This visitor put up is by Monica Chapon, a California-based desert fanatic:
Would you consider me if I advised you that there’s far more to Dubai than glamour and gold?
The United Arab Emirates is a rustic of duality. It’s a mixture of outdated and new, custom and modernity, of huge orange desert and ample growth. It’s a spot I didn’t count on to type a deep reference to or return to as typically as I’ve.
Seven emirates, or “states” make up the UAE, and every of them affords one thing distinctive. As a result of the nation is comparatively small – roughly the scale of Maine within the US – it’s doable to go to every of them fairly simply.
Indubitably, Dubai (additionally the title of its capital metropolis) is the most effective identified of all.
Expats from all around the world make up roughly 80% of the UAE’s inhabitants and nearly all of them reside in Dubai. A booming oil economic system created fast and large development for the nation, which coated Dubai’s desert ground in shining skyscrapers and architectural feats not dreamed of elsewhere.
Outdoors of town, the pure desert panorama is king. The multi-colored mountains, lush inexperienced date farms, and rolling orange dunes are a welcome deal with for the eyes.
For guests, this implies a plentiful array of issues to do in Dubai and close by states. From metropolis to nature, listed below are the highest sights you’ll be able to’t miss.
The Finest Issues to Do in Dubai (and Past)
1. Go to the Burj Khalifa
Dubai is dwelling to the tallest constructing on this planet: the Burj Khalifa. The skyline wouldn’t be the identical with out it!
This towering skyscraper will be seen throughout town. It stands at 2,722 ft tall (for reference, the Eiffel Tower is 984 ft tall). When skies are clear, it’s doable to see straight throughout the Persian Gulf to the shores of Iran from the highest.
Architect Adrian Smith designed the Burj Khalifa’s distinctive form after the spider lily, a regional desert flower. It took six years to finish the construction.
Guests can’t solely dine at one in every of a number of eating places positioned contained in the tower, however they’ll additionally go to statement decks one the 124th, one hundred and twenty fifth, and the 148th flooring.
2. Take an Abra to the Deira Grand Souk
If you’re something like me, then a visit to the Center East wouldn’t be full with out exploring the souks (markets) and taking in a little bit of conventional life. Fortunately there are pockets of this type of ambiance sprinkled all through Dubai even immediately–although full disclosure:they’re turning into smaller and smaller.
Probably the most conventional issues to do in Dubai is to take an abra throughout Dubai Creek. Abras are the oldest type of the general public transportation in Dubai. Traditionally, these picket boats enabled locals to cross the waters earlier than the highways have been constructed. They shuttled each males and supplies throughout the creek between Deira and Bur Dubai.
These days, abras are used as water taxis. They’re extraordinarily low cost to make use of (roughly 25 cents per particular person) and join “new Dubai” to “outdated Dubai” and its souks.
Fragrant spices, clothes, kitchen items and souvenirs fill the Deira Grand Souk to the brim. It’s an incredible place to spend a day and awaken the senses.
3. Quick-paced Ferrari World
For adrenaline junkies on the market, the UAE is dwelling to the quickest curler coaster on this planet; the Components Rossa. And neglect cartoon-character-themed amusement parks; this coaster resides at Ferrari World Abu Dhabi. By now you might be noticing the UAE’s obsession with the “quickest” and “tallest.”
However it’s not at a cartoon-character-themed amusement park; this trip resides at Ferrari World Abu Dhabi.
Roughly one hour from downtown Dubai, Ferrari World is a simple journey and is generally indoors — an vital characteristic given how sizzling the summers will be. If you’re a fan of free-falls, loops, and drops, then Ferrari World is a should! With roughly 40 rides and points of interest, it’s a enjoyable spot for those who’re touring in a gaggle or have made some buddies throughout your journey.
The present price of entry is roughly $30 USD.
4. Take within the Dubai Miracle Backyard
The Dubai Miracle Backyard grounds really feel quite a bit like stepping instantly into the pages of Alice in Wonderland. Obscenely vibrant and colourful flowers blanket over 780,000 sq. ft of land. And bear in mind, it is a desert!
Some 50 million flowers fully remodel this attraction. They’re organized in each configuration possible, from low gardens on the bottom to animatronic sculptures. You learn that proper: animatronic flower sculptures! It’s a colourful feast for the eyes and a vibrant change of tempo.
Meals stalls are positioned on-site, with tables and chairs arrange all through. The whole backyard is accessible by foot, however golf carts can be found if wanted. The price of entry is roughly $14 USD.
5. Recognize artwork on the Louvre Abu Dhabi
Calling all artwork lovers! The well-known Louvre in Paris now has an artwork museum positioned within the UAE, and the structure is much more gorgeous than the unique.
The Louvre Abu Dhabi opened in 2017. It’s the first of a number of museums that shall be constructed within the Saadiyat Island Cultural District and the most important artwork museum on the Arabian Peninsula. One among its main objectives is to bridge the divide between Japanese and Western artwork.
