When we think of Dubai as a tourist destination, everyone has a different reason to visit. For one person, it is to get to see modern marvels like Burj Khalifa, Burj Al Arab, and the Museum of the Future. While for another it might be about exploring the history and culture of the emirate in the Dubai Museum, or Heritage village. Kids would be jumping in joy when exploring the amusement parks such as Legoland, IMG World of Adventure, Motiongate, etc. On the other hand, the youngsters would be thrilled to bits in waterparks like Aquaventure, Wild Wadi, or Laguna. The shopaholics would love to get lost in the alleys of Dubai Mall, Mall of the Emirates, Souk Madinat Jumeirah, or Old souk, the foodies will go gaga over the varieties of cuisines and eateries available in Global Village, Bur Dubai, or Downtown Dubai. From outdoor activities to indoor games, from sandy dunes ride to water sports and underwater adventures, from museums to miracle garden the list of things to do in Dubai is never-ending. If you plan on exploring all known attractions in a few days, that might not be possible. But certainly, we could get to cover and visit some of the most amazing places in Dubai.
Table of Contents
Mall of the Emirates:
By the time we reached Dubai from Abu Dhabi, it was late afternoon. After finishing check-in formalities, we left the luggage in the room and boarded the metro for the Mall of the Emirates (MOE), which was just two metro stations away from our hotel, First central suites. We wanted to buy a drone, and the Virgin Megastore in MOE had the variant we were looking for. This mall is a hot shopping hub for many owing to the presence of hundreds of retail outlets and over 100 restaurants. The main highlight here is the Ski Dubai (UAE’s first indoor ski resort and park), Dreamscape (an immersive VR experience through storytelling), and the Magic Planet (a family entertainment centre that offers arcade games, rides, and simulators – a fun place for all kids).
Our next destination was the most prominent and posh area of the city – Downtown Dubai. Situated at the heart of Downtown Dubai, Burj park has several attractions and architectural spectacles including the world’s tallest skyscraper Burj Khalifa. It would take several hours to cover everything in the area.
Wings of Mexico
Our first point of interest was the Wings of Mexico, a famous metal sculpture of angel wings created by Mexican sculptor and painter Jorge Marin in 2010. With iconic Burj Khalifa as its backdrop, the sculpture represents the artist’s vision of how humans can dream of flying freely breaking their shackles and limits, and relying on desire, belief, and passion. The sculpture has become one of the most photographed landmarks in Dubai. If you are visiting during the sunset, then you might come across a long queue of tourists waiting for their turn to click pictures with the framed wings against the Burj Khalifa. The Wings of Mexico are on permanent display in many other cities like Los Angeles, Singapore, Nagoya, Madrid, and Berlin.
Dubai Fountain Show/Lake Ride/Boardwalk
Located in Burj Lake, the Dubai fountain is probably one of the most renowned performing fountains in the world. This music, light, and visual extravaganza is a must-see thing for every tourist visiting Dubai. At 900 feet in length, shooting water up to 500 ft into the air, illuminated by 6,600 wet lights and 50 colour projectors, coordinated with a mix of contemporary Arabic and world music, this is indeed a splendid show of modern technology.
There are many ways you can enjoy the view of this magnificent fountain show. The most common way is to see it from the waterfront promenade (area at the foot of the Burj Khalifa and along the Dubai Mall). Or from Souk Al Bahar – the modern Arabian souk (where the fountain creates a magical view against the Burj Khalifa). You can enjoy the fountain display for free from both these places. Although it gets extremely crowded at peak hours (7 pm to 11 pm) due to the large number of visitors.
The fountain show timings are:
Daily at 1 pm and 1:30 pm, then from 6 pm to 11 pm every 30 minutes. Each show lasts for approximately 5 minutes.
On Fridays, daily shows start at 1:30 pm and 2 pm, besides the usual evening hours.
Other ways of viewing the fountain have a cost involved but you can get rid of the crowd.
-Take a ride on a traditional wooden Abra on the Burj Lake for an ultimate and up-close experience of the fountain like no other. The ride costs AED 68.25. The abra departs 15 minutes before the start of each show and operates from 05:45 PM to 11:30 PM. The last abra ride starts 30 minutes before closing.
