Oh beautiful Dubai! Our time in the most populous city in the United Arab Emirates was short and sweet, but oh so worth the visit. We spent two full days in Dubai over the course of our honeymoon. We had a short half-day stopover while en route to Tanzania, which I’ll be honest was spent entirely napping and showering at the Shangri-La Hotel. Then again nearly two weeks later for two nights, following our stay at this incredible resort in the desert outside of Abu-Dhabi.
If you’re planning a trip overseas to Africa or Asia, I would highly encourage making a stopover in Dubai if your schedule allows. Not only is it a great way to break up long flights and exhausting travel, Dubai is an incredibly fun city that’s very friendly to Western tourists. There’s so much to do and it’s very easy to get around! English is also widely spoken in Dubai.
Dubai Travel Guide 2 Day Itinerary
Dubai has always been on our bucket lists and our honeymoon was the perfect excuse to finally visit. It’s an ultra-modern city that feels like something from out of the future. Right away we were completely wowed by the towering skyscrapers and innovative architecture. Dubai is also located on the coast of the United Arab Emirates and has warm weather year round, so it’s a great destination to hit the beach and get some sun. There’s tons of luxury shopping and many sight-seeing opportunities.
Here’s a recap of everything we did along with a few more suggestions for planning your trip!
HOW TO GET THERE
We flew to Dubai via Emirates and had a great experience. Emirates is the only airline that has direct flights to Dubai from the United States so if you don’t want to deal with layovers, it’s your best bet! The service was incredible and if you have the budget to treat-yo-self I would highly recommend business class seats. We splurged for our honeymoon and it was an experience we’ll never forget! Going back to economy on our next trip is going to be toughhhh.
WHAT TO WEAR
Dubai has gorgeous warm sunny weather all year long, however summer can get unbearably hot. During the “colder” months (November-April) temps average in the 70s and 80s making it the perfect place to escape if you live in a cold climate.
Is there a dress code in Dubai? Do women need to be be covered? I got these questions a lot while we there and to be totally honest, we felt there was very little pressure to dress any differently than we would at home during the summer. It appeared as if tourists could dress however they please i.e. in shorts, tanks, etc. without any fear of breaking a rule or being reprimanded. Dubai is a very International city and you’ll people of all colors and cultural background. At the Dubai Mall we noticed women wearing everything from burqas to mini dresses.
We visited Dubai in mid-January and the weather was sunny and in the low 70s. I personally opted to dress somewhat modestly when we were outside of our hotel, mostly for my own comfort and desire to be respectful of locals. I packed a lot of midi and maxi dresses and always had a light sweater with me (it got breezy in the evenings.) My husband wore lightweight linen pants and a mix of t-shirts and button downs.
MIDI & MAXI DRESSES
The only place where we wore our swimsuits was at our hotel and from what we could tell all types of bikinis and swimwear was accepted!
WHERE TO STAY
We had a lovely stay at the Shangri-La Hotel Dubai. Since our time in the city was so short we purposely booked this hotel because of it’s convenient location downtown and quick 10 minute drive from the airport. The Shangri-La is gorgeous and immaculately maintained– as you’d expect from a luxury hotel.
I’ve never experienced such an easy quick check in and been made to feel immediately more at home as I did when we arrived at the Shangri-La. The service was incredible and any question we had was answered with such care and detail.
We utilized the concierge for nearly all of our dinner reservations and had the front door bellman call us taxis for wherever we needed to go. There was a line of taxis always nearby so we never had to wait more than a minute for a ride!
We loved our luxe room overlooking the city. The view was incredible and we could even see the famous Burj Khalifa!
^^ the incredible view from the rooftop of the Shangri-La Hotel, Dubai
Even though our time at the Shangri-La was short, we did get to utilize many of the hotel’s amenities like the spa and pool. Nick had an incredible full body scrub and I visited the in-hotel salon for a pedicure and blowout. Highly recommend checking out both if you decide to stay at the hotel. The level of service was on another tier compared to what you’d get at a US salon or spa. Can we also talk about the pool deck view?
DUBAI SIGHTSEEING & ACTIVITIES
Heading to Dubai? Here are so some landmarks and activities to add to your must-visit list!
Burj Khalifa- 160-floor tower with an observation deck and restaurant. Highly recommend making a reservation for high tea at Atmosphere– the tower’s famous bar and restaurant located on the 122nd floor.
The Dubai Mall- huge shopping and activity complex. There are 1200+ stores, an aquarium, ice rink, theme park and more. It’s impossible to see everything in one day but it’s worth a walk through even if you don’t plan on buying anything!
The Dubai Fountain- located within the Dubai Mall complex with choreographed shows everyday!
Palm Jumeirah- Dubai’s man-made palm-shaped island that’s home to many luxury hotels like the Atlantis and sunny beaches.
Dubai Creek- this area of the city is where to go if you want to get a feel for “old” Dubai. Here you can shop at traditional gold, spice and textile souk marketplaces and visit the Dubai Museum.
Dubai Miracle Garden- 72,000 meter garden with incredible floral sculptures of animals, Disney characters, landmarks and more.
Dubai Desert- located just 20 minutes outside of Dubai you’ll find rolling dunes of sand as far as the eye can see. There are a plethora of tour companies that offer desert excursions like off-roading, camel rides, sandboarding and more.
Madinat Jumeirah- a shopping and hotel complex located right along the water that has a mix of traditional souk marketplaces and upscale eateries.
Atmosphere at the Burj Khalifa- famous bar and restaurant located on the 122nd floor of the Burj Khalifa. Offers daily high tea service!
White Beach- Super chic beach club and restaurant that just opened within the Atlantis resort complex on Palm Jumeirah. We sat outside and had the freshest seafood for lunch. The food was delicious and we loved the atmosphere!
Sea Fu- High-end Japanese beach-front restaurant within the Four Seasons Resort Dubai at Jumeirah Beach. Major Nobu vibes! I’m usually not a fan of Asian cuisine but we loved our dinner here. The sushi options and black cod entree were amazing!
ZOCO- hip Mexican restaurant where you can dine on alllll the tacos, margaritas and guacamole. This is just what we were craving the last night of our trip and our meal was incredible! The fish tacos I had were better than any I’ve ever ordered from a restaurant in New York.