Jumeirah Beach Residence

Places to Visit and Things to Do


Arabian Dhow Creek Cruise

There are many dhows along the Creek offering cruises for a (negotiable) fee. If you’ve a Big Bus tour ticket you’re entitled to a free one hour Creek Cruise on their own dhow. It’s a perfect and very relaxing way to experience the stimulating combination of old-meets-new that so characterises this city. 

Arabian Tea House Cafe* (formerly Basta Arts Cafe)

Ideal for a relaxed lunch or snack, in a courtyard, within easy walking distance of Dubai Museum (Old Al Fahidi Fort), Sheikh Saeed Al Maktoum’s House, Heritage Village and the Creek. 

Basta Arts Cafe Bastakiya Quarter

Balloon Flights

Get up early for an hour’s trip into the desert for a sunrise balloon flight over the desert, and back in time for breakfast! There's few firms do it so pick up leaflets at your hotel. One to try is www.ballooning.ae that's Balloon Adventures on 04 285 4949.

Balloon in the Desert

Bateaux Dubai

Cruise, in elegance and air-conditioned luxury aboard the glass enclosed Bateaux Dubai, with panoramic views of both the modern landmarks and the historic sights of Dubai Creek. The vessel has modern decor, live entertainment, and personalised service. Freshly prepared 4-course gourmet cuisine and licensed beverages will make this a Dubai highlight. Cruises every night from 8.30pm to 11pm for dinner, with boarding from 7.45pm. May be chartered for private events. Enquire about hotel pick-ups. Ring 399 4994 or visit www.bateauxdubai.com or email mail@bateauxdubai.com for more info.

Burj Khalifa*

Visit the world’s tallest building (originally intended to be known as the Burj Dubai) at 828 metres and 160 floors in height (others say 181 floors!), where you can take a speed lift to the world's highest observation deck on the 124th floor! It has the world’s fastest elevator, the world's tallest service lift, the world's highest swimming pool on the 76th floor, the world's highest mosque on the 158th floor and as at January 2011 the world's highest restaurant - At.mosphere - on the 122nd floor.

The Burj Khalifa is clad in 28,000 glass panels, has 500,000 square metres of space for offices and apartments and the highest occupied floor in the world.

Each lift holds about twelve people and a lift operator. I didn't time going up but coming down from the observation deck took only one minute and eight seconds with hardly any feeling of movement. In fact they've put a load of arrow lights on the lift walls which I'm sure are to create the missing feeling of movement. It's not scary at all and the viewing gallery is large and totally enclosed - there's even a souvenir shop up there! Great for photos.

You’ll find the ticket counter and entrance to this ‘At The Top’ experience on the lower ground level of The Dubai Mall. You can book in person, by phone or online. ‘Sessions’ leave every half hour but it’s best to book in advance.

Prices (as at November 2010) were 100Dhs per person if you’re booking a day or more in advance, but 400Dhs if you want immediate admission.

Leave the reception on a trip that transports you through time, from the earliest days of Dubai to the present day. As the doors open on the 124th floor, floor-to-ceiling glass walls provide an unobstructed, breathtaking, 360 degree view of the city, desert and ocean.

Opening times are 10am to 10pm Sunday to Wednesday and 10am to midnight Thursday to Saturday. Once in the viewing gallery you can pay more to use high powered binoculars.

Having booked and whilst waiting for your allotted time why not have a look around the world’s largest mall, The Dubai Mall (you can park the kids at the Sega Republic indoor theme park, with more than 250 amusement games and nine attractions, or at KidZania, where young children can learn to fly planes, drive buses and live out their adult dreams), then see (in the evening perhaps whilst having a lakeside restaurant meal) The Dubai Fountain – not surprisingly the largest in the world, that dances to differing types of music every thirty minutes. You may also like to enjoy a 30 minute evening trip in an abra on the Burj Lake.  Tel: 800 28 843 867 www.atthetop.ae

Creekside Park

Adjacent to the Creek on Riyadh Road on the Bur Dubai side but further inland. Includes children’s play areas. Has a cable car ride that gives you good views of the city and Dubai Creek Golf Club. Ideal for two or three hours - rent a cycle, admire the themed gardens or use the provided BBQ pits.

