai even comes complete with an attached luxury hotel, complete with ski chalets that overlook the skiing.
Flyboarding at Jumeirah Beach, Dubai
Shoot through the water, up into the sky, with a flyboard. For a thrill packing afternoon, you can ride one of these flyboards, and sour across Jumeirah Beach.
Dinner in the Sky
Dubai is always looking to make the impossible possible. Now offering fine dining at 150 feet in the air, enjoy a Dinner in the Sky meal for about $160 to $220 USD. Go to the bathroom prior to dinner. If you must use the restroom during your dinning session, you will be lowered for the remainder of the meal.
Dive with Sharks at the Dubai Aquarium
If you are looking to break from the sun, you can always head to the Mall of Dubai and dive with sharks.