It’s hard to believe that Dubai was once a small fishing village. Today, it is one of the most sophisticated, innovative, and diverse cities in the world. As one of the seven emirates that make up the UAE, this metropolis features breathtaking landscapes including desert and coastline, plus a jaw-dropping cityscape. With luxury resorts, culinary delights, and one-of-a-kind attractions, Dubai offers visitors an experience unlike anywhere else.
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At 828 meters high, Burj Khalifa is the tallest building in the world and is one of Dubai’s most-visited attractions. The glass structure is nothing less than awe-inspiring, but the most stunning views come from the observation decks located on the 124th, 125th, and 148th floors. The latter holds the record for the highest restaurant and outdoor terrace in the world.
On especially clear days, when the tide is low and visibility is high, it’s possible to see the shores of Iran from the top of this phenomenal skyscraper.
Located at the base of Burj Khalifa, and sitting on 12 hectares of manmade Burj Khalifa Lake, visitors will find one of the world’s largest choreographed fountains with robust water jets that spout as high as 150 meters into the air and sway rhythmically to music.
Starting at sundown every evening, this water dance display takes place every 30 minutes until 11pm when the final song plays.
The fountains are surrounded by a variety of restaurants and cafes for those wishing to dine while they watch the show. Also in the immediate area is the Souk Al Bahar, and the massive Dubai Mall.
The yacht-filled marina is a delight of activity both day and night. In addition to an assembly of iconic skyscrapers that are a must-see, visitors can enjoy a stroll along the Marina Walk or embark on a dhow cruise for dining and sightseeing. The district contains a variety of waterside restaurants and lounges, plus there is the 4-level Dubai Marina Mall nearby.
For thrill-seekers that wish to get a bird’s-eye view, the world’s longest and steepest zipline is located here. XLine is a kilometer in length and 170 meters above the ground, allowing guests to soar over the scenic neighborhood at speeds up to 80 km per hour.
A trip to Dubai would not be complete without visiting the desert, which is only a 20-minute drive from downtown. Adrenaline-inducing activities include 4×4 SUV tours – some of which include dune bashing – plus quad bikes and motorbike rides, and sandboarding. Or take it down a notch with a camel tour, a hot air balloon ride, or a falconry show. Lavish dinners complete with entertainment can also be had in the desert.
For visitors wishing to stay among the dunes, the luxurious Al Maha Desert Resort & Spa provides an unforgettable experience.
For a look at the Dubai Desert and many of these activities, watch our video HERE.
Palm Jumeirah is one of the largest manmade islands in the world. When viewed from the air, it resembles a palm tree with a trunk formed from the main roadway and a monorail system (Palm Monorail) for fast and convenient transportation. In addition to residences, Palm Jumeirah is filled with beaches, attractions such as The Pointe and record-breaking Palm Fountain, and several luxury resorts including the famous Atlantis, The Palm. Visitors can look around at the resort’s spectacular features and spend time at Aquaventure Waterpark for waterslides and attractions, watersports, an aquarium with 65,000 marine animals, and interactive dolphin experiences.
For a tour of Atlantis and Aquaventure, watch our video HERE.
This wide expanse of beach provides a great place for watersports, sunbathing, and, of course, kite flying. On most days, the breeze makes this the perfect location for kites of all shapes and sizes.
The area also contains volleyball facilities and other beach activities, an impressive skate park for bikers and skaters, and an abundance of open-air cafes and restaurants.
It’s easy to spend an entire day at the beach with turquoise waters as the view and the city skyline as a backdrop.
Inspired by an ancient citadel, this impressive 40-hectare complex of Arabian architecture offers gorgeous gardens and landscapes and contains 3 luxury hotels and a selection of summer houses. Madinat Jumeirah also houses the Madinat Souk, the world-class Talise Spa, a high-tech Theatre of Digital Art, and more than 40 restaurants and lounges featuring cuisines from around the world.
The waterways throughout the complex are home to a turtle sanctuary that houses injured turtles prior to release back into the wild.
Located next door to the Burj Khalifa visitors will find the world’s most visited retail outlet – The Dubai Mall. This massive development, which covers more than 1 million square meters, features 2 major department stores, more than 1,200 stores, countless food and beverage facilities, and several big attractions.
Among other things, these outstanding attractions include cinemas, an indoor theme park, an ice rink, a trampoline park, a virtual reality experience, a dinosaur exhibit, an extreme haunted house called Hysteria, and a massive aquarium complete with 33,000 marine animals including tiger sharks.
Despite Dubai’s ultra-modern appearance, there is still a lot of culture to explore in the region — as examples, the historic neighborhood of Al Fahidi, and the area known as Dubai Creek, both of which are old establishments located within the city. Dubai Creek, also called Khor Dubai, is a saltwater inlet that extends 9 miles inland and forms a natural port for transportation and trade. This is where the Bani Yas tribe first established a settlement.
Visit Dubai Creek for a traditional and relaxing abra ride across the waters while enjoying several species of birds as they fly overhead. Afterward, stroll the captivating maze of gold, spice, and textile souks.
Although the design of this attraction resembles a giant gold picture frame, the construction is actually parallel vertical towers with a clear glass bridge walkway in between, where tourists can view the city and take unforgettable photos.
Located in Zabeel Park, this symbolic attraction allows visitors the experience of “picturing” the shift between Old and New Dubai with stellar panoramic views of the entire city from 150 meters above the ground.
BONUS PICK: Burj Al Arab
Known as the world’s only 7-star hotel, the sailboat-shaped Burj Al Arab is an iconic Dubai site. Recently, the famed hotel opened its doors to tourists by offering immersive 90-minute tours of the property’s luxurious suites and amenities.
Guided tours come with a wealth of information and insider stories. If you’ve always wondered what Burj Al Arab looks like on the inside, but can’t afford to stay there, this is the tour for you.
For a look at the Top 10 Luxury Hotels in Dubai, watch our video HERE.
All Photos via Unsplash and Pixabay