How to Rock a 24-Hour Layover in Dubai


Dubai skyline at sunset

I wasn’t planning to visit Dubai.

But after I accidentally cancelled my flight back to Lisbon from Cape Town, the cheapest replacement flight took me via the UAE, and it would cost no extra to give myself 24 hours in the city.

How could I turn down an offer like that?

So, with less than a day’s notice, I was suddenly heading to Dubai and I had no idea what to do there.

Somehow, I managed to pull off one of my most successful layovers to date and ended up cramming a huge amount into my time there. I got to check out the desert on a whirlwind tour, wander around the souks of Old Dubai, and look at things I couldn’t afford downtown.

Here’s how to rock a 24-hour layover in Dubai.

Riding ATVs over sand dunes in Dubai

First Up: Hit the Sand

The Arabian Peninsula is all about the sand, and being a devotee of all things desert, I knew I wouldn’t be happy with my time in Dubai unless I found a way to explore it.

Fortunately, I wasn’t the only person with this obsession, so finding a tour wasn’t a problem — there were hundreds of them to choose from!

So many to choose from, but only one that worked for me. I knew I didn’t want to spend my entire day in the desert, and that discounted anything that didn’t leave in the morning, as the afternoon tours often lasted well into the evening, if not overnight. And there was exactly one tour I could find online that didn’t leave at 7 a.m., which was when my flight would be landing. I opted for a 3-hour tour leaving at 9.30 that had amazing reviews, didn’t screw over solo travellers with an infuriating single person supplement, and would allow me to get a taste of the desert without taking up my entire day.

I couldn’t believe it when I arrived and it was raining for like, the one day a year that it does in Dubai.

As always, though, the desert was more than worth it.

Desert in Dubai

I joined a group of four middle-aged Americans who had just arrived in Dubai from India and enthusiastically bombarded me with tales of their travel stories, insisting that I get to India as soon as possible.

We had just three hours to see as much of the desert as possible, so from the moment we arrived, we were out on the sand and rushing from one activity to the next.

After dodging the touts who were insistent we all purchase a Berber scarf, a couple of the people on my tour jumped on ATVs to race around the damp sand. It was around $20 extra to do this, so most people opted out, including me. I’ve done my fair share of quad bike racing on my travels, so was content to sit and watch instead.

I heard a hissing sound and turned my attention away from the desert and towards our driver. He was in the process of releasing the air from the tyres of our 4×4 in preparation for a morning of dune bashing.

Which, to my surprise and horror, is just as violent as it sounds. If you don’t suffer from motion sickness, you’ll have the time of your life. If you do, pop a triple dose of dramamine in advance because damn, your stomach will feel this ride.

It was like being on a rollercoaster; it’s the only way I can describe it. Up and down and around and around, and then catch some air and smash into a second dune, before spinning around in circles, twisting and turning, and is it time to get off yet?

Despite the churning in my stomach, never once did I feel in danger on the dunes. Our driver was badass as hell and had spent his entire life dune bashing his way across the desert, so knew exactly what he was doing. On the drive out, he’d shown us a video of him driving a car on its right side, riding on two wheels. Half-way through the video, he climbed out the car window to get in the backseat while a friend of his did the opposite and took control of the wheel.

Wow.

Just as I was beginning to reach for my bag in a nauseated panic, we came to a stop and I breathed a sigh of relief. And then I smiled. Deserts always fill me with joy, so I immediately skipped out onto the sand and sat down to take in the view.

The driver pulled out a couple of sand boards for anyone who wanted to try their hand at it, and one of the older women promptly wiped out half-way down. I swear I thought she’d broken her neck as she spun wildly out of control.

Close up of Dubai desert

I could have spent all afternoon watching other 4x4s chucking passengers over the sand dunes, but this was an overview experience, so we had just twenty minutes to enjoy the views.

After a slightly less hair-raising drive back to base, camel riding was the only activity left on our desert agenda. Everyone in my group opted out of it, as it was more of a photo opportunity than an experience, and I’ll confess I wasn’t bummed when we decided to head back to our hotels early. I’ve ridden a camel before in the Sahara Desert and know they’re uncomfortable to sit on for any amount of time.

And that concluded my morning in the desert!

If you do have a limited amount of time in Dubai, my tour felt like the perfect way to get a small taster for what the desert’s like without sucking up too much of your valuable travel time. In total, I spent three hours out on the sand, and for just $47 (which included transport, a drink, dune bashing, sand boarding, and a camel ride; the ATV costs extra) it was exactly what I was looking for.

