What to See in Dubai in 48 Hours

Dubai has always been on my mind ever since I started transiting in Dubai 7 years ago. In a very short span of time, this emirate has evolved to become one of the most sought after destinations in the world. This time, while travelling to the US, me and my wife decided to take a pit-stop in Dubai for 2 days. I stayed with my childhood friend Pranshul, which made our overall experience in UAE truly sensational.

We landed in Dubai around 1 AM in the morning and our friends drove us to Tim Harrisons on Sheikh Bin Zayed road. I was impressed to see the night life in the city given that it was 3:30 AM in the morning. Everyone was well dressed with lovely hair-do and it felt like 7 PM in the evening. The cafe is open 24 hours and offers a wide range of sandwiches, donuts, coffee, tea etc.

We started our “day” (yes we didn’t sleep!) by visiting ‘Atlantis’ at ‘The Palm Dubai’. It is a splendid drive through the Dubai downtown and a tunnel that has been constructed through the sea. Do switch on your google maps. It will pleasantly surprise you!

Palm Jumeirah
View of The Palm Jumeirah courtesy Google Maps

As the name suggests, the Palm Dubai is in the shape of a Palm tree and it has been constructed using state of the art technology on reclaimed land. We drove up to the East Crescent which is the top most point on the palm tree. This locations offers a beautiful panoramic view of the Marina skyline.

View of Marina Skyline from East Crescent, Palm Jumeirah

Kite Beach is a white sand beach popular for kite surfing in clean blue waters. You can sit & relax and enjoy the breeze. It is also called Sunset Beach. The sunset is a must watch from this beach when the sun dips in the sea just next to Atlantis. The sight of ‘Burj Al Arab’ and Atlantis on one side of the beach and Burj Khalifa on the other is spectacular. Just sit on the rocks with feet in water and enjoy your evening on this irresistible beach.

Kite Surfing at the Kite Beach!

Dubai, interestingly, has about 80% expatriate population. This emirate is truly global and has some of the finest and most authentic Mexican, India, Chinese, Arabic & Italian restaurants. The wide variety of cuisines that are available to satisfy your cravings are simply unbelievable. One such Mexican restaurant is El Chico at Jumeirah Beach Residence (JBR). I loved the idea of “make you own salad” in this restaurant.

JBR truly comes to life in the evening with great music and range of restaurants serving mouth-watering food. I highly recommend that you have atleast 1 meal in this area. If you want to try Turkish food, do give a shot to Paul Bakery & Restaurant at JBR.

 The highlight of the day was ‘Burj Khalifa,’ the tallest building in the world. We bought the tickets from Dubai Mall for a 6:30 PM visit at 350 Dirhams for level 148. The tickets for level 125 cost only 125 Dirhams but can only be bought online. You must visit level 148 as it offers much better view of the city and you will not get the same view on level 125. The best time slot is 6:30 PM as you can see both the day and the night view.

 The Dubai fountain display happens every half an hour in the evening. You can see the 7:30 PM show from level 148. The night view of the fountain from the top was supremely scenic and something which we had never seen before. With a length of 275 meters, it is the largest choreographed fountain system in the world, spreading over a 30 acre lake. While you are atop Burj Khalifa, spend most of the time on the sky observatory in open air on levels 148 and level 124.

Skyline of Dubai from Burj Khalifa

We came back to Dubai Mall to see Dubai Fountain and were spell-bounded by the humungous scale of the fountain. For the best views of the fountain, exit the Dubai Mall close to Tim Harrisons, cross the bridge and take a place in front of the Souk. Post the fountain show, we spent some time at the souk to see the traditional Arabic art and then went back to Dubai Mall for Dinner. If you are fond of waffles, do give a shot to the Strawberry waffles at Granny Waffles.

The visit to Dubai is incomplete without the visit to the Souks. The top 6 souks in Dubai include perfume souk, spices souk, souk madinat, jumeirah souk and gold souk. Treat yourself with Arabic souvenirs: Sheesha, Attar, Essential Oils, Arabic spices etc.

A View of a Lane in Traditional Souk  Madinat Highlighting Sheesha shop
Decorated Ittar Bottles at Souk Madinat

It was an action packed day with excess of everything: marvelous places and great food. Though it touched 50 Degrees in afternoon, the weather didn’t stop us from seeing the best of Dubai!

 We drove to Abu Dhabi for our ‘Day 2’ in UAE. We have written a separate post on ‘The Grand Mosque’. Do check it out here.

What was the highlight of your trip to Dubai? Did you visit anywhere else in UAE? Share you experiences below.


46 Comments Add yours

  1. Great Photos and sums it up well!! Ali”Fox”

  2. Himadri Negi says:

    Love it. I was in Dubai 2 weeks back – here is my blog – https://himadri7.wordpress.com/

  3. Pingback: Hijab+theWorld
  4. Debra says:

    My dad always talks about how much he loves DUbai! I am going to have to get there sometimes soon!

  5. Paula says:

    I have been so curious about what this area of Dubai looks like, so it’s a real treat getting to see pictures of it, and read about your adventures.

  6. This is excellent! I had a 36-hour layover in Abu Dahbi and was also able to get up to Dubai to see a few things. I think you really hit the most important things for sure. I also squeezed in Ski Dubai, which was a bucket list item for me. Super fun! Check out what I did here! http://judsonlmoore.com/uae/

    1. Sona Sethi says:

      Thank you Judson! I love your page too! So much similarity in the kind of things we did! I wanted to do Sky Dive as well but it was closed in August due to the temperature. They opened up again in September. So I was quite sad to miss it. Would love to do this in my next trip.

