Dubai is a gleaming metropolis that has something or the other for every age group. Whether it is a relaxed holiday, an adventurous one, or a holiday filled with culture and history, this city ticks all the checkboxes. The city is home to record-creaking structures, manmade islands, ultramodern theme parks, unlimited stretches of sands, and spotless beaches. With so many attractions to offer, no number of days are enough to experience the city. But if you are in Dubai for an extended layover or a short weekend trip, this 2-day itinerary is ideal to enjoy some of the most splendid sights in this Emirate.
Day 1: Enjoy the magic of Downtown Dubai
Even if you spend 2 days in Dubai, the downtown area is one of the major highlights that is unmissable. You will witness the famous glitz and glamour and many incredible attractions that the city is known.
Start your day by visiting the sprawling Dubai Mall, one of the largest malls in the world. This mall has more than 1200 shops ranging from high-end brands, local stores, and other international outlets. The array of entertainment options here will leave you speechless. It has an ice rink, an enormous aquarium, a virtual reality park, KidZania, a beautiful indoor waterfall, and a multiplex with more than 22 screens. It has plenty of fine-dining restaurants, cafes, a huge food court, and several other eateries. You can shop to your heart’s content, savor some mouthwatering food, and indulge in loads of entertainment. There is never a dull moment when you are here.
Dubai Aquarium and Underwater Zoo
One of the highlights of the Dubai Mall is the Dubai Aquarium and Underwater Zoo. Though you can see the large water tank at the entrance of the mall, visiting this place is such a wonderful experience. Walkthrough the long glass tunnel into the aquarium and surround yourself with mesmerizing marine life. You can come, up, close, and personal with myriad aquatic animals from piranhas, jellyfishes, stingrays, manta rays, sea horses, sharks, and a giant crocodile. You can try shark feeding and cage snorkeling here too.
Post that, be ready to visit the majestic architectural marvel – Burj Khalifa. The largest structure on the planet has generated a lot of fanfare since its opening in 2010. You can hop onto one of the fastest elevators in the world and proceed to the 124th floor or 148th floor. Feast your eyes on the 360-degree panoramic view of the entire city. You can also see the multimedia presentation to get an insight into the construction of this stunning masterpiece. Telescopes are placed here at strategic points and you can spot prominent landmarks such as Dubai Marina and Palm Islands from here.
In the evening head outside Dubai Mall to witness the magic of the Dubai Fountain. This choreographed fountain system shoots more than 22000 gallons of water to a height of over 500 feet in the air. The show takes place every 30 minutes from 6 pm onwards and it is a captivating spectacle of lights, music, and water. You can listen to many Arabic, classical, and international tracks in the background. Although you can enjoy the fountains from anywhere for free, it is best enjoyed on board an ‘Abra’ on the Burj Lake.
After the fountain, you can proceed to Souq Al Bahar, an Arabian style resort that houses many restaurants, bars, nightclubs, and shops, and unwind for the evening. Alternatively, you can book a dhow cruise dinner in Dubai Marina and enjoy a fun evening with a lip-smacking dinner and fantastic cultural performances.
Day 2: Explore the cultural sights of Dubai
To get a sneak peek into the bygone days of Dubai, a visit to the areas of old Dubai is a must. The charm and ambiance of this place will tempt you to apply for a visit visa Dubai.
Al Fahidi Neighborhood
Commence your Day 2 in Dubai by visiting the oldest residential neighborhood in the city. Also known as Al Bastakiya Quarter, this place will transport you to another era, when Dubai was a small fishing village and pearl diving region. The sand-colored buildings here are made of natural materials such as palm fronds, mud, gypsum, coral, and teak. You can see wind-towers on top of many houses which were used for air-conditioning in the past. Wander through the alleyways and explore the cafes, restaurants, art galleries, and boutiques. It is one of the most amazing places in Dubai.
Your next stop is the famous Dubai Museum, touted to be the oldest existing building in Dubai. You can get a fascinating glimpse into the culture and traditions of the city. The monument’s wing showcases an extensive collection of arts, antiques, weapons, and pottery from Asia and Africa. You will find many galleries representing everyday life in Dubai such as souks, deserts, marine life, traditional houses, and mosques. The underground galleries are full of old maps, videos, and other memorabilia that depict the astounding transformation of Dubai from a sleepy coastal village to one of the world’s most opulent metropolises.
Dubai Creek and Souks
Dubai Creek is a saltwater creek that cuts through the center of the city. It separates Dubai into two main localities, Bur Dubai and Deira. It was an important part of the city’s trade in the ancient days and holds a lot of historic significance. You can cross this serene creek on wooden water taxis called ‘Abra’ just for 1 AED. The area around the creek is lined with colorful traditional markets called ‘Souks.’ Stroll through the narrow lanes and haggle with the vendors for some excellent street shopping. You can buy herbs, perfumes, spices, teas, dates, essential oils, Arabian garments, footwear, and numerous other souvenirs here. The Gold Souk is the most popular one and has more than 100 stores selling precious stones, gold jewelry, and diamonds. You will be amazed by the dazzling display of gold jewelry at the shop windows.
Your last stop for the day is an expedition to the exotic deserts of Dubai. A desert safari provides you an authentic experience of the Emirati lifestyle and culture. You can enjoy a plethora of exciting activities such a quad biking, sandboarding, camel riding, and dune bashing. Dress up in traditional Arabian attire and click pictures against the spectacular backdrop of the setting sun. Get your hands and feet painted with beautiful henna patterns and smoke flavorful shisha pipes. Relax on comfortable cushions at the Bedouin campsite and watch exceptional cultural performances including Belly dancing, Fire show, and Tanura Dance show. Your evening ends with a lavish BBQ buffet dinner with a combination of local and international cuisine. It is hands down one of the most memorable experiences in Dubai.
Dubai has many more fabulous attractions like Aquaventure Waterpark, Global Village, Palm Jumeirah, Miracle Garden, Dubai Frame, Kite Beach, Jumeirah Mosque, IMG Worlds of Adventure, and Bollywood Park among others. The two-day itinerary has some of the must-do attractions in new and old Dubai. But you can customize the itinerary based on your interests. Just one visit to Dubai is not enough. Plan many more wonderful vacations to this marvelous city and create treasured memories for a lifetime.
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