Things to do in Dubai

There are so many things to do in Dubai that you might just end up getting overwhelmed. 

A Different Dubai Perspective

If you need a break from all the shopping and sightseeing, another one of the activities to do in Dubai is to take a trip down the Dubai Canal in an Ara, a traditional boat. Fabulous views are an added bonus!

Take a Dubai Marina Dhow cruise. You can dine on Emirati cuisine as you sail through the waters while the music serenades you. It is a one-off truly romantic experience.

Spa Day in Dubai

Another one of the relaxing activities to do in Dubai is to take a spa day. There are many award-winning spas with luxurious hammam and treatments that are totally worth the price they charge. In fact, why not take a couple’s spa day there? You’ll both return feeling relaxed and refreshed for more of Dubai. 

Taste the Local Dubai Cuisine

Eating at the 2nd December Road is also one of the recommended things to do in Dubai. You have a choice of cuisines and a quintessential local culinary experience that is wallet-friendly and fun. 

Something for the Kids

Spend a day at the beach. These beaches are impeccably clean, and the water is clear. The beaches also have play area for children. If you want to fly kites, head to the Kite Beach or else any beach nearest to you is a good option. 

Tip: The prices on weekdays are lower than weekends. So, that’s a good time to visit the beaches.

Bounce Dubai at Al Quoz is also a great place for kids and adults. Climb a wall, jump on inter-connected trampolines or shoot hoops – this is a really fun experience for all ages.

The Dubai Souks

Go to the Deira Gold Souk. It has jewellery in every style, cut, carat and more! And it is India’s favourite way to pass time. Some people travel to Dubai to buy gold so, really, this is a must-do. 

Tip: Bargain down up to 25% off and you will be surprised to see how it works. Also, check the gold rate for that day which will be posted right outside the souk.

Go to the textile souk in Bur Dubai. You’ll find fabric from all over the world in every possible material. You can bargain to your heart’s content and come back with something rare and beautiful.

The Luxe Dubai Experience

Dubai’s Polo scene is truly international. If you like the game of Polo, you will be excited with the levels of skills you see. Plus, it’s a chance to see Dubai’s high society. The couture at this event will be as entertaining to watch as the match.

Hire a yacht. The futuristic skyline lit up in the evenings, and the warm Dubai hospitality will be an unforgettable experience.

Tip: Book ahead. If you’re going in peak season, you might find it difficult to find one.

For antique lovers, the Showcase at Al Serkal Avenue at Al Quoz 1 offers antiques with certificates of origin. If you are looking for a certified antique, this is the place to go. However, if you’re just looking for something antique-looking for your home, you’ll find it here as well.

As you can see, there is everything from glitzy to earthy in this city of wondrous experiences. Book your own Dubai tour packages with SOTC and get ready for a unique travel experience. Whatever you do, or wherever you go, you will marvel at how much one city can offer. It is a truly global experience for any traveller. 

If you’d like to narrow down your list to a few, here they are:

Also, another one of the unbeatable things to do in Dubai is catch the view from Burj Khalifa. It’s the tallest building in the world and you can’t miss the breath-taking view.

Tip: Book in advance or it will be expensive, and the queue will seem endless.

2020 has been a challenging year for everyone. It has changed the way we travel, at least for the foreseeable future. The pandemic that took over the world is now reluctantly loosening its grip and things are gradually returning to normal. At least as normal as they can be, under the given circumstances. Dubai is one holiday destination that is now fully open for visitors, after putting all kinds of security measures in place.

So how is the Emirate making Dubai tours safer for its visitors? What precautions do you need to take and what paperwork is required to travel to Dubai? We’ll try to answer all these questions, and more, as we look at the safety measures that Dubai has put up to welcome its visitors.


Testing for COVID-19

You are required to get yourself tested for COVID-19 before arriving at the Dubai International Airport. But the COVID-19 PCR test that needs to be done must comply with certain criteria:

• It should be done from a recognised testing centre.

• It should not be older than 96 hours from the scheduled time of your flight’s departure.

• The test has to be negative.

You must present the test results at the Dubai Airport in a printed format. Digital copies are not acceptable. The test results should either be printed in English or Arabic. Handwritten certificates will not be accepted as well. However, there is no testing required while leaving Dubai. But you will have to comply if your next destination requires that you get tested before leaving Dubai. The criteria for this test will mostly be the same as that done prior to your arrival in Dubai, except for maybe, the language clause.


Safety Procedures at the Dubai Airport

The Dubai Airport has strict safety protocols for passengers travelling into Dubai. These guidelines have been designed to reduce crowding and minimise contact with other people.

• Only those holding a valid air ticket will be allowed inside the airport terminal.

• If you’re exiting from Dubai, you must arrive at the airport not more than four hours, and no less than two hours before your scheduled departure time.

• All travellers must wear protective masks while they are inside the terminal, no exceptions.

