What is the best way to see Dubai in one day?

Paul Brady

Seeing Dubai in one day is like taking a simultaneous trip through history and the future. Forbes Travel Guide’s editors suggest starting with an early wake-up call, indulging in the big breakfast spread at your hotel then hitting the old quarters of the city before the heat gets too fierce. A short abra (water bus) ride across the Creek is a photo-friendly reminder of Dubai’s port history; the souks of Deira and Al-Ras will just be getting started for the day during your visit, making this a good time for more relaxed browsing.
Hop on the spotless metro back toward the Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC), one notable home to the city’s blooming arts scene and a number of worthwhile galleries. From there, look for a late lunch in the now-trendy Marina district or at the Mall of the Emirates, where high-quality options abound, including an outpost of New York cult favorite Shake Shack. The mall is also home to Ski Dubai, the irresistibly over-the-top indoor ski slope. (If you don’t want to ski, there’s an adorable penguin program that’s very kid-friendly.)
In the evening, freshen up from a hot day and have a drink at your hotel bar before visiting Ravi’s, a famed Pakistani joint in the Satwa neighborhood – your cabbie will most certainly know it. For a nightcap, reserve a table at At.mosphere, the 123rd-floor bar at the Burj Khalifa, and watch the city twinkle below.

  • On May 26, 2013
    Ankur Bagga answered the question: Ankur Bagga

    What are the best Indian restaurants in Dubai?

    Amal/Armani housed in the iconic Armani Hotel, Burj Khalifa is by far the best Indian restaurant in Dubai! That is my personal opinion and shared by many. I fondly call it the best Indian restaurant outside of India! The restaurant not only boasts of contemporary and immaculately presented gourmet Indian cuisine but also of the most spectacular view of the Dubai Dancing fountains in Downtown Dubai! In 2013 Amal/Armani was bestowed with the title of Best Indian restaurant by TimeOut Magazine!

    My second and third chocies would be Signature by Sanjeev Kapoor in Melia Hotel, Dubai and Indego by Vineet Bhatia at the Grosvenor House respectively.
  • On May 26, 2013
    Ankur Bagga answered the question: Ankur Bagga

    What is public transportation like in Dubai?

    Public Transportation in Dubai is growing at a very steady pace. With the introduction of Dubai Metro(the first driver-less metro system in the region) it has taken Dubai's public transportation system to a whole new level. The metro is very well connected between the 'Old' and 'New' Dubai and it also adds a seamless connection between the main tourist spots and the corporate/business areas. Dubai Metro is on an expansion phase and will soon connect the missing dots(areas). Besides the metro the most common mode of public transport is taxis by RTA. The taxis in Dubai are aplenty and governed, controlled and tracked by the government's transport body, Dubai taxis are safe, easily accessible and reasonable. One insider tip to remember is that the very famous mono rail on the palm is only for the Palm Jumeirah Island, for now! It does not connect to any metro and goes no further than the Palm Island, a misconception borne by many travelling to the city!
  • On May 18, 2013
    Ankur Bagga answered the question: Ankur Bagga

    What is nightlife like in Dubai?

    As a globe trotter and a night life enthusiast, I can sincerely vouch for the fact that Dubai is home to one of the most eclectic night life experiences I have ever come across. From the flamboyant Cavalli Club and entertaining Cirque Du Soir to favourites of celebrity spotting clubs like Movida and People by Crystal, Dubai has something for everyone's palate.

    With newly opened venues like the Music Hall and The Act to add to the evening experience scene, Dubai is unstoppable when it comes to having a good night out!

    Major franchises like Blue Marlin, Cafe Del Mar, Mahiki, have found their second home in Dubai!

    For the avid concert goer, Dubai is right at the top when it comes to hosting a gig of world class calibre. The most poular ones being Sandance at Atlantis The Palm, Dubai joining the budding concerts like Atelier Music Festival, Music X and individual artist events.

    If lounging around and enjoying a meelow evening  is your thing, then personal recommendations would include Nasimi Beach, Atlantis The Palm, Dubai 360 at Jumeirah Beach Hotel, 101 at One & Only The Palm, Karma Kafe, Souk Al Bahar, Buddha Bar, Grosvenor House, to name a few.