– The Boardwalk – is a 272-meter-long floating platform newly installed at Burj Lake that allows you to get closer to the fountain, giving you a chance to experience the mesmerizing. Show in a completely different way and for just 20 AED. Viewers can reach the boardwalk from Burj Park or Fountain promenade.
Tickets for both Abra and Boardwalk can be booked from the Burj Khalifa official website:
https://tickets.atthetop.ae/atthetop/en-us/booktickets/index/8 or from At the Top, the Burj Khalifa ticketing counter located on the lower ground floor of Dubai Mall.
You can also enjoy the fountain while dining at one of the Dubai Mall restaurants that have outdoor seating over the lake. Also, the fountain can be seen as a bird’s eye view from the observation decks of the Burj Khalifa – At the Top.
After watching two fountain shows (we were so impressed that we couldn’t get enough from one show), we escaped the sea of people to make our way to the Dubai Mall. As an integral part of the Downtown, the Dubai Mall is a destination in itself. With an astounding 12 million sq. ft of total area, it is covering an area bigger than the Burj Khalifa. Or for comparison, it is equivalent in size to 200 soccer pitches. Unlike other malls, this is not just an upscale shopping center but a complete mix of shopping, games, entertainment, fashion, family fun, dining, and, leisure. The fact that the mall attracts nearly 100 million visitors every year, gives an idea of the innumerable things one can see and experience here.
-Shop from any of the 1200 retail outlets, while choosing to dine in from 200 restaurants. For fashionistas, the dedicated Fashion Avenue offers more than 70 luxury stores.
-The center attraction of the mall is The Dubai Aquarium & Underwater Zoo, a 10-million-liter tank that has over 140 species of marine animals. It is among one of the largest indoor aquariums in the world and has a 270-degree acrylic walkthrough tunnel that gives the visitors a chance to get a close-encounter experience with some of the most incredible underwater animals on the planet. The ticket starts from 169 AED.
– A four-story waterfall installation featuring sculptures of diving figures representing Dubai’s pearl fishermen is one of the most photographic spots within the mall.
– Infinity des Lumières is a digital art theatre offering an immersive experience with exhibitions/themes of Van Gogh, Dreamed Japan, Verse & Destination Cosmos. The ticket starts at 125 AED.
– For those interested to learn or trying ice skating, there is an Olympic-size Ice Rink inside Dubai Mall that can host international, competition-standard events. A ticket for a single session costs 110 AED.
– For an ultimate Virtual and Augmented Reality experience head over to the world’s largest VR park. Passes at 200 AED
– For an unforgettable movie experience, you can visit the Reel cinemas
– Take your kids to KidZania, an interactive mini-city for edutainment that combines play with learning in a fun and innovative way. Tickets for adults start at 80 AED and for kids (4-16 years) at 195 AED.
– Enjoy delicious food at any of the themed cafés and restaurants along the promenade, that offer views of The Dubai Fountain and Burj Khalifa in alfresco seating. Or eat fast food at the Dubai mall food court.
The important highlight of our entire UAE trip was getting to visit the most remarkable gathering of world culture as part of the Dubai Expo 2020, an event that would always remain extra special for both of us. As of writing this blog, the Dubai Expo might be history but this phenomenal global exhibition that was held from Oct 1st, 2021 to March 31st, 2022 showed the entire world how innovation, technology, art, and culture together can fight the challenges faced by humanity on a global scale. Although scheduled to start from 20 October 2020 to 10 April 2021, it was delayed due to the pandemic. However, for the six months duration that it was organized, saw an extraordinary success with 24 million visitors from 178 countries. And we were fortunate to have been a part of it. During our visit to the expo, we got to see the pavilions of 50+ countries out of 190 that were part of one of the three districts (named Sustainability, Mobility, and Opportunity), each offering an immersive cultural experience, information, facts, and an idea to discover what makes the country unique. The pavilions, the theme focused on bringing awareness to how we could collectively make the world a better place for the future. visually striking creations, cultural programs, daily shows, parades, hundreds of restaurants/kiosks, participants, visitors, and organizers everyone ensured to truly turn it into the greatest show.
If you visit Dubai, you might not be able to visit the Expo anymore. However, the site of the expo 2020 is getting transitioned into District 2020 which would serve as a smart and sustainable city to live, work, entertain, create and innovate.