• Passengers displaying Covid or Covid-like symptoms are discouraged from coming to the airport. Anyone found with the symptoms will be sent to a medical isolation facility for quarantine and treatment.

These guidelines could be modified or more could be added as the situation develops.

Safety Measures at the Dubai Airport

Along with prescribing precautionary measures for travellers, Dubai Airport has implemented several safety measures at the airport. You will find hand sanitiser dispensers placed at strategic locations all around the terminal building. All check-in and immigrations counters are covered with protective plexiglass shields to minimise exposure for the airport staff.

Your temperature will be checked at every checkpoint that you pass through. This overlapping of measures ensures that nobody with symptoms of the disease slips through due to procedural errors. Suitable distance markers are placed all over the terminal to maintain appropriate social distancing. Finally, various areas of the airport are sanitised regularly as prescribed by the local authorities.


Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) at Hotels

The next critical space with respect to controlling the spread of COVID-19, after the airport, are at the hotels in Dubai. The hotels take their guests’ safety very seriously. They follow the recommended sterilisation and disinfection procedures meticulously. The front office staff has a strict set of guidelines set by the Dubai Municipality and Dubai Tourism.

These guidelines cover crucial points like disinfections, check-ins and check-outs, laundry service, room service and lobby rules. Online check-ins are encouraged, and contactless check-ins are recommended wherever an online check-in is not possible due to reasons. Guests are requested to make cashless payments to further reduce the spread of infection.

If a guest is suspected to be positive, or turns out to be positive in a test, the room they occupy must undergo additional sterilisation procedures as endorsed by the authorities.

Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) at Malls

Malls have been prescribed their own set of precautionary guidelines. They must enforce those guidelines and ensure that people follow all the directions set up by the authorities. All malls must have separately designated points of entry and exit. All such doors should be easily accessible and must be kept open at all times.

All the following zones the mall must undergo rigorous and regular disinfection procedures.

• Shopping carts from all the stores

• All window displays in all shops, which includes jewellery shops

• Elevator buttons, door handles and escalator handrails

• Food courts and nearby areas

• Children’s play areas

• All washrooms in the mall

• Information areas 

Everybody, staff as well as visitors, entering the mall must undergo a mandatory temperature check. Nobody will be allowed to enter the mall without a face mask. Customers cannot test personal care products. Stores are requested to install cashless and contactless payment systems, if they don’t already have it. All crowded areas such as elevators and food courts must maintain the recommended social distancing norms.

Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) at Water Parks

Usually, water parks are some of the most crowded tourist places in Dubai. Now owing to this pandemic, water parks now have to operate at their 50% capacity. They have to be extra vigilant to keep the spread of this disease in check.

All visitors, trainers, lifeguards and park staff must wear a face shield at all times. But they’re allowed to remove it while enjoying an activity that involves submersing face and body. The water park is required to follow all the hygiene and sanitisation procedures set by the Dubai Municipality. Visitors must maintain proper social distancing inside and outside the play areas.

If you’ve taken all the recommended safety precautions, Dubai will welcome you with open arms. Make sure you comply with all the safety guidelines for a hassle-free and safe Dubai holiday.

One of the top things to do in Dubai is a visit to an amusement park. We would say, if your children are older, go to IMG’s Worlds of Adventure. If they are younger, they would enjoy MotionGate Dubai.

If you it is within your budget, one of the signature things to do in Dubai is dine at Sean Connelly’s restaurant at the Dubai opera. Also, try and catch a show while you’re there. It’s a truly world-class experience and we promise you won’t come away disappointed.

Another one of the things to do in Dubai is a visit to the Dubai Mall. And the best way to do this is to take out time to do your individual shopping. Let your kids enjoy the mall’s many experiences tailored specially for children. You’ll find that they are so fabulous; you may have to drag your children away at the end of the day.

If you’re not visiting during the Dubai shopping festival, then plan a trip to the Dubai Outlet Mall in Dubailand. It is one of the best activities to do in Dubai, especially on a Monday when already discounted goods go down a further 50%. And these are couture labels we are talking about so it’s really worth the trek.

If you are a home décor fan, one of the best things to do in Dubai is to visit the massive IKEA store at Al Rebat Road in the Dubai Festival City mall. Don’t be surprised if you have excess baggage while leaving for home.

Tip: The linen section is well-stocked and IKEA’s linens last for years.

Pack light! The Dubai Shopping Festival 2020-21 is here!

If there’s one festival that celebrates the love of shopping, great bargains, food, fireworks, festivities, fun, and carnivals, it’s got to be the magnificent Dubai Shopping Festival! 

In its 24th year, the DSF 2020-21 promises to be bigger and better than ever, with massive discounts on everything from apparel, gold, cosmetics, watches, leather products, home decor, gadgets and even spices! It’s a great time to be here when the whole city transforms into a gala - with plenty of festivities everywhere and indulgent resorts in some of the most stunning places on earth. 

