Dubai is huge. At 17 miles (that’s half as wide as Greater London) from the Palm Jumeirah in the west to Deira in the east, it’s best to know where you’re going before you go there. Largely a car city, and with temperatures rising to over 40C in the summer, it’s not a place you can wander for miles. Here are some of the spots you need to know:
Souk it up
Located around Dubai creek, this is the oldest part of town. Where the creek meets the sea, you can find the gold and spice souks, take a boat ride, and have your pick from the dozens of fabric shops in the area.
Metro – Al Ras. Taxi – Spice Souk in Al Ras.
The highest sunset
At the other end of the creek is the Burj Khalifa - the world’s tallest building. Book in advance for an hour before sunset as you may need to queue, and get the best of both views of the city – day and night. Grab the best spots while it’s still light to get your photos. At its base is the world’s second-largest mall – Dubai Mall. For those who’d rather skip the shopping, the mall contains a large ice-rink, aquarium, and SEGA theme park.
Metro – Burj Khalifa (15 mins away by sky-bridge). Taxi – Dubai Mall.
Spot of Gulf?
The majority of the public beaches are between the Palm Jumeirah and the Creek. Try the one just next to the famous sail-shaped Burj-al Arab and you’ll be in walking distance from the Wild Wadi Waterpark.
Taxi - Jumeirah beach park.
For a relaxed wander, great food, and a cooling swim; head down to Marina Beach, just past the Palm.
Metro - Jumeirah Beach Residence Tram Station 2. Taxi – Hilton Dubai Jumeirah.
Over the sea
To get away from it all and enjoy a romantic dinner, check out the 101 Dining Lounge and Bar at the One&Only Hotel. Set on stilts over the waters of the Arabian Gulf, you can see the lights of the city while enjoying delicious French and Arabian food. For a similar (but more expensive) vibe, check out Pierchic, which serves seafood at the end of a private pier near the Burj al-Arab.
Taxi – One&Only Hotel (101), Madinat Jumeirah (Pierchic).
Just inland from the city are acres of rolling sand dunes – and the best way to explore these is in a jeep. Skip the cultural experience and brief camel rides, and focus on the adventure.
Dine like a local
Although it might seem it, not everybody who lives in Dubai has a mansion. For some local character, head to al Difayah Road or 2nd of December Street and check out one of the local eateries serving Indian, Chinese, or Arabic food. Ravi Restaurant serves cheap, dependable curries at rock-bottom prices.
Metro – World Trade Center 1 (1 mile walk). Taxi – Ravi Restaurant, al Difayah Road.
Joe Adams works for Virgin Holidays and, as well as just returning from Dubai, has travelled all over the world in his quest for adventure; including to China, Guatemala, Belize, and Iceland.
To see more about Dubai and plan your own adventure, check out our Dubai Holidays.