With its amazing architecture, huge theme parks and shopping malls, Dubai is definitely a place that shouldn’t be missed. Surrounded by the beautiful Arabian desert and the turquoise waters of the Persian Gulf, Dubai is famous for its world cuisine, traditional markets and its ancient culture. There is so much to do in Dubai, you can spend the whole week there. This is a guest post from a fellow blogger Neha from Dubai Wikia, who has created this a week in Dubai itinerary for the Culture Tourist, with some ideas on how to spend a week there.
A Week in Dubai Itinerary
Day 1: Old Dubai, Sheikh Muhammed Center of Cultural Understanding and Dhow Cruise
# – Morning: Old Dubai, or Al Fahidi Historical Neighbourhood, is squeezed between Dubai Creek and Bur Dubai district. This region harks back to when Dubai was no more than a fishing village. The winding cobbled streets are lined with wind-towered buildings that are now galleries and restaurants. There’s also a textile souk which offers some of the finest bolts of fabric, there.
# – Afternoon: Head to the Sheikh Muhammed Center of Cultural Understanding, to understand Dubai’s past and its progress. Try the traditional Emirati dishes at the cultural lunch, and ask all the questions you have. You’ll get to know about Dubai’s turbulent past with its warring nomadic tribes, the peaceful side with the fishing and pearl diving, and then the discovery of oil and the progress you see now.
# – Evening: During the evening, embark on a dhow cruise along the Dubai Marina. Enjoy the sight of Dubai’s brilliantly-lit coastline. Gaze at the Dubai Yacht Club, Dubai Marina Mall, Sheikh’s Boatyard, the yacht club promenade, Jumeirah Beach Residence and The Palm. You can see the beautifully-illuminated Burj Khalifa at a distance. Your dhow cruise comes with a full-on Emirati dinner and on-board entertainment.
Day 2: Mall of Emirates, Ski Dubai and the Dubai Garden Glow
# – Morning: The Mall of the Emirates has more than 630 international brands ranging lifestyle, electronics, fashion and more. It’s a great place for kids, with the Magic Planet, the 14-screen VOX Cinemas, Ski Dubai, the Dubai Community Theatre and Arts Centre (DUCTAC) etc. The mall has over 90 international restaurants and cafes, as well.
# – Afternoon: Ski Dubai is the UAE’s largest ski resort, always maintained at a cool -2° C. This 22,500 square meters large ski resort contains 5 slopes with different heights, gradients and difficulty. You can ski, toboggan, snowboard and go snow zorbing there. There’s a diamond run of 400 meters whose height slopes to more than 60 meters.
# – Evening: The Dubai Garden Glow offers a unique perspective of the world around us. The park is open from October to June every year. This year there’s a Dino Park with over a 100 dinosaur animatronics that are so realistic you’ll run for cover. The Ice Park contains amazing illuminated sculptures. There’s a section where global artists have created sculptures made out of yards of recycled fabrics and millions of energy-saving light bulbs. There are 10 different zones in total to explore.
Day 3: Hot Air Ballooning, Dubai Marina, Desert Safari
# – Morning: On day 3 of a week in Dubai itinerary, get up early in the morning and get ready to be picked up for your hot air balloon ride. Be prepared to fly 4,000 feet above the desert floor in a lightweight basket suspended below a huge balloon. The vast expanse of desert sands makes for a dramatic landscape when seen from up above.
# – Afternoon: After the exciting start to the morning, spend the noon day at the man-made Dubai Marina. The marina is a 3 km long canal built along the Persian Gulf. The waterfront is one of the most developed in the world, lined with exclusive residences, towering skyscrapers, malls, hotels and more. Check out the super cars and the super yachts moored along the marina. It’s the ideal place to people watch!
# – Evening: It’s time now to embark on a fabulous Dubai Desert Safari. Sign up for this adventure with a reliable operator (I recommend this one). The stunning red-gold desert offers exciting activities such as dune bashing, camel riding, sand boarding and quad biking. Your evening safari comes with a fabulous Emirati and continental buffet dinner as well as cultural entertainment. Watch some exotic belly dancing and Tanura dancing and get your hands and feet tattooed by henna artists.
