A bustling myriad of cultures from across the world, Dubai is a concoction of Bedouin traditions rooted in a futuristic mirage. A city housing superlatives like no other with the Burj Khalifa, world’s tallest building, Dubai Metro Red Line world’s longest driverless metro and Long’s the world’s longest bar ever.
Barring the mandatory visit to Burj Khalifa, Desert Safari, Dhow Cruise on Dubai Creek and mall crawling at the palatial malls in Dubai, here are a few new attractions in Dubai that are worthy of your time. This list has something for everyone; the adventure enthusiasts, history buffs, beach bums and lazy scenic strollers
1. Dubai Frame
Dubai Frame, also known as Berwaz Dubai is a 2018 addition to Dubai’s kitty of record-breaking structures. Located in Zabeel Park, the frame comprises of 2 towers, 150m each connected by a 93m long bridge at the top. Its glass bottomed sky deck flaunts a 360-degree view of both old and new Dubai. A museum on its lower floor showcases Dubai’s journey from a humble fishing village to the global microcosm it has grown to today and a futuristic prediction of what Dubai will look like in 2050.
2. Dubai Desert Conservation Reserve
Away from the glam of Dubai lies UAE’s first National park, a pristine reserve which was built with the aim of preserving the desert habitat and cultivating a flourishing ecosystem with flora and fauna similar to an actual desert. A trip here starts off with a dune safari which skilfully drifts through the reserve spotting animals like Gazelles, Oryx and Gordons WIldcat to name a few. You can engage in an array of activities like sand boarding, camel treks, horse rides, a class on falconry or even archery during your time here. For a laidback experience, you can lounge in the Bedu tents on low cushions and smoke Sheesha or Hubbly Bubbly and enjoy a delectable Arabic feast. Al Maha, a Luxury Collection Desert Resort and Spa is nestled in this compound, where you can relieve your muscle after an adventurous day.
3. A Trip To Hatta Mountains
3 hours out of Dubai lies a range of rugged mountains called Hatta, with undulating terrains offering plethora for both adventure enthusiasts and nature lovers alike. You could hike up the meandering hill, go mountain biking, stroll around the Hatta Heritage Village, kayak around the emerald Hatta lake or sit by the Hatta Dam and get consumed in its beauty.
4. La Mer
Flanked in between Jumeira Bay and Pearl Jumeri, La Mer (translated to the sea) is a whopping 13.4 million square feet of reclaimed and existing land. This slice of Europe in Dubai is divided into 3 parts: La Mer South, La Mer North, and The Wharf. For now, only the first 2 parts are open with over 130 shops, restaurants and cafes. The Wharf is set to open in 2018 with a cinema, surf park and water park bringing with it the first dedicated massive surf park in Dubai. Apart from these, you are likely to find a bunch of fun things here like, the daybeds and cabanas (you can even book a private cabana at Sea Breeze ), an ocean facing playground for kids, a beach club called Sea Spice and a Japanese designed air-filled trampoline called Hawa Hawa. So, if you’re in the mood for some top-notch lazing by the beach accompanied by shopping, eating and water sports, you know where to head.
5. Dubai Parks and Resorts
Considered Dubai’s Disney land, this adventure-land has 4 parts to it: Riverland, Lego Land, Bollywood Park, Motion Gate and is an Oasis of fun galore.
Riverland, the gateway to Dubai Parks & Resorts is a meandering alley by the river through different eras of the past showcasing the Boardwalk, Peninsula, India Gate and French Village. An architectural delight with artistic sculptures and mesmerising stories of the past, you’re in for a flight to the past whilst you walk here.
Lego Land has both a dry arena and a water park specifically designed for kids aged 2-12. With over 20 slides and rides at the waterpark and 40 other themes rides, buildings and shows, kids are bound to have fun building legos and being in a lego immersed world.
Bollywood park is inspired by the booming world famous Bollywood industry. Divided into five enthralling zones: Bollywood Boulevard, Mumbai Chowk, Rustic Ravine, Royal Plaza and Bollywood Film Studios, this park showcases the spirit of Bollywood through augmented reality, 4D theatre experiences, live shows and six restaurants encompassing the essence of Indian cuisine.
