There is a reason why Dubai, in 2017, was crowned as the most-visited city in the Middle East and sixth in the world in the global ranking of tourist destinations. The city welcomed over 14.5 million visitors in 2017 and showed no signs of slowing down in 2018. To say Dubai has it all, isn’t an exaggeration.
What to do
Hitting the beach is often the first priority for young travellers. But the sands at JBR are perfect for all ages–the biggest draw being the giant, inflatable waterpark anchored out at sea. Take your adventure to the next level by trying the XLine. Set in Dubai Marina, the XLine is one of the steepest and fastest zip-lines around the globe, measuring a stretch of one kilometre. During your flight, you’ll zip across the glitzy Dubai Marina neighbourhood, catching an aerial view of the yachts and high-rises.
One of the most important itinerary items in family travel is Dubai Mall, which houses the Dubai Aquarium and Underwater Zoo among many other attractions. The Aquarium showcases an extremely diverse collection of marine animals, including sharks and rays. The Underwater Zoo, on the second level, educates children and visitors on the ecology and sustainability of marine life. If lucky enough, you can be witness to the trainers feeding the otters here. You can step outside and watch the Dubai Fountain spring to life: the Dubai Mall is never short of choices.
What to see
Go for high tea to the world’s highest restaurant, At.Mosphere, at the world’s tallest tower, Burj Khalifa. Not just an engineering marvel but a spectacle of imagination and design too, the 828 metre Burj boasts two observations decks – the two-storey ‘At the Top’ on the 124th and 125th floors and the world’s highest observation deck (555m) on the 148th floor. The La Parle in a purpose-built theatre in the heart of Al Habtoor City is also a great attraction.
To experience the cultural side of Dubai, visit the Al Fahidi Historical Neighbourhood and witness the traditional lifestyle of Dubai. The buildings of the district are currently used for incubating a number of varied cultural and artistic activities ranging from art exhibits, specialised museums, cultural and artistic societies to ateliers and cultural centres (such as Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Centre for Cultural Understanding). You can also make your way to the souqs on the Bur Dubai side of the Creek. Take a traditional boat ride across the bustling Creek to Deira where you’ll find the aromatic Spice Souq and the dazzling Gold Souq.
Where to stay
Dubai is resident to most international hotel chains as well as standalone hotels, so looking for accommodation is easy. If you are looking for something in close proximity to the Dubai International Airport, Swissotel Al Ghurair can be a good choice. Linked to the iconic Al Ghurair shopping centre, it is within walking distance to lots of famous landmarks and cultural locations such as the City’s souqs, Dubai Creek, Downtown Dubai and other historical districts. The Dubai Union Metro Station is also nearby.
If you are looking to stay near the sea, the Jumeirah Beach Hotel is the perfect location. A family-friendly property set on the beach next to Burj Al Arab, the resort is a 10-minute walk to Madinat Jumeirah, an Arabesque-inspired complex with restaurants, a souq and palm-fringed waterways.
Words: Fadia Jiffry