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Does the allure of Dubai intrigue you? Are you attracted to the decadence and sweltering heat? If you travel to Dubai, here’s the low-down on the things to do and much more
Dubai is the land of ambition and innovation. The city where excess is the norm: where gold is dispensed from vending machines and police roam the streets in million-pound supercars. Who wouldn’t want to go there?
If you’re planning to travel to Dubai, then there are a few places you need to see. Whether you’re retired and craving a unique experience, or whether you want to escape the working world for a week or two, Dubai has something for everyone.
When in Dubai, the Burj Khalifa is a must-see. The Burj Khalifa is an impressive architectural feat, standing at 828 metres – the tallest building in the world.
To experience the grand building in all its might, we recommend you book the ‘At the Top’ tour. Upon arrival, you will be greeted and escorted to a lift, where you will view a multimedia presentation of Dubai’s history. Once you reach the 124th floor, you will enter the highest outdoor observatory in the world, where you will be able to marvel at the spectacular city.
The tower is also home to one of the highest restaurants in the world, aptly named ‘Atmosphere’. If you have some dosh to spare, then it is definitely worth a reservation.
The extent of Dubai’s ambition and innovation is elegantly captured by their unique ‘World Islands’. An aerial view of the artificial islands reveals their resemblance to the world map – be sure to book a window seat and sneak a peek on your descent into Dubai.
The World Islands are completely man-made and several are open for commercial use. Enjoy a day trip to Lebanon Island where you can laze by a pool or get stuck in with some water sports. You can also enjoy the fine dining experiences offered by restaurants such as the Toro Blanco. If you find yourself enjoying the peaceful seclusion, then you can even stay the night in one of the luxurious hotels.
If you’re looking for an escape from the hustle and bustle of the city, then make sure the World Islands are on your itinerary.
Dubai is home to a horticultural masterpiece: the Miracle Garden. For a relatively cheap price, you can walk around the 72,000 square feet of picturesque paradise. It is home to over 150 million flowers which are all carefully arranged into flamboyant floral attractions, including a replica plane!
The garden is open to visitors between November and May and provides the perfect setting for a romantic day out.
Fun fact: The garden was first opened on Valentine’s day.
The world-renowned Atlantis Dubai is a luxury 5-star hotel with a sophisticated underwater theme. The rooms vary in prices, ranging from fairly reasonable to damn-right decadent.
If you’re feeling particularly frivolous, then you can enjoy in-room dining, sessions with a personal trainer and much more. Their underwater rooms also have glass walls that look out onto an awe-inspiring aquarium.
Fun fact: The hotel’s aquarium houses roughly 65,000 creatures!
As you might expect, Dubai has a vibrant nightlife. You’re never too old to boogie and what better place to rediscover your youth than the extravagant city of Dubai? Wind down with class in the sophisticated Bar 44 or go horse-riding out in the desert under the moonlight.
If you’re feeling particularly energetic, then we would recommend the Barasti club. Barasti gives you the best of both worlds, with a full-on dance floor on one level and a chill zone on the other: the ideal place to rediscover your boogie with the safety net of a relaxed bar a stone-throw away.
You can’t go to Dubai and not venture into the vast surrounding desert. There are plenty of companies offering once-in-a-lifetime opportunities to go quad biking in the sandy dunes or plod around on a camel. You could even try your hand at snowboarding the rolling dunes if you’re feeling particularly adventurous.
Dubai is located in the middle of a desert so, naturally, it can get quite hot. Temperatures climb effortlessly to 40 degrees Celsius in the summer months (June-August) whilst they sit at a more comfortable 20 to 25 degrees Celsius in the winter (December-February).
If you don’t fancy braving the blistering heat, then a winter getaway is probably the best option – it will be far easier to sightsee in cooler conditions.
Dubai feels like it is a whole world away, so one would expect a sizable time difference to match this. However, Dubai time is not dissimilar to ours – Dubai is only three hours ahead of London, so jet lag shouldn’t be a problem.
On the subject of time, it is also worth noting that Dubai has weekends on Fridays and Saturdays.
Dubai uses the United Arab Emirates Dirham (AED). The current exchange rate is 1 AED = 0.23 Pound Sterling. So when you’re there, you can roughly divide all prices by four to get the UK equivalent.
However, be aware that Dubai is an expensive city, so you won’t get as much bang for your buck. For example, a pint of beer in Dubai can set you back about 44 AED – roughly equivalent to 10 quid!
However, fear not. As in all major cities, there are plenty of budget-friendly options in Dubai, so careful planning can make the trip reasonably affordable.
Before you travel to Dubai, it is important to be aware of some of its unique laws and customs. Some noteworthy examples include: