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City slickers

Things to do in Dubai

Michael Johnstone September 10, 2015

A modern metropolis rising from the sand, Dubai is one of the world’s foremost destinations for all things luxury. Within 48 hours you’ll get an idea of just how vast its scope is and how many things there are to do. 

Day One: 
You may have seen some of Dubai’s most famous landmarks from the plane: The Palm Jumeirah and maybe even the Burj Khalifa. It’s all yours to discover now. Make your way straight to your hotel and freshen up; snack on the complimentary dates and refresh on mineral water.
The view from the Burj Khalifa
Firstly, we’re going to tackle the tallest building in the world. Book your tickets for the Burj Khalifa ahead of time (it costs more on the day) and make sure to bring a camera. The panoramic views from the observation deck are almost absurd, and vertigo sufferers might feel a touch of dread – but you’ll be glad you did it. Prices are from around £35 per adult.  
It’s time to start shopping. The Dubai Mall is home to almost every famous fashion brand you can think of (with even a few high street favourites from back home) and you can potentially spend days here scouring the souks and shops.
Treat yourself to a coffee and homemade croissants at the Armani Caffé – then message a friend to brag before heading over to the Gold Souk to discover an Aladdin’s Cave of precious metals and gems. 
Designed by the creators of the Fountains of Bellagio in Las Vegas, The Dubai Fountain is a beautifully choreographed display of light and music on the 30-acre Burj Khalifa Lake that will create a lasting impression. The evening light show begins at 6pm and continues at half hour intervals until 11pm, so make sure you capture a video before heading back for a cocktail from a nearby bar overlooking the spectacle. 
Food culture in Dubai is hot on the pulse of worldwide culinary trends. Everything from gourmet delights crafted by Michelin-starred chefs to US-inspired fast food is on offer. And buffet is not a dirty word here; 5-star hotels offer displays fit for royalty and freshly prepared dishes from around the world that will have you grabbing for your second plate in no time. If you’re lucky enough to visit on a Friday, Dubai is also famous for its Friday Brunches – superb arrays of fresh food and free flowing drinks. The Bubbalicious Brunch at The Westin Dubai Mina Seyahi is one of the most popular in the city and an afternoon of Champagne and food will cost from AED 680 (£121 – but it’s well worth it.)
Perched at the end of the jetty at Jumeirah Beach Hotel overlooking the famous Burj Al Arab, 360° is one of Dubai’s most unique nightspots. End your first day with a drink on the panoramic terrace under the night sky – and you’ll likely spot a few stars too.
Day Two:  
Let’s go skiing!
Not something you thought you’d hear, but in Dubai anything is possible. Ski Dubai is 22,500 square metres of indoor ski slope located at the Mall of the Emirates and welcomes you to take part in an array of winter activities (starting from around £45 for a “Super Pass”) – what better way to cool down? 
After all that snow it’s probably a good idea to hit the beach. Make your way to The Walk at Jumeirah Beach, a vibrant beachfront promenade also perfect for restaurants and shops. Set your towel down under a generous parasol and enjoy that desert sun.
Aquaventure Waterpark at Atlantis The Palm is one of the best waterparks in the Middle East. Take the Leap of Faith at The Tower of Neptune, slide through glass-enclosed tunnels in shark infested waters, and live the high life on the Atlantean Flyer Zip Line. Or you could just lay back and relax on the lazy river – but beware the rapids. Popular for kids and adults alike, many people plan return holidays to Dubai just to revisit this exhilarating park.
We’ve shopped, we’ve sunbathed, we’ve eaten, we’ve splashed, and we’ve skied; now let’s end these 48 hours in style; at Neos on the 63rd floor of The Address Downtown Dubai. Down below, the fountains play and the city thrives while the Burj Khalifa strikes a pose, illuminated in shimmering lights. Here, bespoke cocktails freshly prepared with expert hands are some of the best in Dubai – combined with one of the best views in the city for a night you won’t forget. 
Where to stay in Dubai:
For a taste of what makes Dubai truly special; stay at the Jumeirah Zabeel Saray on the iconic Palm Jumeirah – where Ottaman-inspired palatial living blends with luxury hospitality. 
Where to next:
After all that glittering city action it has to be Thailand for some serious downtime in tropical surroundings. It's the perfect multi centre option for those wishing to discover two different culutres in one stunning trip, plus the stopover in Dubai makes the long haul flight more agreeable. 
The best way to complement your exploits in Dubai is with a dream-like jungle stay at the serenely beautiful Elephant Hills Jungle Safari – Luxury Tented Campset amid the lakes, river and rainforests of Khao Sok National Park. 
For an idyllic Thai coastline experience, try the white sandy beaches at the four-star Centara Seaview Resort in Khao Lak. The manicured gardens and beautiful Thai architecture will prove the ideal escape and a holiday you will never forget.