A honeymoon is supposed to be relaxing, full of leisure, romantic gestures, seeing impressive landscapes, as it’s a celebration of passion and love. Fortunately for us, we found all these in our recent Dubai trip. So why did we choose Dubai? There’s plenty to do here, we heard many people say. This dynamic metropolis in the Middle East focuses big time on tourism and it holds so many of the world’s records. Because of this, it’s known as the “city of superlatives.” Dubai has the world’s largest mall, the tallest building, the largest fireworks display, the longest driverless metro network, largest man-made island and more! No doubt, we were in for a spin. 🙂
Our seven-day itinerary (which includes a day-tour in Abu Dhabi) was fully packed and there’s little time for reflection. It’s funny that I truly realized how wonderful Dubai really is when I started reviewing our photos and videos on our way back to Manila. If you’re considering to travel to Dubai or stopping by for a few days, here are 12 places to consider.
Top 12 Tourist Attractions We Visited in Dubai for Our Honeymoon
1. Burj Khalifa
Pardon my ignorance but I often got mixed up at first between Burj Khalifa and Burj Al Arab. These just sounded too foreign for my comprehension! 😛 After reminding myself of their difference (which by the way is huge), I found that it’s not really too difficult to learn what and see where Burj Khalifa is at. It’s the tallest building, the tallest free-standing structure, with the highest occupied floor, highest outdoor observation deck, and tallest service elevator in the world! From anywhere in the city center, we would always see it.
At level 24 (452 meters), we had a chance to take a closer look below through avant-garde high-powered telescopes and step out onto the public outdoor observation terrace overlooking Dubai’s ever growing skyline.
At level 25 (456 meters), we saw a stunning 360-degree view of the city. Going to the top is worth every dirham. Pre-booking tickets online is highly recommended, so you’ll pay less than half the price of an immediate entry ticket during non-peak times. There’s too many tourists at the time of our visit. We waited almost an hour to ride the service elevator! Together with The Dubai Fountain, it’s been rated by international tourists as their favorite attraction in the UAE, according to the latest Arabian Falcon Holidays, AFH, survey of 1,212 respondents in 2017.
Burj Khalifa has redefined what is possible in the design and engineering of supertall buildings. By combining cutting-edge technologies and cultural influences, the building serves as a global icon that is both a model for future urban centers and speaks to the global movement towards compact, livable urban areas.
It’s surprising that Dubai intends to build an even taller tower which will be completed by 2019. Jeddah Tower is now under construction. At about 1 kilometer, it will be the tallest structure standing 180 m (591 ft), another culturally significant icon that will symbolize the nation’s wealth and power.
2. Dubai Fountain in Dubai Mall
Located next to Dubai Mall and Burj Khalifa, the Dubai Fountain is the world’s largest choreographed fountain system set on the 30-acre man-made Burj Khalifa Lake. It consists of a 275-meter long central arc of jets, joined to a smaller arc and five circles of jets.
The show is completely free of charge. Our guide recommended us to arrive at 6pm so we could ensure a good spot. The performance began as soon as the sun set at around 6:30pm. We waited at the second floor of the Dubai Mall, just outside The Apple Store. The powerful jets shot water sprays in harmony with the song “Hero” by Enrique Iglesias. The entire spectacle was amazing! The fountains were synchronized to the music perfectly. The colors added an extra wow effect.
We spent half a day touring the old part of Dubai. One of the most distinct areas is the Bastakiya District, a part of the city that has retained its traditional atmosphere. Located in Al Fahidi, it leads to a neighborhood with rich heritage and culture experience.
Narrow alleys, artistic designs, colorful memorabilia and antics, spices, and a lot of souvenir shops fill the space. It was like going back in time, after being exposed to Dubai’s skyscrapers and modern sights on the other side. We spent half an hour here walking around the maze of buildings and felt that it’s a good reminder of how Dubai was like not so long ago.
