Dubai is a popular layover destination as travelers often find themselves at the city airport for hours to catch their connecting flight. If you ever find yourself in Dubai for around 24 hours, take this opportunity to go sightseeing. Of course, one day is not enough to cover all the amazing attractions of the city.
However, it is a good time span to check out some of the major landmarks and attractions of the city. Dubai is well connected with metros, buses, and cabs, so traveling from one place to another would not be a problem. Once you have the right visa to visit Dubai, here is how you can spend 24 hours in this glamorous city.
Morning: Burj Khalifa Observation Deck
It makes a lot of sense to start your short trip to Dubai from the tallest building in the world. Located in Downtown Dubai, Burj Khalifa has 162 floors and is filled with luxury hotels, residential flats, and fine dining restaurants.
The best way to enter the building is buying tickets to the observation deck either on the 124th floor or the 148th floor. The observation decks offer a 360o view of the entire city. If you are brave enough, you can step out into the open balcony and check out the view of the city.
There is also a telescope through which you can check out the major landmarks of the city closely. The entire tour lasts for one hour during which you get to visit the museum that showcases the growth of Dubai as well as Burj Khalifa.
Mid-Morning: Dubai Mall
After the visit to Burj Khalifa, spend a few hours at the Dubai Mall, the largest mall in the world. While you may not be too interested in shopping in such a short period, there are plenty of interesting things to do here. The one thing you must definitely check out here is the Dubai Mall Aquarium and Underwater Zoo.
Comprising a variety of marine species and an array of exciting activities (shark diving, glass-bottom boat ride, cage diving, etc. to name a few), the aquarium is loved by people of all ages. Apart from the aquarium, the mall has 1200 retail stores, an ice rink, a virtual reality (VR park) theme park, and a multiplex theatre. It also has a huge food court, where you can have your lunch before heading to your next destination
Afternoon: Dubai Museum and Bastakiya Quarter
There is no doubt that Dubai is a modern city that oozes opulence. However, there is much more to the city than all the glitz and glamour you see. To know more about the history and the humble beginnings of the city, head to the old part of the city, i.e., the Al Fahidi Historical Neighborhood. Two of the most significant spots of old Dubai are the Dubai Museum and the Bastakiya Quarter.
The Dubai Museum is located inside the Al Fahidi Fort and gives you a glimpse of the life of the Arabs before the oil boom. You can check out the attire, occupation, and houses of the yesteryears. Similarly, Bastakiya Quarter would take you through narrow lanes with unique sandstone houses complete with wind towers. Built by Persian Merchants, many of these houses have been converted into museums, hotels, and restaurants. The best way of exploring the place is on foot.
Late Afternoon: Souks of Dubai
Dubai is a center of shopping, and you cannot leave the city without buying a little souvenir, at the least. However, chuck the shiny malls for the more traditional and authentic souks of the city.
Dubai has four popular souks, all along the Dubai Creek. While Gold Souk, Spice Souk, and Perfume Souk are on the Deirai side of the creek, the Textile or Fabric Souk is on the Bur Dubai Side. While the Gold Souk has more than 300 stores selling gold and precious jewelry, you would find all kinds of traditional and modern perfumes at the Perfume Souk.
The Spice Souk is a haven for chefs and food lovers as it is home to all kinds of spices and herbs. The Textile Souk on the other side of the Creek is perfect to buy different types of fabrics and readymade clothes. The best and the fastest way to get to the Textile Souk from Deira is to take an abra ride on the Creek. One common thing among all the four souks is that you can show off your bargaining skills before buying anything.
Evening: Ski Dubai
After completing your shopping expedition at the souks, it is time to head to another mall, the Mall of Emirates. While the Mall of Emirates has several shopping avenues, the highlight of the place is Ski Dubai, an indoor skiing park and snow world. Ski Dubai is the largest indoor ski park in the world and is spread around an area of 22,500 square meters. The place has an 85 meters mountain with 5 slopes of different difficulty and steepness for skiing. Winter and skiing gear are available with the entrance tickets.
If you are not keen on skiing, you can visit the adjoining Snow Park, which has a series of fun rides like icy body slide, giant snowballs, toboggan and sled runs, climbing towers, ice cave, etc. The place also has an indoor café where you can enjoy a steamy hot chocolate to keep yourselves warm.
Night: Dhow Cruise Dubai
Once you have enjoyed the Ski Park, all you may want to do is rush back to the airport or hotel to rest before your flight. However, before you do that, there is one thing you must not miss, and i.e. the dhow cruise dinner. Dhow cruise Dubai dinner happens at the Dubai Creek and the Dubai Marina.
As you have already been at the Dubai Creek in the evening, head to Dubai Marina as it offers a different side of the city. The dhow cruise dinner in Dubai Marina lasts for 2 hours and you get to see the sparkling neighborhood with its luxurious hotels, stylish residential buildings and upmarket restaurants while enjoying a hearty meal. Entertainment programs like belly dancing and Tanoura dancing would also be arranged on board. You can actually relax after a hectic and exciting day of sightseeing in Dubai.
It is impossible to cover everything that Dubai offers in one day. To enjoy the Dubai desert safari, the various theme parks and water parks and other attractions, you must plan a longer holiday in the future.