There are an endless amount of activities and tours available in Dubai during your layover. You can book anything from hot air balloon rides and helicopter tours, to camel safaris and shopping excursions. Here are top 5 picks for you:
Big Bus Tours : Tickets for Big Bus Tours are valid for 24 hours and you can hop on and off whenever you’d like. One ticket covers both routes, which includes the Red Route (Dubai Creek, Al Fahidi Fort & Dubai Museum, the Souks (bazaars) and a few shopping malls) and The Blue Route (5-star hotels & the fanciest shopping malls.) Both tours offer live commentary or a choice of eight digitally recorded languages.
Old Souqs :Although many people head straight to the modern mall, check out the Old Souqs along the creek in the older part of town that is what made Dubai the trading capital it is. On the Deira side of the Creek, don’t miss the Gold Souq which has over 300 outlets including all the gold jewelry you can imagine seeing as well as drain covers with diamonds on them. Also on this side is the Spice Souq which has spices from all over the Middle East. On the other side, check out the Bur Dubai Souq with textile and souvenir shops.
The Dubai Mall: The Mall of the Emirates is a shoppers’ paradise, and for those who prefer to hit the slopes, the mall features the first indoor ski slope in the Middle East. For $40 per person you can get a lift ticket good for 2 hours, ski rentals, ski pants and jackets and even socks (gloves and hats are not provided). You can ski, snowboard and toboggan here, down the over 1300 foot slope. The mall is open 7 days a week from 10am to 10pm.
Burj Al Arab : It looks like a giant sail and claims to be “The Best Hotel in the World” with a rating of 7 stars. It is the world’s tallest dedicated hotel, with all the rooms hosting incredible views. The inside of the hotel has a dancing fountain, two massive fish-tank walls, and a soaring atrium. To visit the Burj Al Arab during your Dubai layover, you need to be staying there, or have advance reservations to eat at one of the restaurants or to have a drink at one of the bars (tip – the most budget friendly option is to book afternoon tea). Photos are only allowed in the lobby area.
Desert Safari & Camel Racing: If you have a lengthy layover in Dubai, you might want to check out the camel racing and desert safaris offered outside Abu Dhabi city. Camel races are usually held early on Fridays or on national holidays. Safaris are half a day, and offer overnight options to stay in a Bedouin tent. Wadi-Driving explores the wadis or dry beds of streams that flow from the Hajar mountains. Dune driving allows you to try your hand at sand driving, with four-wheel-drive vehicles provided, and an expert guide. Or, try Sand-Skiing down the dunes of the Dubai desert. You can also sign on for a Desert Feasts which follow the safari with evening with an Arab barbecue under the stars.