A must see of the UAE is definitely DUBAI. I bet you, you have already heard of it…Yes, because its on TV; in movies;.. media all over the world report the attractions and activities over here.
Distance: 1.5h by car from Abu Dhabi
Ideal stay: key activities are doable in one day only, weekend trip is also recommended
Temperature: depending on season, between 15ºC and 42ºC
The ideal way to move around the city is definitely by car but if you are on a budget the air conditioned bus at AED 25.- p.P. from AUH to DXB in combination with the well-functioning metro system and the registered (and affordable) taxis would do, too.
Hotel-wise it depends on your budget and the area you prefer to roam around (consider the routes prior to booking since you can easily get stuck in traffic for at least 35min). From my personal experience I do highly recommend Sheraton Mall of the Emirates, Kempinski Mall of the Emirates, Four Points by Sheraton Sheikh Zayed Road and Sheraton Grand Dubai.
Dubai has no real “city center” – as a resident you consider the route between your home and your work place as “your” center; tourists consider Burj Khalifa & co. as city center. Meaning, it is a matter of perspective. In fact Dubai itself stretches for 80km. (Yes, eight zero not eight km only!)
The first thing you realize as you approach Dubai: 6 lanes through the city “Sheikh Zayed Road” – this is the first indicator in regards to Dubai’s size. The next evidence is the skyscrapers ranging from tall, taller to THE tallest.
With my visitors I like to start the journey from Dubai Marina. Take a walk around the Marina and appreciate the different yachts. For a quick coffee I do recommend the Grosvenor House with its splendid terrace.
“Oh where is the Palm?” – “Granny, we are already on it”
After the Marina trip I do like to drive until Palm Jumeirah. A man-made island in the shape of a palm. Please note that you are unable to “see” the palm-shape unless you do a skydive, fly over it or sit in the bar of Marriott Dubai Marina. Experience the new Jumeirah boardwalk by foot or bike – photo stop: Atlantis.
(btw: From my personal point of view you should avoid the water park at the Atlantis since they have trained dolphins and other aquatic animals outside of their natural habitat.)
To cool down in our rather hot environment I would recommend a quick break at the Mall of the Emirates, the famous Mall which hosts a Skiing Park – yes, you will feel a bit of a St. Moritz feeling in the middle of the desert. Weird? Yes, simply Dubai.
Beside that you will be able to find loads of different shops with all well-known brands. Probably we do have more brands over here than you back home )
It’s time to heat up again therefore I suggest you to go to Jumeirah Beach. Here you will find the famous Kite Beach, some lovely coffee shops along the walk (Laola Dubai) and an amazing view to the Burj Al Arab: photo stop!
You should not leave Dubai without seeing the old part therefore I urge you to drive until the Dubai Creek where you can have a ride on the “Abra” (bargain a bit and it will not cost you a fortune!) and soak up the feeling of the traditional Dubai – with its Dhows; fish-smell and Souq. To be honest, avoid the Gold Souq since it got sooo touristy and all sellers tend to speak even German or French (“Hello Shakira, oh Brad Pitt Willkommen”). Awful.
As a last station for today, I do recommend the Dubai Mall (biggest mall) with its stunning aquarium; waterfalls; over 1200 shops as well as 14k parking spaces across 3 different car parks. To find a parking in the evening is usual tricky and energy-sapping but a) it’s the best parking location and b) it’s def. worth it!
The best part about this stop is the view to the Burj Khalifa (yes, you are so close to him) with its breathtaking Fountain Show which starts daily from 18h and takes place every 30min. It is highly recommended to arrive 10min earlier to secure a nice view spot! Enjoy it to the max!
Wander around the Burj Khalifa area to secure a nice dinner location either in the Mall, in the adjoining Souq or on the Boulevard behind Mr. Tallest Building in the World.