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Dubai in 5 Days
Though Dubai is known for its glitz and glamour, record-breaking skyscrapers and a plethora of shopping destinations; there’s a lot more that this city has to offer. Shaped by the surrounding desert and the Persian Gulf, Dubai is home to some of the world’s best theme parks, traditional markets, pristine beaches and hidden alleys in the older parts of the city waiting to be explored. If you have 5 days in Dubai and are wondering how to spend it, then check out our 5-7 days Dubai itinerary designed to showcase the best of what the city has to offer.
Morning: Rise and Shine
Begin your day at the magnificent Palm Jumeirah.An achievement unlike any other, Palm Jumeirah is an artificial archipelago off the Jumeirah coast in Dubai. Built out of land reclaimed from the sea, Palm Jumeirah is considered to be one of the poshest locales in Dubai. A walk in the Palm Jumeirah will show you some of the most luxurious homes, hotels, recreational centers, restaurants, and beach clubs. At this modern hub of activity in Dubai, you can also enjoy the world famous Aquaventure Waterpark at Atlantis The Palm, go for a kayak tour of the islands, or simply go for a cruise around the island.The sight of the islands, branching out into the sea is a sight to behold and truly unforgettable.
Good for: Family | Sightseeing | Food
Duration: 2 hours
Afternoon: Time to let out your wild side!
After you've spent the rest of Dubai pootling around the city, you can head for a desert safari in the afternoon. An extremely popular activity amongst visitors to the city, a Desert Safari in Dubai will take you to a camp in the stunning desert that surrounds Dubai. Here, you will be able to participate in activities such as camel riding, dune bashing, sand boarding or enjoy a delicious buffet dinner under the stars. The sheer number of activities that are available at such safaris make them an extremely popular choice amongst those who wish to experience life in the desert, with a dash of comfort.
Good for: Family | Adventure | Thrillseekers
Duration: 3-5 hours
On your second day, head to the old part of the city - the Bastakiya Quarters. Walk amongst charming desert homes that still mimic life as it was in the early days of Dubai. Bastakiya Quarterlies in stark contrast to the insane architectural wonders of the modern world that neighbor it. After you've toured the Bastakiya Quarters, it's time to delve into some water park fun. Make your way to the Palm Islands and enjoy a day full of fun and frolic at the Aquaventure Waterpark - with over 15 rides and slides, rapids, pools, and a private beach. After you've had your fill and caught some rest, make your way to Dubai Marina and enjoy a signature Dubai experience - Dhow Dinner Cruise.
Morning: Feel the Breeze
Begin day 2 with a visit to the old Bastakiya Quarters. Squeezed between Dubai Creek and the Bur Dubai district, Bastakiya Quarter harks back to the days when Dubai was just a fishing village on the Persian Gulf. Saved from the extreme urbanization that Dubai has gone through in the past few decades, the winding streets of Bastakiya are lined with old-fashion wind-towered buildings that have now been converted into galleries and restaurants. Before you finish touring Bastakiya, make sure to visit the textile souk where you'll find some of the best bolts of fabric. Finally, to experience the old ways of Dubai in its truest forms, head to the creek and go for a scenic tour in traditional abra boats.
Good for: Family | Historic Tour | Culture | Sightseeing
Hours: 9:00 AM to 6:00 PM
After you've walked around the old quarters in the sun, you will definitely be looking to catch a break from the heat. An what better place to do it other than the best waterpark in the city. The Aquaventure Waterpark Waterpark is situated on the outer arms of the famous Palm Islands in Atlantis, The Palm Resort. The largest water park in all of the Middle East and Europe, Aquaventure Waterpark is also a multi-award winning a park, having won the “Best Waterpark in the Middle East 2015” on TripAdvisor and “Middle East’s Leading Waterpark 2016” by the World Travel Awards. Awaiting you at Aquaventure are 90-foot slides where you exit into a shark-infested lagoon, lazy riverboat rides and the most famous of them all, Poseidon’s Revenge - dropping you 75 feet before the slide arcs you through a double loop.
