It’s funny, but since I left the UAE three months ago, a few of my friends have suddenly decided to visit within a short space of time and have asked me:
A) Are you still there?
B) What can I do whilst I’m in the UAE?
My list covers just five places that I think you should make the effort to visit, even if it’s just one on the list. However, there are so many attractions to see and things to do that I really haven’t even scratched the surface…
- Burj Khalifa, Dubai
If there is only one place you have time to visit, I would honestly recommend Burj Khalifa. It is after all the world’s tallest building and if you Google Tom Cruise, you will see him sitting on the top of the needle (crazy man!). There is an observation deck on the 128th floor and on a nice clear day, you get a great view of Dubai. I’ve only ever done the daytime tour, but the travel company I worked for always recommended the sunset times to clients. I hear that’s a stunning view – seeing the sun disappear and the lights of the city below flicker on. It also overlooks The Dubai Fountain. My advice is to book online because the tickets are significantly cheaper. The slots generally sell fast and you need to be mindful of the time you book for if you rock up late, you will be denied entrance!
- Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque, Abu Dhabi
One of the largest mosques in the world, and open to both Muslims and non-Muslims alike, this is one of the capital’s most iconic landmarks. It’s such a beautiful mosque, with marble floors, hand-woven carpets and if memory serves correctly, it takes up to 40,000 worshippers. The mosque is impressive both day and night, as evidenced by the two pictures my friends took. You need to note that you have to cover up whilst in the mosque. Please don’t make an appearance wearing a tank top or hot pants for instance, and they give abayas for ladies to wear over their garments.
- Prince of Sea, Ras Al Khaimah
I absolutely loved Prince of Sea, a sprawling luxury yacht in RAK. It’s about 90 minutes away from Dubai and you get to see the desert during the drive to Ras Al Khaimah. I think I had the opportunity to take the trip three times, and when my Godfather visited Dubai, I made sure he went on the trip. He thoroughly enjoyed it by the way! The yacht has about five cabins, each with its own bathroom. The trip I always took was the six-hour cruise, which included water sports, anchoring near the beach and a three-course buffet. My team and I filmed the first video below during one of our trips using the company GoPro. The second video is the official Prince of Sea video which was shot on the same day and all my former colleagues are in it! You will need to budget about £100 per person for the six-hour day cruise – but it’s really worth it!
- The Dubai Fountain
Every time I see images of the Las Vegas fountain, I keep thinking it’s Dubai. They look alike and the reason for that is because TDF was modelled after the one in Vegas. It’s just much bigger! The show begins from about 6pm every evening until I think about 11pm and the intervals are every 30 minutes. A friend of mine caught the show from the Observation Deck of Burj Khalifa and her footage was amazing. It’s free to see the shows on ground level, but as you can imagine, the area outside is usually jam packed with spectators. The Dubai Mall and Souk Al Bahar (an Arabian themed marketplace) both have numerous restaurants that overlook the fountain, so why not make dinner reservations at a restaurant and enjoy the view from there? That’s what I did last year when my family visited me. We had dinner at Mango Tree, a Thai restaurant at Souk Al Bahar.
- Dubai Marina
I absolutely love the marina! First, it has a walk that is about a kilometre in length with restaurants and shops, so during the months when the weather isn’t hot, day or night it’s a great place to have lunch or dinner. Secondly, they have some pretty impressive skyscrapers, including my favourite, Infinity Tower or as I call it, the Twisted Tower. The marina has my favourite shopping mall, Dubai Marina Mall (DMM). It’s much, much smaller than The Dubai Mall or Mall of the Emirates, never gets as crowded as those two, and has great shops such as Miss Selfridge, Accessorize and Ted Baker. The downside of the DMM is that getting a taxi from the mall can be a long and painful process, especially during the summer. Two of my favourite places to eat there, Shakespeare and Le Pain Quotidien both have good views of the marina from their terraces.
And that folks, is my list!