Dubai 101 – A Travel Guide
Updated: Jul 6, 2019
Dubai is one of the most populous cities in the UAE and is the house to world’s tallest building, Burj Khalifa. Apart from this, Dubai is also known for its luxurious shopping outlets, ultramodern architecture and skyscrapers. Located on the southeast coast of the Persian Gulf, Dubai has one of the world’s largest artificial island - Palm Jumeirah and world’s largest shopping mall - The Dubai Mall.
Now that being said, I've curated a few places in the city that you need to visit, if and when you are in Dubai.
Bur Dubai is the historic district of Dubai, which is located on the western side of the Dubai Creek. Bur Dubai houses and preserves the culture and tradition of the city and the name literally translates to Mainland Dubai.
Once you’re in Bur Dubai, never miss
Al Fahidi Fort, Dubai’s historic fort that replicates old Dubai. The complex also has a historic museum that showcases the city's culture and tradition. This is located right next to the Grand Mosque, right opposite to the Arabian Courtyard Hotel.
Entry Timing – 8.30 AM to 8.30 PM
Entry Fare – AED 3
Grand Mosque, Located between the textile souk and Dubai Museum, this mosque is the hub of Dubai’s religious and cultural life. It can hold up to 1,200 worshippers at a time and the entry is restricted only to Muslims.
Textile Souk, Also known as Meena Bazar, is one of the oldest shopping streets that houses most textile shops of the district. Apart from textiles, you can find shops that sell traditional artefacts and spices.
Timings – 8 AM to 1.30 PM, 4 PM to 9 PM; Closed on Fridays
Abra Boat Station, Abra is the traditional mode of transport that is used to cross the creek from the western side of the district to reach the other side of the creek, which houses the Deira Spice Souk and Deira Gold Souk.
Abra Timing – 6 AM to 12 Midnight
Ride Fare – AED 1
House of Sheikh Saeed Al Maktoum, A historic building and the former residential quarters of Saeed bin Maktoum Al Maktoum, the former ruler of Dubai. The building is located alongside the Dubai Creek in Al Shindagha. The royal residence is now a museum that displays artefacts and images of Old Dubai.
Entry Fare – Free Entry
Entry Timing – 8 AM to 8.30 PM
The Sheikh Mohammed Centre for Cultural Understanding, This is a non-profit organisation that promotes awareness of Emirati culture, customs, tradition and religion. This heritage complex is located right next to Dubai Ruler’s Court and gives out true Emirati vibe.
Entry Timing – 9 AM to 5 PM, Saturday – 9 AM to 1 PM; Closed on Fridays
Entry Fare – Free Entry
Dubai Dolphinarium, Located inside the Creek Park, this air-conditioned indoor dolphinarium is first of its kind in the whole of Middle East. This dolphinarium is not just an outlet for great entertainment, but they also ensure a safe and comfortable environment for the dolphins and seals.
Dubai Dolphinarium is not just about dolphin shows but is also something beyond that. The show starts with a little bit of fun and magic, slowly navigating towards the seal show – which I think was amazing and then to the dolphin show. To be honest, those dolphins were amazing.
For entry fare and show timings, please check out their website here.
The Creek Park itself is one of its kind, where it provides you to have a quality fun time with your loved ones. Spend the entire day at the park with your family and friends, play some fun game, make yourself and your family some delicious barbecue and make the most of the time with them.
How to reach Creek Park?
Take a metro to Dubai Healthcare City and from there take a taxi to the park, which will approximately cost you 12 AED to 15 AED.
Once you are at the entrance, you can buy the entry ticket at the gates, which cost 5 AED or if you have your Nol card, you can swipe in at the entrance and avoid the long queue.
You don’t need an introduction to Burj Khalifa, so I’ll skip that part. But, let me give you some hindsight about how to reach and what to do.
How to reach Burj Khalifa?
As I said earlier, the transportation is much sorted in Dubai, but I advise you to take the metro whenever possible if your destination is accessible through it. So, take a metro to Burj Khalifa Metro Station and take the exit towards The Dubai Mall and make the long walk to the mall.
The best way to reach Burj Khalifa is through the mall.
