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A Week in the UAE: Things To Do and Places To See

A Week in UAE: Things to do and Places to See.

Have you ever wanted to spend more time in the UAE than just a one-night stopover on the way to Europe, the Middle East or Australia?

Our guest article on how to spend a week in the UAE is written by Pranitaa Purohit. Pranitaa has provided us with some excellent tips that we hope will have you extending your time in this unique country in the Middle East.  We hope you enjoy the itinerary for Dubai, Abu Dhabi and Sharjah.

(Editor Update 2022)

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Extra Reading Before Your Visit to the UAE



For most people, UAE is synonymous with Dubai’s glamour and glitz. However, there is more going on behind the scene — the UAE is a country of endless possibilities. With a diverse mix of 6 emirates, the country brims with abundant opportunities for all travellers to taste their flavour of fun.

From families enjoying the city on a cruise to couples sipping their classic cocktails on the rooftop restaurants, from adventure-seekers enjoying the desert safari in Dubai to curious bees checking out the historic items, from the backpackers unwinding in the beautiful public beaches to spendthrifts booking the palatial resorts — it is a perfect long getaway.

Check out the hop on hop off bus a great way to see Dubai here

If you have a week in UAE to check out its attractions and activities, here are the top-rated tourist places. Follow this itinerary and get ready to share incredible vacation memories after coming home.

Save Up To 47% on Top Attractions With The Dubai Explorer Pass

Day 1: Dubai

There is no doubt that Dubai is an alchemy of entertaining choices and showcases a multitude of moods. Out of the entire week of things to do in UAE, it is this city where you would be spending maximum time. So, let’s kick start with this ultimate Dubai travel guide.

Dubai Mall

Dubai Mall
Dubai Mall

In modern Dubai, everything is either fabulous or expensive — or both. To know what we are talking about, visit the Dubai Mall. A city-sized mall, which has earned a reputation for being a complete shopping, leisure and entertainment destination. Take a tour of Fashion Avenue which asserts the world’s covetable labels of attire, beauty, footwear and more. After you have loaded your shopping bags, celebrate the joy in the various zones, such as the walk-through Dubai Aquarium & Underwater Zoo (where you can scuba dive and cage snorkel), Olympic-size Dubai Ice Rink, VR Park, Hysteria, Reel Cinemas, and Dubai Dino. Refuel yourselves with dishes at the Downtown Eats.

Burj Khalifa Dubai

Burj Khalifa
Burj Khalifa

It’s time to revive in the opulence of the city, by scaling the world’s tallest building, Burj Khalifa. With 360-degree observation decks, telescopic view, a Las Vegas-inspired fountain, a prestigious restaurant, luxurious lounges, and an exciting club, this 21st-century architectural marvel is the biggest attraction in Dubai. A visit during the evening will keep you dazzled by the breathtaking view of the sunset, the glittering skyscrapers and the expanse of desert. Do not miss out on watching the exceptional show of the Dubai fountain.

Purchase Your Tickets in Advance Here for Levels 124 & 125 at the Burj Khalifa

Souk Al Bahar Dubai

Souk al Bahar
Souk al Bahar

At night, explore the famous dining and shopping area nearby, the Souk Al Bahar. Designed in an Arabic style, it offers choices of antique, carpet and lifestyle stores, and multi-cuisine restaurants for families and friends to enjoy.

Day 2: Palm Jumeirah, Aquaventure Waterpark and Dhow Cruise Marina

Palm Jumeirah Dubai

Palm Jumeriah
Palm Jumeirah

The finest man-made island and an extraordinary feat of engineering, Palm Jumeirah’s walkway is strung with glitzy hotels, posh apartment towers, luxury resorts, food corners, beach clubs and upmarket global restaurants. Immerse in its unparalleled beauty as you tick off the major landmarks of this archipelago on the 90-minute speedboat tour. You sit in small groups and cruise by the Atlantis, Palm Jumeirah and iconic Burj Al Arab.