  7. Hayley says:

    Dubai is such a great city, some great suggestions!

  8. Dubai sounds like such a glamorous place to visit. The water at the beach is so blue it’s hard to believe it’s real. And I love how beautiful the night skyline is!

  9. Too impressed by your vibrant captures with those detailing which all are enough to captivate anyone for Dubai. Personally I’m biased towards exploring lanes of traditional souk Madinat and other ones than any food trail, as I’m not a foodie.

  10. Annika says:

    Dubai always leaves me with awe. Gazing in Burj Khalifa at night is my all time favorite

  11. dubai is on my bucket list. it looks amazing and like so much fun!

    1. It’s awesome if you like the city, luxury life!

      It has so much to see in such a small space!

  12. This looks like an amazing place!! I’d love to visit there one day!! I’d have to spend more time there though!

  13. polly674 says:

    I’ve only been there one day, but hopefully I’ll be back for Expo 2020 and visit what I missed the first time!

    1. Yes , Dubai goals!!!!

      I can’t wait to go back either – It’s changed so much in just a couple of years.

  14. carmyy says:

    I hate when I only get a few hours in a new place. So many places to see and things to do!

  15. Heather says:

    I have never been to Dubai. I don’t think it is a place I had ever considered visiting. It certainly looks lovely!

  16. tumbleweedsandbigdreams says:

    Wow, this looks like an amazing trip! We are not really travelers. Not because I don’t want to, just because we stay so busy with our kids…but I hope to take trips like this one day!

  17. Joanna says:

    I have only seen Dubai in a stopover while going to New Delhi. The part that I would really like to visit is the old Dubai. I was impressed by the luxury of the skyscrapers and the area around Burj Kalifa but I would really like to just explore the markets and the place that still has bits of the old spirit of the city.

  18. Sarah @ Expat of the World says:

    Fantastic guide, I hardly know anything about Dubai so I found this super informative!

  19. Tamz says:

    Unfortunately, 6 hours at Dubai airport is the most I’ve been in Dubai. It was a really interesting read especially about the beaches and the souks. I can imagine the city partying till early hours of the morning

  20. Ami Bhat says:

    Jumeriah has been my favorite since a long time. Glad you could visit the same. The Dubai mall is quite an experience.. A good and a helpful list for those who are transiting through Dubai. Makes it a nice focused visit 😀

  21. I might travel to Dubai for work this year; will keep your list in mind. Thank you for the informative post!

  22. Amanda Love says:

    I would love to go to Dubai some time with the kids! It sounds like a lot of fun and there’s really so much to see here. Thanks for the list of things to do! Imagine what you can do if you have more time!

  23. Liz Cochico says:

    I’ve heard and seen pictures of how beautiful Dubai is. I also have a few friends who live there. I would love to visit one day.

  24. Thanks for sharing these tips. My husband wants to go to Dubai and we will keep these in mind 🙂

  25. What a beautiful place to visit! I love how you pack so much into a short period of time. And the food! Yum

  26. Dear VacationBegins,

    Thank you for sharing us your fantastic post about Dubai and the adventure (plus shopping tips) you’ve gave us. To be honest, Dubai might be an Open City, but still I find it a little intimidating, because of their ironic cultures (that’s why I still prefer to travel around Asia). But yes, I can’t deny their architectural skills and their magnificent visions of the future. I applaud.

    Best regards,

  27. Dubai seems like such an elegant and beautiful place. It’s definitely on my bucket list of places that I would like to visit in my lifetime.

  28. Stacey says:

    Dubai is on my bucket list. There really are so many beautiful sights to see there! One day.

  29. Ana De Jesus says:

    Wow the bazaars are stunning in Dubai aren’t they? I think the buildings are an attraction in themselves, its amazing how different Dubai looked 10 years ago.

  30. Maja says:

    You reminded me of my time in Dubai. It is nice to see it, on pictures only 🙂

  31. Kim says:

    I haven’t been to Dubai but it’s on my bucket list. This looks like a beautiful city.

  32. Wow there’s a lot to be seen in just 48 hours. Not sure i would sleep for the chance to explore.

  33. verushka143 says:

    I too normally only go via transit to Dubai.Am so keen to check out this city.Why sleep when you can travel!

  34. iamsuanlee says:

    Fantastic guide! I had just under 48 hours to explore Dubai too and found myself doing a couple of the same things. Unfortunately did not get to visit the beach or the Palms but maybe next time!

  35. Great guide, we live in Dubai and the more the time passes by, there are so many things to see. Although you have pinned the most interesting things to do. Cheers!

  36. Dubai is incredible and you have some great tips here for an amazing stay and sightseeing for Dubai. The Dubai mall and the fountain show are unmissable.

  37. Theres a lot of things to see isnt there? i loved the beautiful photo you have taken from the Khalifa at night. 🙂

  38. What a lovely post. This will be very helpful as I will be traveling next year with a limited time limit

  39. Very cool! Looks like a wonderful place to visit. A lot of sightseeing in a short 48 hours.

  40. Ana Ojha says:

    Thanks for sharing the travel guide about Dubai! I will be visiting there next year!

  41. Indrani says:

    A good guide for 48 hours halt. I have been wanting to go for sometime now.
    I want to experience the souk.

  42. Oh goodness, only 48 hours?! I don’t know if I could do it! I would be dying for more!

  43. GlamKaren says:

    Wow – what an amazing place to visit! I doubt I will ever get to see Dubai, but that fountain sounds super cool. And you definitely narrowed down the best of this place if you do have to see it in a short amount of time!

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