10 Things to do in Dubai For Your Next Layover

things to do in dubai
With gleaming skyscrapers rising into the sky in the middle of a vast desert, your first glimpse of Dubai from the aeroplane will hint to you that Dubai is a unique place. And your first impression will be right. Dubai is a unique city in every sense of the word.

The second largest state in the United Arab Emirates, Dubai has much to offer tourists in the way of cultural experiences and beautiful architectural creations. From the sheer scale of the world’s busiest airport to the kilometres of sandy beaches, every experience you will have in Dubai will be a memorable one.

And with Dubai becoming one of the most popular destinations for tourists around the world, we give you 10 reasons to join tourists around the world who have travelled to Dubai.

Also read: 5 Exhilarating Activities In Dubai For Adrenaline Junkies

1. Visit the world’s tallest building

burj khalifa dubai Image credit: Wilerson S Andrade

The Burj Khalifa, at 828 meters tall, is the tallest man-made structure in the world and dominates the skyline of Dubai. The design of the tower is inspired by the Hymenocallis (better known as the coastline spider lily). This can be seen in the final design of the tower, which has a Y-shaped cross section that imitates the petals of the Coastline Spider Lily.

Go for the “At the Top” experience which will take you to an outdoors deck (don’t worry, it is fenced) on the 124th level. Here, you can enjoy a spectacular 360-degree view of Dubai. Visitors should note that lines can become quite long so you should book your tickets online if you are planning to make a visit. And you can pay a visit to At.mosphere, one of the world’s best fine dining restaurants, at level 122 when you get hungry.

2. Go shopping at the world’s largest mall

dubai mall Image credit: Jason Mrachina

Dubai has lots of shopping malls for all you shopaholics. One of the most famous shopping malls in Dubai is the Dubai Mall, which is the world’s largest mall at 12 million square feet. And there are activities for visitors who hate shopping.

The Dubai Mall also houses the Dubai Aquarium and Underwater Zoo on its ground floor, an ice skating arena and KidZania, an amusement park for children. Remember to pay a visit to the Dubai Water Fountain outside the mall ­as performances held at the fountain feature world-renowned songs and artistes.

Image credit: poco a poco

If your budget is a little more modest, head down to the Dubai Outlet Mall where you can get items at 90% off listed prices.

3. Buy some jewellery at the Gold Souk

gold souk Image credit: Jennifer

Dubai’s Gold Souk is famous worldwide for offering cheap gold jewellery and taking a look inside the Gold Souk to admire the sparkling jewellery is mandatory on any trip to Dubai. With many styles of high karat gold jewellery available to consumers, you will be spoilt for choice.

Protip: You should remember to haggle with the shopkeepers in the gold souk to get the best prices if you decide to purchase some jewellery. You should not be afraid to walk away and check out the other shops in the Souk if you are not getting a fair price as most shops in the Souk will carry similar designs.

4. Walk around Dubai and pay a visit to the Dubai Museum

dubai museum Image credit: Alex Drennan

To learn more about the history of Dubai, visitors should roam around the historic district of Bastakiya. Go and explore the narrow streets, where you can locate traditional Gulf homes. These houses are made from plaster and coral and commonly feature huge yards and high wind towers to keep the house cool.

After admiring traditional gulf architecture, head down to the Dubai Museum. Located in the Al Fahidi Fort, the Dubai Museum has a varied collection of historical items (some dating back 4000 years!) for tourists to admire.

5. Take a tour of the Jumeirah Mosque

jumeirah mosque Image credit: Susanne Nilsson

Jumeirah Mosque is Dubai’s largest mosque and is the only mosque that allows non­-Muslim visitors to go inside. Though Jumeirah mosque was built quite recently, it is built in the Fatimid tradition hailing from medieval times.

Image credit: mattdork

You must savour the view of the amazing interior of the Jumeirah Mosque which is beautifully embellished with calligraphy in Arabic and traditional designs. Visitors should also pay a visit after dark when the Jumeirah mosque will also be lit up by flood lamps. The contrast of the mosque lit up against the night sky will make for a stunning view for visitors to enjoy.

All visitors should note that conservative dress is called for on the organised tour of the Jumeirah Mosque. This is especially so for female travellers, who will have to cover their arms, legs and head. Headscarves can be borrowed from the mosque upon request.

6. Go on a desert safari

desert safari dubai
You have to go on a desert safari tour which is an experience completely different from the glitzy image we have of Dubai.

You can get up close and personal with onyx, camels and gazelles while learning more about the wildlife in the desert.

Also read: 5 Things To Accomplish While On A Desert Safari in Dubai

Image credit: Mark Kirchner

The more daring visitors can partake in sand-skiing and dune bashing. They can even go on a camel ride! And after you are tired of those activities, you can have a barbeque right in the desert.

7. Relax at one of Dubai’s beaches

dubai beaches Image credit: Dubai Holiday Villas

Dubai can boast of having kilometres of beaches with white sands and clear, gleaming waters. As the summers in Dubai are warm and sunny, you should visit the beach in the summer. Most of the beach resorts will have private beaches for their visitors. These beachside resorts will also provide equipment should visitors feel like doing water sports.

Should beach resorts be not to your liking, you can enjoy the beaches open to the public. These beach parks often have sheltered areas and facilities like barbeque pits for visitors to use.

8. Appreciate some of the fine art in Dubai

Image credit: Art Dubai

The fine art scene in Dubai is growing and with a little research and preparation, you will be able to view many art pieces. You can schedule your trip in March to coincide with Art Dubai, one of the biggest fine art fairs in the East. The Dubai Culture and Arts Authority will also be happy to provide you with any additional information all you art enthusiasts might need on the fine arts scene in Dubai.

Smaller, privately owned galleries like Al Serkal Avenue can also provide the art enthusiast with a glimpse of modern Middle Eastern art.

9. Take a look at the many skyscrapers in Dubai

Image credit: Senia L

The skyscrapers of Dubai are magnificent, with each skyscraper adding something special to the skyline of Dubai.

While the unique skyscrapers here do not allow visitors to make any generalisations about architectural, the myriad of skyscrapers clustered here allows visitors to see a wide variety of awe-inspiring designs in a short period of time.

10. Enjoy the facilities of your luxury hotel

Image credit: mattharvey1

While in Dubai, you can (and should) enjoy one of the many luxury resorts that Dubai has on offer. You can book a room in the world’s only seven ­star hotel, the Burj al Arab. You may also reside in the world’s tallest hotel, the JW Marriott Marquis. Want to live on one of Dubai’s grandiose artificial islands? Then you might want to consider living in the grand Atlantis. For those who desire closeness to nature, opt for a room at the Al Maha resort.

Image credit: Dubai Holiday Villas

When you want to venture out of your hotel room, ask the hotels to provide you with a chauffeured limo that will drive you to the shopping district. You can then proceed to finish off your day with a meal at one of the upmarket restaurants in Dubai.

Tempted to visit Dubai yet?

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