Aquaventure Waterpark Dubai

Aquaventure Waterpark
Aquaventure Waterpark

Another jewel in Jumeirah is the Atlantis Dubai which features world-class suites, Michelin-star restaurants, a theme park, an aquarium, and a spectacular spa. Located on the outer arms of the Palm, inside the Atlantis, Aquaventure is an award-winning waterpark and the largest in the Middle East. Get ready to have the ultimate water fun and heart-pounding fall from the rides. Enjoy over 30 spine-tingling rides and slides, laugh your way down Dubai’s longest Lazy River, meet dolphins, sea lions, sharks, and lounge in the 500m private beach. Also, grab your lunch at the array of restaurants in Atlantis. Overall, it is an action-packed day at the Palm.

Dhow Cruise Marina Dubai

Dhow Cruise
Dhow Cruise

Catch your breath on the cruise. Situated in what’s called ‘New Dubai’, the Marina is the conceptualised canal city and the affluent neighbourhood which has remarkable apartments, buildings, restaurants, and retail outlets. The street is bustling with locals as well as tourists. To have the outlook of this place in the shortest time, sail across its Persian Gulf shoreline on a Dhow-converted cruise. It is a double-deck cruise where you can savour a grand buffet, have lavish entertainment shows and admire the enchanting sight.

You Can Prebook Your Dubai Dhow Dinner Cruise Here

Day 3:  Dubai Souk, Al Fahidi, Dubai Desert Safari

Dubai Souk
Head towards the other part of Dubai, which is steeped in the roots of history. In the morning, notice the buzz of people in the maze of walkways that lead you to the Gold Souk. It is perhaps the best place to purchase gold at astonishing prices. On the other side of the creek, check out the spice, textile and perfume souks which have authentic items. Also, buy souvenirs for back home. The appealing part about travelling to Old Dubai is that you sail across the prominent Dubai Creek ( a significant trading medium in history) on the Abra ride at 1 Dirham. It connects the routes of Bur Dubai and Deira.

Al Fahidi Historical Neighbourhood in Dubai

Al Fahidi Historical Neighbourhood
Al Fahidi Historical Neighbourhood

In Bur Dubai, visit the oldest residential quarter in Dubai, where visitors can walk around and marvel at the original houses with wind towers. Today, most of these have been revamped into the Dubai Museum, cafes, art galleries and traditional retailers. Old Dubai is flourished with delicious eateries — we would suggest having traditional Arabic lunch in Basta Art Cafe.

Embark on A Al Fahidi Historical Area Walking Tour & Abra Ride

Dubai Desert Safari

Dubai Desert Safari
Dubai Desert Safari

Although Dubai has been honoured for its innovative architecture across the globe, there lie several secrets in its expanse of golden desert. At the heart of the city lies the desolated desert where tourists flock to experience another world. The desert looks brilliant and your thrilling session begins with the dune bashing, followed by camel riding, sand boarding and quad biking. To hold a stronger emotion or connect with the excursion, the evening desert safari Dubai has camping where you revel in the live shows, and cultural activities and relish the Arabian buffet ever. There are pickup and drop off transfers available making the trip convenient.

Day 4: Dubai’s IMG Worlds of Adventure, Kite Beach

IMG Worlds of Adventure Dubai
Thriving with theme parks, Dubai is the ultimate destination for adventures. We shout out for the best in the lot — IMG is the world’s largest indoor theme park with a temperature-controlled environment. It is made up of 4 thematic zones – Cartoon Network, Marvel Universe, Lost Valley – Dinosaur Adventure and IMG Boulevard. There are exhilarating to heart-racing and scary rides and attractions. Spread over 1.5 million sq feet, it also has dining, shopping and movie complexes to remain in action always.

You can visit here with the Dubai Unlimited Pass - check out here for more details

Kite Beach Dubai
Wouldn’t it be interesting that after a hearty and boisterous day at IMG, you relax and unwind by the beach? Kite Beach is a public beach with amazing facilities such as sun loungers, sun shades, cloth-changing washrooms, cafes and restaurants, and pretty much everything that you need for basking in the sun. Various water sports are also on offer, including kite surf, wakeboard, kayak hire and paddleboard.

Day 5: Abu Dhabi, Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque, Observation Deck at 300, Ferrari World

Abu Dhabi
Take a 2 hr ride from Dubai and reach the capital of UAE, Abu Dhabi, which has elegantly preserved its heritage and transformed into a cosmopolitan city. Keep a day locked for this metropolis that has sky-soaring structures beside the age-old mosques.

