WHAT TO DO IN DUBAI IN 2 DAYS

what to see and do in Dubai in 2 days, the best itinerary for Dubai

2 DAYS IN DUBAI ITINERARY – THINGS TO DO + TIPS

Are you planning to visit Dubai but are unsure what to do in Dubai in 2 days or how much to fit into your 2-day Dubai itinerary?

If you stay longer than 2 days in Dubai, check out my 7-day Dubai itinerary – otherwise, stay here to find out about creating a perfect 2-day itinerary for first-time visitors.

In this 2-day Dubai itinerary, you will find out where to go and what to see, plus many travel tips for a smooth 2-day trip.

Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links which means I will earn a small commission when you buy a product/service via my links (no extra cost to you). More about it here.

ARE 2 DAYS IN DUBAI ENOUGH?

2 days in Dubai is a good amount to get an idea of the city. You can visit some of the main sights and attractions but 2 days is not enough to see some hidden gems or really see all of the main sights. It is the minimum amount of days to explore Dubai.

DUBAI ITINERARY FOR 2 DAYS – THINGS TO DO AND SEE

Here are places I suggest visiting in Dubai in 2 days. I also give a time frame, but of course, it really is up to each person how much you can actually do and see.

HERE ARE THE PLACES TO VISIT IN DAY 1 IN DUBAI:

  • GOLD AND SPICE SOUK
  • LA MER OR JUMEIRAH BEACH
  • BURJ KHALIFA
  • DUBAI MALL
  • DUBAI WATER FOUNTAIN

HERE ARE THINGS TO DO IN DAY 2 IN DUBAI:

  • DUBAI MARINA
  • JBR WALK
  • DUBAI DESERT
  • IN SUMMER: MIRACLE GARDEN

DAY 1 OF 2 DAYS IN DUBAI ITINERARY

So, let´s start your 2-day trip by visiting the souks (markets).

Stop 1: Gold and Spice Souk in Deira

The Gold and Spice Souk is located in Deira, the old part of Dubai. Deira is located in the north of the city and quite close to the airport. Discover the hectic and crazy part of Dubai. Retailers can be quite persistent, which can be quite stressful. However, I truly enjoy strolling along this part, and it is one of the places you have to visit in Dubai in 2 days.

Many people say it is a very intense place, and some did not like it at all. I understand the criticism, but for first-time Dubai visitors, the souks are a must. 

  • Most stores open around 9 to 10 pm, and it gets busy quickly.
  • So I recommend a start early in the morning before all the other tourists come and it gets even more hectic.

  • You can buy souvenirs, clothes (including Arabian clothes), gold, spices, rugs and all kind of things.
  • The prices are much better than in the malls (especially for souvenirs) and if you are about to buy something, then do it here.
  • If you buy something, you must haggle. It is part of shopping in this area, and actually, it can be fun if you do it n a nice way.

TIP FOR SOLO FEMALE TRAVELERS: I love this area, but as a solo traveler, it is not easy. There are stares. There will be shop owners who approach you, and so on. It is safe, no need to worry, but it can be tiring. I recommend wearing less revealing clothes if you want to avoid them.

Stop 2: Abra Ride / Bur Dubai 

A must-do to include on your Dubai itinerary is a short abra ride. Abras are traditional water taxis that are popular and super cheap. Bra Ride in Dubai things to do in Dubai in 2 days

  • The most authentic abra ride is near the gold and spice souk.
  • You can walk towards the abra station of Deira Gold Souk and get to the other side (Bur Dubai) by taking an abra (water taxi).
  • It just costs a few cents and is a nice and cheapest way to get to the other side of the creek where you can continue your travel.
  • You can also have the whole abra to yourself for 5€. This allows great photo opportunities with no one else in the picture, but if you make it to the front of the abra, you can take good pictures even with other people on the boat.
  • In Bur Dubai are some museums and another souk where you find more spices, gold, and other things.
  • Of course, you can spend a whole day exploring this part of Dubai, but if you only have 2 days in Dubai, I recommend planning in 2-5 hours for seeing these two parts of Dubai.
  • If you want to budget your time more wisely, you can plan in one hour. 

Stop 3: La Mer

La Mer, a new beachfront area with tons of cool and hip restaurants and cafes, street arts and cool graffiti, and fun details, is a great place to chill. It can be quite busy (for Dubai standards when it comes to beaches), but it is a place you should not miss out on.  La Mer Beach Dubai

  • La Mer is a must-see in 2 days in Dubai.  
  • The beach at La Mer comes with a Burj Khalifa view.
  • Take a dip in the ocean, or do some water sports.
  • Have some lunch, enjoy the graffiti (there is quite a lot) and then head to the next place.
  • Check out my guide on La Mer.

Stop 3: OR Jumeirah Beach

Okay, honestly, you won’t probably be able to visit Jumeirah Beach and La Mer. This would be too busy. So you have to decide on one of the beaches.

La Mer comes with Burj Khalifa’s view, while Jumeirah Beach comes with Burj al-Arab’s view.Where to go in Dubai in 2 days

  • Jumeirah Beach is not too far from Dubai Deira and the souks. You can get there by bus or taxi.
  • The open Jumeirah Beach also offers nice views of the only 7* hotel in the world, Burj Al-Arab. Luckily, the Burj Al-Arab is huge, so the pictures do not really show Burj Al-Arab’s distance to Jumeirah Beach.
  • Here you can take a rest or take a dip.
  • Many beaches in Dubai are private and reserved for relevant hotel guests – Jumeirah Beach is open to the public and free of charge.
  • It can get busy, but it does not get as busy as we know from European beaches. From there, get a bus or taxi to Downtown Dubai.

PERSONAL OPINION: If I had time for one beach, I would choose La Mer.

Dubai Downtown

After some time at the beach, slowly head to Dubai Downtown. Dubai Downtown is stuffed with many interesting attractions. You will find, among others, Dubai Mall, Dubai Fountain, and Burj Khalifa in this area.

  • There is no train connection (neither from Jumeirah Beach nor from La Mer), but you can get there by bus or taxi.

what to see in dubai in 2 days

Stop 4: Burj Khalifa

Burj Khalifa is the highest building in the world – standing at 828 meters. You can enjoy some amazing views “At the Top of Burj Khalifa.” The best of Dubai in 2 days

Stop 5: Dubai Mall

Dubai Mall is definitely worth a visit, even if you are not a big shopper. It is not only about shopping. You’ll also find the Dubai Aquarium and more attractions here. You could spend several days at the Dubai Mall, so it really depends on how much you are into malls and shopping.

What attractions in Dubai Mall

  • Dubai Mall is located right next to Burj Khalifa, so there is no travel time. You can start your window shopping straight away.
  • You can spend anything between 30 minutes to many, many hours here.
  • Considering you only have 2 days in Dubai, try to limit your time to 2 hours max. 
  • Dubai Mall also has a food court that offers affordable food from all around the world. Of course, there are also all kinds of restaurants in and near Dubai Mall, including many luxury hotels.

Stop 6: Dubai Fountain

Next to Dubai Mall is the Dubai Fountain. Here you can watch nice water fountain shows in the evening. 

Dubai 2 day itinerary - what to do in dubai for 2 days
Dancing Fountain Show @shutterstock

I suggest ending your first day in Dubai here.

  • Evening shows take place from 6:00 PM – 11:00 PM – every 30 minutes.
  • It is free to watch.
  • It gets busy, and to secure yourself a good spot to watch it, get there way before a show takes place.
  • Dubai is safe, and this area is safe at night. 
  • You can also sit there by yourself in the evening.
  • Sitting there and watching tourists while Burj Khalifa is beautifully illuminated at night is a fun day to crop off your day.

Where to Eat in Dubai – Day 1

Deira is great for cheaper food – you´ll find many different cuisines at the Gold and Spice Souks. I suggest having lunch there or at La Mer.

For dinner, I recommend having it in Downtown. Restaurants with a fountain view tend to be more expensive, but there are also good restaurants in the medium-price segment. For the cheapest dinner in Downtown, check out the Food Court of Dubai Mall. 

DAY 2 OF 2 DAYS IN DUBAI ITINERARY

Day 2 in Dubai starts in Dubai Marina.

Stop 1: Marina

Start with a nice stroll through Dubai Marina, which probably one of my most favorite parts in Dubai.

This man-made marina is one of the biggest in the world.

  • I really liked the Marina with the canal and all the yachts and could spend hours walking aimlessly around and having a drink once in a while. 
  • Besides skyscrapers, you will also find many bars and restaurants.
  • To see Marina from a different perspective, I recommend a Marina Cruise. There are several options, so look at which one is the perfect choice for you by clicking here.
  • Dubai Marina is a beautiful place to visit at any time of the day. It might be even more fun to visit in the evening when it gets busier, livelier, and prettier with all the lights.
  • However, for the evening, I recommend another place (more on that later). After lunch and 1-3 hours here in Marina, I suggest one or two more stops for the day.

Stop 2: JBR Walk

You can, alternatively or additionally, add JBR – The Walk to your 2-day Dubai itinerary.
Places to see in Dubai in 7 days

Since it is within walking distance (20-30 minutes) to Dubai Marina, you could also combine it with a trip to Dubai Marina.

  • If you prefer some beach time rather than strolling in Marina, I suggest visiting JBR-The Walk only.
  • There is no entrance fee for JBR – The Walk.
  • It is the perfect place to swim – there are many options to rent water sports equipment.
  • You can find some street art, so also get away from the beach and walk around.
  • Ride the “Flying Cup,” where you have a great bird’s-eye view of the beach and JBR Walk. You can buy tickets just at the Fyling Cup.
  • It is also great to have good food – there are so many restaurants and cafes that you will be happy to have a wonderful lunch in a lovely place.

Read more: Best places to visit in Dubai at night

Stop 3: Desert Safari

A desert safari tour incl. BBQ normally starts around 3 or 4 pm, so reserve half a day for a trip to the desert. 

what to do in dubai for 2 days

  • You can do the desert tours either in the morning or afternoon.
  • A morning desert safari is great as it often includes some sandboarding activities and other activities like dune bashing.
  • A morning desert is surely a great experience if you do not have so much time to do shorter tours. The Morning Dune Drive takes about 4 hours instead of 7-8 hours. But if you have two full days in Dubai, I suggest the Sundowner tour. Ending the day in the desert is a great experience.
  • Click here for a desert safari in the afternoon/evening.
  • Find out more about a morning desert safari here.
  • If you have a meal included and are vegetarian/vegan, you can request this in advance. I was so pleased to see the many vegetarian options.
  • Often, you will be picked up at your hotel.
  • If your tour starts around 3 pm, make sure to be back at the hotel in time. Plan in possible traffic on your way back from Dubai Marina or JBR – The Walk. It would be a pity if you missed out on the safari because of being late at the pick-up location.

Alternative: Miracle Garden 

If you visit in the winter months, you could also add Dubai Miracle Garden to your 2-day itinerary. Miracle Garden is a very Instafamous flower park, located a bit further from the other popular tourist attractions. 

Miracle Garden @shutterstock
@shutterstock

You will see flowers. You will see a lot of flowers. They are designed and decorated in a lot of interesting shapes. It is Dubai, so of course, it is the biggest flower park in the world.