I’ve seen that the humanities have performed a extra pronounced function within the UAE over the past 5 years, which means extra public sculptures, extra artwork galleries, and extra inventive expression basically.
Admission prices roughly $16 USD and exhibitions change 4 instances per 12 months. Moreover, guests can take a yoga class beneath the dome twice per day. How cool is that?
6. Get pleasure from solitude within the Arabian Desert
The Arabian Desert is one in every of my favourite locations on the planet. Actually, it’s the only purpose I selected to go to the UAE within the first place a few years in the past (to not point out it’s the one place I’m going again to on each single go to).
Now, there are smaller and nearer deserts you’ll be able to go to simply exterior of Dubai that provide dinner buffets, stomach dancing reveals, and dune-bashing. And don’t get me unsuitable: these are nice for a tiny style of the desert.
However for me, the four-hour trek into the guts of the Empty Quarter is not only “value it” however is definitely essential to get to the true Arabian Desert. Whereas there are not any flashy reveals or buffets, there are far more satisfying sights to be seen.
Image infinite orange sand dunes stretching so far as the attention can see, or camels strolling lazily throughout the scorched earth. Time stands nonetheless right here, with solely the altering skies to mark your days.
The Arabian Desert affords unbelievable stargazing alternatives for those who camp in a single day; I noticed extra taking pictures stars in a single night than in my total life beforehand.
Whereas it’s simple to drive within the UAE basically, I do advocate hiring a talented driver aware of the panorama for this vacation spot. Driving on dunes in the midst of nowhere is a harmful feat.
7. Ascend the spectacular Dubai Body
One of many more moderen architectural feats in Dubai, this distinctive building-slash-sculpture is a logo of uniting the outdated and new.
Designed like an ornate gold image body, the Dubai Body in Zabeel Park really positions trendy Dubai inside an ideal rectangle, or, image body, for those who view it on the appropriate angle.
For roughly $13 USD, daring guests can take the quick 75-second elevator trip as much as the Sky Deck, which showcases panoramic views of town and the Burj Khalifa from atop the body
8. Calm down on the seaside
In a spot famous principally for its desert and skyscrapers, generally a soothing seaside day beneath the new Arabian solar can take a again seat on the points of interest listing. However it is among the most surprising methods to spend a day within the UAE.
Umm Suqeim Seaside in Dubai is a flat, very fairly stretch of sand alongside the ultra-turquoise Persian (or Arabian) Gulf. It’s a public seaside, so you don’t want to be staying at any particular lodge to realize entry (like many others), although it’s also dwelling to the sailboat-shaped Burj al-Arab ultra-luxury lodge.
The northern finish of Umm Suqeim Seaside permits actions like kite browsing, kayaking, and paddleboarding, for those who’re feeling filled with vitality. Each leases and classes can be found.
Alternately, Fujairah (an hour and a half east of Dubai, on the Arabian Sea) affords glorious white-sand seashores and clear turquoise waters that would appear extra at dwelling within the tropics. Really, my final go to there was among the best days of my total journey.
9. Expertise the Dubai Fountain
This dancing fountain is one other merchandise on Dubai’s lengthy listing of over-the-top points of interest.
Close to the Burj Khalifa, the Dubai Fountain combines completely timed surges of water with varied musical kinds. Like it or hate it, it’s a spectacular sight — notably with the nighttime gentle present.
Professional tip: There are a selection of eating places inside Dubai Mall that overlook the fountain, giving viewers the final word and uninterrupted vantage level (all for the worth of a tasty dinner). It’s a well-liked and often-crowded attraction, so that is one of the best ways to view the present.
10. Tour the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque
The Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque in Abu Dhabi is the most important mosque in the complete nation. It’s opulent, and impressed by Persian, Ottoman, and Indo-Islamic kinds. A whole lot of professional craftsmen have been flown in to create the intricate metalwork and mosaic decorations. The result’s definitely grand.
This mosque is a key place of worship, and might maintain as much as ten thousand folks at a time. Fortunately, vacationers are welcome to go to the mosque (free) exterior of prayer instances. Girls might want to cowl their heads and put on modest clothes to enter.
The mix of outdated and new in is a part of the UAE’s magnificence. And whereas many go to Dubai for its glamour and luxurious, I extremely advocate exploring a few of the conventional and pure areas, too!
Whereas one put up can’t presumably comprise the entire thriller to be explored right here, it is a nice sampling of issues to do in Dubai (and neighborhood) that can undoubtedly go away you wanting extra!
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Concerning the creator: Monica Chapon has traveled to 6 continents solo and chronicles her adventures on her weblog, This Uncommon Earth. She will often be discovered exploring the deserts of the world, taking impromptu highway journeys, or performing as an aerialist on silks. Observe together with Monica’s adventures on Instagram.