I’ve created a travel guide to Dubai UAE. If you’re thinking about visiting and not sure where to go then keep reading and hopefully it will help you decide on things to do, places to go see, shopping, cultural highlights and desert adventures and most important how to save money. Dubai has so much to offer and is unlike anywhere else on the planet. Here’s my ultimate Dubai travel guide.
Dubai is not cheap. You will need to spend some money in order to enjoy the beautiful city, however there are ways to save money if you’re on a budget. I would recommend downloading the Entertainer app. It costs around £45 – £75 depending which one you go for. It has so many discounts for hundreds of restaurants, bars and all sorts of activities. Most of the discounts are 2 for 1 and it is valid for 1 year. I definitely got my money’s worth.
I was in Dubai for 5 days and the whole trip cost me around £1000 including flights which isn’t so bad as I stayed in a 5* hotel. You should plan to spend around £150-£200 per day, however you could spend less depending on where you choose to stay and eat.
WHERE TO STAY
All the hotels in Dubai are beautiful so it really depends on what you want to get out of your trip. I have recommended a few below.
Dubai Marina and JBR
In my opinion, this is the best place to stay in Dubai. It’s relatively new and is the most Westernized area in the city. If you want to be close to the beach, the mall and great nightlife I would definitely recommend staying here. There are some great restaurants and bars and all the skyscrapers, it is actually very impressive. I stayed at the Address Dubai Marina, which was attached to the mall – I would definitely stay there again. The staff, the location and the pool was lovely. Other hotels to check out in this area are: Rixos Premium, Grosvenor House, Sofitel Dubai and Habtoor Grand Resort.
Downtown and Business Bay
I stayed in the Business Bay the first time I visited Dubai. It was great as it was very close to the Dubai Mall and close to the most important landmarks, like the Burj Khalifa, however it took around 20 minutes to get to the beach and I found I was using taxi’s a lot more than when I stayed in the Marina. If you are looking to stay in more reserved area and want to be close to the luxurious shops, then this is your place. I stayed at the Renaissance Hotel, it was new when I visited and I loved it. Other hotels to check out in this area SLS Dubai Hotel & Residences, Steigenberger, The Oberoi and Taj.
Staying On The Palm
If you’re happy to be resort based for a few days, you can’t go wrong with The Palm as the hotels are very nice. There are so many beautiful hotels on the palm, you really can’t go wrong but here are a few I recommend staying at: Atlantis, FIVE Palm, Anantara, Jumeirah Zabeel Saray or One&Only Royal Mirage.
Also to note you don’t have to stay in a 5* as all the hotels are beautiful. The 3* and 4* are just as good or even better then most of the hotels in the UK and you get to save some money. I tend to book my hotels on agoda as I find they are usually the cheapest and price match.
WHAT TO DO
Like many people, this has always been on my bucket list, so I knew I had to do it when I visited Dubai. There is no better view than the one that you get when you are falling out of an airplane from 12,500 feet above the palm. It really was the best experience and I would totally recommend it to all my fellow adrenaline junkies. It isn’t cheap, I think it cost around £400/450 but it was totally worth every penny.
GO TO THE TOP OF BURJ KHALIFA
This has to be on everyones list of things to go see when in Dubai. It’s the planet’s tallest skyscraper and you get an unforgettable view from the top of the world! I would definitely book tickets in advance as you may find yourself waiting in long queues.
JETSKI AT JBR
Again, for my fellow adrenaline junkies get your thrills on a 1-hour guided jet ski adventure in Dubai, and see the skyline of the city from the Persian Gulf. Jet Skis are for everyone, you get to speed past iconic sights such as the Burj Al Arab, go to Atlantis on top of Palm Jumeirah and ride back to the base. You also get to stop and take pictures so don’t forget your phones/cameras.
EXPLORE OLD DIERA
Dubai is so much more than its skyscrapers and malls. Make sure you take some time out to explore old town and the gold souks, it is a famous tourist spot where you can find plenty of shops selling gold, other jewellery and perfume.
See another side of Dubai on a desert safari. If you want to see what Dubai looked like not so long ago then book yourself onto a tour where you’ll get the opportunity to ride a buggy or quad bikes, go sand boarding, dune bashing, camel ride and end the evening with a dinner and belly dancing show.
WATCH THE DUBAI FOUNTAINS
Plan to visit these striking fountains at least twice to get the daytime and nighttime view. Book a table at one of the restaurants in the Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Boulevard, Dubai Mall and experience the fountain show whilst eating. I went to Thiptara, a Thai restaurant. The food was lovely but a little overpriced. However, there are many restaurants close by to check out.
You have to visit the Dubai Mall, one of the world’s largest shopping malls in UAE. Don’t expect to buy a lot as it’s not cheap but it’s so much more than a shopping centre. Go see the aquarium and underwater Zoo, if you’re brave enough check out the ultimate shark dive experience. There are also great spots to stop for food.
SCUBA DIVING / PADI DIVING
If you love the water like me, check out a PADI course for an underwater experience you’ll never forget. The visibility when I went wasn’t great so I didn’t get to see much. It all depends on the weather, but it was a great experience regardless and you get to walk away with a scuba diving certificate.
Friday Brunch is one not to be missed. It’s the chance to kick the weekend off in style. Almost all hotels and restaurants offer a great experience, serving food from all over the wold with free flowing drinks and great entertainment. There are so many to pick from but here are a few top places to check out.
- Bubbalicious – The Westin Dubai Mina Seyahi
- Jumeirah Al Qasr
- Le Royal Meridien
- Nobu – Atlantis The Palm
You have Wild Wadi and Aquaventure Waterpark – definitely worth checking out (don’t forget to take water shoes especially in Summer).
There are some great pool parties in Dubai. A few of my favourites:
- Zero Gravity – Every Friday (and Saturday) there’s a huge poolside and beachside brunch that kicks off at 1pm.
- Nikki Beach
- The Penthouse at the Five Palm -Every Saturday, invies everyone down for its Candypants ladies day pool party!
Go check out Huqqa in the Dubai Mall, smoke shisha and have an amazing view of the fountains.
Shades at the Address Marina hotel is also a great spot for shisha which overlooks the infinity pool, the stunning views of Dubai set the scene for a stylish evening any night of your week.
There are many great clubs in Dubai but I would definitely recommend 1 Oak and Mahiki.
WHERE TO EAT
The food, the service, the vibe here is 10/10 – definitely one of my favourite places.
Ce La Vi
Great food with a beautiful view. What more do you want.
The world’s famous Salt Bae experience. It is expensive, the food was average but the experience was great.
Buddha-Bar Dubai is such a beautiful restaurants with great ambience. Expect to be wowed by the stunning interior. If you love Asian food, then definitely one to check out.
Pier 7 is Dubai Marina’s premiere fine dining scene with 7 different restaurants offering exotic Arabic and Asian flavors and European inspired dining.
Doors Freestyle Grill
Doors Freestyle Grill is a high-end restaurant nestled against the stunning backdrop of Al Seef Dubai Creek. The steak was amazing, the staff were so friendly and made the experience one to remember.