If you’re wondering what to do in Dubai, look no further than our guide. From the world’s tallest skyscraper and a restaurant that’s under the ocean, to 21st century shopping and ancient Bedouin traditions, Dubai has an intoxicating mixture of attractions and activities to keep you busy.

Whatever you choose to do, you’ll soon realise that Dubai always aims to do things bigger and better than anywhere else…

1. Be on top of the world at Burj Khalifa

Let’s take it from the top. While you’re in Dubai you simply have to come to the Burj Khalifa. Take the world’s fastest lift up the world’s tallest building to see the world’s most awesome view. Yes, you’re high enough to be able to see the horizon curve. A great time to come is the early evening, as you’ll get to see the view both in the daytime and once night has fallen too.

Red & Green Route, Stop: Dubai Mall

2. Go back in time

Before oil was discovered, this was Bedouin country. And you can still get a feel for what life was like back then by taking a desert safari. Most take you in a 4x4 drive out to the desert and to a Bedouin campsite, where you can try some barbecued food or have a puff on a shisha. You might even be able to add on extras like belly-dancing entertainment or an evening meal under the stars should you wish. And if you want to go on a guided panoramic tour to the heart of the desert, you can do so with our Desert Sunset Adventure experience.

Desert Sunset Adventure experience with Deluxe Bus Tour Ticket

3. See the fountains

Dubai likes to put on a show, and this one’s free. Come to the Dubai Mall to watch the fountains. The sprays and displays are huge, and all carefully choreographed to music. The fountains are in operation from Saturday to Thursday at 1pm and 1.30pm (Fridays 1.30pm and 2pm), and every day of the week from 6pm to 11pm at half hourly intervals. Trust us, you won’t want to miss this Dubai attraction.

Red & Green Route, Stop: Dubai Mall

4. Experience 7-star luxury

The Burj Al Arab markets itself as the world’s only 7-star hotel. And there are plenty of reasons why. The double floor suites, the private butlers, the underwater seafood restaurant that you can only access by submarine. If it’s just a little beyond your price range to stay here, you can still come and take a look. One of the best places for a selfie with the Burj as a backdrop, is on the public beach right next door.

Green Route, Stop: Burj Al Arab

5. Get out on the water

Traditional dhows still plough the waters of the Dubai Creek, and you can hitch a ride by taking what the locals call an ‘abra,’ which is an old roofed boat. What’s more, as part of your Big Bus Dubai experience, you can go an hour-long cruise exploring Dubai's fascinating blend of tradition and innovation on an Arabian dhow boat for free. Once you disembark, wander through the narrow alleys and get a feel of what life must have been like way back when.

Red Route, Stop: Old Souk

6. Fly a kite

If you’re feeling very adventurous, Kite Beach is the place to come and try a spot of wind- or kite-surfing. But even if you’re not so intrepid, it’s a great place to come and relax. There are plenty of open-air cafes where you can grab a smoothie and watch the world go by. The locals often play volleyball and other beach games. Why not stick around a while and watch?

7. Shop, eat, shop and shop

There are plenty of upmarket shopping malls across the city, including Dubai Mall, which you simply have to visit. Another must-see destination is the Jumeirah Beach Residence, where you can stroll along the pathways, go shopping, grab some fine dining and watch a movie. Once you hit these two places, you don’t really need to go anywhere else!

Red & Green Route, Stop: Dubai Mall

8. Cross the palm

Palm Jumeirah is a staggering example of ‘what if’ thinking. This is a vast man-made island in the shape of a palm tree and is home to some of the area’s most exclusive hotels and private addresses. There’s a monorail running down the main drag, so it’s easy to get out on the palm and get exploring. Or just stay on the train and gaze out on it all through the window.

Blue Route, Stop: Atlantis The Palm

9. Get to know the history

Bur Dubai is one of the oldest neighbourhoods in the city, and home to its oldest building, the Al Fahidi Fort. This is where you’ll find the Dubai Museum, which has a fascinating display of dioramas showing how life was lived in the emirate, and access is completely free with your Big Bus Dubai ticket. You can also visit the Sheikh Mohammed Centre for Cultural Understanding to learn a little Arabic and get to know more about the local culture.

Red Route, Stop: Dubai Museum

10. Haggle in a souk

The souks in Dubai are vibrant and exciting places to stroll and search for bargains. Whether you’re looking for a piece of jewellery at the Gold Souk, or an essential cooking ingredient at the Spice Souk, you’ve got to haggle. The stall-holders expect it, and many will drop their prices significantly once you get going.

Red Route, Stop: Gold Souk

Make it your goal to visit all the locations and attractions on our Dubai top 10 list, and if you don’t quite manage all of them it’s the perfect excuse to return to the mesmerising city. And, if exploring all the wonders of the emirate makes you hungry, be sure to check out our guide to the Best Restaurants in the UAE