Got a two day layover in Dubai but don’t just want to see the highlights? Then this is the perfect post for you. There is so much to see and do in this city but most ‘things to do’ posts will only give you those modern and touristy highlights. The things you already knew about before even Googling Dubai. Today I thought I’d share with you an alternative itinerary for two days in Dubai which includes some of those touristy highlights (because they are popular for a reason) as well as a few alternatives which will show you another side of Dubai.
If you only have 1 day in Dubai then I’d recommend following everything in the day 1 itinerary, knowing there is more to see and do will only give you another reason to book a layover here.
08:30 Dubai Museum
You’re welcome to head out earlier but let’s be honest you are on holiday and probably arrived quite late last night or even some time this morning. Before you even get acquainted with those skyscrapers let’s take you to old Dubai. The Dubai that existed before they found the oil and started making crazy amounts of money. Your first stop should be Dubai Museum where you’ll learn all about the history of this city, either take a taxi here or grab the metro to Al Fhaidi and walk over.
9:30 Arabian Tea House
I would imagine you’re pretty hungry by now or at least in need of a cool drink. Head down the street to the Arabian Tea House where you can share an amazing traditional breakfast plate and indulge in the most amazing Moroccan mint iced tea. It is a lot more charming on the inside so don’t be fooled by the outside.
10:30 Al Fahidi Historic District
While you’re here take a wonder around the Al Fahidi historic district and enjoy the courtyards full of street art and traditional buildings with wind towers. This area will probably make a lot of sense to you having been to the Dubai Museum already.
11:15 Madinat Jumeriah
Grab a taxi or metro then taxi and head to Madinat Jumeriah. Here you’ll find a modern souq, not quite the same atmosphere as a real one but equally no one shouting at you and trying to dress you in fabric. The souvenirs available here are said to be some of the best quality so if you are after something now is the best time to get it. Make sure you wander along the canals outside and catch those amazing views of the Burj al Arab. Finally, before heading on sit down for lunch at one of the many spots here. Pai Thai and Meat co are suppose to be amazing although rather pricey, if you are after a cheaper option Costa does a pretty good salad and has some of the best views of the Burj al Arab.
15:00 Dubai Mall
If you haven’t already thought about leaving then its about time to head to the next destination. Dubai Mall is the biggest and best in Dubai and worth a visit if only to see how big and ridiculous it is (oh and enjoy some of the oh so lovely ac). Dubai Mall is also right next to the Burj Khalifa so you’ll be in perfect place for the next part of the day. If you take the metro here be prepared for a rather long walk to the mall, actually the whole walk around the mall is rather long too…
17:00 Burj Khalifa
Head to the top of Burj Khalifa using those pre-booked tickets you cleverly booked prior to this trip. 5pm is the perfect time to head up top because it’s the last ‘cheap’ ticket before sunset prices start and you can stay as long as you like once up there. This slot gives you the chance to watch as the sun dips into the ocean and the city turns it’s lights on. Get to a window at o’clock or half past to watch the fountains dance below.
20:00 Dinner by the Fountains
Now that you’ve had your fill of high buildings and amazing views, it’s time for some more amazing views with dinner by the fountains. There are many restaurants dotted along the waterfront and many you’ll recognize as international favourites. For a change and something delicious I’d recommend the lebanese restaurant Wafi Gourmet. Ask for a table outside no matter the temperature – they have air con machines outside to keep you cool.
21:30 Dubai Fountains
Before heading back to your hotel be sure to catch a display of the fountains up close, you’ll want to get to the edge of the water five minutes before the show starts.
Grab breakfast at your hotel or a nearby cafe to fuel you for your second day.
9:00 Jumeriah Mosque
Head down to Jumeriah Mosque either via metro and then taxi or taxi all the way. They run a tour at 10am, 6 days a week (you can’t go on a Friday) and open the mosque to non-muslims, the only mosque in Dubai to do so. You’ll get a welcome tea or coffee and a little snack before heading over to the mosque. They’ll provide you with cultural dress and then give an informative talk about the Islam religion and allow you to ask any questions.
11.30 Dubai Marina and JBR Walk
It’s time to see another part of Dubai. The Marina is a modern part of town with a cool promenade called The Beach. Here you’ll find lots of restaurants, pop up food trucks and of course a beach. Grab some food at one of the many outlets – seriously you’ll be spoilt for choice here.
13:00 The Beach
Spend the afternoon chilling on the beach, you can rent a sun lounger or fancy bed instead of lying on the sand. There are even towels and showers available so that you don’t have to pack a wet towel later that evening.
17:00 The Brass
I’d be amazed if you spent that long on the beach, especially if you visit in summer but everyone needs a little chill time on holiday right? If you can’t last that long, Dubai Marina Mall is a good place to shelter from the heat. Still it’s time for a little pick me up before the evening commences. Grab an iced coffee and enjoy the interior of The Brass, it is like the most Instagrammable cafe ever.
18.10 Dubai Ferry
Head over to the Marina Ferry port, just down from the mall and purchase tickets for the one way ferry to Al Ghubaiba, it’ll be ready to board around 18:20 and you’re in for a treat on this cheap boat ride. For an hour and a half, sit back and relax as you watch the sun go down and trundle up the Dubai coast to Bur Dubai. You’ll spot icons like The Palm, Burj al Arab and Burj Khalifa.
20:15 Dinner in Deira
Now back on dry land and in Bur Dubai it’s time for dinner. You can either head to one of the creek side restaurants visible from the ferry port or grab a taxi over to Deira. Choose from Al Tawasol (the cheaper option) or The Shabestan (the fancier option), both serve middle-eastern food.
Have you been to Dubai? What would you add?
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