Dubai mosque

Time to Explore the Souks

Back in my room, I grabbed a quick nap, slept off my remaining motion sickness, then hit the souks of Old Dubai to explore the less glitzy side of the city.

My hotel was located a block away from the markets and mosques, which made it super easy for getting around this part of town.

Prior to this trip, the only souks I’ve seen have been in Marrakech and Muscat, and in comparison to those, my experience in Dubai was so easy! In Dubai, you have specific souks for each item, be it gold, perfume, spices, or textiles, and so these well-organised markets were anything but confusing.

Mosque in Dubai

The harassment was non-existent in Dubai, too. Unlike in Morocco, where men were leaping out at me every few seconds, the touts in Dubai weren’t even shouting. And I have to say Dubai felt like one of the safest cities I’ve ever visited. I walked around with my expensive camera slung over my shoulder and never felt in danger of being robbed. As a solo woman, I wasn’t ever approached by any dudes and felt entirely safe when walking alone at night.

While all of this made for a far more enjoyable shopping experience, I have to admit it also made for a less interesting travel experience. It was all so easy and organised that I found myself longing for a little more chaos to spice things up a little.

Speaking of spice, the spice souk was easily my favourite one in Dubai, which isn’t a huge surprise. After breaking free of my picky eater shackles several years ago, I can’t imagine a world without spices and loved inhaling their scents and planning which meals I’d throw them into. Cardamom, cinnamon, cumin, turmeric, saffron, cloves… any spice you can think of was piled up high and ready to buy.

Another highlight was the perfume souk, which was full of Arabian perfumes, incense, and an overwhelming amount of frankincense. But one souk that won’t be on my future hit list? The gold one, which just looked like a row of tacky jewellery shops. That’s most likely because I never wear gold jewellery and after shelling out a surprise $400 on my flight to bring me here, I couldn’t justify any purchases anyway.

burj khalifa in Dubai

Head to Burj Khalifa for Sunset

If you want the best views of Dubai, you need to treat yourself to a ride up the tallest building in the world. And I say treat yourself because tickets are anything but inexpensive. I paid 205 AED (55 USD) to check out the 125th floor, which reviewers said was the best value option. You can pay even more to take yourself higher (500 AED/135 USD!), but I’m of the belief that once you’re that high up, it doesn’t make that much difference to the views whether you’re on the 125th or 148th level. People who had been to both generally agreed with me.

As for what time of day to visit? I booked for 4:30 p.m., which was 90 minutes before sunset. A long-held dream of mine is to snap photos of the elusive Dubai fog at sunrise, but my morning arrival and departure made this impossible, so I made do with sunset instead. There was no fog, but you also don’t have to wake up at 3 a.m., so, y’know, better.

Now.

I’m aware this sounds ridiculous, but you need to give yourself so much time to find the entrance to At the Top, because Dubai Mall is an infuriating maze and you will get lost.

Friends of mine recently tried to make their way to the top, but ended up missing their time slot because they couldn’t find the entrance. It almost happened to me, too.

Here’s what happens: you’ll wander inside the mall, you’ll spot a sign saying Burj Khalifa At the Top pointing in one direction. You’ll walk in that direction and not see another sign until you reach a dead end. Rinse and repeat; rinse and repeat; rinse and repeat. And then you’re just like: Oh god, I think I’ve paid $55 to run around a shopping mall.

I arrived at Dubai Mall thirty minutes before my boarding time and ended up checking in ten minutes late, having spent a full 40 minutes sprinting around a shiny shopping centre.

But! The views over Dubai are more than worth making the effort to flail around a mall in search of the entrance.

Dubai view

Confession time! Back when I was 18, I visited New York City for the first time and made one of my first stops the Top of the Rock. I got to the viewing platform, promptly had a panic attack, and had to be escorted down by security two minutes later.

And while that was over a decade ago, and has never happened again, every time I brave heading up to the top of a tall building, a part of me starts to panic I might lose my mind when I get there.

To my great relief, I didn’t feel even the slightest bit uncomfortable at the top of Burj Khalifa, and was too fascinated by the toy town-looking skyscrapers to think about anything else. Even with the haze and clouds, I could see the majority of the Dubai from where I stood. My highlight? Getting to see the World Islands in the distance!

Dubai from above

Hanging out at the top of the Burj Khalifa was one of the least vertigo-inducing places I’ve ever been, and I think a large part of that is simply being so high up. Think about it: nobody feels afraid of heights when they look out of a plane window (or do they?), and being at the top of Burj Khalifa felt a bit like that. You were so high that you couldn’t get a real sense of perspective of the surrounding buildings’ heights and it almost didn’t feel real.