The Dubai Mall
Now, visiting Dubai is incomplete if you haven’t paid a visit to the Dubai Mall. Located in the downtown region, next to EMAAR properties and Burj Khalifa, this mall is the largest mall in the world by total area. In 2011, it was the most visited building on the planet and is the house for more than 1200 shops. You name a brand and they have it in there. Shopaholics, this is the heaven that you need to visit ASAP.
P.S: Do NOT miss the fountain show outside the mall in the evenings. It’s one of the most coordinated things I have ever seen.
How to reach the Dubai Mall?
Take a metro and get down at Burj Khalifa/Dubai Mall Metro Station and take the mall exit, which is on the right-hand side.
Timing – 10 AM to 1 AM
Dubai Aquarium and Underwater Zoo
Well, The Dubai Mall is just not an avenue for luxurious brands but is also the house to one of the biggest aquarium and underwater zoo. It was really amazing to walk among the sharks and rays and if you’re in Dubai, please don’t miss this.
Timing – 10 Am to 12 Midnight
The entry fare starts from 100 AED and for more details, visit their website.
Dubai Marina is one of the most expensive and posh localities of the city. This is the house to numerous luxuries residential complexes and hotels in the city, and the most beautiful part about Dubai Marina is about how well it is built because for me, personally, it was visually appealing.
Dubai Marina is also the perfect spot for you to do adventurous sports such as skydiving and since it is very close to the beach, an evening with your friends and family would be amazing.
P.S: Wear your comfortable shoes because it’s a long walk to explore the marvels.
On the other hand, a little walk from Dubai Marina (use google maps for better directions), you will reach the Jumeirah Beach Residence, which is the luxurious residential complexes in the city which is known for its architectural marvels. JBR is also a humble host of renowned restaurants and fun activities. An evening by the beach at JBR would be marvellous and it’s got a lot more for you and your loved ones.
How to reach Dubai Marina and JBR?
You can take the metro and get down either at DAMAC Properties or Jumeirah Lakes Tower and walk along the way to explore Dubai Marina. Or, you can take the tram from DAMAC Properties or Jumeirah Lakes Towers and get down at either of the JBR Tram Stations and explore the land of luxury.
This white sand beach is anything and everything that you’d want if you’re in Dubai and if your love for beaches is beyond measurable units, this is one is a must visit when you’re in Dubai. This beach is located right next to the third tallest hotels in the world that stand on an artificial island.
Now we all wanted to click pictures standing right in front of this building. So, go ahead and have fun.
But, before I go ahead, I want to mention something that everyone who comes to Dubai should try, irrespective whether they are interested or not.
Bu Qtair is a Keralite seafood restaurant located in Jumeirah Harbour and it is a must try for its delicious food. I don’t have a picture of what I ate to share here because I literally had to prioritise food over anything. My camera and my mobile phone were a distant reality at that moment.
Please do visit this restaurant and you can thank me later. Anyways, you’re welcome.
Now, I was in Dubai for 3 weeks and I couldn’t visit a few places which I really wanted to. But, that doesn’t mean you can’t visit the following places even if you are there only for a shorter period of time. Please do visit the following places because they are amazing and the following are on my wishlist for my next trip to Dubai.
Dubai, if you dig deep into its history, was once a desert and anything and everything that you see today – the skyscrapers and luxurious attractions were literally built on the desert. And that being the case, how can a trip to Dubai be complete without experiencing the desert safari? (Okay! My trip to Dubai is incomplete because I couldn’t go to the desert safari, but if you’re in Dubai, please do experience this marvel).
The information regarding the packages and fare can be accessed here.
At top of Burj Khalifa
If you didn’t find anything touristy from the above, you will definitely find this one touristy. And yes, of course, you will find the impeccable view of the city from 124th floor and above to be touristy. Though it falls a bit on the pricier side of being touristy, but the view from up there is spectacular and is worth the money.
The information regarding the packages and fare can be accessed here.
Well, now that there is a list of things for you to do when you’re in Dubai, I would like to know what you feel and about your experience after visiting these places. Please don’t forget to tag me on Instagram and Twitter @weirdlyrosh, I’d like to see your pictures and know your story.