Dubai has one of the busiest airports in the world. People who travel abroad frequently must have definitely had a layover in Dubai airport at least once. Although if the layover is just a few hours, you cannot do much about it and just wait at the airport. However, if you have anywhere between 12 to 24 hours layover in Dubai, it would be a good time to explore the city rather than just get bored at the airport.
The city of Dubai has lots to see and do and a day may seem too short. However, you would surely be able to capture the essence of the city in one day. Here is a one day in Dubai itinerary which would help you to plan your short visit to Dubai.
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24 Hours Dubai Itinerary
As you have a really short time in the city, you would obviously worry about transportation. You have several options as Dubai is well connected through public transportation. You have the metro, taxis and even buses to commute from one place to another in the city. Moreover, you can also rent a car that would be with you throughout the day and take you to all the places in Dubai you want. This is an expensive option but would save you a lot of time.
If you are reaching Dubai really late at night or in the early hours of the morning, it would be a good idea to start with a desert safari. The desert is where the Arabs lived in the past before they moved to the city. Moreover, there are some Bedouin tribes that still live in the desert. While you need a little more than a day to explore a desert village, you can surely enjoy little time enjoying the beautiful vistas of the desert. Watching the sunrise in the desert is a surreal experience. The sand dunes look absolutely gorgeous basked in the golden sunlight. Moreover, you would be able to enjoy some interesting desert adventures like dune bashing, sandboarding and quad biking. Before you head back to the city, you would be treated with an Arabic breakfast served with Arabic tea or coffee.
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After your stint at the desert, head to Dubai Museum, located in Deira’s Al Fahidi Neighbourhood (one of the oldest neighborhood in the city). One of the things that make the museum so interesting is that it is located inside a fort (the Al Fahidi Fort), the oldest standing structure in the city. Most of us think about tall buildings and skyscrapers when we think of Dubai. Hence, it is a good idea to check out the Dubai Museum to glimpse at the city’s humble beginnings.
The Museum would take you back to the past to show how the Arabs lived in the olden times. Right from their homes to their occupation and attire, you would be able to see several aspects of their lives here. There is an audio-visual presentation at the end which would definitely awe you as it shows the monumental growth of the city in the last 4-5 decades.
Apart from the Dubai Museum, the neighborhood holds a lot of interesting places. The Bastakiya Quarter, Dubai Creek and the legendary souks are some of the best places to visit in Dubai. However, if you decide to explore these places, you would have to spend the rest of the day here and would miss out on the other attractions. Still, if this is what you want, it is a great experience and you must savor it. As for lunch and snacks, you would find several cafes and street food stalls in the area where you can have authentic Arabic food at cheap rates.
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If you think the Dubai Museum is all you need to see to know the past life of the city, head to Dubai Mall as your next destination. The Dubai Mall is the largest mall in the world where you can do several things other than shopping. Along with more than 1200 retail stores, the mall has an entertainment zone, a large food court, an ice rink, and a multiplex as well. However, one of the major attractions of the mall is the Dubai Aquarium and Underwater Zoo. Yes, right inside the mall! So, even if you do not want to shop for anything, you must visit the Dubai Mall for its sheer size and also its aquarium.
You enter the aquarium through a tunnel, which is the largest suspended aquarium on earth. Meet sharks, stingrays and other marine species swimming around you. The underwater zoo also has some interesting aquatic animals like penguin, otter, water rats, snakes, etc. If you have some time, you can indulge in activities like shark diving, glass bottom boat tour, snorkeling, etc.
Next to the Dubai Mall is the largest building in the world, the Burj Khalifa. In fact, the entrance of Burj Khalifa is located on the ground floor of the mall. So, if you are already in Dubai Mall, it is easy to visit the tallest building during your one day trip. Entry tickets to the Burj Khalifa would take you to a museum on its ground floor where you would be able to see the development of the building through photos and videos. However, the highlight of the tour is the trip to the observation deck via the fastest elevator in the world.
The observation decks are located on the 124th and 148th (highest observation deck in the world) where you can get unparalleled views of the city. The 360o view of the entire city is something you would never be able to forget. The best time to visit the Burj Khalifa is just before sunset as you would be able to take in the view both in daylight and in the dark. However, this is also the most expensive time to visit the place. Still, if you are really sure about visiting Burj Khalifa during your one day Dubai trip, book your tickets online in advance to get some discount. This way, you would also be avoiding the queue at the entrance, thus saving time.
Dubai Fountain Show
Once you have had enough of the view from the top of the tallest building, step outside to see the most spectacular Dubai Fountain Show. Located outside the Dubai Mall, with the Burj Khalifa in the background, this show happens every evening between 6 and 11. Moreover, the show is for free. Every half an hour, the fountain performs a show which is marvelous in every aspect. You would be mesmerized when the fountain dances in the tunes of Arabic or world music. The colorful lights just add to its beauty and charm. Watching the fountain show is surely a great way of saying goodbye to the city.
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This itinerary is just a gist of the things to do in Dubai in one day. Of course, you can customize it as per your interests and schedule. You can start with the Burj Khalifa followed by Dubai Mall and Aquarium and then the Dubai Museum. You can end your visit with the evening desert safari (if your flight is at late night) where you would be able to enjoy the sunset in the desert along with several entertainment activities like watching a belly dance and Tanoura dance performance. You can also skip some of these places or add a few that you find fascinating.
Whichever way you spend your time in Dubai, one sure thing is that you would fall in love with the glamour and charm of the city, and would want to plan a long vacation soon.