10 Fun Things to Do in Dubai for First Time Travelers

I am so excited to announce that this post is brought to you by my guest writer Neha — a travel blogger by profession. Neha will be sharing with you 10 fun and amazing things to do in Dubai on your first visit there.

So you’re jetting off to Dubai soon. Congrats! It’s your first visit to the City of Gold and you’re excited. We understand. The Glam Capital has a lot of fun things in store for you. Do you love state-of-the-art theme parks? Check. Do you love incredibly-large waterparks with the tallest and scariest rides? Check. Do you have a thing for views? Check. Shopping? Check. Skiing in the desert? Huh? Yes. Check.

Burj Khalifa and Dubai Frame –Views To Beat All Views

The Burj Khalifa: The world’s tallest building, the Burj Khalifa, stands proud and majestic at 829 meters. You can enjoy a magnificent view of the entire city, the desert and the sea from the 125th floor’s observatory deck. There are two observation decks, not one; the world’s highest observation deck is located at 555 meters on the 148th floor. If you want a truly mind-blowing experience, mingle a gastronomic feast at the At.mosphere on the 122nd floor with the views from the restaurant’s open windows.

The Dubai Frame: This iconic picture-frame-like structure that stands in Zabeel Park is another view-destination. You can see every part of the city from a height of 150 meters, all the way from the Arabian Gulf to Deira’s old town and Dubai Marina’s high rises. It’s a 360-degree vantage point. The bridge between the two columns is 93 meters long, with a 25sqm glass panel inserted into it. The Dubai Frame provides two different perspectives of the city – Old Dubai to the north and the splendor of modern Dubai to the South. At the mezzanine level of the Frame is an immersive gallery, where the city’s beginnings are retold using scent and mist-enhanced audio and visual presentations.

Ski Dubai – Go Skiing In the Desert

You’re probably not thinking about ice and snow when you set off for Dubai, right? Located at the gargantuan Emirates Mall, Ski Dubai comes with a 25-story black-rated ski run apart from several ski slopes targeted at various skill levels. There’s a chair lift, an Ice Cave, a snow park and a penguin park as well, just in case you were wondering. If skiing is not your thing, you can snowboard, toboggan or go snow zorbing. There’s a café on top of the tallest slope, just in case you’d rather sit and watch the others exert themselves, with a hot coffee in your hand.

Gold Souq – Shopping For That Glittering Metal

Gold is everywhere in Dubai. There are dedicated gold souqs at Deira, one of which actually showcases the world’s largest ring. Coming back to gold souqs, the gold you will get here is mostly 24 and 22 carat. Usually two prices are posted for any gold item. You can bargain on the rate for workmanship. Start negotiating from a fourth of the price quoted, and work your way up from there.

Food – An Incomparable Foodie Adventure!

Due to a huge expat population from literally every country in the world, Dubai offers every world cuisine there is. There are several restaurants offering a fusion of different cuisines, such as Iranian and Emirati. Dubai’s foodie scene is affordable; you don’t have to break the bank to eat here. Just wander the streets of Deira and you’ll find many cool eateries that offer food from around the world. A few dirhams is all you’ll have to spend for steaming plates of Pakistani, Indian, Iranian, Bangladeshi, Afghani, Egyptian, Lebanese or Emirati food.

Dubai’s fine-dining scene is rife with celebrity chefs from around the world. There are restaurants set up by the likes of Gordon Ramsay, Gary Rhodes, Nobu Matsuhisa, Jamie Oliver, Sanjeev Kapoor, Marco Pierre White, Vineet and others. Fine dining in Dubai costs a pretty penny but it’s worth every bit of what you pay.

Shopping – The Whole City’s A Shopper’s Paradise

Dubai is a haven for shoppers. Apart from the huge number of shopping malls in the city, there are traditional souqs and craft markets as well. You can buy everything here – designer clothing, jewelry, fashion accessories, spices, top-quality foodstuffs, electronics, and cars – you name it. Some of Dubai’s finest malls are Dubai Mall, Emirates Mall, Ibn Batuta Mall, Marina Mall, Dubai Festival City Mall and others. The city also hosts the incomparable Dubai Shopping Festival during December-January, when fabulous designer goodies are up for grabs for less. There’s also the Dubai Summer Surprises festival and several others, all aimed at making the shopaholic in you supremely happy.

