Dubai! Love it or not, there’s no denying its global interest. A city and Emirate in the Middle East with the Arabian Gulf to the west and miles and miles of sand to the north, south and east. Out of that sand, cities within a city have grown and it doesn’t look like stopping any time soon.
This comparatively relaxed sheikhdom is open to investigating new ideas, promotes the arts and Arabic culture and develops campaigns on health and happiness.
Have you been to Dubai? Is it on your travel list? Before you make your plans, take a look at this 5 day adventure.
Beginning in Dubai's Old Town our journey travels south along the coast to the man-made island of Palm Jumeirah and the canal city of Dubai Marina. Slightly inland, we’ll take in Dubai’s CBD, an entity unto itself offering entertainment burgeoning on the surreal.
To truly capture the essence of Dubai, 5 distinct districts should be on your itinerary. Here’s the plan.
Day 1: Old Town.
Learn about the history and development of Dubai at the many museums and heritage villages. Settlement in Old Town Dubai began at the Creek. Architecture reflects the time and tours take place opening minds to Dubai’s culture, religion and politics.
Traditional souks still operate selling textiles, exotic spices, gold and precious stones. The Creek is Dubai’s port with abras and dhows still a mode of public and cargo water transport.
Begin on the Bur Dubai side of the Creek visiting both Al Fahidi Fort including Dubai Museum and the original Al Fahidi district. Stroll through the textile souk to the Abra ticket office and organise an hour on the Creek to experience the traditional and contemporary architecture.
Arrange to be dropped on the Deira side of the Creek at the Spice Souk. Wander through the Spice Souk and narrow one-way streets to the Gold Souk.
To end your day, there are many options for sundowners and dinner with Dubai skyline views on the Deira side of the Creek.
Day 2: CBD, Downtown, Business Bay and Dubai Canal.
A complete contrast to Old Town, the CBD and Downtown house one of Dubai’s world famous icons, Burj Khalifa. At the base is the beautiful Dubai Fountain and shopaholics are in their element with the world’s largest shopping mall. Let’s face it, you could spend your entire day here.
The financial district is home to international banking, exhibition space and entertainment venues. Annual World Art exhibitions, food and hospitality conventions and live performances by visiting international acts take place here.
Taking the tourist ferry along Dubai Canal includes Dubai Design District (D3), Business Bay and Al Habtoor City. Each of these areas have reasons to hop off and explore.
Jumeirah is made up of 3 separate districts. With Expo 2020 looming much of Jumeirah has had a facelift. Jumeirah 1 especially.
The most recently established island of Pearl Jumeirah houses the exclusive Nikki Beach Club and back on the original coastline luxury resorts claim their plot of beach.
La Mer, a new dining, shopping and entertainment hub offers free beach access and the newest of Dubai’s water-parks, Laguna.
Etihad Museum shares insights of the UAE’s past, present and future while Jumeirah Mosque is the only mosque in Dubai where non-muslims may enter. Daily guided tours of the mosque open minds to the religion and traditional culture of the Emirati people.
Burj Al Arab’s sail shape is recognised internationally. Inside are restaurants and bars with spectacular views or surrounded by sea life. Nextdoor, kids of all ages will love Wild Wadi Waterpark.
Learn to sail or surf with certified instructors and just 4 km away, Dubai’s indoor skiing slopes at Ski Dubai, Mall of the Emirates is a fun novelty in the middle of the desert.
The art district of Alserkal Avenue is adjacent to Mall of the Emirates and the metro station is convenient for transport to the rest of Dubai.
For easy access to Burj Al Arab without breaking your budget, complimentary entrance to Wild Wadi Waterpark and where to buy the best value quality gold and diamonds in Dubai, follow this link to #myDubai Guide Part #4: Back at the Beach!
Day 5: Palm Jumeirah and Dubai Marina.
Atlantis is one of the first places you hear about as you fly into Dubai with Emirates Airlines. Situated at the end of the Palm, Atlantis is a city in itself. The Palm covets 5 star hotels on its fronds and trunk with the beach and Marina offering many more.
Skydiving is a must over the Palm (if your nerves allow it), or enjoy yacht cruising or fishing tours.
The Marina is an expat enclave therefore dining, and entertainment venues fill this area. Beach bars, sports bars, rooftop bars and all manner of drinking holes make this area a lively and fun place to meet new friends and take a peek into Dubai’s expat life.
I can guarantee this 5 day adventure will give you a complete understanding of Dubai’s complex past, present and future.
If you happen to plan your visit between October 2020 and April 2021, I encourage you to include a day at Expo 2020. With drone airport transport and driverless cars on show along with the planned hyperloop and a dedicated pavilion for green economy and energy, Expo 2020 is bound to surprise and delight.
Welcome to Dubai, it’s a place we love….
Shona’s award winning travel blog shares tips and tricks on where to eat, drink, explore & shop in any given destination. At home ordering street food or perusing a fine dining menu, she seeks out venues with a conscience who promote local produce and sustainability. Find her in markets, museums, art galleries and on walking tours as well as wineries, breweries, distilleries and restaurants. Wherever she is, she’s always looking for something a little different to share with her readers. Follow her travels at www.paraphernalia.co or subscribe to her Shenanigans Report http://paraphernalia.co/subscribe-form/ so as not to miss a post. firstname.lastname@example.org.