  • The tickets are about 12€.
  • Seeing all pieces should take about two hours.
  • However, it is only open in the winter months (normally, it is open from November to May)
  • Check out their website for more info

Where to Eat in Dubai – Day 2

For lunch, I suggest having it at Dubai Marina or JBR – The Walk.

For dinner, lay back and do not worry. If you book a desert safari with a BBQ, you have to find a perfect dinner spot. 

TRAVEL TIPS FOR A 2-DAY DUBAI TRIP

Here you´ll find essential travel tips for your trip to Dubai.

Security Tips for (Solo Female) Travelers

Dubai is a super safe city to travel to, and I think it is even great to visit as a solo female traveler.

Here are some tips on the dress code for females – to avoid stares and show your respect to the local culture.

How to Get Around in 2 Days in Dubai

Dubai has good public transportation.

  • However, some stations are spread out, which means that some walking may be required.
  • The metro trains and trams are super clean, safe, reliable, and fast.

Using taxis is an easy and safe way to get around.

  • Make sure to use the official ones.
  • The black Lexus cabs are more expensive than the normal ones, which are super fine to use.
  • There is a meter which has to be on when you get onto the taxi. You normally do not have to worry about scams in Dubai. You pay what you see on the meter (and feel free to tip).

One of my favorite ways to get around in Dubai is by getting a hop-on and hop-off ticket.

Where to Stay in Dubai in 2 Days

Accommodation in Dubai is top – even a 3* hotel is often better than other 3* hotels worldwide. I stayed at all of the ones I mention below.

I recommend staying in a central area, so you don’t waste too much time driving around. With a weekend in Dubai only, you don’t want to be stuck in traffic from your hotel to the attraction.

  • Dubai Marina is the best place to stay if you prefer to be in a  lively part of Dubai. With the Marina close by, restaurants and cafes are numerous, but the hotels do not have direct beach access. However, you are quite close to several attractions. Check out this 5* Hotel: Grosvenor House in Dubai.
  • JBR Walk is a lovely area with many restaurants and shops. Most hotels have beach access. It is also close to Dubai Marina and Madinat Jumeirah. Check out this4* Resort: JA Ocean View Hotel Dubai.
  • Extra tip: 3* A decent budget hotel is Ibis Al Barsha. It is not perfectly located, but it offers good value for money and is still quite close to Dubai Marina.
  • My full Dubai accommodation guide is here – all the best areas and all the best hotels for all budgets.

You can also find budget hotels though you cannot expect super bargains. The best prices are often in Deira, and though I recommend visiting this fun area, it is not an area I recommend staying at – especially not as a female traveler. So make sure to book a room on the main street when choosing Deira.

Best Time to Visit Dubai

  • One of the most important travel tips I can give you for your 2-day Dubai is: choose the time of your visit wisely.
  • I do not recommend visiting during the summer (May – September). The average temperature ranges from 32.4 °C (90.2 °F) in May, 36.5 °C (98 °F) in August and 34 °C (93°F) in May.
  • Even October and April were too hot for me already. But it depends on what kind of weather you prefer.
  • Some activities are not possible in the summer months because of the heat.
  • The winter months from November to early March are the best times to visit in my opinion. 
  • The average temperature ranges from 19.5 °C (67.5 °F) in January. 
  • Hotel prices, however, go up during the winter months and it gets busier. Regardless, my tip is to visit in these months.
  • Check also for the fasting time (Ramadan) because life is different during that time. You cannot do many activities during that few weeks (also, alcohol is less available).
  • In 2022 Ramadan is from 3rd April to 2nd May.
  • In 2022 it is from 23rd March to 23rd April. 

More Things to Know About Dubai

Here are a few more posts for your Dubai trip.

PIN ME FOR LATER – 2-DAY DUBAI ITINERARY

Was this Dubai itinerary helpful? Then save it on Pinterest.

2 day itinerary Dubai, Arzo Travels

I hope you have found some inspiration. Honestly, this is a good itinerary for Dubai in 2 days – in my eyes, at least. You will see the main sights, which do not include any hidden gems but rather great places for a first-time visitor to Dubai.

There are many more things to do in Dubai, but this 2-day Dubai itinerary might allow you to see the most important attractions in Dubai if you have minimal time.

If you have decided to extend your stay – a good idea, by the way – check out my other itineraries.

Safe Travels, Arzo

Best Places to See Dubai from Above

Dubai best view points -

BEST VIEWS OF DUBAI – HOW TO SEE THE CITY FROM ABOVE

Given the many skyscrapers (and rooftop bars) in Dubai, it is not difficult to see Dubai from above. Actually, seeing this super city from above is an amazing way to fall in love with the city. And while those rooftop bars offer scenic views indeed, here are some other ways to see Dubai from above.Dubai best view points

See Dubai From Burj Khalifa “At the Top”

The classic! Burj Khalifa, the tallest building in the world, is not only a popular site to photograph but is also a popular place to take pictures from and offers perfect views from above.7 days in Dubai - best vintage pointsThe view from level 124+125 (456 meters high) or level 148 (555 meters high) is the most iconic in Dubai, and you´ll get wonderful views of the city. 

You will see how much construction work is still going on, you´ll get to see the desert (which is very close to the city center), but you´ll also have some stunning views of Dubai Fountain.

Overlooking Dubai this way is indeed a unique experience. Unfortunately, you won’t be the only one who thinks that visiting the Top of Burj Khalifa is a good idea – it is quite busy most of the day, so booking tickets in advance can be quite helpful.

Ticket prices depend on the time of the visit – it’s just a few € difference in ticket prices, but if you don’t want to stand in line and have access to level 148, you have to pay a few more extra €.

The building will not be the highest building for long – a new tower will break the record, but for now, book yourself tickets for Burj Khalifa if you want to experience the taller building in the world.

See Dubai from Dubai Frame

One of Dubai´s newest attractions is the golden Frame, located close to Zabeel Park.Views from Dubai FrameThe Frame opened in January of 2018, and this frame allows you to overlook the city and have great views of Burj Khalifa.

But you also have a unique view if you walk the glass floor – looking 100 meters down while casually strolling along. What to do in Dubai in 7 daysThis place is as nice to visit at night as during the day, and the entrance fee of about 12€ is worth it.

Actually, the views from here are almost better than from Burj Khalifa – because you can see the tallest building. Also, it is a great alternative if you are on a budget or want to have some adrenaline rush when walking on the glass and look down.

Enjoy Amazing Dubai Views From a Helicopter Flight

While 15 minutes seem extremely short, it is enough to get some of the best views of Dubai.Best view posts in Dubai Flying over the beaches, the Palm, Burj al Arab, and Burj Khalifa, a helicopter ride gives you the chance to see all the iconic places of Dubai. You can book longer helicopter flights and even get to Abu Dhabi by helicopter – probably the fanciest way to get around in Dubai.

Flying over Dubai was probably one of the best things to do – a unique experience I will never forget. Click here to read my review of a helicopter flight in Dubai.Arzo Travels Heli Dubai Fligh

See Dubai From Flying Cup

The newest attraction in March of 2018 opened at JBR Walk. This fun Flying Cup definitely offers great views of JBR – The Walk and the Beach.Places to see in Dubai in 7 daysYou do not even need a drone to get amazing shots of the pristine waters of the Persian Gulf. Whether you do it by yourself or in a group, it is something different and, by Dubai standards, quite affordable (for about 20€, you can buy your ticket at the counter just in front of it). 

You get 40 meters above the ground, and the capsule rotates, so you have a panoramic view.  Bring your camera to take these shots, and if you are feeling brave, get a drink and enjoy it up there while your feet are dangling in the air.

You do not have to be scared, though – a belt secures you. The experience lasts about 10 minutes, and you can even book the whole capsule and have your birthday celebration up in the sky.  If you travel to Dubai with kids, you can either take them with you or enjoy JBR, one of the best places to visit in Dubai.

See Dubai’s Desert on Hot Air Balloon Ride

One of the most beautiful rides you can take is a hot air balloon ride.Sunrise perfect timing for hot air ballon rides

A balloon ride above Dubai´s desert is gorgeous and unique – seeing the sunrise in the desert (yes, it means waking up very early). At the same time, passing dunes is an exceptional way to experience Dubai.High in the air-how to do a hot air balloon tour in Dubai

While there is no guarantee how high you will soar above the ground (as it depends on the weather conditions), it is a fun thing to do and one of the best views you will have from above. Duration: about 40 minutes, but the whole trip takes a few hours, including hotel pick-up, etc. So if you have a few days in Dubai, add it to your itinerary.

Have Thrilling Views at Dinner in the Sky

The concept of having dinner in the sky (and we are not talking about plane flights) has arrived in Dubai as well. 7 days in Dubai itineraryHead to Dubai Marina and have a fun dinner (or lunch or afternoon tea) experience. There are some similarities to the Flying Cup, but in this case, you get up even higher (about 50 meters) and have a different view. 

You´ll overlook Dubai Marina, Zero Gravity – the hip beach club in Marina, and have views of the beach! Hold your cutlery and especially your camera tight, so you do not see it falling 50 meters down, as there is no ground under your feet.Dinner in the Sky Dubai with Arzo Travels (8 von 24)Oh, I should, of course, mention that food and drink are included (prices depend on the dining option, but the activities start from about 120€ for the afternoon tea, which includes sandwiches and snacks and some non-alcoholic drinks). Click here to read my review “Dinner in the Sky.”

Hop On a Seaplane flight

Something for the bucket list (even mine) is to see Dubai´s attractions from a seaplane.

Dubai - The Palm @shutterstock
@shutterstock

The trip starts from the water, and you´ll get to see Burj Khalifa and Palm Jumeirah before landing back in the Persian Gulf.

Each of the passengers has a window to look out from, which gives you perfect views of the Dubai skyline. Though the views from a seaplane are supposed to be amazing, I, myself, still have to experience it, but as I have heard positive reviews, I have added it here for you.

Enjoy Thrilling Views and do Sky Dive

A unique way to overlook Dubai is from a jump from the plane for the fearless ones. 

Best areas to stay in Dubai
@shutterstock

At 120 miles per hour, you fall freely, and while you probably will not be able to enjoy the view at the beginning, you might do so once you are more relaxed and soaring rather than falling.

I am not that brave – are you? Apparently, the “crown prince” of Dubai is a fan of skydiving, so you might even meet him up in the sky. Though chances are low, you can still enjoy incredible views that not many others do experience.Dubai from above - best views in Dubai

Whether you decide to go on a tandem skydive or do it solo, skydiving allows you to see Dubai in a way only a few have – so do it (easy said as I would not, but maybe you are braver than me :).

Great Views From Rooftop Bars

So, if you want to enjoy a drink while having great views, here are some rooftop bars with some of the best views in Dubai (though I have not been to all myself, these are known to be the best bars that come with a view).

Level 43 Sky Lounge at Four Points by Sheraton

For 360-degree views of the city, head to this rooftop bar located 155 meters above the ground.

Tomo at Raffles Hotel

This rooftop bar and Japanese restaurant is located on the 17th floor of Raffles Hotel in the older part of Dubai, so you can enjoy the views of the “new” skyline (which includes Burj Khalifa).

Shades at Address Dubai Marina

For beautiful views of Dubai Marina, head to this rooftop bar. It is open in the daytime, too, and was a perfect choice for my lunch. But the views were even better than the food. I did not use the infinity pool there – but you can buy a day pass and enjoy these views while relaxing in the water.

