Dubai Diaries – itineraries hotels eateries

Its been 2 years since my first trip to Middle East yet I still can’t get it out of my head! I have since then done 2 more trips to Dubai. There were so many unforgettable moments, some crazy adventures and, most of all, incredible hospitality! Just thinking about it brings a big smile to my face. Dubai has a lot to offer, it’s an incredible place with a lot of interesting facts that are bound to grab your attention… To name a few, some of the world’s tallest and biggest structures are situated here – Biggest mall, tallest hotel, tallest building, second largest man-made marina, and the world’s largest aquarium.

In this blog post I will be covering my travel itineraries and some must visit places when in Dubai, all based on my personal experiences in Dubai. The post is divided into 3 sections,

  • Itineraries
  • Hotel Recommendations
  • Places to Eat

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ITINERARIES

This section is divided into 3 sub sections,

  • Must Do’s – Totally recommended for a first time visitor
  • Optional – You probably need at least 3 days to cover the must do’s,  but if you are staying longer try out the optionals
  • On my radar for next trip – These are the ones I haven’t got to yet, but looking to cover on my next trip to Dubai

Itineraries:  Must Do’s – (Specially If you are a first time visitor)

  1. Dubai Downtown – It is home of some of the city’s most important landmarks including Burj Khalifa, Dubai Mall and Dubai Fountain
  2. Dubai Fountain – It is breathtaking in every sense of the word and how fantastic is the fact that viewing this fountain doesn’t cost a penny! That fountain is one of my greatest memories of Dubai. The soothing music and the fountain show every half an hour makes you feel so fresh.  With room facing Dubai Fountains, I use to run outside my room and and watch fountains over and over again.

Tip: For best view book a table in one of the cafes, my favourite Madeleine & Thiptara, or may be sit opposite the Burj Khalifa, in front of the steps up to the side entrance of Souk al Bahar.

Fountains from Madeleine

3.    Dubai Mall – ‘Shop till you drop’ – I was astonished to see its sheer size. ITS HUGH and LAVISH..!! Its paradise if you like shopping.. It offers something for everyone, Indoor aquarium, water zoo, fountain, Olympic-size Ice rink , numerous restaurants and food courts and high street labels and designer labels. In order to fit everything in, set aside at least a full day to visit Dubai Mall, the largest Mall in the world.
But going from one end to other end of the mall is a very long walk and its easy to get lost in this place.

Tip: Divide your day – Spend the first half of your day to see attractions in the mall(its less crowded in the morning) and the second half for shopping.


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4.   Burj Khalifa – Burj Khalifa is the centrepiece of Downtown Dubai. At 828 m (2,717 ft), it is the tallest building in the world and the tallest man-made structure ever built.
It’s something you have to do at least once in your life. First thing I noticed was the speed of the lifts… In 58 seconds you go from the ground floor to the 124th floor!! Its very very high in the sky… if you like to get a birds eye view of things.. this is the place to book..

Tip: Book your tickets in advance and Book the slot at dusk

Tip: Read some interesting facts about the Burj here..

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5.   Gold Souk – Gold souk adds to the Glitter of Dubai as the City of Gold. When we went to Deira Gold Souk, first thing which dazzled me was the amount of Gold. There were more gold jewellery then eyes can see.

Tip: Make sure you see the biggest gold ring in the world. It’s displayed in one of the shops. It’s around 54 KG.

Tip: Wear your walking shoes, as the spice souk, perfume souk, and fish souks are nearby.

Tip: Don’t forget to bargain; don’t accept first price & be sure to compare the numerous shops

Tip: Stay away from street hawkers. They usually sell look alike’s of designer brands.

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6.  Souq Al Bahar – Its a traditional style souk, just across a bridge from Dubai Mall, beside the fountain, good if you want to buy gifts, dates, nuts, perfumes, kaftans and pictures. It has great restaurants in a beautiful setting, with amazing views of the musical Fountain.

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7.  Desert Safari – It was exciting and fun filled experience for me. That was the first time I am seeing a desert and was not disappointed. Watching the sunset on a hill in the desert was SPECTACULAR. The sand dune bashing followed by Arabian camp with sheesha, camel ride, kebabs and biryani, arabic coffee, photo sessions in local dress ,henna and finally belly dancing! A must do adventure sport when ever going to Dubai. Music and dune bashing definitely gives adrenal rush to brain.

