And then there’s the Dubai shopping festival that runs from the end of December until the end of January each year, packed to the brim with events, fireworks displays and bargain shopping deals. Dubai is great to visit the major part of the year but be wary of sandstorms in the summer (March – June) and avoid visiting during the holy month of Ramadan when most food & beverage establishments are closed during the day. Most corporate travel incentives to Dubai are for 3-4 nights. Read on to discover some options that travellers from your company or your channel partners will appreciate you having included in their itinerary.
There are multiple carriers operating direct flights from all major Indian cities including some two tier cities to Dubai. Indians travelling to Dubai need to apply for a visa in advance. All major airline carriers have the option to apply for a tourist visa through them when you fly with them. Also, all travel agencies can obtain a visa for you as well. There’s no dearth of accommodation options in Dubai. All the major hotel brands and even some local hotel brands have really good hotels there and for the majority, their service is quite exceptional.
When you’re in Dubai, you will notice a tall skyscraper hugging the sky. This is the famous Burj Khalifa, which is, currently, the tallest building in the world with a height of 829.8 (2,723 ft) meters and 160 storeys.
I would strongly recommend a visit to the observation decks on level 124 or level 125 (456 mts.) & 148 (555 mts.). You can find some additional information on the ‘At the top, Burj Khalifa experience’ here and you can purchase tickets for your visit in advance as well. You should note that ticket prices vary depending on the time of day and the level you choose to visit.
One arrives here through the Dubai Mall and whilst you’re here, take in some of the other attractions like The Dubai Fountain or the Dubai Aquarium & Underwater Zoo. A complete listing of all the attractions is available here.
The other two buildings on everyone’s selfie bucket list are the Burj Al Arab, a super luxurious hotel located on Jumeirah beach, and Atlantis The Palm, another super luxurious hotel, located on the crescent of the largest man-made island in the world, The Palm Island.
Atlantis has a host of activities and attractions like the Aquaventure Park and The Lost Chambers Aquarium. They also offer diving and a chopper ride for that unbeatable aerial view of Dubai city. The complete listing is on their website here.
Another good water park is the Wild Wadi Waterpark over on Jumeirah beach near the Burj Al Arab hotel.
You’ve probably heard of the Dubai Creek. This river divides Dubai into two parts – Deira & Bur Dubai, the former being the newer part of Dubai. One can see the colourful dhows lining up to ferry passengers and cargo across the creek.
You will also notice these boats. These are floating banquet boats and are available for charter to host a gala dinner. One can also buy a ticket on a scheduled cruise that would include dinner and would also have a bar. These cruises on the Dubai Creek offer travellers an opportunity to view the new and old parts of the city while sipping on a cocktail and enjoying some music.
In 2003, the Dubai Marina, an artificial canal city, was built along a 3 km stretch of the shoreline and there are dinner cruises that sail from here too. But I would personally recommend the ones at Dubai Creek.
Another ‘not to be missed’ experience is the desert safari.
The Dubai Desert Conservation Reserve is the biggest piece of land which Dubai has dedicated to a single project. This reserve was created for the conservation of the natural desert habitat and heritage and is the UAE’s first national park. Select operators have been given permission to conduct thrilling journeys deep into the heart of the DDCR, driving through spectacular dunes and dramatic desert terrain. Here, you can explore the unique desert surroundings in a four-wheel-drive or on foot with the help of a safari guide, enjoy a number of traditional Arab pursuits under the instruction of trained experts. Amongst the most popular are falconry, camel treks, horse riding and archery; or experience the modern day thrill of sand-skiing. At sunset, you can experience a traditional dune dinner in a comfortable Bedouin encampment and dine on grilled meats, fresh salads, Arabic sweets and selected beverages. You may also wish to enjoy the aromatic shisha, or have your hands painted with intricate henna designs, while being entertained by a belly dancer accompanied by Arabian music. Source: DDRC official website
Moving on to some retail therapy in Dubai! Known for its comparatively lower prices for gold and traditional modern jewellery designs, Dubai is a haven for shoppers of this precious yellow metal. The Dubai Gold Souk located in the heart of the Deira commercial business district has over 300 retailers and the quality is strictly controlled by the government. One can also shop for souvenirs here. Another place to go shopping for souvenirs, garments and other knick knacks is Meena Bazaar, a market favored by locals.
Then there are the malls – I’ve already covered the Dubai Mall earlier. The Mall of the Emirates is where one heads to indulge in the indoor ‘Ski Dubai’ experience. The Global Village is another thrilling mall experience famous for its 7D theatre, Fantasy Land theme park and the various shows that are hosted here daily. Finally, there’s the Ibn Battuta Mall which has been designed drawing inspiration from the travels of Ibn Battuta, who set out at the age of 21 to explore the world and visited 6 countries, namely, India, China, Andalusia (Spain), Egypt, Tunisia and Persia (Iran).
I do hope you have a splendid time visiting Dubai and if you do have some time, do make a trip over to Abu Dhabi, which is only 2 hours away, and visit the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque and Ferrari World.
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