25
May
2015
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MyDubai Travel Wanderlust TravelBug UAE Trip Tour TravelBlog SHEIKH ZAYED ROAD

#MyDubai Trip: 3 Full Days Dubai Trip (And A Little Side Trip to Abu Dhabi)

A few days back one of my best travel buddies from Paris visited me here in Dubai and we had a full 3 days to discover and roam around this vibrant city. Surprisingly, after our trip (and after posting several photos on Instagram), a lot of my friends (and readers) were asking me suggestions of places to go to on a short term visit here in Dubai.

It was a good 3 days, me and my friend did a lot and were able to cover almost all the major sites to see in Dubai—> and also did a side trip to Abu Dhabi on our 2nd day.

If you are sharing the same passion for the old towns, local arts, (a bit) adventurous,  doesn’t mind the heat, walk long distances, on a budget and on a short stay  visit here in Dubai, this itinerary is tailor made for you.

DAY 1

Bastakiya (Historical District)+ Old Dubai Souk+ Gold Souk+ Dubai Mall+ At The Top (BurjKhalifa)+ Dubai Fountain

Day one will be full packed! This will be your crash course of all Dubai. Once you’ve finished with day one, the rest of your trips will just be add-ons and bonuses. Our first stop will be the Historical District of Dubai, The Bastakiya Quarter.

BASTAKIYA

I love this place. We have chosen this as the first stop because you will see here the ‘OLD DUBAI’. The Dubai that you don’t normally see in Architectural and Business Magazines.  The first time that I visited this place, I fell in love with it in an instant. As what my ‘Instagram’ friends said, this place is grammable. And it surely is. There are a lot of interesting things to see here.

Bastakiya Heritage Village Dubai MyDubai Travel Wanderlust TravelBug travelblog UAE Trip Tour

Bastakiya Heritage Village Dubai

Here are the top things to visit in Bastakiya. (Note: All of these are just walking distance to one another. Also in this trip, you should wear comfortable shoes.

Al Fahidi FortOldest Building in Dubai

Bait Al WakeelFirst Office Building in Dubai

Dubai MuseumI still feel that there are a lot of things that they need to improve here but still a few minutes to go around is not too bad.

Sheikh Mohammed Center for Cultural UnderstandingThey offer Heritage Tours and Cultural Meals.

XVA Art Gallery  – A very artsy gallery and cafe. A must visit for all art enthusiasts (and if you want a place to stop over and cool down).

Coffee MuseumIf you love coffee, this is self explanatory ^^

OLD DUBAI SOUK

After a full cultural walk, time to visit the souk to look for potential souvenirs and gifts. Known as the Textile Souk or Burdubai Souk, this market place encapsulates the essence of a traditional souk. Although there are a lot of small stalls selling very touristy items, you can still find worthy keepsakes as a token of your visit.

Bastakiya Heritage Village Dubai MyDubai Travel Wanderlust TravelBug travelblog UAE Trip Tour

Dubai Souk

DUBAI CREEKSIDE

Along the Heritage District is the Dubai Creek. This area was once the center of trading in Dubai which is still very evident with the presence of big wooden cargo boats across the creek. To really get a grasp of the ‘old school’ way of crossing the creek, hop on the Abra (a traditional small boat transport).

The Abra is still very functional and (as far as I know), open 24/7.  It cost only AED1 per way (a true value for money). When riding the Abra from Burdubai, make sure you are sitting at the right side of the boat in order to get the best view of the whole Heritage Village from the creek.

SPICE AND GOLD SOUK

Once you’ve gone across the creek, you’ll find yourself in Deira another town in the Old Dubai. This will be the last stop for this part of the tour. Walk a little further and you will be able to visit the Spice Souk where you can purchase anything from tea leaves to the finest saffron from Iran.

Just a few blocks from the Spice Souk, you will find the Dubai Gold Souk. Perfect for all those looking for a 24 karat bling bling on a bargain.

WHERE TO EAT

What me and my friend planned out before starting our walk in Bastakiya is to first go for a big breakfast. When you start your trip early in the morning, the best thing to do is to visit the local cafes in Bastakiya. They are conveniently located at the corner of the quarter (along the main road).

