Dubai is one of those cities that makes your head spin, but it’s also full of an energy and excitement that makes you feel like you’re living in the future. From the tallest building in the world to indoor ski slopes, Dubai is anything but ordinary. It seriously has everything you could ever imagine and some things you couldn’t imagine, like exotic animals for pets, and a man made island in the shape of a palm tree. Ever since I heard about the creation of Palm Island when I was in middle school, I’ve been dying to visit Dubai. During our travels this summer, we were lucky enough to have a two-day stopover in Dubai, and it felt like all of my childhood dreams come.
All the buildings are so unique and like an architect’s dream. They’re honestly so tall it’s hard to fit into pictures. We tried, but we honestly weren’t that successful, haha.
Just a little insider tip: it’s not that easy to get around Dubai. There aren’t a whole lot of public transportation options, and everything is pretty spread out, so be prepared to take a lot of taxis in order to get around. Luckily, taxis are pretty reasonably priced as it’s definitely a way of life for people in Dubai.There is one metro with two lines that goes to a couple of main locations, but it does not go to all of our favorite spots. We had to take the metro from the Dubai mall, and then get off a few stops down and take a taxi to our final destination quite a few times, so just be prepared.
What to Do:
At the Top, Burj Khalifa: You can’t go to Dubai and not go up the tallest building in the world. At the Top, Burj Khalifa is truly one of the most insane feelings in the world. Your ears definitely pop on the elevator ride up from the change in elevation, and when you get to the top, the sensation will make your stomach queasy. But it is absolutely worth it. Plus, how many people can say they’ve stood over 1800 feet high in the sky?
Dubai Mall: I’m not sure if the Dubai Mall is the biggest mall in the world, but it sure feels like it. You could probably spend an entire day just shopping and exploring and walking from one end of the mall to the other. It’s home to one of the largest aquariums in the world, and it’s also where you enter to go up to the top of the Burj Khalifa. There are literally an innumerable amount of food options and so many beautiful stores that you could spend all your money before you even know what happened. But if there is one thing you don’t want to miss, it’s definitely the fountain show. The shows play every day and every thirty minutes between 6 pm and 11 pm. Every show is different and plays to different music, so we suggest hanging around for more than one.
Traditional Abra Boat Ride: Dubai is hot. Like a thousand degrees hot, so one of the best ways to enjoy the city is on the water in my opinion. Just outside of the Madinat Souk Jumeirah, they offer a traditional boat tour. We loved this ride, because it gave us a beautiful view of the Burj Al Arab, a look at the luxury Jumeriah resort, and felt like we were experiencing a piece of an older, more traditional Dubai. If you stay at the Jumeirah, you can travel around on these little boats completely complimentary! Or you could take a ride on Burj Lake and watch the fountain show from the water taxi.
Dubai Miracle Garden: Dubai Miracle Garden is basically like the Disney World of flowers. There are replicas of iconic buildings like the Burj Khalifa and the Eiffel Tower, and there’s even an Emirates plane completely covered in flowers. We were there towards the end of the bloom, so even though the flowers were still beautiful, they weren’t quite as colorful as they are earlier in the year. The best time of year to visit Dubai is probably between December and March, because even though that’s their “winter,” the average temperature is around 80 degrees. Dubai Miracle Garden is a dream for anyone who loves flowers and over-the-top replicas of Dubai.
Spa Day at Burj Al Arab: Just like everything else in Dubai, the Burj Al Arab Hotel is over the top. It is a seven-star hotel and quite possibly the most luxurious hotel in the world. I didn’t even know seven-star hotels existed until we came here. The Talise Spa Burj Al Arab has an beautifully designed indoor pool with a stunning view of the Arabian Gulf and is the perfect place to be completely pampered and treated like royalty.
Helicopter Tour: We didn’t do this, because it was not quite in our price range, but if you have the budget, a helicopter tour of the city is definitely worth it. Since drone’s aren’t really allowed in Dubai, we couldn’t get a bird’s eye view of the city, and it kind of broke my heart. So this is definitely the way to go if you want to see a full view of Palm Island or The World Islands. Or if you’re really looking for an adreneline rush, try out Skydive Dubai.
Dubai Marina: The marina is surrounded by some of the most unique and tallest skyscrapers in the world. They are truly architectural masterpieces. The marina is also home to some of the most beautiful yachts we’ve ever seen. There are plenty of shops and restaurants to choose from along the marina, so it makes for a beautiful afternoon stroll or night out. You could also walk over to the public beach and enjoy some time in the sun with a view of the iconic Burj Al Arab.
Where to Stay:
Shangri-La Dubai: Shangri-La Dubai is a luxury 5-star resort located right in the heart of downtown Dubai, and it arguably has the best view of the Burj Khalifa! Our room had a full view of the Burj Khalifa, and there is a beautiful rooftop terrace where you can really take in all the beautiful chaos of Dubai. Staying at Shangri-La was truly one of my favorite hotel experiences I’ve ever had.
If for nothing else, you should definitely stay here for the view at the pool. Not only are you going to want to spend a good portion of your day cooling off in the pool, but the view of the Burj Khalifa peaking through the palm trees is like nothing else. Oh, actually you should definitely stay for the breakfast too, because breakfast is a complete dream. With everything from a made-to-order omelets and Indian breakfast curry to a chocolate fountain and ice cream, the breakfast at Shangri-La Dubai really is the stuff breakfast dreams are made of.
Shangri-La also has a complimentary shuttle that goes to and from Dubai Mall and a couple other locations, which definitely makes it easier to get around.
If you’re looking for a place to stay in Dubai, Shangri-La Dubai is definitely one of the most incredible options out there!
BOOK YOUR STAY AT SHANGRI-LA DUBAI HERE
While you’re in the UAE, be sure to head over to Abu Dhabi and spend a fews days there as well!
What to Pack: