United Arab Emirates – Abu Dhabi & Dubai

Have you ever been putting off visiting a destination? We have been avoiding UAE forever. We both always loved to visit places where there is nature. Whenever we spoke to anyone who went on holidays to UAE all we heard was what fun they had shopping. Don’t get me wrong I love to shop but going on holidays for shopping only never appealed to me.

Going with least expectations, in fact telling our self we are heading for disappointment and then having a country prove us wrong. Love it!

Welcoming with palm trees throughout our stay and with the friendly hospitality made us not want to leave the place we have been avoiding since forever. 

As kids growing up seeing Aladdin, while visiting UAE I actually felt like I was living it. Old Dubai definitely made me want to see a flying carpet or even find a lamp with a genie who will grant me my wishes.

There were a lot of first for us during our visit to UAE- riding the fastest roller coaster; visiting one of the largest mosque; being on top of the tallest building or having a blast in the sand dunes bashing. There was never a dull moment. 

TIME TO VISIT 

The best time to visit would be from November to April. Due to the Dubai Shopping festival there are lots of tours in January and February. It also is the time when the whole city is said to come alive.

For cheaper hotels and less crowd the best time to visit would be April to May. There are also lots of cultural festivals and sporting events during this rime.

Our visit was mid February as we wanted to miss out on the Dubai Shopping festival crowd and at the same time wanted a pleasant weather. We were happy with our time of visit and recommend it.

ABU DHABI

Visiting the capital of United Arab Emirates, even for 2 days was fun. Being one of the largest city in the UAE there was so much to do.

WHERE WE STAYED IN ABU DHABI

We had decided to stay 2 days in Abu Dhabi and stayed for one night in Park Inn by Radisson Abu Dhabi in Yas Island. The check in process was very smooth, where we did receive a complimentary upgrade to our room. The room was huge and we were very happy with the cleanliness.

We had also chosen the breakfast option and were very happy with the varieties. The staffs were all very friendly and always happy to help. It was also walkable distance from Yas Island buses and taxis were also easily available for longer distance. Overall we were very happy with our stay in the hotel and would recommend.

TRAVELING IN AND AROUND ABU DHABI

We had used plane as a mode of transport. We landed in Abu Dhabi and didn’t face any trouble in immigration. Our visas were also done back home with no complications.

During our research we read waiting for buses in Abu Dhabi to reach your destination would be longer and hence taxis would be better option. Based on this we decided to stay in Yas Island and make the most of the complimentary buses. 

From the airport we had used the Yas Island buses and throughout our stay we used it. There are total 8 routes to choose from- Blue, Pink, Red, Yellow, Green, Purple, Orange and Aqua route.

Depending on where you want to go you can choose the bus routes. Most buses stop at Yas Plaza hotels as a result we ended using almost all the routes.

We did see buses from airport with various drop off points throughout Abu Dhabi. We however never got a chance to use one.

The taxis were also easily available in most of the places. There is clarity on the fares and most of the taxi driver we met were also very friendly. 

For inter-state travel we had chosen the bus option. It was roughly two and half hour drive to Dubai. There are buses which run at regular intervals hence pre booking was not required. The buses were clean and the road trip felt safe as well.

THINGS TO DO IN ABU DHABI

YAS ISLAND

Aldar Properties had started the development of this island in 2006. Their intention was to turn the place into a multi-purpose leisure, shopping and entertainment  centre. It also received world’s leading tourism project at the World Travel Awards in November 2009. They have complimentary buses running to different attractions, including buses from the airport and the city. You don’t see people walking here but we did manage to take small walks as I loved seeing the Palm trees along the way. There are also many Yas Plaza hotels in the vicinity, we did stay near one of them. 

FERRARI WORLD

Our main reason for visiting Abu Dhabi was to see Ferrari world. It is said to be the first Ferrari branded theme park with largest space structure ever built and has even won many awards in the past.

