One of my first adventures of 2018 will be Dubai. Half a world away, there are so many reasons why this fascinating city is magnetically drawing me in.
Once considered just a stopover connecting the continents, Dubai is now a destination unto itself. The contrasts are extreme. In the same day, you can have fun on the beach and in the snow; shop in an ultra-modern mall and in an ancient souk; zoom to the top of the tallest building in the world or ride a camel in the desert.
Here are the top ten experiences…
1. Burj Khalifa
Burj Khalifa is the world’s tallest building. A trip to the observation deck on the 124th floor here is a must-do. The 360° views from the top are stunning, encompassing the vibrant city all the way to the desert.
2. Dubai Mall
The mall provides entry to Burj Khalifa as well as the Dubai Aquarium. There is also an ice-skating rink, gaming zone and cinema.
3. Bastakia (Old Dubai)
Dating to the late 19th century, the Bastakia Quarter (aka Al-Fahidi) was once the neighborhood of wealthy Persian textile merchants. The narrow alleys are framed in by picturesque Arabian architecture, reminiscent of days gone by.
4. Burj Al Arab
The highly recognizable sail-shaped hotel sits on its own artificial island, dominating the Dubai skyline. Burj Al Arab claims seven-star status in a five-star rating system. The exterior of the building is lit up by a choreographed colored lighting show at night.
5. Jumeirah Beach
I’ll need my beach fix for sure, so I’ll drop my bags in my city hotel and head straight away to the white sandy beach at Jumeriah. Time being a factor, my choices are Jumeirah Public Beach or Umm Suqeim Public Beach near Burj Al Arab. If I have more time, I’ll venture to Jumeirah Beach Park which has a small coffee shop or Kite Beach which is popular with the city’s kite-surfers.
6. Trek into the desert
Starting in a rollicking 4×4 and eventually transferring to a camel caravan, surfing the sand dunes is something I’m looking forward to.
7. Ski Dubai/ Mall of the Emirates
In one of the world’s biggest malls, you’ll find the world’s largest indoor ski resort. Ski Dubai has five slopes of differing difficulties from beginners to a black diamond run. There are also other winter activities such as sled runs and penguins. The mall has a cinema, a family entertainment center with rides for all ages, shopping opportunities, and myriad international eating options.
8. Deira Spice Souk
The winding streets in Deira expose a melting pot of culture and bustling souks (markets) for shopping for spices, souvenirs, or just enjoying the festive vibe.
9. Aquaventure Waterpark
This waterpark is located at Atlantis on the Palm Jumeirah – Dubai’s famous man-made island development. It’s a great place to relax and cool off after trekking into the desert, sightseeing in the city, or shopping. It boasts a world-class water slide and other aquatic adventures.
10. Dubai Fountain Show
The show is a dancing, synchronized water movement perfectly timed to a musical soundtrack. The best places to watch are at the ground level where the water shoots 500 feet over your heads, or from the observation deck of Burj Khalifa.
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Disclosure: This is a sponsored post for Gate 1 Travel. All opinions remain my own and I was in no way influenced by the company.