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Dubai - 10 things to do in 10 days

Two years ago I was fortunate to travel to Dubai for my honeymoon, we were going to spend 10 days there and wanted to pack as much in as possible. Below are 10 things that we did in our time out there...

1. Burj Al Arab 
Fountain at Burj Al Arab

This beautiful "7 star hotel" is amazing! We knew that we wanted to experience this hotel and thought what better way than to have afternoon tea.

From the moment you arrive at the gate, your reservation is checked before they allow you to continue up to the front door. Once you arrive at the door and take your first steps into the lobby you are greeted by a spectacular water feature but it is not until you go up to the next level can you really take in how jaw dropping the interior is. The bright colours, sunlight coming in from the canvas like covering on the front of the building, the fine details and finally the gold. You just have to sit there for a while to take it all in.

We chose to go for afternoon tea which is served at set times in the Skyview Bar, which is 200 meters above sea level and give you amazing views over Dubai, The Palm and you can also see 'The World'. A perfect location to sit, chat and drink tea.

The atrium at Burj Al Arab 

2. Ski Dubai

Ski Dubai is located in the Mall of Emirates and you can do a variety of activities here, like:
  • Ski or Snowboard
  • Snow Bullet
  • Penguins
  • Sledging
  • Zorb balling 
We chose to do the Penguin encounter because we didn't want to risk hurting ourselves skiing or snowboarding and I love Penguins! The package we went for also included the use of the slopes so we were able to go to the Cafe which was half way up the slope, sledging and zorbing before it was time to meet the Penguins. 

Photo taken by Ski Dubai and later purchased
At the Penguin habitat they have a selection of Gentoo and King Penguins. These Penguins are not just there for fun and for the entertainment of the public, they are carrying out research on them and the way they live to help with conservation and education. The encounter started off with the Gentoos, we all sat around in a circle and then the staff brought them out. They all seemed happy to wander around us as the staff explains them to us about their behaviour and more about the Gentoo species. Next it was time to meet the King Penguins, we moved onto a different location for this and were able to get a bit more involved. We followed a similar pattern with the staff explaining more about them, but on this occasion at the end we were able to have a photo and interact with them. This was an amazing experience and it is wonderful work that they are doing here. 

While the activity here is to experience Ski Dubai, it is also well worth having a look around the Mall at the same time because some of the architecture you can see around Dubai is outstanding from the perspective of how big the scale and design is.

3. Desert Safari

Time to see a more traditional side of Dubai because it is not just about the glitz and glam. There are many desert safaris to choose from, from several different companies, but it all depends very much on what you want. Arabia Horizons Tours was our choice and we did their Evening Desert Safari.

We were picked up from our hotel and later dropped off. The evening started off with some thrilling off roading in our 4x4 trucks with several others, occasional stopping to be able to take it all in and of course photos of the beautiful sunset! Once this was done and a small stretch of road navigated we arrived at our desert camp for the night. It is a traditional Arabian ambiance, with Arabian carpets, low tables and cushions for seating, all surrounding a stage.

Before the buffet dinner of barbecue meats, salads, main course and dessert, there were chance to ride camels, henna painting or to try Arabic costumes. As the sun set on the evening and dinner had been served it was time to enjoy the evenings entertainment of belly dancers under the star lit sky.

The final part of the experience was more thrilling off roading but this time in the dark, hats off to the guys that do this every day it was an amazing experience.

Desert Safari - off roading

4. Burj Khalifa

Burj Khalifa
This is something to experience for the sheer scale of the building. When you book the 'At the Top' tour the first part takes you on a trip through the time line of the build. You are then confronted by a lift which will take you up to the 124th floor at the speed of 10 meters per second. When the doors open you immediately see the breath taking views with ceiling to floor windows. The tour normally lasts about 1hour and 30 minutes but you are left to take in the view at your own pace and experience the outside viewing platform if you dare. Remember at this point you are about 450 meters above ground!

Since we were there, they have also added an additional floor which you can access via a stair case on the 124th floor.

5. Atlantis Water Park and Aquarium

Atlantis is located on the end of The Palm and we had decided that we would take the whole day to go and experience this place and what it had to offer. We arrived early morning and purchased our tickets for the water park and aquarium.

