The Friendly Planet Blog

4 magnificent things to do in Dubai

Once just a sleepy desert enclave, Dubai has emerged from the sand and transformed into a glittering modern metropolis. Falling at the intersection of the azure waves of the Arabian Gulf and the barren sands of the Arabian Desert, Dubai has quickly become a lavish oasis for the world’s rich and famous.

Almost overnight, Dubai transformed into one of the world’s hottest international destinations, and tourist activity is only certain to keep buzzing as more and more travelers, including Americans, discover the wonders of this lavish city.

If you’re dreaming of a royal getaway, one filled with sunset desert safaris, world-class shopping, and awe-inspiring architecture, Dubai is the destination for you. Here are just four experiences all travelers must have when visiting Dubai.

1. Experience traditional art, history, and culture. If you hope to uncover some of the true gems of Dubai’s past, visit the trendy Bastakiya district. This neighborhood was once home to the city’s textile and pearl traders, and has since been built up to house quaint art museums, cafés, and shops. Explore the Dubai Museum to learn about the history of this desert oasis; walk along the last remaining section of the old city wall, which served as a defensive barrier in the 19th century; and stroll among the paintings at the Majlis Gallery, Dubai’s first art museum. The Bastakiya district is the perfect place to experience the true essence of this Middle Eastern metropolis.

2. Sip coffee at the top of the world. Dubai is home to the world’s tallest building, Burj Khalifa, which reaches 2,722 feet into the sky. Hop on the building’s high-speed elevators and ascend to the observation deck on the 124th floor. Travelers will be greeted with a breathtaking 360-degree view of the city. Feel free to grab a decadent cup of coffee at the observation café and sip it on world’s highest outdoor terrace. It’s an experience you will never forget.

3. Caravan through the desert. Dubai is much more than glittering buildings and malls. Consider embarking on a desert safari by Jeep that will take you into the vast Arabian Desert. You’ll feel like you’re on a roller coaster as you drive up and down huge sand dunes, which ripple in waves as far as the eye can see. After the drive, you can enjoy an authentic Middle Eastern meal under the stars. You might even have a chance to ride a camel or receive a henna application before heading back to civilization.

4. Float down the city’s center. The city of Dubai is split in to two districts — Deira and Bur Dubai — by the picturesque Dubai Creek. The best way to experience the two faces of this city is to ride a boat down the meandering river. You’ll enjoy a lovely view of the impressive cityscape while appreciating the natural beauty of Dubai. Book a dinnertime cruise to savor a well-prepared meal, and perhaps a glass of wine, while basking in the city’s illuminated skyline. It’s a perfect way to end an incredible trip.

Dubai is the ultimate getaway for any traveler, and with Friendly Planet, the country is now more accessible than ever before.

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