Hours: 10:00 AM to 6:30 PM.
Duration: 3-5 hours
Dubai Marina Dinner Cruise
Finally, end your second day with a relaxing dinner cruise in Dubai Marina. One of the most ambitious projects of the past few decades, Dubai Marina is a 3km long artificial canal that was built along the Persian Gulf and has one of the most developed waterfronts in the word. Its banks are lined by towering skyscrapers that form exclusive residences, hotels, malls, and others. Dubai Marina is a spectacle of modern engineering and a dhow cruise is one of the best ways to experience it. These skyscrapers, brightly lit under the night sky and reflecting on the Marina, present an unforgettable sight of Dubai. Cruising in Dubai Marina, you will be able to gaze at the Dubai Yacht Club, the yacht club promenade, Dubai Marina Mall, Sheikh's Boatyard, Jumeirah Beach Residence and parts of the Palm. The dinner on these dhow cruises features a delectable menu of international dishes served in a buffet style.
Good for: Family | Cruises | Food | Sightseeing
Duration: 2 hours
Day 3 of your Dubai itinerary sees you begin your day with an adventure - hot-air ballooning over the great Arabian desert. As you fly 4,000 feet above the desert floor, you'll be greeted with sights that no other place in Dubai can match. Next, bring some calm into your life and head to the Mall of the Emirates. Shop till you drop, catch a movie maybe, or dine at some of the most famous restaurants in the city - you can do it all at the Mall of the Emirates. Finally, as evening approaches, head to Ski Dubai and experience something you never would have expected. Hot Air Ballooning A hot air balloon ride early in the morning and breakfast after - your third day couldn't begin any better even if it tried. Hot Air Ballooning in Dubai has seen its footprints grow steadily in the past few years. Now, a favorite pastime amongst those visiting Dubai, hot air balloon rides have slowly seen their popularity rise from an activity for the indulgent to an activity that anyone can participate in. In Dubai, one can participate in hot air balloon rides that are usually organized in the desert. The comparative flatlands, undulating surfaces and calm winds make for perfect hot air ballooning conditions. Away from the city, the vast expanse of desert land makes for a dramatic and beautiful landscape. Flying 4,000 feet high above the desert ground gives one a fantastic vantage point to view desert on one side and the Persian Gulf on the other with a modern Dubai in between.
Good for: Thrill seekers | Adventure
Duration: 3 hours
Mall of the Emirates
Regarded as the world’s first shopping resort, Mall of the Emirates is home to over 630 international brands that include fashion, department stores, sports, lifestyle, electronics, home furnishing stores and the largest Carrefour in the city. The mall is also home to numerous entertainment experiences. These include Magic Planet, a family entertainment area; a 14-screen VOX Cinemas; the Dubai Community Theatre and Arts Centre (DUCTAC) and the world-famous Ski Dubai, Middle East’s first indoor ski resort and snow park. It also has over 90 international dining and café options. The mall also has two adjoining hotels: the 5-star Kempinski Mall of the Emirates and the 5-star Sheraton Dubai Mall of the Emirates Hotel.
Good for: Family | Shopping | Food
Hours: 10:00 AM–12:00 AM
Ski Dubai is unlike any other park in Dubai or the Middle East for that matter. With temperatures maintained at -2° C, it is easy to forget that you’re in Dubai once you step into Ski Dubai. Located in the Mall of the Emirates and covered in snow all year round, Ski Dubai is a massive space that covers 22,500 square meters. With 5 slopes that vary in difficulty, height and gradient, there is something for everyone here. It doesn’t matter if it’s your first time in snow or you’re a seasoned skier, visitors of all skill levels can enjoy the slopes. The longest run here is 400 meters long that slopes over 60 meters in height. It also has a Freestyle Zone for that fluid in their trade to show off their skills.
