This post has been contributed to Voyages of Mine by Neha Singh, who is a talented full-time travel blogger. You can check out Neha’s fascinating website dedicated to all things Dubai here!
10 Must Do Things in Dubai for First Time Travelers
Dubai is a city of extremes; you’ll find the world’s largest manmade island here, and the world’s tallest build. You’ll also find the biggest fountain spread and the most unbelievably gargantuan mall. If that weren’t enough to satisfy you, Dubai is also the proud owner of a uniquely designed Museum of the Future and a 152 meter tall picture frame. Here you’ll find a foodie haunt from every corner of the planet. If you’re looking for any particular cuisine, you’ll find it in Dubai. And there are beaches where the bikini-clad can enjoy in peace and beaches where women clothed in black can relax. All of this is juxtaposed by stretches of vast desert and a turquoise blue sea far as the eye can see. So where do you begin as a traveller? You begin at the beginning, with what to do in Dubai and how to get around.
When in Dubai
When in Dubai, be sure to follow a few regulations if you want a safe, happy holiday. Here they are:
- Don’t bring any drugs into the country; if found, you’ll be detained for a long time and getting you out will be a very tough job.
- Do not indulge in public displays of affection with anyone. This is considered highly offensive.
- Do not over-indulge in alcohol; stick to a limit that’s even lower than your regular limit.
- Do not drink and drive; do not drive even if you have only a tiny amount of alcohol in your bloodstream.
Enjoying Yourself in Dubai
Here are some must-do things while you’re in Dubai:
- Check out the World’s Tallest Building:
The Burj Khalifa can be seen from anywhere within Dubai and for miles outside of Dubai. You can see it from a distance of 95km on a clear day. Be sure to enjoy the panoramic perspective of Dubai from the highest observatory deck at a vertiginous 555m, on the 148th floor.
- Check out the World’s Largest Mall:
At the feet of the Burj Khalifa is the most gargantuan mall that was ever built, the Dubai Mall. Explore the mall’s 1200 plus retail outlets, 1000 plus eateries in the food court, the incredible underwater aquarium, the state-of-the-art ice rink, and several other wonderful sights that are specially constructed to keep people entertained within the mall.
- Check out the World’s Biggest Fountains:
Just outside of Dubai Mall are the fantabulous Dubai Fountains, spread out on the immense 30 acre large Burj Lake. This all-singing, all-dancing Dubai Fountain is an absolute treat. The water jets soar up to a height of 50 building levels, in time to heavenly music. Thousands of coloured LED lights colour the water jets as they launch up in celebration of life.
- Go On A Morning Desert Safari:
One of the best things to do in Dubai for first time travellers is to embark on a delightful morning safari in the Dubai desert. You can enjoy terrific desert sports such as dune bashing, sand boarding, quad biking and camel riding. You can enjoy the natural element of the desert to your heart’s content. The morning desert safari begins just as the sun rises, so be sure to capture some great pictures of the sun’s rays slashing across the dunes like a zebra’s stripes.
- Visit the Madinat Jumeirah Complex: This complex brings an old Arabian city to life with its lanes and underground market stalls. It’s an atmospheric Arabian old world come to life but with high-end hotels, restaurants, bars and shops. There are Venetian-style canals that you can boat on, which is very romantic. What’s more, you can get top views of the iconic Burj al Arab from the canals here.
- Check out Dubai’s Famous Waterparks: Located right in front of the incomparable Burj Al Arab is the Wild Wadi Waterpark. The other waterpark in the same vicinity is Aquaventure, situated close to the Atlantis The Palm resort at the end of Palm Jumeirah Island. Both the waterparks have terrific water rides guaranteed to give you a terrific adrenaline boost. Together, these two waterparks have the best slides, lazy river rapids and excellent fun areas for kids. The other waterpark in Dubai, LEGOLAND Water Park, is not meant for adults; it’s exclusively for 2 to 12 year olds.
- Check out the Dubai Frame: This huge, 152 meter tall picture frame literally freezes two images – that of modern, bustling Dubai to the North and the more laid back, easy typical Arabian lifestyle of Deira, Umm Harare and Karama. A 93-metre-wide bridge connects the two columns on the side, forming a frame. Standing on top of the glass-sided bridge, you can enjoy a 360 degree view of famous landmarks such as the Burj Khalifa and the Emirates Towers.
- Check out Dubai Parks and Resorts: Dubai Parks and Resorts is several wonders rolled into a single locale that is many hectares large. This mega theme park comprises of 3 theme parks and one waterpark. Bollywood Parks is a Bollywood-inspired theme park which contains daring immersive rides and chases that are typical of Bollywood. Riverland is a fun and daring retail destination for folks who want to loosen their purses. Legoland Dubai allows kids to build any kind of vehicle or building structure using legos. Kids can even drive lego cars and be awarded lego licenses.
- Explore Old Dubai: If you’re visiting for the first time, don’t ignore the charms of Old Dubai in favour of the new landmark attractions. Old Dubai comprising of Dubai Creek, Bur Dubai, Deira and the Al Fahidi Historical Neighbourhood are gems in their own right. Explore the spice and gold souks of Bur Dubai to your heart’s content and be sure to check out the Al Fahidi Museum and the Sheikh Mohammed Centre of Cultural Understanding to find out how Dubai transformed from being a fishing village into a glittering international tourist destination. You can haggle over items in the souqs here – that’s something that you cannot do in the shops in any mall in Dubai.
- Dubai Marina and JBR:
Dubai Marina is where the rich and famous hang out. It’s a fabulous place to hang out especially in the evenings. You can see super yachts moored up at the marina, each costing millions of dollars. There are lines of supercars also, with Rolls Royces, Ferraris and Lamborghinis and even more expensive ones beyond count. Enjoy the blissful landscape, the glittering skyscrapers, palaces and resorts along the famous Jumeirah Beach Residence boardwalk.
Dubai is an exciting place to visit, especially for the first time. Dubai is ever-changing, coming up with newer and newer structures, each more awesome than the last, so you’ll never tire of visiting this fabulous city! Give yourself enough time to appreciate the diversity between the glam city and the more laidback, true to the roots of Arabia parts of Dubai.