From humble beginnings as a pearling village, the City of Gold has grown into a land reclaimed and reimagined. Opulence and outlandish, extravagant and effervescent, Dubai continues to challenge the obvious and the predictable with every passing year.
Home to the world’s tallest building, palm-fronded island-cities, exorbitant sky-dining and underwater restaurants and humungous shopping destinations, the desert city is filled with record-breaking attractions of every scale and style.
The BusinessClass.com guide to the 30 best things to do & see in Dubai:
The most well-recognised icon of Dubai is a modern engineering marvel and a building like no other on the planet. Burj Khalifa, the tallest building on earth, soars to the skies with a mind-boggling height of 828 meters. Its unbeatable location next to the Dubai Mall ensures epic views from two observation decks, one of which is the world's highest observation deck on the 148th floor at 555 meters. Sign up for a guided tour and 'fly' to city landmarks via interactive high-tech screens from the top of Dubai.
The experience concludes on the 125th floor with "A Falcon's Eye View", a virtual flight designed to let you explore the Emirate's key attractions. The architecture of the Burj Khalifa mimics the onion-dome design typical of Islamic architecture and is inspired by the Hymenocallis desert lily. Burj Khalifa also boasts the world's longest elevator, at 1653 feet and the highest restaurant on the 122nd floor, at 1483 feet. Bookmark a trip to the Burj Khalifa to enjoy world-class entertainment and dining, including shopping at the Dubai Mall and the choreographed musical Dubai Fountain.
Address: 1 Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Blvd, Downtown Dubai
One of the most popular attractions in Dubai is the tallest performing fountain in the world. Standing in the 30-acre Burj Lake at the foot of the Burj Khalifa in Downtown Dubai, this colourful symphony of water, music and light is a spectacle to behold. 22,000 gallons of water shoot up to 140 meters in the air through powerful water jets that cover a mammoth area equalling the length of two football pitches. The choreographed dance of the fountains is accompanied by stirring classical, Arabic and world music soundtracks played on speakers.
Crowds throng to watch the shows that last for 30 minutes every day in the evening. For a better vantage point, get close to the fountains through the 272-meter-long Dubai Fountain Boardwalk. A front-row seat is guaranteed if you choose to sail in the 25-minute Dubai Fountain Lake Ride during the water show. There are a few other good viewing spots, including a few restaurants at Souk Al Bahar, the bridge which connects Souk Al Bahar with Dubai Mall and the Dubai Mall waterfront terrace.
Address: Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Blvd, Downtown Dubai
The world’s largest destination mall, covering 1 million square metres, is the gigantic hub of shopping, entertainment and leisure, with 1,200 retail stores and hundreds of dining outlets vying for the attention of visitors. You can find everything your heart desires in Dubai Mall, from international fashion labels and luxury brands like Versace and Burberry to footwear, accessories, electronics, home decor and even gold jewellery. The two anchor stores in the mall are Galeries Lafayette, France’s leading lifestyle retailer and Bloomingdale’s, America’s leading department store.
The little ones can stay engaged for hours at The Dubai Aquarium and Underwater Zoo, the Olympic-sized Dubai Ice Rink, Kidzania and an indoor cinema complex. A recent exhibit in the mall is Dubai Dino, a 155 million-year-old dinosaur skeleton from the Late Jurassic Period, which is 24.4 metres long and 7.6 metres high. With a convenient location next to Burj Khalifa, Dubai Mall figures on the shopping list of everyone who makes a trip to the city.
Address: Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Blvd, Downtown Dubai
As yet another record-breaking attraction, Miracle Garden joins the list of must-see sights in the city. The world's largest natural flower garden, sprawling over 72,000s square metres, Miracle Garden is an outdoor wonderland with over 150 million blooms, landscaped pathways and exquisite floral tunnels. The gardens are decked with fascinating pitstops like petalled castles and lifesize houses. Kids will be delighted by the Butterfly Garden, housing 15,000 butterflies in custom-built domes. Remember to see Smurfs Village for its bright blue characters and the 'floating lady' dressed in exotic flowers. Among the new attractions in the garden are two giant hands in the shape of a heart.
This popular photo spot is designed for visitors to fast-track their Instagram feed. Water-themed attractions include 3-D water and lighting installations, as well as water mills inside lakes. The complex is dotted with lovely hammocks and floating beds inspired by Caribbean and Asian traditions for people to rest and relax. Kids will love the area dedicated to Disney. Nonstop daily entertainment includes colourful parades, Zumba sessions and street performances.
