5 day guide to Dubai

Well hello to you my reader chums! Dubai, the city of skyscrapers, pristine beaches, the desert and every designer shop under the sun, is certainly bucket list worthy. Before my boyfriend and I went backpacking for 2 months, we jetted off to Dubai for a 5 day holiday to see what the place is all about. I didn't expect to fall in love with Dubai the way I did. As it's a pretty man-made city I thought that wouldn't be for me, however, the beauty of every building, sight and its beaches made me swoon. Dubai is definitely a plush holiday destination that can be done on a budget, you just need to know where to look.

5 day guide to Dubai

We spend 5 days there and I think it was the perfect amount of time to soak up the sights, do a few excursions and have that chill holiday experience. We flew overnight with Virgin Atlantic to Dubai and landed early morning, ready to head off to the hotel. Our hotel, the City Premiere Apartments was located in the Business Bay area, close by to the Burj Khalifa and Dubai Mall, and took around a 20-30 minute drive from the airport. 

Dubai is full of fun and exciting experiences, and here is my take on a 5-day guide and what to do:

Day 1 - Le Mer area and Jumeirah Beach

On our first day in Dubai, after checking into our hotel and napping (we barely slept on the overnight flight), we got a taxi to Jumeriah Beach. However, I think the taxi man misheard us and dropped us off at Jumeriah street which is where the Le Mer area was. Although it wasn't exactly where we wanted to go, I really loved the place. Le Mer is brand new and kind of reminded me of a theme park. There was a small beach, plenty of activities for kids and loads of quirky restaurants and juice stalls. It looked very animated but made for a lovely first place to absorb the 'new vibe in Dubai'.

5 day guide to Dubai

5 day guide to Dubai

After a few hours there, we returned to our hotel as we planned to meet my best friend Chloe (she just moved out there last year) for dinner. She picked us up and took us to this gorgeous restaurant, The Rosette which had beautiful night time views of the city and Jumeriah Beach. The food was amazing and since it was Ladies night, Chloe and I got free drinks. After dinner, we took a stroll down to Jumeirah Beach and it was everything I imagined and more. Under the night sky, the beach was lit up by the Ferris wheel and bright lights of the city - it looked beautiful. The beach area was surrounded by plenty of shop chains, markets and we soon became quite accustomed to this area and knew our way around. We finished the night with my first ever visit to the Cheesecake Factory and it was insane.

5 day guide to Dubai

5 day guide to Dubai

Day 2- Dubai Mall, the aquarium and Burj Khalifa

The second day we had planned for a while, as it was our first proper full day in Dubai. We hopped on the tube at Business Bay metro station (about a 5-minute walk from the hotel), to the Dubai Mall which was only 1 stop. From the metro station into the mall, the walkway was around 10-15 minutes away. Once we arrived, we couldn't believe our eyes! The mall was huge - bigger than Bluewater and Stratford put together with every named brand under the sun. If you're looking for a major shopping trip - this is the place. We'd had our Burj Khalifa ticket booked for the afternoon so our first stop was the aquarium and underwater zoo. 












5 day guide to Dubai

Dan and I adored the aquarium - there was everything from a variety of fish to parrots, sharks, crocodiles and hedgehogs. The animals were beautiful and it was really interesting reading about every creature. The aquarium was bigger than I thought, but I think my highlight had to be walking through the underwater zoo at the end. It was so cool seeing the sharks swim above you!

Our next stop was the Burj Khalifa. As the entrance to the Burj was in the mall, we didn't have to travel too far to reach it from the aquarium. Our slot was booked from half 2 onwards so we lined up (which took quite a while), and then got in the lift and zoomed up to the top. The lift itself was really cool as you could see how many floors you were going up. Once at the top, we stayed there for a few hours, taking in the views, getting those candid Instagram pictures and generally being wowed by the experience. It's certainly a must-see thing in Dubai! The view of the entire city will honestly blow your mind! I was able to see the entire city, the desert and the ocean that surrounds part of Dubai - it really is out of this world. If you have the chance, try and go to the Burj just before sunset, as then you'll have the experience of seeing the city turn from day to night.

5 day guide to Dubai


5 day guide to Dubai

5 day guide to Dubai

5 day guide to Dubai

We then stopped home and returned back to the mall for a spot of shopping (it had to be done) before the fountain show began. The show starts at 7 or 8 and runs every half hour for 5 minutes. As we were there during the Chinese new year, the animations used by the show were all in that theme. The fountains are really impressive and make for a lovely show! We then finished the night with dinner at Eat Greek - the perfect Greek place. 

Day 3 - City Walk and Desert safari tour

The third day, we had our desert safari tour booked at 3pm so we had a good chunk of the day to explore! We started off at CityWalk as we go recommended to head over that way. CityWalk was a modern and mini outdoor version of Dubai Mall but a hell of a lot quieter. The mall was home to many quaint coffee shops and designer stores, that you could easily spend a few hours browsing. We then went back to the mall as it was so close to our hotel for lunch before our excursion began.