The overarching theme of my day in Dubai was grey skies, so after an hour spent gazing out at the view, I skipped out on what would mostly likely be a boring sunset and ran along to the next attraction on my list.

Dubai skyline at sunset

Checking Out the World’s Largest Choreographed Fountain

Burj Khalifa is one of the coolest activities in Dubai, so I was thrilled to learn that something even better was literally right beside it. The Dubai water show is the world’s largest choreographed fountain, and it runs every half an hour beyond 6 p.m.

Arabian music sounds out across the water, bright lights illuminate the fountains, and water sprays as high as 500 feet up into the air. Some people say to catch the show from the Burj Khalifa viewpoint, but I knew I wanted to see it from the ground level in order to gain that height perspective, and I’m happy I did.

The only downside? It was over so quickly! I was just getting into the show and about to reach for my camera when it ended. And that was it. Ten minutes and done.

While I didn’t manage to score any photos of the water show, it was the perfect way to end my time in Dubai — with what was probably the best water show I’ve ever seen!

I went back to my hotel soon afterwards as, not only had I arrived on an overnight flight, but I was leaving on an early morning one that would have me waking up at 4 a.m.

And that was Dubai!

My First Impressions of Dubai

Dubai had never appealed to me for many reasons — immigrants forced into slavery, laws that punish women for being raped, laws that could result in the death penalty if you’re LGBT — so I knew I’d most likely never make a real effort to go. I’m not one for boycotting countries for questionable ethics, because I believe that once you start down that path, you’ll find there are basically no countries you can visit, including, most likely, your home country. But I try to be as ethical a traveller as possible, ensuring my money goes to locals and local small businesses rather than large hotel chains and restaurants.

So did I like Dubai? It wasn’t anywhere near my favourite place I’ve ever visited, but it wasn’t my least favourite either. I’m not much of a fan of glitzy, modern, shiny cities these days, so the ridiculous levels of opulence and consumerism made me uncomfortable more than anything else. That’s why I opted to stay in Old Dubai, which, aside from being more affordable, felt more like my cup of tea. It showed me a side of Dubai away from the skyscrapers and glamour, and had me longing to delve deeper into this part of the city.

It’s worth mentioning that I came up against some of the worst weather Dubai gets (although from the locals’ perspectives, the rain is something to be thankful for, so I can’t complain about it), and it was frustrating to not be able to get great photos of the places I visited. The desert sands were wet and dark, the sky was permanently grey, and I know everything would have looked prettier had I had a bright blue backdrop.

Altogether, I think I did my layover justice. I stayed in a lovely hotel in Old Dubai that was a minute away from the souks and full of lovely and welcoming staff. For $90 a night, it felt like a bargain for Dubai (seriously, hotels are expensive here! And hostels are usually rated about 3/10 on Booking!) and I’d 100% stay there again if a future layover brought me to the city once more.

Because that’s the only reason I think I’d have to for visiting Dubai in the future. It’s not a place I’d go out of my way to check out, but if a layover could give me a short stop in the city, I’d take the opportunity to head straight to the spice souk.

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After I accidentally cancelled my flight back to Lisbon from Cape Town, the cheapest replacement flight took me via Dubai, and it would cost no extra to give myself 24 hours in the city. I had no idea what to do but I ended up having a blast. Here's how to rock a 24-hour layover in Dubai.
After I accidentally cancelled my flight back to Lisbon from Cape Town, the cheapest replacement flight took me via Dubai, and it would cost no extra to give myself 24 hours in the city. I had no idea what to do but I ended up having a blast. Here's how to rock a 24-hour layover in Dubai.

After I accidentally cancelled my flight back to Lisbon from Cape Town, the cheapest replacement flight took me via Dubai, and it would cost no extra to give myself 24 hours in the city. I had no idea what to do but I ended up having a blast. Here's how to rock a 24-hour layover in Dubai.

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67 Comments

  1. May 2, 2017
    Reply

    I never knew there was an olde apart of Dubai, I always thought it was just a super modern city.

    • May 6, 2017
      Reply

      Same! I’d never really researched it before this trip as it hadn’t appealed to me. But yep, there is definitely another side to Dubai that isn’t often talked about.

  2. Laura
    May 2, 2017
    Reply

    Old Dubai (and taking an ‘abra’ [old wooden flat boat] across the river to get there) is SO cool… that’s a must-do, especially seeing the spice and gold souks (and Hindi Lane).

