Things to do in Dubai

Dubai Travel Guide: What To Do | Budget Tips | Day Trips & More

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Get ready to go on an epic adventure as I spill the beans on one of the most dazzling gems of the Middle East – Dubai! I've called this city home for quite some time, and let me tell you, it's a place that never ceases to amaze me. In this comprehensive travel guide, I'm dishing out all the deets from A to Z – why you absolutely must visit Dubai, how to prep for your journey, the top-notch things to check off your bucket list, breezy ways to get around, hidden gems near the city, the scoop on the best neighborhoods to crash, cozy hotels to make your stay memorable, and of course, the lowdown on what and where to chow down. Stick with me, and we'll even explore how to enjoy this dazzling destination without burning a hole in your pocket. Buckle up, let's dive into the fabulous world of Dubai together!

4 reasons you should visit Dubai

How to prepare for your trip to Dubai?

Visa requirements

Navigating the UAE's visa landscape is like picking out the perfect outfit for your Dubai adventure – it's essential, and the options are diverse! Depending on your passport, you could either walk in visa-free, get one online, or apply for one at the embassy in your country. For the short-term fling, there's the UAE Tourist Visa, perfect for stays under 30 days. For a longer affair, you can dive into the world of UAE Residence Visas – Student, Work, Family, Retirement, or even the Dubai Digital Nomad Visa. Level up with the Long-Term Residence Visa, offering 5-10 years of UAE bliss. Just passing through? The UAE Transit Visa has your back.

Health insurance

Before you get swept away by the glitz of Dubai, let's chat about health insurance. Trust me, it's like having a golden ticket to the healthcare wonderland. While not a must for citizens from visa-free countries, snagging travel insurance is a savvy move. In a city where healthcare costs can empty your pockets, you want to be covered. Think ambulance rides, doctor dates, and unexpected hospital shindigs. Opt for a policy that hugs you in emergencies, guards against trip disruptions, shields your luggage and even has a plan for getting you home if things go sideways.

Best time to visit

Buckle up for the prime seasons – November to February, where the city flaunts its A-game. The desert escapades, live gigs, and perfect weather make it a dreamy getaway. March, April, September, and October dial it down for a laid-back escape without the hustle. Dubai's got a year-round charm, thanks to futuristic cooling tech! High season (Nov-Apr) rocks with cooler temperatures, lively events, and festive vibes, but brace for pricier tags. Low season (May-Aug) suits budget travelers with great summer deals, and my favorite, shoulder season (Sep-Oct), beckons with sea frolics on a budget.




Time zoneGMT +4


Country Code+971


Socket Type G



Top things to do in Dubai

Dubai's a massive playground I've been lucky enough to explore every nook! From the towering heights of Burj Khalifa to the mind-bending views at Dubai Frame, the wild wonders of Safari Park, the floral magic of Miracle Garden, the chilly thrills at Ski Dubai, the heart-pounding Desert Safari, and the cultural extravaganza at Global Village – we're diving into the city's beating heart.

Landmarks in Dubai


Adventure in Dubai:

Buckle up for Dubai's adrenaline buffet – where adventures are as bold as the skyline! From dune bashing and a free-fall euphoria with Tandem Skydiving, to frosty fun at Ski Dubai and breezy Sailing escapades, get ready to turn your vacation mode into a full-throttle adventure!


Observation decks in Dubai

Elevate your Dubai experience to new heights with the city's jaw-dropping observation decks. Get ready for eye-popping panoramas at The View at the Palm and Burj Khalifa's At The Top. Immerse in futuristic vibes at the Dubai Frame, and soak up the cityscape at Sky Views Observatory. These decks aren't just platforms; they're front-row seats to Dubai's glittering skyline


Unmissable experiences in Dubai

Brace yourselves for Dubai's show-stoppers – the unmissable experiences that'll add a dash of magic to your trip. Glide through the city lights on enchanting Dhow Cruises, savor the sky-high culinary thrill with Dinner in the Sky, and get ready to be mesmerized by the aquatic wonders at La Perle.


Getting around Dubai

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Before we get into the ways of getting around Dubai, let's talk about the magic wand of Dubai commuting – the NOL card. This little card is your golden ticket to glide through the city hassle-free. Just tap your NOL card at Metro and Waterbus gates, RTA Bus entrances, and parking meters – and voilà, you're on your way! Load it up with credit before your adventures begin, and you're set to conquer Dubai's transport wonders. Metro rides, breezy bus journeys, water escapades, tram adventures, and even parking – NOL's got your back.

  1. Metro: Hop on the sleek Dubai Metro for a hassle-free city tour. With the Red Line stretching from Dubai Intl Airport to UAE Exchange and the Green Line meandering from Etisalat to Al Qusais Creek, it's the ultimate transit duo. Switch lines at Union or Bur Juman for a seamless ride, making exploring Dubai's vibrant neighborhoods a breeze.
  2. Bus: Feel the cool breeze in air-conditioned comfort aboard Dubai's RTA buses. Equipped with NOL card sensors and accessible for all, these buses cover the city efficiently. Even the bus stops are cooled – a thoughtful touch to combat Dubai’s heat.
  3. Trams: Ride the modern wave with the Dubai Tram, connecting Dubai Marina to the Palm Jumeirah and Al Sufouh. With Wi-Fi, disabled access, private cabins, and dedicated metro police, it's a deluxe journey with seamless transfers to the metro and Palm Jumeirah monorail.
  4. Cabs: Dubai's ubiquitous taxis offer convenience at a cost. Despite being pricier, their availability and comfort make them a go-to choice. Spot them at malls, tourist attractions, or simply hail one on the road.
  5. Monorail: Glide along the Palm Islands with the Dubai Monorail, the Middle East's first. The Monorail also accepts the NOL card now. Connecting to the mainland and having future plans to link with the Metro Red Line, it's a unique journey, where a one-way ticket opens the door to Palm Jumeirah's wonders.
  6. Abras: Step back in time with Abras, Dubai's traditional water taxi. Half boat, half raft, they gracefully traverse the Dubai Creek, providing a link to the city's rich history. As you float across the waters, it's a nostalgic nod to the old days, offering a serene and scenic ride.
  7. Ferries: Embark on a journey with a touch of tradition on Dubai Ferries. Echoing the design of Abras, these boats ferry passengers along the picturesque 14-km stretch of the Dubai Creek.

