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Headed to Dubai and not sure what things to do or see? There’s so much to see and experience in Dubai that building an itinerary can be confusing. To help you out, here’s a starter Dubai itinerary designed to help you experience the best of Dubai in 4 days.
This is a guest post from Neha Singh of DubaiWikia. A postgraduate in Mass Communications, Neha’s ambition is to explore as many places as she can in her life. Traveling is extremely close to her heart and writing came to her naturally. She strongly believes in the Gandhian principle “simple living high thinking”.
Interested in guest posting for A Nomad on the Loose? Send me a message with your ideas — you don’t have to be a travel blogger, you just have to have tips and recs or a story to tell!
Dubai day 1
Early morning: helicopter ride
Start your day early with a chopper ride over the Dubai skyline in the early morning when everything is pristine. Be sure to ask the pilot to hover over some of the magnificent highlights of Dubai such as the Burj Khalifa and the Burj al Arab. Seeing the delights of Dubai spread out underneath you is a rare treat indeed.
Late morning: Atlantis and Palm Jumeirah
Stroll the boardwalk at the Atlantis, The Palm hotel and enjoy fantastical offerings such as the underwater Lost Chambers Aquarium and the shark dive area.
Enjoy the views of Dubai’s blue ocean as you take in the splendorous shape of the Palm Islands and the sight of the uber-expensive hotels, resorts, palaces, and apartments on the island.
Afternoon and evening: the Dubai Marina
The Dubai Marina is all about charm. Explore its canals by boat and get a good look at the fabulous architecture that lines the canals. You’ll see tall skyscrapers, palaces of the uber-rich royals, and many fabulous yachts parked along the marina. You’ll see several futuristic buildings as well – just don’t get a neck cramp gazing up!
Dubai day 2
Early morning: hot air balloon flight
Your second day in Dubai starts off early as well with a blissful hot air balloon flight from the Dubai desert. Looking down on the incredible desert with its red sand dunes, wadis, flora, and fauna from a hot air balloon is something else indeed. You’ll be able to soar over the entire desert and experience it from a different perspective.
Do invest in some long-range lens to capture the best photographs. And if you can, plan to fly over the desert as the sun rises slowly over the tall dunes. It’s simply magical.
Afternoon and evening: check out the Burj Khalifa and the Dubai Mall
Sign up for a trip up the spectacular Burj Khalifa to the observatory deck on the 125th floor. Telescopes are installed at intervals for fantastic views.
The Dubai Mall, the largest in the world, is simply spectacular. The underwater aquarium, the indoor waterfall, the ski rink, the gaming centre, and the 1200+ retail stores will keep you mesmerized.
Lastly, don’t miss the Dubai Fountain. This dancing fountain outside the Dubai Mall spouts water up to a height of 500 feet. Thousands of coloured LED lights reflect in a myriad of shades as the water dances in perfect choreography to both traditional and contemporary music.
Dubai day 3
Morning: sign up for a Big Bus tour
The best way to get a holistic perspective of the city is via a Big Bus Tour. With this tour, you can hop off at any point you choose for a detailed exploration. Hop back on the next bus at the same spot and you can continue on with your tour.
Afternoon and evening: go shopping!
You cannot visit Dubai and leave without sampling some of the fabulous goodies set out to tempt you! If you’re into designer labels and high fashion, head to Dubai Mall, Dubai Marina Mall, and Mall of the Emirates. If you like to savour locally-made products and haggle in a friendly manner, then visit the souqs of Deira or Souq Madinat, which is a replicated Arabian market.
Don’t forget to visit the Ibn Battuta souq, a concept mall that takes you to the places visited by the famous medieval explorer Ibn Battuta.
Dubai day 4
Morning and afternoon: explore Old Dubai
Leave the high rises of modern Dubai and head to the Al Fahidi Historical Neighbourhood, also known as Bastakiya. Old Dubai is a culture lover’s dream come true. Browse the quaint old streets and check out the Dubai Museum, located in the Al Fahidi Fort. Be sure to also visit the Sheikh Mohammed Centre for Cultural Understanding to learn more about Dubai and Emirati culture.
Check out the little art cafes and market stalls that bring Dubai’s history to life, and take a good long sniff of the exotic spices on display at the Bur Dubai souq. You can touch and feel the products and haggle for the right price.
Cross the Dubai Creek by paying 1 AED to the abra (water boat) owner. For just 1 AED, you’ll have a small cruise in an open boat. You’ll be able to gaze at both sides of the creek and enjoy the stupendous views. Across the creek, in Deira, you can shop for pashmina shawls, carpets, and a whole range of handmade goods. You can haggle here, too.
Evening: Dubai desert safari
An evening desert safari is magical. You’ll be in time to watch the sun go down in a myriad colours, hiding its bright face behind the majestic dunes.
You’ll have the opportunity to ride a quad bike, go dune bashing, and partake in some delicious Middle Eastern food while enjoying superb cultural performances. Hold out your hands for the precise application of henna designs and breathe in its delicate perfume. If you’re a photography lover, be sure to take your tripod to capture some pictures of the incredible desert sunset.
These are some of the best treats to experience Dubai in 4 days. Go forth and explore!
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