We even got our hands on changing the tyres of the Ferrari, an experience forever to be cherished.  There were many rides to enjoy for both kids and adults.

I have to mention the highlight for us was Formula Rossa. It’s the world’s fastest roller coaster ride with a speed of 240 km/h. Having a husband who is scared of rides imagine asking him to sit in the fastest one. If you are there you have to do it, it’s beyond imaginary. I usually am cool with such rides but this sure did get me scared. You have to really try it to understand the thrill you get.

Unfortunately for us the Flying Aces was closed during our visit so we didn’t get to enjoy this.
There are many I have noticed who have complained about the place. If you are not someone who likes Ferrari, or ever watched Formula One races then you won’t understand why people who do love it visit it.

WARNER BROS WORLD

It is said to a park which features characters from Warner Bro’s franchisees such as Looney Tunes, Scooby Doo, Justice League, Batman etc. We however only saw this from outside due to time constraint. 

YAS WATERWORLD

It has more than 40 rides, slides and attractions. The theme park is based on an original story about a brave girl named Dana. It’s her journey when she was trying to retrieve a lost pearl and showcasing all the help she got from animals. Another one which has received many awards since its opening in 2013. We only heard the stories and didn’t get to see it due to time.

YAS MARINA CIRCUIT

This is the second Formula One race track in the Middle East. There are five grandstand areas- main Grandstand, West Grandstand, North Grandstand, South Grandstand and Marina Grandstand. It is said to have a seating capacity of 41,093. We could see a part of the circuit from our hotel room. 

YAS MALL

This was our only mall visit in Abu Dhabi, a conscious decision since we didn’t have much time here. There are lots of well renowned brands, eating joints and entertainment to easily spend an entire day here. The mall is also said to have won many awards since its opening in 2015. 

ALDAR HEADQUARTERS

Every time we were in the bus or taxi we would see this round building and wonder what tourist attraction is it. Finally we asked our taxi driver who told us it’s the Aldar properties headquarters. For someone who is building Yas Island they are definitely bound to have an architectural building as their headquarters. It’s said to be the first circular building of its kind in Middle East. The shape is said to achieve through diagonal grid of steel with to be 23 floors and various elevators. 

SHEIKH ZAYED GRAND MOSQUE

Visiting one of the largest mosque in the country was another reason for us to visit Abu Dhabi. We had read how the mosque looked pretty during the day and equally pretty at night. In order to see both in one trip we decided to head to the mosque around 4.30 pm.

When the mosque was built there were few things which were said to stand out. As soon as you see the mosque the first thing you notice is the domes, its said to have 82 domes of 7 different sizes. Most of the mosque is built using marbles, stones, glass and semiprecious stones to show the cultural heritage. Upon entering the mosque you get to see the largest carpets in the world.

You are also welcomed into the Courtyard (Sahan), an open space with a floral decoration  turning into stunned glass patterns in the middle. There are also seven chandeliers inside which has millions of Swarovski crystals. The 96 columns along the mosque also has marbles with inlaid mother of pearls. If you see along the walls there are also 99 names of Allah which is featured on the Qibla wall. Water is considered as a symbol of life both in Arabic and Islamic culture hence you can see the Sheikh Zayed mosque reflect in the water. As the sun sets the mosque gets lit up with blue lights. It is said to reflect the phases of the moon, changing night after night throughout the month.  For me personally the blue lights reminded me of Aladdin. This was my first mosque visit and I am so glad I did it with Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque.

CORNICHE ROAD

An 8 km long road which is filled with children’s play area, lane for cyclist, pedestrian pathways, restaurants and cafes. If that was not enough there is also the Corniche Beach to enjoy. While walking along the road we also saw some interesting buildings.

Staying in Yas Island I did miss walking in the street but in Corniche Road I made up for it.

CORNICHE BEACH

Right along Corniche road you will also see the Corniche beach. There are various entry points and lots of lifeguards around. It’s said to have three sections of which one is mostly for family. When we were there the  beach wasn’t as busy, hence looked very peaceful and clean. A nice place to relax and enjoy with family.

