What You Must See if you Only Have 48 Hours in Dubai

What You Must See if you Only Have 48 Hours in Dubai

What must you see if you only have 48 hours in Dubai? The desert and the skyscrapers!

Dubai is in the United Arab Emirates in the Middle East. It is one of the seven emirates that make up the country.

The Seven emirates are; Abu Dhabi, Ajman, Dubai, Fujairah, Ras al-Khaimah, Sharjah and Umm al-Quwain.

I spent two days in Dubai and it was a diverse experience.

The first day I went on a desert safari which took us to an old Dubai.

The second day I was going up to the 125th floor of the tallest building in the world!

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What must you see in Dubai?

Desert Safari

What you must see if you only have 48 hours in Dubai is the desert safari experience. It was very different to what I expected.

We boarded the 4WD jeep and drove to the desert. It was strange going from the busy city to an empty desert, well it was empty until we reached another 500 people on the same tour!

When we got to the entrance of the desert the driver deflated the tires and we took some photos.

We got back in the jeep and drove through the sand dunes.

The only way can I explain the feeling is it is like being on a roller-coaster but in a Jeep. It was a lot of fun, but I was holding on for dear life!

After the sand dune experience, we stopped to watch the sunset. It was very tranquil watching the sun set into the sand dunes.

Arabian campsite

The Arabian campsite was done in style, we were greeted with Arabic coffee and dates.

The campsite was a beautiful setting with Persian rugs all over.

There was an area to eat which had rugs and matching tablecloths.

The rugs on low tables and cushions to sit on. The area was under cover like a tent but with fabric draped.

There was an area to smoke shisha, we did and it was like a liquorice taste.

You could ride a camel and have your photo taken and sandboard (like snowboarding).

My husband went sandboarding and he came back to the ship with his pockets full of sand!

There were ladies painting the henna tattoos. I was feeling adventurous and had one painted from my finger to up my arm, but then I had to live with it for ten days and it made me realise I never wanted a tattoo!

The food was delicious. We started with a large starter of traditional Arabic food that included shawarma (chicken grilled with tomato and onions in a flatbread), fatayer (dough filled with cheese and spinach) and falafel (fried chickpea balls).

The main course was a huge barbeque of lamb, chicken and vegetarian options with hummus and salad.

The bar was an open bar, that was all included in the tour ticket, you could have wine, beer or soft drinks.

After the meal, we were entertained with a belly dancer performance.

It was a magical night and I recommend this tour if you go to Dubai, as it is a unique experience.

After the performance, it was time to go back to the ship. We drove back through the desert, stopped to inflate the tires and drove back through the lit-up city.

City Tour

On the second day, I toured the city and it was very different to the desert.

Dubai is a big building site, everywhere you look there is a crane or a half-completed building.

They are building a new cruise ship terminal that will have a shopping mall, hotels, apartments and offices.

There are skyscrapers being built everywhere there is a space.

The Burj Khalifa

From the ship, we drove through the modern city of skyscrapers straight to the Burj Khalifa the tallest building in the world.

The Burj Khalifa is 829.8 meters tall and has 163 floors. Inside the Burj Khalifa are the viewing floor, the Armani Hotel, apartments, a nightclub, restaurants and a mosque.

The entrance to the building is in the Dubai Mall which is the largest shopping mall in the world.

It has over 1200 shops, an ice rink, an aquarium, a cinema complex and lots of restaurants.

We went up to the 125th floor to the viewing floor. Going up in the elevator only took 1 minute and the pressure felt like taking off on an aeroplane.

The elevator was fun going up as there were lights flashing like you were going into space.

The whole experience from lining up to walking to the elevator to being on the 125th floor was fantastic.

There was information to read, videos to watch and you can have professional photos all over the place.

Whilst on the viewing deck on the 124th floor a sandstorm happened, I was wondering why it was so windy.

The viewing deck has glass walls so you can look down at every angle.

It is strange looking down at skyscrapers, you do not realise how high up you are until you get up there.

As there was a sandstorm, the visibility was not as good as it could have been but I could still see, the photos just do not do it justice.

Dubai Mall

After coming down from the 125th floor of the Burj Khalifa I had some free time to walk around the Dubai Mall, but it is so big you need all day.

But I did win some free tickets to the aquarium tunnel and underwater zoo experience as it was the International Day of Happiness.

Mall of the Emirates

We then drove to another shopping mall, the Mall of the Emirates to see Ski Dubai.

It is an indoor ski resort where you can ski or snowboard. It is like a real ski resort with ski lifts and has a temperature of -4*C. Again, this is a huge mall!

Burj Al Arab Hotel

Next, was to view the Burj Al Arab Hotel which looks like a sail. I went for afternoon tea and lunch here around eight years ago, and it is a spectacular seven-star hotel.

To enter the hotel, you need to have a reservation for one of the restaurants or be staying at the hotel otherwise they will not let you in.

Jumeirah Mosque

The last sight to see on the city tour was the Jumeirah Mosque which is one of the most photographed sites in Dubai as it is typical Middle Eastern architecture.


What You Must See if You Only Have 48 Hours in Dubai

Dubai Mall in the Evening

In the evening, we went back to the Dubai Mall to go to the platinum suite at Reels Cinema to watch a movie. We watched Beauty & the Beast in 3D.

The movie was very good and it is a great experience as you get a comfy chair that unfolds so you can put your feet up and you get a blanket and pillow, it’s like being home.

Also, before you go in or during the movie you can order a whole meal and drinks, not just popcorn and hotdogs.

After the movie, we used my free tickets to the aquarium tunnel and underwater zoo which was a lot of fun seeing the fish up close.

Outside of the mall is the Dubai Fountain which is the largest choreographed fountain system in the world and at night there are shows.

The water is illuminated by 6600 lights and 25 coloured projectors and the water shoots up into the air up to 152.4 meters!

We watched a show at 10 pm and there were loads of people, so go early to get a good spot to watch. The atmosphere was incredible with the Arabic music. 

I had a fabulous time in Dubai and it is amazing how this modern city is built on a desert. Add it to the bucket list if you have not been.

Essential Info

  • Weather: 23*C – 42*C Sunny/Few Showers/Very Humid/Sand Storms
  • Currency: United Arab Emirates Dirham
  • Top Tip: Remember when walking around Dubai to respect their rules; shoulders and knees to be covered and no kissing or display of affection.
  • Recommendations: Keep hydrated by drinking lots of water, always keep a bottle in your bag. Bring a scarf for the desert so the sand does not blow into your face. 

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I hope you have enjoyed reading what you must see if you only have 48 hours in Dubai, please share on Facebook and Pinterest so your friends and family can read too. Sharing is caring!

Have you been to Dubai? What would you recommend doing?

Happy Travels

Love Lucy x

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