Destinations Dubai

9 Incredible Things You Can Only Do in Dubai

Palm Jumeirah from above with colourful sun set in the distance on the horizon

Embrace an exciting itinerary of one-of-a-kind experiences with our guide to things to do in Dubai.

Dubai: a one-of-a-kind destination where indulging in the excessive is wholeheartedly encouraged. In just one day, you could wake up in a five-star hotel, spend your morning haggling at the souk, whip across desert dunes, shop like no one is watching in some of the world’s biggest malls and visit audacious, record-breaking attractions along the way. When it comes to unique experiences, you won’t run out of things to do in Dubai.

Ready to explore this multifaceted playground, where everything is bigger, better and more spectacular? Find your next Dubai escape.

1. Raise a glass in the world’s highest lounge bar

The Burj Khalifa – an iconic silhouette of the Dubai cityscape – boasts a staggering number of world records: tallest building, tallest free-standing structure, tallest elevator and, most importantly, the world’s highest lounge bar. Take a seat amid the clouds, 585 metres above the ground, at The Lounge, spread across levels 152, 153 and 154, and nibble on gourmet canapés while sipping champagne.

If you’re lucky enough to score a window seat on the flight over, you’ll see this engineering marvel from a birds-eye perspective, setting the tone for your Dubai stays.

2. Escape the desert heat and hit the ski slopes

Yes, you read that correctly… The coolest place to be? Ski Dubai – a winter wonderland in the Mall of the Emirates. You can see the giant slope jutting into the air as you drive along the 14-lane Sheikh Zayed Road, leading to 4,500sqm of snow-filled fun.

Jump on the ski lift and carve your way down the slope, visit the resident penguins, hold tight on the twin-track bobsled experience, explore the impressive indoor ice cave, then warm up with a hot chocolate at the alpine-inspired North 28 restaurant.

3. Plunge to record-breaking depths in the world’s deepest swimming pool

Deep Dive Dubai is a newly opened aquatic attraction and holds the Guinness World Record for the deepest swimming pool at an eye-watering 60.02 metres.

This oyster-shaped structure pays homage to the Emirate’s pearl-trading past and holds 14 million litres of water – equivalent to six Olympic-sized swimming pools. Throw yourself in at the deep end with scuba diving, snorkelling and freediving, all safely guided by experienced instructors.

4. Skydive over Palm Jumeriah

Skydiving over the Palm Jumeirah. Image via Shutterstock, by ViktorKozlov
Skydiving over the Palm Jumeirah. Image via Shutterstock, by ViktorKozlov.

Nothing compares to the thrill of freefalling at almost 200 km/h – and Palm Jumeirah is the perfect backdrop for an unforgettable skydiving experience. Whether it’s your first skydive or your hundredth, make sure to add this to your must-do list. Stretch your eyes to the golden desert in the distance, then draw your attention below to the impressive archipelago, framed by azure waters.

5. Make the desert dunes your playground

When you’re standing in the shadow of towering skyscrapers, it’s easy to forget that Dubai is encircled by fiery red, rippled desert dunes. Once the hum of the city fades into the distance, you will feel as though you’ve been transported to a whole new world.

Top of your list should be a 4WD safari. Hold on tight as you go flying up, down and around to reach Dubai’s tallest sand dune, Lahbab, known as ‘Big Red’.Hungry for more? Switch up your mode of transport to a quad bike or dune buggy. If you want to move at a slower pace, hop atop a camel for a guided walk or get in touch with your romantic side with a candlelit dinner on the sand.

6. Wander the world’s largest natural flower garden

Be greeted by a cacophony of colourful blooms and eye-catching arrangements at Dubai Miracle Garden. This petal-lined treasure-trove stretches over 72,000sqm and will leave you awestruck as you amble past instantly recognisable structures, reimagined as impressive floral arrangements. Stop by the giant flower-covered teddy bear, the magnificent floral castle or the life-size Emirates A380 aeroplane (the world’s largest floral installation).

7. Experience a reimagined trip to the mall

You may have noticed a theme here… Dubai takes a typically mundane activity, building or experience, then elevates it to a level beyond comprehension – and Dubai Mall is no exception. The high-end boutiques, from the likes of Chanel, Cartier and Louis Vuitton, on Fashion Avenue draw in over 100 million shopaholics annually, but this mall is more than just designer threads.

Inside this ever-expanding precinct, you can visit the newly opened VR Park to get lost in a virtual world, discover digital art galleries such as ‘Infinity des Lumières,’ dedicated to the work of Van Gogh, hit the Dubai Ice Rink, where everyone from beginners to pros is welcome, and bounce your way through Trampo Extreme trampoline park, where children (over three years) can jump, flip and climb to their heart’s content.

8. Travel back in time to Old Dubai

Traditional abra boats in Old Dubaifloating along the river with the sun setting in the background
Old Dubai. Image via Shutterstock, by Zhukov Oleg.

Dubai is the gift that keeps on giving. This spirited metropolis upholds an appearance of glitz and glamour, but once you dig a little deeper, you’ll find centuries of rich history, tradition and charm mere moments from some of the world’s greatest architectural feats.

Venture to the neighbourhoods of Bur Dubai, Deira, Karama and Satwa, collectively known as Old Dubai, to experience a different side to your stay. Float between Bur Dubai and Deira along Dubai Creek in an abra, a traditional, Emirati-style gondola, then wind through the marvellous souks to find one-of-a-kind gold or silver pieces, fragrant spices so you can cook up a storm back home, or colourful rugs and richly patterned textiles.

9. Stay in five-star style at Atlantis, The Palm with an exclusive Luxury Escapes discount 

There is truly no better way to experience Dubai than with a stay at the glitzy Atlantis, The Palm – and when you book through Luxury Escapes, you can receive up to 30% off! All bookings made on Luxury Escapes between 9 May 2022 and 23 May 2022 (for travel by end of September 2023) will qualify for an exclusive 20% discount – only on Luxury Escapes. Better yet: book five nights or more on a half-board basis and you’ll receive an additional 10% off, plus two kids (under 12) stay free with meals per package inclusions. 

This unmissable offer is completely exclusive to Luxury Escapesbook now for a discount you won’t find elsewhere.  

Jaw-dropping in size and beauty, Atlantis, The Palm is the ultimate Dubai resort. There are 32 exquisite dining venues, bars and lounges – including Nobu Dubai and Gordon Ramsay’s Bread Street Kitchen & Bar. Plus, you can make your way through the Raging Rapids and relax on 1km of private beach at the world’s largest waterpark, Aquaventure Waterpark, with 105 slides and attractions. Discover 65,000 marine animals at The Lost Chambers Aquarium and indulge in luxurious treatments at ShuiQi Spa (and that’s just the beginning). 

With an unbeatable location at the apex of Palm Island and a wide range of restaurants, bars and clubs just 10 minutes’ drive away, Atlantis, The Palm is your key to the glitz and glamour of Dubai. 

Looking for more things to do in Dubai? Read: Where to eat and play in Dubai.