Words by Aya Batrawy
If you're visiting Dubai for a long stopover or business trip, be sure to leave a little space in your bag for a bathing suit, flip-flops and souvenirs.
Business travellers with just a few hours or half-day to spare in the emirate should head to the Dubai Mall. There pick up a cold drink or frozen yoghurt, head outside to watch one of the world's most beautiful dancing fountains and be mesmerised by base views of the world's tallest tower, the Burj Khalifa.
If you feel like getting some exercise in, skip the hotel gym and take a run or brisk walk by Kite Beach where a safe 5km track runs along the coast. Don't forget the selfie on the beach with the sea and Dubai's iconic sail-shaped Burj al-Arab hotel behind you.
For spinning enthusiasts it's Fly Dubai. There's no membership cost, just call ahead to book a bike at one of Fly Dubai's two locations for indoor spinning classes. But be sure to order a taxi in advance if you go during peak rush hours. The metro does not connect to either location and taxis are hard to find between 4pm and 8pm.
For a quieter afternoon, try Dubai's man-made island, The Palm. Go for a day pass at the Atlantis or the Jumeira Zabeel Saray hotel. A day pass during the working week, which in the Middle East runs from Sunday to Thursday, is significantly cheaper and the beach quieter than the weekend days of Friday and Saturday. Most hotels that offer day passes also include lunch.
If what you need is a few, short hours of complete serenity to clear your head, try the ultimate pampering experience of the spa at the One & Only Royal Mirage across from Dubai Media City or the Talise Spa in Madinat Jumeirah.
Once at Madinat Jumeirah, shop in its famous souq where you can pick up some reasonably priced souvenirs like postcards and Middle Eastern-inspired printed artworks at Gallery One.
Unlike most Middle Eastern markets, this souq is indoors and there isn't too much haggling over prices. The upside is that what the market misses in authentic folkloric experience it makes up for in air-conditioned comfort between the hot months of April and October.
Also at the souq are some of Dubai's most popular restaurants with views of the Burj al-Arab and a man-made waterway that connects the three hotels that comprise Madinat Jumeirah.
If you are in Dubai between November and March, when the weather is great outdoors, visit The Walk at Jumeirah Beach Residence, better known as JBR. There, visitors can soak up some sun on the beach, enjoy a lavish meal and shop for unique finds at boutiques like Sauce - a home-grown chain of edgy concept stores in Dubai.
The hotels along The Walk are home to some of Dubai's best restaurants, but meals there don't come cheap. For something a little less formal, enjoy a bite to eat at one of JBR's many outdoor cafes and restaurants.
At night on the weekends, JBR turns into a bustling street for people watching. The Gulf's wealthy cruise along the strip in their Ferraris, Lamborghinis, Rolls Royces and Bentleys.
Nearby are some of the world's most architecturally stunning skyscrapers in Marina. There, too. you'll find a mall, outdoor cafes and some of the city's most expensive real estate overlooking the yachts.
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This article was written by Aya Batrawy from The Associated Press and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network.