My travels take me to many international cities like Singapore, Shanghai, New York, London, Istanbul, Hong Kong and Sydney but nothing comes close to Dubai. In a modern city surrounded by the desert, visitors will find the biggest and tallest of structures shining brightly under the sun. Temperatures soaring above 48 degrees Celsius in summer do not halt the ebb and flow of a cosmopolitan population who make the city tick. To make the most of my few days in this most international city in the Middle East, I chatted with locals and visitors about their experiences. And the result of the many conversations are the top 10 things to do in Dubai.
1. Head up the Burj Khalifa
Burj Khalifa / Photo from King of Hearts of Wikimedia Commons
Take the fastest elevator up the world's tallest tower at 828 meters and 160 floors. The observation deck on the 124th floor of Burj Khalifa is open to public and provides a panoramic view of the city below. For more information, check the tower's website.
2. Play 18 holes of golf
One of the top 100 courses in the world, Majlis course at Emirates Golf Club is popular for 4 to 5 hours sessions. Located in the middle of the city, Dubai Creek Golf and Yacht Club is another award winning 18-hole championship course. The Greg Norman designed courses offering classic links-style championship level play at Jumeirah Golf Estates is also recommended.
3. Go for a drive in the Desert
Check out the basic and advanced desert driving courses from Desert Rangers that take you into the desert and let you loose on the dunes.
4. Catch sunset at Zero Gravity
This licensed beachfront venue offers day passes for customers to relax on the shore and catch the sunset over the Arabian Gulf. Operated by Jumeirah, there is a restaurant and bar to feed those hunger pangs. For more information, check out their facebook page.
5. Get wet at Aquaventure Waterpark
Aquaventure Waterpark / Photo courtesy of Atlantis The Palm, Dubai
Jump right in and get wet at the No. 1 water park in the Middle East and Europe. Spread across 42 acres next to Atlantis Hotel, Dubai's newest waterpark offers rapids, waterfalls and waves of fun for adults and kids. For more details, check out the website.
Located in Dubai mall is one of the world's largest aquariums with a huge viewing panel. Inside the Dubai Aquarium & Underwater Zoo resides more than 85 animal species including over 400 sharks and rays. A new permanent exhibit features animal species that thrive in the desert such as Arabian toads, fruit bats, scorpions, hedgehogs and giant camel spiders.
Ski Dubai is the biggest indoor ski slope in the world. Whether you're a winter sports enthusiast or just curious, the setting will remind you of a mountain ski resort that is also home to a group of penguins. There are lessons for beginners and advanced skiers and snowboarders.
9. Take in views of Burj Al Arab
Burj Al Arab / Photo from Pataki Márta of Wikimedia Commons
One of the best places to enjoy uninterrupted views of the Burj Al Arab is right on the beach at Mina A'Salam. Enjoy the sound of waves and stay till late to dine under the stars.
10. Enjoy Dubai's skyline
Cargo's terrace in Dubai Marina's Pier 7 is a popular joint to enjoy expansive views of the water and surrounding skyscrapers.