Day 4: Dubai Mall, Burj Khalifa and the Dubai Fountain
# – Morning and Afternoon: Today is the day to explore the magnificent Dubai Mall, which occupies 12 million sq. ft. space. It’ll be hard to check out all of the 1,200 retail and dining outlets, but do your best. Spend some time admiring the Dubai Aquarium & Underwater Zoo, as well.
# – Evening: It’s time to explore the tallest building in the world that stands majestically at 829.8 m (2,722 ft.). Experience stunning views of Dubai, and take in the magnificent sunset through the floor-to-ceiling windows at the At The Top observatory deck at 452 meters on the 124th floor. Be sure to watch the Dubai Fountain from the top – the waters cascade to a height of 152 meters. A selection of incredible Arabian and world music plays every 30 minutes when the fountain starts dancing again.
Day 5: Dubai Helicopter Tour, Dubai Parks and Resorts
# – Morning: Sign up for a Helicopter Tour of Dubai and enjoy a birds-eye view of all the sights from the Burj Khalifa to the Palm Jumeirah. Ask your pilot to hover over your favourite attractions and don’t forget to bring your camera.
# – Afternoon and Evening: Dubai Parks and Resorts is one of Dubai’s largest theme parks. It comprises of Motiongate Dubai, based around Hollywood movies. There’s Riverland, the welcome zone of Dubai Parks and Resorts with tons of dining and shopping options. There’s LEGOLAND theme park and LEGOLAND Water Park, apart from Bollywood Parks, an amazing theme park based on hit Bollywood movies. Each theme park offers fabulous immersive rides, shows, live action scenes based on movies, film memorabilia and much more.
Day 6: Souq Madinat, the Dubai Museum and the Dubai Miracle Garden
# – Morning: Souq Madinat is a splendid bazaar that’s been constructed to resemble a traditional Arab souq. Cool water canals run in between shopping malls, cafes, art galleries and stores. Giant turtles swim around in the canals. You’ll find many great-quality restaurants here serving alcohol. One of the best places to eat at Souq Madinat is Tortuga, an authentic Mexican restaurant. You can enjoy incredible views of the Burj Al-Arab from there.
# – Afternoon: The oldest existing building in Dubai, the Al Fahidi Fort houses the Dubai Museum. It contains colourful dioramas and other historic exhibits that detail Dubai’s history. The building was constructed in 1787 as a base for Dubai’s rulers, a prison, and a weapons arsenal and defence station. When the UAE was formed in 1971, the old fort was remodelled into the Dubai Museum. Here, you can get a glimpse of the everyday life of Dubai’s people before oil was discovered. Check out the beautiful recreation of historic local houses, souqs, date farms, marine and desert life and mosques.
# – Evening: Dubai Miracle Garden is a true miracle – it’s a magnificent flowering garden right in the middle of the desert. Flowering plants here have been designed to resemble giant teddy bears, airbuses, heart-shaped arches, global landmarks and famous people.
Day 7: Dubai Souqs, Jumeirah Beach Residence, Kite Beach
# – Morning: In the morning, explore the Deira to Bur Dubai souqs and haggle over spices, textiles, gold, carpets, nuts, dry fruits and a horde of other goodies. You can cross the Dubai Creek from one side to the other on an abra, a wooden vessel, paying no more than AED 1.
# – Afternoon: After lunch enjoy a pleasant walk on the expat land of Jumeirah Beach Walk which resembles Santa Monica Boulevard in LA. Admire the incredible-looking skyscrapers, resorts and residences that line the boulevard. Check out the supercars that are parked along the side – you’ll find some of the world’s most expensive cars there.
# – Evening: Spend a cool evening enjoying the breezes and the waves at Jumeirah Beach. You can enjoy many water-sports here such as Flyboarding, skiing, jet-skiing, surfing, water-boarding, and more.
You can see a lot of Dubai during your one week’s vacation. Feel free to nudge things around in our itinerary and squeeze in the places you want to see and the things you want to do. Make the time if possible to visit the Dubai Museum for a thorough understanding of Dubai’s past.
About Neha: An avid trekker, explorer and a true foodie; Neha finds happiness in small endeavours of life and loves to pen them down as a cherished memory. A firm believer that “we have just one life to live and so much to do”, Neha lives every moment to the fullest.
Cover photo: Istock Photos