Although more and more these traditional restaurants and cafes are becoming very touristy and commercial (we can’t stop them from doing business right?), I would still suggest that you should try them out, location wise. If you are looking for a more ‘day to day’ local eat and drink, try to walk towards Al Fahidi Metro Station and you can find small yet authentic Middle-Eastern and Indian Restaurants.

Bastakiya Heritage Village Dubai MyDubai Travel Wanderlust Travel Bug UAE Trip Tour food Local House Arabian Teahouse

Arabic Breakfast Platter + Camel Kebab + Samosa

As for me and my friend, we tried the Local House which offers Camel Kebab and Burgers and also Camel Milkshake. Because we haven’t tried anything camel before, this is the reason why we have chosen this as our breakfast place.

The interiors are beautiful and relaxing, although we were not a bit sold out with the food. Because it is conveniently located, we were able to map out our plan for the day here.

If you are not curious with anything camel, I would  highly suggest that you should try the Arabian Tea House and order their Arabic Breakfast Tray with blooming tea.

 DUBAI MALL

After a long early walk, time to cool down and head to the biggest shopping mall in Dubai. The Dubai Mall houses almost 1,200 retail shops and known as the largest shopping mall all over the world based on the total area. At this leg of the trip, you can relax around and do some retail therapy. There are a lot of shopping seasons in Dubai, so if your visit will be in time for one, you’re in luck.

Dubai Mall MyDubai Travel Wanderlust Travel Bug UAE Trip Tour

Dubai Mall and the Dubai Fountain

AT THE TOP IN BURJ KHALIFA

A trip in Dubai will never be complete if you haven’t been to the viewing deck of the Burj Khalifa. It is a bit pricey but worth the bragging rights. The entrance of the climb is conveniently located inside the Dubai Mall. If you are planning to climb, make sure that you will make your advance booking online ( as it will be cheaper compared to a walk-in purchase.

Dubai Mall MyDubai Travel Wanderlust Travel Bug UAE Trip Tour Burj Khalifa At The Top

At The Top Burj Khalifa

DUBAI FOUNTAIN

There is no time limit in staying at the viewing deck, you can stay there and enjoy the view a long as you want. Once done, and most probably, it will be night time (basing from the time frame of this itinerary), you can head on the Dubai Fountain to watch the Dancing Fountain Show. Apart from the Burj Khalifa, this show is highly visited by tourists and Dubai residents and I must say, every time I watch a show, I always get mesmerized. The best part of it, it is FREE. You can buy an ice cold drink from any of the cafes in the food court and sit down along the steps at the foot of the Burj Khalifa and watch (sometimes, you can sing a long too)!

WHERE TO EAT

Well, at this time, you will be in Dubai Mall and there are a lot of restaurants inside the mall. If you want a fancy Middle Eastern Cuisine, you can try Wafi Gourmet at the ground floor which has a direct access to the Dubai Fountain. But if you are starting to miss some European selections, you can try Madeleine Boulangerie and Cafe which offers an overlooking view of the fountain.

More restaurants can also be found across the mall in Souk Al Bahar. These are a bit of the more expensive option if you fancy for one.

Dubai Mall MyDubai Travel Wanderlust Travel Bug UAE Trip Tour Food

Aprons and Hammers

For me and my friend, we walked out of Dubai Mall towards The Address Downtown Hotel and went to a seafood place called Aprons and Hammers. It is a casual urban restaurant outside Dubai Mall meaning, it will be not too noisy and crowded. I’ve been here several times with my Dubai friends and aside from the very colorful interiors, we enjoyed their gigantic servings of Paella. This option was perfect after a very long day. We were able to take our time eating and chatting about what we’ve seen throughout the day. (Visiting a coffee shop after the meal is optional — although recommended).

DAY 2

Casual Brunch + Driving Around The City (optional) + Side Trip To  Abu Dhabi

After a long first day, we started the second day of our trip with an early morning chill in a local coffee shop. This is a glimpse of the expatriate culture in Dubai. Housing a large number of expats, Dubai has been a hub of different and diverse nationalities and as a result, several establishments catering to the international community can be seen around the metro.

