Dubai – Your Ultimate Dubai Guide


Dubai is an man-made wonder built right in the middle of the desert. The city is full of modern luxury and beautiful history, with something for everyone to enjoy. From luxury shoppers to budget explorers, from nature buffs to party animals, everyone will find something to love about Dubai.

Need to Know:

Currency: AED (Emirati Dirhams)

Check the current conversion rate here

Language: Arabic, but most people also speak English


DXB – Dubai

AUH – Abu Dhabi

SHJ – Sharjah

Electrical Outlets: TYPE G (3-pin socket like you would find in the UK). 220V-240V and 50Hz.

Planning Your Trip

Accommodation – I am lucky enough to have family that lives in Dubai, so I stayed with them during my visit. There are two major areas that you can stay in Dubai, the first being downtown and the second being the palm/marina area. These are both great options and easily connected by the metro.

There are a myriad of hotels with everything from the most luxurious in the world, to budget-friendly. You should not have a hard time finding an option that fits your trip needs!

Getting Around – A lot of people drive in Dubai, but parking can be a nightmare. For just traveling within the city, I recommend using the metro, tram, and taxis. Uber/Lyft are not a thing in Dubai, but the taxis are safe and affordable. I found most taxi rides in Dubai were about the same or less than a ride share in the USA.

Metro: The metro is also a great option and pretty easy to use. Since we stayed in the Marina area, we would take the tram to the JBR Beach area or to connect to the metro that would take us downtown. Check out the map and stations list here.

Water Taxi: This is a pretty touristy way to get around the marina, but I still recommend it! The reason locals don’t use this much is because it is very slow. You can find the route map here.

Dubai Marina
Car in Dubai
Dubai Water Taxi

Top Sights:

Burj Khalifa: Make your way up the tallest building in the world! Buy your At the Top Burj Khalifa ticket for incredible views of the city from the 124th and 125th floor. Tickets need to be reserved in advance and they have a strict no-change no-cancellation policy. Depending on when you book your tickets, they could cost anywhere from $30 to $65 for adults. 

Dubai Frame: We didn’t bother going up in the frame since we got similar views from Burj Khalifa, but it’s still worth seeing the structure of the largest frame in the world. It was constructed to be “The Face of the New Dubai,” and is located between “Old Dubai” and “New Dubai.”  

Atlantis: This amazing 7-star hotel is worth checking out even if you’re not planning to stay on the property. A great view of the hotel is from the Pointe on the palm, or you can stop in and just walk around the magnificent hotel. 

Ain Dubai: Similar to the London Eye, this observation wheel is located on Bluewater Island across from JBR Beach. You can buy tickets to take the 38 min ride around the observation wheel, as well as buy a package that includes a meal and/or a yacht cruise.

Burj Al Arab: Make sure you catch a view of this luxury hotel. The shape of the hotel resembles the sail of a ship. This hotel is also iconic for famous golfers, such as Tiger Woods, hitting golf balls off the helipad. 

Burj Khalifa
Dubai Frame
Burj Al Arab

For the Beach Lover:

La Mer: This is a great public beach with a long boardwalk, lined with restaurants, merchandise stands, and games for kids. This is not a secluded and serene beach, but it is a great family friendly spot and pretty low key. 

JBR Beach: Jumeriah Beach Residence Beach is similar to La Mer as it is lined with restaurants and shops. This is a big public beach with an outdoor gym and volleyball courts. You will also have a nice view of the Dubai Ain and Bluewater Island.

Kite Beach: Kite Beach is the fitness buff’s favorite beach with a vast array of volleyball courts, paddle sports, and of course, kite flying. Another great family-friendly public beach.

Beach Club: Dubai is FULL of beach clubs with day pass options. Sometimes if the resort is at full capacity, they won’t let in outside guests, but most times there are passes available. Check out this list of the best resorts with day pass options. A few beach clubs that were recommended to us are Summersalt Beach Club, Zero Gravity, Beach by FIVE, Nikki Beach, and Cove Beach. If you’re looking for a great free options, we loved spending the day at Barasti Beach Club

La Mer Beach
Barasti Beach Club
Barasti Beach

For the Shopaholic:

Dubai Mall: Come get lost in the second largest mall in the world. With tons of high end shopping, fantastic restaurants, a public aquarium, and everything in between, you can spend days at this mall. I tried a random assortment of restaurants at the mall, and I highly recommend all of them. I had chai at India Palace in the food court, then lunch at Bebable which had incredible falafel and great food overall, then coffee and dessert at Two at Symphony.