Dubai accommodation in Dubai Marina IC Dubai MarinaThere are some more amazing viewpoints in Dubai – many of the skyscrapers offer stunning views of the city and Burj Khalifa. However, the above-mentioned places are pretty great if you are looking for the ultimate, the best views in Dubai because each offers quite a unique experience.

Dubai is a fun city but to really understand the city, you have to see it from above – and if you pick a few of the places/activities mentioned in my post, you will get to see Dubai from its best side.Safe Travels, Arzo

Review: Dinner in the Sky Dubai

Review Dinner in the Sky Dubai

IS DINNER IN THE SKY IN DUBAI WIRTH IT?

Best afternoon tea in Dubai

Seen Burj Khalifa? Spent a day at the new hotspot, La Mer? Done all the typical sightseeing things, and now you are looking for something more unique to do in Dubai?

Then, it is time to enjoy dinner in the sky! Dining in the sky, with your feet hanging 50 meters up in the air, is surely something special, and you’ll have great views of Dubai Marina, too!Dinner in the Sky Dubai with Arzo Travels

In this post, I will share my experiences for my dinner in the sky in Dubai. Please find out how to book tickets, where to go, and what to expect, plus my unbiased conclusion of Dinner in the Sky.

WHAT IS DINNER IN THE SKY IN DUBAI?

Dinner in the Sky is a floating dinner table and a trendy way of eating while having amazing views (and often being a bit scared). These days, you will find Dinner in thy Sky in more than 60 locations – and one of them is in Dubai.

A big dinner table, lifted 50 meters in the sky by a crane, can host up to 22 people (plus the staff that stands in the middle and serves food, entertains, and mostly takes great pictures).

When I saw this activity for the first time (on GetYourGuide, I’m sure), I knew I had to do it – and so I did.

Dining in the Sky is a new invention, and some places offer the experience, but it is still unknown amongst many travelers. When I asked my followers on Instagram about whether I should opt for a helicopter ride or dinner, it was a tie. 

However, most people were thrilled to hear about this activity. If you are interested in having a lunch/dinner or afternoon tea in the sky, here are my impressions and some important information for this experience in the city of superlatives.Review Dinner in the Sky Dubai

Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links which mean I might earn a small commission when you buy a product (at no extra cost for you) after clicking on my link. More about it here.

HOW TO BOOK DINNER IN THE SKY IN DUBAI

I booked Dinner in the Sky via GetYourGuide – I often use this website (or Viator) and hardly ever book my tours directly. 

I know the cancellation policy is very generous (we never know what could happen, right?), and if something happens, they could help me.

WHAT OPTIONS FOR DINNER IN THE SKY IN DUBAI?

You can either book lunch, afternoon tea, or dinner. Afternoon tea is the least expensive, while dinner is the most expensive.

Depending on the season, you can see the sunset from up there if you book an afternoon tea. Keep in mind that it could be quite hot if you book lunch in the warmer months.

I opted for the afternoon tea (I ended up booking the helicopter tour), and prices vary greatly.

Also, the timing suited me better (it starts around 4 pm).Book Dinner in the Sky

MORE THINGS TO KNOW FOR YOUR DINNER IN THE SKY EXPERIENCE

  • You have to be at least 1,20 meters to be allowed to take part.
  • There are lockers (without any charge) to stow your items you do not need (do not forget to take out your cameras and mobiles).
  • The activity lasts about 60 minutes (plus 15 minutes of preparation time), and, personally, I found it to be neither too long nor too short.
  • It allows you to eat while also taking a lot of pictures from different angles and also have pictures taken of you (more on that later).

WHERE IS DINNER IN THE SKY IN DUBAI

The activity is located in Dubai Marina, next to SkyDive Dubai and Zero Gravity. Where is Dinner in the Sky DubaiI was in this area already, so I just walked from Dubai Marina. Public transportation does not drop you there directly. So either get to Habtoor Hotel (or close to Grosvenor House) and then walk (about 10 minutes) or take a taxi and ask to be driven to SkyDive or Zero Gravity.

If you have other activities like skydiving planned, or a day at the popular Zero Gravity, you can schedule dinner here around that.Online tickets for dinner in the sky

Review: Dinner in the Sky Experiences Dubai

Okay, here are my impressions – things I liked and things I did not like when I had my afternoon tea in Dubai. I arrived early. There was no wifi, and the toilets did not work, so I went to Zero Gravity for an hour to kill time.

Food

I found out that my request for vegetarian snacks did not go through. It was not a great start, but the staff managed to organize vegetarian food for me last-minute. The catering is by Westin, one of Dubai’s best hotels, so the food is great and of high quality.Afternoon tea in the skyYou get some snacks, juices (not fresh, though it was written in the description), soft drinks, tea, and coffee for afternoon tea.

It can easily replace a meal (you get some more than you see on the tablet here), so I recommend not having lunch right before or planning a big dinner afterward.

The staff, especially onboard, is great. Friendly, fun, with great photography skills (not sure if it was only the person responsible for us, but they did take great pictures and put some effort into it).Unique activities for Dubai They did everything they could to make sure that we had a great time up there, including nice music that was perfect for a fun time.

With a crane, you get lifted 50 meters above the ground, and the table rotates slowly, so you get amazing views from all angles.

I felt safer than I thought I would. Since you get moved to the table very closely and have some arm support on the left and right side, it is not as scary as some people might expect and less thrilling than you might think.

However, if you are scared of heights or faint-hearted, this might be an extreme challenge though. But I am sure you (yes, you) will be able to handle it even if you think you will not.Dinner in the Sky Dubai with Arzo Travels (8 von 24)

I was holding my glass, etc., with two hands, though, and had my camera wrapped around my neck. I had a necklace/wrist strap that made me feel much more comfortable taking pictures.How to book Dinner in the Sky Dubai You can turn the chairs around, which is cool. Unfortunately, not 360 degrees, which is a pity, but it still allows you to enjoy better views, and you can lean back.

Seeing the Marina skyline from this perspective is definitely unique and amazing. Seeing the beach underneath you and Zero Gravity while the sun is setting was a wonderful experience.Where is Dinner in the SkyReview of Dinner in the Sky Dubai

Fun things in Dubai

IS DUBAI´DINNER IN THE SKY WORTH IT?

The experience was great, and I am happy I went for it. It is probably a great one-time experience, and if you want to try something new, this is a unique thing to do.

If you are looking for an extremely thrilling activity, then this is not for you – skydiving might be the better option, but it does not have to be extremely adventurous to have a great time, right?

I wished the crane was positioned differently, though, so the metal bar (sorry, I do not know the technical term) would not be in the way when taking pictures of the Dubai Eye.

However, it is fun and nerve-wracking initially, but the staff makes you feel safe, so even those who are normally terrified should try this out.Book a sunset dinner in Dubai

Check out prices at Get Your Guide for Dinner in the SkyLunch in the sky Dubai - Review: Dinner in the Sky Dubai

Find out about the 50 best things to do in Dubai

If you have not booked your hotel yet find out about the best areas to stay in Dubai for each budgetSafe Travels, Arzo

How to Visit Burj Khalifa in Dubai 

Burj Khalifa- at the top

THINGS TO KNOW WHEN VISITING BURJ KHALIFA

Burj Khalifa is the tallest building in the world – making it one of the most famous buildings in the world. It is now standing at 828 meters high and has become one main attraction in Dubai.

At night it gets wonderfully illuminated (LED shows at certain times, not in the summer), and it doesn’t really matter if you visit in the daytime or the evening – this place is a must-see place.

In this post, you can find out more about Burj Khalifa: Some facts, information about visiting the building, and if it is worth it. You will find out about the Top of Burj Khalifa’s ticket prices, about opening hours, and more important information.

Visiting Burj Khalifa had been on my bucket list for quite a while visit to the top of Burj Khalifa in Dubai. I missed it on my first trip, but I made sure to visit on my second visit. And on my fourth trip – and my seventh trip. Yes, I have visited a couple of times, so I share my tips and experiences about my Burj Khalifa with you.Burj Khalifa Angel Wings with Arzo Trav

DISCLAIMER: THIS POST CONTAINS AFFILIATE LINKS – THIS MEANS I MIGHT EARN A SMALL COMMISSION WHEN YOU BUY A PRODUCT/SERVICE (AT NO EXTRA COST TO YOU). MORE ABOUT IT HERE.

BURJ KHALIFA TRAVEL TIPS

Here are some facts and background information.

What is Burj Khalifa?

Burj Khalifa is the tallest building in the world. It stands at 828 meters in Dubai Downtown. It was formally opened in 2010.

Burj Khalifa is home to offices, some luxury apartments, the luxury Armani hotel, and a fine dining restaurant at 442 meters. And then, there are the two observation decks that can be visited. 

Records of Burj Khalifa

Its unique shape makes Burj Khalifa distinctive, but of course, its height, standing tall in 828 meters with 160 stories, is the most important feature. It doesn’t really matter where you stay in Dubai (or even in the neighbor emirate of Sharjah). The building is almost visible from any place.

It actually holds several records (among others)

  • The tallest building in the world (828 meters)
  • The tallest free-standing structure in the world
  • The highest number of levels in the world (160 levels)
  • The highest occupied floor in the world
  • The highest outdoor observation deck in the world (level 148 at 555 meters)
  • The elevator with the longest travel distance in the world
  • The tallest service elevator in the world (cruising at 10m/s)

As you can see, there are several records Burj Khalifa holds.Burj Khalifa from Burj Club Arzo Travels

Location of Burj Khalifa

It is located in Dubai Downtown on 1 Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Blvd, next to the Dubai Mall and Dubai Fountain. Well, apparently, it is impossible to miss Burj Khalifa but finding the “entrance” takes some time.

From the airport to the tower, it takes about 20 minutes drive – without traffic (15km). It takes about the same getting from the highest tower in the world to the most expensive hotel in the world -Burj al-Arab (16km).

You have to get the ticket from Dubai Mall at the ticket store. It is on the LG floor, and there are signs with “At the top of Burj Khalifa“ everywhere. There seems to be no direct way to get into Burj Khalifa for us normal people, and we all have to go there to get up.

Getting Tickets for Burj Khalifa

If you want to book tickets, you need to think about the level of access and your visit time.

Tickets for Level 124 & 145 or Level 148?

Let´s start with the level access. There are two ticket options available. You can buy tickets for Level 124 and 125 or for level 148 (that ticket also includes tickets for level 124 and 125)

  • Level 148 is at 555 meters
  • Level 125 at 456 meters 

All levels offer stunning views. But there are some differences which you should know about. It makes a huge difference regarding prices and services (there is a fast lane for level 148). As far as I have heard, it does not necessarily offer a much better view, though.

LEVEL 148: Advantages: If you book your ticket for level 148 you can also visit level 124 and level 125 + you have access to the Sky Lounge (and get serves dates and coffee). Also, you can skip the lines. Burj Khaliga from level 124, 125

However, prices are much higher. Though I have visited three times so far, I have only bought tickets for level 124+125.

If you know about prices, it will maybe help to decide which tickets to buy. Check out tickets:

While I had twice a regular ticket for level 124+125, I also booked a ticket once that included dinner at Burj Club.

