words Al Woods
Whether it’s the promise of an air-conditioned mega mall or the fact it’s the location for a Hollywood Blockbuster, Dubai is an exciting destination for holidaymakers.
From its glittering skyscrapers standing proud at the edge of hot desert sands, to the glitz and glamour of its restaurants, bars and shopping centres, it’s no wonder so many of us flock here every year. If Dubai is somewhere you’re heading to for a break in 2018, here’s what to see and do in a little under five days in our ‘How to do Dubai in under five days’ guide.
Once you’ve landed at the airport and made your way to the hotel, you’ll want to get settled in and spend a little of time getting to know your surroundings. Unpack your suitcase, freshen up and explore your hotel – Dubai is home to some incredible holiday accommodation and, if you’re lucky, you’ll have a great view from your bedroom.
Then head out of your hotel and begin soaking up Dubai by strolling down the boardwalk. The Palm Jumeirah Boardwalk looks like a giant palm tree from the sky, and is filled with shops, food trucks, glass-fronted cafes and beautiful piers. You won’t want to walk all of it, but you’ll enjoy beautiful views of the Arabian Gulf and the Dubai skyline in the distance.
End your first day in Dubai with dinner. There are a huge number of restaurants to choose from, from swanky high end places to establishments that are much more casual. There are many great things to do in Dubai at night.
After a good rest you’ll wake up refreshed and ready to explore all that Dubai has to offer. Make the Burj Khalifa your first port of call – it’s the tallest skyscraper in the city and, in fact, the tallest skyscraper in the world. You’ll enjoy unforgettable views of the city below and you’ll get some idea of how the city is laid out too.
There are plenty of things to do near the Burj Khalifa once you’ve had your fill of dizzying heights. You could spend a couple of hours on the ice at the Dubai Ice Rink (it’s amazing to think that this Olympic sized rink is right in the middle of the desert), or you could stay out in the open air by spending an afternoon in Burj Khalifa Park.
If you don’t mind leaving Dubai for a few hours, hop in a taxi and make your way to the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque in Abu Dhabi. It’s an hour’s journey away, but it’s well worth the drive: the mosque is utterly exquisite with its natural stone, marble, gold, crystals and semi-precious stones. Dress appropriately and join one of the free tours.
Ready for a little adrenaline? Dubai is the perfect place to get your heart racing, with places like IMG World of Adventure ready and waiting for the most daring tourists. This indoor amusement park is perfectly geared up for kids (and those who are young at heart), and you can easily spend 5 or 6 hours enjoying the rollercoasters and 4D shows.
Relax, refuel and recharge over an early dinner in the city because, once the sun has set, you can head out on a desert safari. This has to be near the top of any Dubai tourist places list. Dubai offers some of most exciting safari tours, and they’re most enjoyable once the sun has begun to sink below the sand dunes as the temperature decreases to a level that’s comfortable to enjoy. You can take camel tours and enjoy an ‘Arabian night’ of eating and dancing, or you could take a 4×4 land cruiser tour over the sand dunes.
After all that sand, how about spending your fourth day surrounded by water? Explore the Lost Chambers Aquarium – an Atlantis-themed aquarium that features exotic sea life including sharks, rays and other magnificent animals. The exhibits are perfect for holidaymakers of all ages, and stick around for feeding time – it’s both informative and entertaining. Then, head to Dolphin Bay for your chance to get up close and personal with dolphins, or head to ShuiQi Spa and Fitness for a thoroughly relaxing spa treatment. Once the sun has set and you’ve enjoyed a delicious dinner, make your way to the Dubai fountains for a mesmerising water show: it’s the world’s largest choreographed water show and you won’t ever forget the spectacle of lights, water and music.
That’s just one way to do Dubai in under five days. Is there anything else you’d like to fit into a trip to this amazing city?