Getting off the beaten path in a place built for tourists such as Dubai is close to impossible, but even so, you can find things to do here away from the beaten path:
- Take a walk in Bastakia Quarter, the only neighborhood which still keeps the feeling of the old fishing village that Dubai used to be.
- See the super expensive and the super poor Dubai. The five-star hotels offer Michelin star cuisine, while the cheapest eats are on Al Dhiyafah Road.
- Catch a local bus and take a self-made tour of the city.
- Check out the local markets.
- Enjoy a picnic at Creekside Park.
Why you should add Dubai to your RTW travel list
Of course visiting Dubai wouldn’t be complete without doing the activities the destination in famous for. Here are some ideas on what to do if you’ve never been there or plan on staying for a while.
- Shop until you drop. Shopping might be average but the experience is amazing. The Malls are intriguing and offer much more than just shopping.
- View the city from the observation deck of The Burj Khalifa.
- Ski…in the Mall of the Emirates.
- Haggle for gold at the Gold Souk.
- Have a champagne brunch on a Friday.
- Eat at a restaurant within Burj Al Arab. That’s because unless you pay for a room or eat at a restaurant, you cannot exactly go into the hotel.
- Take a boat and see the man-made islands.
- Spend some time on the beach.
- Take a desert safari.
- Play golf.
Why you should not add Dubai to your RTW travel list
- Dubai is expensive. Cutting costs is possible (somewhat) but that’s not exactly the point of visiting a desert city.
- Dubai is hot. The best time to visit is during the colder months – November to April, when the temperatures are between 24C and 35C.
If ever there was a city planned for tourists, it’s Dubai. Although the city is a fairly new addition to the tourist map, it’s quickly becoming one of the places to see and be seen.
What to Do
Dubai is a city that appears to have grown up out of the desert with one thing in mind – fun. This is a place that’s all about partying, sunbathing, shopping and fine dining, so the words “Dubai” and “budget vacation” don’t really go hand in hand. There are ways to spend less on a trip to Dubai, but that’s not really the point of this desert city. The point is bigger, better, faster, more.
This isn’t so much a place you go to see sights as it is a place you go to do activities. Dubai’s malls are some of its top tourist attractions, and shopping in Dubai is second to none. The nightlife and entertainment has become another major reason to visit Dubai, from music and sporting events to all the excellent clubs and bars around the city (where you can often spot celebrities).
For those who are visiting in the “cool” season, another thing to enjoy in Dubai is the beach. You can go on shipwreck diving tours, or you can just sunbathe on the impossibly white sandy beaches. Just don’t try this in the hotter season, or you’ll fry to a crisp.
Dubai is well-served by airlines, including its own Emirates. Dubai International Airport (airport code DXB) is the area’s primary international airport, although there are a couple of other nearby airports as well. You might consider Sharjah International Airport (airport code SHJ) for your flight to Dubai, as this is where the area’s low-cost carrier, Air Arabia, has its base.
Getting around Dubai is easy, if not always cheap, by taxi – you’ll find taxis all over Dubai just waiting to take you where you want to go. At busy times, however, you may have troubld finding an available cab. A cheaper alternative is to take the bus, although the route network is not very extensive. And for the ultimate in personal convenience, you could rent your own car – complete with a personal driver, if you like.
Where to Stay
Dubai is all about luxury hotels – it’s the city that claims to have the only 7-star hotel on earth – so sleeping cheap isn’t the objective of most visitors. Still, you can find budget hotels in Dubai and deals on nicer hotels to avoid paying top prices. And believe it or not, there are even a few hostels in Dubai as well!