36 hours in Dubai

A weekend travel guide

36 hours in Dubai

In just two decades, Dubai has grown from desert dunes to tourist and commercial paradise. Forget ancient monuments and historic buildings - the oldest pub in Dubai, Fibber Magee’s, is just 17 years old! Everything in Dubai is done on a superlative scale, breaking records with the tallest building to the biggest shopping centre and the, soon to be, longest bridge in the world.

Where to start

A good way to start your trip is with an open air market, known as a souq. Dubai souqs are a great place to go shopping and fortunately the sellers don’t tend to be pushy, nor do they try to rip you off. From the clothing souqs you can cross the river via a traditional boat (abra) to see the spice and gold markets.

If you are feeling adventurous, you can try the surprisingly tender, and authentic, camel meat for lunch at the Local House . The Local House has rooftop seating as well as a shaded courtyard to keep you out of the heat if you visit Dubai during the scorching summer months.

To help you digest your lunch, you should take a stroll through the so called “old” city and admire its wonderful architecture. There you will find artisans, mosques and a cultural centre.

It is recommended that you get out of the city and see the “original” Dubai by exploring the desert. If you fancy yourself as a bit of an adrenaline junkie, Desert Gate’s stuntmen can take you for a ride up and down the dunes in a four wheel drive. If that doesn’t get your heart pumping enough then you can go sandboarding down the dunes, or relax by taking a pleasant camel ride through the desert and then finish it it all off with a delicious feast and celebrations which last all night long in the desert.

Make the most of your remaining day

You can start your next morning by seeing something quite unusual in Dubai - greenery! In Safa Park there is a display of palm trees with a bird sanctuary and a lake whereby you can rent a boat.

To tick it off your checklist, whizz up the tallest building, Burj Khalifa, on the world's fastest elevator (22mph) to get some outstanding views of the city, sea and desert from the building's 124th floor. Burj Khalifa is open from 9am until midnight Friday-Saturday, so there is little excuse to pass up on this opportunity.

If the heat of the day is getting to you, you can always turn to retail therapy in the luxurious (and more importantly, air-conditioned) Dubai Mall - one of the biggest shopping centres in the world. The Dubai Mall doesn't limit itself to just shops (although there are over 1,000 of them), you will also find an ice rink and an aquarium. You can't miss the fountains either, as they soar to over 150 metres every day at 6pm, this can even be seen from outside the Dubai Mall.

In order to wrap it all up, take a walk along the Marina which is not only famous for shopping but also its nightlife and some of the best views of the skyscrapers: including the world’s tallest twisted tower and the world’s highest residential tower.

So you get the jist - Dubai just doesn't do things on a small scale. As twilight sets in and the heat of the day lessens, you can take in the breathtaking sight of the sun setting over the beach, with a touch of class, from seven star hotel - Burj Al Arab.

Further reading

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