#1. See Dubai Creek for history
Head to historic Dubai Creek and hop from cab to quayside for a stirring trip into Dubai’s past. Have a nostril-tingling snoop around musky Deira Wharf and its serpentine Spice Souk.
#2. Visit Bur Dubai for markets
Gliding on an abra river taxi is the classic way to arrive in Bur Dubai, passing overloaded junks on their way to the Gulf. Bur Dubai, the oldest part of the city, has a totally different feel to the valeted, pavement-free Downtown Dubai.
#3. Take in the view from the Burj Khalifa
Make time to visit the world’s tallest tower — the Burj Khalifa. Instead of taking the standard lift option to the 125th floor, you’re going to strut in like a VIP for the heart-in-mouth ‘At the Top, Burj Khalifa Sky’, the 148th-floor observation deck.
#4. Have a morning dip at Jumeirah Beach
Start your day with a morning swim under holiday-blue skies at Jumeirah Beach — a dip in the gentle waves lapping those soft-sieved sands is the ultimate energiser after a flight.
#5. Tour Jumeirah Mosque
Take a peek at the ivory-towered Jumeirah Mosque. Dubai may be shaping the future, but you shouldn’t overlook its time-honoured traditions: join a 75-minute tour, hosted by the Sheikh Mohammed Centre for Cultural Understanding, to learn about life beyond the veil in the Middle East.
#6. Go on a desert safari
The desert is just outside of town and although you don’t have to stay overnight, it’s absolutely worth the cash if you do. The way most people see it is on an afternoon/evening desert safari.
#7. View Gulf art at The Third Line
Long before Abu Dhabi opened its £3 billion Louvre, Dubai was the go-to place for Gulf art. You can see it at its most visceral a 20-minute cab ride away at Alserkal Avenue, a sprawling compound home to more than 20 galleries and workshops.