Address: Street 3, Al Barsha, Al Barsha South, Dubai
Float over the desert city and skyscrapers in a thrilling helicopter ride and get a bird’s eye view of the city and its impressive landmarks. The flight departs from a dedicated helipad at Atlantis, The Palm, and the ride begins with a stunning ascent into Dubai Creek, where Dubai evolved into a spectacular millennial megacity. Soar over the World Islands and cross the Arabian Gulf, continue to the iconic Burj Khalifa and enjoy breathtaking views of the Atlantis Palm.
Cruise over the Sheikh Zayed Road, Port Rashid, Union House and the Jumeirah Beach coastline to reach the Burj Al Arab. Then fly inland over the Dubai Internet City, the Jebel Ali Race Course, Emirates Living Neighbourhoods, Dubai Marina and the Jumeirah Lake Towers. The 25-minute ride offers an aerial view of the biggest and best landmarks that Dubai is famous for. You can choose a shorter capsule ride of 15 minutes or an extended flight time of 90 minutes, according to your preference.
Address: Atlantis Helipad, Atlantis The Palm, Crescent Road, The Palm Jumeirah
Dinner in the Sky
Elevate your fine-dining experience to new heights with ‘Dinner in the Sky. Situated in Dubai Marina, this is one of the most unusual dining venues suspended by a crane in mid-air. The gravity-defying diner offers a one-of-a-kind perspective of the city skyline, sea waters and Palm Jumeirah over the Dubai Marina. Diners are given a safety briefing before being strapped to their bucket seats with a strong, secure harness and are hoisted 50 metres up in the air for an adrenaline rush like no other.
Expect to dine on a flying dinner table high above the ground and enjoy a three-course meal. Gourmet meals at Dinner in the Sky Dubai are available in one-and-a-half-hour slots between 2 and 9:30pm. There are vegetarian and non-vegetarian options for lunch, afternoon tea, and dinner, and the menu caters to all tastes and palates.
Address: Skydive Dubai, Al Seyahi St, Dubai Marina
Adventure is never out of reach in Dubai, even in the heart of the city. Sign up for one of the steepest and fastest zip lines around the globe and traverse a distance of 1 kilometre, 170 meters above the ground, from the Jumeirah Beach Residence to Dubai Marina. Buckle up your Superman-style harness and fly over the city, belly down, at a speed of 80 kilometres an hour, making your wildest flying dreams come true.
As you slide over the sleek cityscape and harbour dotted with glitzy yachts, the GoPro cameras mounted on your helmet will ensure that you capture the excitement on live video. As part of the strict safety regulations, the zip line is open to participants over the age of 12 and under 65. Those under 18 need to be accompanied by a legal guardian. Some general height and weight requirements also need to be met. Hang on tight and enjoy the crazy ride.
Address: Dubai Marina Mall, Dubai Marina, Dubai
Deep Dive Dubai
Top-quality aqua recreation awaits at the Deep Dive Dubai, boasting of the world's deepest swimming pool for diving. With a staggering depth of 60 meters, the pool is filled with 14 million litres of fresh water, equalling the volume of six Olympic-sized swimming pools. Water temperature is maintained at 30 degrees Celsius, comfortable enough to wear a thin wetsuit or a swimsuit. One of the most fabulous underwater attractions here is the 'sunken city', where divers can explore a modern Atlantis-like abandoned urban streetscape. The building, designed in the shape of an oyster, is a nod to Dubai's pearl diving heritage.
The pool is fitted with state-of-the-art lighting and sound systems for a world-class ambience, perfect for its double duty as an underwater film studio with a media editing room nearby. Water sports to bookmark include snorkelling, scuba diving, free diving (breath-hold diving), as well as guided experiences by international diving professionals. Deep Dive Dubai is an ideal place for newbies to try their first dive in safe, controlled conditions in warm freshwater. Those who prefer to watch the action can share the experience through large viewing windows.
Address: NAS Sports Complex, Nad Al Sheba
Global Village: Every year, from October to April, millions of people travel to Dubai to discover the popular multicultural entertainment destination, Global Village. This open-air destination is a must-see during Dubai's winter calendar. The theme park offers something to appeal to every age, with attractions including a fun fair, food, nightly cultural entertainment and authentic shopping. Visitors can look forward to watching thousands of live shows with some of the world's best performers, famous characters, world-class concerts, street entertainment and the region's only water-based stunt show. Concerts and shows feature international artists on the World Culture Stage.