4. Dubai Museum
Bastakiya is home to many galleries, guesthouses, and centers for arts and culture, but it’s also where the Al Fahidi Fort (built in 1787) or now so-called the Dubai Museum is housed. It is the oldest existing building in the city. The museum was beautifully restored in 1993 and it offers a fascinating historical insight into Dubai’s heritage, showing wax-figure life-size dioramas that exhibit the everyday life in the days before the discovery of oil. It’s just too dark inside so it was hard to take photos.
In any case, this place is a must-visit especially if you love seeing artifacts and learning about the transformation of Dubai from a coastal village of pearl seekers to the extremely sophisticated multicultural mega city it is today.
5. Jumeirah Beach
We had a short stop to Jumeirah Beach, a public beach with Burj Al Arab at the background. Our tour guide brought us here specifically only to take a good view of the stunning 7-star hotel, the world’s most luxurious. People say that the best times to come here are from 5pm to 7pm so you’ll be able to witness the breathtaking sunset. I can imagine! The beach looked long, wide and clean. There are some facilities available for rent such as volleyball nets and lounge chairs and chargeable activities like paddling, surfing, jet ski, and diving. This beach is perfect for a lazy weekend chill to swim and get a tan. ☀
6. Desert Safari
If there’s one thing you can’t miss when in Dubai, it’s the Desert Safari. The safari drivers are all professional and have a passion to give a thrilling ride. The experience was enticing as the vehicles climbed the heights of the sand dunes and then came crashing down the slopes with all its speed. Honestly though, it wasn’t the best for us since we prefer a smooth-sailing ride as much as possible. The drive took more than an hour and continued to the desert where we quietly alighted from the car and watched the sunset.
A few moments after, we went to a campsite where we had the opportunity to wear traditional costume (free rental), ride a camel, meet other tourists, watch Arabian belly dancing, tanoura dance, and fire shows, and take more photos. For dinner, we were quite satisfied with various food items from the buffet stations.
7. Dhow Cruise
The Dhow Dinner Cruise tour is a good way of touring Dubai’s major landmarks by cruising along the Dubai creek aboard a traditional decoration wooden dhow. It’s one of the best ways to experience the glittering magnificence of Dubai Marina. The lower deck was fully air-conditioned. It was great that we were seated on the open-air upper deck to feel the fresh air. The night was breezy, so unlike the burning temperature at daytime.
We set sail at 8:30pm and docked back at the pier at 10:30pm. In two hours on-board, we had dinner under Dubai’s illuminated skyline in nighttime lights while viewing modern architecture and landmarks left and right. The buffet consisted of international cuisine and complimentary mineral water.
8. Miracle Garden
Dubai Miracle Garden is one of the greenest attractions in UAE. The garden spreads over 72,000 square meters, making it the world’s largest natural flower garden. It features over 109 million flowers planted, with flower displays that bloom into the shapes of hearts, stars, igloos, pyramids and even the World Record largest plane–Emirates Airbus A380 covered entirely in flowers!
The quirky layouts, heart-shaped pathway, and floral houses look interesting unbelievably good, but my favorite attraction has to be the gigantic Mickey Mouse at the center. Super cute! 💐 Another thing that stood out for me was the teddy bear.
We admired all the beauty in an hour. If you’re going in the morning, don’t forget to wear sunglasses, sunscreen, and a hat. Enjoy the scenery and the peace, don’t rush. There are plenty of cafés inside.
9. Global Village Dubailand
Global Village wasn’t originally listed in our itinerary but it was highly recommended by our tour guide. We visited in our free time and glad it didn’t disappoint.
It’s the first family destination for culture, entertainment and shopping in the region. Why is it special? Global Village has 27 pavilions representing more than 75 countries with different cultures. If you’re curious to know how it’s possible to see a glimpse of Turkey, Japan, Oman, China, London, India, Iraq, Africa, Pakistan, Egypt, and others at one time, this is the place to be!
