All trips and holidays are not as long as we would like them to be. So like me, if you end up in Dubai for just 2 days for any number or reasons and would like to maximize your trip to the city of gold, read on.
1) Jumeirah Beach This is a white sand public beach with a great view and best photo opportunities to click pictures of the iconic Burj Al Arab hotel without splurging and its free. Great way to start your day!
The iconic Burj Al Arab hotel
2) Souk Madinat Jumeirah A shopping complex close to the Jumeirah Beach, which is part of the Madinat Jumeirah hotels and residential project. The entire complex is designed to look like an old Arabian town. The Souk has many shops and stalls selling antiquities and novelties plus it has more than 40 restaurants and bars.
In one of the "bylanes" of Souk Medinat Jumeirah
3) Palm Jumeirah A feat of human achievement, an artificial archipelago created in the middle of the sea. You can take the monorail from the Gateway towers to the Atlantis hotel on Palm Jumeirah or hire a taxi, get off and walk the promendae. Along the promenade you'll find great views to click pictures of the entrance to 'Atalntis The Palm'. If you have more than 2 days in Dubai, a visit to Atalntis is recommended especially their amazing water park with jaw dropping slides.
Entrance to Atlantis The Palm on Palm Jumeirah
4) Dubai Marina/Jumeirah Beach Residences Head over to JBR after the Palm for a late lunch.
Walk around and explore :
The Beach- retail complex constructed on the actual beach in front of the residential complex
The Walk- 1.7-kilometer strip on the ground and plaza levels of the complex lined with restaurants and cafes
5) Desert Safari After JBR, head back to your hotel in time for the pick up to your evening desert safari. This activity needs to pre-booked and they will pick you up at your hotel anywhere in the city around 3.30 - 4 pm. There are many tour operators organizing this but I recommend Arabian Nights.
After your pick up, you'll be driven into the desert in Land Cruiser- Prado and make a pit stop at a place that has many shops selling snacks, beverages and the traditional Arabian head scarf. Here you'll have the opportunity to ride ATV's or Dune Buggy's in the desert. This is not included in your package and has to be paid for separately (Its quite a stress buster and if you like driving/riding things, I recommend its worth the money).
You'll then be driven into the desert where you'll stop for 20-30 mins while all Arabian Nights vehicles converge at the point. Here you'll have time to yourself to click pictures in the desert and on the sand dunes while the drivers deflate their tires for the Dune Bashing.
Waiting for the Dune Bashing to begin
After the brief stop, Dune Bashing starts where your driver shows extreme skills in riding up, down, sideways and diagonally across enormous sand dunes. At each twist and turn you will feel that the car will topple but it doesn't. If you can, try and grab the front passenger seat for the best experience.
A land cruiser Prado dune bashing at dusk
After dune bashing for around 20-30 mins your driver makes a stop to re inflate the tires while you can click more pictures against the sunset in the desert before heading to the camp.
Once at the Arabian nights camp in the desert, you can choose to go on a camel ride (free) or do other things like sample the free snacks, starters, beverages, Shisha or henna tattoos. There is a Falcon here that you can get your picture clicked with.
The Belly dance performance was absolutely erotic and exotic after which dinner is served followed by a performance called Kandura which is not to be missed.
No trip to the desert is complete without Belly Dancing
Your driver will drop you back to the hotel at the end of the night.
For the less adventurous, they have a Gyrocoptor ride (a small 2 seater open helicopter) that you can ride for about 20-30 mins over Dubai's famous skyline and the Palm Jumeirah.
A view from the Gyrocoptor
While leaving Skydive Dubai, you may choose to try some water sports (especially Fly Boarding and Water FlyBike) at Day & Night Dubai, right at the entrance of Skydive Dubai.
7) Dubai Mall After skydiving, head over to Dubai Mall which is the largest malls in the world. There are precisely 4 reasons to visit the mall- the mall itself, Aquarium (located inside the mall), Dubai Fountain (located in the promenade outside the mall) and At the Top, Burj Khalifa (Entrance from inside the mall).
Inside the Dubai Mall
I recommend starting off with the Aquarium which is a nice slow pace activity to do after the adrenaline rush of a skydive. You can buy tickets on the spot and spend an hour or two. They have an amazing collection of Sharks and Rays.
Sharks at the Aquarium in Dubai Mall
8) At the Top, Burj Khalifa After lunch head over to your At the top Burj Khalifa experience. They have two packages- At the Top (Level 124, 125) and At the Top Sky (Level 148, 125 and 124). I recommend At the Top Sky, its a little pricey but beats the queues (which may take hours) and offers VIP treatment.
View from the highest observatory in the world
9) Dubai Fountain The Dubai fountain is the largest choreographed fountain set in the world and it erupts in a water, lights and sound performance every half an hour starting at 1800 Hrs.