If you have 48 hours in Dubai, don’t waste it with sleeping. Here are 5 amazing things you really should do:
La Mer Box Park
Right by the edge of the sea is the fabulous Box Park where you can shop, eat, drink, and relax on the beach. I really wasn’t expecting to stumble on somewhere with such an urban, beach vibe in the middle of glitzy glamorous Dubai, but head to Jumeirah and you’ll find it. The Box Park is made up of what looks like lots of old shipping containers, each one containing either shops, restaurants, even a cinema. Externally, the containers have been transformed into massive art installations which are an Instagram dream, so its a good job there’s free wifi!
Some incredible artwork at La Mer Box Park
Souk Madinet Jumeirah
This little gem combines traditional Middle Eastern culture with a modern shopping experience. You can wander along a maze of covered walkways which combine stalls and barrows selling authentic products, alongside luxury fashion and jewellery, and then stop for a bite to eat at one of the fabulous waterside restaurants. I can thoroughly recommend The Meat Company, which, if you are lucky enough to get a table outside, boasts impressive views across the water to the iconic sail shaped Burj Al Arab Jumeirah, which sits on its own private island. Yes, we tried to go and see it. No, you arn’t allowed!
If you have the time, make sure to take a boat tour along the water canals. We were lucky enough to get a boat to ourselves, and it was fascinating listening to our guide as we meandered lazily through the water letting our dinner go down, especially finding out where Tom Cruise stayed while filming locally. How shallow?
Blue handbag third from the left had my name on it
The Dubai Frame
This unbelievable structure resembling a 150 metre high picture frame offers visitors the best view of both old and new Dubai. The two towers are connected by a 100 square metre bridge which has a 25 square metre glass panel in the middle offering a great 360 view. That’s the official blurb from the website. Here’s my blurb: OH……MY…….GOD!!!!
Now I don’t do heights, so why on earth I thought it was a good idea to visit the Frame, Im not really sure. However, I found myself sweaty palmed, and shaky legged actually walking across the glass floor along the top of the frame. I couldn’t quite bring myself to jump up and down on it like some of the deranged school children that were there, but hey, that’s just me. So, my opinion? It’s absolutely incredible!!! Bum clenchinly scary, but incredible. I’m not sure I would have done it had I known it had only been open to the public for two months…but hey, if it’s still upright when you go, I would totally recommend it!
If you look closely you can see my feet tiptoeing across the glass floor surround by droplets of sweat!
The Dubai Mall
Forget bloody Westfield, Intu AND the Trafford Shopping Centre, at 3.77 million sq ft The Dubai Mall is the second biggest shopping centre in the world! You have to travel along 7 moving walkways just to get into it from the Metro Station, and once inside you literally need to leave a trail of breadcrumbs to be able to find your way out again! It contains pretty much every single shop that you’ve ever heard of, plus a complete souk, the most eclectic food hall Ive ever come across, a cinema complex, a waterfall, an ice-skating rink, oh and the largest aquarium in the world. It’s mind-blowing!
There are three main levels to the mall, although at some point as you wander round you will notice a fourth basement level is revealed. This will lead you to the entrance to Burj Khalifa, which is the tallest building in the world. They don’t do things by halves in Dubai! (nb. If you want to go to the top of the Burj, do book in advance.)
One of the coolest things I experienced during my time in the Mall (and there was quite a bit of time, mainly due to the fact I couldn’t find my way out) was that at 11.34 and again at 3.54 the piped shopping centre music stopped and the call to prayer was broadcast through the speakers. Tradition….with a twist. You’ve gotta love it.
The incredible indoor waterfall took my breath away
Burj Khalifa / Souk Al Baha
If you do nothing else while in Dubai, make sure that you visit Souk Al Baha, not necessarily for the shopping (which is fabulous btw), but to appreciate the full splendour of Burj Khalifa. The Burj Khalifa is the tallest building in the world at a height of 828 metres (2,717 ft) and it literally dwarfs every other skyscraper that dares to be near it.
If you can get a table at one of the waterfront restaurants at Souk Al Baha, you will be rewarded with the perfect view of the Burj Khalifa, and you can also enjoy a water fountain display which rivals that of The Bellagio in Las Vegas.
On New Years Eve 2018 the Burj displayed an incredible laser light show which landed a new Guinness world record as the biggest light and sound show on a single building. Due to its popularity, it was decided that the light show would be extended until the end of March and (shameless bragging coming up) we were lucky enough to see it for ourselves. It was indeed gobsmackingly amazing! I can’t promise that you will see the light show, but who knows? They may extend it again.
The tallest building in the world. I’m happy to see it from ground level!