Prebook Your Dubai to Abu Dhabi Transfers here

Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque Abu Dhabi

Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque
Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque

Start your day with the largest mosque in the country tucked amid skilfully manicured gardens, Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque. It is a place to observe the outstanding workmanship in architecture. It holds a staggering 40,000 worshippers, the largest handwoven carpet, the biggest chandelier, and the largest dome of its kind in the world. Bask in its opulence, take pictures and admire the splendour.

Observation Deck at 300 Abu Dhabi
Indulge in some jaw-dropping panoramic views of the Corniche and the Arabian Gulf from the 74th floor at Etihad Towers. Plus, combine the view with a delectable lunch at Ray’s Grill, which is on the 63rd floor of the tower.

Prebook Your Etihad Towers Tickets Here

Ferrari World Abu Dhabi

Ferrari World
Ferrari World

Now you can brag about speeding up in the Formula Rossa, the world’s fastest roller coaster. Ferrari World is the first Ferrari ‘themed’ park offering adrenaline-pumping experiences and rides based on unusual concepts like zero gravity fall. Between thrills, check out the car exhibitions, electric go-karts or live shows.

 

Day 6: Ras Al Khaimah, Jebel Jais Zipline

Ras Al Khaimah
A city that is proud of its sandy beaches, beautiful lagoons and adventure activities, Ras Al Khaimah is one of the most scenic emirates in the UAE. Situated at a time distance of over 3 hours from Dubai by road, the RAK’s best attraction is the Jebel Jais, part of the Hajar Mountain Range and the United Arab Emirates’ tallest mountain. You can reach the destination by shuttle bus.

Jebel Jais Zipline Ras Al Khaimah
For all the unique daredevils out there, this fantastic activity must be ticked off the bucket list. It is a nail-biting experience that is certified by Guinness World Records as the world’s longest zipline. Reach before the booked time — you would be harnessed and then launched from the platform at 1,680 meters above sea level and fly across the Jebel Jais mountain at speeds over 120kph. Feel like a bird floating under the blue sky and admiring the picturesque view below. Upgrade the fun with the partner as there are 2 zip lines.

Must-Know Thing: There are necessary equipment and safety precautions taken on-site to help you enjoy the most without any fear.

Camping, cycling and hiking
Jebel Jais is a favourite tourist spot and you will find great family activities around. So, spend your day hiking the rugged cliffs, exploring the deep canyons, and cycling along the routes. Keep up your spirit as there are several snack points and cafes, so, you can savour mouth-watering food such as pastries, pizza, and salad, and more. In case, you look for your barbecue, Jebel Jais is one of the fancy camping spots in UAE. Bring in your tent, set up your barbecue, light the fire, and rest under the blanket of stars.

Well, it’s not a simple road to meander through, so a good pair of shoes come in handy. Also, there is no marketplace around, so, carry your barbecue sticks, stand and other essentials along. And keep your vehicle well-maintained for such a long drive.

 

Check out this popular premium chalet overnight camping here

 

Day 7: Sharjah, Sharjah Museum of Islamic Civilisation, Sharjah Art Museum, Blue Souk, Al Qasba

Sharjah
The culturally and intellectually sound emirate of UAE, which is 6000 years old, Sharjah is the third-largest in the country and only 22 minutes from Dubai. This is another hub of fascinating places to see in the UAE.

Explore Sharjah on the Hop On Hop Off Bus

Sharjah Museum of Islamic Civilisation
Begin your journey with what Sharjah is known for museums. Nestled along a waterfront in an impressive souq, where visitors can learn about the Islamic civilisation’s timeless achievements. rituals, artefacts, textiles and more. Amongst thousands of Islamic artefacts, many of them are rare and exclusive with no duplicates anywhere else in the world.

Sharjah Art Museum
The art buffs are finally going to heave a sigh of relief when they see one of the region’s most dynamic art museums. While the upstairs has a permanent collection of arts from the late 19th century, the downstairs has two galleries with rotating temporary exhibits of international talents. From Lebanese to Egyptian, the museum has incredible works from around the world.

Lunch in Sharjah
Buhaira Corniche is flanked by restaurants that serve up excellent fast food, both Arabian and continental, where you can have delicious lunch. Since you are here, take a tour of the Al Noor Mosque which is an exquisitely designed holy place, dominating the skyline of the city.

Blue Souk Sharjah
Later, go for a shopping spree at the Blue Souk which oozes Arabian charm. It is a major marketplace, perfect for souvenirs and housed in a pair of huge white buildings.