    Another good thing is visiting the Dubai Mall for Burj Khalifa and the dancing water fountain show (same company that puts on the one at Bellagio Vegas, I believe). The Dubai Mall is gigantic and has lots of attractions (aquarium, indoor skiing, the fancy souk, etc….Emirates love their malls), so if you’re low on time stick to the Burj Khalifa and fountain show so you don’t get lost inside.

    I also recommend wandering around Madinat Jumeirah hotel resort complex – it’s lovely and has a great view of next door Burj Al Arab hotel (the sailboat one).

    • May 6, 2017
      Reply

      Thanks so much for sharing, Laura! :-)

  3. May 2, 2017
    Reply

    Sounds like you made the best out of your layout in Dubai. I have to agree you that Dubai never seemed that appealing to me due to those reasons too. But when the opportunity arrives, I’d be happy to learn and explore more about it.

    • June 10, 2017
      Reply

      It’s perfect to explore during a quick stopover, as so many flights pass through there. I’m sure I’ll pay it a return visit at some point over the next few years!

  4. May 2, 2017
    Reply

    I expected to not like Dubai too, so never planned to go there. But like you I had the chance of stopover and thought ‘why not?’ I stayed 4 days as I thought I should give it a chance and you know what? I loved it! That really surprised me. I only went into a shopping mall to meet up with a desert tour, and the rest of the time managed to avoid them completely. I found so much more to do than I’d expected and the old town and souks are lovely. I stayed in the youth hostel which was really cheap, but absolutely fine. If there’s a next time, I think I’d like to try out one of the nicer hotels though.

    • June 10, 2017
      Reply

      That’s so great to hear, Anne! I always find low expectations are key when it comes to falling in love with a destination!

  5. May 3, 2017
    Reply

    Great post, Lauren! The expense of visiting has been a deterrent, but this definitely piqued my interest… if I see an option for a layover in the future, I’ll definitely give it a go!

    • May 6, 2017
      Reply

      Yeah, it actually wasn’t as expensive as I was expecting it to be! Especially if you stay in Old Dubai.

  6. May 3, 2017
    Reply

    I also don’t feel like I’ll make it to Dubai. Well, like you, I won’t got out of my way to visit. I also wouldn’t turn down a layover there. I think you rocked it!

    • June 12, 2017
      Reply

      Yeah, it’s such a popular layover destination that I’m sure you’ll pass through there at some point!

  7. May 4, 2017
    Reply

    I’ll have to read about how the flight was cancelled next, but very cool way to spend a layover! Interesting take on the city though, I loved how you showed a different perspective on the city compared to the more over-the-top photos and posts you see that social media buzzes about.

    • May 6, 2017
      Reply

      Thanks so much, Laura! I always try to do things a little differently when I travel, even if it’s something as small as staying in a more local neighbourhood.

  8. May 5, 2017
    Reply

    Dubai intrigues me and we are actually planning a stop over here on the way to China this year :) it is great to see you can get so much done in just 24 hours, will definitely check out the hotel you recommend! Any tips on finding burj entrance in the mall? You are not the first person who has mentioned how hard it is to find!!

    • May 6, 2017
      Reply

      I’d suggest just asking a member of staff as soon as you get inside and then continuing to ask staff members which direction to walk in until you get there. The lack of signs makes it all really confusing, so it’s best to just keep asking so you don’t make any wrong turns. Hope you have a lovely time in Dubai!

  9. Shannon
    May 5, 2017
    Reply

    I’m actually going to Dubai in a month so this post is perfect timing for me! Thanks for the recommendations and tips… time is going to be tight but I think I can cram in as much as you did.

    • May 6, 2017
      Reply

      Hope it goes smoothly for you, Shannon!

  10. Heya
    May 5, 2017
    Reply

    That’s the great thing about Dubai. If you don’t have much money, you can travel for really cheap. If you have a lot of money, you can find really nice accommodations, and it’s still not very expensive compared to other countries.

    • May 6, 2017
      Reply

      Dubai was definitely cheaper than I expected, but still quite pricey compared to most of the world.

  11. Jami
    May 9, 2017
    Reply

    I am stunned by the beauty of Dubai. It looks like everything is so expensive.

    • June 10, 2017
      Reply

      And yet, I was surprised by how affordable everything was in Dubai! It was much cheaper than I was expecting it to be.

  12. Sonali Chauhan
    May 12, 2017
    Reply

    A real shame that the weather didn’t cooperate while you there. I had no idea that it can rain in Dubai. I always think of it as being hot and sunny yearround.

