10 things to do while on a stopover in Dubai


Dubai is our second home and even after spending years in this city, it never fails to amaze us. This city in the middle of  the desert may look like mirage, a mirage of a new world. A city that strives to make everything bigger, better and faster!

Listing 10 of our favorite spots in this city so you can make most of your stopover in Dubai and fall in love with this city just like we did.

Who can get a transit visa and how?

Transit visa in UAE is not hard to get but in case you do not belong to the visa-free countries, you will need to plan in advance and coordinate with your airlines to get one. If you have a confirmed through ticket from Dubai to your final destination and you have a 8+ hours gap between your arrival and departure flights, you can get a transit visa.

If you are a citizen of a visa-free country approved by the government, you can get a visa on arrival for 14, 30 or 90 days depending on your nationality. If your country isn’t on this list, only airlines can get this visa issued. Most airlines can now issue the visa in 24 hours time.

You might also need to show hotel bookings depending on your flight out of Dubai. Your transit visa will be valid for up to 96 hours and would cost $30 only.

The supporting documents you will need to carry with you are color copies of your passport and passport size photographs.

How to commute in Dubai?

While metro access is pretty good and also the cheapest way of getting around in the city, it could be time consuming if you are on a tight schedule. Cabs are a good but expensive option to get around. You can also look at renting a car or a Udrive (Rent a car per minute), which gives options for all budgets. Also note that Dubai at the moment is not a pedestrian friendly city so you will definitely have to go for one of these options.

10 things to do while on a stopover in Dubai

1. At the Top- Burj Khalifa

When in Dubai, you cannot ignore the tallest building in the world. Hop on a metro and you will be taken directly to the Dubai Mall metro station, which is linked to Burj Khalifa.

Jewel of the Dubai cityscape

Soaring at 555m, this iconic tower, the coveted jewel in Dubai’s crown never ceases to amaze.  The observation decks are on Level 124, 125 & 148. Tickets can be booked online and would cost between AED 95-500. Online reservations are cheaper. Book here

Do you want to dine at the world’s highest restaurant? Make advance reservations at Atmosphere and enjoy the views.

2. The Fountain, Dubai Mall

Aerial View

Considered the world’s largest fountain which dances in sync with popular English & Arabic songs, this is a definite must-visit and its FREE.

Afternoon Shows  
Daily except Friday: 1:00pm & 1:30pm
Friday: 1:30pm & 2:00pm

Evening Shows
Daily: 6:00pm to 11:00pm
(Every 30 Minutes)

3. The Palm Jumeirah

This spectacular man made island houses many luxury hotels and the who’s-who of the world have residence’s here. Take the mono-rail through this island and enjoy the views. Psst… Mission Impossible- Rougue Nation was shot at Hotel Zabeel Saray here.

The Palm is not directly connected by metro. You will need to get down at the DMCC metro station and take the tram to the Palm Jumeirah station.

4. Swim with the Dolphins/Play with Sea Lions/Dive with Sharks, Atlantis The Palm

Book 14 days in advance and this experience will cost you AED 100 less. Admission costs AED 425 onwards. Book here

5. Enjoy a High-Tea at Burj Al Arab

This hotel is so luxurious that a whole new rating system had to be introduced to categorize it. The world’s only 7-star hotel, the opulence and grandeur can take your breath away. Only an advance reservation can guarantee an entry into this property. The cheapest option is to book an afternoon tea here.

Obviously not connected by metro (Duh! You need to arrive in style at a 7-star hotel), taxi is the best way to get here.

6. Ski at the Mall of Emirates

Like not having snow can stop Dubai from Skiing. Head to the Mall of Emirates and zig-zag down the slopes of the indoor ski slopes of Ski Dubai. If thats not enough, you get to meet Penguins too.

7. Dubai Marina

Rent a bike from one of the Byky counters and enjoy a ride along the Marina. Have a meal at one of the many restaurants here and a drink or two at some of the hep bars in the area. Only restaurants attached to hotels serve alcohol in Dubai. But you can find a few exceptions here in Dubai Marina.

8. Miracle Garden

This garden also knows as a “piece of Eden” and houses more that 45 million flowers.  Miracle garden remains closed during the summer and usually opens around the month of December. Miracle garden is not directly connected by tram/metro. The cheapest way to get here is:

  1. Take the Dubai Metro and stop at the MOE (Mall of the Emirates metro station) – Red Line.
  2. Take Bus F30 via Arabian Ranches (in front of the mall entrance).
  3. Get Off the bus at Saheel Fate 2 bus stop.
  4. Walk to the Dubai Miracle Garden from Arabian Ranches.

9. Head over to Old Dubai

When you think Dubai, Skyscrapers and swanky cars come to mind. Old Dubai is the exact opposite of that mental image. Experience the modest beginnings of this fishing village with a tour around old Dubai market place with pitstops at the Spice souk and Gold souk. Enjoy an Abra ride (Traditional Arab boat) and visit the Dubai Musuem to see the rapid transformation this city has undergone in a very short time.

10. Green Planet

Dubai does not believe in the word “impossible” and that is the best way to explain Green Planet– Dubai’s very own tropical rainforest with over 3000 plants and animals.


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