AL REEM ISLAND

When we were walking along Corniche Road, on the other side we saw this island with many tall architectural buildings. Only later did we come to know its called Al Reem island. It is said to be one place where foreign nationals can buy property on a 50 year leasehold basis. The view from Corniche road of the island was really pretty. 

MARINA EYE

Another one which we saw while walking on Corniche Road. It’s said to have 42 enclosed capsules which will give you views of Abu Dhabi. Unfortunately due to time constraints we couldn’t do it. I think it would have been awesome to see Abu Dhabi from top.

MARINA MALL

Another famous mall which we saw during our walk in Corniche Road. It is very close to Emirates Palace Hotel and was recognised the top shopping mall in Abu Dhabi by Forbes in 2017. There is said to be an observatory deck and an internal steam fountain besides the usual stores and entertainment.

ETIHAD TOWER

If you are a diehard fan of the Fast and Furious series like us then you definitely are going to look for this tower. There are 5 towers which has offices, apartments and a hotel. Tower 2 is said to have an observatory deck on the 75th floor which is accessible from the hotel. We only saw this from outside and were recreating the scene from the movie.

EMIRATES PALACE HOTEL

As I was walking along Corniche road we came across the Emirates Palace. It is a luxury five star hotel which recently went into a major renovation. Since we saw it from out we couldn’t see much. 

OUR ITINERARY IN ABU DHABI 

DAY 1

Ferrari World, Warner Bros World, Yas Waterworld,, Yas Marina Circuit, Aldar Headquarters, Yas Island and Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque.

Traveling tip: 

  • From airport to Yas Plaza hotel we took the complimentary bus right outside the airport arrival terminal. Bus is not that frequent, choose taxis if wait time longer.
  • From hotel we walked to Yas plaza hotel bus stop and took the complimentary bus to Yas mall and visited Ferrari world.
  • Came back to hotel in Yas complimentary bus and rested. Then we took taxi from our hotel to Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque
  • Aldar headquarters, Warner Bros World, Yas Waterworld, Capital Gate, Yas Marina Circuit and Yas Island we saw while traveling in bus and taxis.

DAY 2

Corniche road, Corniche beach, Etihad tower, Al Reem Island, Marina Eye, Emirates Palace, Yas Mall and Abu Dhabi bus station.

Traveling tip:

  • Took the taxi from hotel to Corniche beach
  • From Corniche beach walked along Corniche road.
  • Saw Alreem island, Marina Eye, Emirates Palace Hotel, Marina Mall and Etihad tower while walking along Corniche road.
  • From Bas Al Qasr Hotel took the pink route Yas island complimentary bus to Yas Mall. Spent time enjoying Yas Mall.
  • From Yas Mall took the bus to Yas Plaza hotels.
  • Picked our bags from hotel. Booked a taxi to Abu Dhabi Bus station
  • Took the IBN Battuta bus to Dubai.

DUBAI

There is so much more to Dubai than malls and I wanted to explore that. Now after visiting I do feel malls are a big deal in Dubai. A place known for holding lots of world records, where every place has made some history.

WHERE WE STAYED IN DUBAI

We had stayed 6 days in Dubai. Since we wanted to enjoy the city and also the island hotels we had chosen two different hotels.

For the first 4 days we had chosen to stay at DusitD2 Kent Hotel Dubai. We were actually contemplating between Hotel Gevora and DusitD2 Kent. Finally we shortlisted DusitD2 Kent because it was new as compared to Gevora. Overall we had high expectations with the hotel and weren’t totally satisfied. The front desk staff were not very friendly and the rooms seemed average. We had chosen the breakfast option also, first day we were happy but having the same breakfast for 4 days was a total disappointment. Only positive thing of the hotel was it was near metro station, taxis and buses.

For the last 2 days we had chosen to stay at Atlantis, The Palm. This was beyond our budget but we decided to splurge.

