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UAE: Dubai – 10 great things to do

Dubai is a city and emirate in the United Arab Emirates known for luxury shopping, ultramodern architecture and a lively nightlife scene. Burj Khalifa, an 830m-tall tower, dominates the skyscraper-filled skyline. At its foot lies Dubai Fountain, with jets and lights choreographed to music.

We spent a couple of days in Dubai exploring this desert city. Dubai is an ideal destination in itself, but for us, it was a layover having spent 5 months exploring 11 countries in Africa. We also had to deal with a lost passport.

That said we managed to get out and do some exploring, but there were many things we didn’t get to do. I am sure our travels will bring us through Dubai again in the future so we can catch up with the things we missed this time 

The sights listed below are either in Dubai or a short distance away. In our opinion, public transport is the best way to get around Dubai itself. The sights outside of Dubai can be reached by taking an organised tour, or like we did by renting a car. 


  1. Dubai Fountain
  2. Dubai Frame
  3. Museum of the Future
  4. Miracle Garden
  5. Burj Khalifa
  6. Palm Jumeriah
  7. The Green Planet Dubai
  8. Dubai Aquarium
  9. Al Fahidi
  10. The Dubai Desert

Getting around

Best time to visit Dubai

Where to stay


The Dubai Fountain is the world’s tallest performing fountain. At over 900 ft in length – equivalent to over two football pitches – The Dubai Fountain is situated on the 30-acre Burj Lake and performs to a selection of different melodies. The fountain has a unique design comprising five circles of varying sizes and two arcs and features powerful water nozzles that shoot water up to impressive heights.


The Dubai Frame is an observatory, museum, and monument in Zabeel Park, Dubai. It holds the record for the largest frame in the world. The building has a height of 150.24 metres and a width of 95.53 metres.


Founded by the Dubai Future Foundation and launched on 22 February 2022, the museum explores how society could evolve in the coming decades using science and technology.

Termed a ‘living museum’, it incorporates elements of traditional exhibitions, immersive theatre and themed attractions, so visitors can look beyond the present and towards the future’s limitless possibilities.


The Dubai Miracle Garden was launched on Valentine’s Day in 2013. It occupies over 72,000 square metres, making it the world’s largest natural flower garden, featuring over 50 million flowers and 250 million plants.


The Burj Khalifa is the tallest building in the world and a global icon. Truly a feat of engineering, the building represents the conceptual heart and soul of the city of Dubai.

At 828m tall, this magnificent structure is located next to Dubai Mall and has drawn visitors from all over the world since opening in 2010. The unmatched Burj Khalifa view can be taken in from not one but two observations decks – the two-storey At the Top on the 124th and 125th floors, as well as one of the world’s highest observation decks (555m) on the 148th floor.


The tree-shaped Palm Jumeirah island is known for glitzy hotels, posh apartment towers and upmarket global restaurants. Food trucks offering snacks like shawarma dot the Palm Jumeirah Boardwalk, popular for its views of the Dubai coastline and the sail-shaped Burj Al Arab hotel.

Access is easy, with a network of roads, tunnels and public transport options such as the Palm Monorail. The rail service includes a free car park at the base of the Palm and offers stops at Atlantis, The Palm and Nakheel Mall.


The bio-dome here is made up of four levels: the Canopy, the Midstory, the Forest Floor and the Flooded Rainforest. Each level discusses the role and importance every part of a rainforest plays. The Green Planet is an experience for the senses with creatures roaming around and waterfalls running strong.


Dubai Aquarium & Underwater Zoo is home to thousands of aquatic animals, comprising over 140 species. Over 400 Sharks and Rays live in our 10 million litre tank, including Sand Tiger Sharks, Giant Groupers, and a host of other marine species. 


Commonly known an Al Bastakiya, the Al Fahidi historical neighbourhood is one of Dubai’s oldest heritage sites. The district holds memories of an era that pre-dates the federation of the emirates — before the union of the Emirati tribes in 1971 and a time when the pearl trade flourished in the region. 

A former trading hub for pearl and textile merchants in the 1800s, the area retains some of its originality— with narrow passages winding between low buildings. 


One of the more popular activities while staying in Dubai is to head out into the desert. There are many ways to explore the sands, in a 4×4 vehicle, racing around on ATVs or if you want something a little less adrenalin-filled then try riding on a camel. 

As well as the travel mode, you can also choose to expand the experience to include a meal at a desert camp or even an overnight stay in a camp or a luxury resort.

Getting Around

Public transport in Dubai includes taxis, metro, monorail, buses, tram and abra.


Dubai Metro is one of the most technologically advanced rail systems in the world. It is a great way to explore the city quickly and cheaply, and in this article I will share with you all you need to know for a seamless journey. You can take the metro to easily get around the city and reach many popular attractions in Dubai, like Burj Khalifa, Dubai Marina or the Dubai Gold Souk. The metro in Dubai was opened in 2009 to address a growing demand for public transport, and it is future-proof. Actually, all modern trains are fully automated and driver-free; the cabins are comfortable, air-conditioned and equipped with Wi-Fi.

