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Updated by Joanna James on Jul 13, 2023
Headline for 5 Things Not to Miss on Your First Visit to Dubai – Exciting Escapades in the UAE Beckon
Joanna James Joanna James
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5 Things Not to Miss on Your First Visit to Dubai – Exciting Escapades in the UAE Beckon

The commercial capital of the United Arab Emirates, cosmopolitan Dubai has something for everyone. You will come across everything from stunning skyscrapers and mega malls to historical attractions with insights into the past. For your first visit here, these are some things you shouldn't miss.


The Burj Khalifa

One of the most awe-inspiring attractions in Dubai, the Burj Khalifa rises to a height of 828 metres and gives you a chance to visit the tallest free-standing structure on the planet! Apart from clicking those must-have Insta pictures from outside, you can venture inside too and for a fee, head to its observation decks; on the 124th and 125th floors, you will find the observation deck called "At the Top" while you get another one on the 148th floor which is the highest observation deck in the world. Prepare for breathtaking panoramas, especially at sunrise and sunset.


The Beach by JBR

For some fun in the sun, sand and surf, there are picturesque coastal hotspots to choose from as well and one of the most popular is The Beach by JBR across from the Jumeirah Beach Residences. Easy to reach for those based at a luxury hotel in Dubai just off Sheik Zayed Road, this idyllic shoreline is much-loved by families; you can expect water sports such as banana boating on offer along with play areas for kids, camel rides, and beach cabanas when you need to unwind in the shade. When hunger strikes, you will find dining options too at The Walk promenade that lies opposite the beach.



Shopaholics and fashionistas will have a blast in Dubai where retail therapy abounds. One of the largest in the world, the Dubai Mall is truly spectacular and is home to over 1,000 retailers; it features renowned designer brands, high-street favourites, top department stores and the Dubai Aquarium & Underwater Zoo as well. Equally impressive is the unique Ibn Battuta Mall named after the world-famous Moroccan explorer. Located close to Oaks Ibn Battuta Gate Dubai, the mall features pavilions themed after the lands he visited such as India, Persia, and Egypt; it has a diverse array of shops and dining venues, a trampoline park, a 21-screen cinema and more.


Old Dubai

To get a feel of the city's past, you can head to Old Dubai and wander around its historical areas; these can be found beside the banks of the Dubai Creek on which you can go on a dhow (a traditional boat) cruise too. A key site of interest would be the Al Fahidi Historical Neighbourhood where one will come across age-old buildings made from coral and gypsum, distinctive wind towers and laidback cafes; it's also home to the Sheikh Mohammed Centre for Cultural Understanding that's worth a visit. Don't miss visiting Deira as well to experience souks including the well-known Spice Souk.


Desert Adventures

Away from the modern metropolis, you will find vast stretches of desert that promise more enthralling discoveries. Places such as Bidayer, Fossil Rock and Al Faya Desert are popular for such excursions and are where you can also enjoy the thrills of dune bashing in a 4WD vehicle; you will be expertly driven up and down rolling dunes with plenty of twists and turns too! Depending on the tour package, you can also look forward to quad biking and sandboarding as well as visiting a Bedouin-style camp for a Middle Eastern dinner under the stars.