Also, there are a few more tickets available. When I visited the Burj Khalifa for the second time, I bought tickets that included a dinner in the Burj Club. THAT was totally worth the money. Check out prices for a nice lunch/dinner with a view, including tickets for Burj Khalifa.

Best Time to Visit Burj Khalifa

Once you have decided whether you are happy with level 124 & 125 or with level 148, you have to decide on the time of your visit. 

  • Sunrise Tickets – only available on Fridays and Saturdays from 5:30 – 7:30 am. You don’t have to leave the Burj at 7:30. You can stay as long as you like. It is just important to arrive by 7:30 am
  • Basic Tickets – from 8:30 am to 3 pm. You can stay longer but need to buy your tickets for that time and arrive in that time span and from 6:30 to midnight.
  • Sunset Tickets – after 3.30 pm (to 6:30 pm) tickets get more expensive – than the tickets for the sunset.

Tip: I can’t guarantee it, but I saw families with little kids who were allowed to skip the lines (which is totally understandable). If you are lucky and don’t buy the more expensive ticket for level 148, you still might get a fast-track entry if you are with little (not the bigger teenager ones) ones.

How to Get Tickets for Burj Khalifa

Burj Khalifa is very popular – tickets can be sold out quickly during busy times. So, buying online tickets in advice is a must between November and April.

If you want to visit between November-March, I recommend booking your tickets a few days earlier (if not weeks in advance). If you visit in the shoulder season, booking tickets a few days in advance should be fine.

I have visited Burj Khalifa three times so far – and I booked via GetYourGuide. Check out prices and availabilities here.

If you have your online ticket, you will still have to go to the main entrance of Burj Khalifa in Dubai Mall.

I came here three times, and to be honest, no one checked the exact time on my ticket. Mostly, because it is so busy, it is difficult to be here totally on time. So, while you decide on the time, don’t worry if you will be a bit late because you stand in line for too long. However, I still recommend being in Dubai Mall at least 30 minutes early. Some people might check, and it takes time to get to the entrance.

Burj Khalifa With Kids

On my third trip, I was accompanied by my two nephews (10 months and 5 years at that time). The younger one did not really enjoy it. The older nephew appreciated the view and had a blast.

I think Burj Khalifa is not very child-friendly – especially if you visit with toddlers, it might be stressful. We were not allowed to take the stroller. So, my little nephew had to be carried around most of the time! This made a trip to Burj Khalifa less fun. Would I visit with strollers/babies again? No, I would only visit Burj Khalifa with kids who can walk. 

Kids under the age of 4 don’t have to pay any entry (for no level). Kids between 4-12 years pay less. However, there is only a reduction for levels 124 and 125 (no reduction in prices for level 148).

Getting to Level 124 + 125 of Burj Khalifa

Whether you buy your tickets online or at the ticket center: The ticket center will be the starting point of your trip to Burj Khalifa. And here is where standing in lines starts. You might have to stand in line for quite a while. If you do not have a VIP ticket (level 148), you need to be patient. While the views aren’t supposed to be better, using the fast track is probably worth it.Burj Khalifa entrance You have to pass security (remember to not carry illegal things with you) and then walk to the elevator (this includes more standing in line). When you take the lift, you will hear some interesting facts about the highest building in the world. This makes waiting a bit less boring, but it can still be tiring.Info on Burj Khalifa

This procedure took me between 30-60 minutes, but the views were worth it.

The first views were nice, but the first impression was not overwhelming. I was looking for THAT one particular view: The view of the Water Fountain and Dubai Mall. This spot was one of the most crowded – apparently, I was not the only one who wanted to enjoy this particular view. 

The view is stunning, and as the Water Fountain Show was going on, it was heavily crowded. People were delighted to see the spectacle from the top of Burj Khalifa.

Once the show stopped and the crowd cleared up (funny how quickly that happened), I waited for another half hour to witness the show again. Watching the water show from above was just nice. However, it isn’t easy to get good pictures through a window, but I tried my best.

Views of Burj Khalifa from level 125Level 124 + Level 125

  • You will have great views of Burj Khalifa from level 124+125 
  • Indoor and outdoor vantage points 
  • Souvenir shops
  • New: step on an inspired glass floor with a twist. Feel the glass crack underneath your feet as you explore the heights on level 125

LEVEL 148

I have not been on level 148, but the views are apparently the same as from level 124 + 125. However, you can have access to Sky Lounge, where non-alcoholic drinks and coffee is included (plus minor snacks)

Dubai Fountain From the Top of Burj Khalifa

Watching the Dubai Fountain Show from above is amazing. So here are the showtimes (if you like to book your tickets accordingly).

  • Saturday to Thursday: 1:00 PM 1:30 PM 2:00 PM
  • Friday afternoon shows 1:30 PM 2:00 PM 2:30 PM
  • Evening Shows 6:00 PM – 11:00 PM every 30 minutes

Times can change, so please double-check if you want to see the fountain show from Burj Khalifa.

Conclusion: Is At The Top of Burj Khalifa Worth it?

Is it worth to get at the top of Burj Khalifa? I am happy I have visited Burj Khalifa several times. This was, that I visited with my friend the second time and then with my nephews. Except for the long waiting, it was a great experience to get up there. However, if you are willing to pay a lot extra, level 148 might be a good choice. You can buy the “skip the line” ticket here with some extra VIP services.

If you are okay waiting in line and not getting treated like a VIP, level 124+125 is a great opportunity to see Dubai from the top of Burj Khalifa.

PIN ME FOR LATER – A DAY TRIP TO BURJ KHALIFA

Is it worth to get on top of Burj Khalifa in Dubai, th highest building in the world, or not UAE

HOW TO SEE DUBAI MALL – THINGS TO DO + TRAVEL TIPS

A quick guide to Dubai Mall, the biggest mall in the world.

TIPS FOR VISITING DUBAI MALL

Dubai Mall: A quick guide gives you an overview of what to expect at the biggest mall in the world.

If you like records, you will love Dubai, and if you love shopping, you will adore the Dubai Mall. As a regular Dubai visitor, I often visit Dubai Mall – even if I am not shopping a lot, but there is just so much to do around it and in it. Find out more about the biggest shopping mall in Dubai. Or well, actually the biggest one in the world.Dubal Mall at Night

If you like shopping as well as the hustle and bustle, you will love Dubai Mall. It is not only the biggest mall in the world but also the most visited. But even if you prefer quieter places, the mall is still worth a stop (as there are some of the main Dubai attractions located next to and inside the mall).

Dubai Mall is different from any other mall in the world. Nothing can be compared to it. I do not mean it because of its sheer size. There is always something new at Dubai Mall. New art, new attractions, new events take place.

With more than 1200 stores, an extensive food court, and many beauty salons on four levels, this “guide” gives you a quick overview of the mall. 

Read more: My tips for the best hotels in Dubai – for all budgetsDubai Mall at night

BACKGROUND INFO ON DUBAI MALL

The mall opened in 2009 and still growing and plans to expand and become even bigger. It is open seven days a week from 10 a.m. until 11 p.m. or midnight, so you have plenty of time to spend discovering the area. I was surprised it opened more than 11 years ago because it still looks so new, and the whole mall is spotlessly clean.

DUBAI MALL LOCATION

ADDRESS: Financial Center Street, along Sheikh Zayed Road and next to Burj Khalifa in Dubai (United Arab Emirates)

HOW TO GET THERE BY METRO: The nearest metro station is the Burj Khalifa/The Dubai Mall station. It is then another 1km walk (by using the Metro Link Bridge) from there. Alternatively, you can take a bus from The Dubai Mall Station and get out just in front of Dubai Mall.

HOW TO GET THERE BY BUS: There are two buses that service The Dubai Mall: Route 27 from the Deira Gold Souk station and Route 29 from Ghubaiba bus station and stops at the Lower Ground Floor of The Dubai Mall.

HOW TO GET THERE BY CAR: It is impossible to miss – just head towards Burj Khalifa, the highest building in the world.

From Dubai Center: Take the first interchange and proceed through Financial Centre Road (formerly Doha Street), and then you will see the approach road to The Dubai Mall on the right-hand side.

From Abu Dhabi: Take the exit to Financial Centre Road (formerly Doha Street) from the first interchange.

Follow the signs to the carpark. There are more than 14,000 undercover spaces available (free parking).

HOW TO GET THERE BY SHUTTLE BUSES: If you stay in a bigger hotel in Dubai, there might be a shuttle bus to and from Dubai Mall. Ask the hotel and use the free offer.

HOW TO GET THERE BY TAXI/UBER: Every taxi/Uber driver will be very familiar with bringing you to Dubai Mall safely.

HOW TO GET THERE BY SIGHTSEEING BUSES: All hop-on and hop-off buses stop here.

OPENING HOURS AT DUBAI MALL

For shops, these are the opening hours.

SUN MON TUES WED THU FRI SAT
10:00 AM 10:00 AM 10:00 AM 10:00 AM 10:00 AM 10:00 AM 10:00 AM
11:00 PM 11:00 PM 11:00 PM 11:00 PM 12:00 AM 12:00 AM 12:00 AM

These are the opening hours for restaurants and the food court.

SUN MON TUES WED THU FRI SAT
10:00 AM 10:00 AM 10:00 AM 10:00 AM 10:00 AM 10:00 AM 10:00 AM
12:00 AM 12:00 AM 12:00 AM 12:00 AM 01:00 AM 01:00 AM 01:00 AM

DUBAI MALL FACTS 

  • Completed in 2009
  • The largest mall in the world by total land area and the 26th-largest shopping mall in the world by gross leasable area
  • The total retail floor area of 502,000 square meters
  • More than 80 million visitors annually
  • More than 1,300 retail outlets, including two anchor department stores – Galeries Lafayette and Bloomingdale’s
  • More than 200 food and beverage outlet

What attractions in Dubai Mall

Services at Dubai Mall

It doesn’t really feel like a regular mall – not only because of the size but everything that comes with it. Listing all services could take forever. So, I list a few.

  • Information points, touchmaps, and leaflets for orientation throughout the mall
  • Free Wi-Fi
  • Rent strollers, wheelchairs, power banks (free of charge), or use the concierge service (e.g., leave your shopping bags, etc. but not free).
  • Complimentary shoeshine service for men
  • Complimentary buggy service
  • Prayer´s room
  • Clean and free (as a German, this is not standard for me) toilets (check the ones at Fashion Avenue out)

There are many more services you can rent/book etc.

BEST TIME TO VISIT DUBAI MALL

My best tip is: DO NOT visit the mall on a Friday. It is stuffed and very unpleasant to navigate through the crowds. If you take one thing from this post, then this should be it. Friday is the official Sunday in the Islamic world and then people just go to malls.

If you enjoy busy malls and want to watch people, come here in the evening during the week. It gets busier in the evening because it is so much more than just a shopping mall.

If you prefer to explore Dubai Mall without the crowds come early – around 10 am it really is quiet.

RULES AT DUBAI MALL

Though many wear whatever they want, Dubai Mall has a dress code “Shoulder and knees should be covered.” However, since Dubai relies heavily on tourism, it seems they turned a blind eye on people, ignoring the rules (I still try to respect rules)

The Dubai Mall Courtesy Policy also does not allow pets or weapons and asks people to keep intimate moments for their homes’ privacy. Also, skateboarding is not allowed, and smoking is also forbidden.

