If you’re in Dubai with just one day to spare, you will still be able to see a lot of places to satisfy the wanderlust in you. You can do a day trip that will get you to the desert, see Dubai culture, its architecture, and the wonders that a cosmopolitan city like no other can offer. Oh, and shopping to boot!
Start your day with a trek to the desert on a 4×4. If you’re the type to get seasick, you might want to opt out of the dune-bashing part of your trip. You can also just wing it and ask the driver to stop if it all gets too much for you. You’ll be picked up at your hotel, villa, or at the lobby of your building. My first trip to the desert was lovely as it rained the day before, so the sand was surprisingly cool to the touch at 10AM. A short camel ride is included, and on the way to the dune, my reaction to everything was basically, “A building! In the middle of nowhere!”
Old Dubai (Cost: free)
Al Fahidi Historical Neighborhood
Arrange ahead of time with the Desert Tour operator to drop you off at the Old Dubai area, instead of back to your hotel. This will coincide with lunch, and there will be plenty of out of the way cafés that serve good food. My friend and I went to the XVA Gallery and Restaurant. There’s an art gallery that you can browse in for free while waiting for your food. It all sounds hoity-toity, but the food is affordable. You can browse the neighborhood with its myriad galleries for free.
Al Fahidi Fort Bur Dubai (Cost: UAED3.00)
A 6-minute walk from the neighborhood is the Al Fahidi Fort and Museum. It all looks small from the outside, but it will take you at least 2 hours to browse the exhibits. What’s funny is that my friend has been an Overseas Filipino Worker (OFW) in Dubai for 15 years and he has never been inside the Museum.
Old Souq (Cost: depends on your budget)
If you’re Southeast-Asian (or if you look like one), you’ll hear “Kabayan! Kabayan!” from South Asian hawkers. There are plenty of wares to choose from: gold, textiles, fridge-magnets, etc. I loved the perfume that the locals wore and my friend said that we can buy different-scented oud from the souq. We went to one of the perfumeries and it turns out you can personalize your own scent! Small rollerball oud costs UAED 20.00 and I got my musk rose for UAED 30.00.
The Public Beaches (Cost: free)
Finally, if you aren’t inundated with shopping bags by this time, you can go to the beach and relax for a bit before dinner. There are a lot of public beaches in Dubai, but the nearest to the Souq is the one at Jumeirah. You can take your customary picture with the iconic Burj Al Arab in the background.
There you have it, travellers, your one full day trip in Dubai!