12 places to visit in Dubai

12 Places to Visit in Dubai in 2024

Discover the vibrant allure of Dubai’s top attractions! Explore iconic landmarks like the Burj Khalifa and marvel at the architectural wonders of the Palm Jumeirah. Immerse yourself in the rich cultural tapestry of the Dubai Museum or indulge in retail therapy at the bustling souks. For adventure seekers, embark on a desert safari or unwind on the pristine beaches of Jumeirah. From sky-high adventures to cultural treasures, Dubai offers a myriad of experiences for every traveller.

To be candid, Dubai wasn’t initially on my travel radar. However, it became my itinerary due to my family’s fascination with this captivating city. Among Indians, Dubai holds a special allure, thanks to its towering skyscrapers and opulent gold attractions. During our five-day family excursion, I was pleasantly surprised by Dubai’s striking beauty and its seamless integration of cutting-edge technology. In this post, I’ll highlight Dubai’s top 12 must-visit destinations, each offering its unique charm and appeal.

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United Arab Emirates (U.A.E.) Travel Resources

For the best airfare, use Skyscanner
For hotel bookings, use Booking.com
If you are a budgeted traveller, use Hostelworld for hostel bookings
To hire a car, use Rentalcars
Always travel abroad with comprehensive travel insurance, use Safety Wing
For tours and travels, use Viator or GetYourGuide

About Dubai

Once a humble fishing hamlet, Dubai has become a bustling metropolis and the most populous city in the United Arab Emirates (U.A.E.). Renowned for boasting the second-highest five-star hotels globally, Dubai experienced unprecedented growth in the 21st century.

Emerging as a top-tier tourist hotspot, Dubai holds a special place in the hearts of many. One of the interesting facts about Dubai is that it is home to the world’s tallest building, Burj Khalifa, which has 163 floors.

12 Places to Visit in Dubai

Dubai boasts many attractions catering to all types of tourists and travellers. However, here are the top 12 must-visit places in Dubai.

Burj Khalifa

Standing tall at a remarkable height of 829.8 meters, the Burj Khalifa holds the esteemed title of the world’s tallest building since its inauguration in 2010, forming the centerpiece of the vibrant Downtown Dubai development. Named in honor of the former president of the U.A.E., Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, this architectural marvel offers visitors the opportunity to ascend to its pinnacle.

To embark on this unforgettable journey, visitors can purchase tickets starting from AED 169 and are encouraged to book in advance to secure their preferred time slot. However, it’s essential to brace oneself for sizable crowds.

Once at the Burj Khalifa, there’s an array of experiences to indulge in, including:

  1. Ascending to the top for breathtaking panoramic views of the cityscape.
  2. Witnessing the mesmerizing light and sound spectacle of the water fountain at the base of the building.

A visit to the Burj Khalifa promises to be an awe-inspiring adventure, offering unparalleled vistas and unforgettable memories.

Dubai Mall

With over 1,200 stores, the Dubai Mall ranks as the world’s second-largest mall, nestled conveniently next to the iconic Burj Khalifa and featuring the renowned Dubai Aquarium.

Operating Hours:

  • Monday to Thursday: 10 AM to 12 AM
  • Friday to Sunday: 10 AM to 1 AM

While Dubai maintains a relaxed dress code policy allowing visitors to wear attire of their choice, it’s noteworthy that you may encounter a few signage reminders upon entering the Dubai Mall.

Dubai Aquarium and Underwater Zoo

Situated within the Dubai Mall, the Dubai Aquarium and Underwater Zoo boast over 140 species of marine life, including an impressive array of sharks and stingrays.

Operating Hours:

  • Weekdays: 10 AM to 11 PM
  • Weekends: 10 AM to Midnight

Entrance fees vary depending on the type of ticket selected, with prices starting at AED 199. It’s advisable to secure tickets well in advance by booking online to ensure a seamless experience.

Dubai Aquarium

Burj Al Arab

Operated by Jumeirah, the Burj Al Arab stands as a pinnacle of luxury in Dubai, distinguished by its iconic sail-shaped design. As one of the tallest hotels globally, it offers 199 opulent executive suites, each accompanied by eight dedicated staff members and round-the-clock butler service.

Access to the Burj Al Arab is exclusive to guests; however, non-guests are welcome to dine at its esteemed restaurants.

Palm Islands

The Palm Islands, a triumvirate of man-made marvels, represent an ambitious fusion of luxury, innovation, and grandeur in Dubai’s seascape. Comprising Palm Jumeirah, Deira Island, and Palm Jebel Ali, these islands redefine opulence and offer a haven for leisure seekers, residents, and tourists alike.

At the forefront stands Palm Jumeirah, the crown jewel of the Palm Islands project. Shaped like a palm tree and adorned with luxurious residences, upscale hotels, and world-class attractions, it embodies Dubai’s commitment to pushing architectural boundaries.

