Dubai as a tourist destination often seems to get mixed reviews from people. Some say it’s all about malls and large buildings. Some say the desert views are stunning. Whereas, some are simply awed by the towering buildings and magnificent architecture. I had visited Dubai a while back, and following is my take on the top 8 tourist attractions and whether they’re worth the hype:
River Cruise: The Dhow cruise takes you on a leisurely cruise in the Deira creek. Most of it is just about gazing at the towering buildings on either side of the creek and enjoying the lavish spread. There’s nothing extraordinary about it, but towards the end you’ll have some performers come on board and show some pretty cool tricks. This is perfect for a day when you’re already tired and don’t want to do much else.
Dune-Bashing: As the name suggests, this has you sitting in a jeep while the driver literally bashes the desert dunes. This is quite nerve-wracking and has you on the edge of the seat while you pray that you won’t topple over. Dune-bashing is something which I found quite unique and it’s too short for it to get boring. It’s a must-do!
Desert Safari: Usually, the dune-bashing is followed by a desert safari. This is all about sitting under the tents, enjoying the dances, and feasting on some good food. I found this to be quite over-rated. The tents are extremely crowded, and there’s hardly any place to sit.
Shopping Festival: Dubai shopping festival is famous all over the world, and so are it’s malls. Dubai malls are amazing, but too huge for me to fathom. I was so exhausted just moving from one place to another, that I had no energy to try on more clothes. Maybe I’m too old now, and at one point I could have done it, but I didn’t find the Shopping Festival to be as useful if you actually want to buy something. I also found most things to be extremely expensive. If you have the time and energy to find good deals, go for it by all means!
Burj-Khalifa: If you’re one of those people who love climbing to the top of high towers and getting a view of the entire city, then it’s obviously a must-do as Burj Khalifa happens to be the tallest structure in the world. The view you get depends on whether it’s a sunny or cloudy day. On a sunny day, you’ll get a great view, whereas a cloudy day would be a bit pointless. Nevertheless, the entire experience is quite awe-inspiring with the super-fast elevator and fancy interiors.
In case going to top of towers isn’t your cup of tea, due to fear of heights, or just finding the whole thing pretty dull, you can still get great views of the Burj Khalifa while driving around or from malls / restaurants around the areas. And, in case you’re there for New Year’s Eve, you’ll see the spectacular fireworks and fountain display as well. As far, as I remember ticket cost is AED 125, but this may have changed now.
Jumeirah Beach: I just love beaches and the Jumeirah beach is no exception, even if it’s artifically made. In fact, it was one of the cleanest beaches I’ve ever seen with sparkling blue waters. It wasn’t insanely crowded either, and just a perfect place to relax. It’s a must-do if you’re a beach-lover. Just ensure to drink tons of water so that you don’t get dehydrated in the heat.
The Atlantis: Atlantis is one of the touristy things which you must do if you come to Dubai. The hotel is pretty magnificent and makes for an enchanting backdrop. There are a lot of things to do inside, including swimming with dolphins and seeing the aquarium. If you’re not up for these, you can simply take a stroll along the sea, and check out the views. And, make sure to eat from the street vendors.
Gold Souk: The gold souk is literally hundreds of gold shops and loads and loads of jewelry. Yes, gold is cheaper here so if you want to buy something, you should come here. Some of the pieces of jewelry are astonishing and simply huge. It’s worth a visit just for the experience as well.
Dubai is one of those places which is perfect if you want to have a lazy and relaxed vacation. More than 4-5 days can get boring, and that will give you ample time to check out this lavish city.