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  • On May 18, 2013
    Ankur Bagga answered the question: Ankur Bagga

    What are the best fine-dining restaurants in Dubai?

    The best fine dining restaurants in Dubai on personal experience would be:

    - Ossiano, Atlantis The Palm, Dubai(Please see description for one of the most romantic restaurants in Dubai)
    - STAY by Yannick Alleno - Fine dining with a twist. Located in the classy One & Only The Palm, Dubai
    - Refletts par Peirre Gagnaire - Fine dining restaurant by renowned Chef Pierre Gagnaire located in Intercontinental Hotel, Festival City
    - Zuma, DIFC - A very popular fne dining eatery specialising in Japanese cuisine. Equally busy lounge area buzzing with regular guests at the weekends.
    - Gaucho, DIFC - The best Argentinian dining experience in Dubai
  • On May 18, 2013
    Ankur Bagga answered the question: Ankur Bagga

    What are the most romantic restaurants in Dubai?

    For a romantic evening in Dubai, you will be spoilt for choice. Some of the best options for a memorable romantic evening would be:
    - Ossiano, Atlantis The Palm, Dubai - The Ambassador Lagoon with 65,000 marine animals adorns the back wall of this under water themed sea food speciality restaurant. With the soothing sounds of Salha and The Million Dollar band, it is a dining experience to remember.
    - Pierchic, Al Qasr, Madinat Jumeirah - With a stunning view of the resort, this award winning seafood restaurant is located on the Pier just off it. Ticks all the boxes!
    - Karma Kafe, Souk Al Bahar - Nominated as one of the most romantic restaurants in Dubai by Time Out Magazine for 2013, this restaurant overlooks the Dubai Fountain while serving some delectable Pan-Asian fare.
    - Amal, Armani Hotel, Burj Khalifa - One of my personal favourites and by far serving the best Indian food outside of India, thsi restaurant overlooks the entire length of the Dubai Dancing fountain and offers some stunning views and an extremely memorable dining experience. If the time is right, the terrace table is the way to go!
  • On May 18, 2013
    Ankur Bagga answered the question: Ankur Bagga

    What is the one must-do activity when visiting Dubai?

    Depending whether you are travlings as a couple or with family or friends, this can be very relative. A personal must-do activity when visiting Dubai will be Sky Diving over Palm Jumeirah for th emost breath taking view in the world! If you are travelling with a family and everyone cannot indulge in a sky dive, a desert safari with a barbeque at the camp site will be on top of the must-do list! As a couple, I would be inclined to recommend either an aerial tour of Dubai, by helicopter or a sea plane and alternatively a cruise on a yacht to take in the main sights with a different yet memorable view!
  • On May 18, 2013
    Ankur Bagga answered the question: Ankur Bagga

    What are some things to know before visiting Dubai?

    Dubai is an ever growing land of opportunity and experiences! It is also very deeply sown with it's culture and heritage and expects the deserved respect for the same. A very famous adage, 'Respect the law of the land' is aptly befitting to Dubai. Some key things to remember before visiting Dubai:
    - Dress comfortably but yet conservatively, especially in 'Old Dubai' and public places like malls, etc
    - Public Displays of Affection are not well received and should be avoided
    - Public drunkenness is frowned upon and results in immediate arrest if the authorities observe
    - Driving and traffic laws are very strict coupled with huge fines and/or arrest
    - Drinking and driving is a huge criminal offence resulting in arrest, fine and deprotation with a ban to re-renter the Emirate
    On a lighter note:
    - All evening entertainment like bars and clubs close sharp at 3 am if not earlier.
    - Taxis in Dubai are very efficiently controlled, montiored and tracked in case of any rare fraudulent fare transaction, lost items or a general complaint. Always remember to ask for a receipt and keep the same on you fir any future requirements.
    - Dubai Metro is well connected and is the most recommended mode of public transportation
    - You can haggle your way to a great bargain on a variety of items especially in 'Old Dubai', Gold Souk, Textile Souk and Karama. Again, a very entertaining and money saving experience.
    - Most importantly, come with an open mind, embrace the culutre and heritage of this magnificient city and enjoy every moment of it!
  • On May 18, 2013
    Ankur Bagga answered the question: Ankur Bagga

    What are the best attractions in Dubai?

