24 hours Itinerary for Dubai
If you are here for a brief stopover, we recommend the following to be covered during a full day.
Start your trip as early as you can in one of Dubai’s oldest areas, Deira, and visit the Gold Souk. Even if buying gold is not on your agenda, you must see this place for the sheer volume of precious metal available to buy at bargain prices. The souk is half covered and uncovered so take plenty of water. If you do decide to buy – haggle and don’t be shy! Shops open from 10am-10pm with a few closing between 1pm-4pm.
When you’ve had enough of gold, head south towards the Dubai Creek (on foot) and take a left toward a covered long alleyway which has several shops selling the most beautiful smelling spices. This is the Spice Souk and worth strolling through for about 10 minutes to see the bags of great quality Indian and Middle Eastern spices. They also sell mixed nuts and other items so this could be a good place to pick up some gifts.
Just outside the long alleyway of the souk, head to the Dubai Creek to pick up the Dhow or Abra for a ride along the Dubai Creek. These are wooden traditional boats used to transport goods back in the day. Today they are a popular method of ferrying people across the creek for 1 AED per person. The ride is only about 3-5 mins but provide awesome views. The Abra will stop near the Bur Dubai Textile souk
The Bur Dubai Textile souk located near Al Fahidi Street is very popular with the Indian, Pakistani and Middle Eastern communities. Many come here for beautiful fabric to stitch into wedding or party clothes. Tailors are also available here to make your designs sometimes in two days or even one day. Shops again are open from 10am-10pm with a few closing between 1pm-4pm.
If you head past the Arabian Court Hotel, you should start seeing some traditional old buildings and come across Bastakiya behind the Grand Mosque. This is one of Dubai’s oldest areas and building and gives an idea of what architecture was like before the oil discovery. The area is known as the Bastakiya quarter and many art galleries, cafés, shops are opening up to liven the place. It is also worth checking out the Dubai Museum for an insight into the Emirati culture and see small artefacts and short films on how Dubai became what it is today. The museum is not huge – you can cover in an hour and then break for lunch at nearby Basta Art Café, a quaint little relaxing spot in a cute garden. Lunch offered includes sandwiches and wraps but their fresh juice – especially the mint and lime – is divine!
No trip to Dubai is complete without visiting one of their glitzy malls and if we had to pick one it would have to be the huge Dubai Mall. Get a taxi from your last point and look forward to some air conditioning downtime or retail relaxation. All the brands are available here along with a cinema, huge kids play areas and the indoor Aquarium and Underwater Zoo. If you have kids, Dubai Mall will bring you some much needed sanity. Don’t forget to visit the adjoining Souk Al Bahar for some lovely ornaments and pashmina, dates and gifts for loved ones.
After a few hours of strolling in Dubai Mall, take the opportunity to grab an outdoor table at one of the many al fresco restaurants dotted around the Dubai Fountain and Burj Khalifa, the world’s tallest building, and wait for the music and light show to begin. If you like Lebanese food, we recommend Wafi Gourmet for juicy shawarmas, mezze and grills. Our other recommendation is Karma Kafe, with Thai fusion, Buddha Bar Style. The view is amazing from the terrace. The fountain show begins at 6pm and runs every 30 minutes, so you should book a table as soon as you arrive at Dubai Mall.
If you still have any energy left, either head back to your hotel area or stay at Dubai Mall for some shisha available at most Lebanese terraced restaurants, or check out our shisha café guide.