Read travellers reviews about the Blue Souk here

Al Qasba
If you plan to have a casual evening with your family, reach the Al Qasba, which is a commercial complex that offers a perfect package of entertainment. It comprises various kinds of activities, both indoor and outdoor, such as theatres, Kids Fun Zone, Abra rides, Al Qasba Musical Fountain and the Etisalat-Eye of the Emirates Ferris Wheel. Devour meals at the fine dining restaurants.

Conclusion
UAE is a country with a plethora of options to see and do. We have finely picked the best-rated tourists attractions that cover all your moods and provide you with comprehensive fun. Hope you have the most exciting vacation of your life.

Bio for Pranitaa Purohit

Pranitaa is passionate about travelling and photography. She is always curious about new cultures, history and traditions. She loves meeting new people while travelling.

Frequently Asked Questions for Visiting the UAE

When is the best time to visit the UAE?

The best months to visit the UAE are between mid-October and mid-May.  The hottest months are between July and September when the temperatures can reach as high as 45 degrees C.  We visited in the month of October and found the weather to be pleasant and enjoyable.

Do you require a visa for Dubai?

The type of Visa you may require will depend on your nationality and length of stay. You can check if you require a visa below:

 

What is the UAE language?

The official language in the UAE is Arabic.

What is the time in the UAE?

The time in the UAE is GMT +4.

Is there a list of Public Holidays for the UAE?

Click this link for public holidays in the UAE

What is the electric current in the UAE? 

The standard voltage is 220 V and the frequency is 50 Hz.

Is it safe for solo female travellers to visit the UAE?

It is safe for solo female travellers.  You will need to dress modestly when visiting.

General Travel Information for Visiting the UAE

Dubai Airport (DXB)

Dubai Airport is located 5 km from the centre of Dubai.

You can pre-book a private transfer here from Dubai Airport to your hotel.

Public transport is fast and easy in Dubai from the airport.  There are two metro lines available.  You are only allowed to travel with 2 suitcases. On Fridays, the metro lines start at 1 pm. Tickets can be purchased at the stations.

Taxis can be hailed, they are cream in colour and are metered. If you want to travel with a female taxi driver look for a pink roofed taxi.

Travel Health for UAE

Since COVID we should ensure that we take health precautions when we travel.

We recommend travelling with:

Where to Stay in Dubai

Budget Hotel Dubai

The Landmark Grand Hotel – we (the To Travel Too team) stayed in the Landmark Hotel for a week when visiting Dubai. The 3-star hotel was comfortable, clean, good Wifi and opposite the Al Ghurair Shopping Mall and with many restaurants close by.  We travelled on the metro line from Dubai Airport to Union Square Metro and walked a few minutes from the station to the hotel. If you are after a budget hotel this is a top contender.

Landmark Hotel Deira Dubai
Landmark Hotel Deira Dubai – image credit Booking.com

Latest guest review: The Security guy stationed at the Bell Desk called Adil was extremely helpful. The location of the hotel is great. The gym facilities are great as well as the terrace pool.

NB: there are mixed reactions to this hotel, check your reviews before booking.

Check availability here

 

Travellers favourite hotels in Dubai:

5-star luxury hotel Dubai

For Italian inspired luxury, you can’t go past the 5 stars Armani Hotel at the Burj Khalifa.

You can relax in the swimming pool after a day of sightseeing or enjoy a workout in their gym. Most of the popular sights of Dubai are close by.

Armani Hotel Dubai
Armani Hotel Dubai – image credit Booking.com

“Envisioned by fashion icon Giorgio Armani, this hotel has a private entrance and occupies 11 floors of Dubai’s iconic skyscraper, Burj Khalifa. It has a deluxe spa and has direct access to Dubai Mall.

Rooms of understated elegance feature curved lines are decorated with Japanese tatami and luxury fabrics. Modern appliances include flat-screen TVs with DVD, iPod docking stations and free WiFi.

Armani Hotel Dubai provides sophisticated dining options in each of its 7 restaurants. Armani Hashi serves Japanese cuisine with a modern twist and renowned Armani Privé hosts the most popular club nights in town.”

 

Latest guest review: “The location is great, breakfast is delicious. The room is very clean and high tech. We upgrade the room and the hotel provided a honeymoon cake for our stay. You can have access to Dubai Mall very convenience.”

