If you have just one day to spend in Dubai, where all would you go and what all would you prioritise in your to-do list? Dubai is like the Aladdin’s cave – filled with incredible treasures. You’ll want to experience all of it, but you’re faced with time constraints. So allow us to put together a one-day itinerary in Dubai for you, taking into consideration the best and the absolute not-to-miss attractions and activities. You can be sure we’ll squeeze the very best of Dubai within your one day. So come on, get ready to enjoy your one day in Dubai, with our expert itinerary!
Early Morning Balloon Ride
Begin your day with an early morning, pre-sunrise balloon ride over the desert. As you float thousands of feet above the desert floor, you’ll enjoy the most incredible views all around, for miles. Endless dun-coloured dunes stretching for miles on every side, as far as the eye can see. Watch an amazing sunrise from your balloon, as the sun peaks out shyly from the eastern horizon, spreading its orange glow over the desert in spikes of golden rays. It’s the most incredible experience in the world.
Morning Desert Safari
You don’t have to say goodbye to the desert when it’s time for your balloon ride to end. All good things come to an end, and so will your balloon ride, but hey, there’s a morning desert safari waiting for you! Since you’re already in the desert, you won’t need to be picked up and driven to the desert. Begin your morning safari with some rigorous dune bashing and sand boarding. If you like, you can grab a quad bike and roar away on the dry desert wadis. Camel riding is part of the safari too, so get on to the lumpy back of your chosen camel and have some nomadic fun. Take off your shoes and feel the smooth crystals of the desert sands under your toes. Lie down on the sides of a dune and feel the warmth of the sun heat up your skin. It’s still morning, and the sun is not at its zenith yet – the perfect time for a bit of sun bathing on the dunes. The morning desert safari will be the best part of your one day in Dubai itinerary.
Noon – A Taste Of The Burj Khalifa
Once your desert safari is over, you’ll be back at your hotel to freshen up and then it’s time to pay homage to the incredible Burj Khalifa. Enjoy the multimedia presentation on the ground floor of the Burj which showcases Dubai’s progress from being a pearl diving village to the mega tourist destination it is today. Then get on the lift and go up to the 125th floor for the At The Top experience. There are two observatory decks – one on the 125th floor and one on the 148th floor. If you can do it, get the views from both observatory decks – you won’t regret it! Watch as the city of Dubai unfurls into a myriad colours as you gaze into the distance from the observatory deck, surrounded by the desert and the sea. Enjoying the incredible view of Dubai from the 125th floor observatory deck is one of the best things to do in Dubai.
Post-Lunch: Dubai Mall and the Dubai Fountains
It’s about lunch time now – the perfect time to make it to the Dubai Mall, which has hundreds of excellent eateries. Enjoy a tasty, high-quality lunch at the mall, and off you go exploring the mall’s 1200 plus retail outlets, the 22-screen multiplex cinema and he indoor ice rink. If you have time, do check out the Dubai Aquarium as well; walking through the acrylic tunnels while being surrounded by the ocean on all sides is a mind-blowing experience. The Dubai Fountains are located just outside the Dubai Mall. Enjoy this incredible choreographed performing fountain which shoots jets of water up to 5 storeys high. The Dubai Fountain is one of the major tourist experiences in Dubai.
Afternoon: Dubai Creek and Old Dubai Experience
No visit to Dubai is complete without experiencing the Old Dubai atmosphere. Start your journey by exploring the Al-Fahidi Historical Neighbourhood where you’ll find the Dubai Museum and the Sheikh Mohammed Center for Cultural Excellence. Learn about the Emirati culture, the Emirati lifestyle, food and heritage. Understand how Dubai has managed to progress into one of the most stunning cities in the world from such humble beginnings.
Stroll through the alleys and small streets of the Bastikaya Quarter, which is what the Al Fahidi Historic Neighbourhood was once known as. Enjoy checking out the traditional sand buildings, the traditional cafes and shisha houses. Explore the spice and gold markets of Bur Dubai and bargain to your heart’s content. Then cross the Dubai Creek to the other side, to Deira side, in a wooden vessel called the abra. Here you can explore the pashmina and woollen carpets market, and bargain to your heart’s content again.
Evening: Time For A Dhow Cruise
As the afternoon’s heat and light give way to the pleasant breezes of a Dubai evening, you know it’s time to get ready for your dhow cruise. The modern-day dhow is a renovated, fully glamourized version of the old Arabian trading vessel you find at the Dhow Wharfage in the Al Fahidi Historical Neighbourhood. The tour dhow is a beautiful vessel surrounded by glass on all sides, fully air conditioned and strewn with luxurious couches for your comfort. The dhow cruise comes with exciting on-board entertainment such as scintillating belly dancing, Tanura shows, henna tattooing and more. Lean back on silk cushions and smoke your shisha pipe, drawing in soothing draughts of aromatic smoke as you enjoy the entertainment. Feel like a true Sheikh or Sheikha for an hour or two – you deserve it! You can sign up for a dhow cruise on the Dubai Marina, and enjoy the sights of the city skyline, or you can sign up for a dhow cruise of the Dubai Creek and enjoy more rustic sights. Whichever you choose, you will enjoy fantastic entertainment, followed by a full Emirati BBQ dinner on board. Enjoy your dinner and the atmosphere and the company of the other guests on your dhow cruise.
That takes care of your 24-hours itinerary in Dubai. We’ve squeezed in the best of Dubai for your delectation and hope you will enjoy your trip. Of course, you can remove a few items and add other items of interest such as the Dubai Frame if you like. It’s your itinerary. Flex it, play with it, own it.
AUTHOR: A postgraduate in Mass Communications, Neha loves everything about life. Traveling is extremely close to her heart and writing came to her naturally. An avid trekker & explorer, who often takes off some time from her busy life for mountaineering, she loves meeting new people & gets attached to their culture very easily. Her ambition is to explore as many places as she can in her life. She strongly believes in Gandhian principle – “simple living high thinking”. You can follow her on Facebook and her Blog.