Making The Most of Your Dubai Journey

Making The Most of Your Dubai Journey

Dubai is a universally appealing destination for almost every traveler. However, to make the most out of your trip, it is important to set your preferences and priorities, discover the most interesting places to visit, and learn more about the emirate’s background. Stay tuned, as we will tackle all these points in the following sections.

Must-See Places

Some attractions of Dubai are really hard to avoid. If you tell anyone you went to the emirate and have not been to all these places, people will tell you have not actually seen it. Even though it can be said about many gems of the city, we have selected top-three destinations for today.

Burj Khalifa

Burj Khalifa - Dubai, United Arab Emirates

First on the list we have Burj Khalifa, which has already become a symbol of Dubai’s architectural wonders. The tallest skyscraper in the world stands at more than 800 meters above ground level and can be seen from even the remotest part of the emirate. Aside from shaping the city’s skyline, the building achieved an incredible capacity, as it is able to accommodate more than 10,000 people at once.

Taking into account the sheer size of Burj Khalifa, it won’t come as a big surprise to find out that you might find almost anything inside. There are luxury hotels, restaurants, offices, shops, and many other venues operating in the skyscraper, and they easily deserve an article of their own. Of course, there are multiple observation areas on different floors of the building, allowing you to rise above the rest of the city and enjoy the stunning view.

The best option to get inside is to book a tour prior to your visit. Tickets to observation decks are sold inside, but the queues might be dreadful, especially during the peak demand season.

Burj Al Arab

Burj Al Arab - Dubai, United Arab Emirates

Another architectural marvel of the Arabian Gulf is called Burj Al Arab. This ultra luxury hotel offers unmatched service and amazing views both on the inside and on the outside. We will get to the topic of man-made islands in a minute, but few first-time visitors know that Burj Al Arab is also located on an artificial stretch of ground.

Staying at this hotel will expectedly be very costly, but it is still worth coming to the beach and admiring its unique architecture. The site also has exclusive restaurants, water sports, beach activities, and is frequently used for VIP parties and other interesting events.

Palm Jumeirah

Palm Jumeirah - Dubai, United Arab Emirates

The iconic Palm Island has also become an international symbol of Dubai, and many tourists visit the emirate specifically to see it with their own eyes. There are multiple rich hotels and interesting venues on the island, and it is definitely worth visiting, even if you’re staying in a different part of the city.

Palm Jumeirah has something to offer for a traveler with almost any preferences. Fans of outdoor activities will be able to indulge in water sports, lovers of entertainment will easily attend dozens of concerts, shows, and other events hosted on the island, and fans of shopping will love the famous Atlantis Mall. If you’re more about admiring the views in a more peaceful setting, you will definitely enjoy the boardwalk that encircles the island.

Historical and Cultural Gems

Those who prefer learning more about the history and culture of the UAE will have such an opportunity as well. There are dozens of places in Dubai, where you can immerse yourself in the life of locals of the present and of the past. We have picked three must-visit destinations, so let us get them covered one by one.

Al Bastakiya Quarter

Al Bastakiya Quarter - Old Dubai, United Arab Emirates

First on the list we have Al Bastakiya Quarter, which is a small historical neighborhood in the middle of the city. The architecture has been well-preserved here, and the place looks almost exactly how it did centuries ago. Its narrow streets are interesting to walk through, and there are various events and exhibitions hosted here all year round.

Of course, you will also find small local stores, where you can purchase little souvenirs to remember the trip. Depending on your dedication, it is possible to either walk around the neighborhood for fifteen minutes to simply enjoy its aesthetics or spend hours visiting every attraction it has to offer. Thankfully, there are authentic restaurants and cafes nearby, which is especially useful after longer visits.

Dubai Museum

Museum of the Future - Dubai, United Arab Emirates

While the Al Bastakiya Quarter is a more natural way to see and experience the history of the city, Dubai Museum offers a lot more knowledge and delivers it more efficiently. There are multiple fixed galleries that are available for viewing all year round, and they teach the visitors the evolution of the city from a small fishing village into the thriving metropolis we know today.

