The United Arab Emirates has come a long way from being a sleepy sea trading post in the desert. These days, you cannot talk about glitz, glamour, opulence and sky scrapers without mentioning this ultra-modern country.
The jewel in the crown of this 7-federation country is Dubai; a tourist’s dream. Spread over an area of 4,114 km2, with a population of over 3 million (most of whom are expats), Dubai is chock-a-block with some of the tallest, glitziest buildings and attractions.
At the same time, this city retains a connection to quaint, simpler times with museums harking back to its roots and heritage.
Long ignored as a destination for travellers, Dubai is fast catching up and making a name for itself as a world-class travel destination.
Dubai is now home to jaw-dropping buildings, sky-diving venues, Hollywood movie locations and some of the biggest, most extravagant shopping malls in the world. This guide will show you how to be use 48 hours in Dubai: A 2 Day Itinerary for Dubai.
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The Best Time to Visit Dubai
Travelling to Dubai and not bringing along sunscreen is like going to London and not bringing an umbrella. There will be plenty of sun, there’s no denying it. If you can’t take the heat, then Dubai probably isn’t your cup of tea, especially in the summer.
Visiting Dubai in summer can save you a considerable amount of money in the accommodation area, as the rent drops down drastically during those months. However, it can be incredibly hot, so you either need to consider yourself a tough cookie who loves the heat or stick to indoor adventures.
That being said, the weather cools down significantly by the end of October. So, the best time to come to Dubai is between November and February. This is the period when Dubai is literally teeming with outdoor activities.
A visit to Dubai in winter will guarantee your money’s worth and you can pack in a lot of stuff in a small amount of time.
Things to Do in Dubai
The Dubai Mall is reputedly the largest shopping mall in the world. Whatever you’re craving, you can bet your bottom dollar you’ll find it there.
With more than 1,200 shops, you can’t go wrong here. Be sure to look out for shopping festivals where top of the line brands clear their shelves with unbelievable discounts and sales. There are plenty things to do in Dubai in 2 days.
A visit to the Dubai Mall isn’t complete until you stop and witness the Dubai fountain, which puts on a free dazzling show.
There is a show after every half hour, from 5 pm all the way till an hour before midnight. Once you’ve seen the fountain show, take a walk around and look at the breath-taking buildings, none more so than the Burj Khalifa.
During the winter, seeing the top of the Burj Khalifa disappearing into the clouds is an unforgettable sight. Getting to see the whole city laid out before you is also possible if you buy a ticket for the 124th floor of the building.
There are two type of entrance tickets; the non-prime ticket costs AED 135 and the prime-entry ticket costs AED 210.
Places to Visit in Dubai
The Jumeirah Mosque
The Jumeirah Mosque is the only religious building in Dubai that allows non-Muslims to enter. No wonder then that it’s also the most photographed. Built in 1976, the mosque borrows architectural designs from Syria and Egypt.
It’s one of the top places to go in Dubai. The mosque is operated by the Sheikh Mohammed Centre for Cultural Understanding.
Tours of the compound cost AED 25. It’s advisable to wear clothes that cover the knees and arms and a scarf for the head, or national attire can be borrowed upon arrival.
If you get on the red line at the metro, you can get off at the ADCB station. From there, you can take the C10 bus which drops you off at Dhiyafa 1.
The mosque is only a walk of 650m from there. Or if you prefer, you can just take a cab from the metro station to the mosque, which should not cost you more than AED 20.
Sky Diving Above Palm Islands
If you’re a fan of the Mission Impossible movies, then you cannot miss sky diving over the Dubai skyline. For adventure junkies, the panoramic view of the Palm Jumeirah as you sky dive from the back of a plane has got to be one of the most riveting experiences ever.
Here in Dubai, you can tick that off your bucket list. Depending on how much you’re willing to cough up, you can either land in the desert or at the Palm. The former will set you back by AED 1699 while the latter costs AED 2199.
The full package for either dive includes digital photos of the entire experience plus an expertly shot video. It’s advisable to book your dive well in advance, though.
You can get to the drop zone at the Palm by taking the red line metro to Damac Properties. From there take the T1 tram and get off at Marina Towers.
Where to Stay in Dubai
For travelers sticking to a budget in their 2 days in Dubai tour, there’s the option of living in a hostel which you can explore through hostelworld.com.
The living is very spartan, but it gets you in the right mode for a global nomad. You can hang out with fellow travellers and exchange notes on the do’s and don’ts of 2 nights in Dubai what to do.
Airbnb is another option for finding Dubai accommodations. For those who prefer a good night’s sleep and value where they get to rest, Dubai has options which suit all sorts of travellers.
A mid-range hotel should cost you anywhere between AED 200-400 per night, depending on how early you book it and the time of the year. We have also written an extensive guide on Where to stay in Dubai.