The Ripley's Believe It or Not! houses the 'Odditorium' museum. Check out a wide range of curious exhibits, including a 14-foot-long killer crocodile, a matchstick model containing over one million matchsticks, and a brand new photo opportunity in the Torture Chamber gallery. Browse for local arts and crafts from 90 cultures, or indulge your inner child with unlimited rides and games. Some of the most coveted items to buy include Yemenese honey, Iranian carpets, Moroccan argan oil, and Thai dry fruits.
Address: Sheikh Mohammed Bin Zayed Road, E311 Road
Camel Rides + Camel Racing
Drive to the Dubai Desert Conservation Reserve for an unforgettable camel ride with the backdrop of a dramatic sunset. This authentic Arabian experience promises picturesque dune scenery and incredible views for miles and miles. Look out for local wildlife while strolling on the golden sands astride the humped 'ships of the desert. This is an opportunity to spot interesting varieties of desert flora and fauna along the way, like Arabian gazelles and oryx. If you prefer a faster pace, plan a day at The Dubai Royal Camel Racing Club, located half an hour's drive from the city. The ancient sport of camel racing is still part of Emirati life, and the Club attracts camel owners from across and beyond the UAE.
The Club houses the city's largest track, Al Marmoom Camel Race Track, the site of heart-pumping excitement during the winter's racing season. Cheer along with the crowds as you witness 60 camels galloping through the gates towards the track, followed by trainers and owners in 4X4s, remote controlling the robot jockeys mounted on the camels and egg them on to the finish line.
Address: The Dubai Royal Camel Racing Club, Al Ain Road Exit 26, Um Nahad 3 are, Dubai
Space enthusiasts have much to look forward to on star-studded nights in the vast open areas that make up the fascinating landscape of the United Arab Emirates. One of the most recommended places for a rendezvous with constellations and galaxies is the Al Thuraya Astronomy Centre, located in Mushrif Park, on the outskirts of Dubai. The world-renowned centre aims to promote interest in astronomy throughout the UAE and is famous for housing one of the largest telescopes in the region, with a one-metre diameter mirror. You can book a session in advance and visit the centre to learn how to use a telescope to spot stars in the night sky.
Alternatively, if you prefer to see the stars naturally under the open skies, head to The ‘Al Quaa Milky Way’ spot in the heart of the Abu Dhabi desert. The drive of an hour and a half away from the capital is well worth your time for an unforgettable, unique experience. Stand in the pitch darkness of a pollution-free atmosphere and stare at breathtaking views of the galaxy around you. Night skies will never be the same.
Address: Al Thuraya Astronomy Centre, Mushrif Park, Mushrif
Burj Al Arab is not just a seven-star luxury all-suite hotel built on its own island. The postcard-perfect image of the iconic sail-shaped building rising 321 metres against the shimmering waters of the Arabian Gulf symbolises the dynamism of Dubai in all its glory. The graceful design is inspired by the sail of a dhow (a traditional wooden cargo vessel). The translucent fibreglass facade acts as a protective shield from the desert sun and city illumination. The opulent interiors, awash in gold, marble and vibrant colours, evoke the splendour of Arabian Night treasures. Frequented by A-listers, celebrities and business tycoons, the Burj Al Arab is an ogle-worthy destination.
The Exit Lobby steals the show with a spectacular spiral chandelier weighing 450 kilograms created by the Czech design company Sans Souci. Indulgences that await guests include Mahara, an underwater restaurant and aquarium, a fleet of Rolls-Royce cars and a helipad, where bigwigs like Tiger Woods, Anthony Joshua and Roger Federer have made their statement entries.
Address: Umm Suqeim 3, Jumeirah Beach Road
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Mall of Emirates
With over 600 brands spread over a colossal area of 233,467 square metres, Mall of the Emirates is one of the preferred retail destinations in Dubai and the United Arab Emirates. The architectural centrepiece of the building is the Fashion Dome, an enormous barrel vaulted glazed roof mimicking the look of a heritage European railway station. Visitors can spend hours indoors with various stores, including fashion, lifestyle, sports, electronics and home furnishing. The largest Carrefour in the city also has a home here. One can stock up on favourite labels like Apple, Chanel, Burberry, Missoni Polo Ralph Lauren while enjoying a luxurious shopping experience.