Motiongate is another cinema inspired park based on the 3 largest motion picture studios in Hollywood – Columbia Pictures, Lionsgate and DreamWorks Animation. Brace yourselves for acts of creative storytelling, illusion of filmmaking, roller coasters, play zones and action-packed adventure with your favourite stars coming to life.
6. IMG Worlds of Adventure
When I said Dubai is a city of superlatives, I meant it. This state of the art attraction is the largest temperature-controlled themed entertainment destination in the world! Built over an area of 1.5 million square feet with the capacity to accommodate over 20,000 people per day, IMG World is a heart-racing and spine-tingling experience. It is divided into four thematic zones – Marvel Universe, Cartoon Network, Lost Valley – Dinosaur Adventure and IMG Boulevard. It also has themed retail stores , Novo cinema complex and and dining venues. So befriend life-size dinos, get your breath stolen with roller coasters like Velociraptor and walk into the Haunted Hotel for a terrifying 15 minutes.
7. A Souq Walk
A souq (Arabic: سوق,) is defined as a marketplace or commercial quarter in Western Asian and North African cities. On the banks of Deira creek lie various souqs canopied by the traditional barejeels and ornate wooden roofs. The top 3 souqs to look out for are :
Bur Dubai Souq- Name a fabric and you can find it here. Nicknamed the Textile Souq, you can buy anything ranging from pashminas to velvets, to raw silk to cotton; all at affordable prices.
Spice Souq- It’s hard to miss this one with the aroma of spices wafting by your nose, magnetically pulling you to see sacks and sacks of spices, dried nuts, incense burners, shisha, henna etc arranged fashionably in snug shops.
Gold Souq- Even if you don’t intend to buy gold, a walk by the Gold Souq is a soulful experience.Shops here are teeming with gold, pearls, diamonds, platinum and practically everything that glitters and a walk down this long stretch of 300 jewellery retail stores is sure to fill up a lot of memory on your camera roll. Funnily enough, you can even haggle for gold prices here.
While you’re at the Souq, take a ride on the Abra or Dhow and glide across the glistening Dubai creek.
8. Sky Diving
Jumping off a helicopter and free falling into a splendid aerial view of palm-shaped Jumeirah islands and the sky-piercing skyline of Dubai is a once in a lifetime experience for adrenaline junkies. Dubai has some of the best skydiving facilities from around the world and you can easily find one that suits your courage and budget. If you’re not up for taking off from such a height but still want to experience the thrill of this sport, you could engage in indoor skydiving which simulates a similar scenario, is less risky and less scary. Dubai Indoor Skydiving and iFly Dubai are your best bets for indoor skydiving. For outdoor skydiving, Skydive Dubai is touted to be the best.
9. Miracle Garden
Located near the Arabian Ranches, Miracle Garden is the world’s largest natural flower garden with over 60 million flowers grown in 72,000 square meters These floral patterns and structures are changed every season so that repeat customers get a different experience every time they visit. Petunias, Marigolds, Geraniums and many more varieties are dolled in intricate sculptures and designs; a truly vibrant treat for your eyes. Be it the ceiling of colourful umbrellas, the record-breaking wall of flowers or the floral life-size replica of Emirates Airbus A380, this art exhibit is a miracle. Don’t forget to step into the Dubai Butterfly Garden, Dubai’s first indoor butterfly sanctuary while you’re here.These gardens remained closed from June – September due to the summer heat which does not make a stroll in these gardens conducive.
10. Al Fahidi Historic District
A 2-hour tour of the Al Fahidi Historical District is likely to transport you to the 1800s when Dubai was a sleepy trade town. Bordering the Dubai Creek, this restored area formerly known as the Bastakia Quarter is flanked by camel coloured barejeels, museums, quaint courtyard cafes, boutique hotels, art galleries and craft shops. In the labyrinth of these lanes are hidden gems best explored on foot. Walk around and soak in stories of traditions and Arabic yore from the then desert clad Dubai and a glimpse into the life of early Bedouins.
If you make a trip to Dubai this year, tick these off your list for sure!
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