DSF can get overwhelming to even seasoned shopaholics, but worry not, this guide will help you make the most of it. So, make sure you pack light, and maybe carry an extra suitcase or two… trust us, you’ll need it! 

Best time to go to the Dubai Shopping Festival 2020-21

The month-long shopping extravaganza is on from 17th December 2020 right up till 30th January 2021. You can plan your trip anytime between these days, but remember that the best items fly off the shelves quickly, so you may not get the best items if you go too late. Although, you can grab some of the biggest discounts, towards the end too. Plan wisely! 

What to fill your shopping cart with

Take your pick from over 700 brands offering discounts ranging from 25% to 75% across 3,200 outlets. Moreove, you can hunt for extra discounts on weekends and participate in daily raffle draws, with mega prizes. The best shopping places are not just restricted to malls; they include local hideouts, traditional souks and flea markets too. Everything under the sun is on discount here. Plus, you get the bonus advantage of shopping duty-free! 

Here’s our pick on what should definitely be on your shopping list. 

  • Apparel: 

Love designer apparel? Then get ready to be spoilt for choice – you’ll find everything from sky-high Christian Louboutin’s to Prada, Gucci and more. it’s the perfect place to shop for a wardrobe revamp.

  • Gold: 

DSF is hands down the best place to shop for glittering gold jewellery, exquisitely embellished with platinum, diamonds and precious gems. The traditional Gold Souks are shoppers favourite haunts.

  • Gadgets:

The Dubai Shopping Festival is a haven for gadget freaks, with everything from premium brands like Vertu, Apple, Bose and many more, at steal prices. Go early to find your favourite products, because they’re usually available till stocks last.

  • Spices & Dry Fruits: 

Visit the local Souks and brush up on your bargaining skills, to get some of the most exotic spices on earth like saffron, cinnamon, dates and more. 

  • Perfumes, Cosmetics & Watches:

Take your pick of cosmetics and fragrances from luxury brands like Bvlgari and Burberry or exotic attars, a Dubai speciality.  Watch connoisseurs can shop for all the luxury brands including, Cartier, Rado, Rolex, Breitling, Montblanc and more.

  • Leather Products: 

Dubai is famous for genuine leather products. With designer handbags, jackets, and more from luxury brands at steal prices. 

  • Home Décor

Get discounts from 50% – 90% on lavish handmade carpets and rugs, furniture, and more to give your home the perfect revamp for 2020-21.

Best places to shop 

Although the Dubai Shopping Festival is spread across the whole city, here are some spots you must not miss out on to shop for your favourites.

  • The Dubai Mall
  • Ibn Battuta Mall
  • Deira City Centre 
  • Souks
  • Mall of Emirates
  • Outlet Mall
  • Burjuman

5 Insider shopping tips

We asked seasoned DSF shoppers to give us their secrets to finding the best deals. Here they are:

  • GRAB THE DSF PASS: This special pass entitles you to over 65% discount at many top attractions and notable restaurants across Dubai.
  • DOWNLOAD THE DSF APP: Stay updated with the latest offers, happenings around the city, weekend surprise deals and much more, to make your DSF 2020-21 experience easier.
  • WEEKEND DEALS: Every weekend Thursday to Saturday, one selected retailer will offer everything at a 90% discount. The announcement is made just 24 hours in advance; so keep a close check on the DSF website/App.
  • SKIP THE TRIAL ROOM QUEUES: Wear skivvies under your clothes, so that you can try the clothes on over them and skip the sometimes 45-minute-long lines at the trial rooms.
  • RESEARCH WELL, START EARLY: Make a list, research well on what can be found, where. A great bonus tip is to ask a local for suggestions. Shop in the mornings for a relatively crowd-free experience!

What to do when not shopping

  • Enjoy an evening with the family by indulging in one of the many fun activities, carnival, stunning firework displays, food and more at Global Village, Dubai Creek and Al Seef.
  • Recharge your soul and your tired soles, with a luxurious massage at the Spa.
  • Enjoy a desert safari with quad biking, hot air balloon ride, adventure sports and more.
  • Take in the amazing sights of Dubai while cruising in a traditional Arabian Dhow, with local flavours & entertainment. 
  • Visit the tallest building in the world – the Burj Khalifa, and enjoy a stunning show of the world’s tallest musical fountain here. Soak in the panoramic views of the city at the biggest frame in the world – The Dubai Frame. There’s no dearth of record-breaking monuments in Dubai.
  • Take a break from the heat at Ski Dubai, with numerous activities like ziplining, snowboarding, skiing, and penguin enclosures!

The Dubai Shopping Festival 2020-21 is an experience of a lifetime, where you’ll come back home with not just amazing memories, but also suitcases full of all your favourite things! Check our website for tailor-made or pre-planned Dubai Tours, including the festival and all the must-visit hot spots! 

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