There is so much to see and do in Dubai that limiting your experience in the city of skyscrapers to a mere 24 hours can be pretty tough. After all, Dubai is one of the most exciting adventure playgrounds in the world.
If you’re looking for thrills and spills in Dubai, top of your list will be skydiving. See Dubai from 4000 metres above ground and marvel at the unique landscape of a futuristic city in the middle of miles and miles of surrounding desert. Dynasty Travel’s Dubai Fantasy package includes this excursion.
Thill seekers will also enjoy IMG Worlds of Adventure, the largest air-conditioned indoor theme park in the world. The size of 28 football fields, the park offers more than 20 rides and attractions themed around Marvel comics, Cartoon Network characters and dinosaurs. The Velociraptor rollercoaster is the tallest and fastest in Dubai propelling guests to a nail-biting 100km in 2.5 seconds and travelling from prehistoric jungle out into the Dubai desert and back.
If you’re in the mood for more theme parks, check out Hollywood-inspired Motiongate, with 27 rides inspired by memorable action and animation films including Shrek and The Hunger Games.
At Legoland Dubai, explore a world where Lego comes to life. Ideal for families with children, there are more than 40 rides and 15,000 Lego models, with many of the interactive attractions requiring kids to use teamwork to steer a boat or drive a car.
Given the city’s hot and humid weather where temperatures can hit an uncomfortable 50 degrees Celcius, you might appreciate the nearby Legoland Water Park. Let your imagination run wild with over 20 Lego-themed waterslides and attractions including a wave pool, a splash safari and a river where you can build your own Lego raft.
For more waterpark fun, ride the 120-metre water slide Jumeirah Sceirah at Dubai’s Wild Wadi Waterpark on the Umm Suqeim coast, or float through a glass tube in shark-infested waters.
If it’s still too hot for you, head to Ski Dubai, the world’s third biggest indoor ski slope with 22,500 square metres of indoor ski area inside the colossal Mall of the Emirates. If skiing isn’t your thing, you can visit the resident penguins, go snowboarding, tobogganing and ride the Snow Bullet zipline.
For a change of pace, head to the traditional gold and spice souks are located. You’ll be bedazzled by extravagant jewellery and intoxicated by exotic aromas as you wander around stalls overflowing with gold and spices. The souks are reminiscent of a bygone era but they still bustle with locals doing their daily shopping.
Next to the spice souk is Dubai Creek, a reminder of Dubai’s past when it was known as a seafaring trading hub for pearls, fish and textiles. The creek is the original centre of the city’s commerce and still buzzes with boats zipping up and down the waters plying their wares and cargo.
Take a ride on an abra (traditional wooden boat) and cross the Dubai Creek back towards the city and Bur Dubai, home to the city’s historical monuments and museums. En route, stop in the historic Al Fahidi neighbourhood and have a cup of tea at the Arabian Tea House, where more than 100 types of tea are sold, and treat yourself to a Middle Eastern and a cup of the house speciality, black tea with fruits and herbs.
For sharp contrast, head for the Burj Khalifa – the world’s tallest building and an engineering marvel. At 828 metres, the Burj Khalifa is the beating heart of the city of Dubai. Opened in 2010, it has two observation decks – one on the 124th floor and the other on the 148th floor, both offering an unbeatable 360-degree view of the city. The high-speed lifts that whizz you to the observation decks are breathtakingly fast and smooth. For a special experience, have high tea on the 122nd floor, at 421 metres above sea level.
If you’d prefer to experience the dunes, head out on a desert safari for some Bedouin culture. You can go dune bashing, camel riding, quad biking, before watching belly dancers while you feast on an Emirati dinner under the Arabian tents.
Shopaholics will find Dubai Mall, the world’s largest shopping mall, irresistible. It has1200 retail stores, including Bloomingdale’s and the first Galeries Lafayette in the Middle East, and hundreds of food and beverage outlets. Dubai Mall spreads over more than one million square metres – the equivalent of 200 football pitches. You can easily spend a whole day – or more – at the mall, where locals shop, eat and play at the aquarium, underwater zoo, Olympic-sized ice rink and massive indoor cinema complex.
And when dusk falls, head outside to watch the famous dancing fountains, synchronised to Arabic music, Michael Jackson’s hits and even opera. Not only do you get the best views of the fountains, you are in prime position to watch the sunset over the city.
There’s no nicer way to end your 24 hours in Dubai.