Check availability here

 

For comfort, spacious rooms with a blend of the past and present, the middle eastern heritage-inspired Palace Downtown Dubai is a firm favourite with travellers.  The Palace Downtown is close to the Dubai Mall.  Guests welcome the swimming pool and the gym after a full day of sightseeing and shopping. You are close by to the Dubai Fountain. Daily performances are from 6 pm every half an hour till 11 pm and they last 5 minutes.

“Set in a traditional palatial residence, Palace Downtown overlooks Dubai Fountain and the lake surrounding Burj Khalifa.

The guest rooms of the Palace Downtown hotel are decorated in a contemporary Middle Eastern style and offer balconies and luxury bathrooms. All rooms are equipped with an interactive TV system, DVD player and free WiFi.

Four different restaurants provide fine dining opportunities, ranging from Argentinian meat to Thai curries. All-day eateries serve a buffet of Mediterranean and Middle Eastern dishes.”

Palace Downtown Dubai
Palace Downtown Dubai image credit Booking.com

Guest review: The hotel was elegant and tastefully furbished without being ostentatious. It is located very near to the fountain and the Borg Khalifa which is very convenient. The breakfast was scrumptious, all very tasteful and nicely presented. The room was very spacious and contained all that we required. The decor is very authentic and welcoming. The staff were professional, courteous and welcoming.

Check availability here

Where to Stay in Abu Dhabi

One of our favourite chains of hotels is the Rosewood Chain.  In Abu Dhabi, a firm favourite with travellers is the 5-star  Rosewood Hotel Abu Dhabi.

The Rosewood Hotel in Abu Dhabi offers luxury accommodation, 8 restaurants and lounges with stunning water views.  The hotel is connected to the Galleria Al Maryah Island the new exciting home for shopping in Abu Dhabi.

Latest guest review: Top location if you are visiting the hospital or you are on business trip. Conveniently linked to the hospital, the mall and some of the nearby towers. Great licensed restaurants located between the mall and the hotel. Comfortable and quiet rooms.

Rosewood Abu Dhabi
Rosewood Abu Dhabi image credit Booking.com
Check availability here

 

The Abu Dhabi Edition Hotel is located in the downtown district on the waterfront of Al Bateen.  The luxury hotel offers 198 guest rooms and 57 exclusively serviced suites. The hotel offers guests 3 restaurants, a lobby bar, a pool bar, 2 swimming pools and a state of the art fitness centre and spa.

Abu Dhabi Edition Hotel
Abu Dhabi Edition Hotel image credit Booking.com

Guest review: Exceptional experience at the hotel. From Dre, the bellman who was attentive and alert, to Thelma who provided the easiest check in service at front desk, the tailors who managed to fix my dress in record time and perfect finishing, the barista at the counter downstairs, great salon service, both provided friendly service. And spacious and clean room that was minimal but provided all the essentials.

Check availability here

 

 

The Ritz Carlton Grand Canal has an enviable position in Abu Dhabi located on its own private beach, with views of the Grand Mosque and a perfect location to enjoy sunrises over Al Maqta Creek.  The 5-star Ritz Carlton Grand Canal offers 8 restaurants, a swimming pool, a gym and kids club and more.

Ritz Carlton Abu Dhabi
Ritz Carlton Abu Dhabi image credit Booking.com

Guest review: Outstanding facilities and staff. The staff is experienced, professional and very attentive in a natural way, they appear to be relaxed and happy in their jobs. That makes the experience very comfortable and pleasant!

Check availability here

 

 

Flights to the UAE

Find the cheapest flights with Skyscanner  our ‘go-to’ when researching and booking flights around the world.

Top Tours In Dubai


Top Tours in Abu Dhabi 

Top Tours in Sharjah

 

Travel Insurance

We recommend taking out travel insurance as soon as you book your flights and pay deposits on any cruises, tours or hotels.

 

 

 

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Thanks for stopping by and welcome to To Travel Too – Australia’s top Baby Boomer lifestyle and travel blog, with an international worldwide audience in mind, run by the married couple, freelance writers and full-time travellers Jane and Duncan Dempster-Smith. Come with us as we explore the world. Our two mantras that we live by are 'chase time not money' and 'age is no barrier when it comes to travel'.

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