Good for: Family | Fun | Adventure
Hours: 10:00 AM - 11:00 PM / 12:00 AM
Duration: 2-3 hours
For those looking to experience more than just Dubai - the 4th day of this itinerary is designed to take you to the capital of the United Arab Emirates and experience two of its most popular attractions - Ferrari World and Yas Waterworld. Ferrari World The best way to spend your fourth day is by visiting Abu Dhabi, the capital of UAE where you can enjoy a day full of exciting and enthralling fun at Ferrari World and Yas Waterworld. From rides that go faster than the average speeds of an F1 car around a track to tasting authentic Italian food, there is something for everyone at Ferrari World. You can race your friends in racing simulators with the most advanced feedback systems or go for a roller coaster ride with the tallest non-inverting loop. You can go for a historic, albeit virtual, a tour of the historic Ferrari factory in Maranello or even learn how to fly. With so much of world-class entertainment to experience, Ferrari World is a must for everyone visiting the United Arab Emirates. Over the years, Ferrari World has been awarded over 14 industry awards and accolades, including the World Travel Awards, heralding Ferrari World as the Middle East’s Leading Tourist Attraction Award in 2015 as well as 2016.
Good for: Family | Children | Fun | Thrillseekers
Hours: 11:00 AM to 8:00 PM
Duration: 3-4 hours plus traveling from Dubai (1 hour)
Over the last four years, Yas Waterworld has been awarded over 17 industry awards and accolades, including 2015 & 2016 Travelers’ Choice Award by TripAdvisor, Second Best Waterpark in the World by LA Times in 2013, and was named Best, Biggest Water Park in the World by Online News Port in 2014. Surf at the world’s largest surfable sheet wave, take the plunge down an epic Slither Slide and pass through wave tunnels on your way down, jump in a six-person water coaster that takes you on a wild ride over twists, turns, rapids, and drops, and, when you’ve tired yourself out from all the adrenaline, sit back, relax and float along the lazy river. From A-list celebrities to UAE locals, Yas Waterworld attracts and entices with its promise to give you the best water park experience you’ll ever get. Good for: Family | Children | Waterpark Fun | Thrillseekers
Hours: 10:00 AM to 7:00 PM Duration: 3-4 hours plus traveling back to Dubai (1 hour)
We've only saved the best for the last. Begin your day with breakfast and a bit of shopping at the second largest mall in the world - Dubai Mall. Next, the most iconic of all Dubai landmarks await you - the monumental Burj Khalifa. End the day with a front row seat of the surreal Dubai Fountain Show. Dubai Mall Relax on your last day before you head over to Downtown Dubai later in the day. If you’re looking for shopping heaven in Dubai or wish to watch a movie, then look no further than the Dubai Mall. Occupying a 12 million sq ft space in the heart of Dubai Downtown, Dubai Mall is the world's largest shopping, entertainment and leisure destination. With over 1,200 retail and dining outlets, there is something for everyone here - from leading fashion brands such as Versace, Alexander McQueen, and Burberry to over 150 restaurants and cafes, the Dubai Aquarium & Underwater Zoo, theme parks for children and an ice skating rink. Situated next to Burj Khalifa, Dubai Mall also affords you the opportunity to stand right next to the tallest building in the world and enjoy the lake’s beautiful fountain show.
Good for: Family | Shopping | Food
Hours: 10:00 AM to 12:00 AM
Duration: 2 hours
The tallest building in the world needs no introduction. With a total height of 829.8 m (2,722 ft), the Burj Khalifa has been the tallest structure in the world since 2008, even before it was finished. Today, it stands tall in the heart of Dubai and can be seen from almost anywhere in the city. No trip to Dubai is complete without visiting the Burj Khalifa. Over 2 million people visit the Burj Khalifa every year, making their way to the highest observatory in the world - At the Top. At the Top Burj Khalifa is an observatory on the 124th and 125th floors of the Burj Khalifa and offers some of the most stunning views of Dubai. The floor-to-ceiling glass walls provide an amazing panoramic view of the city, desert, and ocean from a height of 452 meters! You can even step out onto an open-air terrace to take in the unparalleled vistas.
