Top Things to do in Dubai
Burj Khalifa – With 160 floors, the Burj Khalifa is the tallest building in the world located in downtown Dubai. It stands at 828 metres tall, over 300m taller than the former tallest building in Taipei. The skyscraper dominates the Dubai skyline and is home to nine hotels and an intricate fountain system inspired by Las Vegas. Visitors can buy tickets to visit the observation decks at 452m and 555m, where telescopes help focus distant developments. Tickets should be booked in advance.
Al Fahidi Historic District – Also known as Al Bastakiya, this historical district dates back to the 1890s when it was used by pearl and textile merchants from the Persian town Bastak who travelled to Dubai. In the 1970s and 80s the area was in disrepair and scheduled to be demolished to make way for a new office complex. However, campaigns saved the area from destruction and the neighbourhood has undergone preservation projects ever since to try to restore the old buildings and narrow, winding lanes. Today, the area boasts approximately 50 buildings containing cafes, art galleries, craft shops and cultural exhibits. The neighbourhood can easily be explored without a tour, but tours are offered for a more complete cultural understanding.
Dubai Museum – The main museum in Dubai is located in the Al Fahidi Fort, the oldest existing building in Dubai (built in 1787). The fort served as the residence of local rulers before being utilised as a prison, before being opened as a museum in 1971 by the ruler of Dubai, with the aim of illustrating the traditions and culture of the Emirate of Dubai. Visitors can walk through dioramas depicting shopkeepers and craftsmen at work and traditional life at home, at sea and at the mosque. In addition to local artefacts, the museum displays antiquities from the African and Asian countries that were common trade partners with Dubai. Finally the museum also houses an archaeology section which exhibits findings from local archaeological sites, believed to have been established between 2000-1000BC.
Jumeirah Mosque – Jumeirah Mosque is not only the largest Mosque in Dubai but also the only one open to non-Muslims during guided tours. It is a great exhibit of Islamic architecture, drawing on the medieval Fatimid tradition with intricate Arabic calligraphy decorating the interior. Evening visits to the area are also suggested to view the Mosque when it is lit by floodlights. When visiting the mosque, modest dress is preferred but traditional clothing may be borrowed.
Palm Islands – The Palm Islands are the world’s largest artificial islands off the coast of Dubai, designed as part of a major urban development to add upscale beachfront property to the area. They are apt examples of the progress of modern engineering and construction. Each island is shaped like a palm leaf with a ‘trunk’ connected to the mainland. The islands and their luxury resorts and upscale shopping and residential areas can be visited by car or monorail.