Camel Racing – They Use Robots for Jockeys!

Camel racing is one of Dubai’s favorite sports; it’s a totally mad sport, and totally enjoyable. By the way, the camels are not manned by human jockeys. Presently, small robots enhanced with AI are made to sit on top of the animals, controlled remotely by the owner.  A flotilla of air-conditioned, uber-luxurious 4WDs follow the camels as they race. The owners control the robotic jockeys with their remotes.

Theme Parks – Incredible Escapes From Reality

Dubai offers a number of escapes from reality, via a range of theme parks. You can lose yourself in them.

Dubai Parks and Resorts: This theme park has exciting zones such as Motiongate, a nod to Hollywood studios; Bollywood Parks, which brings the Hindi cinema scene to life; LEGOLAND and LEGOLAND Waterpark, which bring the world of LEGOS to kids.

IMG Worlds of Adventure: Known to bethe world’s largest indoor theme park, IMG Worlds brings Cartoon Network and MARVEL comics characters to life via a series of immersive rides and experience.

KidZania: KidZania is a kid-sized town with real kiddie sized hospitals, schools, factories and police stations. Kids can be anything here – doctors, engineers, workers, teachers.

VR Park: Located at Dubai Mall, VR Park is the haunt of those who want to experience intensely real virtual experiences via games. There are several adrenalin-pumping games, notably one where you drop off of the Burj Khalifa’s tip.

Dubai Desert – From Glam City To Ancient Land

A mere kilometers from the glitz and glam of Dubai is the endless, mystical desert. The sand dunes begin where the city ends, and all of a sudden you feel as though you’re on some other planet. The desert offers 4WD safaris, quad biking, camel riding, sand boarding and hot air ballooning. During the evenings, you can sit back in Bedouin-style tents, enjoy a fabulous dinner to the accompaniment of belly dancing, tanura dancing and henna tattooing.

Water Parks and Aquariums

What better than a water park to cool off under Dubai’s heat?

Wild Wadi Waterpark: The rides at White Wadi are based on the folk tale character Juha. The rides are thrilling and scary and designed to meet the needs of adults, kids and young ones. This waterpark is located in front of the stunning Burj Al Arab on the Palm Islands.

Aquaventure Waterpark: Located near the Atlantis Hotel in the Palm Jumeirah Islands, Aquaventure Waterpark offers one of the best escapes from the scorching heat of Dubai. There are a number of unique slides and attractions aimed at people of all ages.

The Lost World of Atlantis: The Lost City of Atlantis is home to 65,000 marine animals. Filled with tunnels and mazes, this underwater lost city is a treasure trove of sharks, eels, seahorses and piranhas. There’s also a touch tank and an interactive Aquatheatre show.

Dubai Aquarium & Underwater Zoo: Here you can come face-to-face with the most fascinating oceanic predators. There’s a shark diving cage where divers lure the sharks towards you. The aquarium has several other attractions, including King Croc and Kraken’s Lair exhibitions, Shark Week and more.

Laguna Waterpark: Dubai’s latest waterpark is located in the sophisticated La Mer residential area. Laguna Waterpark is known for its 180 Wave Oz surfing, which simulates the exact conditions of an ocean. There are several rides, restaurants, shops, lazy rivers and much more at Laguna Waterpark.

Parks and Beaches – Simply Mind-blowing!

Dubai Miracle Garden: This is a beautiful garden filled with millions of flowering plants designed to look like famous landmarks, people, cartoon figures and more. All the formations are made out of flowering plants, which is part of the miracle.

Dubai’s Beaches: Most of Dubai’s beaches are secured by private resorts, available for a fee. The public beaches such as Jumeirah and Kite Beach have great amenities including equipment rentals for water sports. You can go surfing, waterboarding, banana boarding, kayaking, boating and more here. Hanging around on Dubai’s beaches is one of the fun things to do in Dubai.

Conclusion

These are just 10 fun things you can do when in Dubai, but there are more! Just don’t forget to explore other attractions when you’re in Dubai. If you don’t get to enjoy them all in one visit, you can always plan another trip!

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