In the 80s & 90s Dubai began it’s journey with the goal of becoming one of the top International Tourist destinations and in 2018 they have truly achieved that goal.
The city is truly amazing, a modern wonder with stunning buildings, infrastructure, modern transportation, top hotels, fine restaurants, the biggest mall, the highest tower, the best water fountain show, you get the drift… but there is still so much building work going on, so much so that it has been reported that nearly 25% of ALL Cranes in existence are situated in Dubai, no slowing down for this new modern city.
Due to the development that has happened this is a must visit city, and it is nothing like we have ever experienced, just having the chance to wonder around this lavish place, seeing the luxury vehicles, stunning buildings, the man made islands and “palms”, desert safaris, hot air balloon rides & the wonder of it all is something we would recommend.
We stayed in the Jumeirah Beach Residence (also known as JBR) area of Dubai, this is a nice area to stay if you want to relax, go to a beach & stay in a nice resort.
WHAT TO DO FOR FREE:
Dubai may be one of the most expensive places in the world, but that does not mean you cannot have fun without much money. Here is a list of all the FREE things you can enjoy:
- THE DUBAI FOUNTAIN – Right outside of the Dubai Mall is this amazing fountain, it has 6,600 lights and 50 coloured projectors and shoots water up to 500ft in the air, while being accompanied by a selection of different musics from around the world. Because of how beautiful this display is, many come here to see it, so it also has a wonderful atmosphere. We came here during the late afternoon and had a wander around the park while waiting for it to get dark so we could enjoy the light show.
- RAS AL KHOR WILDLIFE SANCTUARY – If you love birds you must check out this place. Just outside the city is this wetlands where you will find all kinds of birds from grey herons, great egrets, reef herons, cormorants, black winged stilts, sandpipers, osprey and more. This is due to the salt flats, intertidal mudflats, mangroves and lagoons that the birds use for nests. But during the winter the best thing is the flamingos that are truly beautiful to see. There are 3 bird hides in the sanctuary that you can see for free during set daylight hours, so it’s good to look those up before you go.
- KITE BEACH BY MERAAS – After doing some exploring you may want to head to this beautiful beach to relax, with amazing white clean sand and the wonderful sounds and smell of the sea. And if you fancy a bit more adventure then Kite Beach is one of the best beaches in Dubai for kitesurfing, water sports and beach activities, so make a day of it and we are sure you will love it!
- BUR DUBAI SOUK MARKET – As you’ve probably see from some of our other Travelade Wanderguides, we love markets and this one is no exception. Dubai has a number of Souks (markets) and this one is often called The Old or Textile Souk. The majority of shops here offer a huge range of fabrics such as cashmere, silk, cotton and wool. It also has clothing, slippers, souvenirs and much more. This is a fascinating and intriguing place to visit with its bright and colourful surroundings and noisy atmosphere. This will give you a taste of Dubai.
- LA MER BEACH – If you fancy a relaxed day out with more then just sunbathing then La Mer Beach is it. There is plenty to do here for the entire day, not only can you top up your tan on the long white sandy beach or have a swim in the sea, but you can also try food from around the world, do some shopping and then sit back and enjoy an ice cream. Or do you fancy some water sports and some time at it’s water park, there really is something for everyone. A lot are also saying this is the perfect place for the perfect instagram shot because of its brightly coloured boats, beach huts and amazing wall art. This is Dubai’s public beach of choice and we can see why.
- THE DUBAI MALL – This is the largest shopping mall in Dubai and it is right next door to Burj Khalifa, the Worlds tallest building. This mall is really quite eye opening when you enter, not only does it have 1,200 shops with any kind of fashion or jewellery you can imagine but it also has The Dubai Aquarium and Underwater Zoo which absolutely took our breath away! And it doesn’t stop there, it also has the Olympic sized Dubai Ice Rink and a massive indoor cinema complex. Then they have the beautiful fountain which you don’t want to miss, in fact this is so popular, it is the most photographed spot in the mall.
- DUBAI MARINA – This is one of the city’s busiest neighbourhoods and it is really quite special, with Skyscrapers lining the canal which is filled with beautiful luxury yachts, it really is something to see. Here you can find The Beach at JBR which offers alfresco dining, cafes and craft markets along Dubai Marina Walk. You can also go jet skiing or visit the Dubai Marina Mall.
- BURJ KHALIFA – Not only is this the world’s tallest building with 163 floors, but it also has the worlds fastest elevator which takes you up to the two floors of panoramic vistas, here you will see some of the most breathtaking views you can imagine. As your standing there looking out it is hard not to wonder how it was even possible to build this amazing building! It’s best to book your tickets in advance as it can cost you more if you buy them at the door and they can be sold out. This list is of the FREE things to do in Dubai and although you do have to pay to go up this impressive building, the views of it from below near the Dubai Foundation is incredible, especially at night when the whole building creates a light show for all to see, and anyone can enjoy this for Free
HOW TO GET AROUND:
TAXI – This is one of the easiest ways to get around, they are a good price with a 20-30min journey costing around 80-100AED ($20-$30) which is not bad considering that you are in one of the most expensive cities in the world.
METRO – These driverless trains are one of the best ways to get around, they include 1st Class and Women & Children Only Carriages. There is around 49 stations spanning all the popular tourist destinations around the city. The pricing is also very good with single fares starting at only 3AED ($0.80)
TRAM –Another quick and easy way to get around Dubai, although currently there is only 11 stations in the JBR, Marina & Palm Jumeriah areas, if you need to get around these places this is another great option.
BIKE – Feeling Fit??? Maybe in the very hot time of year you may not want to try this option, but from Nov-Feb when the weather is a lot cooler you could rent a BYKY Rental Bike from one of their 85 Bike Rental locations.
BOAT –The Dubai Ferry is another option, this is more of a tourist trip then a direct transport link, but what a great viewpoint to see the city from. Currently there is only 5 stops but again this is relatively inexpensive with trips starting at only 50AED ($13)
LUXURY CAR –Fancy getting around in REAL Luxury?? Why not try renting a Bentley or Bugatti from Paddock Rent a Car or Apex Luxury Car Hire where prices can be 5400AED ($1500) and MORE
WHERE TO STAY:
Well… Dubai is not a cheap place to stay, so you need to consider that with any booking you are making.
One option is getting an AirBnb because this city has some really cool apartments that can be priced at a very good rate. CLICK HERE for some money off your first booking with AirBnb
If you are wanting to stay in a hotel:
- MOVENPICK HOTEL JUMEIRAH BEACH – We stayed here for 3 nights when we stayed in Dubai. We had a great time and really love not just the hotel but the JBR area of Dubai. The price of the rooms here for what you get is very good and we would recommend it for sure.
Here are some other options, we have not stayed in any of these places but they come recommended: