Dubai & Abu Dhabi


Dubai – the desert capital of the world. Towering skyscrapers, glistening shopping malls and a dynamic cosmopolitan life right in the centre of desert. A four to five-day short trip is more than sufficient to enjoy the city and an extra day if you wish to go to Abu Dhabi. Here is my recommended itinerary which covers all key attractions and relaxing.

Photo of Burj Khalifa - Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Boulevard - Dubai - United Arab Emirates by Ketan

Select your hotel according to your budget – ones in the city centre are obviously expensive but you would get good budget options in Diera. We stayed in the Lavender hotel in Diera and stay was very comfortable with Union metro station just 5-8 min walk.

Day 1:

After check-in, we head to the nearest destination from our hotel – the old Dubai. This creek lined traditional marketplace hosts a Gold Souk and a Spice Souk. Meandering through the hundreds of gold shops displaying some exquisite and finely crafted jewellery is a unique experience in Dubai. A must do is the 1 Dhr Abra boat ride to cross the creek towards Sheikh House.

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In the evening, visit the largest shopping mall – the Dubai mall. The mall in itself is not much different than any other mall and if you are not interested in shopping then head straight to the aquarium.

Check for any special events in the evening along with Dubai Fountain – a 10 min free show. We were lucky to witness the entire Burj Khalifa lit in the Indian tri-colours on occasion of Indian Republic Day!

Day 2:

Make an advance online early morning booking for the Burj Khalifa for a ride to Top of the World! The views from 125th floor are mesmerising and you can spend as much time you want looking at the 360 degree horizon.

In the afternoon, we planned the Desert Safari which included a pick-up in 4x4 SUV, sand dune bashing and entry to the Dessert Camp. The sunset at the camp followed by the shows, sheisha and dinner was an evening well spent!

Day 3:

Visit the Mall of Emirates to check out the indoor Skiing arena or even more shopping. We then visited the Miracle Garden – one of the highlights of our tour. To see a mini city created completely out of flowers incl. many houses, a boat and a full size plane in middle of a desert was simply beautiful. We missed the Global Village which quite close from the garden and hosts a global cultural and food show in the evening.

Day 4:

The last day in Dubai was at leisure with a visit to Ibn Batuta Mall which boasts a 4-5 Asian themed arenas. A mono-rail visit across the Palm Jumeriah is the best way to see this floating city, home to the rich and famous. In the evening, take a stroll on the JBR Walk and Marina Walk enjoying the markets, many restaurants and the nightlife while looking at the towering buildings and yatches.

Day 5:

Dubai to Abu Dhabi is a 90min ride and there are buses and shared taxis available from couple of locations or you can take one of the Day Tours arranged by travel agents. We left early morning and after check-in went to the Emirates Palace hotel. The entry is free, but nothing much to do except taking a few photos. In case you are a fan of roller coaster rides then Ferrari World is the place to hit with world’s fastest rides. You can then spend time on the F1 circuit and try driving an Aston Martin lap.

In the evening visit the Sheik Zayed mosque which one the most beautiful, holy and grand places that you would see. The place comes to life in the evening under the lights. Spend your evening at the Corniche to breathe in and look back at the Arabian tour before heading back home!