CASUAL BRUNCH 

For this trip, we’ve visited the newly opened, The Sum of Us located at the back of Sheraton Hotel along Dubai Sheikh Zayed Road. The servings are good and the menu is very continental. Good food, good interiors and a good cup of coffee is the best way to start your day.

The Sum Of Us Food Foodgram MyDubai Travel Wanderlust Travel Bug UAE Trip Tour

The Sum Of Us

SIDE TRIP TO ABU DHABI 

Abu Dhabi is roughly an hour and a half to two hours travel from Dubai. If you dont have any other plans for the rest of the day, going to Abu Dhabi on a side trip is worth the shot.

You can take the bus that will drive you straight to Abu Dhabi for AED15 one way cost, or you can get a rent a car and experience a short cross country drive from Dubai to Abu Dhabi. For me and my friend, we’ve decided to get a rent a car so we can also have a quick drive around Dubai before heading to the country’s capital.

We went to AVIS Car Rental and took the cheapest car which is a Nissan Micra. I costs AED 100 for a day (full tank refilling of AED 60 for the petrol we consumed for the day).

The main attraction that everyone should go to when visiting Abu Dhabi is the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque. For me, more than the stunning exterior I fell in love more of its richly ornamented interior decor. As an added tip, to understand more about this magnificent architectural piece, grab a free audio guide before entering the main mosque.

sheikh mohammed grand mosque Abu Dhabi MyDubai Travel Wanderlust Travel Bug UAE Trip Tour

Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque Abu Dhabi

Because you are already in Abu Dhabi, it will be a shame not to get a glimpse of the nation’s capital. After your tour in the Grand Mosque, drive your way to the Corniche and see the Emirates Palace and the Etihad Towers.

WHERE TO EAT

To be honest, we are not really experts on where to eat in Abu Dhabi, good thing we can consult our trusty Zomato. We came across several restaurants offering local cuisines but the reviews were kinda mixed. When we saw Najd Palace in the app and all their patrons claimed that you can find the best Mandi ( rice and meat dish with a lot of middle eastern spices) in Abu Dhabi here, we didn’t think twice and pointed our google map search to this restaurant.

Abu Dhabi MyDubai Travel Wanderlust Travel Bug UAE Trip Tour mandi Najd Palace

Najd Palace Abu Dhabi

You can choose if you want to sit on the floor or have a normal table setting, we of course have chosen the not so conventional option and sat on the floor. We ordered Grilled Chicken Mandi and the Camel Stew Mandi. Both were really good. I prefer the chicken one but the camel dish is a close second (only downside was you can feel that it is too fatty). For desserts, we have chosen the Knafeh ( a Levantine cheese pastry soaked in sweet sugar-based syrup) which I have been craving for weeks now.

After our king size meal, we headed back to Dubai.

DAY 3

Beach + Red Dune Desert Safari

The last day of your trip. We are calling it as a chill day. Fresh from our long drive to and from Abu Dhabi, it is fitting to start your day on a relaxing morning by the beach. Dubai, although perceived as a warm desert region is surrounded by beautiful beaches (although nothing in comparison from those in South East Asia). For this itinerary, you can choose between two beaches and both have their strong points, meaning you can’t go wrong with either of them.

SUNSET BEACH

The first option to get your tan is by the Sunset Beach. This is a famous beach for locals and residents specially during the surfing season. Aside from the clear blue sea you’ll get a postcard view of the Burj Al Arab ( known as the world’s only 7 star hotel). This beach can be very peaceful or can be too crowded, depending really on the season.

MyDubai Travel Wanderlust Travel Bug UAE Trip Tour Sunset Beach Burj Al Arab

Sunset Beach Dubai

THE BEACH

The second option is along/opposite JBR (Jumeirah Beach Residences) simply called The Beach. Compared to Sunset Beach, it is more commercialized as it is really a beach front along a full shopping and retail complex. Most of the time this beach is crowded with tourists and expatriates, you’ll feel like you are somewhere in Miami (specially on a fine weather). This beach can easily be accessed by Dubai Metro and Tram unlike Sunset Beach which you need to drive to (or hire a cab).

