Destination Dubai

Destination Dubai

As the busiest city in the #PersianGulf, #Dubai garnered a reputation for itself as a premiere #luxury destination. It is home to the tallest hotel in the world and boasts a dynamic business scene alongside its world class shopping district. Visiting this city surprised me in many, incredible ways and I can’t wait to go back!


This post is focused on the inspiring Middle Eastern city of Dubai. The most populated city and emirate in the United Arab Emirates, Dubai is the city of wow. It has mind blowing architechture, world class shopping and some of the worlds most luxurious hotels mixed into a spicy, cultural melting pot to create this incredible city in the desert.

I didn’t quite know what to expect of Dubai before visiting. I was totally blown away and enthralled by the modern meets old world mix of one of the biggest and busiest cities in the Persian Gulf. It’s an incredible destination that I totally love and I can’t wait to return.

View of Dubai
View of Dubai

Here are some of my favourite things to do in this exotic city:

1. Visit the old City & the Spice Souk

Whilst it’s been rebuilt in recent years, Old Diera on the north side of the Creek is home to Dubai’s chaotic maze of souks. Arabian Adventures have a great half day City of Merchants tour to help you get the most out of your adventure into Dubai’s old city, focusing on historic sights. Cross the creek in a traditional abra, a wooden boat to the famous Gold and Spice Souks. Smell aromatic spices like frankincense, saffron and cloves piled high in front of the spice shops in big sacks and explore the maze of little paths lined with souvenir stores selling belly dancing costumes, perfumes, traditional Arabian kandouras (long robes) and incense. It’s overwhelming to your senses and a wonderful part of the city to explore. Bargain for all things gold, silver and pearls in the Gold Souk which seemingly stretches on forever.

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Bargain for all things gold, silver and pearls in the Gold Souk which seemingly stretches on forever.

The best time to visit is in the evening as it’s quite atmospheric as the sun is setting, otherwise avoid the heat and go in the morning around 10am. The souks do close down from around 1pm – 4pm to avoid the intense heat of the afternoon and be sure to take water with you.

2.Take a Journey up the Tallest Building in the World, the Burj Khalifa

The Burj Khalifa skyscraper towers above the city skykline – it’s the tallest man made structure in the world at an incredible 830m! It’s the modern masterpiece at the centre of Downtown Dubai with commanding views of the sprawling desert city as well as the entire length of Jumeirah Beach from the famous Burj Al Arab sail to Palm Island. It’s a real journey from the moment you entered in on the ground floor – there is an interactive screen where you could pick a city in the world and put the Burj Khalifa in the skyline to see just how big it really is. To manage the visitor load, you must prebook your ticket for a particular day and time and it can often be sold out a couple of days in advance so avoid disappointment and pre-organise your pass so that you don’t miss out -its well worth it! Time your visit with a viewing of the Dubai Fountain right near the entrance to see timed to music water performance that shoots water as high as 500m into the sky!

It’s the modern masterpiece at the centre of Downtown Dubai with commanding views of the sprawling desert city

3. Sample Luxury at it’s Best by Staying on the Palm Islands

The Palm Islands are on Dubai’s coast, made up of two Palm Jumeirah and Palm Jebel Ali. They are man made islands built to create a palm tree with all of it’s fronds and once completed, will add 520km of private beaches to Dubai. One of the most incredible hotels I’ve seen anywhere in the world is the Jumeirah Zabeel Saray. It is the ultimate in luxury, built in the style of an opulent Turkish Palace. High dome ceilings, incredible pools, private Turkish Baths (complete with a snow room for when you want to cool down!) along with some of the most incredible food, I will forever remember my visit there. This place is 5 star like you have never seen – just be prepared that you may not want to leave the place by day because it is that amazing, I know I didn’t!

4. Shop at Souk Madinat & Photograph the Burj Al Arab!

Souk Madinat is the most atmospheric and well priced shopping I found anywhere in the city. Built to resemble a traditional souk, it successfully blends modern and traditional for a contemporary Aladdin’s cave type shopping experience. Complete with Venetian style canals and beautiful outside eateries, you can shop in air conditioned comfort whilst feeling like you are exploring old world stores and when your feet need a rest, grab a fresh juice or lunch at one of many cafes or restaurants. For an amazing view of the Burj Al Arab, head for the deck area of one of the cafes on the water side of the complex – it’s a rare, up close photo opportunity that you aren’t able to get from Jumeirah Beach!

Built to resemble a traditional souk, it successfully blends modern and traditional for a contemporary Aladdin’s cave type shopping experience. 

5. Absolutely go on the Sundowner Dune Safari

The Sundowner Dune Safari, operated by Arabian Adventures is an absolute must do when visiting Dubai. The drivers are safe and entertaining and the trip gives you a chance to get out into the desert and see a whole different side to the UAE. The dunes are located around an hour's drive from Dubai, where you take a break and join with the other vehicles for a highly entertaining and educational falcon show. The dune driving itself is well structured and good without being too rough. 

The dune driving itself is well structured and good without being too rough. 
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After the 4WD adventure, you arrive at a spectacular Bedouin desert camp. It’s an impressive setup with beautiful carpets and cushions on the ground, mood lighting, Arabian music, nice food, henna painting and gorgeous belly dancers. One of my favourite parts of the evening was when all of the camp lights get turned off for five minutes and you can lay on your back on the cushions and look up at the Arabian sky….amazing!

6. Visit the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque

Located an hour and a half’s drive from Dubai in Abu Dhabi, the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque is considered the key worship location for the whole country. It is without doubt, one of the most spectacular places I have ever been to. Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan wanted to build a mosque to unite the cultural diversity of the Islamic World, sourcing amazing materials like marble stone, gold, ceramics, crystals and precious stones from all over the world. The incredible minarets, white marble stone grounds and intricate designs and patterns covering the inside of the mosque are totally stunning. It’s the eighth largest mosque in the world and rivals the Taj Mahal in wow factor in my opinion. Be sure to wear conservative clothing – for women this means total coverage of skin with no form fitting clothing. A headscarf for ladies is essential and can be provided at the mosque if you don’t have a suitable scarf. You remove your shoes when entering the mosque so you can walk barefoot on the cool marble whilst admiring the inside. Be sure to have a photo taken outside in the main courtyard against the marble and spectacular minarets and water fountains. It’s open Saturday to Thursday, 9am – 10pm.

It’s the eighth largest mosque in the world and rivals the Taj Mahal in wow factor in my opinion.

7. Wander Dubai Mall and Mall of the Emirates

Can you imagine shopping on one side and the worlds largest suspended aquarium with over 300 sharks, mantarays, fish and a king croc on the other? How about a shopping next to the Middle East’s first indoor ski slope? It’s 22,500 square metres of winter wonderland fun inside the Mall of the Emirates, operating 5 lifts up to 400m long. Dubai pushes boundaries as we know them, including all kinds of interesting features in their shopping malls. So wander, wonder and get totally lost without worry – you will find your way out eventually, and when you do, there will be a taxi there to take you home!

Dubai pushes boundaries as we know them, including all kinds of interesting features in their shopping malls.

8. Spend the day at Aquaventure

Aquaventure is a water park with a difference! Experience the adrenaline pumping waterslide that catapults you in a tunnel through shark filled lagoons or fly on the highest zip line in the Middle East. 

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It has a 2km tidal river, raging white water rapids and a relaxing private tropical beach. For younger children, Splashers is designed just for them. Aquaventure provides the ultimate escape from the desert heat in the beautiful beachfront location at Atlantis, The Palm.

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