In the last several years, we’ve had a crashed economy, then a boom, and then again, a crash. One would expect that Dubai would cease its construction projects and take a step back. But no – not Dubai. While the world is still recovering from the crash-boom-crash, Dubai has forged ahead with more marvels that the eye can marvel at. The city is just 25 miles along the coast, fairly straight up-and-down. And yet the sheet range of creativity and innovation here just boggles the mind.
1. Become A Bedouin For A Day
How about a complete escape from everything urban, and escape into the desert, just for a day? Most tour operators offer hotel pick up and drop. You can opt for day, evening or an overnight safari. An overnight safari will be the most romantic – there’s something about spending the night under the desert sky. Your adventure will include plenty of fun! There’s sandboarding, dune bashing, dune driving, camel riding, quad-biking on the dunes and so much more. Wear traditional Arabic clothing, headgear and all. Bedouin for a day – one of the best things to do in Dubai.
2. Get The View From Up Top
No visit to Dubai is complete without getting the full benefit of a view from the world’s tallest structure – the Burj Khalifa. This incredible building soars over the city like an enormous needle-shaped spacecraft. Leave it to Dubai to come up with something like the Burj! Just get your sweet-loving self up on to the observation deck on the 134th floor. Watching the world from the observation deck is akin to standing on the wing of an airplane and looking down.
3. Redefine Your Shopping Senses – Free
At the Dubai mall, shopping seems like an afterthought – it’s not even the main attraction! Let’s see now – there’s Sega World, an indoor theme park; there’s a 22-screen cinema; there’s Kidzania a kiddie-wanna-adult theme park; there’s a giant Aquarium with an underwater zoo; plus, a full-sized ice rink too. Oh, yes, there are innumerable shopping outlets and a full floor of eateries serving you every imaginable cuisine. Just in case you forget this is a shopping mall.
4. Pack Skiing Clothing For Your Trip To Dubai
Whaaat? Is someone kidding? Skiing clothes for a Dubai trip? Well, yes. Ski Dubai in the Mall of the Emirates is an artificial snowland, with several ski runs, the longest being 1,300 feet long. Ski Dubai is maintained at minus zero Celsius temperatures, and you’ll need your woolies. Of course, they do offer ski clothing and the ski gear you need. Doesn’t hurt to show off to your friends while packing, does it?
5. Walk The Walk And Talk The Talk – Free!
The Jumeirah Beach Walk is a wall of 36 towers facing the beachfront. The lovely JBR promenade stretches in front of this wall, with lovely shops, cafes, eateries and entertainment lined up on one side. This is Dubai’s top hangout spot for the haves, the have-nots and the will-haves. It’s the place to meet people, enjoy a leisurely meal and watch rich blokes drive up in their million-dollar 4-wheeled gizmos, like a two-tone Ferrari or a gold-plated Porsche Cayenne. We’re serious.
6. Enjoy Weekend Brunch On Friday!
Friday is the weekend in Dubai. Crook your finger at the rest of the world and have a leisurely all-you-can-eat-and-drink brunch at Friday noon. Nowhere else will you find top restaurants battling for the best displays and best menus to attract the Friday brunch crowd. Some of the choices are bewildering at times, but they do put top-end buffets at LA to shame. Enjoy the brunch at Bubblicious at the Westin Hotel, Al Qasr Hotel, Shangri La or Spectrum on One at the Fairmont Hotel. Book early, and remember – Friday is a holiday!
7. Take A Day Out
Dubai is the ultimate when it comes to day trips. It’s full five-star service all the way. You cannot expect treatment like this in the French Pyrenees for instance. Hotel pickups and drops in fully air-conditioned cars. Desert safaris, dinner dhow cruises, seaplane tours, helicopter tours, hot air balloon rides, and mountain climbing trips – it’s endless! And all with wonderful food and live entertainment throw in!
8. Get Your Haggling Tongue in Gear!
Haggle, haggle and haggle your way through the fragrant spice souqs and gold souqs of Deira and Bur Dubai. Be loud and throw your arms about and go o-la-la and roll your eyes. It’s all expected. Don’t spend a penny if you don’t want to – the experience is reward enough! Listen to the Arab sellers denouncing the other’s goods while boasting about their own. Walk along the Dubai Creek and observe old heritage buildings, windtowers and traditional dhows.
9. Enjoy Free Movies Under the Stars
Get to The Rooftop Gardens, Wafi Pyramids on Sundays and settle yourself on a nice fat beanbag. Grab some popcorn if you want to spend a penny or get some snackies from home. It doesn’t matter. It’s about chilling with a bunch of other ‘got-nothing-to-do’ characters, watching free classic movie screenings. Dubai’s been running classics here every Sunday for donkey’s years, and everyone loves it.
10. Climb Higher and Get A Better View Than From The Burj Khalifa
Been up on the Burj Khalifa’s observation deck yet? Costs a pretty penny too. How about getting on your climbing togs, and heading out to a structure taller than the Burj? Yeah, we’re talking about the 1,249 meter Jebel Hafeet peak. You won’t be spending anything but fuel for your car. The mountain is free and so is the air. Breathe free and don’t forget to go ooh and aah over the views!
You can still delight in the city without spending a penny on entrance fees. For example, buy a Nol travel card, grab a map of Dubai and go metro and bus-hopping. Enjoy the entire city and all it has to offer, entirely on your own power. What could be freer than your own power?