In our blog, "5 Must Things to Do in Dubai," we posited if you resort to our list of five must things to do in Dubai, you will cover 80% of things to do in Dubai. However, should you wish to further explore the area, and have the time and budget; we made a list of 10 must things to do in Dubai, for you. We listed all the activities with budget and time in mind. First five activities are from our previous post. So, if you have already read our post, "5 Must Things to Do in Dubai," you can scroll down to the sixth activity.
1- Desert Safari
We selected Desert Safari as our top must thing to do because it contains all the elements. From driving in the city to the desert; seeking individual thrills by riding quad bikes and sand surfing to dune bashing group adventure; and from watching desert sunset to belly and tanoura dancing shows. The best part: Free hotel pick up and drop off service; buffet style food, and full half day of excursion. TwoGlampers highly recommend Oceanair Travels. Read our review of Oceanair Travels experience here.
2 - Burj Khalifa and Dubai Fountains
Dubai is all about big, best, and beautiful. Burj Khalifa and Dubai Fountains are no exception. Burj Khalifa is the tallest building in the world, and its 124th, 125th, and 148th observation decks are the highest a non-resident can visit. Dubai Fountains, shooting water as high as a 50-story building, can be viewed either from ground level, or the observation decks. There is no time limit to stay at the observation decks. Our tips: Watch both the sunset, and water fountains from the observation decks. Then take a fountain lake boat ride to watch fountain show up and close.
TwoGlampers recommend buying tickets directly from the Burj Khalifa website. However, the website only sells tickets one month in advance, and uses Dirhams as mode of currency. Burj Khalifa Tickets can be purchased earlier from third party vendors. Fountain Show and Lake Ride tickets can be purchased on site or through our partner. Our full review and experience to Burj Khalifa and Dubai Fountains here.
3 - Dubai Beaches
Let's be honest; who would not visit a beach at a place with the best beaches in the world? If you are not staying at a resort with a beach; a visit to one of Dubai's many public beaches are the next best thing to basking in sun, sand, and sea. Most beaches are affiliated with hotels and resorts and may charge a fee. However, there are also free beaches open 24 hours a day. Our advice: Check before you visit or be prepared to pay a fee. Our caution: In Dubai, bikinis are for beaches only and not streets. TwoGlampers stayed at the Anantara Resort and Hotel which had private beach access. You can read all about our stay at the Anantara, here.
4 - Gold Souk
If you are ever to buy one and only one thing in Dubai; TwoGlampers recommend buying gold. The best place to buy gold in Dubai is the Gold Souk. Gold is more reasonably priced in Dubai, and gold jewelries are much trendier than most western countries. There are also Silver shops, as well as gift shops, in the souk, for the budget-conscious travelers. Our opinion: Know the 24 carat per gram gold price before heading to shop. Buy 22 carat gold and not less. Bargain and haggle no matter how touristy you look like. Our full review and advice to the Gold Souk can be found here.
5 - Dinner Cruise
If you are a couple; what a night to end your vacation in Dubai with a romantic dinner cruise! There are many cruise operators in Dubai and almost all of them provide the same services: A trip around the creek, buffet dinner, live entertainment, and a few other activities. However, dinner cruise on the last night of vacation yields multiple benefits. Our choice: Booking directly with Rustar's five-star dhow dinner cruise including pick and drop service. Rustar operates the biggest 'dhow' - wooden boat - in the world. Please view our experience with Rustar Cruise, here.
6 - Shopping
Dubai, with its mega-malls, is the top destination for shoppers from around the world. Dubai Mall is the largest mall in the world in terms of total area. Mall of the Emirates is not far behind. Then there is the Dubai Outlet Mall for outlet mall shoppers. If you do not find something in your home country; you would find it in Dubai. If you are not into malls and prefer outdoors type of shops; head to one of many open-air souks. TwoGlampers would recommend buying souvenirs from Al Jaber Gallery - situated in both Dubai Mall, and the Mall of the Emirates - Perfume Souk, Spice Souk, Al Karama Market, and our favorite: Carrefour Hypermarket in Dubai Mall. We already mentioned Gold Souk above.
7 - Dinner, Lunch or Brunch at SMCC
If you are a history buff and would like to learn about the history of Dubai; head to the Sheikh Muhammed Centre for Cultural Understanding. Not only you would find yourself in the pre-modern, historic Dubai, but also at the table full of authentic Arabic food. Food is very reasonably priced and reservations quickly fill out. Our tip: Book your place in advance. We would recommend dinner as it would give you ample time to look around historic Dubai. The centre is not far from the souks, so the dinner can be a good ending to a long day.
8 - Atlantis, the Palm
We listed Atlantis, the Palm at the bottom for a few reasons. Firstly it is on the Palm island, which could be quite a distance from where you are staying. Transportation to and from your hotel may be expensive. We were lucky because we stayed at the Anantara Resort on the Palm, so for us cab fare was roughly five-dollars each way. However, if you are travel savvy, you can use the Metro and Mono Rail to get to the Atlantis and save a lot of money on cab fares. Our choice: Visit the Lost Chambers, splash at the Aquaventure Waterpark, and most importantly: Watch the sunset. Should you like to book your tickets and skip the lines; we recommend Viator.
9 - JBR Walk or Marina Walk
JBR Walk or Marina Walk: If you have time or like strolling; visiting either location would be fine. We combined both locations as it is one and the same activity, whether it be walking at JBR, or strolling at the Marina. There are lots of shops and restaurants at both locations coupled with some great architecture. Both locations are on the waterfront and pack many activities.
10 - Musandam Day Trip
Musandam Day Trip: If you would like to check-off two countries in one trip; this trip is it. Musandam is situated in Oman. There are many tour companies, in Dubai, who provide day trips, or even day/night trips to Musandam. The great thing about this trip is that the only thing you have to do is to book it with a tour company like Oceanair Travels and follow their directions. Tour does not only include pick up/drop off at your hotel, but also a full day of sailing on a dhow - wooden boat - along-with snorkeling, dolphin watching, sun bathing, and our favorite: Buffet lunch. If you are worried about your budget, don't. Trips normally cost around $80 to $115 per person. In comparison, just a dinner at a good restaurant would set you back in excess of hundred-dollars or omore.
As we mentioned in our "5 Must Things to Do in Dubai," TripAdvisor lists some 416 activities under its "Things to do" in Dubai section. There is no perfect list of activities as tastes and levels of activities vary with each person, couple, or family. We believe the above is a fairly comprehensive list and it should keep you fairly busy while glamping in Dubai. Any of these activities can be done in any order. However, with proper planning one cannot only save a lot of money, but also enjoy the trip to its fullest and relax at the same time.