Delve into Dubai
Sitting at the crossroads between East and West, Dubai is home to not just the world’s busiest airport for international passengers, but also hosts a plethora of unique experiences and amazing sights that you can enjoy — even if you’ve only got six hours between flights.
Just 15 minutes away from Dubai International Airport via the local metro, the Al Fahidi Historical Neighbourhood is one of the oldest heritage sites in Dubai, dating back to the early 1900s. Experience the emirate’s traditional way of life through winding, cobbled alleyways — a striking contrast to the towering skyscrapers of the city. While you’re in the district, save a couple of hours for the famous old Souks of Dubai right across the Creek, where you can immerse in the colourful sights and sounds as traditional spices and gold are traded. To get there, you can either cross a bridge or take an abra (water taxi).
If you are into the sun, sand, and sea, head straight to Kite Beach. Perfect for both adults and kids, the beach is a haven for watersports, shopping, and mouthwatering local bites. If you’re going to be there early in the morning on a Saturday, consider the unique Conscious Walk, organised by The UAE Meditates, where participants take a 30-minute walk with their eyes fixed on the ground in front of them. Another highlight is the Wire World Adventure Park, an obstacle course featuring a zipline, bungee jump and “accrobranche” rope-climbing experience for kids.
When you have more time to spare, a must-go destination is Dubai Parks and Resorts, the Middle East’s largest integrated leisure and theme-park attraction. The recently opened venue is truly gargantuan — sprawling over 25 million square feet, it consists of three theme parks, one water park, more than 100 rides and attractions, a retail and dining stop, and a Polynesian-themed family resort. From there, pop over to the adjacent The Outlet Village for designer-label shopping in a venue fashioned after the charming medieval town of San Gimignano in Tuscany, Italy.
Downtown Dubai is chock full of activities that are impossible to cover in just a day or two. Limit yourself to the essentials, starting with the most obvious: Burj Khalifa, the world’s tallest skyscraper. Towering over the city at 828 metres and comprising 163 floors, the Burj Khalifa can be seen from various parts of Dubai. Make your way to the observation deck on level 124 for a panoramic view like no other. Next, get your feet back on the ground (or not) at the adjacent The Dubai Mall, the world’s largest shopping centre in terms of total area — its size is equivalent to more than 50 football fields combined. The sprawling mall houses more than 1,200 shops, 22 cinema screens, 120 restaurants, an indoor theme park, an indoor waterfall, and more. Tired from all that shopping and walking? Check out Dubai Opera, whose line-up of performances is comparable to that of London’s West End and Broadway.
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