Dhow Dinner Cruise

Lasting about 2 to 2.5 hours, your traditional wooden dhow sails in the Creek whilst you have an International Evening Dinner aboard. The organisers are likely to be willing to pick you up from your hotel.

Discover Downtown Dubai by Trolley Bus

Normally 'Downtown' is likely to refer to the traditional centre of a city. In Dubai's case 'Downtown' is the name of a new area of development that encompasses the area that includes the (1) Dubai Mall, (2) The Address Downtown Dubai Hotel, (3) The Palace Hotel, Old Town & Souk al Bahar, (4) The Pavilion, a new (2011) art gallery/design centre/cafe it and (5) The Burj Khalifa and Armani Hotel.

In fact these five places are the stops on this circular trolley bus ride, although we'd suggest that the best views of the Burj Khalifa are when approached via the lake and Dubai Fountain side of the Dubai Mall.

You'd be forgiven for thinking the term 'trolley bus' refers to a bus with overhead electric wires. That's not the case in Dubai. These 'trolley buses' are normally driven petrol vehicles made to look like old American style trolley buses.

The full circular tour only takes about half an hour, but is a restful way of seeing and getting around this new and very expensive area of Dubai, sometimes referred to as 'the new heart of the city', for just a few dirhams. It's certainly easier than walking!

Operating from 10am each day, there are four pick-ups an hour at each stop.

For more info ring toll free on 800 DUBAI MALL (0800 38224 6255).

Dubai Dolphinarium

An amazing place where you're guaranteed to meet some of the most beautiful animals that inhabit our oceans and have lots of fun with them. In Creek Park - to get there ask the taxi driver to take you to Gate 1, Creek Park. More info at www.dubaidolphinarium.ae or tel. +971 4 336 9773.

Dubai Museum*

Dubai Museum - (Al Fahidi Fort - erected 1787) Explore the history of Dubai, from desert houses with their typical wind towers to modern Dubai. See old maps of the Gulf and aerial photos showing the development of Dubai over recent decades. See the diverse collection of exhibits including knives and swords, and gain a fascinating insight into the rich history and cultural heritage of Dubai. Walk the streets of a 1950’s era souk. It's impressive and cool out of the heat as it's largely underground. Free entry if on the Big Bus (red/city) Tour, which stops literally just outside. Tel: 353 1862

Dubai Outlet City

Supposedly for great savings, it's located on the Dubai - Al Ain Road (Route 66) at Dubailand, some 20 minutes by car or taxi from central Dubai. It's right at the 'back' of Dubai heading to the desert and just past the Dubai Bypass Road. The website suggests it has plenty of outlet shops, almost 200 at last count and it's said to be the only 'outlet' concept mall in the Gulf region, but we've not been yet. It'll become increasingly well known and popular as, when and if Dubailand develops. (www.dubaioutletmall.com)

Explore on Foot*

You'll do this on most holiday trips but it's not something you can do in many parts of Dubai. But you can in the areas just mentioned above. It’s a leisurely experience to walk through this historical area of Dubai, visit the various souks, try a bit of bartering and walk along Dubai Creek, which is probably at its most interesting on the far (Deira) side. See all the dhows lined up, sometimes five or six side to side, loading or unloading every type of product imaginable. Look at the toilets on the back of the dhows – they’re still used out at sea! Stop off for a coffee or a meal. A most pleasant and leisurely experience!


Treat yourself to a proper rub-down at the largest Turkish hammam in the Middle East. This traditional treatment will get rid of dead skin and leave you feeling smooth all over. Visit the Talise Ottoman Spa which you'll find at the Jumeirah Zabeel Saray on Palm Jumeirah. Tel: 04 453 0000

Hatta Mountain Safari

Leave Dubai going inland and you’ll pass through scrub-like desert before getting to the proper golden sand desert and sand dunes. Look for camels – they look fantastically sleek and natural in this environment and nothing like the ragged, spitting, biting camels you may have ridden in other tourist areas. After an hour and a half you’ll reach the Hatta mountain area. But don't go without a map, your charged mobile/cell phone, lots of water, a full tank of fuel and some form of headgear - they could save your life! And tell someone where you're going.

