Things to do in Dubai


Dubai is a city in the United Arab Emirates known for luxury shopping, ultramodern architecture and a lively nightlife scene. Burj Khalifa, an 830m-tall tower, dominates the skyscraper-filled skyline. At its foot lies Dubai Fountain, with jets and lights choreographed to music. On man-made islands just offshore is Atlantis, the Palm, a resort with water and marine-animal parks.

Bastakia Quarter
The Bastakia Quarter was built in the late 19th century to be the home of wealthy Persian merchants who dealt mainly in pearls and textiles, and were lured to Dubai because of the tax-free trading and access to Dubai Creek. Bastakia occupies the eastern portion of Bur Dubai along the creek and the coral and limestone buildings here, many with walls topped with wind-towers, have been excellently preserved. Wind-towers provided the homes here with an early form of air conditioning, with the wind trapped in the towers funnelled down into the houses. Persian merchants likely transplanted this architectural element (common in Iranian coastal houses) from their home country to the Gulf.

Burj Khalifa
Dubai's landmark building is the Burj Khalifa, which at 829.8 m is the tallest building in the world. For most visitors a trip to the observation deck on the 124th floor here is a must-do while in the city. The views across the city skyline from this bird's-eye perspective are simply staggering. The slick observation deck experience includes a multi-media presentation on both Dubai and the building of the Burj Khalifa (completed in 2010) before a high-speed elevator whizzes you up to the observation deck for those 360-degree views out across the skyscrapers to the desert on one side and the ocean on the other. Night-time visits are particularly popular with photographers due to Dubai's famous city-lights panoramas