East meets West in Dubai, a place widely considered one of the most exciting holiday destinations on the planet. Phenomenal highrise archictecture, opulent and lavish hotels and upmarket malls take pride of place against the back drop of an Arabian desert. An array of striking beaches make this the perfect place to come and enjoy the fantastic all year round weather.
Dubai holidays afford you the opportunity to combine sunbathing and relaxation with sightseeing, shopping and high adrenalin water park or desert buggy adventures. Wine and dine in some of the world's finest restaurants and enjoy accommodation of an excellent standard.
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Dubai is a destination for shoppers, sunbathers, thrill seekers and foodies, but it’s also a great choice of holiday destination for beach lovers.
Dubai’s beaches are white sand beauties and with that fantastic desert like climate, you can enjoy them whatever time of year you take your holiday. A number of hotels, including the Jumeirah Beach Hotel, have their own private beaches for guests to enjoy.
Some of Dubai’s most breathtaking sights are the ones you can’t miss! The iconic Burj Khalifa is the world’s tallest building, standing at a staggering 2,600 feet. There’s not much chance you’ll miss that.
The Jumeirah Mosque is a stunning building that offers holidaymakers a peek into traditional Dubai Arab culture.
Sightseeing on your Dubai break goes beyond the buildings though. A Hatta Mountain tour shows you the more natural side of Dubai.
If you’d like to see as much of the city as you can on your trip to beautiful Dubai, then consider a city tour.
A city of skyscrapers, unrivalled grandeur, jaw dropping luxury and breathtaking architecture, Dubai is unique in so many ways. Traditional Arabic culture meets modern living, style and architecture here. It's a combination that works remarkably well and one that makes Dubai so memorable for so many.
Here is our selection of Dubai highlights and must-do activities:
If you simply can’t wait for your holiday to Dubai and you want to experience it now, we’ve got a little taster for you! Go and experience a Day in Dubai in our interactive immersive experience.
At Travelbag, we’ve got an unbeatable selection of hotels in Dubai which means by booking your holiday with us you get great value for money and more choice.
Dubai might well be known for its grandeur and luxury but it doesn’t mean a holiday there has to break the bank. In fact, we’ve got some amazing deals for those looking for a bargain as well.
Of course, if you do want to splash out and you’re looking for luxury Dubai holidays, then the Atlantis The Palm might be what you need. Alternatively, if you really want to live the high life, what about the Burj Al Arab? The Burj Al Arab is known as the world’s only 7 star hotel, so you can be certain of that extra special luxury.
We’ve got Dubai holidays for a range of tastes and requirements. Whether it’s a romantic stay for two or a fun filled family trip with little ones, we can find the holiday to fit.
The emirate of Dubai has quickly transformed itself from a vast desert to a tourist playground. A sprawling metropolis, it is a unique destination and one that takes a lot of thought when it comes to packing.
Firstly, get your sunscreen and hat in the suitcase because the sun is scorching in Dubai and it doesn’t take much to burn. Similarly, the clear, blue skies mean that sunglasses are essential for protecting your eyes from the glare.
With the sticky weather outside, it is important to remember that the malls are often air-conditioned to the point where a light jacket may be needed. Try to be modest, as is the culture there, when dressing with skirts and shorts below the knee and elbow-length sleeves on shirts. Make sure that you get breathable fabrics; loose cottons and linens are ideal.
On your feet, go for flip flops and sandals but keep in mind that trips like sandboarding, desert safaris and camel rides will need comfortable, closed footwear. In the evening, natives will be dressed up so make sure you have smart clothing for going out to bars and restaurants; especially if you’re hitting the clubs.
Found in the Northern desert belt, Dubai has intensely hot and humid summers with warm winters to boot. The months of June through September all have average highs around 40ºC with lows of little less than 30ºC in the evenings. This, combined with the high humidity, can make the emirate sticky and uncomfortable at times.