If you wish to take a look into the archives from the even then check the official website
Arabian Tea House
We started our day with a wholehearted Arabian breakfast platter at Arabian Tea House near Al Fahidi. This restaurant is quite popular among locals and tourists for its beautiful décor and service that reflects the rich heritage, tradition, and warmth of the Emiratis. The gazebo-style seating set against the earthy-toned wind tower (that once belonged to a pearl merchant) at the entrance, the outdoor seating with those azure blue benches and white cushions, the indoor set up with white rattan chairs, lacey curtains, and beautiful flowers all makes a splendid spot to enjoy your sumptuous meal during any time of the day.
Opened just in 2018 and considered the biggest picture frame on the planet, The Dubai Frame in Zabeel Park is one of the cultural landmarks in Dubai. Just like many other superlative structures, Dubai has once again stunned the world with this mammoth frame built using 2000 tons of steel and 9,900 cubic meters of reinforced concrete. It was then covered in 15,000 square meters of gold-coloured stainless steel. As you reach the top of the frame, you will come across a museum showcasing historical information about old Dubai, Skydeck with a glass bridge representing modern Dubai, and a future gallery that imagines Dubai 50 years from now. With the frame’s ideal location, on one end you can see the historic areas of Deira Creek, Bur Dubai, and Al Karama, and on the other end, you will catch a sight of the glitzy Dubai skyline with some mighty architectural wonders of the downtown. For a moment one can think of this as a window to showcase the emirate’s rich past, its glorious present, and innovative future all at the same time.
You can purchase a ticket for 50 AED for adults and 20 AED for children between 3-12 years.
Dubai Miracle Garden
We might have visited many floral gardens but it’s not every day that we get to walk amongst a garden that has 150 million fully bloomed flowers sculpted into iconic structures in an area spanning 72,000-sq-m. Now, how about seeing an entire A380 Airbus with moving engine turbines covered in 5 million flowers or floral decorated castles, houses, and heart-shaped arch passages? And all these in a land that is known for its hot desert climate. A miracle in the true sense, isn’t it? With several water-saving methods, like reuse of wastewater, drip irrigation, and efficient usage of moisture Dubai has managed to build this garden for 10 consecutive years.
Dubai Miracle garden is certainly a one-of-its-kind attraction that is unmissable. From 3d floral designs, rainbow-colored umbrella tunnels, sunflower fields, and smurfs village to floral parades with live music, photo booths, and multiple dining options make this garden a must-visit place while in Dubai.
Note: The garden is open only during the cooler months from November 1st to March 31st. For adults, the ticket is priced at AED 55 and for children between the age of 3 to 12, it is AED 40.
Dubai Creek Harbour Marina (View Point of Burj Khalifa)
Dubai Creek Harbour Marina in Ras Al Khor is a hidden gem that offers a panoramic view of the Dubai skyline across the creek. This is not listed among the attractions and hence you will find very few tourists visiting here. Being right next to the Dubai Creek Harbour marine transport station, this place is excellent for an evening stroll while enjoying the most surreal sunset. We highly recommend visiting this place before sunset. The Flamingo statues and the parked yachts make up for a great photo opportunity. And it doesn’t cost anything to explore here.
Level 43 Sky Lounge
A trip to Dubai would be incomplete without experiencing its magical nightlife in a nightclub and lounge. From 5-star clubs organizing exotic parties to rooftop lounges with live DJs and great views, Dubai’s nightlife offers a safe yet wild experience. We chose to be a part of the full moon party at Level 43 Sky Lounge. With a dazzling night view of the bustling city and the line of tall towers along the Sheikh Zayed Road, a live DJ, cocktails, great food, and a cool breeze, our Friday night couldn’t have been any better. From this terrace lounge, you can easily view iconic monuments like Burj Khalifa, Burj Al Arab, Atlantis, Dubai Mall, and the Jumeirah coastline. The cover charge is only 100 AED per person which is completely redeemable on food and drinks. The service, ambiance, and affordability compared to other clubs make this our favourite.
Tip: At night it gets very cold and windy, so don’t forget to ask the staff for a blanket.
