2 years ago I was getting ready to go to Dubai with the family during October half term week, and have been wistfully day dreaming about going again! So what better time to reflect on the holiday and remember the things that stood out for us.
Plan for queues at the airport
This may seem like an odd one but as we arrived early in the morning I was under the false illusion that it would be relatively quiet (as other destinations like Pakistan were really quiet). I was forgetting what a popular tourist attraction Dubai is, with the airport being one of the busiest! The immigration queue was incredibly long considering there were so many desks open even at that time in the morning. Thankfully we had a Trunki so Bee was able to sit on it in the queue and I could keep her entertained giving her rides on it.
Book Activities in Advance
There are some activities you can book in advance even before arriving in Dubai and the majority of the time it does work out cheaper. Do your research with prices and book in advance. We booked a visit to the Burj Khalifa and swimming with dolphins at Atlantis in advance. I would recommend booking these two in advance anyway as they do get booked up pretty quickly. You can read more about our experience with the dolphins in our post: Swimming with dolphins at Atlantis.
Taxi’s are relatively cheap. We used taxi’s all the time except for once we used the metro when we struggled to find one to take us back to the hotel as it was peak time and the traffic near our hotel used to get crazy. However make sure the meter is turned on and only use a taxi with a meter or you may just get ripped off if you have no idea of what the rough prices are for that distance.
Plan when you visit
As Dubai is a Muslim country, in Ramadan you are not allowed to eat and drink in public. So if you aren’t Muslim or are not fasting due to whatever reason and want to eat and drink, then you may want to avoid visiting in Ramadan unless you are happy to keep eating behind closed doors. Also Dubai gets really hot in the summer. Pretty much everywhere is air conditioned but once outside you will feel the heat. Even in October it was pretty hot but it was bearable.
There is more to Dubai then huge buildings
Dubai is amazing for its skyscapers and I was literally in awe seeing them for the first time. The place is dominated by them. But there is more to Dubai than this. Don’t forget to experience their culture and history too. We spent an evening in the dessert seeing their traditional dance and also some belly dancing and do try to visit the souks. The best place for shopping is the souks..you are sure to find a bargain. I regret not spending more time in Old Dubai and next time we go will find a hotel there. I have been having a look at Dubai with Destination2 to see what is available and have been tempted to book another holiday soon!
Because we had little ones we did not venture out much at night except for when we went to the desert and went on a dhow cruise in the evening on the marina. The city certainly comes alive in the evening. So if you are a night own then you are certain to find something to do. The marina was so busy in the evening, with people enjoying their food and music.
Have you been to Dubai? What stood out for you? Don’t forget to check out my post about things to do with children in Dubai.
To see more of how much fun we had on our holiday you can check out our video:
Disclosure: This is a sponsored post. However, all thoughts, opinions and experiences are our own.
This is an informative post. I didn’t know we can book such things in advance. How did you do it, I mean online or in same way? Looking forward to visit Dubai someday inshaAllah!
Yes you can do it online. For the dolphins it was done through the Atlantis website but for Burj Khalifa it was through a third party. Was initially nervous doing that but it had good reviews and alhamdulillah it was fine.
I used to live in Abu Dhabi, the UAE capital. Dubai is definitely not just the big buildings. The Dhow rides, the museums and the growth mindset is definitely impressive. I would go back in a heartbeat.
We were there for a week and still didn’t manage to fit in everything we wanted to do. Hope to go again soon in sha Allah and want to explore more of the souks.
I visited Dubai a few years ago, it was so beautiful. I loved the shopping part and visiting the markets too.
This is so informative article about how to make sure your tour best and preplanned.This is such a wonderful place and your photo’s making it more worth.
I was in Dubai last year-loved their souks and their dessert experiences! Didn’t go swimming with the dolphins though. I’d really love to do it one day.
Swimming with dolphins, wow! How was that experience? Was your daughter at all scared or nervous? I had the opportunity to swim with stingrays about 25 years ago…it was awesome! I’ve only ever been to Dubai on a layover, lol…would love to visit one day. Thanks for the tips!
No she wasn’t scared of the experience…she was more nervous of the water rather than the dolphin as it was the first time she was in the water.
ahh Dubai! lived there, visited there a couple of times and love it. You did such a good job and your tips are amazing. Traveling to dubai is always fun and there is always so much to do
I don’t know if it’s just me but traveling to Dubai or just going through the airport gives me major anxiety lol I do think planning makes a huge difference especially if you’re going on holiday. Thanks for sharing 🙂
These are very helpful tips! I haven’t been to Dubai yet but will definitely take all of these into account when we do go. I think it’s tough to see past the “huge buildings” and perhaps that’s why I haven’t been too keen to go.
Lisa here from Dubai, Love your blog and this is the 2nd post that I am reading on your blog and the experience is fantastic. Feeling really happy while reading your lovely blog. My husband and I were there in 2017, the same year that you posted this post. Yes, that’s true the nightlife of Dubai is incredible we had a lot of good memories. Saving your blog as top priority reading and I hope you will get my next response soon. God Bless You.
Nashiman Rajpoot recently posted…Changing Tastes of Dubai’s Luxury Home Buyers