Besides shopping, one can find many cafes, diners and gourmet restaurants reflecting multiple cuisines. Children will love the snowy landscapes and penguin encounters at Ski Dubai, the indoor ski resort. Magic Planet, a massive arcade and gaming venue, is also located here. Other entertainment options to enjoy at the Mall of Emirates include the VR experience Dreamscape and the flagship branch of VOX Cinemas.
Address: Sheikh Zayed Rd, Al Barsha, Al Barsha 1
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Topping the list of adventures synonymous with Dubai is the dune bashing in the Arabian Desert. For the ultimate thrill, plan a trip to Lahbab (or ‘Big Red’), home to the city’s tallest sand dune, named after its deep colour. If you opt for a morning safari, look forward to desert sports like sandboarding to the backdrop of a magical sunrise over the undulating dunes stretching as far as the eye can see. The evening desert safari is also an excellent choice since it concludes with a gorgeous sunset and a traditional Arabian feast at a desert camp.
Depending on your preference, you can pick an ATV, dune buggy or a 4X4. All vehicles are ideally suited for the sandy conditions of the desert. The dune buggy resembles a makeshift car, with pedals, a steering wheel, a safety harness and a roll-over cage for added protection. Race over the peaks and troughs of the golden sands, jumping, swerving, bouncing, manoeuvring and holding on tight to the steering wheel for one of most exhilarating rides of your life.
Address: Lahbab Desert Safari, 2HRR+VG2
This flamboyant theme park, designed for kids under 12, is located in Dubai Parks and Resorts, the largest theme park destination in the Middle East. A hot favourite with families and children, it features 40 rides and attractions spread over six different themed areas and promises non-stop fun and entertainment all day long. Youngsters will be spoilt for choice with pedal cars, Duplo planes, the Dragon roller coaster and Power Tower ‘free-fall’ ride.
One of the highlights is Miniland, where children can pretend to be giants among Lego versions of landmarks like the Burj Khalifa. Fun meets learning at this incredible theme park with various well-crafted and interactive play opportunities. Kids can learn to build cars, race in Lego cars, become a fireman, get a driver’s license or learn robotics at Mindstorms. At Boating School, kids even get to captain their own boats. In the Factory Tour, they can learn how a LEGO brick is produced and come back with a personal LEGO brick fresh from the casting line.
Address: Dubai Parks & Resorts, Sheikh Zayed Rd
Ain Dubai beats every previous record as the earth's highest and largest ferris wheel. Towering to a staggering height of 250 metres, it is 75 meters taller than the London Eye. Located on Bluewaters Island, this observation wheel is a one-of-a-kind monument to visit in Dubai and a spectacular modern engineering marvel. Passengers can book a ride in one of the 48 air-conditioned cabins to take in a mesmerising 360-degree panorama of the cityscape.
Each revolution lasts for 38 minutes. The wheel can accommodate as many as 1750 visitors in one cycle. Ain Dubai is open day and night, offering visitors the best of both worlds. During the day ride, Dubai city dazzles the eye with its sky-high buildings, while the night ride is perfect for witnessing the glitter of the illuminated cityscape contrasting against the dark skies. The Ain Dubai is a unique way to discover the Emirati city's impressive landmarks, such as Burj Al Arab, Palm Jumeirah, Burj Khalifa and the Dubai Marina.
Address: Bluewaters, Bluewaters Island
This latest Dubai attraction combines the experience of eye-popping city views with heart-pumping thrills. Standing 219.5 metres above ground level on top of the Address Sky View Hotel, Sky Views offers three distinct vantage points and experiences. Visitors can take a panoramic glass elevator ride to level 52 and ascend to the upper floor via a spiral staircase for an adrenaline-pumping walk over a 46-metre-long glass floor to the adjacent building.
The Glass Slide is an excitement-inducing ride through a fully encased transparent tunnel that connects levels 53 to 52 of the tower. But the ultimate adventure for real daredevils is the Edge Walk. For this experience, guests step onto the outer ledge of the skyscraper's highest pod, strapped with safety harnesses, to take in dizzying 360-degree views of the city and its landmarks. Challenge your risk-taking instincts and sign up for a trio of attractions in Sky Views, comprising the observatory, glass slide and edge-walk while in the Emirati capital.
