If there’s one word you’d probably never apply to Dubai, it’s ‘understated’. This is a place where bigger is almost always considered better. There’s the Burj Khalifa, the tallest building in the world, the tallest and fastest waterslide outside of North America, the world’s only seven-star hotel and the largest manmade islands on Earth. Phew! But besides all that largesse, there’s plenty to do and see in Dubai, whether you like seeing records broken or not!
At 828 metres tall, there’s so much to the Burj Khalifa that you could spend weeks in there and never get bored! Head to observation decks at levels 124 and 148 for incredible views across the city – and on a clear day all the way to Iran! If you’re feeling flush with cash, you could spend your stay in the ultra-luxe Armani Hotel, or dine at one of the haute cuisine restaurants. Splash out at the huge Dubai Mall, which not only boasts 1,200 stores, but also an aquarium, 150 restaurants, an ice rink, movie theatre, indoor theme park and even a haunted house!
The newly opened Laguna Waterpark will help you beat that hot desert heat. There’s several rides, pools, a lazy river and beach access. If surfing is your style, the WaveOz 180 surf experience gives you the chance to practise your surfing skills in a safe environment. Or, just kick back in one of the oceanfront cabanas.
Perhaps one of the most iconic sights in Dubai is the Dubai Fountain. At the base of Burj Khalifa, it’s the world’s largest choreographed fountain system, shooting colourfully illuminated jets of water 150 metres in the air in time to music. There are two shows in the afternoon and every 30 minutes after sundown until 11pm.
There are a lot of manmade things in Dubai, from its enormous shopping malls to fountains and skyscrapers. But this city has the exquisitely beautiful Arabian Gulf and Gulf of Oman both right on its doorstep. Head to the Arabian Gulf for incredible shipwrecks, and the Gulf of Oman for vivacious reefs and even more, smaller wrecks. Even if you’re a beginner, you can earn your diving certification very easily here!
Though Dubai‘s image is all glittering modern skyscrapers, princes zooming around in Ferraris and lavish restaurants, up until the 1990s it was little more than a fishing village settled in the 19th century. Visit the city’s old quarter, a classic Arabian neighbourhood, where you’ll find Dubai Museum, a tea house, and a few galleries. Get a real taste of classic Dubai at the textile souk, and marvel at wind towers – an ancient precursor to air-conditioners.
IMG Worlds of Adventure
Back to big things! This is the world’s largest indoor theme park – in other words, it offers up an almost unlimited amount of fun! Covering an area of more than 28 football fields, it’s got so many rides you won’t have to go on the same one twice! Test your mettle on the Haunted Hotel, get a rush of blood to the head on the Predator rollercoaster and visit the Forbidden Territory to get up close and personal with life-sized dinosaurs!
National treasure David Attenborough may have shown us the underwater world on the iconic Blue Planet, but in Dubai you can explore the Green Planet in real life! Like everything in Dubai, it’s a record-breaker – the largest indoor manmade and life-sustaining tree eco-system. Three thousand plants and animals call it home, and you can explore everywhere from the canopy to the forest floor! Say hello to toucans, keep up with a sloth and monkey around with… monkeys.