Deira Island, set to become a vibrant waterfront destination, promises a wealth of entertainment, leisure, and residential options. Its strategic location and ambitious development plans position it as a key player in Dubai’s tourism and hospitality landscape.

Completing the trio is Palm Jebel Ali, envisioned as a sprawling leisure hub with a focus on sustainability and eco-friendly practices. From upscale resorts to recreational facilities, it aims to redefine the concept of island living while preserving the natural environment.

While certain private hotels on the islands may charge entrance fees, accessing the Palm Islands themselves typically does not incur any charges. This accessibility underscores Dubai’s commitment to welcoming visitors and locals to experience the splendor of these iconic landmarks, serving as a testament to the city’s status as a global hub of luxury and leisure.

Palm Jumeirah

Palm Jumeirah, nestled on the shores of the Persian Gulf in Jumeirah, stands as a premier destination adorned with numerous residences and hotels. Its distinctive shape, resembling a palm tree when viewed from above, characterizes this remarkable archipelago of artificial islands.

Among its illustrious residents, Bollywood actress Aishwarya Rai graces Palm Jumeirah with her presence, owning a residential home in this prestigious locale. Her choice of residence adds to the allure of this iconic destination, further solidifying its status as a coveted address synonymous with luxury and prestige.

Palm Jumeirah
Palm Jumeirah

Mono Rail at Atlantis Hotel

The Palm Jumeirah Monorail, spanning 5.4 kilometers, serves as a vital link between Palm Jumeirah and the mainland, providing convenient access to the base of the island. Launched in 2009, this state-of-the-art transportation system features driverless operation and utilizes Hitachi Monorail straddle type technology.

Offering seamless connectivity and efficiency, the Palm Jumeirah Monorail enhances accessibility to this renowned destination, catering to the needs of residents and visitors.

Atlantis Hotel
Atlantis Hotel

Lost Chamber Atlantis Tour

Nestled within the opulent Atlantis Dubai resort, the Lost Chambers Aquarium stands as a captivating testament to the allure of marine life and ancient mythology. This Atlantis-themed marvel transports visitors into a mesmerizing underwater world, adorned with intricate tunnels and majestic halls that evoke a sense of wonder and exploration.

Drawing inspiration from the legendary lost city of Atlantis, the aquarium offers a unique blend of education and entertainment, inviting guests to embark on a journey of discovery through its immersive exhibits. As visitors wander through the labyrinthine corridors, they encounter a diverse array of marine species, from vibrant tropical fish to majestic sharks and graceful rays, each adding to the enchanting ambiance of the Lost Chambers.

Designed to evoke a sense of wonder and awe, the Lost Chambers Aquarium serves as a sanctuary for both marine life and curious minds alike. Its carefully curated exhibits provide valuable insights into the delicate balance of ocean ecosystems while igniting a passion for conservation and stewardship among visitors of all ages.

Beyond its educational offerings, the Lost Chambers also serves as a breathtaking backdrop for unforgettable experiences, from intimate encounters with marine creatures to mesmerizing underwater events and activities. Whether marveling at the beauty of a coral reef or diving into the depths of the ocean, guests are sure to be captivated by the splendor of the Lost Chambers Aquarium, where adventure awaits around every corner.

Dubai Marina

Dubai Marina, hailed as one of Dubai’s premier neighborhoods, entices visitors and residents alike with its luxurious skyscrapers and world-class shopping malls. Stretching along a picturesque 3-kilometer expanse of the Persian Gulf, this vibrant district is also referred to as Marsa Dubai. With its stunning waterfront promenades, upscale dining options, and dynamic entertainment venues, Dubai Marina epitomizes modern urban living at its finest.

Whether strolling along the marina’s glistening waterfront, admiring the sleek architecture, or indulging in retail therapy at its chic boutiques, Dubai Marina offers a captivating blend of sophistication and leisure. Its cosmopolitan ambiance and panoramic views make it a sought-after destination for both locals and tourists seeking an unparalleled experience in the heart of the city.

Dubai Miracle Garden

Situated within Dubailand, the Dubai Miracle Garden stands as a breathtaking testament to nature’s splendor, boasting an astounding collection of over 50 million flowers and 250 million plants. Spanning an impressive 72,000 square meters, this botanical wonderland holds the distinction of being the world’s largest natural flower garden, a title it has rightfully earned through its unparalleled beauty and scale.

Additionally, the Dubai Miracle Garden has garnered recognition from the Guinness World Records, achieving three prestigious accolades for its remarkable achievements in floral artistry and horticultural excellence. With its vibrant displays, intricate designs, and lush landscapes, the Dubai Miracle Garden offers visitors an enchanting retreat where they can immerse themselves in the captivating beauty of nature’s finest blooms.