Read more: Find out about fun things to do in Dubai 

Flag of the UAE, Dubai

THINGS TO DO IN DUBAI MALL

Shopping is one main activity in Dubai Mall, but there are many more attractions. Here I am sharing some of the best Dubai Mall attractions.

SHOPPING AT DUBAI MALL 

There is almost any shop outlet you can imagine at Dubai Mall. Everything from book stores and fashion to home furnishing stores, supermarkets, beauty salons, and souks. 

While there are multiple high-fashion labels, you will also find more affordable brands too.

Fashion Avenue is probably the most photogenic area in the mall – it is so pretty and exquisite that I recommend heading there, even if you are not into high-end luxury products – especially the restrooms are nice and probably one of the most elegant you will find in a big mall.

If you are a shopaholic, you could spend weeks or months shopping in Dubai Mall. I have become much more mindful of what I shop and bring home, so I have never done much shopping here and still enjoy Dubai Mall.

Dining Tips at Dubai Mall

The food court is extensive. Apart from the typical fast-food restaurants, you will also find fine dining restaurants, coffee shops, bakeries, and international restaurants. 

Italian, Indian, Chinese, Arabian…..all kinds of cuisines are at Dubai Mall, so you will be pleased to find something for everyone’s palate and budget with the many bars, coffee shops, restaurants, and takeaways. You can easily pay 5€ for one scoop of gelato or 8€ for a large scoop.

If you look for budget-friendly food, check out the Food Court at Level 2.

As a vegetarian/vegan, I can happily say there are many choices for us.

BEAUTY SALONS AT DUBAI MALL

I might not spend money on unnecessary items, but I love some relaxing beauty treatments. And Dubai Mall is heaven.

One of my favorite places at Dubai Mall is on the lower ground. After an exhausting day, the best thing you can do is spoiling yourself with a spa or a beauty treatment. I decided to visit Sisters Beauty Lounge (they have several other stores all over Dubai and Abu Dhabi) on the lower ground lever next to the Center Management. It is a bit hidden but worth checking out.

But there are many more beauty parlors in Dubai Mall.

VISIT BURJ KHALIFA

The tallest building in the world is not directly located in Dubai Mall but just next to it. To get to the “Top of Burj Khalifa,” you need to use the entrance via Dubai Mall.7 days in Dubai - best vintage points I highly recommend booking tickets a few days in advance (especially during peak season) and then enjoy the views from up there. Check out ticket prices here.

How to Get There: Once you are in Dubai Mall, you will see signs that will lead you there.

WATCH THE WATER FOUNTAIN SHOW

A must-do activity in Dubai is to watch the water fountain show. It takes place several times a day just in front of Dubai Mall.

Water Fountain Show in front of Dubai Mall @shutterstock
@shutterstock

It is a free show and lasts a few minutes. Especially in the evening, it gets hectic. So, make sure to be there early to secure a good spot.

How to Get There: Once you are in Dubai Mall, you will see signs that will lead you there.

SEE THE DUBAI AQUARIUM

Okay, I am kind of reluctant to mention Dubai Aquarium here.

Dubai Aquarium & Underwater Zoo is home to thousands of animals – including 400 sharks and rays live in a 10 million liter tank. You can find it on the Ground Level, and you do not even have to pay for it to see most of the tank. Dubai Mall Aquarium from above Arzo Travels

It is a free activity – I have visited twice because my ho-on and hop-off tickets had tickets included. I do not think it is worth the money. You do not see much more *new than what you can see from a distance. My 5-year old nephew loved it, but I do not recommend actually visiting unless you want to take the popular picture inside the tunnel.

I do not even want to open the can of worms about keeping sharks in tanks…

SEE THE DINOSAUR

On the ground floor of Dubai Mall, you will also find the Dubai Dino. It is supposed to be sold soon, but at the moment, you can still see a 115-million-year-old dinosaur skeleton. Yes, it is very random to see a dino in a mall. But actually, it is fascinating to see the 24.4-meter-long, 7-meter-high skeleton of a Diplodocus.Dubai Mall Dino Arzo Travels By the way, that dino has a head…I am not sure why I did not get it into the picture.

DUBAI ICE RINK

If you are into ice skating, you might want to check out the Ice Rink inside the Dubai Mall. Yes, on the ground floor, you will find an ice rink.

HYSTERIA

I have not visited myself, but this Dubai Mall attraction is for those who enjoy some thrill-seekers. Hysteria takes guests on a journey through their darkest nightmares and deepest fears. This is not for the faint-hearted and if you are ready to experience it, visit Hysteria.

MORE ATTRACTIONS

In Dubai Mall, there are many more attractions.

HUMAN WATERFALLS

The Human Waterfalls have become a popular photo spot. The Dubai Waterfall is an indoor art installation and comprises two large cylindrical walls 30 meters in diameter and 24 meter high – spanning the three floors of the Dubai Mall.Attractions in Dubai - Human Waterfalls

VR Park – Virtual Reality Indoor Theme Park

For VR fans, there is good news: Dubai Mall has its own Virtual Reality indoor theme park. It offers visitors a high-tech virtual-reality area to experience reality through rides and experiences. Check out their website for prices.

MORE THINGS TO DO AT DUBAI MALL

There are many more things you can do in Dubai Mall, and here they are for you:

  • Cinema
  • Trampo Extreme
  • Dubai Opera
  • Dubai Creek Tower
  • Soft Play

The mall is extremely kid-friendly (though the lifts were always busy, and when I visited with my nephew in a stroller, I realized how annoying it is). There are many things to do and see for people of all ages and all budgets.

There is hardly a way to avoid Dubai Mall when you are in Dubai. Some luxury hotels are also attached to the shopping mall, so enjoy this experience of Dubai Mall. Here are more Dubai malls and read more about the best activities in Dubai.

Dubai Mall Arzo Travels

Read moreHOW TO SEE DUBAI MALL – THINGS TO DO + TRAVEL TIPS

Abu Dhabi vs Dubai – Which is the Better Place to Visit?

Dubai or Abu Dhabi, where to go, Arzo Travels

WHERE TO GO? DUBAI OR ABU DHABI

One of the questions I got asked a lot is whether I recommend Dubai or Abu Dhabi. Abu Dhabi vs. Dubai?! Which city is the better city to visit? To cut a long story short, I can say it depends on your interests and preferences whether you prefer Abu Dhabi or Dubai.

Abu Dhabi vs. Dubai, Dubai vs. Abu Dhabi: Which city (emirate) wins? I am happy to share a list with you, which I have created based on my experiences, hoping that this list helps you make the perfect decision.

Both cities are incredibly safe regarding female solo travelers or concerning any crime. Abu Dhabi and Dubai are “rich” and “clean.”

You can do desert safaris in both places (in my opinion, desert safaris are one of the best things to do in both places), as you can do water sports activities, helicopter rides, and you can shop in both cities pretty well.

Both are quite westernized, so there is not a cultural shock for western tourists.

Why is Abu Dhabi better than Dubai?

Find an itinerary for Abu Dhabi here and find out what to do in Abu Dhabi.

Abu Dhabi

  • The capital of the United Arab Emirates
  • biggest emirate (in size of geography)
  • about 1 million inhabitants

Here are my personal reasons why I tend to say that Abu Dhabi wins if it comes to Abu Dhabi vs. Dubai 

Grand Mosque

  • Abu Dhabi is the better place to visit because it is home to the stunning Grand Sheikh Zayed Mosque.

It is home to the most beautiful building: Grand Sheikh Zayed MosqueDubai has more interesting and famous buildings, but it does not have Grand Sheikh Zayed Mosque.Why is Abu Dhabi better than Dubai

The mosque is just beyond amazing and one of my favorites reasons to always re-visit Abu Dhabi.

To find out more about the mosque and tips when visiting (and see many more images click here).

Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque Abu Dhabi Emirates

More Beautiful Beaches

  • Abu Dhabi is the better place to visit because it has nicer and more tranquil beaches.

Abu Dhabi has more beautiful beaches: the public beaches at Corniche or Saadiyat Island, the beaches in Abu Dhabi were more appealing to me.

Though Saadiyat Island charges a small fee (about 5€) it is definitely worth the money, and if you do not want to spend money on a day at the beach you will have a nice time at the free beaches in Abu Dhabi – which are quite empty, and you´ll not see it crowded.

Luxury Accommodation is Cheaper

  • Compared to Dubai, Abu Dhabi is the better place to visit because you get more luxury for less money.

Accommodation in Abu Dhabi, especially luxury accommodation, is cheaper. As a test, I did some further research to be sure it was not only when I visited.

It seems that accommodation is cheaper throughout the year in Abu Dhabi. To check out the best hotel deals, click here.

I have stayed in several hotels in Abu Dhabi, and whenever I visited, the prices were below the prices in Dubai – while the standard is the same!Which is better to visit Dubai or Abu Dhabi

Abu Dhabi is Quieter

  • Abu Dhabi is, in comparison to Dubai, the better place to visit because it is more tranquil and much quieter.

Abu Dhabi is quieter. This can either be a pro or a contra argument, but if you do not like too much “bling-bling” and too much of the hustle and bustle, you´ll probably enjoy Abu Dhabi more than Dubai. Though you will also find authentic areas in Dubai, Abu Dhabi is still a bit more “Arabian-like.”Heritage Village in Abu Dhabi

Emirates Palace

  • Abu Dhabi is the better place to visit because you can visit Emirates Palace.

The Emirates Palace, the top hotel in Abu Dhabi, is also open to “ordinary” people who want to have a look, while Dubai´s “top” hotel (Burj Al-Arab) is much more difficult to access.Emirates Palace Kempinski in Abu Dhabi (Emirates)

Zaya Nuria Island

  • Abu Dhabi is the better place to visit because you will find there the Maldives of the Emirates.

Abu Dhabi has Zaya Nurai Island – one of the most beautiful islands in the region. Zaya Nurai Island – after a 12-minute boat ride, you will get to the private island – to be allowed to get on the island, you have to get either a day pass or stay there as an overnight guest.

Why visit Abu DhabiSo, this point goes to Abu Dhabi in terms of Abu Dhabi vs. Dubai.

Better Place to Relax

  • Abu Dhabi is the better place to visit because it is more like a vacation.

Where can you relax better? In Dubai or Abu Dhabi? Well, I would say Abu Dhabi is the better place to relax. There are fewer crowds and less traffic in Abu Dhabi. So, Abu Dhabi is the better place to relax and chill.Abu Dhabi relax

Read about my 12 top tips for things to do in Abu Dhabi.

Why is Dubai better than Abu Dhabi?

Here are the reasons why I like Dubai better than Abu Dhabi.

Dubai

  • The Biggest city in terms of inhabitants and the most famous city of the UAE
  • about 2,5 million inhabitants

The City of Superlatives

  • Dubai is the better place to visit because it constantly breaks new records.

Dubai is the city of superlatives. There are many interesting buildings: It is home to the highest building globally, Burj Khalifa (pictures from the top of Burj Khalifa here), the 7* hotel Burj Al-Arab, and many more interesting buildings. If you are into superlatives, visit Dubai.Dubai in 2 days

More Attractions in Dubai

  • Dubai is the better place to visit because there is so much to do and see.