After staying I wasn’t disappointed in taking this decision. Having a hotel in a man-made island with a breath taking views of the palms from the room windows was everything I had imagined.

We were upgraded to a room on the 10th floor in the east wing and got to see the palms.

We didn’t choose the breakfast option but had taken the dinner option. For dinner we booked in Saffron for the seafood buffet and were very happy. The hotel itself had great options to keep busy- be it the adventure park or the aquarium. There was never a dull moment inside and was evident from the crowd. My only bad review of the hotel was the front desk. The guy who checked us in was very polite and friendly but the rest of the team weren’t. They would never have a smile and always gave replies rudely. I do have to say the waiters, housekeeping and security guards were all very friendly. A little politeness from the front desk would have made everything perfect. 

TRAVELING IN AND AROUND DUBAI

This is one place where we have used every transport options- namely train, bus, taxis, monorail and trams. For me personally the combination of everything worked to its best here.

Understanding the fares here can be really challenging. For the buses, trains and trams we had opted for the card. There are basically four cards- red, blue, silver and gold card. Blue card is for locals where they have to give their resident proof, so this was out for us. Gold card was expensive for tourist, so we didn’t consider this. The main confusion comes with the red and silver card. As per our research we read red card to be ideal for tourists. However, during our travel we realised this was working more expensive. Since we were traveling from Abu Dhabi to Dubai by bus we received the silver card. There is a 6AED charge for this card and a minimum balance of 7.50AED to maintain before any travel. Hence we used Silver card throughout our journey and  would top up our card based on our travel. The card is valid for 5 years and when returned will refund your top up but not the card charge (i.e. 6AED).

Map courtesy Dubai Metro

One thing which you really have to understand while using the public transport is the fares works on zones. Should you change zones the charges get applied. For same zones the minimum charge is consider. Should you complete the transfers within 30 mins within the same zone then the minimum charge gets deducted. Bare in mind the zones don’t work according to the colours on the map. Check out the zones and plan travel accordingly. There were times when we didn’t understand why we were charged more but we still felt it was better to used silver card over red card. 

We used taxis mainly when we had bags, as the metro was too crowded and the walks inside metro to train too long. The taxis work on meter but remember to give the driver a landmark. 

I would also recommend doing the Abra (water taxi) rides. This was there since even before the country was formed and it’s said to not have changed much. We did it in Dubai creek, for the experience and totally loved it. 

We wanted to see Atlantis, The Palm and the Palm Jumeirah from a distant hence we choose the monorail also. This is run by private company and you have to buy separate tickets. I would recommend doing this as the view is awesome. 

THINGS TO DO IN DUBAI

BURJ KHALIFA

Visiting the tallest building in the world was must do for us. A skyscraper at a total height of 2,722 ft. being the tallest structure since 2009. It was built for gaining international recognition. It’s made of hotels, offices, apartments, zero entry swimming pools, restaurants, sky lobby and observation deck.

The lift is said to be the fastest rising and descending up to 10 m/s. As you travel up the lift there is LCD displays till you reach the observatory deck. There is an observatory deck on the 124th and 125th floor and another one on 169th floor. Personally having been to the 124th floor I did feel the view from outside of Burj Khalifa is better than the view from top or inside. It’s mostly packed with tourist hence confined in space. I enjoyed both the day and night view, I preferred the night view better.

THE DUBAI MALL

It is said to be the second largest mall (land area) and the 26th largest in the world by leasable area. If you want to spend your hard earned money then Dubai Mall is the place. The mall also has 250 room luxury hotel and 22 cinema screens. Spending a whole day here would definitely get you what you are looking for thanks to all the branded shops. You can easily be lost trying to find your way out but help is available everywhere. Should you need a break from shopping then there is the Dubai Aquarium and underwater zoo, the Dubai fountain or indulge in one of the restaurants.