MyDubai Travel Wanderlust Travel Bug UAE Trip Tour Sunset Beach Burj Al Arab The Beach JBR

The Beach JBR

WHERE TO EAT

If you have chosen the Sunset Beach, there are a lot of food options along Jumeirah Road, from pizza to burgers or even a fancy biryani. The closest and shabbiest food joint/cafe will be the Surf House. Aside from filling up your stomach, you can also rent surfboards and paddle boards here.

MyDubai Travel Wanderlust TravelBug TravelBlog UAE Trip Tour Sunset Beach Surf House

The Surf House

For The Beach, as this is a full commercial complex, you’ll have a lot of accessible food options here. You can find Aprons and Hammers (same where we ate dinner on the first day), Cheesecake Factory, Magnolia Bakery and Shake Shack. We have chosen to grab a Shack Stack Burger in Shake Shack and a freezing lemonade to compliment it.

MyDubai Travel Wanderlust Travel Bug UAE Trip Tour Sunset Beach Burj Al Arab The Beach JBR

Shake Shack

RED DUNE DESERT SAFARI

After our early out and about, we waited for the pick up for our Desert Safari. Desert Safari’s normally start at 3pm (pick-up time at your hotel/residence). For this trip, we have chosen the Red Dune Safari. Known as the Big Red, this is one of the most popular places to go dune bashing in Dubai. It stands 300 feet high creating a thrilling 4×4 experience.

Aside from the ride itself, you’ll get a chance to stop over and grasp the beauty and serene view of the desert. Truly the best way to end a 3 day trip around the sand pit.

MyDubai Travel Wanderlust TravelBug UAE Trip Tour TravelBlog

Red Dune Desert Safari

There are several tour companies who are offering this trip. We’ve contacted Avangarde Tourism (Info@avantgardetourism.com) to help us in finding the best Red Dune Safari. They were very helpful even for last minute changes ( we’ve requested a change in the location of our pick-up and they were very helpful). The cost of this safari is: AED 175, but for summer, they are offering it at AED 140.

What to expect on a Desert Safari

Pick up from your Hotel – Location – Residence in Dubai & Sharjah

Pick by: 4×4 SUV Land Cruisers for the Adventure Safari & Camp

Dune Bashing and drive to reach the high Dune (with photo stop)

20-30 Minutes Dune Bashing

At the Camp:

Traditional welcome at camp with Arabic Tea, Coffee

Arabic Sweets & Fresh Fruits

Sheesha Facility

 Arabic Dress Photography

Camel Riding

Sand Boarding

Henna Painting

Unlimited Drinks

Buffet Dinner and Barbeque

Entertainment:

Belly Dance Show

Tanura Dance Entertainment

 

OTHER OPTIONS

As most itineraries, you can freely choose which one you want to do or which one you want to remove on your Dubai Trip. Also, feel free to explore the city. Dubai is a small enough city which can be easily accessible. There are a lot of things going on in very corner (aside from shopping malls).

Here are other things you can do:

Visiting Karama to find a diverse set of restaurants and try out some traditional menus from different countries. I don’t normally suggest this to short term visitors (mostly for residents and long term ones), but if you are feeling adventurous and want to try local cuisines from Indonesia, Philippines, India, Sri Lanka and Singapore, Karama is the place for you.

Check out my blog post on the Hidden Gems in Karama.
MyDubai Travel Wanderlust TravelBug UAE Trip Tour TravelBlog Karama

Karama Dubai

Riding the monorail or driving across the Palm Jumeirah Island. This island is famous world wide. A man made palm-shaped island offering high-end hospitality and retail. A monorail costs AED 25 for a back and forth ride and AED 15 for one way.

MyDubai Travel Wanderlust TravelBug UAE Trip Tour TravelBlog The Palm Island

The Palm, Atlantis

Be mesmerized with the modern structures along Dubai Marina. If you love tall and modern (and crazy) architecture, this place is a must visit. You’ll find the tallest residential tower in the world and also (not sure if this is the only one) a twisted building straight from the pages of inception. There are a lot of retail outlets here as well and cafe’s for you to chill and people watch. If you fancy to do some boating, this is also a place for you to hire a yacht and cruise along the gulf.

