Now this is one city that sure knows how to hit the headlines. The magical lure that the city has leaves us asking for more. Futuristic, surreal, yet holding an old world charm – there’s so much do…so much to see…so much to absorb…
1. Shopping Paradise
Ask a shopaholic and the Dubai Shopping Festival is a page out of his/her fantasy. Year after year, the festival just seems to get on a better footing. And that leaves me intrigued. Sure, the shops are familiar and no cheaper, but there’s just something about shopping in Dubai which beats any other country – the shopping experience is built on a platform of unrestrained fantasy, offering surreal attractions to lure you (and your credit card) in. Just to give you a flavor, The Souk Madinat inside the Madinat Jumeirah Hotelboasts its own waterway to transfer people from its shops, bars and restaurants to the neighboring clutch of hotels or The Mall of the Emirates which has a bona fide ski slope.
2. Dune Bashing with Hatta desert trip
Most tourists do the typical afternoon dune bashing at the overcrowded dunes followed by dinner and belly dancing. This can be quite a tourist trap, though first timers seem to enjoy this. Personally, I would recommend that you go to Hatta, one hour’s drive from Dubai City where the ancient fortress village of Hatta is located. It is the home of the Hatta Fort Hotel, Dubai’s only mountain resort complex. The drive is as fascinating as the destination itself, taking the visitor through burnished sand dunes and mountains varied in colour. Tours cover the recently renovated old fort and a trip through Wadi Hatta with its lush greenery and diverse wildlife. The village, which is more than 200 years old, and Juma Mosque, which stands amid palm groves, are other tourist attractions. And if you are looking for a ‘out of the world’ desert safari, then head out to Najwa – albeit a bit more expensive, but the spectacular desert scenes and thin crowd promise you a journey of a lifetime.
3. The Gold Souk
Your trip to Dubai is incomplete without a jaunt to the famed Gold Souk. It doesn’t matter if you want to buy, but a walk into the souk is a must do. Simply to soak in the gold, diamonds, platinums and the semi precious laden stores.
4. The Burj al Arab
In a mood to splurge, then stay the Burj al Arab. It has been consistently voted as the world’s most luxurious hotel and one of the most photographed man made structures in the world. It’s the world’s tallest hotel, and probably it’s least subtle — gold-leaf is applied as liberally as undercoat, there’s a fleet of white Rolls Royces on the forecourt and dancing fountains in the foyer…but then, you didn’t come to Dubai looking for understatement! And if you want to just want to experience the flavor of the place, opt for a quiet dinner at their restaurant Al Muntaha ?
5. Discover Dubai
The drive towards future has transformed the tiny little fishing village, but then a visit to the Bastakia Quarter has another story to tell – a little corner of Dubai which has managed to hold on to its old world charm. This quarter squeezes itself between the Dubai Creek and the buzzing Bur Dubai district – a mini maze of wind-towered buildings, a clutch of which have been transformed into art galleries and cafés. Discover the textiles souks – where you’ll find magnificent bolts of fabric. The old world charm of the quarter is mesmeric. And there’s nothing better than discovering this on foot.
6. Atlantis Dubai’s waterpark
has everything from a Dolphin Bay where you can interact with dolphins to Aquaventure, a 42-acre area with slides, rapids, an area for kids, and a beach. If diving is of interest to you, whether you are experienced or a first-time participator, take advantage of the Atlantis Dive Centre and head to any number of dive sites off the coast of Dubai.
7. Go boating to avoid the traffic
Cross the creek using a abra, one of the small wooden boats. Rustic flavor, but with the cool winds blowing, it’s magic and poetry interwoven! Try the shisha at one of the shisha cafes – definitely a must do!
8. A ride of your life
Take a lift to the observation deck of the Burj al khalifa the tallest building in the world and we promise you it is an experience of a lifetime – heady, adrenaline rush…and more! The best time is just when the sun sets. And following that, you cannot miss the mesmerizing musical fountain show. End your evening with a dinner opposite the fountain over a glass of champagne.