This is my second visit to Dubai. My first trip was with my husband when we had a 12 hour layover which was completely unplanned. This time My sister and I planned a four day trip to Dubai. This time I did a lot of research online and the research part is one of the most amazing things to me when preparing for a trip(My personal view). I had to review so many articles, so many blogs, so many instahashtags, many many instastories to gather enough information to make sure I am prepared for the city. I hope this post will help build your itinerary. This post is a long list of tips that I hope might cover almost everything you need to know. So here is my Dubai Travel Dairy !
With an Indian passport and a US Visa, you can get an on-arrival visa after you land in Dubai. But for Indian passports with no US visa you need to get a Visa Online.
I took Emirates airlines directly from Chennai to Dubai. My sister flew into Dubai from Australia with Emirates. I travel quite frequently with Emirates and undoubtedly it is one of the best airlines to fly with.
Just like any major city and tourist area, there is a lot of traffic in Dubai. There is also rush hour traffic. You should be aware that the work week in Dubai is Sunday through Thursday. Their weekend days are Friday and Saturday. Traffic is much lighter on the weekends.
We bought a Nol Silver Card for 25 AED per person and topped it up several times during our time in Dubai. The Nol Silver Card allows you to travel on the metro, bus and tram. You need to check in and check out. You can find the map of the Dubai metro here and the map of Dubai tram here. Also for detailed train routes you can check this blog. She is a resident of Dubai and has made my trip to Dubai easier.
What to wear:
For me, what to wear not only includes how to be appropriately dressed in a particular country but also includes the fashion that suits a place I am going to.
So, I have found two articles for what to wear prior to our trip which was very helpful. One article is about how to be appropriately dressed and one is a fashion article by Bruised Passports. Basically, tourists wear regular clothes. We haven’t been to Abu Dhabi, but going into the Grand Mosque in Abu Dhabi requires women wearing a traditional hijab and abaya and that is probably the same with any mosque.
To make the most of your visit to Dubai, I’ve created an itinerary for 4 days in Dubai.
This 4 Day itinerary includes:
- Dubai Miracle garden
- Dubai Butterfly Garden
- MonoRail to Palm jumerieh
- Dubai Mall
- Underwater aquarium
- Old Dubai
- Dessert Safari
Remember, this 4 days in Dubai itinerary is just one of many ways to experience Dubai.
Day 1 – Dubai mall – Burj khalifa
We dropped into Dubai in the evening and decided to go out for a few hours. Of course we had to visit Dubai mall with its ice rink, Souk Al Bahar and indoor waterfalls.
Food first – Shopping next ! You can find more information at Food spots in Dubai.
The Dubai Fountains are located at the Dubai Mall. They were designed by the same architects of the fountains at the Bellagio in Las Vegas. There are restaurants with outdoor patios located around the fountains so if you have time, sit and watch more than one performance.
Souk Al Bahar is across from the Dubai Mall and it’s better visiting after your visit to the mall and the fountains. Souk Al Bahar is a luxury Arabian market located at Downtown Dubai and offers handicrafts, jewellery, carpets, and textiles.
Finally, head up to the observation deck, where you’ll find interactive displays and informative exhibits that tell you about the construction of this iconic building, the history of the region, and fascinating information about Dubai as a city. It’s a must-do for any traveler to Dubai; don’t forget that perfect photo!
We had our dinner at Beruit BBQ, a Lebanese cuisine with beautiful interiors.
Day 2 – Old Dubai
To get a sense of what commerce was like back in the day, one should take a stroll through one of the city’s traditional souks, or bazaars. I loved to explore Old Dubai. It’s such a different side of the city, nothing like the glitzy skyscrapers and massive malls. Dressing appropriately is advisable.
The Gold Souk, located on Dubai Creek’s south bank in the Deira, specializes in glitz and glamour. Featuring glittering displays of necklaces, bracelets and earrings from more than 300 retailers, the Gold Souk is one of the most renowned gold jewelry trading centers in the world.
Spice souk is a traditional market with vendors selling a variety of fragrances and spices from across the globe, including cinnamon, ginger and chili. This is also the place to stock up on saffron, as you’ll find this delectable spice at a much lower cost here than you would at home.
Do not forget to hydrate yourself every now and then.
For the second half of the day we took an abra, the old wooden boat at Deira old Souk Station. The short boat ride will transport you to the other side of the Creek to Bur Dubai . It is an unique experience you get for 1AED.
We had our lunch at The Arabian tea house. Arabian Tea House is covered with a huuuuuge old fortress wall. This is a rented house, built in the early 1920s by a pearl trader.
Then we explored Al Fahidi, the historical neighborhood of Dubai with cute little streets and art cafes. A visit to Al Fahidi Historical Neighbourhood is a great opportunity to get acquainted with the old way of life, which was prevalent in Dubai, with its rich values that can be seen in the design of the buildings and the way they are distributed.
The buildings of the district are currently used in incubating a number of varied cultural and artistic activities (both public and private) ranging from art exhibits, specialised museums, cultural and artistic societies, ateliers to cultural centres.
Finally, we had our tea at the local tea house which is famous for camel meat. You can find more information at Food spots in Dubai.
In Dubai Museum (entrance fee 3AED per person) we learned more about the history of the city. Take abra (small wooden boat) to cross the river (1AED per person) and walk around the Gold & Spice Souk.
Day 3 – Miracle gardens – Butterfly gardens
When in Dubai, these gardens are as must as Burj Khalifa itself. The Dubai Miracle gardens is the the world’s largest natural flower garden featuring over 50 million flowers and 250 million plants. The garden was launched on Valentine’s Day in 2013.
Dubai butterfly gardens is within the miracle gardens. There’s so much to explore and learn at the Dubai Butterfly Garden. Dubai Butterfly Garden sheds some light on these intriguing creatures, uncovering exciting facts about their life which are sure to delight every member of the family. Don’t miss the Butterfly and Insect Museum on site, which features in-depth analysis and information and where you can see thousands of colourful butterfly species from around the world.
We ended the day by having our dinner at Ararat which is a mix of Armenian, Middle Eastern and Mediterranean cuisines. We went to this place only to taste the fancy pineapple rice and Yes We did.
Day 4 – morning view – Burj khalifa – Underwater aquarium – Mosque
After the walking in the miracle gardens, we were not upto another busy day so we just went to the Dubai mall and the Souk Al Bahar to get a day view.
We choose to indulge whenever possible on this trip. For more information you can find it at Food spots in Dubai.
After our food scenes we went back to the hotel got some sleep (Our hotel was 10min drive from the mall) and came back in the evening to experience the underwater aquarium. We first went to the mosque and then returned back to the mall.
Finally, we ended the day by the underwater aquarium which I think is over rated. I personally did not like it as much as my sister did. I would suggest you go if you so much time to spare.
Day 5 – Mono rail – Dessert Safari
This was our last day in Dubai. We spent the morning going on a trip to The famous man made and the evening part to the dessert.
The Palm Jumeirah Monorail is a monorail line on the Palm Jumeirah island in Dubai, United Arab Emirates. The monorail connects the Palm Jumeirah to the mainland. The fare to Atlantis was 20AED single trip and 30 AED round trip. I wouldn’t say that its worth the money, but it was a different experience.
We have never been to a desert, which is why we really wanted to go on a desert safari. We were guests of Happy Adventures. We were picked from and dropped at our hotel. You can find more information about the different desert safari packages on their website.
We went dune bashing (spectacular!), rode a quad and a camel, watched the sun set over the desert and ate delicious Middle Eastern food while enjoying cultural performances.
I hope you enjoyed it. Happy travel. !