Dubai – Things to do

There are so many things to do in Dubai, that it’s hard to make one list. Between activities, events, beaches and places to eat, you are spoilt for choice here. Here are some activities you could plan for your trip. Don’t forget to check my Dubai foodie post and my Abu Dhabi post.
A great way to see the main sights of the city is with the Yellow Boats Tour from Dubai Marina. The 90 minute tour brings you around the Marina, the Palm, stops outside the Atlantis Hotel and the Burj Al Arab and more. The guides were so friendly and informative and the trip is enjoyable. I would recommend pre-booking this trip as they can be quite busy, and what’s better is that if you have the Entertainer app, you can use the buy one get one free offer. (The Entertainer is around $60 but between food and activities, you make your money back ten times over! It’s well worth looking into it before you visit.)

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Dubai Marina Skyline from the Yellow Boats Tour

Another, more active, way to see the Atlantis and the Palm, is to kayak around the area from the Sofitel Hotel on the Palm, with a company called Sea You Dubai. You can rent single or double kayaks and a guide goes with you and tells you all about the area or you can paddle board yourself. The views are great and you can stop for photos with the Marina and the Atlantis. It is a good way to see the sights and be active at the same time. Oh, and guess what? It is in the Entertainer app too!

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Kayaking in front of Atlantis, The Palm

One of the best things that I did in Dubai was the helicopter tour from the Atlantis Hotel. It is expensive, but I really enjoyed it. We did the 25 minute tour and we got to see so much of Dubai, even the World Islands, which not a lot of people get to see. I’m not normally a fan of flying, but I really enjoyed this. The 25 minutes is worth paying for over the 15 minute tour.

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Helicopter Tour of Dubai

A desert safari is another popular thing to do when people come to visit. You get taken out to the desert for some dune-bashing, camel rides, quad-biking, getting to wear traditional dress, get some henna tattoos and enjoy a traditional Arabic dinner. There are so many companies that you can go with and they are all pretty much the same. I went with a company called Arabian Adventures and found them to be very good, but if you have the Entertainer app, a lot of the tour companies offer buy one get one free. Groupon and cobone also offer deals if you check them out.

One of my favourite activities ever was my Hot Air Balloon ride. This is something I would have never done, but a friend of mine came and wanted to do it. I was dying at the thought of it but agreed to go. It was AMAZING! It didn’t feel like you were even flying, it was so smooth up there and the sunrise views were so pretty. Pictures don’t do it justice. We went with ballooning.ae and it was expensive, but you also had your breakfast in the desert and a ride in a vintage jeep. I would 100% recommend it. I am so glad I did it now.

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Sunrise views from our hot air balloon ride

A few other activities that you can do while visiting Dubai are the waterparks. I would recommend the waterpark in the Atlantis called Aquaventure over the Wild Wadi waterpark in Jumeirah Beach Hotel. I think there are more slides and it’s better value for money. You can go skiing in Ski Dubai in the Mall of the Emirates or spend time with the penguins and have some food and drink in Apres, just like a real Apres ski experience, in the desert!

Or you can even try out jet-skiing or fly-boarding if you’re looking for an adrenaline rush. We went with Sea-Ride Dubai and they made the experience so enjoyable. The fly-boarding is pretty cool, once you get the hang of it! Wake boarding with Wake Warriors in the Marina is really fun too. Be prepared for some bruises though!

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Flyboarding Experience with a view

If you’re visiting during the colder months, you can also go see Dubai Miracle Gardens. It has some really cool flower displays. Think life-size planes made from flowers!

The Palm Jumeirah have a new bicycle scheme where you can rent bicycles using your credit card. You can cycle the new boardwalk and take in the amazing views of Dubai Marina and also make a pit stop at one of the new food vans outside the Atlantis for some food or a drink. It’s such a nice view at night as the Dubai Marina is lit up. (cycle to the One and Only for this view – Go left when the Atlantis is behind you!)

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Evening Cycles on the Palm

Most people just look at the Burj Al Arab and take pictures from the nearby beaches, but it is possible to go in side. You can go to the Skyview Bar for food and drinks, with a minimum spend of 300 AED. The cocktails are amazing and some of the high-end cocktails are priced at more than my car! Make sure you request a window table and you will need a credit card to reserve this. There is also an afternoon tea option here which is more expensive at around 650 AED. If you’re not looking to spend that much, recently they have opened a bar called Gold on 27. You can pop in here for one drink, with no minimum  and enjoy the drinks and lush decor.

Similarly, you can go into the Burj Khalifa. While a lot of people just go to one of the viewing decks called At the Top, you also have the option to go to the bar. The viewing deck tickets can be bought online and prices vary depending how high up you want to go. Groupon do package deals every so often too, so it is worth keeping an eye on that. If you’re going, try to go at a time just before sunset, so that you can see the city during the day and at night. Personally, I think it’s very crowded up there and you get up take a quick picture and almost leave straight away. However, you can go to At.mosphere Bar in the Armani Hotel and enjoy drinks there, while taking in the same views. There is a minimum spend of around 350 AED, but at least you can relax and enjoy the views and avoid the crowds. If not, you can get a boat around the fountains, while the fountain show is on. You can see the Burj Khalifa, Opera House and the Fountain Show away from the crowds, all for 60 AED. The fountain shows don’t start until around 6pm. The boats are just across from Carluccio’s restaurant by the fountains.

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Burj Khalifa and Dubai Opera by the Fountains

If you’re interested in Music and concerts, Dubai Opera is newly opened and puts on amazing shows. It is located near Dubai Mall Fountains and the Burj Khalifa and is an excuse to get dressed up for the night. Dubai is always hosting different types of concerts and events, so check what’s on Dubai before coming to see if anything tickles your fancy.

Oh and Ladies, almost every night there is a ladies night somewhere, where you can enjoy free drinks! Check this website out to know where to go! 

Any one that comes to visit Dubai needs to experience a brunch. It’s not brunch as we know it, but free-flowing drink and all you can eat food for 3 or 4 hours. Whats not to love?! They vary in prices so take a look at some of the best brunches here.

There’s almost too much to do in Dubai, but hopefully this will give you some ideas. Check out my Dubai Foodie post for restaurant ideas and accommodation recommendations too! 

Top Tips:

  • Dubai can be expensive. You can see all of the main landmarks for free from restaurants and nearby areas. Don’t feel like you need to pay to go in them all.
  • The Entertainer app will be so useful and save you money if you plan on doing a lot of activities and eating out a lot. Check it out.
  • Download apps like Guzzle, Dubai Deals, and Happy Hours to find great free drinks deals, what’s on and happy hours all over Dubai. (add Dubai to the name when searching in the App Store)

Happy Travelling,

Top Tip Traveller 🙂

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In front of Atlantis, The Palm during the Yellow Boats Tour ❤

4 thoughts on “Dubai – Things to do

  1. That kayaking tour sounds awesome! I’ll keep that in mind if I ever make it out to Dubai 🙂

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  2. I’ve been thinking of doing a short Dubai trip possibly later this year. I love the idea of doing the helicopter tour, as I really want to see the world islands!

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  3. Dubai isn’t exactly my kind of travel destination because it’s too urban and developed, too similar to my home country of Singapore. Nevertheless, I’d love to check out notable landmarks like Burj Khalifa! 🙂

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