Dubai is such an incredible city, a new cosmopolitan destination of the Middle East.
If some people says that the city has no history and everything is new, Dubai totally make it up by the greatness and craziness of their construction. Everything is majestic, new and innovative, clean and shiny. This city is constantly changing and improving, always growing. You will always find something crazy to do.
If you’re planning a trip there, don’t go between May and October, too hot to enjoy been outside and discovering the city. We were there in the beginning of May and it was already too hot for us around 35C/100F. But I remember that in December the weather is nice during the day, but it can be a little chilly at night, so be prepared.
There is actually a lot to do in Dubai, and we didn’t got the time to do everything but here’s my top activities to do.
This is my favorite thing to do in Dubai. Unfortunately we didn’t got the chance to do it this time, but when I went to Dubai a few years ago, this was my favorite activity. Now you can even climb on a hot air ballons in the desert. There’s a lot of option, you can take a SUV, a Jeep or a little buggy. They also have camps in the desert so you can relax after the ride so it’s perfect to catch a beautiful sunset.
- Helicopter with Fly High
I’ve always dreamt of doing an helicopter ride, and honestly Dubai is a very good place if you want to try it too. A lot of island were created in the shape of a palmtnree or the world map or a seahorse, so it’s very interesting to see this from the top, and you’ll get an amazing view of the skyline. One of my favorite moment in Dubai. The price is around 795 AED but it’s worth it!
- At the Top Burj Khalifa
You can’t go to Dubai and not do the #1 touristic experience. Burj Khalifa is the tallest building in the world!!! I really recommend either going in the morning (even if it’s already packed around 9am) or you can also buy an access to the level 148, it’s a little more expensive than a normal ticket but you’ll be alone to admire the view and take pictures outside on the little terrace.
- La Mer
La Mer is a brand new neighborhood of Dubai and I absolutely loved this place. It’s a new trendy and artist place, where you have a lot of shops, some street arts, restaurants and of course the beach. It’s the perfect place to hang around and have a relaxing day.
- Miracle Garden
The famous Miracle Garden!! I haven’t had the opportunity to go there but I’m sure it’s an amazing place to visit. It’s a little outside the city, and the entry costs around 40 AED, but the place is so beautiful and colorful, it’s a nice thing to visit in Dubai. But be careful, because the garden is close for the summer, due to high temperature, so check before going there.
- Atlantis Waterpark
This might not be the most authentic thing to do in Dubai but I still thought that it was fun haha. The Atlantis is a huge hotel that also have a waterpark, where you have a slide where you go down under the shark aquarium. Pretty funny and perfect for a hot day in Dubai.
- Madina Jumeirah
Maybe one of my favorite place to walk around. The Madina is like a huge indoor souk, you also have a lot of restaurants, and the best part is the little boat tour that you can take on the canals that surround the Madina. It’s a 20 minutes boat tour, where you can see the all Madina and the architecture is so gorgeous, especially with a view of the Burj Al Arab.
The price is 85 AED per person. Oh and they give you a discount for some restaurants around, so don’t eat before haha (like we did, and then we got a discount for the restaurant we just ate at)
- Dubai Mall/VR Park/Fountain Show
The Dubai Mall might be one of the biggest mall I’ve ever been to. You can literally find everything, and you really should go when they’re doing a sale. But other than that you can also ice skate, and one of my best discoveries this year was the VR Park. It’s a small park indoor where you have around 10 attractions using Virtual Reality. You can : do a roller coaster, sky diving, rob a bank, fight zombies like Walking Dead, and it’s not that expensive.
But the main attraction of the Dubai Mall is to go at night and watch de Fountains Show. It starts around 6pm, and every 30 minutes you have a little show on a different song, just like in Vegas.
Other activities that you can do in Dubai : skydive at the Palm, Dinner in the Sky, the Dreamworks Park, Ski in the Emirates Mall.
Concerning the Aquarium you can find 2 big ones in Dubai, one at the Atlantis, and one in the Dubai Mall. I did the one at the Dubai Mall and I do not recommend this one! Yes it’s “cool” for the picture, but it’s just a 5 meters tunnel and you pay 120 AED for this… it’s not that impressive, and it’s super crowded. Use the money to get access to the 148th floor at Burj Khalifa!
- Shakespeare and Co
Inside the soul al Bahar this restaurant is just a must seen for lunch or a high tea afternoon. The decoration of this place is just gorgeous and the food was so yummy, you have to many option from the local food to the French. You can also have a chicha outside of the restaurant if you’re in the mood.
- Comptoir 102
Just next to La Mer, we totally feel in love with this place. It’s not only a restaurant, it’s a concept store where you can buy some decoration or clothes (quite pricy but window shopping doesn’t hurt haha). The decoration of the restaurant is just incredible and the food is all organic and sooo yummy. You can find some avocado toast, açaí bowl, smoothies, etc..
Because I can’t live without pasta, we had to try an Italian restaurant during our stay (okay truth is, we tried a lot of Italian restaurants, maybe too much haha). But this one is just perfect for a nice dinner, because it’s located in front of Burj Khalifa and you can enjoy the Fountain Show during your meal. And on the plus side, the food was delicious but a little pricy because of the view.
- Palace Downtown
The Palace is very famous on Instagram and I had the chance to stay there for one night. The location is just incredible, the hotel is at the bottom of Burj Khalifa, just in front of the Fountain Show. You can enjoy the show from your room at night, it’s so perfect.
The Shangri-La is one of the most famous hotel in the Downtown Dubai. They have an amazing view of the Burj Khalifa, and the hotel just go renovated so everything is so beautiful. You can see more on my hotel review.
- One & Only Royal Mirage
The One & Only Royal Mirage is THE hotel to stay in. It’s located in the Jumeirah area close to the Burj Al Arab. The hotel has a beautiful pool and beach. Perfect for a relaxing day in Dubai.
Taxi are very cheap and easy to find, I really recommend that instead of Uber that is a little more pricy but still okay. You can also use Careem, it’s an alternative of Uber but I don’t know if it’s cheaper or not. And you can always take the subway, it’s one of the most beautiful, clean and safe subway I’ve ever seen. But it doesn’t have a lot of station so if you’re not going downtown it might be hard to get there with the subway.
I wanted to make another point about Dubai here. Most of the question that I get about this trip are “Is it safe?”, and “How is it when you’re a woman”
Yes, Dubai is safe, even safer than Paris if you want my opinion. The law are very strict and nobody will even come close to you. But people are still very friendly, especially in the Downtown Dubai where you have a lot of European or Americans working here. If you ever have a problem with a taxi or in a shop, don’t hesitate to call the police and I’m sure everything will be fine.
We had a little problem with a taxi one day, who acted like an asshole with us. And that’s when you learned that you need to get the taxi number and you can explain the problem to someone in our hotel and the guy will be fired. They’re not joking with safety, and if you ever have a problem, everyone will try to help you.
Being a woman in arabic country is never easy for what I’ve experienced. Dubai is still very strange for me because you can find girl with high heels and mini skirt, and girl where you can only see her eyes.
Also even if Dubai is a lot more tolerant about women you still need to be careful about what you’re wearing. Especially in public beaches or the old town. Men love to pretend to take a selfie to have a picture of you, it’s against the law and you can make them delete the picture!