It’s not often people think of Dubai as a tourist destination; more often than not, it’s a place for business --but it doesn’t have to be! The city is thriving with energy and life, and you may be surprised at the things it has to offer. No idea on where to start on your trip to Dubai? Check out our list of things to see and do while you’re there!
Souks! Souks are where it’s at! To start off your shopping adventures, why not go big and check out a Souk, the Hebrew word for "market". While some are open air and others are indoor, all are pretty nifty! The Souk Madinat in the Jumeriah Hotel is one that falls on most ‘to do’ lists. It features a waterway where shoppers are ferried from shop to restaurant to hotel and back again. It’s been called the Venice of Dubai, though really you should see it and decide for yourself.
If water’s not your thing, why not go for gold? The Gold Souk sells, well, gold! It has gold as far as the eye can see at unbeatable prices. You will have to be on your game when it comes to haggling to get a really good bargain. Don’t be afraid to offer at least half of what’s being offered and to walk away if you’re not happy with the price. Even if your pockets aren’t as deep as you’d like them to be, simply walking around the Gold Souk is an indulgent treat for the senses.
On the flip side, you can always hit the plethora of shopping malls available in Dubai. The Mall of the Emirates boasts an indoor ski slope with real snow, which is one of the strangest and ‘coolest’ things you can find in the city. Of course, there’s also the Mall of Arabia, which is one of the largest malls in the world. But it's not your typical run-of-the-mill mall. It’s also home to a Jurassic Park-like amusement park, Restless Planet, where the dinosaur enthusiast or small child will be completely and utterly enthralled.
Let’s continue our journey over to the Burj Khalifa, the world’s tallest building. Burj Khalifa is the tallest free-standing structure, boasts an elevator with the longest travel distance, and has the highest outdoor observation deck in the world. That means you can see all the beauty the city has to offer plus more. The views are absolutely stunning and tickets will only run you around $35-40 USD.
Next, check out the Dubai Fountain which, like everything in Dubai, oozes the phrase ‘go big or go home.’ It’s set on the Burj Khalifa lake and the jets shoot as high as a 50-storey building. Created by the same company that constructed Las Vegas' Bellagio Resort fountains, the Dubai masterpiece is a beautiful dancing water spectacle to behold. With the heat, you’ll be tempted to climb in and soak yourself in the beauty of the cool water. You can’t of course, but it’s always nice to dream.
It's goes without saying that if you're in the desert, you'll want to embrace the whole camel/trek/dune bashing/hookah pipe/under the stars experience --and why wouldn’t you? Desert Safari Dubai is a well known and highly rated tour provider that takes you (and at least 5 of your friends) on the most authentic desert experience you could imagine. They offer day, dinner, morning, and overnight safaris. Don’t go during Ramadan, or you’ll miss the bar and the belly dancing, however all year round you can enjoy dune bashing, desert sunset photography, coffee, dates, shisha (or Hubblee Bubblee as the website calls it), and a variety of entertainment. And for the adrenaline junkies, the company offers sand skiing and quad biking.
It's not hard to see why Dubai has captured the world's attention. From dinner safaris to unbeatable views from the top of the Burj Khalifa to the gold-doused open-air markets, Dubai really does boast something for everyone. Have some knowledge of the Arabic language before beginning your adventure abroad, and join the world's growing community of over 420 million Arabic speakers. Take an Arabic level test to see how good your current skills are, then contact Listen & Learn to learn more about classes in your town!