    • June 11, 2017
      Reply

      Agree! It was a bit of a bummer to have it rain on us while we were in the desert, and then not to have the most amazing sunset, but I’m sure I’ll have another layover there at some point, and hopefully the weather will be better then!

  13. Abbi
    May 15, 2017
    Reply

    I’ve been living in Dubai for two years and wish I’d known you were going to be here, so I could have shown you around! Seems like you got a good overview for just one day in the city by yourself though! Glad you liked it here, even if you didn’t love it.

    • July 18, 2017
      Reply

      Ah, thank you so much for the lovely offer, Abbi! I appreciate the thought :-)

  14. Atanas
    May 16, 2017
    Reply

    There are also other interesting things to be done in Dubai… but only if money are not a problem – to drive a Ferrari; to do that famous skydive over Palm Jumeira; to have an afternoon tea at Burj Al Arab; hit the water park next to Burj Al Arab; to stay in a room with an aquarium view at Atlantis The Palm; even to ski at the Mall of the Emirates, etc. But for 24 hrs you`ve done pretty much the highlights. Well done!

    • May 16, 2017
      Reply

      Ah, amazing! Thanks so much for all of those recommendations, Atanas! I’ll add them to the list for the next time I’m passing though :-) Um, apart from skydiving, haha!

      • May 17, 2017
        Reply

        No probs :)
        Skydiving over Dubai looks amazing on photos and videos but I do understand you not going for it. There are certain things which people say are “cool”, but I would not do them myself, either. Like bungee jumping or walking on that famous plank walk in Huangshan mountains in China. I.am.absolutely.never.doing these!

        • May 17, 2017
          Reply

          Yes! The plank walk! I feel like I’m going to cry just looking at photos of it.

  15. Noni
    May 18, 2017
    Reply

    Such a helpful guide! I’m going to be in Dubai in September and I’ve already signed up for the desert tour and bought my tickets for the Burj Khalifa!

    • June 10, 2017
      Reply

      Yay! Hope you have a great time in Dubai, Noni.

  16. May 21, 2017
    Reply

    Dubai is somewhere that has never appealed to me, but you made it sounds lovely, and doable in 24 hours. I never thought about an old part to the city, so that makes it a lot more interesting as a travel option, away from the more famous glitz and glamour.

    • June 9, 2017
      Reply

      I really enjoyed getting to see two different sides to the city.

  17. Sophie
    May 23, 2017
    Reply

    Sounds like I’m one of the few who has always wanted to go to Dubai. Loved this post Lauren and appreciated the balanced review. You fit a lot into your 24 hours and I bet you were exhausted by the end of it!

    • June 11, 2017
      Reply

      Sooooo tired! I would have liked to have done some stuff in the evening, but after that overnight flight, I was desperate for an early night.

  18. Sophie
    May 29, 2017
    Reply

    I’ve got a 24 hour layover coming up for Dubai in July and this post has been really helpful. I’m definitely going to take the same tour as you and try to fit in as much as possible in the Old Dubai section of the city.

    • June 3, 2017
      Reply

      Perfect! I hope you have a wonderful day in Dubai, Sophie! :-)

  19. Shay Evans
    June 28, 2017
    Reply

    Very good post. Been reading around about holidaying in Dubai as I plan to take my family there for Christmas. Learnt some important stuffs here that should be helpful on this trip.

    Good job.

    • November 17, 2017
      Reply

      Great! I’m glad to hear that, and hope you have a fabulous time in Dubai! :-)

  20. Patricia
    July 5, 2017
    Reply

    There so many things to see and do in Dubai, that a layover cannot even cover the bare essentials. Dubai is the city that caters to the needs of all its visitors. There is the old Dubai and the new, the traditional and the modern, the conservative and the tolerant (believe it or not), the ultra-rich and the humble.

    • January 2, 2018
      Reply

      Yes, there’s definitely a whole lot to see and do there.

  21. Charlie
    August 4, 2017
    Reply

    Hi Lauren, sounds like a great time – just had a question or two – what was your total outlay on all this approximately, and how did you get around – were you on foot or taking taxis etc?
    Got 24hrs there coming up so would appreciate the advice Thanks, Charlie

    • August 16, 2017
      Reply

      It’s literally covered in the post. $47 for the tour, $47 for the hotel, $55 for Burj Khalifa, and I got around by metro, which was a couple of dollars or so. So around $155.

