What to do in Dubai in 3 days?
Dubai is one of those places that we have to see one day, it is impressive everything they have done in the middle of the desert and how they have managed to attract so many people through the architectural wonders that they have built here.
Although it is a place that is worth visiting, for me once is enough, unless you are a person who likes shopping, here you will be in paradise. Although I do not consider myself within that classification of compulsive buyers, its geographical location and the large airlines such as Emirates and Etihad, which are based in Dubai and Abu Dhabi respectively, have made me visit the United Arab Emirates 3 times.
What to do in Dubai in 3 days?
This is what I did in Dubai during my most recent visit where I had 3 days to explore the city.
For me, the first stop should be the Dubai Museum.
Located in Old Dubai it can be our starting point to get to know and understand the country we are visiting. The ticket costs less than $ 1 USD and it’s really worth starting here.
In the markets along the creek, there are endless souvenirs and local things that catch your attention. At the end of the market is the pier of the “Abra”, this small traditional boat that has been used since the 50’s to cross the creek.
We board our “Abra” that only costs 1 Dirham ($ 0.25 USD) and takes us to the other side of the river. There is the Mercados de Especial (spice souk), where you can quickly get lost among the locals that sell all kinds of spices for cooking, if you don’t cook, they also sell typical sweets that are delicious! Further on is the Mercado de Oro (gold souk) that although I knew I was not going to buy anything, it is worth seeing.
In the afternoon, we head to the Dubai Mall, the perfect place to cool off with the air conditioning.
Something mandatory that you have to do when you are in Dubai is to climb the tallest building in the world: Burj Khalifa. So we did, we went up to the 124th floor to admire everything that man has done in the middle of the desert. Awesome!
When leaving, we decided to have lunch/dinner outside the mall, to admire the famous Dubai Fountains, which are directly connected to the shopping center where there is a line of restaurants, at the base of the Burj Khalifa.
Without a doubt, it was the best way to end the day.
Dubai Museum and Abra Ride Image Gallery
One of the most popular experiences that Dubai has to offer is the Desert Safari Dubai. And it is something that I highly recommend, since personally if it were not for what you learn as a child such as the scarcity of water, camels, and sand, I would not know anything else. The desert is awesome! And the most important thing is that it is something part of the local culture.
On previous occasions I have done the Safari at night, which is the most popular, in which they take you in 4 × 4 trucks through the dunes, and later in a camp in the middle of the desert there is a typical show with dances and dinner. I have been 2 times, and I have not been a fan. Of course there are very luxurious companies whose show is quite a show.
So now, we did the Day Safari, it was breakfast. The truth seemed to me an excellent option, because most of the people the only thing they want is to have a photo riding a camel, or in the desert. So we left for the desert at 8 am in an ATV. We rode a camel, of course we took a million photos. And then we did the ride through the dunes, where they whisk you through the sand mounds, making the ride total fun, almost like you were on a roller coaster.
By 12 noon, we were back at the hotel. We shake off all the sand, bathe, and get ready to continue walking.
The last time I was in Dubai, I had dinner at the famous candle-shaped hotel Burj Al Arab. The truth was a great experience, full of luxuries and details. However, the view from the restaurant at the top of the hotel, did not allow to appreciate beyond the lights, which was a total waste.
The First Time of Afternoon Tea is Champagne with dates.
I really wanted to return to this hotel, and I tell you that they do not allow you to enter unless you are a guest, or have a reservation in one of the restaurants. This time, we decided to go to the famous “Afternoon Tea”, it starts at 4:00 p.m. and consists of 7 times. I’m going to write an in-depth review and you can read it here.
It was actually a very nice experience, although it is expensive $ 170 USD per person, they are things you do once in your life. We admire the scenery from above, including the World Islands and Dubai Palm Island, as well as the beaches and other buildings in the city.
The best of all, is that we also had to appreciate the sunset, so we saw all the skyscrapers that were seen in the distance turn on their lights.
How To Book Your Desert Safari Dubai
Desert Safari Dubai Image Gallery
I know this is a very expensive option, so instead of going to the hotel. I would go to the Jumeirah public beach, it is located a few steps from the Burj Al Arab, and from there you can capture very good shots with the iconic hotel. Also, you can spend a very pleasant afternoon on the beach.
Leaving the Burj Al Arab, we went to another of my favorite areas: Dubai Marina.
We used this place simply to walk and admire the peculiar buildings, since we did not have anything specific to do, we were hyper full of everything we had eaten during the “Afternoon Tea”.
All we did was follow one of the local practices, in a cafe we sat down and smoked a watermelon-flavored shisha, which although I don’t smoke, was a good way to end the night.
No First Visit to the United Arab Emirates is complete without Abu Dhabi City Tour
Although Dubai gets most of the attention, Abu Dhabi also has things to offer. So the last day after breakfast we left for the capital of the UAE. It is about 1 hour of driving.
The main attraction is the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque, you can’t miss it!
We arrived at the mosque, which I found a bit more accessible to tourists than in previous years. Now the entrance is more flexible, and in case of not wearing conservative clothes and especially women who are well covered, they will lend you an Abaya and a Shaya right there, a special suit to respect their worship.
We stayed here for several hours, it is so big and majestic, that you can easily stay 2 hours in what you walk, take many photos, enter to know, or do a tour. So you can calculate half a day for your visit.
Best of all, admission is free! You don’t have to pay a single penny to visit the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque, and the tours are also free, you just have to find out the schedules. Here is all the information.
Leaving the mosque, we headed straight to the most iconic hotel in Abu Dhabi. One of the only 7-star hotels in the world: the Emirates Palace.
And this hotel is the equivalent of the Burj Al Arab in Dubai, it is hyper beautiful and luxurious! Here you can enter and walk through certain areas of the hotel without paying absolutely anything.
Many people who visit this hotel tend to drink the famous 24K Cappuccino Coffee with Chispas de Oro, which costs nothing more and nothing less than $ 15 USD. I of course did not buy it 🙂
If you are a car lover, you definitely have to visit Ferrari World. It is the theme park of the prestigious Italian sports car firm, and it is quite an experience.
I in particular was delighted, all the attractions have to do with cars. Although it is a small park compared to the Disney ones, it is a covered and heated park.
Outdoors we can only find a couple of roller coasters, like the Formula Rossa, which is the fastest in the world, or the Reto Fiorano, which is one of my favorites of all.
We returned to Dubai to enjoy our last night in the city, so we decided to return to the Dubai Mall, and walk through the famous aquarium that is impressive.
Keep in mind that most shopping centers close at 1 am, so there is plenty of time to continue walking.
We also enjoyed once again the Dubai Fountains, which are honestly my favorite thing about Dubai, just watching them dance to the beat of Andrea Boccelli kills me.