There are more attractions, more to see and more to do. It will not get boring in Dubai. Whether you head to the tallest building in the world (Burj Khalifa), or Miracle Garden, Dubai Mall, or Madinat Jumeirah – there is so much to do that it was hard for me to pick only 50 top activities in Dubai.

Click here to read my tips 50 things to do in Dubai. 

Abu Dhabi or DubaiEven though I have visited Dubai several times I have these “wow” effects all the time, one of them was when I visited the top of Burj Khalifa. 

Dubai is More Liberal

  • Dubai is the better place to visit because it is more liberal.

Dubai is more liberal. Yes, it is still a conservative place but I think it is less conservative than Abu Dhabi (click here to find out what to wear in Dubai as a female).

Though I am not into clubbing, there are more bars, clubs, more parties than in Abu Dhabi. I, somehow, also feel less restricted in my clothing than in Abu Dhabi.Better place to visit in UAE

More Luxury Hotels

  • Dubai is the better place to visit because there are so many luxury hotels to choose from.

There are more luxury hotels. If you are on a budget, you can just do hotel sightseeing for free – and you´ll do not get disappointed – like the “Atlantis – The Palm.”

The amount of luxury hotels in Dubai is seriosuly crazy.

Tip: if you want to slpurge but have to save money, visit during Ramadan (it might be less fun but the hote prices drop like crazy).

Palm Island

  • Dubai is the better place to visit because it has unique islands, like Palm Island.

Dubai has Palm Island. Though the beaches are private (you can get a day pass though at many hotels), it is a perfect place to ride a bike and enjoy great views.

Madinat Jumeirah

  • Dubai is the better place to visit because you will find the recreation of ancient Arabia in a modern dress.

Dubai has Madinat Jumeirah, which is, without any doubt, one of my favorite areas in Dubai. It is just a great place to spend the day, get lost, and crop the day off.

Bigger Shopping Malls

  • Dubai is the better place to visit because you will find the biggest and most interesting shopping malls there.

Dubai has more shopping (and bigger) malls (quick guide for Dubai Mall here) and is the place to shop.

Crazy Souks

  • Dubai is the better place to visit because there are also many local markets to shop.

I have a love-hate relationship with Dubai Deira – the old part of Dubai often means to be stressed out as it is hectic, but it is a place that reminds me like no other in the UAE (except for the desert) that I am in Arabia. The souks (markets) there are just something you have to experience once – you cannot find souks in that intensity in Abu Dhabi. 

Which place to visit - Abu Dhabi or Dubai

Better Day Trips Options

  • Dubai is the better place to visit because you can do some very fun day tours.

Location: Dubai has, in my opinion, a better location. It is closer to Oman (and a day trip to Oman is fun) and to other emirates like Sharjah and Ras al-Khaimah, and so day trips to other places are easier and more fun.Oman

Find my tips for the 50 best things to do in Dubai here – and click here to find all my Dubai posts. 

CONCLUSION: DUBAI VS ABU DHABI

As you can see, it really depends on what you are interested in and what you like to answer the question of whether Abu Dhabi or Dubai is better for a vacation.

Are you more of a person who likes to go out and enjoy those “wow” moments, or do you enjoy the “natural” beauty and more quietness?

What about me? Do I think Abu Dhabi or Dubai is better?

I actually liked Abu Dhabi as well as Dubai. I have to admit that I visited Abu Dhabi only three times while I have visited Dubai more often and have spent much more time there.

Knowing what I know now, I would say: If I stayed in the United Arab Emirates for one week, I would probably stay 4-5 nights in Dubai and then in Abu Dhabi for 2 nights.

By the way: Abu Dhabi and Dubai are not that far away from each other. So if you still cannot decide which place to visit, you can just take a hop-on and hop-off bus to Abu Dhabi or Dubai or take a taxi to get from one city to the other (about 80 kilometers).

There is also a bus from Dubai to Abu Dhabi or the other way around.

Ready to book your next trip? Will you visit Dubai or Abu Dhabi? Or both 🙂

TRAVEL TIPS FOR DUBAI AND ABU DHABI

Dubai and Abu Dhabi are both fun cities to visit with great tours and activities to see – before you plan your trip to Dubai or Abu Dhabi, check out visa regulations.

Safe Travels, Arzo

 

PIN ME FOR LATERAbu Dhabi or Dubai? Which is the better city to visit? Find out which is the perfect destination for you. United Arab Emirates.

 

IMPORTANT DUBAI TRAVEL TIPS FOR YOUR VISIT

Dubai Guide

VISIT DUBAI – TRAVEL TIPS FOR YOUR DUBAI TRIP

If you are heading to Dubai, you are probably looking for some Dubai travel tips because it is different than any other place – whether in the west, east, or any other city in the Middle East.

Dubai – the city of superlatives, the city that polarizes. Not everybody loves the city in the United Arab Emirates, but I can say that I love it.

I have been to Dubai quite often and have written many different posts about activities, hotels, restaurant reviews, and travel tips. I finally summarized all the important information for tourists and travelers visiting Dubai and prepared this Dubai Travel Advisory.

DUBAI TRAVEL INFORMATION

You’ll find general information, info on how to get around and about the different areas, top tips on what to do in Dubai, and some extra tips for female travelers. If you are looking for more detailed information, click on the link you’ll find in this post.

Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links. This means I might earn a small commission when you buy a product/service via my link (no extra cost). More about it here.

Before discussing the best Dubai travel tips, here are some facts that can help you plan your Dubai itinerary/trip.

Dubai Facts

  • The biggest city (emirate) in the United Arab Emirates (UAE)
  • More than 2 million inhabitants
  • Only about 14% are actually from the UAE

Language in Dubai  

Arabic but English is very common, and in all stores, restaurants, hotels, good English is spoken by most (basic English by almost all).

Money in Dubai

  • Currency: Dirham, though € and $ are often accepted, I mostly used credit cards and had some change for smaller amounts and tips in Dirham.
  • Credit Cards are accepted at most places (American Express, however, is not always accepted)
  • Tip: If you dine, the tip is often included in the bill (10%), have a look at the bill. If it is not included, I always tip about 10%  ( don’t forget to tip taxi drivers and hotel housekeeping)
  • Dubai is expensive – not everything but accommodation, for example, is costly – however, you can buy food and do activities that are cheap and save money there. Here is my full budget travel guide to Dubai

Religion in Dubai / Don´ts in Dubai

  • Though there are many foreign workers, the main religion is Islam, so Fridays are official rest days (most shops, malls, and restaurants are open, though, and actually public places are even more crowded than regularly.
  • Dress and behavior code for people: women can wear what they want at the beach (not topless, though) but should respect the dress code in other areas. More information about the dress code here. Also, men should follow dress rules.
  • Intimacy between couples is not welcomed in public.
  • Homosexuality is illegal in Dubai.
  • Sex before marriage is forbidden in Dubai – you might have heard of the case of foreigners that were raped and reported it to the police. And not only the alleged rapist got arrested but also the victim. So, thus it is even more important to be aware of your surroundings. Though, as mentioned, Dubai is safe, you might have to deal with these issues – especially if you drink alcohol and then report such a crime, etc.

Is Dubai Safe?

  • I think Dubai is one of the safest places to visit – in every aspect. Even as a female solo traveler, you are safe to visit. Dubai’s crime rate is among the lowest globally. More about security and safety issues here.

Dinner in the Sky Dubai with Arzo Travels

Best Time to Visit Dubai

  • One of the main and best Dubai travel tips I can give: is to choose wisely when you visit Dubai.
  • I do not recommend visiting during the summer months (May – September). The average temperature ranges from 32.4 °C (90.2 °F) in May, 36.5 °C (98 °F) in August and 34 °C (93°F) in May.
  • Even October and April were too hot for me already. But it depends on what kind of weather you prefer.
  • Some activities are not possible in the summer months because of the heat.
  • The winter months from November to early March are the best times to visit in my opinion. 
  • The average temperature ranges from 19.5 °C (67.5 °F) in January. 
  • Hotel prices, however, go up during the winter months and it gets busier. Regardless, my tip is to visit in these months.
  • Check also for the fasting time (Ramadan) because life is different during that time. You cannot do many activities during that few weeks (also, alcohol is less available). In 2022 Ramadan is from 3rd April to 2nd May and in 2022 it is from 23rd March to 23rd April. 

How to Get to Dubai

Dubai has two airports – the Dubai International Airport is the main one, and if you fly into Dubai, you will most likely arrive here. The airport is well connected to the rest of Dubai, and you can find taxis in front of the airport (there is a small surcharge for taxis starting at Dubai Airport). But there is also a metro station that you can use.

My most favorite airline ever is Emirates Airlines – a Dubai-based airline. Check out their prices here, and if you can, book via them (they are amazing!).

How to Get Around in Dubai

  • Public Transportation in Dubai 

Dubai is developing pretty quickly, and so is public transport. The Metro is fast, reliable, operates regularly, and is super clean – it even has its own women-only-departments, and the prices are okay.Metro Station in Dubai There are only two metro lines (the green and red line), and the main line starts in Dubai Downtown and ends after Dubai Marina. However, the stops are spread out quite far, e.g., the “Dubai Mall Stop” does not mean you are actually at Dubai Mall.

It just means it is the closest station to Dubai Mall, and it includes another 1-kilometer walk.

In Dubai Marina, there is also a tram, and there are many buses throughout Dubai. The metro ticket allows you to use buses as well. BUT tickets are not available on the bus, so you need to buy a ticket beforehand.

Thus, the metro/public transport is not my preferred means of transport, but it is pretty good for long distances, especially because the red line travels along Sheikh Zayed Road for most of its length. (Btw: Sheikh Zayed Road is THE main road in Dubai.)

  • Taxis in Dubai

There are several kinds of taxis: the black Lexus taxis are a bit more expensive and apparently more service-oriented, but the other, the “normal,” taxis are totally fine to use. A display shows you not only the price but also the driven kilometers.

Petrol is cheap in Dubai – and so are taxi rides. There is a minimum charge of about €4, but it gets you some kilometers. Other than that, taxis charge about €0,50 per kilometer. I had some great conversations with taxi drivers (mostly Afghans, Pakistanis, or Indians). If they speak English, they will actually give you a lot of insights, and you’ll probably get a different view of Dubai.

A display shows you not only the price but also the driven kilometers. Petrol is cheap in Dubai – and so are taxi rides. There is a minimum charge of about €4, but it gets you some kilometers. Other than that, taxis charge about €0,50 per kilometer.

However, if you do not want to visit a main attraction or a very famous hotel, I would advise you to google the address beforehand and/or take a screenshot of the route since most taxis do not have a GPS. Many drivers might not be aware of less famous hotels/places.

  • Hop-On and Hop-Off Buses in Dubai

I admit I am a huge Hop On and Hop Off fan. I recommend getting a ticket if you stay longer and want to see several places and do more activities.

Female Travel Tips for Dubai

Why is Dubai betterOther than that, Dubai is one of the best places for (solo female) travelers, as it is safe and women are free in their daily routine. However, as in all parts of the world, I can only recommend using common sense if traveling alone – even in Dubai.