Address: Sky Views Observatory, Address Sky View, Emaar Square Area, Downtown Dubai
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A world-class Arabian waterpark experience awaits visitors at Wild Wadi, occupying a prime position next to the Burj Al Arab in Jumeirah. The waterpark promises aquatic fun, and adventurous water rides for the entire family and offers experiences to delight both adults and children. Relax by the gentle Wave Pool or indulge in a private cabana at the Lazy River. For more action, slide down the 120-metre slide, Jumeirah Sceirah, at a speed of 80 kilometres. At Burj Surj, get seated in a rubber ring and hurl yourself downhill into two spiralling spins and a slide before ending up in a pool. Scream with delight as you get doused by 100,000 litres of water that simulates massive waves and river rapids in the Action River.
Another unmissable attraction at Wild Wadi is Breaker's Bay, the largest wave pool in the Middle East, where visitors can brave 1.5-metre waves in five different configurations. Tuck into fast food and healthier dishes from a wide variety of dining outlets and pick up your favourite Wild Wadi merchandise from shops as a memory of an unforgettable day.
Address: Jumeirah St, Umm Suqeim, Umm Suqeim 3
Dubai Museum & Fort
Heritage hunters and museum buffs can bookmark a trip to the Dubai Museum & Fort for a contrasting experience in the skyscraper city. Credited as the oldest building in the city, it has roots in 1787, when it was the fortified imperial residence with a garrison and prison. Dubai Museum & Fort is located in the Al Fahidi Fort at the southern end of Dubai Creek, a charming neighbourhood to taste a slice of history through ancient houses and traditional-style wooden dhows. The galleries include various exhibits, from vintage maps of the Emirates and Dubai to archaeological finds like pottery, weapons and tombs.
A mock souk (market) showcases life-size models of shopkeepers and craftspeople at work. In other galleries, one can learn about the region's marine, coastal, desert, mountain, and agricultural life. The pearl-diving section gives insight into the rich history of the industry, with objects dating as far back as 3000 BC. Dubai Museum & Fort is an excellent opportunity to reflect on the era before the oil magnates and land reclamation.
Address: Al Fahidi Fort, Al Fahidi
One of Dubai's most unexpected and ingenious attractions is housed within the Mall of the Emirates. The Emirati capital has recreated a fascinating world of real snow in the middle of dry desert land, complete with all the frills like cosy chalets, zorbing balls and ice caves. Ski Dubai is the world's third-largest indoor ski resort. Skiing takes on a new meaning in the gigantic snow park covering 22,500 square metres inside a luxury shopping mall.
You can build a snowman, slide down hills and explore a snow cavern in this winter wonderland. Like in the European Alps, you can ride a frozen zip line or a chairlift to the top of a hill. Amp up the spirit with a cup of hot chocolate. One of the most popular experiences in Ski Dubai is the personal encounter with the resident Gentoo and King Pengu.
Address: Sheikh Zayed Rd, Al Barsha, Al Barsha 1
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Hot Air Ballooning
Live out your own Aladdin flying carpet fantasy by booking a hot air balloon ride in Dubai. Experience the thrill of an aviation adventure of a different league while you soar over the surreal desert landscape, away from the glitz and glamour of the skyscraper city. Start by seeing the fascinating balloon inflation process, then absorb the essentials over a quick pre-flight briefing. The tour will take you 2000-4,000 feet above the Arabian sands into the open skies. In an hour-long flight that starts at sunrise, you can enjoy the serenity of early morning and the views of the rising sun over the rolling red sands.
The adventure includes the opportunity of spotting grazing gazelles and the looming Hajar Mountains across the desert. You can choose from various tours that can be custom-tailored to accommodate families, groups and couples. Go the extra mile with a private charter featuring an in-flight falcon show. Every balloon is equipped with GoPro cameras to conveniently capture the memories you make when floating in the sky.
Address: Balloon Adventures Dubai, Control Tower, 1303, Dubai
Marina Tour & Boat Trip
The Dubai Marina is one of the most picturesque districts to soak up the soul of the Emirate capital. One of the best ways to capture the iconic landmarks and panorama of the modern metropolis is by booking a marina boat tour. Gliding over the water is a fabulous way to tick off major sightseeing spots of Dubai, including the Burj Al Arab Jumeirah and Atlantis, The Palm. During the boat ride, expert guides fill you in with interesting trivia related to Dubai's architecture, history and culture.