Dubai Miracle Garden

Cove Beach

Cove Beach, with its multitude of restaurants and beach club amenities, stands out as a must-visit destination in Dubai, offering an exceptional experience for visitors.

While access to the beach club incurs an entrance fee, it’s a worthwhile investment for the amenities and ambiance it provides. Weekday rates typically hover around AED 200 per adult, while weekend rates are slightly higher at AED 300 per adult.

Meena Bazaar and Gold Souk Market

Renowned for its vibrant array of South Asian fashion and handicraft stores, Meena Bazaar emerges as a shopping haven in Dubai. Nestled in Bur Dubai, this bustling marketplace offers an eclectic mix of goods just a kilometer away from the iconic Gold Souk market.

Accessible to the public without any entrance fees, Meena Bazaar beckons shoppers with its diverse offerings and lively atmosphere. Bargain enthusiasts will delight in the opportunity to haggle with the friendly shop vendors, ensuring a truly immersive shopping experience.

5 Days in Dubai

Below is the itinerary that we followed during our visit to Dubai.

  • Day 1 – Desert Safari and Barbeque dinner.
  • Day 2 – City museum tour and Lost chambers and Burj Khalifa.
  • Day 3 – Miracle Garden (and Abu Dhabi).
  • Day 4 – Shopping and Dhow cruise with dinner.
  • Day 5 – Palm islands.

Also, Read The Grand Mosque in Abu Dhabi.

Day 1: We kicked off our adventure with an exhilarating Desert Safari, immersing ourselves in the breathtaking beauty of the desert landscape. The highlight of the day was a sumptuous Barbeque dinner under the starlit sky, complemented by traditional entertainment that left us enchanted.

Day 2: Our exploration continued with a visit to the City museum, where we delved into Dubai’s rich history and cultural heritage. Next, we ventured to the Lost Chambers Aquarium to marvel at the wonders of marine life before ascending the iconic Burj Khalifa for panoramic views of the cityscape.

Day 3: A visit to the enchanting Miracle Garden captivated our senses as we wandered amidst millions of vibrant blooms. For those seeking an additional adventure, we embarked on a day trip to Abu Dhabi, exploring its iconic landmarks and cultural treasures.

Day 4: Dedicated to leisure and indulgence, we spent the day indulging in retail therapy at Dubai’s renowned shopping destinations. As evening descended, we embarked on a romantic Dhow cruise along Dubai Creek, savoring a delectable dinner against the backdrop of illuminated city lights.

Day 5: Our journey culminated with a visit to the iconic Palm Islands, where we reveled in the luxurious ambiance and breathtaking views of the Persian Gulf. With its pristine beaches and opulent resorts, Palm Islands provided the perfect setting to unwind and reflect on the unforgettable experiences of our Dubai adventure.

How to Get to Dubai By Air?

Dubai is a pivotal hub and a key transit point connecting various corners of the globe. Boasting two major international airports, Dubai International Airport and Al Maktoum International, the city offers exceptional flight connectivity with numerous leading airlines operating from these hubs.

Situated approximately 14 kilometres from the heart of Dubai, Dubai International Airport provides convenient access to the city centre. Meanwhile, Al Maktoum International Airport is located around 56 kilometres away.

Both airports offer efficient public transportation options, including buses and metros, facilitating seamless travel to and from the city for travellers.

U.A.E Tourist Visa

Most visitors must obtain a visa to enter Dubai or the UAE, depending on their nationality. A 60-day Dubai visa is one of the ideal options for a short-term holiday. It comes in both single-entry and multiple-entry categories. The UAE consulate website has the most up-to-date information and news on Dubai visa rules and regulations.

For Australian Citizens

Australian citizens can visit the United Arab Emirates (U.A.E.) by securing a tourist visa upon arrival. This visa grants them a multiple-entry visit visa valid for 30 days, accessible at any international entry point.

Indian Citizens Living in Australia

Types of Visas Available for Tourists

Various types of tourist visas are on offer, including:

  • 14-day visa.
  • 30-day visa.
  • 30-day visa (multiple entries).
  • 90-day visa (multiple entries).

Documents Required for Visa Processing

The initial set of documents necessary comprises:

  • Scanned Copy of the Passport.
  • Passport Size Photograph.

The subsequent set of documents needed includes:

  • Copy of Return Air Tickets.
  • Copy of Hotel Reservation (in case of staying with friends or family, please furnish a copy of their Emirates ID card).
  • Purpose of Visit.
  • Return Date.
  • Emergency Contact Number.
  • Emergency Email ID.
  • Emergency Contact Person.
  • Relationship with Emergency Contact Person: (Family / Relative / Colleague).