Who wouldn’t love to enjoy the captivating view of a city skyline known for its towering structures, iconic buildings, and eye-popping architectural designs, especially when you are standing several hundred feet above the ground? For those who want to see Dubai from the perspective of an observation deck, the city doesn’t have any shortage of such viewpoints. From the world’s highest lounge with an outdoor terrace at a staggering 585 meters in Burj Khalifa to the world’s tallest observation wheel at Ain Dubai, from the Palm tower offering a 360-degree view of the palm Jumeirah islands to the world’s highest 360-degree infinity pool suspended 200 meters in the air at Aura sky pool; Dubai isn’t going to disappoint you.
And for all the thrill-seekers, Dubai has now opened another wondrous two-story observation platform that combines a vertigo-inducing transparent glass tube slide between two floors and a heart-pumping first-of-its-kind hands-free walk along the edge of the Address Skyview hotel’s top at 219.5 meters. The uniqueness of the observatory and the glass slide lies in the unobstructed and close view it provides of the Burj Khalifa.
The general admission cost of the observatory is 85 AED for Adults (AED 60 for a child between 4-12 years) which includes a free glass slide from the 53rd floor to the 52nd. Each additional slides cost AED 25.
To reach the observatory you need to take a panoramic glass elevator ride. With this ticket you can walk on the 25-meter glass floor, providing fabulous views of the Sheikh Zayed Road and the tiny vehicles driving below your feet giving a sense of walking in the air. But if extreme heights are not your thing, then it might make you feel queasy. But not to worry, through the large glass panels of the observation floor you can still enjoy the great views all around.
The glass slide will take you through an unforgettable experience. As you sit on a mat grabbing the front grips, with the knees bent in front, and start to descend for that few seconds it feels like you are sliding through the clouds.
The Edge walk general admission costs AED 714. Though priced higher, it is only for the brave-hearted. Get ready to get a bird’s eye view of the city & Burj Khalifa unlike ever before.
For the participants of the slide and edge walk, it is recommended to wear comfortable clothing (no skirts, dresses, no high heels, shoes, or shoes with sharp metal edges).
Dubai Spice Souk
This might not sound exactly like a place to explore on a trip but trust us, the Dubai spice souk is more than just a traditional market (or souk) selling spices and herbs. The finest quality and flavor of the herbs and spices, the burst of colors and aroma, and the sensory experience, make this place worth a visit.
As you hit the narrow alleys of the souk; you will notice a display of large baskets filled with different kinds of kitchen spices and medicinal herbs, dried flowers, incense burners, dry fruits, essential oils, seeds, a variety of tea, etc. The spices here are imported from around the world. We picked some saffron, cinnamons, and rosebud tea. There are even shops selling everyday grocery items, perfumes, sheeshas, artifacts, accessories, and shawls.
Within a striking distance of the spice souk, you will find the Gold Souk, a glittery market with hundreds of stores selling intricate gold jewelry and gems of varying sizes, styles, and designs.
The market is open from 9 am to 10 pm, Saturday to Thursday (with some closing between 1 to 4 pm), and 4 pm to 10 pm on Friday.
Museum of the Future
Termed the ‘most beautiful building on earth’ the museum of the future was opened to the public on 22 February 2022. The ground-breaking futuristic design of the building seems to be of an ‘Eye’ to some extent. The elliptical-shaped building represents mankind; the green hill it sits atop represents the earth; the void symbolizes innovation toward the unknown future. The exterior window panels of the building in the form of Arabic calligraphy are engraved with quotes from a poem by Dubai’s ruler Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum. At a close look, it appears straight out of a sci-fi movie, standing as a sign of innovation, hope, and inspiration among other landmarks.
The building comprises 7 stories of exhibition space, a 3-story podium, F&B deck, auditorium, retail, parking, and services.
When we visited the museum in mid-march 2022, we hadn’t prebooked the tickets online. With so much tourist footfall the entire museum tickets were sold out until 31st March. We couldn’t anticipate this would happen and with a heavy heart had to return from the entry gate of the museum as there were no more tickets.
If you are visiting the museum during peak season then we suggest booking the tickets from MOTF’s official website (https://museumofthefuture.ae/en) in advance. Being a new and most unusual attraction, it gets sold out sometimes a month in advance. So, plan accordingly. The ticket costs 145 AED.
The museum is open daily from 10 am to 6 pm with the last entry permitted one hour before closure.
