Dubai had always been in the middle of my wish list. I say, ‘in the middle’, because Dubai is not something I am dying to see, but at the same time, I don’t want to die without seeing Dubai.
I’d heard a lot of mixed reviews from people visiting Dubai. Some people would be in complete awe of Dubai because of its shiny skyscrapers and sparkling malls.
On the other hand, some people would have completely contrary views about Dubai for not offering any cultural experience.
These mixed reviews caused a weird fixation of mine with Dubai: I want to see Dubai, but is it worth time and money to visit “just” Dubai or should I visit Dubai as a stopover?
I chose the latter by booking a stopover flight to see Dubai in 48 hours during one of my most recent trips to India (Feb 2019).
Booking Stopover In Dubai With Emirates Airlines
Thanks to Emirates Airlines, booking a stopover flight had never been so easy. I had always noticed that a stopover flight makes you to shell out more out of pocket, but not with Emirates.
I used Emirates’s “Advanced Search – Multi-City” feature to book my flights to India with a 48-hour stopover in Dubai, and to my surprise, flights with 48-hour stopovers in Dubai were the same cost as flights with a 2-3-hour stopover.
Where To Stay For Best Burj Khalifa Views
Indoor ski resorts, the world’s only 7-star hotel, swanky malls, etc.—Dubai has a lot to offer, but Burj Khalifa, the tallest building on planet Earth, would dazzle you like no other. Ever since its opening with much fanfare in 2009, I’ve been fascinated by Burj Khalifa, and that’s why I was ready to shell out some extra money to get the best views of Burj Khalifa.
In my quest to look for the place with the best Burj Khalifa views, I ended up on Booking.com. However, none of the options there suited my pocket and/or my ‘Burj Khalifa view’ requirement. That’s when I turned to AirBnb.com, and I was thrilled to see a lot of options that offered breathtaking views of Burj Khalifa without putting too much strain on my pocket.
I ended up booking a 1-bedroom apartment using AirBnb.com, right opposite Burj Khalifa.
Places I Visited During 48-Hour Stopover In Dubai
I’d said enough about Burj Khalifa already. No matter what part of Dubai you’re in, but can’t hide from the marvel of this engineering masterpiece. I personally liked Burj Khalifa at night more than during the day. Nevertheless, it’s something that cannot be missed.
Burj Khalifa has 2 observation decks: one on the 124th floor and the other on the 148th floor. Both decks offer stunning views of Dubai and the Persian Gulf, but it would cost you extra to enjoy the views from the deck on the 148th floor.
Located right next to Burj Khalifa is one of the largest shopping centers in the world. Even if you don’t plan to go shopping while in Dubai, a visit to Dubai Mall is a must because of all the different things it has to offer.
There are not only more than 1,200 stores, but there is also an aquarium, a theater, a huge food court, and many other attractions. The best of them all is Dubai Fountain. Plan to visit at night so that you can immerse yourself in this one-of-a-kind experience.
Gold and Spice Souks
In my view, what makes Dubai stand out is not tall and fancy buildings, but the juxtaposition of new and old Dubai. Located right next to Dubai Creek are two of Dubai’s most famous traditional souks or markets: gold and spice souks.
Even if you don’t plan to purchase any spices or gold, it’s still the best place to buy some souvenirs and to get a hang of old Dubai. I would highly recommend taking a stroll in Gold and Spice Souks on your visit to Dubai.
Gold and Spice Souks are located right next to Dubai Creek. So if you’re in these souks, I would highly recommend taking an Abra (boat) ride along Dubai Creek. It costs just 1 Dirham for a one-way ride to the other side, where the Dubai Museum and Bastakiya Quarter are located.
Other Places To Consider
Because of time constraints and our own leisurely pace, we didn’t get a chance to see all the different experiences that Dubai has to offer. Here is a list of other places to consider:
As mentioned above, one side of Dubai Creek houses traditional souks, and Bastakiya Quarter and Dubai Museum are located on the other side of Dubai Creek. Bastakiya Quarter is Dubai’s historic district and it is famous for its old charm and art galleries.
Though Dubai is not known for its beaches, it still has a couple of nice beaches to offer. One of them is Jumeirah Beach, which houses one of the world’s most luxurious hotels, Burj Al Arab.
The afternoon would be well spent with a visit to the Dubai Mall, which is home to more than 1300 shops and 200 restaurants, together with the incredible Dubai Aquarium, which houses more than 30,000 marine animals.
The mall is located beneath the Burj Khalifa, which is the world’s tallest building at 8. Visitors can pre-book tickets to ride its escalator up to the observation deck on the 1h floor. Down below is the Dubai Fountains, which perform a dance choreographed to music every half hour.
If you’d prefer to dine somewhere more sophisticated than the mall’s eateries there is a whole range of upmarket restaurants in Dubai, many of which are run by famous chefs including Gordon Ramsay, Atul Kochhar, and Yannick Alleno.