Dubai is a city known for luxury shopping, ultramodern architecture and a lively nightlife scene. Burj Khalifa, an 830m-tall tower, dominates the skyscraper-filled skyline. At its foot lies Dubai Fountain, with jets and lights choreographed to music. On artificial islands just offshore is Atlantis, The Palm, a resort with water and marine-animal parks
Palm Jumeirah is one of the largest manmade islands in the world and a triumph of human ingenuity. Locals and tourists alike flock to The Palm's vast array of high-end hotels –Waldorf Astoria, Fairmont, One&Only, Jumeirah Zabeel Saray and, perhaps most notably, Atlantis, The Palm. Getting here is simple, thanks to the monorail running down the 'trunk', which connects to the mainland's tram system. You can also stop by for a quick pick-me-up at the food trucks lined up along the Palm Boardwalk, or make a meal of it at The Pointe that presents idyllic sunset views by the seaside.
Dubai may be known for all things glam, but the city also has a rich culture to explore. Modern developments have added a contemporary touch to old establishments, of which Dubai Creek is a fine example. Located in the heart of the city, this saltwater estuary is the original site where the Bani Yas tribe established their first settlement. The waters at the Creek were vital for what used to be Dubai's main forms of economy: pearl diving and fishing. Today, the area is awash with the history of the emirate. Visit the labyrinthine alleyways of the gold, spice and textile souks, to experience Dubai like a local. While at the Creek, a traditional abra ride is a must. At an unbelievable AED1 per ticket, it's easily the best value tourist attraction in the city.
The Dubai Fountain
Located at the base of the iconic Burj Khalifa is the world's largest choreographed fountain display, where powerful jet streams soar as high as 150m in the air and sway in time to musical numbers. Stop by in the evening when displays begin at sundown and take place every 30 minutes, until the final song plays at 11pm. Diners can also sit back and enjoy the show at an array of restaurants lined up at The Dubai Mall or Souk Al Bahar, both commanding prime positions near the fountain arena.
Al Fahidi Historical Neighbourhood
The Al Fahidi Historical Neighbourhood in Bur Dubai is one of the oldest neighbourhoods in the city. Best seen on foot, this area offers nostalgic views of a bygone era with traditional windtowers and a maze of winding alleyways, positioned along the historic waterways of Dubai Creek. Visit Sheikh Mohammed Centre for Cultural Understanding (SMCCU) to appreciate local culture with Arabic classes, heritage tours and guided mosque visits. After exploring, take an atmospheric abra boat ride to the souks on the other side of the creek.
IMG Worlds of Adventure
Unlimited fun, excitement, speed, and 5D entertainment – you can expect it all at IMG Worlds of Adventure. This enormous theme park is the same size as 28 football pitches put together. With the most up-to-date and exciting rides, IMG Worlds of Adventure brings your favourite characters to life. Give your little ones the best time with rides featuring Ben 10, Gumball, the Powerpuff Girls, and LazyTown, while older kids can delve into the world of Spider-Man, Hulk, Iron Man, Thor and The Avengers.
The Dubai desert
Less than 20 minutes drive from the modern streets of Downtown Dubai, lies the mystique-filled Arabian desert. Go on a Dubai-style desert safari, complete with thrilling activities such as quad biking and sandboarding. Those looking for luxury can try the Heritage Dinner Safari by leading tour company Platinum Heritage. From the unforgettable offroad drive in vintage 4x4s to cultural fun with henna painting and camel rides, and a feast of local cuisine under the stars, it's an only-in-Dubai treat.
Alternatively simply drive out for a desert adventure by yourself at the city's best camping spots. Want to stay a little longer? Treat yourself to an unforgettable night amid the dunes at Al Maha Desert Resort & Spa or Bab Al Shams Desert Resort & Spa.