Although the city’s economy once depended on the oil industry, Dubai has now become a hub of international tourism. Offering world class shopping, fabulous beaches, fascinating historical attractions and the man-made Palm Islands, this glittering gem in the desert has attracted travelers from all over the world.
But with so much to see and do, where do you even start? Well, I’ll just tell you.
1). Sheikh Mohammed Centre for Cultural Understanding (SMCCU)
My husband and I are both history geeks, so we always visit local museums when traveling. Without a doubt, SMCCU is one of the finest I have ever seen. With walking tours of historic districts and mosques, traditional meals, and fabulous cultural events, there is so much to experience at the SMCCU. Be sure to look into the Iftars during the month of Ramadan.
2). Wild Wadi Water Park
It’s easy to lose track of time inside this massive waterpark. Thrill seekers will enjoy the wide array of slides such as the Jumeirah Sceirah and the Master Blasters. Those who like things on the more relaxing side will love Juha’s Journey (lazy river) and Breakers Bay (wave pool). If you get hungry, there are three restaurants, two food stands and one café. I recommend Ali’s BBQ!
3). Burj Khalifa
Even though I’m absolutely terrified of heights, I couldn’t resist the urge to visit Burj Khalifa and neither should you. At 2,722 ft. (829.8 m), it is currently the tallest building in the world and has one of the most breathtaking views I have ever seen in my life. Buy your tickets for the observation deck in advance to get a good price and avoid the lines. Be sure to check out the Dubai mall and fountains while you’re there!
4). Dolphin Bay
Located at the Atlantis Resort and offering a wide variety of dolphin encounters and educational programs, this is another must see in Dubai. All dolphin experiences offer a 15-minute orientation with a marine mammal specialist, 30 minutes in the water, beverages, same day access to Aquaventure Waterpark, and 25% off same day admission to The Lost Chambers Aquarium. It’s a once in a lifetime experience!
5). Ski Dubai
How many people can say they’ve gone skiing in the desert? Ski Dubai lets you do just that by offering skiing, snowboarding, and tobogganing in a fabulous indoor setting. You can even book an encounter with the penguins where you receive hot chocolate, photos, free souvenirs and an up close meeting with the penguins.
If you’re planning on visiting Dubai (and I hope you are) here are a few helpful cultural tips to remember.
- If you’re socializing with locals wait until a hand is offered to you for a handshake.
- If you’re dining with locals, do your best not to sit with the soles of your feet presented to another person, it’s considered rude. Also, eat your food with your right hand, drink with your left.
- Visiting during Ramadan? Make sure not to eat, drink or smoke in public from sunrise to sunset.
- Save tight clothing and swimsuits for the beach. No thongs or topless sunbathing!
- Displays of affection in public, such as kissing, are considered indecent. Keep your lips off your partner and you should be good.
Dubai is an absolutely stunning city and my husband and I had some amazing experiences while we were there. I hope this guide inspires you to see it for yourself!