Are you planning to spend a couple of days in Dubai? Here we assort the best 2-day itinerary in Dubai that will help you tick off the major highlights and immerse yourself in its ancient era and modern glitz.
Dubai is a city of engineering wonders. From a sleeping fishing village to the most advanced and cutting-edge metropolis — Dubai has made a remarkable transformation. With the tallest building, palm-shaped artificial island, city-sized malls, the largest natural garden, ocean-inspired suites, the city has earned an international status of being the expensive and glamorous city in the Middle East. Although Dubai dreams up of audaciously high structures and flying taxis, it has meticulously preserved its heritage. The prehistoric landmarks dating back to the 19th century and traditions of thousands of years ago are still prominent.
Combining the best of both worlds, here is a well-planned schedule for 2 days in Dubai that I have tried:
- Al Fahidi Historical Neighbourhood
To drench in the ‘once upon a time’ charm, we have started this journey from Old Dubai, the side that is less-known to the outside world. In these years of development, this part remains unbothered and untouched by modernity.
- Take the Dubai Metro to Deira, and get off Al-Ras Metro Station, on the Green Line. Within minutes of distance away, you will be walking through the winding alleyways of the oldest residential neighbourhood in the city.
- Al Fahidi Historical Neighbourhood (or referred Al Bastakiya Quarter) was a trading hub for textile and pearl merchants in the 1800s. Even today, many portions of the building remain intact.
- There are museums, galleries, cafes and souvenir shops. You can even attend cultural events here.
- XVA Gallery stores the collection of local as well as international artists.
- To have a closer understanding of ancient Dubai, duck into the Dubai Museum, which was the residence of a monarch, an arsenal and a prison.
- If you want to stay longer (which is obvious due to tonnes of things to do in the quarter) — have a delicious lunch on the outdoor terrace of Arabic Tea House.
- Abra Ride on Creek
- Then sail on the legendary Creek where you have to pay as low as 1 Dirham.
- The Creek used to be the lifeline of trade business in the earlier times.
- You can hop on the Abra and travel from Bur to Deira, and vice versa, observing the buzzing atmosphere around.
- Once you get the Dubai Visa, there is so much you can understand and uncover about Dubai’s iconic history and evolution.
Those who look to shop in the traditional style can flock to the Arabian marketplace, souqs. It is located on the opposite side of the Creek, from Al Bastakiya. It has a whopping array of local items, handicrafts, perfumes, textiles, and souvenirs. The premium souqs are spice and gold souks.
- You will be wrapped in the fragrance and aroma of spices as you visit the spice souks and see the mounds of herbs through the window glasses.
- Then browse the gold souks that have authentic gold jewellery at prices never heard of before. You can see the largest gold chain in the world as per the Guinness World Records and shop them for reasonable prices. Moreover, you can have a friendly bargaining banter for any product that you want to buy.
- Make sure to arrive early here as more markets open up and the crowd gets bigger.
- Desert Safari
Desert safari begins in the afternoon. As the sun starts hovering over head, an air-conditioned, well-maintained SUV driven by a skilled chauffeur would arrive at your mentioned pickup spot. To experience this Arabian luxury, you will have to book the desert safari Dubai with a reputed tour operator beforehand. The desert safari in Dubai is a big dollop of adventure and culture. It offers an insight into the Bedouin lifestyle. The evening safari that we picked is a 6-hour excursion, where you hit the golden desert, raise your adrenaline, eat great local food, and indulge in Bedouin-influenced camping.
- The vehicle will whisk you away, leaving the high rises behind. Once you reach, you will find an endless stretch of sand rolling for miles. Remain seated as you are about to go for an exhilarating activity of dune bashing for 45 minutes. It is a rollercoaster ride where the vehicle slides, rises, plummets and give you a dizzying experience. Don’t forget to hold on tight.
- Brace yourselves for a plethora of thrilling activities, including sandboarding, quad biking, and falconry. Falconry is one of the country’s oldest traditions and goes back more than 2,000 years.
- You will get to meet camels, oryxes and other wildlife. To imitate the nomadic lifestyle, ride on the camels’ back for 15 minutes, and you will be swept off the floor by the views around.
- The next leg of the safari has camping, live shows, a mouth-watering Arabic buffet, henna designing, fire shows and much more for the audience.
- These shape-shifting dunes cater to all budgets, adventures and ages. If you are looking to stay, you can book an overnight desert safari. And for a crisp-short venture, choose the morning desert safari. You can customise the itinerary as per the level of a daredevil you are.
- Dubai Marina
The evenings in Dubai have favorable weather, and the skyline of the New Dubai lit like flies in a jar. The sleek example of a modern vision is the skyscrapers and residential buildings dotting the Dubai Marina.
- After a zesty desert safari, it is time you put on the relax mode on. Reach its yacht club and you will find the canals speckled with yachts and cruises. The Dubai Marina dhow cruise is the highlight of this place.
- Dhows are the older versions of boats that are revamped to a floating restaurant now. In the past, they have been highly employed for the transport. Today, it has two floors, the lower is enclosed in glasses offering full-height views of the lofty buildings, while the upper offers open-air dining arrangements.