Additionally, there are several rotating exhibitions shown in the museum. If you wish to learn something particular or, perhaps, visit a meeting or a class, there is such an option as well. You can discover upcoming events in the calendar on the official website of the establishment. There, you will also be able to purchase tickets and to book a guided tour through the galleries.

Sheikh Mohammed Centre for Cultural Understanding

Sheikh Mohammed Centre for Cultural Understanding - Dubai, United Arab Emirates

Located right on the territory of the Al Bastakiya Quarter, there is also a special centre, where you can learn more about Dubai’s culture. The establishment hosts classes and workshops all the time, so the visitors will always have something interesting to attend.

The main appeal of the Sheikh Mohammed Centre for Cultural Understanding is its efficient combination of delivering knowledge and showing history. Classes are very focused on presenting the information, while the strategic location in the historical neighborhood helps with immersion.

Thrilling Activities

We weren’t joking when we said Dubai has a universal appeal, as thrill-seekers also have a lot of activities they can experience here. We will list the most popular places, and discuss them in further detail below.

Desert Safari

Desert Safari - Dubai, United Arab Emirates

Going to the desert for a safari is perhaps the most obvious activity in Dubai, but it is so popular for a reason. The contrast between the well-developed infrastructure of the metropolis and the raw natural environment of the desert is definitely worth experiencing.

Unlike with all other entries to this section, we are not talking about a specific place you can go to. There are dozens or even hundreds of companies offering safari trips, and the desert is large and rather homogeneous. You can choose between riding an off road SUV and taking a guided tour on camels.

Ski Dubai

Ski Dubai - Mall of Emirates - Dubai, United Arab Emirates

Another famous activity in Dubai is skiing, which might be a bit confusing at first. Ski Dubai is an entire indoor resort located in the Mall of Emirates, where you can teleport from the hot streets of the city to a winter atmosphere in a matter of minutes.

Thankfully, you won’t need to bring your own skis, as the centre has all the required infrastructure. You can both go for a dedicated visit and spend the day riding the slopes, or you can just hop by while visiting the mall for an hour or two.

Wild Wadi Waterpark

Wild Wadi Water Park - Dubai, United Arab Emirates

Waterparks are something more natural to the environment of Dubai. There are dozens of them scattered around the city, but if we had to choose a single one, it would be the Wild Wadi Waterpark. There are eleven huge rides and slides for visitors of all ages as well as nine restaurants, including both fast food venues and ice cream cafes.

How To Visit Other Emirates on a Budget?

Even though Dubai has hundreds of places you might want to visit, it is natural for travelers to seek to experience at least a little bit of other emirates. The trips themselves won’t be costly, but the overall budget will expectedly depend on the aim of your visit: viewing natural sites will be almost free, while going on shopping sprees is on the opposite side of the spectrum.

Sharjah and Abu Dhabi are the easiest to reach from Dubai, and the only viable option to get there is by car. You can catch taxis or order transfers, but it is usually much more convenient to rent a vehicle. It is especially true if you’re not going to have mobile service in the UAE, as ordering a taxi will turn into an entire quest.

Why You Need To Consider Renting a Car?

Car Rentals in Dubai, United Arab Emirates

There are multiple reasons why renting a car is a great idea for exploring Dubai and even its neighboring emirates. Here is a quick rundown of the main benefits a rental vehicle will grant you:

  • Opportunity to travel at your own pace
  • Option to visit any destination and plan your own route
  • Overall flexibility
  • Chance to ride luxury cars on perfectly smooth highways
  • Compatibility of licenses issued by the US and most European countries

To ensure an even higher level of comfort, companies like Octane offer additional services such as car delivery and a monthly car rental in Dubai. It is even possible to book the vehicle in advance and have it waiting for you at the airport or at your hotel.