Hundreds of exhibitors in the pavilions feature and showcase their country’s handicrafts, food, tradtional clothes, accessories, artworks, and more. Expect to find all sorts of shapes, lively colors, textures, and scents and see the world come together. Plan your trip accordingly! It can take more than two hours to completely explore this place. Restaurants offering different cuisines are available, also unique to each country.
10. Aquaventure Waterpark
Aquaventure Waterpark is the best waterpark in Dubai. It was great that we were among the first people to enter early in the morning since the queue piled up soon afterwards. We brought our swimming attire, towels, and all but chose not to swim because we couldn’t take the heat of the sun and adrenaline-pumping record-breaking rides are not really up our alley.
We took our own pace and went over to all the stations though. Without having to get into the water, we saw the sharks, rays, dolphins, and sea lions, too. The rides look thrilling especially for the kids and the kids at heart. Make sure to try Poseidon’s Revenge and Leap of Faith if you want to test your courage and say you made it!
11. Lost Chambers Aquarium in Atlantis, The Palm
After having lunch at the Kaleidoscope Restaurant which was also located in The Palm, we entered Lost Chambers and saw many different marine species swimming in a gigantic indoor aquarium. It’s the largest aquarium in the Middle East and Africa. We made the most of our time in the underwater tunnels which serve as an immersive experience into a lost civilization of ship wrecks and ruins. We sat on the floor for a few minutes and watched radiant reef fish, seahorses, rays, sharks and countless other creatures swim, including those in the vast Ambassadors Lagoon.
What makes this place extra special is that it is themed around the mythical, lost ancient city of Atlantis. Interactive touchscreens are available for visitors to find out more about the species in the chambers and gaze transfixed at the vast Ambassador Lagoon, where hundreds of tropical fish and other sea life waft through the waters.
12. Dubai Frame
On our last tour day, we went to another amazing latest iconic architectural landmark in Dubai: the Dubai Frame. It’s the world’s largest picture frame! At first glance, I thought it was just a huge frame. I was surprised that there’s actually things inside: a gallery on the ground floor and an observation deck on the top floor which allows visitors to see the best view of both old Dubai (such as Deira, Umm Harare and Karama) and new Dubai (such as Emirates Towers and Burj Khalifa).
While you’re there, get ready for a dizzying sky walk at 150 meters high glass floor. We confidently walked on it from one end of the room to the other end – many times! The glass floor is 48 floors above ground. The glass panels switch from translucent to transparent as we walked over them. You can see the raft foundation of the structure and parts of Zabeel Park underneath.
After the tour on top, we went down the elevator and were led to the mezzanine where we were told the story of the development of the city and a presentation of everything related to Dubai. Next, hologram projections, mist effects and smells took us on a journey back to Dubai’s past. The Future Gallery depicts Dubai 50 years from now into the future by creating a virtual metropolis through interactive projections and virtual reality technology. It was inspiring, educational, and exciting!
7 days was more than enough time for us to explore the highlights in Dubai. People here are very diverse, so getting a feel of Dubai’s richly woven tapestry of culture is a huge part of the overall experience. We had an awesome time as well during our free time when we visited Dubai Mall, Festival Mall, IKEA, and Mall of Emirates.
After conversing a lot with our tour guide and from experience, we learned that Dubai isn’t exactly a backpacking-friendly city. Everything is expensive except for gas because the city has plenty of oil reserves. Food and drinks cost a fortune, compared to rates here in the Philippines or countries in Asia we’ve been to. Most of the attractions require an entrance fee so it’s best to make the most it! 🙂
We stayed in DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel in Al Barsha and if you’re wondering whether or not we had a good stay, check out my review here.
This tour was booked via Aerostar Travel and Tours. It’s a travel agency based in the Philippines which provides tourism services with both local and international packages. If you’re interested, contact them at (632) 683 0959, (632) 910 0339 or send an email to email@example.com (Shangri-La Branch) or
firstname.lastname@example.org (Robinsons Galleria Branch).