THE DUBAI FOUNTAIN

A choreographed fountain system which is right outside Dubai Mall set on the man- made Burj Khalifa Lake. It is said to spray water over 150 metres in the air. There are over 6000 colour and light projectors.  Performances takes place at 1.00 pm and at 1.30 pm. From 6.00 pm to 10 pm on weekdays and from 6 pm to 11 p on weekends it’s played every 30 mins. We got to see it during the weekend, hence experienced crowd. Get there 15 mins before to get a nice spot to enjoy the performance. 

DUBAI AQUARIUM & UNDERWATER ZOO

Having done aquarium in almost every country I visited I still wanted to do this. I loved the concept of walking in a tunnel and having the fishes swim all around. It is said to be having the largest viewing panel on earth. Personally it would have been nicer should the tunnel have been longer. If you are lucky as we were you can also enjoy the feeding to the fishes. It is said to be holding 10 million litres of water.

There is plenty to do like speciality dives, cage snorkelling experience, Shark walker, Ray encounter, Otter encounter, Crocodile encounter and shark trainer encounter. The prices vary accordingly. A nice place to take a break from the shopping as it is inside Dubai Mall. There is also an underwater zoo concept. I didn’t feel the entry fee was high as we got a nice deal with our hotel concierge. Should you not wish to spend money on this then you can also enjoy the aquarium for free outside.

DUBAI MARINA

A residential neighbourhood where you can enjoy a stroll, shopping in one of the craft markets, enjoy Dubai Marina mall or simple enjoy meal in one of the fine restaurants. There are also an upscale hatch’s cruising along the man-made marina along with jet skiing and skydiving. We had visited it in the evening and found is very peaceful. 

JBR WALK

A 1.7 km walking  which is surrounded by 40 towers. It is walking distance to Dubai Marina, Dubai Tram and Dubai Metro. 


BURJ AL ARAB

It is a 5 star luxury hotel which looks like the sail of a ship. It is the seventh tallest hotel. Standing on an artificial island 280m from Jumeirah Beach with a private curving brigade along with its own helipad. I enjoyed the views of the hotel during my stay in Atlantis, in Dubai metro and also saw it up close. Never stayed in the hotel itself but heard its luxury at its best.

DUBAI MUSEUM

We only saw this from outside on our way to Al Fahidi and is located in the Al Fahidi Fort. The museum is said to show the traditional ways of life in the Emirates of Dubai.  The fort itself is square-shaped with towers seen in the three corners. It is said to be built of coral rocks and mortar.

AL FAHIDI HISTORICAL DISTRICT- BASTAKIYA

As you walk across the narrow winding lanes it takes you to another part of Dubai. The town initially was built by immigrants from the city of Bastar, Persia. However in 1980s it was destroyed to build a new office complex. In 1989, Rayner Otter did extensive renovation and asked Prince Charles to cancel the demolition, which he did during his visit. In 2005 the localities were restored to the old buildings and lanes by Dubai Municipality. I for one am so glad this was done as I loved the neighbourhood and found it to be a total contrast to the new Dubai. 

DUBAI CREEK

Salt water creek which originally divided the city into two section-Deira and Bur Dubai. In 1930 pearling industry had set base here along with fishing. Along the Deira side you can see the Deira Twin Towers, old Dubai creek tower, Sheraton Dubai Creek, National Bank of Dubai and Chamber of Commerce. On the other side of Al Maktoum Bridge along Dubai creek you can a see Dubai Creek Park. I would recommend the abra ride to get the feel of the creek. We had chosen to do this during our Souk visit and crossed to check out both sides.

DUBAI SOUK

A very popular tourist must see in Deira next to Dubai Creek. Walking along narrow lanes you will come across hundreds of locals with different stuff to buy. There are textile souk, gold souk, perfume souk, utensils souk, mattress souk, Al- Manadher souk and spice souk. We had fun walking along the shopping street and doing some local souvenir shopping. The locals enjoy bargaining with you and at times can be a little annoying when you don’t buy from them.