More Dubai Travel Tips

  • If you take medication, read this post on “Traveling to the Emirates with Medication” it will help you find out what you are allowed to take and what not. Find some unusual Dubai facts.
  • Alcohol is allowed in Dubai – however, only in certain hotels and restaurants. To be on the safe side, don’t take any bottles/glasses of alcohol and drink it on the streets.
  • Nightlife is also big in Dubai – if you like to party, Dubai is the perfect place for you (though you shouldn’t get totally drunk). Here are my favorite places to visit in Dubai at night (though there are non-party places.
  • Use these free Dubai apps to plan your trip

Neighborhoods in Dubai

No post about the best Dubai travel tips would be complete if we didn’t talk about areas to stay and visit in Dubai – because Dubai has many faces, and it is important which places you add to your itinerary.

My favorite areas in Dubai are:

Dubai Downtown

Dubai Downtown is home to some major tourist attractions like Burj Khalifa, Dubai Fountain, or Dubai Mall and some top-notch hotels, like the Armani Hotel, etc. (inside Burj Khalifa).

Though I do not think it is the most charming part of Dubai, it is a must-visit area, and it is not far from Dubai Deira or the public beach.

Dubai Downtown, Burj Khalifa @shutterstock
Dubai Downtown, Burj Khalifa @shutterstock

Dubai Deira and the Creek

The old part of Dubai is located in the eastern part of Dubai and is very charming.

You’ll find the lively Gold and Spice Souk. There are also some museums to visit, and you can spend much more time in the Souks. Dubai’s oldest part is located more or less next to the airport (9km). It is a busy area, and the Gold and Spice Souks’ small and narrow streets give you probably one of the most authentic feelings – though the shopkeepers are mostly non-Arabs.

As a solo female traveler strolling through Deira, I definitely felt safe, BUT not always comfortable. It is widespread to be constantly approached by men – either by people trying to sell you stuff or because they are hitting on you. I met a couple of female expats who told me they do not visit Deira anymore because of that reason.

If you are in Dubai, I still think it is a lovely place, and you should not miss out on it. They are also some museums and riding an abra from one side to the other is a lovely experience (and very inexpensive).

Madinat Jumeirah

Madinat Jumeirah is a re-creation of ancient Arabia and one of my most favorite parts. Once you enter Madinat, it is like nothing of the hustle and bustle that is so common in Dubai. Little shops sell souvenirs, jewelry, etc., and some restaurants and cafes allow you to enjoy the lovely atmosphere. There is also an outdoor part, and you get the best view of Burj Al-Arab. You could also ride an abra, which is much more expensive than in Deira, though.

The Desert

The desert is actually my favorite area in Dubai. I have been to the desert the times (the hot-air balloon ride, a Sundowner Dune Dinner Safari, and a Morning Dune Bash), and I cannot wait to visit again.

Dubai Marina

Dubai Marina is a beautiful part of Dubai and was created in 2003. It is still constantly changing and expanding, and thus you’ll always have to see construction work almost everywhere you look. Currently, it is the second biggest artificial marina, but Dubai would not be Dubai if it did not plan to break records and make it the biggest in the world. It is home to many hotels, including the world’s highest hotel, and the perfect place for nice strolls and beautiful views.

JBR Walk

JBR Walk is, unlike Dubai Marina, located along the beach with many shops, restaurants, hotels, and bars. However, I also enjoy the proximity to Dubai Marina and love going there for a walk.

Places to see in Dubai in 7 days

Palm Jumeirah

When I heard about the Palm(s) on TV for the first time, I was more than skeptical about the negative impacts on the environment. However, on my second and third trip to Dubai, I stayed at one of the Palm Jumeirah hotels.

There were supposed to be three palms but actually, one got only finished, and a second one is supposed to be finished eventually. The third one was stopped as a result of the financial crises, which also hit Dubai.

Dubai - The Palm @shutterstock
Dubai – The Palm @shutterstock

Click here for more information on each area and the best attractions there.

Best Places to Stay in Dubai

Accommodation in Dubai is top – even a 3* hotel is better than other 3* hotels worldwide.

To get the best deals on your Dubai hotel, click here. Not surprisingly, 5* hotels are better than in other parts of the world. Following are some hotels I have visited and reviewed in the past:

The Palm

5* Hotel and Resort: Atlantis Hotel – The Palm Dubai The hotel is a bit old (if you look at the interior, you can tell at some parts) but after all, it is a very luxurious and fun place to stay in Dubai. It is also the perfect choice for families and people who want to indulge at a hotel property.

5* Resort: Review: Anantara The Palm Dubai: I really liked the vibe and the hotel itself. It is so different from all the other places in Dubai and perfect if you prefer a quieter place with a touch of Thailand.

Dubai Marina

5* Hotel: Review: Grosvenor House in Dubai – one of my favorite hotels in Dubai. Elegant and quiet (not the perfect place for families with smaller kids) and a great location.

5* Hotel: Review: Intercontinental Dubai Marina – another of my favorite places. A modern and bright interior and a good location make IC Dubai Marina a fantastic place to stay.

JBR Walk

4* Resort: Review: JA Ocean View Hotel Dubai

What to do in Dubai

Before I visited Dubai for the first time, I thought Dubai is just skyscrapers and shopping malls, but I was proven wrong. There is soooo much to do and see, and there’s something for almost any taste.

  • Do a Dubai desert safari, either a Morning Dune Drive or a Sundowner Dune Dinner Safari.
  • Take a hot air balloon ride in Dubai.
  • Visit Dubai Deira and the Gold and Spice Souk and ride an Abra.
  • Visit Dubai Mall, the biggest shopping center in the world (check out Dubai Mall Quick Guide)
  • Watch the Dubai Fountain (once or twice an hour)
  • Visit “At the Top of Burj Khalifa”
  • Stroll through Dubai Marina
  • Do a boat tour from Marina
  • Stroll along JBR Walk
  • Visit Miracle Garden
  • Discover The Palm and rent a bike (the Palm is perfect for a bike ride)
  • Check out Madinat Jumeirah and discover the souks and the best views of Dubai Burj Al-Arab
  • Spend time at Kite Beach
  • Visit the Gold and Spice Souks in Dubai Deira

Click here to book one of the tours now and save money.

Want to read more about Dubai? Head to my archives and read about the top things to do in Dubai.

More Tips For Dubai

You’ll find plenty of tips on my blog for your Dubai trip.

Find out “How to spend a layover in Dubai (6,8, or 10 hours),” and if you are lucky and spend more time there, read “How to Spend 2 Days in Dubai”.

I also have itineraries for 

How to travel Dubai with kids

Hopefully, these Dubai travel tips will help you for a smooth and yet exciting trip! There is a lot to see, and you will find out there is so much more to Dubai than most people think. I hope you are now well-prepared and know everything you need to know before visiting Dubai. 

Safe Travels, Arzo

 

Amazing Places to Stay in Dubai for All Budgets – Best Areas and Hotels

Where to stay in Dubai - Best areas to stay in Dubai

BEST PLACES TO STAY IN DUBAI – HOTEL RECOMMENDATIONS FOR ALL BUDGETS

If you plan a trip to a dazzling city and are wondering about “the best places to stay in Dubai” or the “where to stay in Dubai,” you are about to find the answers here.

This post will help you find and book the perfect Dubai accommodation for your stay – for every budget and every kind of visitor.

The city´s hotels are amazing, and the standard is very high – however, high are also the prices.

Dubai does not have any real super-budget hotels that you might love from other destinations, like Bali or Las Vegas, you can find cheaper hotels that are not total crap and still offer good value for the money. And in Dubai, of course, you´ll find plenty of the most luxurious hotels in the world.

Read 50 amazing things to do in Dubai.

Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links – this means I will earn a small commission when you buy a product/service (at no extra cost to you). More about it here

Whether you opt for the best luxury hotels, mid-range hotels, and cheaper hotels – here are the best places to stay in Dubai.

Best Hotels for Downtown Dubai

Downtown Dubai is home to some major tourist attractions, like Burj Khalifa, Dubai Fountain, Dubai Mall, and some top-notch hotels. Also, it is not too far from the public beaches, the airport, and Dubai Marina.

For the longest time, I was not very impressed with this area, but now I have to admit that it has become one of my favorite places, and it is one of the best places to stay in Dubai.

Dubai Downtown, Burj Khalifa @shutterstock
Dubai Downtown @shutterstock

You´ll also find plenty of restaurants and bars, so it is not boring at all – this is a fun area to stay for people who enjoy a day out to explore Dubai or who want to spend an evening checking out Dubai´s nightlife.

Hotels in this area do not have their own beaches, but the above-mentioned location makes up for that deficiency. Most hotels in Dubai have pools. Some of them are quite fancy and perfect for the relaxing part of your trip. I have stayed in most of the hotels myself. If I have not stayed there, I only picked the best hotels for that budget.

Luxury Hotels in Downtown Dubai – Armani Hotel

  • It is no surprise that this 5-star hotel in Downtown Dubai, just next to Burj Khalifa and Dubai Mall, is synonymous with luxury and pure elegance. Giorgio Armani delivered what you can expect from a high-quality designer.
  • Armani Hotel has a great location, but its beauty and simplicity – yet luxury – make it one of Dubai’s best hotels. Check out rates for Armani Hotel.

Mid-Range Hotels in Downtown Dubai – Carlton Downtown

  • This 4-star property is also located close to Burj Khalifa and Dubai Mall and is the perfect accommodation if you are looking for a nice hotel that does not cost a fortune.
  • The Financial Centre Metro Station is within walking distance and ideal for those who like to use public transportation (being close to a metro station is great as it eases things extremely if you do not want to be stuck in traffic when using a taxi).
  • The pool area offers a nice view of Burj Khalifa.
  • From the 357 guest rooms, you can choose between deluxe rooms all the way up to penthouse suites. So there is definitely no shortage of luxury, even if it is not a 5-star property. Check out rates for Carlton Downtown.

Budget Hotels in Downtown Dubai – Rove Downtown Dubai

Downtown is a pretty expensive area to stay in Dubai, so finding budget hotels that are still nice is not easy.

  • This 3-star hotel, Rove Downtown Dubai, is located a few kilometers from Burj Khalifa. It is not far from the international airport and close to other attractions, like La Mer, Dubai Garden Glow, and Dubai Deira.
  • While the hotel is very simple and offers basic amenities, you might be lucky enough to get a room with a view – a view of Burj Khalifa! Find the best for Rove Downtown.

Best Hotels for Dubai Deira and the Creek

Dubai Deira and the Creek – the old part is located in the eastern part of the city and is very charming but NOT the perfect choice for everyone. Which place to visit - Abu Dhabi or DubaiHere, you’ll find the lively Gold and Spice Souk. There are also some museums to visit, and you can spend plenty of time in the Souks.

Dubai’s oldest part is located more or less next to the airport (9km). It is a busy area, and the small and narrow streets of the Gold and Spice Souks will give you what is probably one of the most authentic experiences – though the shopkeepers are mostly non-Arabs.

There are also some museums, and you can ride an abra from one side of Dubai Creek to the other (it is very inexpensive).

Where to stay in Dubai on a budget? In Dubai Deira? Well, as a solo female traveler strolling through Deira, I definitely felt safe – BUT not always comfortable.

It is very common to be constantly approached by men – either by people trying to sell you stuff or because they are hitting on you. It is one of the cheapest areas to stay in Dubai. I still cannot recommend it unless it is a big hotel chain on the main street.