5 day guide to Dubai

Our driver picked us up in a massive jeep car and we were the first couple to be collected. The ride wasn't too long to the desert, probably around 40 minutes. We first stopped in the entrance to the desert for photos and our tour guide took some pretty funny ones then, it was time for dune bashing into the main heart of the desert. At first, I really liked the dune bashing as it was a lot of fun, like a rollercoaster. However, after a while (it lasted for an hour), I got super car sick and didn't like it! Dan loved it though! We then continued to drive through the desert which was really cool, seeing the endless sands, which literally went on for days. We then arrived at the desert camp - where you could ride camels (I felt really sorry for them), go sandboarding, get hennas done and given food on arrival. After mooching around the camp, it was time for the evening show. The evening show featured a few belly dancers and a fire show - it was amazing! The fire show was absolutely incredible - I was surprised by everything that they could do. Then we had a traditional Arabic feast - it was basically all you can eat, and absoultely delicious! I loved it! We made some friends and watched the rest of the show before getting the car home.

5 day guide to Dubai

5 day guide to Dubai


Day 4 - Burj Al Arab (Friday Brunch), Jumeriah Public Beach and  The Palm

If you're in Dubai on a Friday, you have to attend a traditional Friday brunch. Dubai's weekend runs on Friday and Saturday so to celebrate on Friday a lot of places hold incredible all-you-can-eat brunches. For our Friday brunch, Dan treated me to Friday Brunch up the Burj Al Arab. I couldn't believe it when we first entered the 7-star hotel -it was insane. Every detail looked so luxurious and we felt so underdressed, despite dressing up. The decor reminded me of the Genie's lamp in Aladdin! The brunch was held on one of the top floors at the restaurant Al Muntata and we took the lift up there. From the lift we could see all the sea, the Palm and more of the city - it was beautiful. The restaurant was also really luxury, and the food put out went on for days. With our booking, you got a starter, main and glass of champagne and then could help yourself to any of the food buffets. There was too much on offer - a whole selection of pastries, desserts, cheeses, fish, meats, bread, homemade pancakes, and ice cream - and fresh juices. It was hard to fit it all in! The food was some of the best I'd ever tasted and I felt so grateful to Dan for the incredible experience. I'd highly recommend doing it - it's a once in a lifetime sort of treat!

5 day guide to Dubai
 
5 day guide to Dubai

5 day guide to Dubai

5 day guide to Dubai

With our full stomachs in tow, we made our way down to Jumeirah Public beach to let our food go down and relax. The beach was around a 15-minute walk from the hotel, and we spend a while soaking up the views and sunshine. We then took a taxi down to the Atlantic at the Palm, just to see it all really. We didn't have much time there, however, the Palm is huge, and there is so much you're able to see or do there that you could spend a whole day! To finish off the most beautiful day, we went over to the main Jumeirah Beach area and watched the sunset. The beach was bustling with families and groups of friends, and the vibe was just so friendly. I really loved the Jumeirah area as the beach was gorgeous, it was surrounded by shops and had such a calm vibe. Despite the massive lunch, we still had room for dinner at a lovely Italian on the beach.

5 day guide to Dubai

5 day guide to Dubai

5 day guide to Dubai


Day 5 and 6 - Kite Beach and Dubai Marina 

Our last two days in Dubai were very chill! As I mentioned previously if you go for a longer stretch of time after you've seen the main sights, you'll have the extra time to lull about, see the beaches and just relax, and that's what we did. On the Saturday after a morning at the pool, we headed over to Kite Beach, as it was one of the beaches we hadn't visited yet. The beach had powdered sands and the water was lovely! We chilled there for a while, went for dinner and later in the evening, head over to Jumeirah Resort. My friend Chloe took us to the restaurant the Black Tap as they served the most delicious freak shakes there! I chose the brownie one and it was honestly so sickly. The Black Tap was a chain in Dubai, so you'll easily be able to find one on your trip.

5 day guide to Dubai

5 day guide to Dubai

The last day in Dubai, we got the metro over to Dubai Marina, as that was the only thing on my list we hadn't seen. The marina area was absolutely stunning filled with boats and surrounded by ever-growing skyscrapers. It made for a lovely calm stroll, and the chance to soak up our last few hours int he desert city. The Marina also has its own mall which made a lush spot for our final lunch there.

5 day guide to Dubai

Dubai was everything I could have dreamt it to be and I feel so thankful to have experienced it in all its glory! The Friday Brunch, its beaches, the Burj Khalifa, the mall and the desert safari are among the highlights. It's a beautiful city and the people are just as lovely. Dubai, I'll be back soon.

Things to know before you go 
  • The best way to travel around Dubai is either by the metro or taxi. The metro has two main routes that go either way on one side of the city, and on the other side, it's the same but to other areas. Taxis are fairly cheap in Dubai, and usually to get from one main site to the next, it'll take around 30 mins because of how the roads are made.
  • When you're on the metro, look out for where you're standing! Some carriages say 'women and children only', and others can be for gold class ticket holders. 
  • Before you plan a trip to Dubai, decide what you'd like out of it, and that can depend on where you'd like to stay. Our hotel was in Business Bay, very close to the mall and Burj Khalifa. However, if you want more of a beach holiday, a hotel near Jumeirah
  •  or the Palm will suit you more.
  • Like any big attraction, book your tickets to the Burj Khalifa in advance to avoid additional queuing and time wasting.
  • If you are looking to drink alcohol out there, be mindful that it is a Muslim country and some restaurants and hotels will be dry and not serve booze. Before you go somewhere, ask if they serve alcohol or not.
  • Dubai is a super friendly city and its workers will do anything for you - I'm talking packing your shopping, doing the payment for you etc.
I hope you enjoyed this Dubai guide. Have you visited the city?

Thank you for reading <3


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