Top things to do in Dubai

It’s true that recent economic woes have led to some major projects hitting the Dubai or being scaled down. It’s little wonder so many entrepreneurial designers and architects love Dubai.
This place likes to show off. Tallest building in the world, Artificial island shaped like a palm, So-called seven-star hotel, Largest global shopping mall and indoor snow slopes to boot manymore.

Cultural History

Bastakia Quarter, Dubai’s old town. Here you’ll find restored wind-tower houses that were built nearly a century ago by wealthy pearl and textile merchants from Persia. Typical houses are two storeys high, with a central courtyard surrounded by rooms, and decorative arches featuring intricate carvings. Despite their comparatively plain facades, the houses have wonderful carved wooden doors, crenulations, carved grilles and stucco panels.


Dubai’s history, culture and traditions and, although the emphasis on cutesy dioramas seems more geared towards school trips, it’s definitely worth a visit. Start with a quick spin around the courtyard, with its old-time fishing boats and traditional dwellings, including a barasti (a traditional palm-leaf house) that includes a wind tower and a frighteningly basic kitchen – essentially just a pot and a pile of kindling.

Venturing behind the Grand Mosque you’ll stumble upon two places of worship behind very modest exteriors – just keep an eye out for the piles of shoes at the bottom of stairways. One set of staircases leads to the Shri Nathje Jayate Temple, also known as the Krishna Mandir (mandir is Hindi for temple). Shri Nathje is the main deity of 65 Bur Dubai Sights Pushtimarg, a Hindu devotional sect based near Udaipur in Rajasthan, India.

Just beyond this temple (heading towards the Creek) is a colourful alleyway that expats refer to as ‘Hindi Lane’. Here, vendors sell religious paraphernalia and offerings to take to the temples: baskets of fruit, garlands of flowers, gold-embossed holy images, sacred ash, sandalwood paste and packets of bindis (the little pendants Hindu women stick to their foreheads). Tucked amid the bustle is a series of staircases leading up to the other house of worship, the Sikh Gurudaba.

Traditional Architecture Museum This magnificent Shindagha courtyard house has seen stints as a residence, jail and police station. Today it houses a thorough exhibit on traditional Arab architecture.Most galleries feature entertaining and informative videos, which the caretaker will be only too happy to start up.


There is lots of options to choose from while Dining and fast food. Enjoying a glass of wine with dinner is not standard practice in Dubai and Abu Dhabi. There are essentially two types of restaurant here the hotel restaurant and the independent. Only hotels are licensed to serve alcohol, which is why they house the city’s top dining rooms and why they are so popular.

If you are vegetarian then we got good news for you as well. Dubai and Abu Dhabi are good for vegetarians, with lots of Asian and sub-continental cuisine on offer. The idea of organic food is still quite new.

Drinking & Nightlife

Multicultural Dubai has plenty of bars and pubs to match your mood. If you’re Planning to visit a bar, go to the beach bar in Jumeirah or Dubai Marina to see the sun set over the Gulf, a quintessential Dubai experience; head to a fancy spot, whether it be a dance club or a lounge, to ogle at arrivistes in impossibly high heels; or choose an expat bar to catch a buzz with overworked Westerners laughing too loudly.

If you like to make your own discoveries, put down your guidebook and wander the ethnic backstreets of Deira, find a bar in a no-star hotel, maybe an Iranian or Filipino club, and soak up the colour.

Movie Time

If you want to catch a movie, you’ve got plenty of high-tech multiplexes to take in the blockbusters; almost all are in shopping centers. Alternative and art-house cinemas are practically nonexistent (there’s one screen at Reel Cinemas in Dubai Mall that screens non-mainstream fare). Galleries and alternative venues, such as the XVA Cafe, occasionally run one-off film nights. Also check out the Alliance Française. The Dubai International Film Festival, usually held in December, is arguably the cinematic highlight of the year.


The souqs in Deira and Bur Dubai can equal good prices, providing you are willing to haggle. In general, cut the first suggested price by half and start from there.

Things to know: Malls in Dubai open from 10am to 10pm Sunday to Wednesday, from 10am to midnight Thursday to Saturday,and later during the Dubai Shopping Festival and Ramadan (often until 1am).

Try before you buy and ask about return policies, especially for gifts. Many stores offer returns for store credit only.