Tip: There are LOADS of desert safari tour operators in Dubai, better to book it online. We bought our desert safari package through Lama tours.

Tip: Don’t forget to carry a jumper, it gets quite chilly at night

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8.  Atlantis – One Palm Island –  Its worth a trip to see the world’s biggest aquarium.. Needless to say, the aquarium and Lost Chamber are one of the very best features in the hotel.

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9.  Aquaventure – One of the best waterparks with exciting slides.. Amazing aquatique park!
Very beautiful, clean and big location so it’s better to arrive early at the morning to have time to see the entire park, try all the crazy tubes, rides but also the beaches and the dolphin bay.
The park is for any kind of visitor : you can relax on the beach/deckchair/rubber ring or be more adventurer.

I did all the crazy rides but chickened out at leap of faith.. O man, it was scary!

10. Burj Al Arab Beach – The Jumeira beach is an attraction worth visiting in Dubai to witness the clear blue waters and relax if you have time.

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Itineraries:  Optional (Still recommended)-

1. Ski Dubai – Snow skiing resort in the desert?? Who would have ever thought you could play in the snow in Dubai! Ski Dubai is nothing out of this world but is still fun for all ages. The bobsledding, tubing, skiing and rolling down a hill in a giant rubber ball made me feel like a kid again.

2. Dhow Cruise – Belly Dance and Dinner. The leisurely evening ride, cool breeze in your face, the sights and the photo shoots, all made the experience an enchanting one and truly worth if its complimentary 😉

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3. Old Dubai Tour – The tour includes Dubai museum, Dubai creek, stopover at Jumeirah Beach , Jumeirah Mosque, Gold market and Spice market tour. If you want to get the feel of traditional Dubai,than worth taking this tour.

4. Ibn Battuta Mall – It is not huge but it is big and you can you spend a few hours crossing it. The various country themed pavilions add to the charm of this retail space. And you always feel proud to see your countries flag. 🙂

5. Dubai Marina – You can do a boat ride and spend one of your evenings to have dinner.

Itineraries:  Things I have saved for my next trip

There is so much to do in Dubai, between every trip I have done there have been dozen more monuments invented, hundreds more hotels & venues opened. However, I still have the following places on my radar for the next trip…

1.  Miracle garden

2.  Skydiving

HOTEL Recommendation

1. The Address Downtown Dubai – Out Of this world! It is a supertall skyscraper alongside the Dubai Mall, the Old Town, and the Burj Khalifa in Dubai…. and Yes, that’s the hotel I stayed in.

The most perfect hotel… 5 star plus! Everything was absolutely perfect and the level of service was exceptional.
Our suite was facing the Burj Khalifa and the world’s biggest fountain. The view was just amazing, Dubai mall was just a bridge away and we were at the heart of the city. We celebrated our 1st wedding anniversary and they spoiled us by giving Champagne, cake and roses and dates every day. We felt very welcomed for all the time!

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2.  Alantis – What can I say – Over the Top, Wow!

Atlantis is the kind of place that gives you long lasting memories. The rooms are of an extremely high quality with good views. The hotel is spotless. There are staff on every exit, helping you with doors or welcoming you back into the hotel.

The buffet breakfast included in our stay was magnificent, everything from full English, salads, cheeses, pancakes and waffles, dim sum and noodles and for the kids a chocolate fountain with a sweets counter.

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Places to Eat

1. Thiptara – Dinner – The outdoor tables have probably the best view in the house and multiply the magic of the restaurant itself

2. Madeleine – Lunch – Good food and perfect location.

3. At.mosphere – Dinner/ Hi-Tea – Afternoon Champagne and Tea/ Dinner is a must if you can do it. The service is top notch and a great opportunity to get a bird eye view.

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If you are out there,make sure you visit the toilets…(the view would be astonishing)

4.  Dubai Marina Yacht club – The marina has a special feeling about it. The many stylish buildings around the water, the yachts and many restaurants give you different feeling compared to the rest of Dubai. Dubai Marina has all the charms that matches the city’s wealth.

5.  Bateel dates – Not to be missed while you are in Dubai. They have wide variety from plain dates to my all time favourite chocolate dates.

6. Shakespeare and Co. – The best English decorated atmosphere. You must try their chocolate ice cream cake and macaroon.

7. Armani / Dubai Caffé – Its the best place  to have the tastiest Deserts.

Hope you like the post.. Feel free to leave a comment if you have any questions.

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