Last Updated on: 26th July 2023, 09:49 pm
Dubai, the UAE’s second-largest emirate, is a Middle Eastern destination like no other. It is a hub for entertainment, a haven for leisure seekers, and an oasis for surreal experiences. But what if you have only one day in Dubai to experience it all?
That’s why we have brought you this exclusive read to help you with your whistle-stop Dubai exploration.
From admiring the magnificent desert landscape to seeing the world’s tallest building, it lets you get a slice of the city’s iconic landmarks, captivating natural treasures, and, of course, everything in between in a day!
ONE DAY IN DUBAI ITINERARY: OVERVIEW
This itinerary is created to suit every traveler, assuming you’ve full 24 hours to explore the city. Yes, you can easily take inspiration from this suggested program, whether you’re a first-timer, a returnee, or traveling here in summer or winter. So, let’s get started!
START WITH THE DESERT SUNRISE VIEWS
There is no better way to begin your Dubai trip than with a guided excursion to the desert. An early morning desert safari in Dubai ensures a perfect introduction to the region’s compelling serenity and tranquility. Starting with a pre-dawn hotel pickup, it whisks you away from the skyscrapers and to the seas of sand enveloped by sheer silence and darkness.
Watch firsthand the first rays of sun igniting the vastness of the Arabian Desert, setting a majestic scene for endless photographs. Depending on your package, you can participate in various exhilarating activities like 4X4 dune bashing, camel rides, sandboarding, dune buggy rides, quad biking, etc.
Want to witness the desert sunrise views from a breathtaking aerial perspective? Consider signing up for a hot air balloon flight or an exciting paramotor adventure to take your desert adventure to a whole new level.
SPEND SOME TIME AT THE OLD DUBAI: VISIT AL BASTAKIYA, TAKE AN ABRA RIDE, AND SHOP AT SOUKS
Following a desert safari that lasts about three hours, make sure you set aside at least 1.5 to 2 hours to explore the delights of Old Dubai. Visit Al Bastakiya Quarter (also known as Al Fahidi Historical Neighborhood), one of the iconic representations of the region’s bygone era. This early 20th-century building is still preserved in its original glory, with the age-old sand-colored structures topped by traditional wind towers. Stroll its narrow alleys and relive the city’s modest past, when it was just a sleepy fishing settlement.
Another must-experience while here is an abra ride at the historical Dubai Creek. It will set you back just AED 1 to take this charming cruise, which transports you from Bur Dubai to Deira. What awaits you in Deira is a spectrum of souks, or traditional Arabian bazaars, such as the unequaled Gold Souk, Spice Souk, etc.
The whole area is vibrant, with the aromas of freshly prepared local delights, spices, perfumes, etc. wafting through the air. They promise an authentic shopping experience, as you pick unique souvenirs, one-off gift items, and stunning art pieces, all at bargain rates.
NEXT, HEAD TO DOWNTOWN DUBAI
Prepare for the most superlative experiences as you go to this uber-glitzy part of Dubai, where you can spend until the evening. The area is so extensive and stylish that a whole day is not enough to cover it all. Don’t miss out on its main attractions, like the Burj Khalifa, the Dubai Mall, and the Dubai Fountain Show.
It’s up to you whether you want to limit your Burj Khalifa experience to a selfie against it or enter its observation deck on the 124th or 148th levels and admire the most stunning views of the entire city and beyond.
Right next to it is the Dubai Mall, an ultimate spot for high-end shopping, an unequaled hub for leisure activities, and hands-down a foodies’ haven. Depending on your or your group’s preference, you can visit some of the mall’s top attractions, such as the Dubai Aquarium and Underwater Zoo, Dubai Ice Rink, KidZania Dubai, and Ekart Zabeel, to name a few.
Finally, watch the Dubai Fountain Show before you leave Downtown Dubai. It’s a must-experience, especially if it is your first time visiting Dubai. The impeccable harmony of water, music, and light displayed in the show creates an indescribable spectacle.
CATCH UP WITH THE VIEW AT THE PALM
Palm Jumeirah is almost on everyone’s wishlist of places to visit in Dubai, and hence, a Dubai trip is incomplete without seeing it. But did you know that the views of this palm-tree-like island, until recently, were restricted to elites only on a pricey helicopter tour or an airborne adventure?
But this imposing view is now open to all, thanks to the View at the Palm. It is an observation deck on the 52nd level of Palm Tower, the highest structure on the island. So make sure you visit here to marvel at the most comprehensive view of this island and its stunning surroundings.
WRAP IT UP ON AN ELEGANT DHOW CRUISE AT DUBAI MARINA
Give your one-day trip a relaxed end with an elegant dhow cruise Dubai. This leisurely cruise will sail you around the pulsating Dubai Marina for about two hours aboard a traditional wooden dhow, allowing you to see Dubai’s illuminated contemporary architecture by night from the water. Subject to your cruise package, you can enjoy a delicious buffet dinner and watch live shows like Tanura onboard.
TOP TIPS TO MAKE THE MOST OF YOUR ONE-DAY DUBAI TRIP
- Dubai is easy to navigate with its highly efficient transport system, like the metro, public buses, etc. However, it is highly recommended to book a vehicle with a driver to make the most of your 24 hours in the city.
- If you plan to drive in Dubai, you can easily rent a vehicle here, but make sure you carry your valid international driver’s license.
- Pre-plan your trip and book accommodations, transfers, and entry tickets (to attractions and experiences like the Burj Khalifa, desert safari, and dhow cruise) in advance.
- Save on your Dubai exploration by buying a combo tour or an all-inclusive Dubai pass or package.
- Dress modestly, avoid PDAs, and adhere to local rules and regulations to ensure a hassle-free Dubai visit.
The list of things to do in Dubai is so extensive that 24 hours is certainly not enough to experience all of them. But this handy guide ensures you have an amazing time taking in Dubai’s must-sees and hidden delights in a limited amount of time.