Places to visit near Dubai

Buckle up for nearby city jaunts that'll add a pinch of diversity to your journey. Sneak off to Abu Dhabi, the UAE's glitzy capital, just a road trip away, flaunting architectural wonders and cultural gems. Sharjah, a cultural haven, beckons with vibrant markets and artsy vibes. Craving beach bliss? Head to Ajman, where pristine shores await. For an old-meets-new vibe, Ras Al Khaimah's got you covered with historic sites, adventurous activities at Jebel Jais, and modern luxuries. These neighboring gems are like Dubai's cool cousins, each offering a unique flavor to savor.

Best neighborhoods to stay in Dubai

  • For the Views

  • Nightlife & beaches

  • On a Budget

  • Luxury stay

  • For Expats

Where to Stay in Dubai for the views - Downtown 

Downtown is the heart of Dubai. It is where the glitz and glam take center stage. It's the Dubai you've seen on TV, boasting the iconic Burj Khalifa, luxe shopping havens, and chic boulevards. This vibrant hub is the reason Dubai is in the spotlight. With dazzling club nights, fountain spectacles, and the world's largest mall, Downtown is the ritziest playground in Dubai. Do your research on cheap accommodation here because this area can get quite expensive!

Hotels in Dubai

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What to eat in Dubai

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1. Manakish
Dubai's manakish scene is a flavorsome journey through Levantine delight. These thin, crispy flatbreads adorned with cheeses, meats, and herbs have conquered hearts for centuries. Akawi Oven, a standout, crafts pizza-style manakish with a tantalizing array of toppings, from classic sausage and cheese to the intriguing meat with grenadine.

2. Arabic coffee and Dates
Dubai's coffee culture is a delight, especially the complimentary Arabic coffee sprinkled across the UAE. For a top-notch experience, swing by Café Bateel and savor their signature qahwa – a traditional Arabic brew blended with lightly roasted beans and cardamom, accompanied by organic local dates.

3. Luqaimat
Meet Luqaimat – Dubai's delectable dumplings, a lot like doughnuts but with a unique twist. Swing by Local Bites Café in Jumeirah for a morning delight. Freshly made, dripping in date sauce, and sprinkled with sesame seeds – a perfect sweet treat with your coffee!

4. Oozie
Dubai's got a culinary gem – Oozie, a star at weddings and Ramadan. It’s basically rice, chicken, and a flavor explosion. Scoop it with yogurt or sprinkle some nuts for pure comfort. During Ramadan, it's a must-try, offering a taste of Dubai's festive flavors.

5. Al Harees
Savor the heartwarming delight of Al Harees in Dubai – a culinary treasure of wheat, meat, and a pinch of salt slow-cooked to perfection. Traditionally enjoyed during Ramadan, Eid, and weddings, this dish embodies Dubai's rich culinary heritage. Experience its magic at Al Fanar Restaurant & Cafe.

6. Iranian Sangak
Dive into Dubai's culinary charm with Iranian Sangak, a whole wheat flatbread sensation. Served plain or gluten-free, it's a health-conscious foodie's dream. For the best bite, swing by Al Adedh Baker - Harmoodi Irani – your go-to spot for top-notch Sangak delight!

BONUS: How to save money in Dubai

1. Use City Cards
Maximize your Dubai adventure without maxing out your budget with a Go City Dubai Explorer Pass or a Turbo Dubai City Pass. Unlock top attractions, tours, and experiences at a steal. It's your golden ticket to explore, save, and make the most of dazzling Dubai without burning a hole in your pocket!

2. There are loads of affordable food joints (and they're delicious)
Eat at Karama, Bur Dubai, and Deira. These hidden gems serve up tasty treats starting at just AED10. Savor Pakistani delights at Ravi's and Iranian kebabs at Al Ustad Special Kebab. Don't overlook mall food courts for wallet-friendly fast food.

3. Choose the right neighbourhood
If you're chasing affordable vibes in Dubai, check out areas like Al Barsha and Bur Dubai. They're not flashy, but they're practical, well-connected, and budget-friendly.

4. Use public transportation
Maximize your dirhams with the budget-friendly Dubai Metro – a wallet-wise ride to key spots, from malls to the airport. Grab a 'Nol' card for metro, trams, and buses covering every nook. For Old Dubai charm, cruise the Creek on AED1 abra rides, blending savings with scenic views.

5. Groupon
Groupon is the go-to magic wand for unlocking discounts galore! Whether you're itching for adventures, dining out, or some pampering, Groupon's got your back. It's the city's treasure trove of 2-for-1 specials and wallet-friendly deals. Planning a day out or craving a fancy dinner? Before you say 'let's go,' peek into Groupon for a high chance of snagging a sweet discount.

6. Travel during off season
While it's sizzling outside, the city cools down its prices. Bag incredible hotel deals, snag budget-friendly airfares, and score discounts galore. Top-notch malls and attractions offer summer specials, letting you beat the heat indoors.

Dubai Travel Guide