THINGS TO DO IN DUBAI: THE PERFECT TWO DAY ITINERARY
Dubai is a city known for its glitzy shopping malls, clubs and glorious beaches. Families love its waterparks and indoor ski slopes. But what is there to do if you are not a big shopper, don't have the patience to lie on a beach or desire to go to a nightclub?
We have put together a sample itinerary that includes plenty of sightseeing and fabulous food. Two days is just enough to get the flavor of Dubai, to experience the VIP treatment in Burj Khalifa, enjoy High Tea at the Burj Al Arab, and wander around the souks of Old Dubai.
DAY ONE: OLD DUBAI AND THE SOUKS
Take a taxi to the souks in Deira. The gold souk, textile souk, and spice souk are all connected in this maze of streets. The souks may not be as authentic as you might find in some other Middle-Eastern countries but they are still fun places to visit. Here, you can find anything from toys and textiles imported from China and India to gold, perfume, and spices. The souks are busy—large tour groups going through, taking selfies, and the sellers constantly hassling everyone to buy their ware.
Check out the enormous gold jewelry at the Gold Souk and see whether you can spot the world's largest ring that is displayed in one of the store fronts. Visit the Spice Souk with its huge baskets of cinnamon sticks, turmeric roots, sumac and hibiscus. The spices are so much more flavorful than what you get in a jar bought from a grocery store.
Then take the abra (water taxi) across the Dubai Creek to Bur Dubai. The abra station is located right in front of Deira souk. When you get off the abra, bear to your left and follow the street through Bur Dubai souk to the Dubai Museum.
The Dubai Museum is located in the Al Fahidi Fort, the oldest existing building in the city. Showcasing Dubai’s history and its original heritage, it gives a good overview of everyday life before the discovery of oil, as well as a story of how Dubai developed into the international business and travel hub it is today. The exhibits recreate historic local houses, mosques, souks, date farms, and desert and marine life.
When you leave the museum, turn left and follow the main road to the Arabian Tea House.
Arabian Tea House is a perfect place for a light Arabian lunch. It is a quaint and charming oasis hidden under the trees with turquoise benches, white rattan chairs, lace curtains and beautiful flowers.
Dubai has a diverse dining scene and the choices are numerous. A popular restaurants among locals and visitors alike, is COYA in the Four Seasons Hotel. Winner of countless awards, this Dubai branch of London’s Michelin-starred Peruvian restaurant is a popular spot with locals. The ceviches and pisco sours are sensational and the ambiance with bespoke furniture, dimmed lights cozy and classy.
Picture credit: www.coyarestaurant.com/dubai/
DAY TWO: DUBAI MARINA, MALLS, AND THE TWO BURJ'S
Start your day at the Dubai Mall, the second largest shopping mall in the world. Not only an amazing array of shops, the mall is also home to the world's largest aquarium, an ice rink, and much more. Just outside of the mall are Burj Khalifa and the famous dancing fountains. It is a perfect selfie spot with the gleaming tower.
Find the metro stop attached to the mall (a bit of a walk, but all inside), get a day ticket, and head to The Mall of the Emirates where Ski Dubai is located. The mall itself is a little "tired" but Ski Dubai, the largest indoor ski slope in the world, is a unique site to see. Get a coffee from one of the restaurants surrounding the slopes and watch the kids play in this wintery setting in the middle of a hot desert.
Then take the metro to Jumeira Lakes Towers where the metro connects with the tram line going to the Dubai Marina. You can use the same day ticket on the tram. Taking the futuristic tram is an experience in itself with the driver sitting like Darth Vader in his control center.
If the weather is not too hot, the Marina is one of the few places where you can walk in Dubai, smart cafes and pop-up craft markets lining the waterside promenade. If you want to see the famous Atlantis, take the monorail that connects with the tram line to the Atlantis (separate ticket required). It is very crowded, though, and the security guards do not let casual onlookers everywhere, unless you are staying in the hotel.
Then take a taxi to Madina Jumeirah for lunch. Madinah Jumeirah is a resort with three hotels and a slightly tacky souk that they have recreated indoors. However, there are a few very good restaurants and the views over the resort's famed canals, as well as an uninterrupted vista of the Burj Al Arab are spectacular. Have a light lunch at Folly by Nick & Scott (closed for lunch in the summer months) or Publique, both excellent for food and service.
AFTERNOON TEA AT THE BURJ AL ARAB
If you want to see what the so-called seven-star hotel, Burj-Al-Arab, looks like, you need to make a reservation in one of their restaurants. You will not be able to gain access to the hotel without a reservation. Most visitors book the Afternoon Tea at the Burj Al Arab Skyview Bar. Go for their second seating at 4pm to see the sunset. Tickets can be purchased on the hotel's website. Read further about the Afternoon Tea here: AFTERNOON TEA AT THE BURJ AL ARAB IN DUBAI
Burj Khalifa Lounge on the 154th Floor opened earlier in 2019, making it the world's highest spot to enjoy a drink and some canapés. The Lounge is located at a dizzying 585 meters (1,919 feet) above ground and has its own outdoor terrace. Tickets can be purchased online and at the ticket counter on the ground floor of the Dubai Mall. It is a perfect place to end your stay in Dubai. The views are spectacular and the experience seeing Dubai from an outdoor terrace at this height is well worth the ticket price.
Read further about the VIP experience here: BURJ KHALIFA LOUNGE ON 154TH FLOOR: NEW VIP EXPERIENCE IN DUBAI