- Sail for 2 hours across the Venetian styled Dubai Marina, checking out top landmarks, finest structures and world-class establishments.
- Savour delicious food and catch live entertainment shows aboard. Don’t worry if you are a vegetarian, the food options are limitless.
- To save big, you can make a combo tour of desert safari and Dubai Marina ride.
- JBR Walk
After an appetising dinner, a pleasant walk will help to wind down the day.
- It is amazing to wander aimlessly across the JBR Walk, where you can shop at the pop-up markets and stroll by the sea.
- It has no entrance fee.
- Kite Beach
Kick off the next morning in Dubai’s favourite hangout spot, Kite Beach. It is a long strip of white sand and blue waters.
- You can test your water skills by borrowing the equipment and playing a range of watersports, such as kitesurfing, wakeboarding or stand-up paddleboarding.
- Or not — keep your feet dry by a good bout of morning walk beneath nature or challenging your siblings for a game of beach volleyball.
- Relax in the sun loungers overlooking the majestic Burj al Arab.
- You’ll also find some casual bites in the food trucks, children’s play area, leisure water parks and great services.
- Dubai Mall
Take a ride of 15 minutes from Kite Beach, and you will reach Downtown Dubai. In here, you will discover a world of exhilarating activities, suitable for all ages. Firstly, knock on the doors of Dubai Mall, the largest destination for shopping, entertainment and leisure.
- You are in for a retail frenzy as the mall is home to the staggering collection of the most reputable brands from around the world. Louis Vitton to Tiffany & Co., the brands at Fashion Avenue will have your head turning back for more.
- Not thrilled about shopping? The mall has the biggest aquarium with the deadliest predator inside. You can watch through the floor to ceiling glass, take a look at 33,000 marine animals in the 48-m long tunnel — and if got the guts then swim inside to feed the sharks (in the safety of trainers).
- For a more chilled out pastime, catch a movie at Reel Cinemas, watch the dinosaur ruin, and marvel at the waterfall.
- The other highlights include VR Park, Hysteria, and Dubai Ice Rink.
- Take a lunch break at the Downtown Eats, which serve multi-cuisine dishes at the best rates.
- When you come to the Dubai Shopping Festival, get ready to win some of the spectacular prizes and rewards.
- Burj Khalifa
As the sun is about to set, and the temperature is dropping, exit out of the air-conditioned mall, and visit its famous neighbour. Burj Khalifa is the tallest freestanding structure that clutches several awards under its name.
- Thanks to its fastest elevator and skip-the-line tickets, you will reach its 124th floor in a jiffy. The vista, exhibitions, interior and services, everything will blow your mind.
- Step higher and reach the 148th floor, highly recommended for its world’s highest observation deck with an outdoor terrace at 555 meters. It offers breathtaking panoramic views, especially during sunset. When it’s winter, the skyscrapers pierce through the cotton clouds making it an Instagram worthy shot.
- Unwind in the lofty lounge, sip the tea, and take a bite of the famous pastries.
- If you are here to splurge, don’t miss its multiple award-winning restaurants.
- Dubai Fountain
A jaw-dropping spectacle of music, light and water, Dubai Fountain is the largest of its kind. It is tucked on the 12 hectares of man-made Burj Khalifa Lake. With brilliant state-of-the-art technology, the entire fountain performs on a range of beautiful songs.
- The fountain jets up to 22,000 gallons of water as high as 140m in the air.
- The performance happens every 30 minutes from 6 pm, daily.
- It is safe for solo travellers and you can sit by yourself for a calm evening outing.
- Secure a place before everyone else on the Boardwalk. Alternatively, you can take the front row seats on the boat ride.
- Souk Al Bahar
It is a lively compound that is soaked in Arabesque decor but has a modern twist to it.
It contains over 100 shops and 22 restaurants with views of the captivating waterfront promenade.
- The fountain can be witnessed from the Souk Al Bahar as well. Reserve a table and dine as the fountain illuminates with supersonic lights and projectors.
- It is truly photogenic — the corridors built of natural stones, alleyways flanked by shops, tall archways, and smooth lighting.
- From carpets and local-made handicrafts to culturally-inspired fashion and more, it promises seamless hopping.
- In the end, you will be inspired to say, “What a mesmerising day it has been!”
A Quick Fact-Check about Dubai
- The city is rooted in deep Islamic traditions, but it’s a liberal society than any other place in Middle East. It is open to myriad experiences making it an easygoing vacation for travellers from all cultures.
- The best time to visit the city is from November to April when the climate is favourable and cool. For budget travellers, September and October, or the summer months of June and July fit the bill. Summer can be extremely hot.
- Wear decent, unrevealing and loose clothes for the trip. Put on closed shoes for the desert safari. Also, carry sunglasses and sunscreen to beat the heat.
- Follow the rules and etiquette strictly, as their violation results in harsh punishments. For example, no PDA is allowed and alcohol in a public place is prohibited.
- The network system of public transportation in Dubai is widespread and effective. You can travel in comfort in buses, metros and taxis. For a private journey, you can choose cabs, which are slightly expensive.
Dubai is an experience of a lifetime. Even a week is not enough to explore everything in this small, action-packed city. But this perfect 2-day itinerary will offer you the newest, coolest and most exciting holiday ever.