How to Get Around Dubai
Dubai has one of the longest and most efficient metro system in the world, so getting around Dubai cheaply if fairly simple.
A one day ‘NOL pass’ can be bought at any metro station for AED 22, and provides free and unlimited rides on the city’s metro, bus and tram system. You can even top it up in case you run out of balance.
If you want to exercise while taking a Dubai city tour, you can book a bike online and cycle all over the city. For AED 30 you can rent a bike for three hours. There’s a new jogging/cycling track known as the Jumeirah Corniche where you can cycle along the coast from Burj Al Arab all the way up to Jumeriah Mosque.
The Dubai hop on hop off bus route takes you on a fun-filled tour of downtown Dubai sightseeing. You can see the Dubai Mall, Opera District and Burj Khalifa. A day pass for the trolley costs AED 20. Children under the age of 12 are free of charge.
Tours to Do in Dubai
Sometimes it’s hard to imagine that the metropolis of Dubai was once a desert. However, that fact is one that’s a source of local pride. In fact, no trip to Dubai is complete without a desert safari experience.
There are enough to choose from, but make sure that the company you choose is a reputable one with good online reviews.
A good safari tour will pick you up from your Dubai accommodations, and will employ Dubai travel guides who are comfortable speaking in English. The most recommended desert experiences are the Sunset Dune Dinner Safari and the Desert Dune Buggy Driver.
Prices vary from company to company, but you can expect to pay around AED 315 per person, on average. However, if you want to experience driving in the sand dunes on your own, that will cost you AED 730, provided you have a valid driving licence.
A Dubai stopover is a popular way to see the city. Although in no way a complete and comprehensive itinerary, we’ve put together a two day Dubai itinerary with some of the best things to do in Dubai.
Dubai Itinerary Day 1
When thinking of places to visit in Dubai, there’s no better way to start off your mini tour than by visiting the iconic Burj Khalifa. Book in advance to avoid the long lines.
There is something for everyone at the largest shopping mall in the world. If you plan in advance, you can find great discount deals and offers from big brands.
A visit to the Dubai Mall isn’t complete without watching the fountain show. The day and nighttime shows are two totally different and equally amazing experiences. Don’t miss out on the longest dancing fountains in the world.
Be dazzled by visiting the famous gold shops in Dubai. Wonder at the intricate artistry and the unending rows of gold on display.
Get a taste of old Dubai on a water taxi journey trip along the city skyline. The water taxis show the old trading routes of the boats and connect Diera and Bur Dubai. A basic ride will cost you AED 1. You can even charter a boat if you want a more exclusive Dubai sightseeing experience.
Dubai Heritage and Diving village
The heritage and diving village is situated next to the creek and is a throwback to simpler times. It is perfectly preserved example of how the city used to be. Step back in time and experience a traditional Emirati locale on your Dubai city tour.
If the test of any city is the quality of its drinks, then Dubai is top notch. Have a drink at the highest restaurant in the world. Located at the 122nd floor of the Burj, Atmosphere offers a view of the whole city spread out below as you enjoy a fancy cocktail.
Dubai Itinerary Day 2
Get more of the old Dubai by visiting Bastakiya, which shows what a local Dubai neighbourhood looked like. The mud thatched buildings have been well preserved with distinct wind towers or ‘barjeels’ as they are commonly known. The old-school buildings are still being used as souvenir shops, cafes, boutique hotels and museums.
Sky diving or jump on a helicopter
Get your Ethan Hunt on and jump off a plane over the beautiful Palm Jumeriah. You not only get to make memories for life, but you will have the photos and video to prove it. If this is too scary for you, perhaps take a ride over Dubai in a helicopter.
Understand the religion of Islam as it is worshipped by Muslims all over the world. See the mosque from inside and marvel at the architecture. Achieve something substantial by appreciating a different religion.
Cap off your whirlwind Dubai city tour by kicking back and relaxing at the beach and having a drink at the Barasti Bar. You can lounge inside or outside on the wooden deck and listen to the live music playing almost all the time.
Recommend budget tours in Dubai
- Dubai Desert 4×4 Dune Bashing, Sandboarding, Camel Riding, Dinner
- On Air Dinner Adventure in Dubai
- Full-Day Tour of Abu Dhabi City From Dubai
- Dubai Helicopter Tour
- Dubai Top Five Attractions Tour Including Dinner
- Dubai City Tour including Burj Khalifa ‘At the Top’ and Lunch at Burj Al-Arab
- Red Dune Desert Safari with BBQ, Sandboarding and Camel Ride
- Dubai Hot Air Balloon Flight Including Gourmet Breakfast and Falconry Demonstration
- Dubai Atlantis Aquaventure Waterpark Admission
- Big Bus Dubai Hop-On Hop-Off Tour
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