I just got back from an awesome trip to Dubai and decided to write this post to share about the top 10 attractions to visit in Dubai.
Before I do so, I would first like to debunk some common myths about Dubai held by some Singaporeans. When I first shared with some friends that I was going to Dubai for a holiday, it surprised me that some had misconceptions about this place, just like how they did of Russia.
First of all, Dubai is not a backward city. Like Singapore, she is one of the wealthiest city globally; technologically advanced and cosmopolitan. If you’re keen, you can watch this 2 minute video explaining how Dubai got so rich. It is also extremely safe.
Also, Dubai is not dependent on oil. The revenue from oil and and natural gas currently account for less than 7%. Dubai’s revenue is mainly from real estate, trade, tourism and other financial services. Dubai didn’t have considerable oil wealth in the first place like it’s neighbour Abu Dhabi. Hence, this motivated them to concentrate on other sources of income like tourism, retail, finance etc.
Some Singaporeans also think that Dubai’s temperature is extremely warm throughout the year. This is untrue. There are months where temperatures can fall below 30 degree celcius – December, January, February and March
Having cleared up the misconceptions about Dubai, I do hope that my friends would consider visiting this beautiful city.
Personally, I found this trip very value-for-money. In total, using Expedia Packages, Poh Ee and I only paid around $820 each for a direct two-way flight (Emirates) and 6D5N stay at Centro Barsha Hotel which had a fantastic location and was well equipped with swimming pool, gym and extremely new rooms.
Overall, this is one of the best trips I’ve ever had. Do check out some of the top attractions to visit in Dubai here:
1. Burj Khalifa
Standing 828 metres above the ground, Burj Khalifa is the world’s tallest building and a represents a union of art, engineering and heritage. It’s home to offices; 900 private residences and 160 hotel rooms.
To view the city from the top, you can buy tickets to the observation deck called ‘At the Top‘ which is on the 124th floor. Tickets can be booked online. The cheapest time to visit is 8am to 3pm and 630pm to 11pm for AED 125 (SG$48).
2. Dubai Fountain
Next to Burj Khalifa is the Dubai Fountain which is the world’s largest choreographed fountain system. It can jet up to 22,000 gallons of water as high as 150 metres in the air at any one time.
Each colourful, illuminated jet sways in time to music every day from 6pm to 11pm (every half an hour for 5 minutes). There is also an afternoon show from 1:00pm and 1:30pm
Should you visit this fountain at night, you may wish to go to Dubai Mall which is just next to it. This is the largest shopping centre in the world!
3. Burj Al Arab
The Burj al-Arab is the fourth tallest hotel in the world and stands on an artificial island which is connected to the mainland by a curving bridge. You can only access this hotel if you are staying or dining there.
Most of the tourists who visit this place are Chinese followed by Russians and Indians. According to one of the hotel staff, she has seen celebrities like Will Smith, Justin Bieber and Selena Gomez here.
The hotel atrium is the tallest in the world and plated with gold.
Poh Ee and I had the opportunity to have breakfast at the Sahn Eddar cafe. You have to make a reservation before going.
4. Souk Madinat Jumeirah
After dining at Burj Al Arab, we took a buggy ride to Souk Madinat Jumeirah which is a re-creation of an ancient marketplace with traditional Middle Eastern style and ambiance.
I would recommend you go there in the day and night as there is a different feel. If you’re on a budget like us, I would recommend you not eat here as the food is really overpriced.
5. Jumeirah Beach
The glorious Jumeirah Beach lies along Dubai’s coast and gives you the opportunity to swim in the arabic gulf. Visitors to Jumeirah’s hotels can enjoy private beaches offering water sports. If you’re not a hotel guest, you can only relax at Jumeirah Beach Park, the public portion of the beach.
There are some camel rides but I would suggest you not take them as according to PETA, it is contributing to animal abuse.
6. Old Dubai
Dubai Creek is a saltwater creek located in the Diera region of Dubai.Since the city’s early days, merchants from neighbouring countries would sail in to peddle their wares here.
To feel the essence of Dubai’s past, you can visit the famous souks – Gold Souk (Full of China people), Spice Souk and Bazaar.
To travel between the Souk areas, you can take this water taxi for just 1 AED for a ticket. The boats are not only quick and inexpensive, but also a truly authentic Dubai experience.
7. Desert Safari
To me, the best experience is definitely the Desert Safari (3-9pm) which we booked via bookdubaitrip.com
We opted for the Red Dunes Desert Safari Tour which consisted of a 20 Minutes Dune Bashing at Al Aveer Desert by Safari License Professional Driver and dinner/performances at a camp in the desert.
For those who don’t know what Dune Bashing is, here is a video which Poh Ee took:
It also comes with free Arabic Dress Photography, Henna Painting and Camel Riding (which I will encourage you not to take).
I hope that my entry has helped you to better understand Dubai and her various attractions. If you’re interested to go, here is my itinerary for your reference with credits to my colleague, Rainbow, who helped me with this:
- 30/11 (Thu): Burj Khalifa, Dubai Fountain, Dubai Mall, Dinner
- 1/12 (Fri): Play time at Jumeirah Beach. Night time: Burj Al Arab and Medinat Jumeirah’s souk by night. Go for drinks at 36o Dubai
- 2/12 (Sat): Old Dubai, Global Village
- 3/12 (Sun): Desert Safari (3-9PM)
- 4/12 (Mon): Burj Al Arab for brunch, Medinat Jumeirah Souk by day
- 5/12: Flight Home