Dubai Bus is one of the most convenient ways to get around the city. It’s an efficient transportation system that’s been designed to meet the needs of the city’s residents and visitors alike. Dubai bus is considered one of the main types of public transport in the city and is widely used along with the metro. It is good to know that the Dubai metro does not cover several areas, so buses are a great way to supplement it.

Public Transport Agency (PTA) operates almost 120 routes in Dubai serviced by 1,500 buses, including intercity buses to Abu Dhabi, Sharjah and Hatta.

Dubai Tram & Palm Monorail
Dubai Tram is a modern 15 km tramway that is connected to the Dubai Metro network and runs from Dubai Marina to Al Sufouh along the Persian Gulf coastline. It is a comfortable and cheap way to move around, saving you money and time.

The Palm Monorail in Dubai is a scenic ride that takes passengers on a journey through the man-made island of Palm Jumeirah. Often referred to as the Palm Jumeirah Monorail, this fully-automated train travels at a leisurely pace, stopping at several stations along the way to allow riders to take in the views of Dubai’s stunning skyline and sparkling ocean.

Boats and Ferries
Unlike many other cities, the Dubai Ferry is mainly a sightseeing boat service, often chosen by tourists. Since daily rides are not frequent, and several routes operate on a loop basis, ferry boats in Dubai are not the best pick for local commuters. But for travellers, a ferry tour is a pocket-friendly way to see some of Dubai’s best attractions and gain unique experiences.

Dubai has an extensive network of waterways, and one of the best ways to explore some of them is by using the Dubai Water Bus. The Dubai Water Bus is a public transportation service operated by the Roads and Transport Authority (RTA) in Dubai Marina. You can hop on one of the vessels to quickly navigate between the shores of the man-made Dubai Marina and enjoy stunning views of the skyline dominated by glimmering high-rise buildings, luxury yachts and modern bridges.

Abra in Dubai is a traditional wooden boat that can transport up to 20 people. This water taxi is considered one of the oldest local modes of transport. Riding a Dubai abra boat is a fantastic way to discover the city, and enjoy the view from the water.

Best time to visit Dubai

Dubai, being situated in the Northern Desert belt, is characterised by a hot desert climate, described as BWh in the Köppen climate classification. Situated on the Arabian Gulf in the Middle East’s United Arab Emirates, Dubai experiences high temperatures with minimal precipitation throughout the year. Due to this positioning, the city is inherently dry and warm, fluctuating between warm winters and scorching summers.

In terms of temperature variations, the city experiences an average low of 18.8°C in January and a peak of 39.4°C in July. However, it is not rare to encounter higher temperatures, especially during the peak summer months. The warm temperature is consistent throughout the year, although November to March sees a slight drop, creating cool, pleasant winters.

Rainfall in Dubai is minimal and occurs sporadically, with an annual average range from 0mm during summertime to 10mm in March. Interestingly, the city experiences almost no rainfall from May to September. With regard to humidity, the average percentage throughout the year is above 47%, peaking in January and closely followed by November and December.

clear sky

Where to stay


Offering a year-round outdoor swimming pool and fitness centre, Rove City Centre, Deira is located just a 7 minutes drive from Dubai International Airport and 20 minutes by car from Dubai Mall. Guests can enjoy the on-site all-day dining restaurant, The Daily. Free WiFi is available throughout the property. The property offers a self-service laundromat. Each spacious room at this 270-room hotel is air-conditioned and features a flat-screen TV. Interconnecting rooms are available upon request. You will find coffee-making facilities in the room. Extras include a hairdryer. All rooms have a private bathroom equipped with a rain shower.


Featuring 1-star accommodation, AL KARNAK HOTEL – BRANCH is located in Dubai, 5.5 km from Grand Mosque and 8.7 km from Dubai World Trade Centre. This 1-star hotel offers room service, a 24-hour front desk and free WiFi. The accommodation provides an ATM, and currency exchange for guests.

Complete with a private bathroom equipped with a shower and free toiletries, all units at the hotel have a flat-screen TV and air conditioning, and some rooms will provide you with a balcony.


Located in Dubai, 700 metres from The Dubai Fountain and 400 metres from the centre, OSTAY – Address Dubai Mall -The residence provides air-conditioned accommodation with free WiFi and a rooftop pool. The accommodation features a sauna.

Featuring a kitchen with a dishwasher and an oven, each unit also comes with a safety deposit box, a satellite flat-screen TV, ironing facilities, a desk and a seating area with a sofa. There is a private bathroom with a hot tub in every unit, along with slippers, a hairdryer and free toiletries.

A continental, Italian or American breakfast is available daily at the property. At the aparthotel, you will find a restaurant serving African, American and Argentinian cuisine.

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