Okay, immediate disclaimer: you could spend two WEEKS in Dubai and not see all the awesome stuff the city has to offer, let alone two days! But we know a couple of days is all a lot of you vagabonders will have, so we’ve done our best to whittle things down to the absolute essentials.
So here it is: the 48 hour, whistlestop guide to the attractions of Dubai:
Day 1 – Morning: Burj Khalifa
Right, let’s start by getting some bearings. The viewing platform of the tallest building in the world should do the job. Standing at a mind-boggling 828 meters, the Burj Khalifa is more a space scraper than a skyscraper, and you NEED to visit.
It does take quite a long time to walk up the stairs, so make sure… nah just kidding, there’s a lift. Obviously.
You can buy tickets on the official site, here.
Cost – appx 150 AED (40 USD)
Day 1 – Afternoon: Dubai Fountain, Dubai Mall, Dubai Aquarium
Okay, so the afternoon is a little packed, but with some careful planning you can hit up these mega attractions in fairly quick succession. First up, Dubai Fountain, which is conveniently located smack bang at the bottom of the Burj Khalifa. 275 long, the fountain jets up to 22,000 gallons of water as high as 140 meters in the air at any one time, accompanied by a range of classical music.
Next up is the cathedral to consumerism that is The Dubai Mall – right next to the Burj. It’s the second largest in the world, covering over half a million square meters of floor space and boasting over 1200 shops. Attracting tens of millions of shoppers a year, it’s one of the most visited buildings on Planet Earth, so to not go and have a look might create dangerous levels of FOMO.
And now to the aquarium – but this being Dubai, it’s not just any aquarium. It’s actually located IN the mall, so you can check it out once you’re done buying souvenirs. Filled with sharks, rays, turtles, crocodiles and around 140 other species, this giant tank is well worth a look.
Cost – free
Day 1 – Evening: Dinner at Dubai Marina
Dubai Marina looks stunning any hour of the day, but it’s particularly special at night, and the perfect spot to finish off the day. Surrounded by glittering skyscrapers, the marina is packed with restaurants, bars and clubs – go wild.
Day 2 – Morning: Old Dubai & Dubai Creek
So today we’re going to get a bit more traditional, starting off with Dubai Creek – otherwise known as ‘Old Dubai’. This was where it all started for Dubai, before the age of gigantic skyscrapers and fountains the size of small oceans, and it’s great to get a real local feel for the place.
As awesome as the modern malls are, you can have a more authentic experience by exploring the souks (markets) in the old town, and trying your hand at haggling.
The best way to get there is via a traditional wooden ferry boat on Dubai Creek, which is an attraction in its own right. It’ll cost you about 30 cents.
Day 2 – Afternoon: Desert Safari
You can’t visit Dubai without having a look at the endless dunes of the surrounding desert, and the best way to experience them is on a quad biking excursion. You’ll find plenty of companies that do desert experiences, and they will often include ‘dune bashing’ too – this involves hurtling over the dunes in 4x4s and generally behaving like you’re in an action movie chase scene.
Day 3 – Evening: Desert BBQ & Cultural Experience
Finally, some dinner and dancing at a traditional desert campsite, as the sun goes down and the stars come out. If you opt for one of the above-mentioned desert experience excursions, make sure it includes this – here’s one of many options.
Cost for all: appx 40 USD
Phew, well we did it, 48 hours in Dubai. Enjoy this amazing place and don’t forget to tag us!