January is the coldest month and that still has an average high of 24ºC with a low of just 14ºC. During the winter months, between December and March, Dubai can get thunderstorms and the odd shower with the wettest month of February averaging 35 millimeters of rain.
The tropical desert climate means that whenever you go you can expect Dubai to be warm and sunny but it does fluctuate a little.
by Mellissa Williams
Dubai is an intriguing mix of old and new, both traditional in its customs and futuristic in its outlook. Located on the southeast coast of the Persian Gulf it is one of the seven emirates that make up the United Arab Emirates. In the last 50 years Dubai has developed into one of the most exciting cities to visit for the traveller. Everything is bigger, better, higher and more luxurious than anywhere else I have been.
Standing on an artificial island, the third tallest hotel in the world, the Burj Al Arab, is known for its iconic shape which is designed to mimic the sails of a ship. The inside is the epitome of luxury, with huge pillars covered in 24 carat gold, marbled bathrooms and butler service. There is even a helipad on the roof. If you can’t afford a suite have afternoon tea for a truly memorable experience. You can only visit the hotel if you are staying there or you have a reservation at one of their bars or restaurants. As you enter the hotel we were memorised by the playful water fountains in the foyer, appearing to be dancing in time. Afternoon tea involves warm scones, tiny sandwiches, dainty pastries and desserts. The champagne is poured in a certain way so the bubbles come up the centre of the glass. My son still remembers the sparkling date juice and I still remembering his saying “Mum, you didn’t tell me they were going to treat us like kings!”.
Dubai is a shopping mecca. One of the best places to shop is The Mall Of the Emirates. With over 700 stores from all the leading brands as well as a community theatre, art centre, a 14 screen cinema, and over 90 food outlets. It also houses the Magic Planet indoor family entertainment centre with a bowling alley, bumper cars and ride simulators. Ever wanted to ski in the desert? Well you can in Dubai! The Mall Of The Emirates even has a man made ski centre which is perfect if you want to cool off from the Arabian sun. Catering to beginners and experts alike there are five exhilarating fun runs as well as a zipwire and the world’s first indoor black diamond run. If you want to get up close and personal with a penguin then you can do that here. Watching the skiers from the shopping mall is a surreal experience not to be missed.
If you want something more traditional the city’s souks offer a vibrant and interesting shopping experience. The Gold Souk is the most well known, the covered walkways are lined with shops selling gold, silver and precious stones. The small stalls of the Spice Souk, selling a variety of herbs and spices, is also well known for its pungent aromas and colourful sites. Then there is the Textile Souk and the Perfume Souk both full of interesting characters, beautiful materials, smells and sounds that you don’t find anywhere else in the world. Haggling is acceptable in all souks although in the Gold Souk only the workmanship part of the item can be reduced as the cost is based on the market rate of gold at the time plus worksmanship.
Being surrounded by sand it would be a shame to come to Dubai and not go ’dune bashing’. Ride in a twin seater buggy with a full roll cage, bucket seats and safety harnesses, up and down the dunes for an exhilarating and fun activity. Be sure to slap on the sunscreen and take water with you though as temperatures can rise to 36 degrees c in August. Alternatively If you have children or are a kid at heart the Aquaventure waterpark at the Atlantis Palm hotel is tremendous fun and provides a respite from the heat. With a multitude of slides, river rapids, waves and waterfalls as well as an aquarium, seal lions and dolphins you can easily spend a day here with the family, with activities for young and old. You can even learn to dive at the 5 star Padi dive centre.
After all this sightseeing, relax with a meal in one of Dubai’s top restaurants. A real foodie destination Dubai doesn’t disappoint with it’s choice of dining from quick meals to World class restaurants. If you want French, Arabic, American, Asian cuisine it is all here, and so much more, as well as traditional style street food. Combine eating with people watching and you have a spectator sport not to be missed. We enjoyed sitting outside the restaurants in the Jumeriah Beach area watching luxury cars such as Ferraris, Lamborghinis and Bugatti Veyrons drive by.