Heritage & Diving Village (Hatta Village)*

A great introduction to traditional Bedouin coastal village life with potters, weavers and other artisans practising their crafts amid exhibitions and pearl diving demonstrations. When it’s in full swing (which is not always) it’s near the mouth of the Creek in Bur Dubai. It's constructed around an old settlement, with housing recreated in the Hatta style. A large fort and tower built in the 1880's to protect the city from external attacks, overlooks the village. Take a step back in time and experience some of Dubai's culture and heritage. Tel: 04 3937151

Horse Racing

A favourite pastime amongst Dubai's elite, racing until recently was based at the Nad Al Sheba track. However since 2010 it's the Meydan Racecourse that now hosts, amongst others, the world's most valuable horse race. This is not just a state of the art horse racing track, it's also an entertainment complex with a Marina, apartments, a five star hotel and even an IMAX cinema. The grandstand has a capacity of 60,000 people and the car park holds almost 9,000 cars. The Dubai World Cup is the place to be seen. The course has two tracks, one being a 1750m all-weather course with the other a 2400m turf track. For more info and dates of race meetings and other events visit www.meydan.ae and www.dubai-horse-racing.com.

JBR Walk

The Walk at Jumeirah Beach Residence or JBR Walk as it's often known, is a new area of modern shops and a lively vibrant nightlife that's well worth a visit. It's adjacent to the beach by the Marina, so you can even park on the beach and dip your toes in the sea. Here you'll find around 200 new retailers' shops, some being major European indeed global top brands, in what is a completely redeveloped and therefore new area. There are also plenty of cafés and restaurants, and it's a great place for an evening out if you like just ambling around.

Jebel Ali Spa

A most relaxing experience. Find it at the Jebel Ali Golf Resort & Spa. Tel : 883 6000.

Jumeirah Grand Mosque*

Learn more about the Muslim religion and culture with a visit to one of the few mosques in the Middle East that’s open to non-Muslims. Tours are available Saturdays, Sundays, Tuesdays and Thursdays at 10am but plan to get there early. Small entry fee. Shoes are left at the entrance and visitors must be appropriately dressed. You can borrow a head scarf or abaya if necessary. Tel: 04 3536666

Local Flights

Think you've seen enough of Dubai, well why not take a short flight to see what else is in this part of the Gulf - perhaps Oman (1 hour flight or 4 hour drive), Bahrain (Flight time just over half an hour, drivetime over 5 hours), or Qatar (1 hour flight time to Doha).

Marina Walk

Marina Walk - the promenade area right in the marina itself which is surrounded by tower blocks. It’s an amazing, almost futuristic and surreal place especially at night when everything is lit up – again loads of shops and restaurants, and only 300 yards from the Marina Metro station

Musandam Trip

For a fun day out, a weekend getaway or a week-long holiday within a holiday go the Musandam Peninsula in nearby Oman (take your passport) with www.sheesabeach.com where you can enjoy a relaxing dhow cruise with snorkelling, fishing, swimming and scuba diving. The Musandam is a stunning remote location, ideal for a relaxing break or an adventurous escape. Take a two-day dhow cruise (groups of up to 18 people welcome) and it'll likely turn into a 48-hour party. Alternatively have a new Dive experience or try remote camping on a secluded beach. It's all possible with Sheesabeach. Tel: 02 638 6551

Palm Jumeirah Monorail

This is the first monorail in the Middle East and your gateway to Palm Jumeirah. As an alternative to a ground level drive through, enjoy a unique birds-eye view of all aspects of the largest man made islands from the elevated monorail. It's fully automated and driverless, and runs seven days a week from Al Sufouh Road in Dubai to the Palm Juneirah (outer) Crescent, Atlantis Aquaventure station.

