Whether you're in Dubai for the first time or you're a frequent visitor, there is so much to see in this populous emirate that you'll discover something new each time. Since you may want to spend your first day getting your bearings, this is the best time to tour the city.
You'll definitely want to buy a ticket to the top of Burj Khalifa for a bird's eye view of the skyline. This landmark building is Dubai's tallest at 829.8 m, and it boasts a world-famous observation deck on the 124th floor that is not to be missed.
Handy Hint - It is highly recommended that you pre-book your Burj Khalifa experience as far in advance as possible (especially for weekend visits) as this is a very popular attraction. Tickets can be pre-booked from the Burj Khalifa website.
Booking a tour with one of the many touring companies is a great way to acclimatize yourself to your surroundings. Enjoy a hop-on, hop-off bus tour, a luxurious dinner cruise, or rent a car so you can explore the city yourself.
Dubai has so many museums that it would take more than a week to see them all, but setting aside one day to visit the ones you're most interested in isn't a bad idea. You may want to start with the Dubai Museum, the emirate's main museum, which is located at the oldest existing building in the city: the Al Fahidi Fort.
This museum houses old Dubai maps, local antiquities, Asian and African artifacts, and emirate documents. You'll also experience depictions of desert life, including a Bedouin tent, a model mosque, and sea-faring collections.
Other sites you won't want to miss include the Emirates National Auto Museum, the Antiques Museum, Heritage House, the Sheikh Mohammed Centre for Cultural Understanding, and Hatta Heritage Village.
Dubai offers plenty of opportunities for sports and adventure, from camel racing to car rallying in the sand dunes, there’s something on offer for everyone.
The United Arab Emirates is home to some of the best resorts in the world where families of all ages can enjoy horseback riding in the desert, laser shooting, and even archery.
Adventurous types can test their rock climbing skills or unwind on a jet ski.
The shopping malls in Dubai are dramatically different to those in Paris or New York and the experience is one-of-a-kind. We've already mentioned the Mall of Emirates with its indoor ski slope, but that's just the tip of the iceberg. Souk Madinat, for instance, located inside the Madinat Jumeirah Hotel, features a unique waterway that transfers shoppers from restaurants and shops to nearby hotels.
Shop until you drop at one of the largest and luxurious malls in the UAE, The Dubai Mall. A brand-lovers paradise with more than 1,200 outlets spanning 1.1 million sqm. You'll find designer boutiques, the breathtaking Dubai Fountain, and the thrilling Dubai Aquarium - home to thousands of aquatic animals, comprising over 140 species. Visit the nearby Souk Al Bahar to experience the traditional Arabian market.
Handy Hint - Make sure you don’t miss out on the Dubai Summer Surprises, one of the most anticipated shopping events of the year. Dubai Summer Surprises starts in June and has a host of internationally-acclaimed shows for the family, concerts, exhibitions and other live events. Dubai Summer Surprises also offers special promotions, huge discounts, and raffles.
Dubai isn’t all fine dining and theme parks – the beautiful natural environment which surrounds the city is also well worth exploring.
As well as tackling sand dunes in a 4x4, visitors can travel to Hatta, 134km east of Dubai in the foothills of the Hajar Mountains, to enjoy its Heritage Village – a collection of restored traditional mountain homes – and take a cooling dip in the crystal clear waters of its lake and rock pool.