I hope you can see by reading this that Dubai is an intriguing place, mixing old and new and definitely worth visiting. For a touch of luxury, amazing shopping, and family friendly activities Dubai has it all.
by Sarah Arnold
If the thought of spending another cold and damp festive season in the UK and of spending days preparing a large meal fills you with dread, then I would seriously consider spending the holiday in Dubai. If you think Dubai does not celebrate Christmas because of its predominately Muslim population, then you are mistaken. Dubai has emerged as a major city for expat life and with that comes an (almost) over-the-top love for Christmas.
As with the UK, festive music and carols are played on the radio and television from early November, but festivities truly get under way after the United Arab Emirates National Day on 2 December. All malls including Mall of the Emirates, Marina Mall and Mercato Mall are fully decked out with Christmas decorations. Christmas trees are imported at a heavy cost and Santa comes to hear the wish lists from children. Some have other Christmas activities including workshops and sing-a-longs. In the lead up to Christmas, Dubai World Trade Centre turns into a winter wonderland. For three days, there is an ice rink, 130 market stalls and children may even post their letters to Santa through a special postbox. School and adult choirs perform Christmas carols and there is a snow fight zone if you want it to feel like home.
Many churches and chapels are open throughout the season for services in the morning and evening and on special dates midnight mass occurs. The Jebel Ali St. Frances of Assisi Church is open for anyone to attend throughout the season.
If there is an avid skier in the family and they wish they were spending the holidays in Courchevel, then they will be at home at Ski Dubai within the Mall of the Emirates. Ski Dubai is a beautiful snow setting with activities for all the family. From skiing to tobogganing or snow fights, there is something for everyone.
As for the big day, Dubai is not short of hotels to supply all your needs. Most hotels have special Christmas lunches for expats, tourists and many of those native to Dubai join in as well. The Park Hyatt Dubai has a five-star Christmas dinner with all the trimmings you get back home and Dubai’s famous brunch is given a festive twist at the Ritz Carlton Dubai. Usually, Santa makes an appearance with his helpers and there are Christmas games with festive face-painting. There is even the opportunity for Christmas camel riding.
If leaving your apartment on Christmas Day feels like too much of a strain, then Christmas can come to you! Many catering companies provide full Christmas meals right to your table. You don’t need to lift a finger yourself.
After Christmas Day is over and the large meal has settled, it is time to move the attention to New Year’s Eve. As with many large cities, celebrations focus around elaborate fireworks, and Dubai is no different. The iconic display focuses around three of Dubai’s most prominent landmarks: The Burj Al Arab Jumeirah, the Palm Jumeirah and the Burj Khalifa, the world’s tallest building. If attending one of these events, arrive early to get a great spot as it gets very crowded as the build up begins in the evening.
For those who do not fancy waiting hours for the fireworks to begin, there are many other options. Dubai is home to some of the most dazzling VIP parties with world-renowned DJs playing. Atlantis The Palm holds one of the oldest New Year’s Eve celebrations and this year they have four special options for the evening, including a gala dinner.
Some of the best views of the fireworks are from the river, and a river gala cruise along Dubai Creek is a perfect way to see this. With cake and champagne at midnight and three hours of live music on board, there is no better way to bring in the new year.
For those who are more adventurous, it is possible to bring in the new year on a desert safari. They depart in the afternoon and drive you through the sand dunes before bringing you to an elaborate campsite. Here patrons are greeted with a bountiful buffet as the sun goes down. In the lead up to the midnight countdown, there is live music and henna painting.
Dubai is now a premier destination for those wanting to leave the cold temperatures behind at Christmas and the new year. With five star restaurants and fireworks to dazzle you, it is not difficult to see why.
Check out our Blog to see some of the amazing experiences Dubai has to offer
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