Dubai is home to the world’s tallest building, the world’s tallest chocolate sculpture, the world’s largest doner kebab, the world’s longest painting, the world’s largest indoor theme park, the world’s longest gold chain, the world’s largest origami mosaic, the world’s biggest shopping mall, the world’s first camel-llama hybrid, and more than 142 other world records.
While these world records may be shocking and interesting, there is so much more to see here in addition to these records. What many people don’t know is that before the awe-inspiring and record-breaking skyline was built, Dubai was a modest village of fishermen.
This is a city of luxury and comfort built upon humble roots; all of which can be discovered and explored to this day. With a stunning juxtaposition of modern innovation with local history, the city is buzzing with exciting things to see and do.
The Dubai Mall
Dubai Mall | ©Liji Jinaraj/Flickr
The Dubai Mall boasts over 1,200 stores, the world’s largest candy store, an aquarium that showcases more than 300 species of marine animals, an indoor theme park, a 22-screen movie theatre, an interactive children’s educational theme park, and is home to the Dubai Shopping Festival.
Beachside Bars and Restaurants
Beach Bar on Jumeirah Beach, Dubai, United Arab Emirates | ©traveljunction/Flickr
If you need a break from the city’s chic and glamorous clubs, nurse your hangover and catch some rays at one of the many beach-side bars or restaurants. It’s a great way to escape the hustle and bustle of the city in a relaxing and intimate way.
The world’s largest circumference waterslide and the world’s first waterslide inside a waterslide can be found at the Aquaventure Waterpark. Slide through shark-filled waters, fly on zip lines, pet rays, and take the kids to the splash area.
Burj Al Arab
This luxury hotel rests on an artificial island, is the third tallest hotel in the world, and is often referred to as “the world’s only seven-star hotel”. The smallest suite has an area of 1,820 square feet (169 square meters), the most expensive suite is billed at $24,000 per night, there is a helipad 689 feet (210 meters) above ground, and its Al Mahara (Oyster) restaurant, which features a massive wall to ceiling aquarium, is accessible by way of a simulated submarine trek. The Burj Al Arab is the definition of opulence and the exhibition of money and style.
Burj Khalifa | ©Walid Mahfoudh/Flickr
The Burj Khalifa: a building that needs no introduction and whose reputation precedes it. You absolutely cannot miss visiting the building that holds at least seventeen different world records.
Dubai Fountain Show | ©lhongchou’s photography/Flickr
Whether you’re zip-lining through it or stopping to watch the (second largest) fountain show in the world, or simply enjoying the view from lunch, this is another jaw dropping hot spot you cannot miss.
Dubai Winter | ©Amir Dakkak/Flickr
Whether you want to lay out on the white sand, go kite surfing, fly a kite of your own, or hang out at any of the nearby foodie spots, you’re in for a treat at this beach in the heart of Jumeirah.
Horse race fans and sports enthusiasts: we’ve found your Mecca. In addition to the races themselves, the Meydan Racecourse offers an incredible tour of the grounds which is over a mile in length and can accommodate over 60,000 spectators. The best time to visit is during the Dubai World Cup, when thousands of revelers place their bets and cheer on their favorite racers while enjoying top-of-the-line cuisine.
Shop in a Souk
At Gold Souk | ©Samuel Yoo/Flickr
A souk is a traditional market with narrow alleys and aisles, often with partially open tops. You can bet that no country does a souk better than Dubai. Discover the spice souk, where you will find spices typically found in South Asian and Arabic foods, as well as textiles, incense, rugs and fun artifacts. From here, explore the gold souk, where at any given point in time, ten tons of gold and over 300 jewelry retailers are present within its walls.
One&Only The Palm | ©Sarah_Ackerman/Flickr
What’s a trip to the world’s most extravagant city without a little TLC at a local spa?
Ski Dubai | ©Petr Kadlec/Flickr
Ski Dubai is 242,188 square feet (22,500 square meters) of skiing inside the Mall of the Emirates which is coincidentally one of the largest shopping malls in the world. Ski Dubai has five slopes for children and adults, and there’s a meet and greet with penguins! Yes, real penguins! You even get a free hot chocolate during your play session.
Dubai Miracle Garden
A wide variety of vibrant, artistic displays of flowers and sculptures wait to greet you at the Dubai Miracle Garden. The garden has nine domes, each housing different species of butterflies and incredibly colorful flowers to make you feel at one with nature and to offer you an escape from the craziness of this metropolitan city.
Desert Safari Tour
A trip to Dubai isn’t a trip to Dubai without venturing out into the Arabian Desert. Whether your mode of transportation of choice is a hot air balloon, a 4×4, or a camel, a trip to the desert is something everyone should experience at least once in their lifetime. You can choose to start your day off right with a morning excursion or you can stay overnight with a BBQ dinner and sleep in a tent!