Burj Al Arab at the beach

Interesting Facts & Top 10 Things To Do in Dubai Before/After a Cruise!

The Palm man made Island in Dubai

Are you going to Dubai in the United Arab Emirates for a Cruise or are you flying to Southeast Asia for a River Cruise or an Ocean Cruise?

Then why not fly in a few days early to acclimatize and enjoy a stay in modern Dubai to get a close up look at it’s:

-famous sail-shaped seven-star Burj Al Arab,

-it’s surreal man-made island developments such as The Palms and The World

-the skyscrapers of Sheikh Zayed Road

-the world’s tallest tower building- the Burj Khalifa with its head way up in the clouds

…and so much more!

These are excellent reasons to make Dubai a pre or post cruise stop for a Myanmar (Burma) River Cruise, a Vietnam & Cambodia River Cruise, or any Cruise that starts/ends somewhere that causes you to fly over Dubai!

Dubai has many more attractions making it a G-R-E-A-T place to sight see, get used to the time difference from home & to recover from the long flight & climate change. (especially if coming from colder climates)

We spent 3 nights here after our Myanmar River Cruise with AMA Waterways so we compiled a list below of the…

…Top 10 Things To Do in Dubai:

1. Visit Burj Khalifa during both the day & night. Take in the sunset from her tower & watch the fountains show anywhere from 6pm-10pm… although you can’t see it below, these fountains are like The Bellagio’s in Las Vegas but on steroids… as is the building! 🙂

Burj Khalifa Skyscraper in Dubai, United Arab Emirates

Burj Khalifa Dubai fountains

2. Buy tickets for the Big Bus Hop On Hop Off. This is the BEST way to see Dubai as all the attractions are spread out in the city & it’s not a walkable city at all. Plus, the bus includes bottled water & a Dhow Cruise! We did it and highly recommend it!

3. Visit, marvel and shop the Dubai Mall (go even if you are not a shopper), it’s the biggest mall in the world… can you believe this hockey rink is INSIDE in the mall:

Dubai Mall skating rink, Dubai
4. Take a Private Abra (water taxi) ride on Dubai Creek or even a dinner Cruise to see old Dubai!

5. Visit the Gold & Spice Souks/markets and do some window shopping… but not between 1-4 as they are usually closed:

Souk Gold & Silk Dubai
6. See the Burj Al Arab two ways. Buy a pricey lunch ticket (click the link for more info) or take a snapshot from the beach next door (best spot) like we did:

Burj Al Arab at the beach
7. Walk about Dubai Marina. You can wander around the Marina District for hours. A great place to have a bite to eat and enjoy fantastic views.

8. Visit Palm Island & The Atlantis Hotel (below). The hop on hop off bus will take you there.

Atlantis Hotel Dubai

Inside Atlantis get a ticket for The Lost Chambers Aquarium, well worth the price! Here’s Nancy enjoying some rather large fish, Shawn had to drag her out of there eventually :-):

lost chambers aquarium Atlantis Hotel Dubai
9. Take a picnic to Safa Park. It is home to three lakes, over 200 species of birds, and 16,924 different trees and bushes. We highlighted (red arrow) the Dubai Mall in the map below so you could picture where the park is relative to this major site:

location of Al Safa Park
10. Visit Jumeirah Mosque. It is located in the city and is said to be the most photographed mosque in all of Dubai. For good reason. Look at this puppy, isn’t she gorgeous?

Jumeirah Mosque Dubai

If you are making your stay in Dubai longer than 2-3 nights, consider doing any of these fun excursions:

  • Go to the Skies! There is no better way to take in Dubai and its audacious initiatives than from a helicopter or seaplane. Check out Seawings.ae, Helidubai.com or alphatoursdubai.com to arrange it prior to your visit.
  • Take a Desert Safari in 4X4 vehicles. You’ll spend a day in the desert with a private guide, enjoy a camel ride, a BBQ dinner and more! We wished we were there longer to do this.

 Interesting Facts About Dubai:

  • Burj Al Arab is the world’s most luxurious hotel.
  • Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, the ruler of Dubai thought up the idea to build The Palms and The World which are man made Islands located in the waters of the Persian Gulf, 4 kilometres (2.5 mi) off the coast of Dubai, United Arab Emirates.
  • There is no income tax or sales tax in Dubai.
  • Temperatures can reach highs of 48°C or 118°F in summer months.
  • The Tallest building in the world is the Burj Khalifa at 830 meters high. The second tallest building in the world is Toronto Canada’s CN Tower at 553 meters high in comparison.
  • The tallest hotel in the world is the JW Marriott Dubai. (we stayed here and would recommend it)
  • The most expensive piece of land in the world is located in Dubai which includes the Burj Khalifa.
  • Dubai’s oil accounts for only 7% of their revenue despite what many may think. Dubai is a global hub for tourism, retail, and finance.
  • UAE (United Arab Emirates) national dress is called Kandura for men and Abaya or Burqa for woman and they come in many colors.
  • The national tree of the UAE is the date tree.
  • In Dubai alcohol is available but only at hotels.
  • 30% of Dubai’s population is made up of expats.
  • Dubai taxis and buses are “very” cheap to get around.
  • Shawarma is the most available food item on almost all streets in Dubai. It is the Arabic equivalent of the Burger.

What You Should Know BEFORE Visiting Dubai:

Be mindful of the beliefs, customs & laws in Dubai before you visit. Although Dubai is a relatively relaxed Arabic city, you should know:

-Alcohol is acceptable to drink by foreigners in certain licensed hotels, etc. (it’s not served in a restaurant at the mall for example as it’d be at home) but if you were to get in trouble with the law while under the influence they will not be forgiving.

-Revealing clothes are unlawful to an extent. When in public, both men & woman should wear garment to just above the knee and ensure your shoulders are covered.  Dressing conservatively would be best while visiting.

-Kissing, holding hands and showing affection in public is not allowed and can warrant jail time.

All that said, we are BIG proponents of respecting the culture and not expecting things to be as they are at home, otherwise what would be the point of going, right? So please go to Dubai and have a fabulous time, we certainly did, but just be mindful of the fact that you are not in North America, Okay?

Now, don’t forget… be sure to fly there a few days early to adjust, get jet-lag free & refreshed by the time you start your Cruise…. we cannot express how important that is to your health and for your FULL enjoyment of your upcoming cruise!

If you have any questions about a cruise including Dubai or an Asia River Cruise or Ocean Cruise- you know who to call. 🙂

We appreciate & look forward to hearing from you!

Nancy & Shawn
Your Trusted Cruise Experts!

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