The Gold souk is the most famous one and you will get to see some of the most unique gold designs here. Don’t miss the traditional Abra ride in the wooden water taxi across the creek. If you cross the Dubai creek then there is another souk to enjoy. I recommend doing it to see the different side of shopping as compared to malls. One always enjoys malls but its fun to do the old tradition way as well. 

MALL OF THE EMIRATES

Another mall to feast your shopping cravings. The mall was opened in 2005 and has more than 630 retail outlets. There is also Ski Dubai inside the mall to enjoy should you have kids or need a break from shopping. It is also at the intersection of Sheikh Sayed Road as a result works best in between tourist spot. 

PALM JUMEIRAH ISLAND

During my research I was very much keen on doing this. Imagine staying in an artificial palm shaped island. Nakheel group have created this project using land reclamation. If you want to enjoy a good view then the monorail is the best way to check it out. We had stayed in Atlantis, The Palm so we got to see part of the palm shaped from our room.

The concept is in each of the palm leaves there are villas, resorts or shopping malls built. When you are on the island you do get amazed at how it’s built, but then when you sit and think should nature take any action it would be such a disaster. 

THE LOST CHAMBERS AQUARIUM

Inside Atlantis, The Palm you will get to see the Lost Chambers aquarium. It is said people have been searching for thousands of years the lost city of Atlantis. There is said to be over 65,000 marine animals. In the underwater tunnels you get to see sharks, eels, seahorses and piranhas. There is also marine life exhibits which includes interactive shows and touch tanks. Since we were staying in Atlantis our stay included the entry fees. 

ATLANTIS ADVENTURE 

This was complimentary for us with our stay in Atlantis. Should you have kids and love the waters then this is the place for you. There are slides, shark filled lagoons and children’s play area which has slides, rope bridges, water cannons and much more activities. Need a break then you can always head to the private beach and enjoy the tropical landscape. 

DUBAI MIRACLE GARDEN

For someone who loves gardening and plants this was a must do. I loved the way with flowering plants they have made different concepts made. 

 It’s currently holding three Guinness Book World Record. Firstly, it is said the garden occupies 72,000 square metres and is the world’s largest natural flower garden with over 50 million plants. Secondly, the airbus A380 is the biggest flower structure in the world. Lastly, the Mickey Mouse, which is 59 feet tall weighing 35 tonnes is the tallest sculpture in the world. I am not sure how everyone feels about putting this in their itinerary, I wouldn’t skip it.

DUBAI FRAME

Here is another one which has managed to grab attention. It holds record of being the biggest frame in the world. It is created from glass, steel, aluminium and concrete.

It is positioned in such a way so visitor can see new Dubai on one side and old Dubai on the other.

Our initial plan was to only see it from outside. However changed our mind and saw it from up and weren’t disappointed. I actually preferred the view of top from Dubai Frame as compared to Burj Khalifa.

Don’t miss walking along the glass floor, it sure is interesting and scary.


GLOBAL VILLAGE

The place has 90 countries around the world all in one place. It is said to be the largest tourism, entertainment, shopping and leisure project. There are themed attractions, shows, stalls and entertainments. It starts in the evening and when the place is lit up in lights, it makes it a fun filled evening.

You can easily spend your evening either shopping or enjoying cuisines from different countries. There are also different cuisines to try your taste buds either in the restaurants or in the floating market. We were very confused when to put it in our schedule but we are so glad we made time for it.

IBN BATTUTA MALL

Have you ever visited a mall which has a story to tell? Head to Ibn Battuta mall and see the story of a traveller- Ibn Battuta who traveled in 1335. The mall is divided into India court, China court, Persia court, Egypt court, Tunisia court and Andalusia court.  I would highly recommend seeing the clock in India court. If you are looking for shopping then I personally found this mall ok with its shops. But I totally loved how they portrayed the travel history of Ibn Battuta. 