    Again, a tricky question as Dubai is packed with attractions for all ages and tastes! Some of my perosnal favourites would be:
    - Aquaventure Waterpark and Dolphin Bay at Atlantis The Palm, Dubai. Aquaventure is the largest waterpark in Dubai and Dolphin is the only place in U.A.E where you can get up, close and interact with a Dolphin. That is an experience like no other!
    - Dubai Autodrome is also a personal favourite and recommended for the thrill seeker. Only place in Dubai where you can indulge in a high speed track day in a choice of cars including an Audi R8, Audi TT, Subaru and even a F1 Style Single Seater. The adjoining Kartdrome has one of the most exciting kart tracks I have ever experienced!
    - For families, Dubai Mall, the world's largest shopping mall hosts not only the Dubai Aquarium where you can dive in the fish tank without any experience or certification but also Sega Republic, an indoor theme park, Kidzania, a city for kids run by kids and to top it all an indoor ice skating rink. Where else, but in Dubai!
    - Another favourite attraction not just for travelers but also locals is Ski Dubai at Mall of Emirates. An indoor Ski Slope with a plethora of activities like chair lift rides, coffee shop at the summit of the ski slope, a giant zorb ball and now, even a penguin interaction!
    - One of the new places to visit and remarkable in it's own right is the Miracle Garden, an 80,000 sq.ft eco-tourist destination hosts 45 million flowers in more than 60 colours and various themes.
    - Some of the must-do attractions/activities to make your trip to Dubai complete would be: a Desert Safari with a Barbeque Dinner, Dune buggy or quad biking in the desert, a hot air balloon ride over the desert, At The Top, Burj Khalifa, a helicopter or sea plane tour of Dubai to name just a few!
  • On May 18, 2013
    Ankur Bagga answered the question: Ankur Bagga

    Where can you get the best view of Dubai?

    Ok! That is a tricky question, especially for Dubai! Like I mentioned in one of my previous answers Dubai is the epitome of a photo-opp! It is the land of 'best views' one can ever experience and I am not just saying that, come see for yourself! not in any order of preference and I am sure I am missing out on a lot, but some of the best views in Dubai would be as follows:
    - The view of Palm Jumeirah, the largest man-made Island in the world. Enjoy this view by acquiring a high floor Palm View room at Atlantis The Palm, Dubai!
    - The spectacular view of the Gulf of Arabia and Jumierah from either the Sky View bar, Burj Al Arab and/or a high floor Ocean View room at Burj Al Arab
    - The breathtaking view of Dubai from 'At The Top' Observation Deck, Burj Khalifa, the tallest building in the world. TIP: If you time it right and book online well in advance you can enjoy one of the best sunset views in the background of a dramatic dancing water fountain 124 floors down! Alternatively, a table in At.Mosphere, the highest restaurant in the world also offers enviable views along with a record breaking dining experience.
    - If you want more than one best view of Dubai, I would highly recommend a helicopter or a seaplane tour of Dubai by air, and a yacht trip to cover Dubai Marina, Palm Jumierah, Jumierah and the World Islands by sea
    - My personal favourite is Sky Diving over Palm Jumierah for the most amazing view ever!Not for the faint hearted!
  • On May 18, 2013
    Ankur Bagga answered the question: Ankur Bagga

    Should visitors rent a car in Dubai?

    Unless you are travelling with a passion to discover the charms of United Arab Emirates, just for Dubai I would personally, not recommend renting a car. However, if you are seeking adventure and fun that is a different story altogether. Dubai is well known all over the world for it's adrenaline rushing qualities especially when it comes to cars! Not many places in the world have made it this easy for a sports car enthusiast to indulge in driving a Ferrari 458 or even a Lamborghini Aventador. That I would certainly recommend, not for touring around but just for the thrill of it. One for the bucket list! On the other hand, if you are the person I mentioned in my opening line, Dubai and it's neighbouring Emirates have a lot to offer and discover once you are on the road and in control.