Get the most out of your stopover in one of the world’s most exhilarating destinations
As a destination that has emerged as both a leisure and business hub of the Middle East, Dubai provides travellers from all over the world unparalleled attractions and experiences. The city has successfully positioned itself as the ultimate one-stop travel destination, boasting a host of unique offerings – from mesmerising urban landscapes and expansive desert vistas, to traditional Arabian souks and bustling markets, world-famous iconic landmarks, irresistible dining options and luxurious shopping opportunities. Two days is hardly sufficient to experience everything Dubai has to offer, but to help you get the most out of your stay, read on for our carefully curated guide to spending 48 hours in this unforgettable city.
A trip to Dubai would not be complete without a visit to the tallest building in the world, the Burj Khalifa. A shimmering needle jutting 830 metres into the sky, the tower has 163 floors, is home to the highest mosque and highest swimming pool in the world, and boasts the world’s fastest and highest elevators. Spend some time taking in the stunning views from the At the Top observation decks on levels 124 and 148.
Just a short walk from the Burj Khalifa is The Dubai Mall – the world’s largest shopping, entertainment and leisure destination. The Dubai Mall is also home to the Olympic-sized Dubai Ice Rink, offering a welcome break from all that shopping, while just outside the mall you’ll find the huge man-made Burj Khalifa Lake, scene of the famous Dubai Fountain with its regular shows complete with music, lights and expectant crowds. Another must-see is Dubai Aquarium and Underwater Zoo, home to more than 33,000 species of aquatic creatures.
For those eager to spend time outdoors, a visit to Creek Park is a must. Located on the shores of Dubai Creek in the heart of the city, this is one of Dubai’s oldest parks and is popular among residents and visitors. Also available in this part of town are various cruise options in a traditional wooden dhow. A dinner cruise along the Creek guarantees stunning views of the city, sumptuous food, live entertainment and great fun for all ages.
Start day two of your adventure by visiting Jumeirah Mosque. This is the city’s most photographed mosque and one of only two open to non-Muslims. Daily guided tours take in the beautiful building featuring exquisite mosaics, murals and Arabic calligraphy. Do remember to wear modest clothing (women are asked to wear a head scarf when visiting).
For an authentic Arabian experience, Dubai offers a range of traditional markets and souks that give you a taste of the history and spirit of Dubai. Succulent dates, aromatic herbs and spices, perfumes, antique gold and silver jewellery will mesmerise you as you wonder the narrow lanes of the Textile, Gold and Spice Souqs. Dubai is famous for its affordable gold, and the souq, home to more than 300 vendors, is the perfect place to test your haggling skills.
For culture vultures, Al Fahidi is a delightful historic neighbourhood home to carefully restored traditional low-rise buildings featuring exquisite wind towers and tree-filled courtyards – the perfect place to learn about Dubai’s history and culture. Some of the most famous buildings in the area include Al Fahidi Fort, which houses the Dubai Museum; Bait Al Wakeel, the city’s first office building; XVA Art Gallery, displaying contemporary art; and Sheikh Mohammed Centre for Cultural Understanding, which offers cultural tours and more.
No trip to Dubai would be complete without venturing into the desert, from which the city has so dramatically risen. Numerous local tour operators offer half-day desert safaris that include camel rides, adrenaline-filled drives over the dunes, or sand boarding. At twilight, you will be guided to a traditional Bedouin camp to try fragant kahwa, or coffee, as well as a variety of Arabian delicacies.
Whether you are looking for shopping, family activities, high-octane thrills, indulgent relaxation or gastronomic delights, Dubai is the perfect one-stop travel destination for you and your loved ones.
For more information about Dubai, including alternative two-day itinerary suggestions, visit http://www.visitdubai.com/en/itineraries/dubai-in-48-hours.
Text and photos by Zeno Indonesia Consultant for Dubai Tourism.