Visa Processing Steps and Process

Here’s a streamlined guide for Indian citizens residing in Australia (holding Australian residency visas) to apply for a U.A.E. tourist visa:

Step 1: Determine the appropriate visa type for your travel needs.

Step 2: Gather the necessary documentation:

  • Scanned Copy of the Passport.
  • Passport Size Photograph.
  • Copy of Return Air Tickets.
  • Copy of Hotel Reservation (if staying with friends or family, include a copy of their Emirates ID card).
  • Purpose of Visit.
  • Return Date.
  • Emergency Contact Number.
  • Emergency Email ID.
  • Emergency Contact Person.
  • Relationship with Emergency Contact Person: (Family / Relative / Colleague).

Step 3: Specify your nationality as Indian and residence as Australian.

Step 4: Choose the desired visa type and click “Apply Now.”

Step 5: Complete the U.A.E. application form with the provided information (from Steps 1 & 2) and upload the necessary documents.

For the initial application processing, only the following documents are required to be uploaded:

  • Scanned Copy of the Passport.
  • Passport Size Photograph.

Proceed by pressing “Submit & Proceed.”

Step 6: Pay the applicable visa application fees.

Step 7: Upon approval, you’ll receive an email requesting additional documentation (refer to the documents required section).

Step 8: Respond to the received email with the requested documentation.

Step 9: If all submitted documentation is correct and approved, you’ll receive further instructions to finalize your visa application.

Best Time to Visit Dubai

The optimal time to explore Dubai is from November to March when the weather is delightful, and the scorching heat is avoided. Additionally, this period coincides with the celebrated Dubai Shopping Festival in January and February, adding an extra layer of excitement to your visit.

On the other hand, from June to August, Dubai experiences its off-season due to the sweltering heat, which makes it less favourable for tourism.

Number of Days Required for Dubai

Exploring and experiencing Dubai’s highlights typically requires a minimum of five days. With many activities and sights to behold, this timeframe allows ample opportunity to immerse oneself in all that Dubai has to offer fully.

Are you short on time? And have only two days? Here is a perfect 2-day itinerary for Dubai.

Where to Stay in Dubai?

Choosing where to stay in Dubai depends on your preferences, budget, and the purpose of your visit. Here are some popular areas to consider:

  1. Downtown Dubai: Home to iconic landmarks like the Burj Khalifa and Dubai Mall, Downtown Dubai offers luxury hotels, upscale shopping, and fine dining options.
  2. Dubai Marina: Known for its waterfront promenade, Dubai Marina boasts trendy cafes, vibrant nightlife, and stunning views of the city skyline.
  3. Jumeirah Beach Residence (JBR): Situated along the beachfront, JBR offers a mix of hotels, restaurants, and entertainment options, making it ideal for beach lovers and families.
  4. Palm Jumeirah: This man-made island features luxurious resorts, private beaches, and exclusive villas, providing a secluded and upscale retreat.
  5. Deira: Offering a more traditional experience, Deira is home to bustling souks, historic sites, and budget-friendly accommodations.
  6. Business Bay: Located near Downtown Dubai, Business Bay is a hub for business travellers, with convenient access to corporate offices and commercial centres.

Dubai is renowned for its luxurious 5-star hotels and resorts, offering unparalleled hospitality and world-class amenities. Here are some of the top options:

Here are some 3-star hotels and resorts in Dubai:

Dubai does have hostels, although they may not be as prevalent as in some other destinations. However, the city does offer a variety of budget-friendly accommodation options, including hostels, for travelers looking to save on lodging expenses.

Is Dubai Safe for Solo Female Travellers?

Dubai is a remarkably safe destination for solo female travellers. With a strong emphasis on security and a low crime rate, travellers can explore the city with confidence. However, it’s essential to maintain cultural sensitivity and respect local customs and religious sentiments. Adhering to modest dress codes in certain areas and refraining from public displays of affection is advised to ensure a smooth and respectful experience.

Additionally, Dubai’s efficient public transportation system and English-speaking locals make navigating the city hassle-free for solo travelers. By exercising common sense and cultural awareness, solo female travelers can enjoy all that Dubai has to offer in a safe and welcoming environment.

Closing Notes

Despite not initially being on my travel radar, Dubai pleasantly surprised me with its blend of modernity and innovation. The city’s advanced technology and infrastructure showcase its status as one of the most progressive destinations globally. From towering skyscrapers to cutting-edge amenities, Dubai offers a plethora of attractions and experiences for visitors.

Its dynamic energy and diverse cultural landscape create a captivating environment that appeals to travelers from all walks of life. After experiencing the city firsthand, I can confidently say that Dubai has firmly secured its place as a leading hub of modernity and sophistication, leaving a lasting impression on all who visit.

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    PIN for later reference – Places to Visit in Dubai

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    PIN for later reference – Places to Visit in Dubai