There is a wide range of boats to choose from for day, sunset and evening rides. An exciting speedboat tour is great for thrill seekers. A leisurely yacht with a delicious meal on the open deck is perfect for a more relaxed experience. If you are planning a romantic evening or a special celebration with friends, consider a dhow dinner cruise to see the city light up during sunset. The perspectives of the cityscape from the water are a delight for shutter bugs. Click away.
Address: Al Marsa Street, Dubai Marina Mall Promenade, Dubai
The only natural beach in Dubai is a long, pristine stretch of white sand located close to the main street of Jumeirah. It is Dubai's premier destination for kite surfers and a favourite hangout for water sports like wakeboarding and paddle boarding, with high-quality equipment available for rent. During the cooler months between November and February, with strong winds and sound waves, kite surfing conditions are at their best. With its golden sands and clear blue waters, Kite Beach is perfect for swimming. Those who prefer a more leisurely day at the beach can rent a sunbed and laze for hours with uninterrupted views of the crystal clear waters of the Arabian Sea.
A newly developed 14-kilometre-long track lures walkers and joggers to challenge themselves while taking in views of the sandy coastline and the silhouette of Burj Al Arab Jumeirah against the horizon. Beach facilities include changing rooms, showers and toilets. Several food trucks and small outlets offer local delicacies and cuisines so that you can conveniently plan a long, relaxed day at Kite Beach.
Address: Kite Beach, off Jumeirah St, Umm Suqeim 1
Dubai’s legendary souks are a living reminder of the city’s legacy as a centre of commerce during the late 19th century when merchants received goods from ships from Africa and the subcontinent. More than 220 historic buildings have been lovingly restored to their original glory, with ancient features like wind towers. Upgraded urban spaces have been built around them to enhance the visitor experience. Located on the Deira side of Dubai Creek, the traditional souks are all within walking distance. You can catch an abra or water taxi for a short ride from the opposite bank and immerse in the richness of the souk experience at Deira.
The most popular and opulent of them all, the Gold Souk, has walkways lined with jewellery shops stocking gold, silver and precious stones. In the narrow alleys of the Spice Souk, one can pick up herbs and spices typical to the region, like cinnamon, cloves, saffron, sumac and nutmeg. Head to the Perfume Souk to browse for Arabic fragrances and aromatic incense in pretty, ornate bottles. Fashionistas must bookmark the Textile Souk for cashmere, silk, cotton and wool fabric to give their wardrobes a touch of whimsy.
Address: Deira Creekside, Baniyas Rd, Dubai
Even swimming in the sky is no pipe dream in Dubai, with the world's first and highest 360-degree infinity pool. Located on the 50th floor of The Palm Tower, Palm Jumeirah, Aura Skypool, suspended 200 metres in the air, guarantees a once-in-lifetime experience in the Emirati capital. Plunge into the azure blue waters and gaze at captivating views of the Dubai skyline, Palm Jumeirah, and the Arabian Gulf's glittering waters. The sophisticated pool-and-lounge destination for the well-heeled is designed with pleasing nature-inspired décor.
Soak up the sun from one of the custom-made single or double sun-beds, and indulge in unobstructed panoramas of iconic landmarks such as Palm Jumeirah, Burj Al Arab and Burj Khalifa. Sip on signature cocktails and taste tapas-style sharing dishes at Aura's lounge and bar. Plan a private celebration, a birthday bash or a corporate event in luxurious settings with specially crafted menus and personalised service. It is the recipe for a perfect day spent making memories with the city sprawled out under your feet.
Address: 50th Floor, The Palm Tower, Palm Jumeirah
Conveniently located on the scenic Jumeirah Beach Road, the Jumeirah Mosque figures on the monument watch list of most visitors. The building is a beautiful example of the medieval Fatimid architectural tradition that has roots in Egypt and Syria. Built during the late 1970s by Sheikh Rashid bin Saeed Al Maktoum, it is one of the most photographed mosques in the United Arab Emirates. Its white stone facade features twin minarets that frame a large central dome. Interiors are decorated with delicate geometric designs and Arabic calligraphy.
People of all faiths can admire the building and learn about Islam, Emirati life and local culture by signing up for a 75-minute guided tour of the mosque. The mosque is open for public visits from 8:00 am to 4:00 pm, with tours running every half hour. These guided tours are the only way for non-Muslims to enter the mosque. Visitors are advised to dress modestly with the head, shoulders and knees covered. Women must also wear a headscarf and loose-fitting abaya (traditional long dress). The imposing contours of the building are best appreciated at dusk when it is fully illuminated.