How To Choose The Rental Company

There are dozens of rental companies in Dubai, and making the right choice is crucial for having the visit go smoothly. It is always better to research everything in advance to avoid spending precious time of your holiday or business trip on finding a good dealer on the spot. In the following sections, we will elaborate on the steps we suggest making.

Considering Car Type and Size Based on Needs

The most efficient approach is to filter out unsuitable options and then to narrow down the list until you find the best option. Of course, it is reasonable to start filtering with parameters that you can configure, and the first of them is the type of the vehicle you need.

You can easily find SUVs, sedans, luxury sports cars, and more in the market, but it is always better to outline the choice right away. The best-case scenario is to pick an exact model and filter out agencies that do not have it, but deciding on the type is also fine.

Fuel efficiency and budget

Then, you should consider your budget and the fuel efficiency of the car you’re looking for. If you haven’t yet selected the exact model, it is just about time to explore the market and at least narrow down the options according to your budget. This will leave you with a limited list of models that you can now look up on every rental company’s site.

Researching Reputation and Reviews

Most brands in this niche are listed on Trustpilot, so it won’t be an issue to find honest reviews from their real customers. It is a great option to momentarily filter out companies with bad ratings, and it is also helpful to get some insight on the service before making the final choice.

Comparing Prices and Inclusions

At this stage, you will have only several brands that fit all the criteria discussed above, which means it is time to compare prices. This might not be as easy as it seems at first glance, because the rates listed on the websites are not the only thing to consider.

Every rental company has multiple packages of services, and if you’re not going for the low-budget one, you will have to analyze every brand in detail. You will need to find an option that is close to a perfect balance of price and inclusions rather than just selecting the cheapest listing.

Understanding Insurance Coverage

Insurance coverage is also a factor that you should keep in mind, as the terms might vary between different businesses. The most efficient approach here is to determine the policies you are fine with in advance and then look for a company that provides the required option.

Experience Emirati Culture

We have already discussed museums, galleries, and other places, where you can learn more about the culture of the UAE. But if you prefer experiencing it yourself, we’ve got you covered as well. Let us elaborate on the activities you should try out during the visit.

Local cuisine and dining experiences

It would be hard to describe all dining options available in Dubai in a dedicated article, let alone a small section here. Let’s just say it has everything you might need, ranging from global fast food brands to exquisite restaurants with Michelin stars.

Experiencing local cuisine is easy, as every neighborhood has multiple establishments you could visit. If you’re not sure which place to choose, try visiting Pier 7 in the Dubai Marina District. It is a building with seven different restaurants offering almost any dish you might think of.

Traditional souks and marketplaces

Marketplaces are a vital part of local culture, and even though most travelers don’t spend precious time cooking meals during their trip, it is still worth visiting them to get an insight into the life of people here. Some of the markets you might want to check out are:

  • Dubai Gold Souk
  • Dubai Spice Souk
  • Textile Souk
  • Waterfront Market
  • Dubai Flea Market 

Cultural events and festivals

Just like with restaurants, it is impossible to cover all cultural events or festivals that are hosted in Dubai. Once again, there is everything you might be looking for, ranging from educational classes to huge music concerts. No matter which activity you prefer, you will find a diverse set of options in the city. Some of the most popular events exclusive to Dubai are:

  • Dubai Shopping Festival
  • Dubai Food Fest
  • International Film Festival
  • International Arabian Horse Championship
  • Design Week

Shopping in Dubai

Shopping opportunities are next to limitless here as well. Dubai is famous for its luxury malls and huge shopping outlets offering unparalleled selections of fashion items, cosmetics, jewelry, electronics, and almost everything else. Some of the most trending establishments are:

  • The Dubai Mall
  • Mall of the Emirates
  • Dubai Festival City Mall
  • Dubai Outlet Mall
  • Atlantis Mall

Aside from grand shopping centres and luxury boutiques, there are numerous venues to purchase local crafts and souvenirs. There are small stores where you can purchase small memorabilia items located all around the city.


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