Burj Khalifa At the Top observation deck
By now we had seen the glorious Burj Khalifa from many different angles and viewpoints. It was time to see the world from the top of it. So, on day 5, our first task was to reach the ‘At the Top’ observation as soon as it opens to avoid the crowd.
There are mainly two observation deck categories you can choose from (https://tickets.atthetop.ae/atthetop/en-us). At the Top, Burj Khalifa gives access to levels 124 and 125 and costs AED 159 (for non-prime hours). At the Top, Burj Khalifa SKY along with 124 and 125th, gives access to the 148th floor for AED 389 (non-prime hours). At level 148 you will be guided by a Guest Ambassador on a personalized tour.
And finally, if you want to reach even higher floors of the building then ‘World’s highest lounge’ located on the 154th floor is where you need to go. It comes with a hefty price tag of AED 759 but you can treat yourself to some house beverages and gourmet canapes while enjoying an immersive experience at a height of 585 meters above the ground.
As we entered the elevator to the 124th level and the doors closed, a 360-degree digital screen inside the elevator started to play a video of its creation. Amazed by the world’s fastest double-deck elevator, we reached the desired level before we could realize it. It took hardly 45 seconds. Stepping out onto the open-air terrace, we first looked around. There was no one. The large glass panels gave a clear view of the world beneath, everything resembled a miniature city model. Even the skyscrapers were seeming so small in size. As we ventured inside the building and gazed through the floor-to-ceiling glass walls, the breathtaking views of Dubai’s skyline, desert, and ocean, awed us at the mightiness of this engineering gem. We used the telescopes for a close-up real-time view of some famous structures in the city.
Note: Like many other observation decks here tickets are available as per prime and non-prime hours. Prime hours mainly are during the sunset or sunrise and usually cost higher than normal tickets. Always check the official website for clarity.
At the Top is open daily from 9 am to 12 am. For any changes in the timing on weekends do refer to the official page once or enquire with the At the Top counter at the Dubai Mall.
Dubai Opera is a multi-format, performing arts center that brings that magic of theatre, magic, and dance under the roof of architectural brilliance. Shows presenting award-winning musicians and legendary Symphony Orchestras to prestigious dance productions, you can witness world-class performances in this cultural hub. The shows start from AED 100 and can be booked from the Dubai opera’s website.
If you are a music and performing art enthusiast and wandering around Burj park, then plan a visit here. Occasionally there are also tours arranged to showcase the backstage and architecture of the venue. Do check the official page for further details.
Unfortunately, when we visited Dubai there were no available dates for the architectural tour or any shows lined up that we could choose. We did not get a chance to see the inside of the Opera.
After coming out of the Burj Khalifa we were quite hungry. We had heard about this cozy instagrammable café named Saya Brasserie in the Citywalk area which was known for its cute pink floral décor, superb ambiance, and tasty food. From American breakfasts to Mediterranean delights, Moroccan hummus to Mexican quesadillas, several starters, and custom desserts; you will find enough on the menu to eat a tummy full. They even have vegan dishes. We loved poltroon fingers (crispy fried chicken), falafel salad, grilled chicken sliders, and the dates pudding with ice cream. The staffs were friendly and allowed us to take some pictures. Although be mindful of the security guards roaming outside the café. The guard thought we were there for a commercial shoot and was questioning us. The cafe manager immediately intervened and clarified that we were just guests taking some personal pictures. (Any sort of professional photography requires permission near the CityWalk complex. So, if you are planning one, check for shooting permission with the authorities). Luckily the café did not have many guests. There is a dedicated photo spot with a stunning floral arch surrounding the pink sofa and lined pink flamingo statues. The fact is the entire café is photo-worthy – the walls, the staircase to the upper level, the food. Indeed, it was a great place that we visited.
Note: If you are with kids, then you might want to check out the Green Planet Dubai, a bio-dome that recreates the enchanting world of a tropical forest and shelters birds, reptiles & sloths. It is located just a 10-minute walk away from Citywalk.
Madinat Jumeirah Abra Ride
Madinat Jumeirah resort is a cluster of 3 five-star hotels (including Jumeirah Al Qasr, Jumeirah Mina A’Salam, and Jumeirah Al Naseem), traditional summerhouses, souks, restaurants, and beachfront hotspots built around a five-kilometer -long artificial canal system that connects different parts of the resort through water taxis (known as abra). The entire resort was designed in a way to recreate the charm of ancient Arabia.
