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Monday, May 01, 2017

Discovering Dubai in 48 Hours

Burj Khalifa, Dubai

Dubai is one of those city gems that offers a great bang for the buck when it comes to long layovers, short business trips or those long weekends. This small, but immensely attractive emirate offers everything from luxury hotels, gold markets, dazzling shopping malls, rolling sand dunes, white sandy beaches to of course the tallest building in the world. This extremely popular and modern tourist destination of the Middle East is a heart throb for Indian travelers. Business trips, leisure trips, layovers, weekends or long weekends, whatever be your thing, there are many things that will captivate your attention and enthral the traveler in you. Here are some of my top recommendations for a 48 hour break in Dubai.

Watch the Dubai Skyline from the Water

One of my favorite things to do in Dubai is to take a local boat called abra and watch the spectacular view of the city while the abra crosses the Dubai creek. It is super cheap, super efficient and a great way to see the local way of life. If you have deeper pockets and wish for more luxury, opt for the luxury dhow cruises during sunset and get a much better panoramic experience while indulging in luxury.

Seeing Dubai Panorama from an Abra

Stay in a Luxury Hotel

Dubai is one of the hubs for luxury hotels in the world. If planned well, you can great a room at one of these fabulous places for great deal prices. If I were you, I would look for properties in the Palm Jumeirah like Atlantis the Palm Jumeirah or Anantara Dubai The Palm Resort and Spa or for luxury hotels in the downtown area for those spectacular cityscape views. These luxurious properties make for great beginnings for Dubai holidays for the family. For a short trip, you get prime location, spectacular views and access to some of the top attractions of the city. And that is why I recommend staying in one for weekend or short trips, especially when traveling wit your family.

See a Different Dubai at Bastakdiya District

If you wish to see a Dubai that is a far cry from its vertical skyline, head to Bastakdiya district, one of the last remnants of Old Dubai. Everything is in traditional décor here. Here, you will see the wind towers that are pretty much the norm in the deserts of Arabia and Persia. This a great place for photographers and for art and coffee lovers who can find solace in the many art galleries and cafes here.

Traditional Architecture seen at Bastakdiya District, Dubai

Get an Adrenaline Rush through Desert Motorcycle Tours


A trip to Dubai is incomplete without a visit to the Great Arabian Desert. While a camel safari during sunset and a dinner under the starlit sky sound fabulous, I am talking about something that is much higher on fun and adventure. I am talking about dirt bikes and dune buggies conquering some of the meanest and largest sand dunes in the Great Arabian sand desert. The best part about these desert motorcycle tours is that you don’t need to hold an UAE or an international driving license to drive the vehicles in the desert. If such adrenaline rushes are your kind of thing, look up my article titled ‘6 Adventure Activities for an Unforgettable Dubai Tour’ for more ideas.

Scale Burj Khalifa

Whether you are spending a long holiday in Dubai or a short one, a visit to the tallest building in the world has to be in your Dubai itinerary. At 828 meters high, this building is the icon of modern Dubai and it is an absolute joy to stand at its observation deck and see this bustling city and its skyscrapers from above. To make best use of your time, I would recommend that you book your tickets online so that you need not worry about long queues or tickets being sold out.

Be Mesmerized by the Dubai Marina

Bordering the massive port of Jebel Ali, the Dubai Marina is white sandy beaches, skyscrapers, open air markets, restaurants, hotels and entertainment shows all rolled into one. This is where you should go for your early morning walk or for your sunset and after experience. The Walk and the Marina Walk are superb places to go for a Dubai culinary experience as it is teeming with all kinds of restaurants and coffee shops.

Palm Jumeirah

Bedazzle Yourself at the Gold Souk and Spice Souk

All Indians have heard about Dubai Gold. Well, if you are in Dubai, you definitely have to see the Dubai gold experience up close and live at the Gold Souk, a traditional bazaar whose history goes back to the origins of the city itself.The Gold Souk is not necessarily a place to buy gold for tourists, but these dazzling shops that sell the yellow metal with minimal security make for great photographs. Another great place that is a photographer’s dream is the spice souk that is located not too far away from the Gold Souk. Both these traditional markets are recommended for the experience and for taking photographs than for shopping as better deals and quality is easily available at the city’s shopping malls and supermarkets.

Chill at the Shopping Malls

Shopping malls means free air-conditioning, free place to sit and clean rest rooms for me. Especially, if it is a hot day. Shopping is an added bonus if you are really keen on the buying something for yourself or your friends and/or family. The Dubai Mall, located right next to Burj Khalifah is Dubai’s largest mall and is home to many top brands from all over the world, an indoor aquarium ad an indoor ice rink. For a touristy mall experience, head to Souk Madinat Jumeirah; for factory outlet stuff, head to Dubai Outlet Mall and for luxury brands, go to Mercato and Mall of the Emirates. There are many kinds of shopping malls in Dubai that cater to a diverse population. Hence, look up what you want and head to the specific location for a swift shopping experience.

Indulge in Duty Free Shopping at the Dubai International Airport

The Dubai International Airport in itself is an attraction. Being one of the better duty free shopping destinations in the world, this should be your go-to places to buy duty free items such as perfumes, alcohol, chocolates and many more.  Fashion from the latest designer labels and last minute souvenir hunting is also a good prospect here.

Photo Credits: All the photographs in this post have been borrowed from wikimedia under the Creative Commons License. Each photograph has been linked to its original page on wikipedia.org or wikitravel.org.



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