A great vacation depends mostly on the place you’re holidaying in, even if it is for just one day, and a lot depends on what you want. That’s why it’s important to choose a place that gives you a bit of everything – adventure, romance, excitement, culture, history, art, shopping, and leisure.
Dubai is that ideal place that has everything you want in a holiday, and in large measures at that. Dubai is the ultimate escape from the daily grind of life.
This fabulous city with its endless shopping, adventure, culture and everything in between is especially great if you’re in the city for a stop-over and we’re showing you how to perfectly spend one day in Dubai, so you have a complete Dubai itinerary.
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This is a guest post by Neha, a Dubai local who writes about the stunning city on her blog Dubai Wikia.
One Day in Dubai – Itinerary:
1. Begin Your Day in Dubai with a Morning Desert Safari
Start your vacation in Dubai with an unbelievable desert safari. The morning desert safari organizers will pick you up directly from the airport or your hotel to save you time. Your first adventure will be an exciting camel ride. Those cantankerous will give you a definite run for your money but it’s great fun.
Then comes some exciting dune bashing – driving an SUV with brakes off down tall dunes and bashing right into the next one, going up and then zooming down again. It’s the rollercoaster of the desert. You can enjoy quad biking and sandboarding and lounge back on silk cushions in the welcome tent relishing cups of hot Arabian coffee in your sheikh robes.
While on your morning desert safari, you can use the opportunity to take fabulous pictures of the shadowy vistas and the sun’s rays dappling over the undulating dunes. The desert offers a million photographic opportunities, right from its wildlife, to plant-life, to wadis, peaks, dunes, oases and much more.
2. Noon Shopping to escape Dubai’s heat
Dubai, which was once entirely a desert, is today a bustling, fantastic metropolis. If you close your eyes and imagine the Dubai that was, you’ll see desert sands and oases spread out. Today there are innumerable shopping malls which are the modern day oases of the city.
Be sure to explore the Dubai Mall with its three-storey centerpiece aquarium. Dubai Mall is unashamedly grandiose; there’s enough shopping here to keep you busy for weeks. One day in Dubai is barely enough to scratch the surface, but do as much shopping as you can. It’s a fantastic way to escape the heat of the Middle East in the middle of the day.
Plus, there’s a VR Park, a thrilling venue for gamers and virtual reality fans. There’s also an ice rink, a 22-screen cinema multiplex, and many other entertainment options.
The Dubai Mall has a store for every imaginable top-tier designer such as Yves St. Laurent, Dior, Dolce & Gabbana, Salvatore Ferragamo and more. You’ll find top-of-the-line streetwear brands at the mall as well. What stands out more than anything else is the incredible shine of gold in Dubai Mall’s gold souq.
While you’re at it, you can check out the Emirates Mall, the Marina Mall, the Ibn Battuta Mall and the outlets at Souq Madinat as well. Be sure to also explore the souqs and stalls of Bur Dubai and Deira, for the best spices and pashmina shawls in the east. Bargaining is not allowed in malls but you can definitely haggle for the goods in Bur Dubai and Deira.
3. The Burj Khalifa Experience in the afternoon
Before leaving Dubai Mall, be sure to get on one of the fastest elevators in the world to the 124th floor of the Burj Khalifa. You simply cannot visit Dubai without paying homage to the great Burj, the current tallest building in the world.
The ‘At the Top’ experience in Burj Khalifa offers you unparalleled 360-degree panoramic views of the city, framed as it were against the magnificent backdrop of the desert and the Arabian Sea – it belongs in every Dubai itinerary, whether you’re in Dubai for a week or only one day.
Several telescopes have been placed at strategic points so that you can get close up views of the city’s major landmarks. From the 124th floor’s observatory deck, you can get views of the Palm Islands, the Dubai Frame, the Dubai Eye, Atlantis The Palm, the Burj Al Arab, and the myriad of beautifully-lit skyscrapers of Dubai.
There’s a café on the 124th floor’s observatory deck as well. Can you imagine anything cooler than sipping on some piping hot coffee while taking in the most incredible view from that height?
You can pre-book a ticket to to the 124th and 125th floors here. After taking in the views, you return to the ground floor for a pastry and a hot drink (included) in the newly revamped café. It costs only about $45.
If you want to skip the lines, you can purchase a fast track ticket for around $95 which also gives you 10% discount at the souvenir shop and café.
Be sure to look down and view the incredible Dubai Dancing Fountains from the observatory deck. These amazing fountains are beautifully choreographed to dance and weave seductive magic over watchers.
Watch the beautiful fountain jets leap up to 150 feet in height, in all the colours of the rainbow. It’s a sight to marvel at, so be sure to focus your telescope on it. If you have the time, we recommend that you take a walk along the Burj Khalifa’s boulevard and enjoy the sight of the Dubai Fountains up close.
4. Dhow Dinner Cruise at night
As evening falls over the city, the whole of Dubai is lit up with brilliant, multi-coloured LED Lights. What better way to enjoy the incredible view of the city’s soaring landmarks, all lit up, than from out there on the Arabian Gulf, from a beautifully decorated luxury dhow during your one day in Dubai?
The dhow is an ancient wooden vessel that was once used for trading and smuggling purposes. Today, the dhow is mainly for luxury cruises along the Dubai Marina, or the Dubai Creek or Dubai Canal. Since all of them are connected, you could sign up for a Dubai dhow cruise to view the city from every angle.
The evening dhow cruise is a luxury entertainment cruise that comes with a fine Emirati dinner. Enjoy lounging back on silk cushions as you watch the exotic gyrations of a belly dancer and taste some of the finest food in the Middle East.
Marvel at the Tanura dancers as they swirl like dervishes, flinging their lit, multi-coloured skirts about as the music whips to a greater frenzy. Hand over your hands and feet to a henna artist who’ll tattoo them with fragrant, perfumed henna.
Feel like a sheikh for an entire evening, as you feast your taste buds on the food and your eyes on the entertainment and fabulous vista outside the dhow – it just belongs into any Dubai itinerary if you want a real Middle East experience.
You can pre-book a ticket for a 2-hour dinner cruise of Dubai’s Deira Creek aboard the world’s largest “dhow”. It includes live entertainment of authentic traditions, including “youwla” and “tanoura” dance demonstrations, and a 5-star buffet of international fare. Starting at $65.
After the dhow cruise, if you’re not tired, you can sign up for a hop-on-hop-off big bus night tour of Dubai. What a perfect way to make the most of one day in Dubai, don’t you think?!
Conclusion – One Day in Dubai Itinerary
The next time you come to Dubai, we recommend that you visit the Al Fahidi Historic District, which was once called Bastikaya, the old town area of Dubai. It’s the perfect place for you to understand Emirati culture and to know more about what Dubai was like before oil was struck.
The agenda we’ve detailed in this blog post will be perfect if you land in Dubai early in the morning. If you happen to land in Dubai during the night, be sure to sign up for an early morning hot air balloon ride over the desert and then follow it up with a morning desert safari. It’ll be the perfect one-day vacation in Dubai.
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