We started off at the water park, the place is huge and we were not sure where to begin, so thought that we would each grab a ring and get on the river that connects the whole park. This was an ideal way to see what was on offer, where it was and generally experience the river and the occasional rapids. The main rides that we tried were:

Tower of Neptune - Leap of Faith
  • Tower of Poseidon - Poseidon's Revenge 
  • Tower of Neptune - Leap of Faith 
  • Tower of Poseidon - Zoomerango 
  • Tower of Neptune - Shark Attack 
  • Tower of Poseidon - Slitherine 

Some terrifying, some fun and others addictive, my favourite turned out to be Poseidon's Revenge.

Once we had exhausted the water park, we got changed and headed over to the The Lost Chambers Aquarium. This was a great way to wind down for the day by walking through and looking at the large selection of sea life they have. There were stingrays, sharks, piranhas, lobsters, sea horses and so much more. The name gives a huge clue to the theme of the Aquarium - Lost City of Atlantis - and you could see references to this the whole way through.

6. Friday Brunch

The first thing a friend said to me when I told them we were going to Dubai was 'Will you be there on a Friday, because you have to do brunch!' The reason for Friday brunch is because in Dubai this is their official rest day (like our Sunday) and their first day of the weekend.

Bubbles for Friday brunch
So there you had it we knew what we were going to do on our only Friday, but the next task was to find a location. There are several different place and different options but we picked Kris in the Park Regis Hotel, again this was mostly on the recommendation of a friend.

This restaurant has the most amazing panoramic view of Downtown Dubai and was the perfect location for Friday brunch. You had three options on the buffet menu, which basically revolved around what drinks you wanted to have included. We went for the top one which meant that we were served bubbles all afternoon and as much of it as we wanted! The choice of food available was incredible, you had everything from roast, sushi, Thai, cheese selection, desserts and the list could continue.

A must try if you are ever in Dubai on a Friday! Also a small tip, as this is their rest day there is no metro available.

7. Fountains at Dubai Mall

The fountain is located at the foot of the Burj Khalifa and outside Dubai Mall. It is the world's largest choreographed fountain system with music and lights. There are shows daily from about 6pm -10pm/ 11pm on weekends and I believe the best time to see it is when it is dark because then you are able to get the most from the show. It is a magnificent show, so much so that it was one of those times when you just had to put the camera away and take it all in.

Water feature in Dubai Mall
8. Dubai Mall

It doesn't matter if your not into shopping because this place has something for everyone! When we first walked into the mall I was taken aback by the scale of it because when you walk up from the metro you cannot really understand the size. We spent several days here just having a look around and can confirm that there are still parts of it we didn't see.

Dubai Mall is the world's largest mall by total area - there is a theme in Dubai for everything being the largest, biggest and tallest - and comes with its own Aquarium and Underwater Zoo, an ice rink, water feature, Sega theme park, a kids mini city, 22 screen cinema and many, many shops.

One place we did find was the gold souk and they had kept a very traditional look for this area. I was blow away by the whole place!

9. Metro

I know this is not really an attraction or a place to visit but I feel it is worth a mention. When we came on the holiday we had decided that we would, to save money for everything else on this list, use the metro line to get around.

I have never seen such clean, well maintained and punctual public transport! The metro, most of which was above ground, was an unmanned system and I could not fault it. The price for an all day ticket was about £2.50 and this would take us every where the metro line went.

10 . Ferrari World

Right, this one is the curve ball because it is not in Dubai! When we planned our honeymoon we did consider having a few days in Abu Dhabi to be able to experience them both while we were out this way but things didn't work out. Instead we took a day trip and went to visit Ferrari World and I am so glad that we did.

I am not a huge car fan but do like Formula One and the odd roller coaster. The one ride that we knew we had to try was Formula Rossa because it is the world's fastest roller coaster with a top speed of 239 km/h (149mph). 

Ferrari World also has a huge variety of other shows and ride for all ages so makes the perfect family day out with everything being under the one roof. 

Just before going to queue for the front seat

So here is my list of the 10 things to do when in Dubai, but the list is by no means complete. There is so much more on offer out there, and new things keep popping up every day.


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