Stay at the resort might be beyond budget for many, but one can still enjoy the cool breeze of the meandering waterways by taking a 20-minute wooden abra ride for just AED 100. If you are a guest of the resort then the ride is complimentary. The ride will be a shared tour. Renting the whole boat for a private tour is AED 850 per hour for two guests.
When we boarded the abra, only a few guests were sharing it. We enjoyed the pleasant ride through the clear turquoise water of the canal. From the boarding deck, the abra slowly made its way into the narrow canal lined with Arabian-style houses with wind cooling towers. The boatman cum guide gave us some trivia and facts about the resort and the surroundings. Towards the end of the tour, he even stopped the boat for a few minutes letting everyone take pictures of the iconic sail-shaped Burj al Arab hotel.
The abra ride is available on Monday to Thursday from 1 PM to 9 PM and Friday to Sunday from 12 pm to 9 PM. It is a fun activity to spend time leisurely during afternoons or at sunset.
Jumeira Public Beach
After roaming around the Souk Madinat Jumeirah for a while we walked towards the Jumeira Public Beach (since all the other beaches that gave a good view of the Burj Al Arab were private). We even tried to reserve a table at Summersalt beach club that has direct access to the beach. Unfortunately, the whole place was booked as it was lunchtime and this place is crazy popular for the great view it offers of the luxurious Burj Al Arab.
The Jumeira public beach is free and a nice recreation area for locals and tourists alike. But the hour we visited, it was packed with people swimming, sunbathing, and playing around. With recent constructions going on even the Burj Al Arab view is blocked. If you are in the mood to put on your swimsuit and jump into the water then this is probably a good spot but for us, it was not appealing. Without spending more time, we took a cab to our last attraction of the day – Global village.
Note: If you enjoy waterparks then wild wadi waterpark in front of the stunning Burj Al Arab, is an ultimate destination that has 30 rides and attractions to try from.
In Dubai, there are theme parks, there are fairs, and expos and then there is ‘Global Village’ – an amalgamation of gastronomy, shopping, culture, fun, and entertainment from countries across the world.
The Global village is an annual event held during the winter months (between October to April) that represents 80 different cultures from around the globe. In its 26th edition, the event hosted 26 pavilions each showcasing its region’s local arts and crafts, national foods, cultural entertainment, and native products. The 24 country pavilions (UAE, KSA, Bahrain, Kuwait, Afghanistan, Africa, Americas, China, Egypt, Europe, India, Iran, Iraq, Japan, South Korea, Lebanon, Morocco, Pakistan, Palestine, Syria, Thailand, Turkey, Yemen, and Russia) brought artisans, entrepreneur, artists, and performers from all corners of the world and offered a unique experience of culture, creativity, and heritage to all the guests. Two other pavilions the Al Sana’a and the Khalifa Foundation displayed homemade and locally produced goods as well as ethnic Emirati clothes, accessories, perfumes, home accessories, etc. 2021-2022 edition was so popular that although it was supposed to end on April 10, the organizers announced four extra weeks to the season and ended it on May 7th, running successfully for 194 days.
Besides visiting the pavilions, we also got to watch some exuberant folk dances and soul-stirring music performances from different countries, the wood crafting and jewelry making by some brilliant artisans and tasted some delectable dishes from global cuisine. For those looking for more, there is plenty in store for you to experience and wonder about. The Kiosk Street (officially renamed ‘Happiness Street’ on International Happiness Day) with its spectacular lineup of international street food kiosks is surely going to leave all the foodies scratching their heads. The carnival section with gravity-defying rides, epic arcade & skill games, and other adventure zones is surely going to light up every kid’s face with joy and excitement. The live shows and concerts on the main stage also bring the whole crowd together making it a hard-to-miss spectacle.
Note: The 27th season of the Global village will commence towards the end of October 2022 and will run till April 2023.
The event usually stays open between 4:00 pm – 12:00 am from Monday –Thursday and 4:00 pm – 1:00 am on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday.
You need not pre-book the tickets. You can easily purchase the tickets on arrival at the venue which costs just AED 15.
