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

Big Bus Tours

By far the best and most leisurely way of seeing the majority of Dubai's touristy places. You'll find much more info about these hop-on hop-off tours and where they take you to on our Best Ways to See Dubai page.

Bur Dubai Textile Souk*

Here you'll find textiles imported from all over the world in almost every colour and every fabric. Strike a bargain on your chosen fabric and have it made up into a garment of your choice whilst in Dubai - it'll be much cheaper and quicker than having it done at home. You may find a tailor in the textile souk to do this for you, but it'll probably be cheaper if you take your cloth, along with a picture of the design you want it in, to a tailor in the Satwa or Karama districts.

Burj al Arab*

‘Afternoon Tea’ at the Burj on Jumeirah Beach is a great way to pamper yourself whilst having a look at this 7 star hotel. It’s not cheap, but whether you’re infamous or ostentatious you’ll surely love it! Tel: 301 7777. Also whilst splashing out at the Burj why not visit the Sky View cocktail bar for a great view of the Palm and the Jumeirah area. The best view is just before sundown. The actual design of the hotel mimics the sail of a boat, quite apt considering the building stands on an artificial island. Watch the external colour of the 'sail' change at night. You'll hardly ever see a picture of the Burj from out at sea - try to work out why!

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.

Deira Gold Souk*

Perhaps the city's best known souk, from the days when Dubai was known as The City of Gold. There are lanes literally full of small shops selling gold, silver, pearls (another plank of Dubai's history), precious stones and jewellery of every type. It's a dazzling experience in every sense of the word. Check the price per gram of gold, on the day, before you go!.

Deira Perfume Souk*

Near to the Gold Souk. To find it just raise your nose to the air. Alright, it might be the spices that first attract your attention, but try to pick out the aromas eminating from the traditional, Arabic spicy ittars, incense powders, designer perfumes, woods and crystals that can be found in the perfume souk. If all else fails, just ask where it is.

Deira Spice Souk*

This is the place to put your sense of smell to the test! Perhaps the 2nd best known souk in Dubai and luckily right next to the Gold Souk. The colours and smells of the various spices on sale is almost intoxicating. Talk to the shopkeepers to find out what the spices can be used for and try a small sample. You can also buy dried fruits and nuts here as well as a whole range of incense burners and shisha pipes.

Desert Safari

Usually departing mid afternoon for the thrill of dune bashing in a large Toyota Landcruiser with an expert driver. Driving in the sand dunes is a completely different driving skill and you never know what you’ll encounter as you go over the dune tops. The safari could also possibly include sand-skiing and sandboarding, along with sunset in the desert, camel riding, Arabic tea and coffee, BBQ dinner, shisha, henna painting and the obligatory belly dancer. Try visiting www.arabiannightsstours.com, www.opdubai.com (Oasis Palm), www.cyclonetours.comwww.funtoursdubai.com or www.deltaadventures.ae to discover a range of tours, trips, city tours and other exciting possibilities.

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 with what looks like a load of timber in front of 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 advise 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 Mall*

The world’s largest mall, giant fish tank and entertainment destination is next to the world’s tallest building, the Burj Khalifa, originally known as the Burj Dubai, the Burj Lake and Dubai Fountain. The entrance to the Burj Khalifa's viewing gallery - At The Top - is on the lower ground floor of the mall. In the mall there’s a carpeted section where all the top designer shops are situated. You’ll also find a massive circular book shop on the top floor, the world's largest candy shop, Candylicious opposite the giant fish tank, a place to leave the kids whilst you shop called Kidzania, even a Bloomingdales. There's a whole host of eateries including a good selection looking out over the lake and the Dubai Fountain (the world's largest musical fountain) towards the Burj Khalifa.. Watch out for 30 minute Abra Rides in the 30 acre Burj Lake in the evenings. Oh, nearly forget, in the Mall you'll also find a cinema complex and Dubai Ice Rink. Nearby, across the little bridge, by the lake, there’s also the covered Souk Al Bahar with shops, bars and some superb restaurants overlooking the lake. It’s new but built in the old Emerati style. www.dubaimall.com. You can get to Dubai Mall on the red Metro route and there's an overhead walkway from Dubai Mall metro Station to the Mall, but it's a 15 minute route march.

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

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!

Grand Mosque - Bur Dubai*

Considered one of the largest mosques in the UAE, it's an important landmark in Dubai able to house 1200 worshippers at the same time. It has Dubai's tallest minaret (listen out for the call to worship), many beautiful domes and lots of hand-made stained glass. Regrettably non-Muslims are not allowed in the mosque, but it's worth a visit just to see where it is to put it into a Dubai context, to see the incredible exterior and no doubt take a photo or three.

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

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.

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

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.

Sea Plane

The ultimate – take a sea-plane trip around Dubai and the surrounding area with Seawings! Try the early morning Dubai Creek Heritage Tour. Choose from various main flight options around Dubai lasting from 30 minutes to a full day, or trips to Abu Dhabi, Jebel Ali, Fujairah or Ras Al Khaimah (RAK).See Dubai's amazing skyline from a completely different viewpoint, one that not many ever see! If that’s not special enough combine your flight with an exclusive dining or sailing experience. For more details ring 04 807 0708 or visit www.seawings.ae. To book your flight email reservations@seawings.ae

Sheikh Saeed Al Maktoum´s House

Began life as the seat of Dubai’s government in the late 1800s. Also the residence of Sheikh Saeed Al Maktoum, Ruler of Dubai (1912-1958), the grandfather of the present ruler of Dubai. Soaring ceilings, elegant wind towers, photographs and other memorabilia will give you a unique insight into old Dubai. (If on the Big Bus tour, ask the guide for a free entry ticket.) It stands proud at the Shindagha end (the outer end) of Dubai Creek.

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.

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

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