  22. Andrew Darwitan
    August 9, 2017
    Reply

    Skyscraper, desert, tradition… I’d say your list quite accurately captures the best way to experience the different contrasts of Dubai during a layover. For those with a little bit more time, I think a visit to neighboring Abu Dhabi and also cruising the Musandam Peninsula (beautiful fjord-like landscape in the Arabian coast) are a must too.

    • August 16, 2017
      Reply

      Thanks so much, Andrew! I loved my time in Abu Dhabi a few years ago, although didn’t spend long enough there either!

  23. Nat
    September 14, 2017
    Reply

    Thanks so much for your tips! Did you find it easy to do this as a layover? I’m doing the same thing and I’m worried about leaving enough time for my 14 hour layover.

    • October 21, 2017
      Reply

      You’d have time to do it in 14 hours, Nat! It’ll be rushed and busy, but totally worth it to get a small taster of Dubai :-)

  24. Juliette
    October 13, 2017
    Reply

    Love this post Lauren! I’m about to book this tour (through your link) but wanted to ask you when you got back to your hotel? I have a 540 pm flight that day so would be leaving probably right after for the airport. would really appreciate your opinion.

    • October 14, 2017
      Reply

      Hey Juliette! I got back at around 1pm. You could always contact the tour company before booking to double check though.

  25. Hogimn
    October 24, 2017
    Reply

    This was really enjoyable to read. Having read this there seem to be some wonderful places to visit.Had a quick look at your blog and love it already. Have subscribed. Looks like you’ve spent time in many of the places listed in this post.

    • October 24, 2017
      Reply

      I don’t write about anywhere I haven’t personally visited.

  26. Nicole
    December 10, 2017
    Reply

    Thanks for sharing your experience! Would you mind sharing the contact for the tour company? Thanks!

    • December 11, 2017
      Reply

      It’s in the post! Just click the link through to Viator.

  27. Dubai City Bus Tour
    January 15, 2018
    Reply

    I visit the place quite frequently. It is fun working there. There are so many places to explore in Dubai city.

    • January 17, 2018
      Reply

      I’m not sure I’d personally enjoy working there, but glad you enjoy it!

  28. Jennifer
    April 30, 2018
    Reply

    I have a 20 hour Dubai layover coming up. Thanks so much for your helpful guide!

  29. Shahid Ashraf
    May 30, 2018
    Reply

    Lauren, I am surprised how you managed all these things in a day. You are good at planning. Unfortunately, I am very lazy and take time to figure out things. :)sad

    By the way, I started out my travel blog recently.

    • June 6, 2018
      Reply

      Sometimes the trips where I have the least amount of time are the ones where I manage to see the most! This was one of those cases :-)

  30. eddie
    February 9, 2019
    Reply

    have an 18 hour layover in Nov, thanks for your post.
    gonna try hotel and see what u suggested.
    have a 830am flight back to US

    thansks

    • February 10, 2019
      Reply

      Good luck! I hope you have an amazing trip :-)

  31. Rachel
    February 21, 2019
    Reply

    You hit most of the great things about Dubai for tourists.

    I’ve lived in the country almost 3 years and I recommend everyone to visit. The thing most visitors don’t see is there are so many layers here. Sure there’s the glitzy side but underneath it you have one of the most racially, religiously, and linguistically diverse places in the world all living together. Really there are multiple Dubais. The one tourists see, the one rich foreign expats see, the one Emiratis live in,and the one for everyone else. If you can get to see the last one it’s a fascinating place.

  32. Ally
    April 7, 2019
    Reply

    Super helpful! What was the name of the desert tour you did? The links go to a long list of them.

  33. July 24, 2019
    Reply

    You really rocked it, Lauren, that’s a great 24-hour tour guide, I will definitely consider going to Dubai for a short trip, especially Old Dubai and Desert Safari.

  34. ade
    February 28, 2020
    Reply

    This was really helpful! Im glad you did this because Im going to revist your steps next week. What did you spend in transportation and what did you use to get around?

    • February 28, 2020
      Reply

      I walked, mostly. But took an Uber to Burj Khalifa and then the metro back to my guesthouse in Old Dubai. I think it was around 80 AED/$22 in total.

  35. Muhammad Ahmett
    July 29, 2020
    Reply

    Dear Lauren,

    Nice article about exploring Dubai. Dubai is the most wonderful place to visit and explore different places such as Desert Safari Dubai, UAE Desert Safari but due to COVID’19, it is not possible to do the entertainment. When will the Tourism back after the COVID do you have any idea?

    Thanks and Regard

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