If I were to visit Dubai again, I would have planned some things differently. Our first two days in Dubai we spent frantically running from one activity to the next, not fully aware of what we really want. So it is our third day in Dubai and now we are finally in track and I’d like to share some experiences and recommendations.
First day should start with a city tour. We did an evening tour with Book Dubai Tour for about $110 USD (plus tip for the driver) which suited our needs perfectly. The tour gave us a quick overview of the city and we got to see places we would never have seen on our own.
From there, one can easily figure out what site one wants to explore in depth. For us it was Burj Kalifa, Madinat Jumeirah, and Palm Island. Ironically, we already went to Burj Kalifa and went up top. We went during daylight so we missed out on the fountains, which was fulfilled during city tour. We also went to Madinat Jumeirah to the Madinat theater and the Gold souk. Now we definitely have to come back there again.
The second day I’d go to Abu Dhabi for an all day tour, to see the Sheikh Zayed Mosque and do some sightseeing around the city. During the tour we were left at the Ferrari World Center for an hour, which would have been a complete waste of time, have we not found and amazing restaurant Al Fanar, serving Emirati cuisine. I especially recommend Samak Tanoor which is served with a large plate of basmati rice, as well as arabic coffee.
Day 3 I’d spend in the desert, doing some sand dune bashing, riding camels and enjoying some barbeque at the beduin camp setting. Sand bashing was by al’ means the highlight of our trip. Wear comfortable clothing, suitable for camel rides and sitting on the floor. Oh, and they do serve alcohol at the camp!
The rest of the days
I would dedicate to in depth exploration of the sights favorited during Dibai city tour and in the evening exploring some dining options.
I highly recommend not eating around the hotels in JBR, as the food was mediocre, overpriced and the atmosphere was lacking. The only two places I liked were Lebanese restaurant (name starts with J) off Al Mamsha road and Emirati restaurant Seven Sands. I became quite a fan of Emirati cuisine during our stay:)
There is also an amazing restaurant I want to point out – Local House restaurant in the Old Dubai, right next to the Dubai Coffee museum and in the proximity to Meena market and an abundance of the local shops. They serve a variety of burgers: camel, buffalo, ostrich… you name it. As well as amazing milk shakes made with camel milk. The burgers are around 50-60 dirhms and the shakes 30-35, based on what milk they are made with.
After dinner we had a cup of coffee at the Dubai Coffee museum, which was truly amazing. It is a must see place if you are a fan of coffee.