Pro Art Gallery

A sales art gallery that promotes finely curated exhibitions of artists from all over the world. The collection of masterpieces, lithographs and sculptures is one of a kind, be it contemporary or an impressionist art piece. They also do framing. Contact info@proartuae.com for up to date details. You'll find it at Palm Strip Mall, F21 First Floor, Jumeirah Beach Road, opposite Jumeirah Mosque. (Closed Fridays) Tel: 345 0900

Souk Al Bahar*

A smaller Arabesque-styled souk where you'll find handicrafts, accessories and art shops amongst various others. It's across the small touristy bridge that separates it from Dubai Mall in (the new) Downtown area of Dubai, which also includes the Burj Khalifa. In fact you get a great view of this, the world's tallest building and, especially at night, the Dubai Fountain, from the restaurants or walkway just out of the souk on the side of the lake. A favourite area of our Dubai-based family!

Souk Madinat Jumeirah*

Close to the Burj Al Arab hotel. It'll give you a feel of Arabia as it's often busy and buzzing. You'll probably get lost as you wander around the various avenues of over 75 often unique shops, galleries, restaurants, bars and also the Madinat Theatre. It's one of our favourite places and well worth a visit. But don't just go for the shops. Walk right through to the side opposite the entrance and emerge into the fresh air to be amazed by the setting of various restaurants overlooking the man-made river system that is part of this complex and links to the Al Qasr Hotel. It's just the place for a relaxed lunch and quite a decent view of the nearby Burj Al Arab. 

Talise Spa

Talise Spa has 26 treatment rooms and 80 therapists. The little touches make the whole experience one to remember. Find it at the Madinat Jumeirah. Tel : 366 6818.

The Bastakiya Quarter*

Stroll round this largely traffic free area to experience the part of Dubai that was home to wealthy Persian merchants. Today it’s a small area of beautiful, sophisticated homes dating back to the 1900’s and built of coral and limestone. Book an evening meal at the Bastakiya Nights restaurant where if you book a set meal they’ll tell you what you’re having and how to eat it. A real experience! Friends loved it.

The Dubai Fountain

The Dubai Fountain – You’ll see this when you “do” The Burj Khalifa or the Dubai Mall. You’ll find the man-made lake and the fountain sits underwater in the lake. Said to be one of the world’s biggest and best “dancing” fountains. It’s best to see at night with its accompanying music and light show. It’s always popular and can be viewed from the lakeside promenade but perhaps it’s best whilst having an evening meal at one of the great lakeside restaurants.

The Pavilion Downtown Dubai

Use the trolley bus mentioned above from Dubai Mall to see one of the city's newest dedicated non-commercial art space. Hosting two galleries, it's a place to view, discuss and participate in work by local and international artists as well as holding book launches, art film screenings and musical performances. An annual programme of exhibitions and art initiatives is planned. There's also a decent café with indoor and outdoor seating.

Tours Out of Dubai

Whilst in the Gulf area do you fancy a look around some of the other nearby cities? How about Abu Dhabi, Sharjah, Al Ain or Fujairah? Or how about a trip to the Hatta Mountains or the Mussendam Peninsula? Have a look at, amongst others, www.deltaadventures.aewww.arabiannightstours.com, www.opdubai.com (Oasis Palm), www.funtoursdubai.com and www.cyclonetours.com to see what's possible.

Wafi Mall or Wafi City*

Wafi Mall & The Pyramids is next to the opulent Raffles Hotel. To me it always feels to be an upmarket sort of Mall, one where rich Emeratis shop in the evenings, let's say it guides you to (hopefully) affordable luxury. Offering an authentic shopping experience with a mix of retail, leisure, dining and entertainment facilities, the Egyptian-themed mall is elegant with pyramid-shaped atrium roofs. Focusing on luxury brands and boutiques it has over 200 stores, restaurants, an entertainment area, and at the lower level the Khan Murjan Souk. The whole Wafi (Pyramid) area is well worth a visit. See www.wafi.com.

* This attraction is at or near a stop on a Big Bus Tour.

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