Address: Jumeirah Beach Road, Jumeirah 1
Aquarium & Underwater Zoo
The showstopper of Dubai Mall, the Dubai Aquarium, is a must-see attraction for lovers of marine life and the underwater world. The largest indoor aquarium in the world, filled with 10 million litres of water, is home to 33,000 underwater animals and over 140 different species, including Sand Tiger Sharks, Giant Groupers, and a host of other marine species. The facility is a great place to learn about shark conservation
The Shark Feeding dive is a rare opportunity to interact with these graceful animals during feeding time from the safety of a diving cage. You can take your pick of thrills and chills at the facility, from taking a glass-bottom boat tour to being dressed as a mermaid makeover and feeding skin rays. Stroll through a 48-metre tunnel, with sand tiger sharks and stingrays swimming overhead. In the zoo section, you can interact with 'King Croc', weighing 750kgs and measuring over 5 metres long. You can practice underwater photography with a professional underwater camera and take back memories for a lifetime.
Address: Unit SF, 115, Downtown Dubai
Both amateurs and professionals can choose from a fabulous range of scuba diving adventures in Dubai. The Lost Chambers at Atlantis, The Palm serves up an unforgettable underwater experience at the Ambassador Lagoon, which is home to 65,000 marine animals, including colourful varieties of indigenous fish, rays and sharks. Explore life in the lagoon or hand-feed sharks to win bragging rights. At the Dubai Aquarium & Underwater Zoo, even newbies have the chance to dive into one of the largest suspended aquariums in the world to interact with the world’s largest collection of Sand Tiger sharks.
Those who prefer to venture into the natural subterranean world of the Arabian Sea can dive in search of marine life off the shores of Dubai’s best beaches. Score high by witnessing yellowtail barracuda, spotted eagles, torpedo rays, nudibranchs, flatworms and more. Amp up the excitement by embarking on an underwater hunt for shipwrecks like the Zainab, MV Dara passenger ship and Victoria Star cargo ship. If you are keen to upgrade your skills, consider enrolling in a beginner PADI certification course.
Address: The Lost Chambers Aquarium, Atlantis The Palm, The Palm Jumeirah, Dubai
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Atlantis The Palm
One of Dubai's most iconic landmarks, this award-winning luxury resort opens up the doors to mind-boggling adventures. Spread over a humungous area covering several acres, Atlantis The Palm is a highly-coveted destination in Dubai. The stage is set with an exquisite aquatic-themed lobby and over 1,500 rooms and suites. All guest rooms have a balcony or a large terrace offering views of Palm Island, Dubai skyline and Palm Fountain.
Indulgences cross their limits in the eye-popping underwater Atlantis Underwater suite that stretches over 3 floors, connected via elevator and serviced by a 24-hour private butler. Sublime culinary experiences await in several top-rated restaurants by celebrity chefs, including Gordon Ramsay, Nobu Matsuhisa and Giorgio Locatelli. The complex boasts the world's largest waterpark spread over 17 hectares, with unique attractions for the entire family, including The Lost Chambers Aquarium, Aquaventure Waterpark and Dolphin Bay. Shop at a wide collection of exclusive boutiques when you get time off from the perfect sand beaches and a range of pools.
Address: Atlantis The Palm, The Palm Jumeirah, Dubai
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Sit by the pool and do nothing
After spending a whirlwind vacation in the most famous of the seven emirates that make up the UAE, allow some time to soak it all in. Contemplate the habit of living life large with record-breaking modern marvels. Wonder about the futuristic spirit and traditional soul of a millennial metropolis crafted from the unforgiving Arabian desert. Reflect on the audacity of architecture and ingenuity of palm-shaped islands. Revisit the charms of rocking in a dhow with the backdrop of twinkling harbour lights. Remember moments spent haggling with shopkeepers in exotic souks over spices, jewellery, hookahs, textiles and artefacts. Look back on retail therapy in gigantic malls inspired by Italian palazzos and Persian palaces.
Recollect the evenings jiving to music in rooftop pubs, beach clubs and shisha lounges with stellar views of the sparkling cityscape. And get goosebumps recalling sessions of 4x4 dune bashing, camel riding in the desert and shot air ballooning over the golden dunes to the glow of sunrise. The Bedouin-style gourmet spread in a luxury camp under the twinkling skies trumped it all. Do nothing. Nothing at all.
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