Located at the tip of Palm Jumeirah Island, The Pointe is a scenic waterfront destination and viewpoint to watch the iconic hotel Atlantis the Palm. The place offers the best dining restaurants, cafés, and luxury retail and entertainment outlets. The highlight of the pointe is its newly built Palm Fountain, which is currently the world’s largest musical fountain. The place is good if you want to enjoy a dinner with the hypnotizing view of the dancing fountains and the Atlantis or take a stroll by the bay at sunset. It’s best to visit during the evenings as there is nothing much to do in the mornings unless you are looking forward to some water sports or fishing tours.
The fountain show starts at 6:00 PM and ends at 11:00 PM on weekdays. For weekends it lasts until midnight.
There are no tickets required to visit the pointe. A monorail station is soon going to open at the pointe, easily connecting it to some other known attractions nearby like the Lost Chambers, The view at the Palm, etc. We took a taxi to reach our next point, the Lost Chambers aquarium.
The Lost Chambers
If you have ever read the comic books of the DC character Aquaman or watched the film, you would have been familiar with the name ‘Atlantis’ – a fictional kingdom sunken at the bottom of the Atlantic Ocean. The mysteries of this mythical city have inspired many books, television shows, and films over the decades. The Lost Chambers Aquarium in Dubai’s Atlantis hotel reimagines the world of this fascinating underwater city and brings it to life with some 65000 marine animals of more than 250 species. 20+ exhibits of the aquarium let you come close to the precious marine life like never before. From clown fish, groupers, jellyfishes, moray eels, lobsters, turtles, and seahorses to deadly piranhas, sharks, and stingrays, you can observe a range of species here. However, the enormous 11-million-liter ambassador lagoon tank which houses most of the marine animals is the highlight of the entire aquarium. As you walk through the underwater tunnels and halls, the transparent floor-to-ceiling glass panels well-lit in natural light gives you an up-close view of the sea animals inside. Apart from the aquarium displays, you can take part in other immersive experiences. Such as the touch tank lets you touch and feel some of the creatures like starfish and sea-urchins, whereas, the ultimate snorkel and dive discovery offers a chance to see the natural habitat of marine life and experience a close encounter with some of the most intriguing ocean predators in the ruins of the lost city of Atlantis.
Pro tip: once you exit the lost chambers you can take a right turn towards (the east and west towers as we vaguely remember) one particular section of the Atlantis mall where you can observe the lagoon through an even larger glass panel than installed inside the main aquarium. While this section is private and for the hotel guests, with a ticket to the lost chambers the guard will allow you to enter. A lot of visitors are not aware of this part of the exhibit. In case you are not able to find it, just check with any of the mall guards for a direction. Don’t miss to discover this outer part of the aquarium for some stunning photos.
The tickets to lost chambers cost AED 110. The aquarium is open from 10 am to 9 pm every day.
The view of the Palm
Out of all the man-made wonders of Dubai, one that is said to be visible even from the international space station is the Palm Jumeirah Island. While space travel might be a far-fetched dream to commoners and you are unlikely to see the wonder of Palm islands from space; the next best thing you can find is ‘The View At The Palm’. This new public observation deck towering 240 meters above ground, on the 52nd floor of The Palm Tower in Nakheel Mall certainly offers the best view of the iconic artificial archipelago.
The whole tour from the start to finish takes you through an immersive journey that makes your experience worthwhile and unforgettable.
Once you have your ticket, walk through a path with a digital screen made to look like an underwater aquarium tunnel. The domed screen showing the marine life resembles exactly an actual aquarium. You then enter a small room where a guide will explain the creation of the palm-shaped island through an interactive session.
The guests are asked to step on illuminated footstep marks on the floor which then light up and show how the island was created in the sea in different phases. In the next step of your journey, you are allowed to sit in a small theatre (View Exhibition) room that plays a short three and half minute video that explains how this dream island rose from the depth of the sea with the vision of Dubai’s rulers and engineers’ brilliance. The video talks about how the initial plan was to design the island in the shape of a sun and later changed it to its iconic palm tree shape. How it changed the face of Dubai’s coastline and became a key landmark in Dubai’s growth and tourism.
As the video ends, you are guided toward a museum that displays the facts and trivia about Dubai’s early history, the development of the whole project through the years, the challenges faced during the creation of the island, and the engineering techniques, process used.