Good for: Family | Must See
Hours: At the Top Burj Khalifa opens from 8:30 AM to 11:00 PM
Duration: 1-1.5 hours
Finally, round your trip off beautifully by watching a show at the Dubai Fountain, right outside Burj Khalifa. One of the most beautiful light, water and music spectacles in the world; the Dubai Fountain is the world’s second largest choreographed fountain system. Situated in the center of Downtown Dubai, the Dubai Fountain offers a breathtaking show of choreographed water jets that shoot over 100 feet in the air and dance to the rhythms of songs from all over the world. It occupies a stunning space on the 30-acre manmade Burj Khalifa Lake and neighbors the eponymous building. The show takes place every 30 minutes from 6:00 PM and with free access and front row view guaranteed, watching one of these shows is definitely going to be an unforgettable experience.
Good for: Family | Must See Hours: 6:00 PM to 11:00 PM every day
Duration: 1 hour
Now, if you're in Dubai for not just 5 days but 7 or more, you can add the following attractions to your 7 day Dubai travel itinerary:
1. Motiongate Dubai - The only theme park in the Middle East-themed around the biggest entertainment industry in the world - Hollywood, Motiongate Dubai is one of the four theme parks that make up the larger Dubai Parks and Resorts - the largest theme park and leisure destination in the Middle East. The other theme parks situated in Dubai Parks and Resorts are Bollywood Parks Dubai, LEGOLAND Dubai, and LEGOLAND Water Park.
2. LEGOLAND - LEGOLAND Dubai is split into two parks - LEGOLAND Theme Park and LEGOLAND Waterpark. Within the main LEGOLAND complex, there’s also a thrilling Waterpark with rides that both you and your kids can enjoy. Clearly, there’s no better way to beat the scorching Dubai heat than LEGOLAND! Join in on the fun and frolic with your family this summer at LEGOLAND, one of the most popular attractions in Dubai.
3. Dubai Helicopter Tour - From the iconic Burj Khalifa, present in all its magnificent glory, to the striking Palm Jumeirah, a Dubai helicopter tour offers you bird’s eye view of the city like nothing else does. Add your family or friends to this ride of a lifetime and what you get is an experience you won’t ever forget. Clearly helicopter tours Dubai are a requisite tourist experience.
4. Dolphin Bay - Dolphin Bay at Atlantis, Dubai is one of the world's most sophisticated dolphin habitats where you get to not only swim with the dolphins but also feed them and go scuba diving alongside these charismatic creatures. Keeping in-store activities suitable for all age groups, ranging from swim diapers to speedos, Dolphin Bay will add an element of excitement to your trip.
5. Dubai City Passes - A good way to explore Dubai is with the help of a city pass. The two most popular passes in Dubai are the iVenture Card and the Go Dubai Card. Both these passes have been designed to help you keep the expenses down while you explore and experience Dubai with ease. Check out our guide in which we go through the details of each card, outline the difference between them and offer tips on how you can purchase these cards and get the most value for your money.
- Burj Khalifa
- Dubai Frame
- Dubai Dolphinarium
- Glow Garden
- Louvre Abu Dhabi
- City Walk Dubai
- Dubai Safari Park
- Dolphin Bay
- La Perle Dubai
- Dubai Safari Park
- Lost Chambers Aquarium
- Green Planet
- Flying Cup
- Queen Elizabeth 2
- Museum of Illusions
- Dinner in The Sky
- Purchase tickets in advance online in order to prevent queuing up for hours at the ticket counter.
- Evenings are some of the busiest periods at the Burj Khalifa. To enjoy the place in peace, head to the observatory in the morning or after 9:00 PM, when the crowd has lessened considerably .
- Sunsets from the top of the Burj Khalifa are considered a thing of beauty, but they're also the most crowded periods. To catch a sunset from the top, make sure to visit the Burj Khalifa an hour before the sunset.