Your essential see-and-do guide
Positioned between Europe and Asia, Dubai is known as the gateway to the world. Our main airport, Dubai International, is the busiest in the world for international travel: we welcomed more than 70 million passengers in 2014.
Of course, with an increase in airport traffic comes an increase in visitors from around the world, who add an extra day or two onto their trip to see Dubai’s sights. Fortunately, Dubai is such an accessible city that, with a little organisation, you can see and experience so much in Dubai in just a few hours. So, if you’re in Dubai for a short visit, here are five must-do experiences. All are in close proximity to each other, which means less time in transit and more time exploring.
The Dubai Mall
Number one on any stopover visitor’s hit list should be Dubai Mall. With more than 1,200 shops and 150 restaurants, an indoor theme park, an ice rink, a 155 million-year-old dinosaur skeleton, a huge indoor waterfall, a luxury hotel, the biggest choreographed fountain in the world, a giant aquarium and more, Dubai Mall is a tourist attraction in itself.
The Burj Khalifa
While at The Dubai Mall, don’t miss the chance to scale the world’s tallest building, the Burj Khalifa; luckily the entrance is in the mall itself. Standing 828 m tall, views from At the Top, Burj Khalifa SKY – the new observation lounge on the 148th floor – are impressive. The highest reaches of the iconic 163-floor building are off-limits to the public, but trust us – at 555 m above ground, the world’s highest observation deck is enough to make even the most world-weary traveler fall silent. Top tip: skip the time-consuming queues at the ticket desk in Dubai Mall by pre-booking your tickets online.
Dubai Trolley, Downtown Dubai
As brilliant as the Downtown area is in terms of packing in the sights, traffic can become quite congested. However, with the newly installed Dubai Trolley – the world’s first hydrogen-powered, zero-emissions tram – getting around Downtown is a breeze.
La Serre Bistro & Boulangerie
When it comes to dining options, the Downtown area surrounding the Burj Khalifa has many. However, it’s hard to beat La Serre – an upmarket French bakery restaurant offering some of the freshest produce in Dubai. Arrive in the morning for freshly baked pastries, then come back in the evening to soak up the French-bistro-meets-Downtown-chic ambience.
While the Burj Khalifa has its own sky-high lounge in At.mosphere, our in-the-know residents tend to frequent another swanky nightspot just across Burj Khalifa lake: Neos. Located on the 63rd floor of the Address Downtown, Neos offers amazing views of the Dubai Fountain show as well as the captivating Burj Khalifa. Make sure you book a table right along the windows for spectacular city views.
Make your stay in Dubai even smoother by purchasing a Nol Card, a prepaid electronic ticket that allows you to use Dubai’s Metro, buses, water taxis and tram with ease. Your card can be purchased from ticket offices and ticket vending machines located in Metro stations and bus stops, as well as from some supermarkets like Waitrose, Géant and Spinney’s.