DESERT SAFARI- SAND DUNES IN SHARJAH

Being in the Middle East and not doing a Desert Safari is just not possible. Most of the hotels do organise one for you but we had opted one from a friend’s recommendation. We choose evening Safari as we wanted to combine it with sunset. We were told most of the desert safaris from Dubai were organised in Sharjah as it is the best. There are some companies who take you to small sand dunes so be careful.

They usually arrange for pick up and drop from your hotels and basically have three options in the price range and the main difference is the sitting arrangement.

Ours was booked with Royal Vision Tourism and Mr Zohar was awesome. He made the sand dunes experience one we would remember forever.


All necessary precautions in the car were taken care of perfectly. There is also camel ride, Henna painting, Shisha, sunset photographs, Arabic costumes and ATV rides for those who wish to do with extra cost. The dinner, fire performances, Tannoura show and belly dancing ended our whole experience perfectly. 

OUR ITINERARY IN DUBAI

DAY 1

Bus from Abu Dhabi, Check in to Dusit D2 Kent Hotel, Dubai Mall and Dubai Fountain

Traveling tip 

  • From Ibn Battuta bus station took taxi to Dusit D2 Kent Hotel.
  • Checked in and rested.
  • Took the metro from Hotel and got off at Dubai Mall station. Did Dubai Mall and Dubai Fountain.

Recommended Itinerary– Should you have the whole day then I would recommend doing Burj Khalifa, Dubai Aquarium and Underwater Zoo, Dubai Mall and Dubai Fountain. All are next to each other and can be done in a day.

DAY 2

Burj Khalifa, Aquarium and Underwater Zoo and Dubai Marina

Traveling tip

  • Took the metro and got off at Dubai Mall station. Did Burj Khalifa and Aquarium and Underwater Zoo
  • Took the metro and get off at Damac Properties Metro Station. Then take the tram to Jumeirah Lakes Tower and get off at Jumeirah Beach Residence 1 and walk 260 m to reach Dubai Marina

DAY 3

Dubai Frame, Mall of the Emirates, Dubai Miracle Garden and Global Village

Traveling tip

  • Take the metro to ADCB Metro Station Walk. You then have to walk around the park to Gate 4 for the entrance to Dubai Frame.
  • Take the metro from ADCB Metro station and get off at Mall of the Emirates. Enjoy some time exploring the mall.
  • Take the 105 bus to Dubai Miracle Garden. One stop but takes roughly 30 mins.
  • From Dubai Miracle Garden we choose to take the taxi to Global Village. Bus options are available from Mall of the Emirates but we avoided the extra travel.
  • Take the 106 bus from Global Village and get off at Mall of the Emirates. From here take the metro back to your hotel.

Recommended Itinerary:

– Should you want to use metro throughout then use red card as it will work cheaper. – This day is also very hectic so you can split in two if you have extra days. You can do Miracle Garden and Global Village in one day and rest another day.

DAY 4

Dubai Souk, Dubai Creek, Dubai Museum, Al Fahidi Historical District and Desert Safari

Traveling tip

  • Take the metro and get off at Union station. Walk for 600 m to reach Gold Souk. Walk around to check out all the souks in the vicinity.
  • Take a boat ride from Baniya Marina Transport Station to get on the opposite side of the creek. Explore souks on this side
  • Walk 450 m (you will see a Temple and then a mosque on the way) to reach Dubai Museum.
  • Walk towards Ali Bin Abi Taleb St and then take left on Al Fahidi street. You will reach Al Fahidi Historical District.
  • Walk 700 m to Al Fahidi Metro Station to get to your hotel.
  • Evening did Desert Safari where pick up and drop was arranged by tour company from the hotel.

DAY 5

Atlantis, The Palm. Lost Chamber, Adventure Park, Private Beach, Fountain At Pointe Mall

Traveling tip

  • Took the taxi to reach Atlantis, The Palm. Spent the whole day in the hotel doing The Lost Chamber, Adventure park, Stroll in the private beach, Dinner in Saffron and night enjoyed Fountain Display of Pointe Mall from the private beach.