Mall of Emirates: Another gigantic mall in Dubai with a wide variety of stores and dining. You will find all your favorite high end brands as well as your typical Old Navy, H&M, Zara, etc. This is also home to the famous Ski Dubai where there is an inside winter wonderland. 

City Walk: Near La Mer, check out this design-inspired shopping district with a wide array of designer brand shopping. This is another great place to go shopping and stop at one of the many outdoor restaurants for a nice meal. 

The Pointe: Located on the Palm Jumeirah island, this shopping area offers amazing views of Atlantis and is home of a popular fountain show. On weekdays the first show starts at 6:00 PM and the last show starts at 11:30 PM. On weekends, the first show starts at 6:00 PM and the last show starts at 1:00 AM. Shows run every 30 minutes.

Souk Madinat Jumeriah: This was my favorite shopping destination that we visited. Make sure to check out open air mall with traditional style stores. You can find anything from souvenirs and general stores. We enjoyed the outdoor dining and relaxing with a view of Burj Al Arab.

Dubai Mall
Mall of Emirates
Souk Madinat

For the Culture Lover:

Al Fahidi District: This historic district has been turned into the home of a museum to learn about Dubai’s culture and history. The district used to be a village of pearl divers and there are exhibits that reflect this heritage. You can also visit Sheikh Saeed Al Maktoum’s House displaying historic documents. 

Bur Dubai: This is the historic district of Dubai, literally translating into ” mainland Dubai.” The area is home to many mosques including the Grand Mosque as well as the country’s one and only Hindu temple. The district is full of local shops and amazing restaurants, especially Indian cuisine. Two restaurants that I loved were Calicut Paragon (Kerala food) and Sarvana Bhavan (south Indian). 

Gold Souk: This is essentially a district full of gold shops. The market is laid out in a traditional style, but it is full of traditional and modern gold vendors. We took an Abra (little boat for like 1 AED) over to this area and honestly it was the best 1 AED ever spent! 


Al Fahidi District
Bur Dubai Markets
Gold Souk Dubai

Top Experiences in Dubai

Desert Safari This is one thing you can't miss in Dubai! When I first started reading about it, it seemed overly touristy - which it is to some extent, but I still thoroughly enjoyed it. We went through Arabian Nights where they picked us up in Dubai and drove us out to a rest stop. There we were able to drive ATVs in the dunes, use the restroom, and grab a snack. Then the SUV took us out into the big dunes for dune bashing! We stopped for an amazing sunset view and photos. Then we went to a camp where there was sand boarding, camel rides, belly dancing, arabic coffee, fire dancing, dinner, henna, and more!
Skydive Dubai We didn't do this on our trip, but would have loved to! It is an extremely popular place to go skydiving, so if you're looking for an adrenaline rush, check it out! Tandem tickets start at $435 per person.
Miracle Gardens This is an incredible growth of flowers in all sorts of shapes and structures. It gave me Disney World vibes with the fairytale castle, fountains, and giant character statues.
Abu Dhabi Day Trip There is so much to see in Dubai, but while you're in the UAE, don't forget to check out the other emirates. Head over to Abu Dhabi and see the Grand Mosque, Emirate's Palace, Louvre, and more.
Jebel Jais Flight - World's Longest Zipline The world's longest zipline is in RAK (Ras Al-Khaimah). It is quite the thrilling experience! Tickets start at $98 on weekdays.

Six Real Outfits I Wore in Dubai

Outfit inspiration and shopping links for real outfits I wore all over Dubai.

Your Guide to EXPO 2020 in Dubai

Everything you need to know about visiting EXPO 2020 including the best pavilions to visit, how to avoid lines, and how to make the most of your trip!


post a comment