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KNOW BEFORE YOU GO - STAY SAFE & HEALTHY ABROAD (foreign office travel advice)

Dubai

Things to do in Dubai

In a city like Dubai, you'll always have something to see or do. Boredom simply doesn't enter the vocabulary of this gleaming metropolis, where towering skyscrapers, cultural centres of history and opportunities to shop in some of the most prestigious malls on Earth are just the start. Amusement parks, beach days and the vastness of the desert beyond all make for unforgettable Dubai holidays.

More than a mirage

Most holidaymakers head to Burj Khalifa, the world's tallest building, which towers high above an already impressive skyline like a spire from a sci-fi movie. Take a tour to its lofty observation decks and witness the sprawl of Dubai stretching in every direction, with the desert and sea tracing the horizons beyond. Booking in advance for savings is always advised.

Shopping over the centuries

Being a city of trade has given Dubai access to every kind of commodity imaginable. From gadgets and gaming to perfumes, runway fashion and a whole host more, it's easily found in the shops and stores that garland Dubai's streets. You may have already heard of some of the immense shopping malls that exist in the city, which include the Mall of the Emirates and the massive Dubai Mall. The latter of the two is so big that it's got plenty of room not only for almost every fashion house and leading retail brand on the planet, but also its own amusement park.

The Sega Republic takes those classic videogames you grew up with and turns them into a family experience of bumper cars, thrill rides and a soft play area for your daring little adventurers. With a certain famous blue cartoon hedgehog grinning alongside you, you'll also have the chance to immerse yourself in virtual reality games or show off your Guitar Hero skills.

If you're after a more traditional experience, it's a good idea to check out the Old Gold Souk. Dubai is a wealthy city, so gold and jewellery of every kind is draped and displayed over traditional stands at this market, which sustains the same Arabic traditions as it has for centuries. Haggle yourself some bling in this treasure trove, and you'll go home feeling like royalty.

Surf, ski and explore

It may seem inconceivable to go skiing in the desert, but remember that Dubai always dares to dream big. That's why there's an entire complex, Ski Dubai, that's dedicated to giving you some substantial slopes to weave down. Naturally, booking Dubai holiday deals might have seen you packing more summer-wear than skiing gear, but luckily you can rent everything you need on-site, and leave the kids in their own play area.

Jumeirah Beach is the most famous coastline in Dubai, and it's as inviting as it is hot beneath that desert sunshine. Of course, relaxation is only half the tale, as daring Dubai challenges the more energetic of us to take on some waterskiing, scuba diving or boat trips out into the bay. Having said that, if you prefer more slides and rides to surfboards and sun-tan lotion, your wet and wild adventures can instead take place at Wild Wadi Waterpark. The tube slides and various rides here have to be seen to be believed.

Dubai is in a good location to explore the desert, and you can take in some dramatic landscapes from here. Journey through the plains and dunes of the Dubai Desert Conservation Reserve, where horseback and camel rides are also available. If you're feeling a little more pacy, you can instead opt for a 4x4 trek through the vast open wilderness. Just remember to bring plenty of water to beat the heat.