And finally, after the museum, you take a superfast elevator to reach the viewing deck just in 45 seconds. Even the elevator has a digital projection of the whole ascend to the 52nd floor. The outdoor glass-framed terrace provides astounding 360-degree views of Palm Jumeirah, the Dubai cityscape, and beyond. The Palm Jumeirah with its 17 fronds containing beachfront mansions, the trunk with thousands of apartments, and the crescent with major hotels like Atlantis the palm, Atlantis Royal is a sight to behold. The other end of the deck faces the Marina and city skyline where you can spot the Burj Al Arab, the whole cluster of the skyscrapers including a few architectural marvels such as the twisted Cayan Tower, Marina 101, Princess Tower, and Ain Dubai – the Ferris wheel. There are several transparent stairs attached to the arched glass walls which you can step onto to view the city beneath your feet; not for the faint-hearted though. Use the telescopes to zoom in and see the Palm architectures magnified.
If you want to observe the whole surrounding of the tower beyond the glass walls, then go to the ‘Next Level at the View’ on the 54th level which is the highest point of The Palm Tower and gives an uninterrupted view of Palm Jumeirah, the Gulf, and the majestic Dubai Skyline.
The elegant Lounge (for VIP ticket holders) serves a refined selection of beverages and Arabic sweets & snacks. On your descent, you will find the souvenir shop from where you can purchase some gifts and memorabilia for yourself, your family, and friends.
Note: The observation deck operates from Monday to Thursday from 9:00 am to 10:00 pm with the last entry one before closing. Friday to Sunday Operation hours will be from 9:00 to 12:00 am with the last entry at 11:00 pm.
Tickets for the 52nd-floor cost AED 100 and 158 for non-prime and prime hours respectively. While the fast-track next-level ticket (52nd and 54th floor) is priced at AED 175 and 275 for non-prime and prime hours respectively.
Non-Prime Hours are 9:00 AM to 04:00 PM and from 07:30 PM to closing. Prime Hours are from 04:30 PM to 07:00 PM.
After the mind-blowing experience of the Palm tower, we headed towards the Dubai expo for the second day two explore a few more country pavilions. And later in the evening, for our dinner, we went to an amazing terrace restaurant that has a majestic view of the museum of the future.
This was our last night in the glamorous city of Dubai and without anything planned we thought of looking for some restaurant or cafe that could give us a picture-worthy view of the museum of the future. We were already upset to have missed the opportunity to see the newest and most beautiful attraction of Dubai from the inside. However, after a lot of research also we could not find any place that would catch our attention. Luckily, we met a fellow traveller and photographer on our trip to Abu Dhabi who knew about a lot of hidden gems in the UAE.
We enquired with him and he suggested to us a cafe cum restaurant called Leen’s located in Emirates Tower. We did not hear about this place earlier but upon checking the pictures on google the restaurant looked quite promising. So, we instantly decided to go there for a dinner.
On reaching there we realized indeed this gourmet restaurant is a perfect point that gave us an up-close and magical view of the MOTF. The signature interior, the vibrant dishes, the passionate staff and the urban look of the Leen’s echoed their concept which stated ‘Casual to Gourmet’. The finest gourmet restaurant welcomes you without a dress code and on their menu, you can find cuisines from across the world. They have 4 other branches across Dubai and Abu Dhabi. We tried their veggie maki, prawns gyoza, and chicken & mango salad along with some cocktails. The food was worth every bite.
Forever Rose Cafe
On our last day, although our flight was late in the evening around 9, we did not want to do any sightseeing or activities. Rather we spent the whole morning and afternoon lazing around the hotel pool. For lunch, we visited a quirky café in box park that has been developed with the idea of 2d drawing and a storybook theme. Although the brand originated in London as a premium floral and gifting boutique, in the Dubai branch they recreated the concept in a café setting. When the food is served on white plates, it just amplifies the whole appearance of the dishes against the monochromic illustrations of the interior and furniture. Besides the all-day dining, serving sumptuous quick bites, mains, pastries, desserts, and classic beverages the Dubai branch also sells rose perfumes. This was a great and delightful ending to our whole UAE trip. Around 4 PM we left our hotel and headed for Sharjah airport to catch our flight.
If you are still planning your Dubai trip and looking to know more about the emirate then read part 1 of this blog here.
To read about our itinerary of Abu Dhabi you can click here.