Dubai is well known for being a gorgeous modern city quickly growing amongst vast sands on a sea shore – thanks to its natural resources and trade.
But Dubai is more than that: there are pieces of history, there are the most striking skyscrapers and the most amazing experiences to try! I was invited by Visit Dubai to visit this wonderful city during the peak winter season and now I can’t wait to get back!
See my top-10 places to visit in Dubai below!
Aquarium at Atlantis the Palm
Man-made island in a shape of a palm? Sure thing – in Dubai! Even if you don’t live in one of the hotels over there (luckily we did – many thanks to Visit Dubai for arranging it), it’s worth visiting it anyway – because of the most enjoyable experiences you can get.
Since I’ve first seen this magnificent aquarium in Atlantis The Palm on Instagram, I decided that I must visit it! It’s even bigger and more breathtaking than I’ve expected. The whole impression is like you’re in the Atlantis, lost island described by Plato, which is filled with exotic creatures and 65,000 marine animals.
Apart from popping into the aquarium Lost Chambers, we spent every evening watching the fish, including sharks and rays passing by – the most meditative thing you can do!
At the Top observatory, Burj Khalifa
What’s the highest point you’ve ever been to? For me it was the Pichincha volcano with an altitude of 4,784m if we are talking about natural elevations (see my blog about Ecuador here) and for the human constructed ones it’s an altitude of 555m at Dubai’s Burj Khalifa – ‘Аt the Top‘ observation deck that is located on the 148th out of 163 floors! The total altitude of Burj Khalifa is 828m.
The most iconic view from Burj Khalifa a totally must visit when you’re in Dubai! Alternatively to the At the Top deck you can also visit the observatory on the 122th level.
Burj Khalifa is the tallest man-built structure in the world – but just for now. Jeddah Tower which is currently under the construction is supposed to break the record of Burj Khalifa being 1km tall!
Tip: I highly recommed you to try camel milk chocolate – it’s delicious!!
Burj Al Arab
Have you ever heard about the so called ‘the only seven star hotel in the world’? Of course you have! Although famous sail-shaped Burj al Arab is in reality a five star hotel (just because it’s the highest number of stars in 5-star system), it looks as if it was truly a 7 star one!
Very reserved in color scheme from the outside, it really impresses you with splashes of color inside. If you’ve ever wondered how it looks inside, see my photos – it reminds me of a honeycomb. Burj Al Arab stands on an artificial island linked to the continent by a privately owned bridge and it’s the fifth tallest hotel in the world!
If you were wondering what we’ve been doing there – well, we had the most amazing time at their Talise spa! It reminded me of some ancient Assyrian palaces restored to their full glory. We were invited to try their majestic treatment Arabian Journey that included sand scrub and massage with Argan & Patchouli oils for two. Dates, tea, juices and some extra time in their magnificent pools!
I’ve never seen so many flowers in my life as I’ve seen in the Dubai Miracle Garden. Who could’ve guessed that such a magnificent oasis would be hiding in the middle of a desert?
I’m not surprised at all that it was granted two Guinness World Records – the scale of gardens is really spectacular. Uncounted number of flowers form both vertical and horizontal patterns include Giant Cats, an Emirates plane, heart-shaped arches, and a castle…
Mickey and Minnie Mouse and other Walt Disney’s characters are among the most recent additions to the Garden as well.
There is no secret that Dubai tends to make things huge – and its shopping malls are not an exception.
The Dubai Mall hosts over a 1300 shops, 150 restaurants, an ice rink, huge fountain featuring pearl divers (another hint to the historical heritage of the city as once this region was famous for it pearls!), traditionally decorated Souk area, and… a whole Diplodocus skeleton from the Jurassic period!
Aquarium and Underwater zoo
Aquarium and Underwater zoo in the Dubai Mall are the second biggest aquarium in the world! Actually it seems that they have almost twice less fish in their 48-metre long tube than Atlantis the Palm but their collection of rare marine animals located on several floors is really impressive. Keep an eye for glass-fish, sand tiger sharks, penguins and desert animals!
Waterpark and Dolphin encounter
Atlantis the Palm where we’ve stayed offers a number of activities that are all wrapped around marine animals and water.
Apart from waterpark, aquarium and pools you can also meet sea lions and dolphins and communicate with them! So we’ve decided to go for the Dolphin encounter.
My main concern in such activities is always how the animals are treated. But I was happy to learn that there are some strict rules of behaviour when around dolphins and we had a lecture on marine mammals as well.
Besides that, we were told by the Marine Mammal Specialist attributed to our group how they communicate with the same dolphins for years, build relationships with them and that animals are free to go to the other part of the pool if they are not in the mood for meeting new humans.
The Market of Gold is one of the must-see locations in Dubai. Tons and tons of gold items and gems are spread over several hundreds of shops with the quality of jewellery strictly controlled by the UAE government. I’m not a big lover of such items but the gold dresses and massive necklaces that look like a proper armour are impressive! 24K, 22K and 18K gold items are on sale.
Remember that bargaining is a must 🙂 In reality, Gold souk doesn’t look as luxurious as it sounds and street vendors are not to be trusted although there are not so many of them.
See more Middle Eastern markets in my blogpost about Amman, the capital of Jordan!
Arabian night, magic carper ride aka hot balloon ride, exploration of local animals, desert safari, bedouin camp and many more activities are waiting for you in just a short trip from Dubai! See more in my blog dedicated to my desert trip.
The Dubai Fountain
You’ve probably already heard about the ‘dancing’ Dubai Fountain which is located in the Dubai Downtown. The largest water show enhanced by light and music takes place at Burj Khalifa Lake and has celebrated its 10 year anniversary this year! Besides that, you can walk around Burj Khalifa among palms and metal dandellions and enjoy the magnificent futurisric views reflecting on the water surface – I bet you’d love that!
Hope, you enjoyed my today’s blog,