A postgraduate in Mass Communications, Neha loves everything about life. Travelling is extremely close to her heart and writing came to her naturally. An avid trekker & explorer, who often takes off some time from her busy life for mountaineering, she loves meeting new people & gets attached to their culture very easily. Her ambition is to explore as many places as she can in her life. She strongly believes in Gandhian principle – “simple living high thinking”.
So you’re travelling to Dubai for the first time. That’s truly exciting! Dubai is a city of wonders; it can be a bit confusing for first-timers, not knowing what to see first and where to go, with all the glitter and glamour of the attractions. Leave it to us to come up with the perfect 3 day Dubai Itinerary for you to follow. We’ve drawn up this itinerary to help you prioritize what to see and do in Dubai. Of course, you’re free to add to or remove items from it. Welcome to the city of eternal delights, Dubai!
3 Day Dubai Itinerary for First Time Visitors
Day 1: Morning – Big Bus Tour
The big bus tour is one of the best ways to see and experience all of Dubai. The big bus departs from Sheikh Zayed Road, and travels all over Dubai, stopping at every major landmark. The beauty of this tour is that every fifteen minutes, there’s a new big bus that comes on the line. So you can hop off your bus and go about on foot, checking out the landmarks, and hop back on to the next bus in the line when you’re done. In this way, you can explore several attractions on foot as well. You can spend an entire day enjoying Dubai’s many attractions on this tour.
Day 1: Evening – Overnight Desert Safari
Sign up for an overnight desert safari during the evening and enjoy the amazing delights of the Dubai desert. The overnight desert safari is perfect for you after the big bus tour, as it makes good use of the evening and the night. In this safari, you’ll get to enjoy a fabulous desert sunset and desert sports such as dune driving, dune bashing, camel riding, sand boarding and quad biking. This is followed by a scintillating dinner in the welcome tent, to the accompaniment of belly dancing, Tanura shows and henna tattooing. The best part comes at night when you get to sleep under the stars.
Day 2: Morning – Hot Air Balloon Ride
Sign up for a hot air balloon ride with your tour operator on the morning after the overnight safari. That way you get to enjoy both a land view and aerial view of the desert in one day. Get an unparalleled view of the desert from high above in the balloon – the wadis, the oases, the craggy peaks, the dunes and the scraggly flora and the wildlife. You’ll love floating several thousand feet in the air, in the cool morning air, enjoying one of the best views in the world.
Day 2: Afternoon – Burj Khalifa, Dubai Mall and Dubai Fountain
After the hot air balloon ride, get ready for the treat of a lifetime. Delight in the At The Top experience on the 125th floor of the Burj Khalifa; grab one of the many telescopes placed at intervals on the observatory deck, and focus on your favourite landmarks. The observatory deck on the 125th floor offers 360-degree views. There’s another observatory on the 148th floor which offers 180-degree views of the surroundings. The Dubai Mall is a stupendous mall, with `1200 plus retail offerings and over a 1000 eateries. The mall has an ice rink, a 22-theatre multiplex and several other attractions. The Dubai Fountains is located directly opposite the Dubai Mall. It is the world’s largest choreographed dancing fountain, whose water jets shoot up to a height of 150 floors.
Day 3: Early Morning – Helicopter Ride over Dubai
Open any Dubai Travel Guide and you’ll find that a helicopter ride over Dubai is the best way to see the city up close from above. As the chopper gets close to the Burj Khalifa, you’ll experience the thrill of a lifetime. Hovering over this incredibly-tall structure will be the highpoint of your life. Get a bird’s eye view of the entire city, hovering over the Palm Islands and the World Map Islands. Enjoy the feeling of being on top of the world, as you soar over Dubai’s incredible attractions in a powerful helicopter. It’s one of the best experiences you can have in Dubai.
Day 3: Morning – Dubai Frame and Old Dubai
Visit the Dubai Frame and enjoy the incredible views from the bridge that connects the two columns of the frame. The Frame represents a viewpoint – to one side is Old Dubai, Dubai’s past, with its traditional souqs and markets. To the other side is the bustling city itself, with its skyscrapers and canals and parks.
After enjoying the fabulous philosophical views and the Dubai Frame, head over to Old Dubai, which is Bur Dubai and the Al Fahidi Historical Neighbourhood, which was known as the Bastikaya Quarter. Visit the Sheikh Mohammed Cultural Center and the Al Fahidi Museum to know more about how Dubai’s history. Explore Bur Dubai’s spice and gold souqs and the quaint lanes and markets of the Bastikaya Quarter. Cross the Dubai Creek in a traditional wooden vessel called the Abra and explore the opposite side – the town of Deira. There are delightful souqs here too, selling pashmina shawls, carpets and shisha pipes. It’s a beautiful, atmospheric place that’ll put you in touch with the Dubai that was before modernization set in.
Day 3: Afternoon - IMG Worlds of Adventure
You’ll be pleasantly surprised when you visit IMG Worlds of Adventure. IMG Worlds is an exclusive theme park that spans over 1.5 million square feet of space. This theme park is divided into 4 epic adventure zones based on themes from Cartoon Network, Marvel, The Lost Valley and IMG Boulevard. Take your kids to join their favourite superheroes! Enjoy the fabulous action-packed thrill rides along with them. The Haunted Hotel will definitely test your courage while the exclusive themed shopping and dining facilities at the IMG Boulevard will keep you boosted for more fun.
Day 3: Evening – Dhow Cruise Dubai Marina
End your 3 days in Dubai tour with a blissful dhow cruise on Dubai Marina. The dhow is the same vessel that was once used for transport and smuggling on the Arabian Sea. Now fully renovated and jazzed up to the nines, the dhow is a famous recreational vessel. Enjoy a wonderful cruise along the spectacular Dubai Marina, with the unparalleled view of the Burj Khalifa and other landmarks laid out on the shore. As you come close to the Palm Jumeirah Islands, the Burj Al Arab and the hotel Atlantis The Palm will come into view. Enjoy the grand views, and a grander dinner on board accompanied by henna tattooing, belly dancing and other entertainment. With the dhow cruise, you’ll experience how the Dubai royals live every day – that’s the level of luxury and amenities you’ll find on the cruise.
Use this travel guide to plan your three days in Dubai. We’ve put this itinerary together after taking distances and timelines into consideration. Enjoy your trip and tell us all about how you enjoyed Dubai and when you’re coming back!
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