DAY 6

Ibn Battuta Mall, JBR walk and Burj Al Arab

Traveling tip

  • Took the Monorail from Atlantis, The Palms and got off at the Palm Gateway. Follow the path take the tram and get off at Dubai Marina. Take the metro from Dmac Properties and get off at Ibn Battuta. Explored Ibn Battuta mall and did some last minute shopping.
  • Take the metro and get off at DMCC Metro Station. Walk 900 m to reach JBR walk. Walked around the vicinity. 
  • From the Marine Dubai, JBR Station 1 take the Bus no.8 to Burj Al Arab. Enjoyed the hotel from out
  • There are different option available for different metro stations. Bus 81 gets you to Mall of the Emirates; Bus 88 gets you to Dubai Internet City Metro Station. Choose accordingly.
  • Took the bus, metro and tram to reach Atlantis the Palm. Picked our luggage and took a taxi to the airport.

Recommended Itinerary : Should you have the whole day then in the morning do Ibn Battuta Mall and then head to Dubai Marina, JBR walk and Burj Al Arab together. 

THINGS TO NOTE IN DUBAI & ABU DHABI

  • Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque you have to dress appropriately. Men have to wear long trousers. Women have to cover their legs, shoulders and head. They do provide clothes should not have on your way. Ladies have to cover their head, you do get told off if you don’t.
  • For Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque plan your visit after looking at the sunset time. This way you can see the mosque during the day and also at night.
  • Sheik Zayed Grand Mosque the area of walking is restricted. Although you might have seen many people put up photos showing them standing in between this is all photo shopped. 
  • Inside the mosque it is said to avoid intimate gestures while posing for photos. Taking other visitors photos is also prohibited. Also avoid any positions or gestures which imply a specific meaning.
  • Most places in UAE on Fridays are not operational during the morning as it is their prayer day. Most mosques are closed for tourists. 
  • Check the Yas island bus timings if you plan to use it while coming back from Abu Dhabi City. The buses have only 3 timings and very few pick up points. Plan accordingly if you want to save one way trip with the taxi.
  • Huge lines everywhere in Dubai, try to get tickets in the hotel concierge. Check out the prices online to avoid getting cheated. We did get a very good deal on Dubai Aquarium & Underwater Zoo but Burj Khalifa we were charged more saying tax is not showing online. Online prices does include taxes.
  • Abu Dhabi and Dubai both charge tourism tax at the hotel. The charges range from 5AED to 20 AED per day depending on the hotel ratings. 
  • The big taxis and normal sedan taxis the meter charges are the same. 
  • Most rides in Ferrari World had long queues, be prepared for the same. Should for any reason the rides break down after you stood in line then ask for the fast line pass. If you don’t ask they won’t give and you have to stand in line again.
  • Water and drinks are very expensive in Atlantis, The Palm. Advisable to at least carry water as the charges are ridiculous inside the hotel.
  • Should you not want to stay in the Atlantis, The Palms then book the Lost Chamber or get a reservation in one of the restaurants. The guards usually check and don’t allow entrance if you don’t have bookings.
  • Atlantis, The Palm always has 35% discount in January. Get bookings done there as the deal is great. 
  • You have to bargain in the souks. Don’t go with the prices offered. 
  • Choose Red card or Silver card based on your travel. Some places red card might work cheaper. 
  • For interstate buses seats are on first come first basis. There is also no drinking and eating allowed in the bus. So have lunch and come and make sure you arrive early if you want good seats.
  • The Hop on -Hop Off bus does offer a very good deal in Dubai. Cost wise the deal works good. You will have to choose the two or three day option because the one day it will be too hectic to cover all. I am also not sure how good the bus timings are as I never used it.
  • It is illegal to drink in the streets or in public places. Also should you drink then you should use taxi to get back to your hotel as influence of alcohol in public space is prohibited.