MyDubai Travel Wanderlust TravelBug UAE Trip Tour TravelBlog Marina Pier 7

Dubai Marina

I am hoping that this blog will help you decide on where to go whenever you are planning on the short trip here in Dubai or if you are having a guest and you want to show them a quick round trip tour of this magnificent city. If you have other suggestions or questions just hit the comment space below and I’ll make sure to get in touch with you.

 

Kenneth Surat logo travel blog blogger

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107 Responses

  1. That’s true you will truly fall in love in Dubai, we have same feeling when I visited that country last year actually I am planning to visit again Dubai this coming October for one week with my sister in law.

  2. Nice.thunk you for sharing.Dubai is a great place for tourist and everything is developed and managed according to tourists and for tourist only. That’s why tourist love Dubai and every year a huge number of people visit Dubai.

  3. dianne

    hi ken,
    im interested at red dune safari for my family of 6 this coming dec, may i know what particular tour agency you joined here.
    btw, nice blogs and thanks for sharing infos.
    regards.

    1. It’s a very fascinating and interesting Post.if you are planning to explore DUBAI… Try our fast, friendly, and reliable travel services like The most advantageous hotels, Safari desert Tour, Dhow Cruise Dinner Tour, Dubai City Tour and other Fun tours

  4. Ibha

    Greetings! I’m from Goa, India and I just wanted to thank you for all the information you’ve managed to convey in the blog. It’s been the most clear, practical and useful source in planning my trip! Cheers!

  5. ems

    Hi ken…is dubai pd(physically disabled) friendly?…we are going there 1st week of march, 2017, and will stay for 10 days..can you suggest a cheap tour and hotel to stay for a group of 3 almost senior citizens😁?.thanks.

    1. Hi Ems,

      Thanks. there are some parts that can be accessed by pwd. Almost everywhere though you have lifts and escalators. really depends on the what you do. About the tour and hotel, what is your budget?

  6. Kara

    Hi Ken, nice post you have there! May I know if you took a cab from places to places or did you rent a car throughout your entire trip? and also, if I were to follow your itinerary, about how much will I be looking to spend (besides accomodation)?

    Thanks!

  7. Dubai..!! So many times I have been there.!! Best part is the positivity of this place and the people are so freaking great.!!!
    I love the Desert Safari Dubai very much.

    1. Hai ghthouse,

      If you come again on dubai, enjoy the dubai and your favorite desert safari with us. We desertelites provide luxury city tours, desert safari and overnight camping. To Know More about us visit our website.

  8. Nice blog, very well planned trip. I planned also Dubai tour with masatours.com and was very happy to see that how well they manged my Dubai trip and i had a great vacations coz of their planned trip. You may visit website for future reference.

  9. Loved the way you wrote this. I also went to Dubai & Abu Dhabi last year with my girl friend and I just loved the view of Dubai from the top of Burj Khalifa. I also loved Dhow Cruise, Desert Safari, Ferrari World and Yas Waterworld.

    1. Hai Rohan,

      If you plan to come again dubai and to enjoy the dhow cruise, desert safari, ferrari world, yas world and more. Try to contact desertelites. We are one of the leading luxury dubai tours in dubai.

  10. Great Information, Thanks For Sharing It, I also Was planning to visiting Dubai Attractions with my family, I think it was an awesome place for vacations with family.

  11. Dubai is the very awesome place. This is always one of my best place to visit. I love Dubai and the places like Desert Safari camel riding, dune buggy and all. The main attraction part is the Desert Safari

    This is for everyone. You also shared very good experience it is helpful for all. Thanks for sharing.

  12. Hi buddy nice post about Dubai and Dubai visiting places but i am a also tourist now a days on a shorty trip of Dubai i visited yesterday a desert safari by dubaidesertsafarigroup the are amazing they have 5 Entertainment including belly dance and Tanura Dance i will recommend all of you if you are visiting Dubai to go with this company for desert safari

  13. Sarah

    Dubai will make you awe in wonder in many ways. That’s why I love Dubai. You have mentioned the major attractions in Dubai. But, I think you have missed out Ski Dubai. It’s an indoor ski resort, i.e. snow in Dubai !!! This place is something to experience if you are traveling to Dubai.