If you are on a budget, look for another area to stay. Even as a couple, I recommend only booking a hotel on the main street if you opt for Dubai Deira.

Male travelers can find real bargains here. Though the standard for cheaper accommodations is quite low for those accommodations. I do not say Deira is one of the best places to stay in Dubai, but it can be okay if you pick the right hotel.

Luxury Hotels in Deira – Hyatt Regency Dubai

  • For a luxury stay in Deira, the Hyatt Regency Dubai is the first choice. It is located along the Corniche (a lovely waterfront promenade made for nice strolls) in the historic district and within walking distance of the busy Gold and Spice Souk.
  • Rooms normally include a view of the Persian Gulf or the old town of Dubai.
  • You can choose between 421 luxury rooms, and for the most luxurious stay, you can pick one of the suites and enjoy access to the Regency Club Lounge.
  • On my last trip, I stayed there for a week with my sister and two nephews. We had booked an apartment with a kitchen and two bedrooms which were perfect for us. Click here to find the best rates for your stay at Hyatt Regency Corniche.

Mid-Range Hotels in Deira – Radisson Blu Dubai Deira

  • You can find real bargains with 5-star accommodations at mid-range hotel prices, like at the Radisson Blu Hotel Deira.
  • It is located close to the Gold and Spice Souk and the metro and bus stops but is also just a 10-minute taxi ride from the airport. Click here to find the best rates for your stay in Deira.

Budget Hotels in Deira

I have not found any nice budget hotels in Deira that I can recommend. Deira has many budget hotels, especially those on the side streets, but I do not necessarily recommend them.

Best Hotels in Madinat Jumeirah

Madinat Jumeirah is a re-creation of ancient Arabia and, in my opinion, one of the best areas to stay in Dubai.

Best places to stay in DubaiOnce you enter Madinat, it is nothing like the hustle and bustle that is so common in Dubai. Little shops sell souvenirs, jewelry, etc., and some restaurants and cafes allow you to enjoy the lovely atmosphere.

There is also an outdoor part where you get the best view of Burj Al-Arab. You could also ride an abra, which is much more expensive than in Deira, but well, the hotels in this area are not a bargain either.

In return, you have one of the best hotels in all of Dubai and can enjoy more privacy than in many other parts of the city.

Madinat Jumeirah is home to several luxury properties, and here is the most luxurious of them all. They are all part of the hotel group Jumeirah Hotels, as is Burj Al Arab and Jumeirah Beach Hotel.

Luxury Hotels in Madinat Jumeirah – Al Qasr and Dar Al Masyaf

  • The location of the Jumeirah Dar Al Masyaf and Al Qasr  (these two hotels belong somehow together) is almost perfect.
  • Nestled in beautiful Madinat Jumeirah, between beautiful gardens and waterways, private pools, and Madinat Jumeirah’s own private beach. Near Dubai Marina (a short taxi ride), this is indeed a perfect place to stay.
  • 283 rooms offer pure luxury, and it cannot get any more exclusive than staying here. As a guest, you also have free access to the Wild Wadi Waterpark. The tickets are not cheap, so if you are a waterpark fan, this might be a great way to spend your day without any extra costs.
  • Click here to find the best rates for your stay at Al Qasr
  • Click here to find the best rates for the Dar Al Masyaf Hotel

Best Hotels in Dubai´s Desert

The desert is actually my favorite area in Dubai! If you are looking for a unique place to stay in Dubai, then the desert could be a great choice. Desert safari on a layoverI have been to the desert several times. It is the perfect spot for an adventure (dune bashing in Dubai is fun, as is a hot-air balloon ride or a BBQ). It is also a fun place to stay in Dubai overnight (probably one or two nights are enough here), and the desert is actually one of the best places to visit in Dubai.

You can either opt for a luxury hotel in the desert or book a desert safari and stay in one of the re-creations of bedouin life overnight.

Luxury Hotel in the Desert – Al Maha

Click here to read reviews of Al Maha.

  • Al Maha is a luxury hotel and part of the Starwood Luxury Collection. Located in the desert, this is indeed the perfect hotel for a quick and relaxing getaway from Dubai´s craziness.
  • Nestled in the Dubai Desert Conservation Reserve, this hotel plays a part in conserving the area. You can spot Arabian oryx and gazelles while staying there overnight – if you are lucky, you may even see them while spending time at the pool.
  • But there is more to do as a guest: You get up to two free desert activities every day!

Mid-Range / Budget Accommodations in the Desert – Desert Safari

  • Another great way to stay overnight in the desert is to book a desert safari that includes an overnight stay in a tent.
  • After several desert tours, I can assure you that there are not many things that are more romantic than staying in the desert. Stargazing and enjoying the beauty of nature while staying in one of the re-created Arabic camps is magical.
  • Click here for the prices of a desert safari, including an overnight stay in a tent.

Best Hotels in Dubai Marina

Dubai Marina is a beautiful part of Dubai and was created in 2003. It stretches over several kilometers, and it one of the best places for nice walks in Dubai.Dubai accommodation in Dubai Marina IC Dubai Marina It is still constantly changing and expanding, and thus, you’ll see construction work being done almost everywhere you look.

Currently, it is the second biggest man-made marina, but Dubai would not be Dubai if it did not plan to break records and make it the biggest in the world.

Marina is home to many hotels, including the tallest hotel globally, and the perfect place for nice strolls and beautiful views. You will also find some of the best hotels, including one of my favorites.

Luxury Hotels in Dubai Marina – Grosvenor House

  • One of my all-time favorite hotels is the Starwood Luxury Collection’s Hotel Grosvenor House.
  • This property represents a simple and pure form of elegance and is the perfect place to stay for any business traveler or couple.
  • Whether you head out to explore Dubai Marina, or spend your time in their amazing spa, or chill in the nice lobby or one of the numerous bars or restaurants – Grosvenor House is definitely a great place to choose if you’re looking for a luxury stay in Marina.
  • While the hotel does not have its own beach section, you can use its sister property’s private beach area, making this hotel the perfect place for a trip to Dubai. Click here to find the best rates for your stay at Grosvenor House Dubai.

Luxury Hotels in Dubai Marina  – Intercontinental Dubai Marina

  • This fun and stylish luxury property in Dubai Marina is colorful and lightens your day while still offering the luxury you are used to from Intercontinental hotels.
  • The beach is within walking distance, and if you prefer to spend a day at the pool area, you´ll have a view of Dubai Marina.
  • Or you can dine in one of the restaurants with a view – this hotel is definitely a good choice. Click here to find the best rates for your stay at Intercontinental Dubai Marina.

Mid-Range Hotels in Marina – Media One Hotel

Marina is not the cheapest area to stay in Dubai, and while there are plenty of hotels there, most of them are pricey 5-star hotels. However, there are a few nice places that are more affordable.

  • Media One Hotel is located in Media City, very close to Dubai Marina. It is a good choice to save a bit on accommodations, and are okay with not staying directly in Marina.
  • However, it is just a stone’s throw from Dubai International Marine Club and close to many of Dubai’s main attractions. Click here to find the best rates for your stay at Media One in Dubai.

Budget Hotels in Marina – Holiday Inn Express

Best Hotels for JBR Walk

JBR Walk is, unlike Dubai Marina, located along the beach with many shops, restaurants, hotels, and bars and is one of the best places to stay in Dubai, especially with children.Dubai where to stay I also enjoy the proximity to Dubai Marina and love going there for a walk.

This area is perfect if you stay with kids – most hotels have direct beach access, so it is the perfect place for those who prefer lazy days at the beach rather than the hustle and bustle of Downtown or Marina.

Don’t worry, even if you do not like the beach, you won’t get bored – with all the restaurants and cafes, street art, and fun activities, there is always something going on.

Luxury Hotels in Dubai JBR Walk – Ritz-Carlton Dubai

  • Ritz-Carlton is the first choice when it comes to luxury accommodations at JBR Walk.
  • This elegant hotel does not impress with its height. Rather it is stretched out and quite lovely with its unique style. The beach and garden area is extensive and the perfect place for kids and adults alike. Different pool areas and the proximity to the busy JBR area make it a great place to book your stay.
  • It is just next to Dubai Marina and, thus, not a very affordable place to stay. If you are looking for mid-range or budget hotels, I recommend the hotels I mentioned in the Dubai Marina section.
  • Click here to get the best rates for your stay at Ritz-Carlton at JBR Walk.

Best Hotels in Palm Jumeirah

When I heard about the Palm(s) on TV for the first time, I was more than a little skeptical about the negative impact on the environment. However, on my second and third trips to Dubai, I actually stayed at one of the hotels on Palm Jumeirah, and to be honest, I loved it. But there are a few things to know before booking your stay on the Palm.

Best areas to stay in Dubai
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There were supposed to be three palms islands, but only one finished. The second one was supposed to be finished eventually. The third one was stopped as a result of the financial crisis, which also hit Dubai.

Now, Palm Jumeirah is home to one of the most expensive and best hotels around. Looking for a budget hotel in this area is impossible. Still, you will find one of the most iconic hotels of all in Dubai – The Atlantis in Dubai – as well as other very well-known luxury chains, like Fairmont or Sofitel.

If you are fine to stay away from main attractions, then the Palm is one of the best places to stay in Dubai.

Luxury Hotels on the Palm – Atlantis – The Palm

  • Atlantis – The Palm is like a little city in itself.
  • There is hardly any reason to leave the hotel at all – with its own waterpark, aquarium, plenty of restaurants, little shops and stores, its own bars for clubbing, and several pools (it probably goes without saying that the hotel has its own private beach area, which is actually extensive), there is no shortage of activities.
  • Whether you plan a weekend with your friends, a family trip, or want to relax, this place is anything but boring.
  • Find the best rates for your stay at Atlantis – The Palm here

Luxury Hotels on the Palm – Anantara – The Palm

  • If you are looking for another 5-star luxury hotel on the Palm, but like it is a little quieter and even more remote, then Anantara – The Palm is the perfect option for you.
  • Being at the end of the Palm, it is located in a tranquil area of the Palm, and you will not have many other travelers stumble upon it (keep this in mind as it is time-consuming getting to other parts of Dubai).
  • The beach area is tranquil and lovely, and with its many restaurants and pools, it is perfect for those who want to enjoy a romantic getaway or escape the craziness of Dubai.
  • Get the best rates at Anantara – The Palm here

Extra Budget Hotel Tip for Dubai

Ibis Al Barsha

  • While the ratings are not the best for this property in Al Barsha, a not really charming district, due to the distance to Dubai Marina and sights like Miracle Garden, I cannot actually say anything bad about it enjoyed my stay there.
  • While this place is very simple and not directly next to a metro station, many places, including Dubai Marina, are close by and easily reachable via cab. Or, after a few minutes of walking to the metro station, you can also get to the main sights for a little money via the metro.
  • Get the best rates for your stay at Ibis al Barsha here.

CONCLUSION: TOP HOTELS AND BEST PLACES TO STAY IN DUBAI

So, hopefully, this guide has helped you find out about the best places to stay – in terms of area but also in terms of the best accommodation for your budget, and you have found an answer to your question “where to stay in Dubai.” So, wishing you a wonderful trip – whether you go there for a vacation or your business trip.

Find out about fun things to do in Dubai

Safe Travels, Arzo

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