Back in 2015, I spent three nights in Dubai prior to embarking a seven-night Arabian Gulf itinerary onboard Splendour of the Seas. It can be a daunting place the first time you visit, especially knowing how to get around. With so much to explore, its hard to decide exactly what to see, especially if you’re only visiting for a few days on a ship.
Dubai quickly became one of my favourite places I have visited. There seems to be something for everyone to enjoy. It’s like they’ve taken inspiration from every major city around the world and put it all in one place. The architecture is a sight to see in itself. Every single skyscraper seemed to have its own unique design element.
Dubai is a city built for the modern age. Public transport is both cheap and by far one of the most convenient ways to explore Dubai. The futuristic Dubai Metro runs the length of the city and a day ticket costs just 22AED (around £4.30). As everything is spread over a wide area, walking is not convenient. The metro is a fun way to explore the city, but be aware that there are special designated ‘Women Only’ carriages and men can be fined around 100AED for entering.
So what should you see in Dubai?
At 828 metres, the Burj Khalifa is officially the world’s tallest building. The Burj is a must-do attraction when visiting Dubai, unless you’re afraid of heights that is (I think everyone is likely to be somewhat scared at that height!) The view from the 124th floor is amazing on a clear day, but it is also usually quite hazy at the top, limiting the view slightly. You can pay a significant extra to go to the 148th floor, but the lower observation area is still very high! Book tickets online in advance to save money.
By visiting the Burj Khalifa, you’ll have no choice but in visiting the Dubai Mall, as the entrance is inside this huge shoppers paradise, so it makes sense to explore the mall either before or after your trip to the top of the Burj. The Dubai Mall is more than just a shopping centre – it’s a destination within itself. In addition to well known stores and restaurants, there’s also an aquarium. Just outside the mall is the Dubai Fountain – the largest fountain system in the world. Performances take place at 1 p.m. and 1:30 p.m. and every 30 minutes between 6 p.m. and 10 p.m.
The Walk and nearby Marina offer several shops, restaurants and cafes as well as a beach. As mentioned previously, Dubai seems to have taken inspiration from major cities around the world. The Walk reminded me of Los Angeles ans the Venice Beach area.