  14. Dubai is a wonderful city to tour! there are many good tourists destinations in Dubai and to tour in the right places a good professional travel agency needs to be hired.tourists are advised to hire a good agency for the trip. Arabian Time Travel Tourism Reviews is one of the best travel agency tourists had a good trip with Arabian Time Travel Tourism Reviews

  15. Abu Dhabi is a wonderful place to tour ! there are many good places to have a holiday trip in Abu Dhabi, tourist are advised to hire a good travel agency who looks tour and reduces our difficulty. Arabian Time Travel Tourism Review is one of the best travel agency in the world, tourist had good experience with Arabian Time Travel Tourism Reviews.

  16. Wonderful travel blog and Abu Dhabi is one of the top tourist destination in the Middle East, there are many good places to tour in Abu Dhabi and to travel around the places tourists needs to hire a good professional travel agency to make the tour memorable. Arabian Time Travel Tourism Reviews is one of the best travel agency, tourists had a good trip with Arabian Time Travel Tourism Reviews.

  17. Amazing Article, No doubt an Arabian desert is an amazing place it has a lot of beautiful views like the sunset and the sunrise and not to forget the night in which the sky is full of glittering stars. The amazing Dune bashing and the It sure is a place to make amazing memories

  18. There are many things you need to know before you book your ticket. I visited Dubai last year and it was one of the most beautiful cities I’ve been to so far. The laws and culture are very different from what I am used to, but that never stopped me from taking this trip of a lifetime.

  19. ARABIAN TIME TRAVEL TOURISM LLC - DUBAI.

    Wonderful travel blog and Dubai is one of the top tourist destination in the world where tourists can have some good time and to travel around the places tourists are advised to travel with the professional travel agency to make the tour memorable.ARABIAN TIME TRAVEL TOURISM LLC _ DUBAI is one of the best travel agency , tourists had a good trip with ARABIAN TIME TRAVEL TOURISM LLC – DUBAI.

  20. Great travel blog and Dubai and Abu Dhabi are the top tourist destinations in the UAE and very famous adventure is it desert safari where tourists have memorable time in the desert and to travel around the these cities without any difficulty tourists are advised to travel with the professional travel agency to make the tour memorable. ARABIAN TIME TRAVEL TOURISM is one of the best travel agency ( tourists had a good trip with ARABIAN TIME TRAVEL TOURISM .

  21. Thanks for Posting About Dubai. Dubai is my favorite city in 2017 I booked Dubai city tour and I capture many pictures. The way you express about Dubai is very nice and i really like it

  22. mobi yaq

    hey thanks a bundle. much needed information. 🙂 last time on my visit i didn’t know anything as it was my first so had much problems with the locations, weather etc etc. But this time i have researched a lot before taking off 🙂

  23. Hey! I have read all your Blog this is so nice and awesome service you have provided, I have learned so many new things from here and want to implement on my website. If you also want to know something new related to our services then visit my website

  24. Dubai is so good and a colour full place and the most important place is Abu Dhabi. Abu Dhabi is a wonderful place to tour! there are many good places to have a holiday trip in Abu Dhabi, tourist are advised to hire a good travel

  25. Dubai is one of the best places that i enjoyed to visit anytime. Not only Dubai, Abu Dubai stands in the first place whenever i visit Dubai. I missed those special food items and historical places that i must visit but i have never known that these also exist at that place. Whenever i make time this time i will definitely visit those special places and enjoy the most. Thanks a ton for the special article that really a great source for me to explore the most.

  26. Dubai is the most joyful as well the most beautiful place that one should visit once in a lifetime. This is just a pack of wonders where you will experience the safari, world famous places and malls what not we have so many places to visit and enjoy. I traveled for the first time there and trust me i just stunning by seeing the beauty of the place and those most amazing malls to shop. Your article fully gives the overall picture of Dubai which most of the people should know and visit this amazing place and i just loved shopping there.

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