Dubai in a Day

Matt_01

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I have been through DXB on more than one occasion however have not stopped over or left the airport. I am wishfully thinking I am going to be able to go to NYC and CA in the first half of 2022. One option is MEL-DXB-JFK, arrival in DXB is around 05:40 and there is the option to catch a connecting flight either later that morning or EK203 that leaves at around 02:30 the following morning. Is it worth committing to a 21 hour layover and taking a day trip to see some sites. Looking on the web most things are open from 10am-10pm and as time is limited I would most likely have time to go to areas such as the mall and Burj Khalifa and possibly a few other sites that are close by. I may also consider booking a day room if this is possible in Dubai to get changed and store hand luggage as any checked luggage will be checked through. I assume I can use the EF chauffeur service in DXB but not sure as the 2 flight will be on the same ticket.

Is this doable or am I just been nuts.
 
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tgh

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Dubai is a worth a look, even for a short visit.
Things may have changed since Covid but a day room was easy to arrange.
You won't have time to go out into the sand but a trip down the Monorail will allow you to soak up the architecture and stop at the hot spots.
Everything is larger than life in the Emirates and so , like Disneyland, everything is interesting to see…once….
 

Pushka

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Just check if Ramadan will be on during this period because that significantly reduces eating opportunities. Malls will be deserted until dusk because eating is their great social activity. If that's of importance. I think even the Khalifa had reduced operations at the time.
 

RooFlyer

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Agree with thg. Go on the monorail and you can't go far wrong for a day's outing ex the airport or a hotel near a station. The Burj and Mall is a walk in an air-conditioned over head walk-way from its station. The Gold Souq in the old-ish town is pretty good (even if you've done gold souqs elsewhere).

Walking along the 'creek' is a nice excursion if it isn't too flippn' hot and humid. There is a museum fort there too.

Here's a map of the metro. its as modern as any you'll find - just watch out for the 'ladies only' carriages :)


EDIT: For just a layover EK does layover packages, I think.
 

Seat0B

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You could also ride the traditional abra boat on the Dubai Creek - very cheap at 1 dirham each way see here. This will take you over to the main souk area where you could look at colourful displays of spices, bargain for silver jewellery, buy a "genuine copy watch", look at spectacular diamond, ruby and other precious stone jewellery, eat some local food. That's also a fun thing to do.

If you want to visit Burj Khalifa and go up to the observation decks, you would be best to book in advance. Technically you can buy a ticket when you arrive, but this used to be all but impossible - not sure now with COVID. It's expensive but I think it's worth it.

I also second the comments about checking the dates for Ramadan. A lot of things are closed/limited during Ramadan, and it can be hard to find food and drinks as the population fasts. Tourists and non-Muslims are allowed to eat, but the service is very limited and places are hard to find.

I've also always wanted to go to the Sheik Mohammed bin Rashid centre for Cultural Understanding check here , but it has never been open when I was visiting - affected a lot by various Eids and Ramadan. It looks very interesting though, and I will go there the next time I can get to Dubai to see my son who lives there.
 

Matt_01

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Just check if Ramadan will be on during this period because that significantly reduces eating opportunities. Malls will be deserted until dusk because eating is their great social activity. If that's of importance. I think even the Khalifa had reduced operations at the time.
What an excellent point, I had not checked. So in 2022 Ramadan will start on 2 Apr through to 1 May, my current plan was to leave AU between 3-5 Apr 22 and meet up with Mrs and MissM in NYC on or around 6 Apr 22. OT, this was not the 2020 plan and had to change due to the SQ expiring miles the girls are now travelling SQ and I will be using QF, OW and partners as required. @Seat0B appreciate the advice that tourists and non-Muslims are allowed to eat, I will not eat and after a year at home I would suggest a day of fasting may do me some good. I would like to stay hydrated as I will have come off a 13-14 hour flight and about to board another.
 

Pushka

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What an excellent point, I had not checked. So in 2022 Ramadan will start on 2 Apr through to 1 May, my current plan was to leave AU between 3-5 Apr 22 and meet up with Mrs and MissM in NYC on or around 6 Apr 22. OT, this was not the 2020 plan and had to change due to the SQ expiring miles the girls are now travelling SQ and I will be using QF, OW and partners as required. @Seat0B appreciate the advice that tourists and non-Muslims are allowed to eat, I will not eat and after a year at home I would suggest a day of fasting may do me some good. I would like to stay hydrated as I will have come off a 13-14 hour flight and about to board another.
Likely not to be too hot at that time which is good. In central Dubai I found I had to bring my own water bottle, keep it hidden and then drink it in the toilet area (which were thankfully wonderfully clean). We’d been told non muslims can eat and drink but the shops were all shut. The Khalifa is not to be missed. And the mall it is in and it will be quiet.
 

MEL_Traveller

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I did the MEL-DXB-JFK in 2019... at the time one of the connecting flights was a 777, the others A380. I think I hung around DXB for 7 hours to get the A380. That may be a consideration if in a premium cabin.
 

Seat0B

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A day on the loose in Dubai will be excellent, exotic and worth doing. Ramadan will be a bit of an issue, but I would still do it if your dates can't be changed. You will be there early in Ramadan before the local people get really worn down by the fasting, and it won't be dreadfully hot (although it will still be surprisingly warm and quite humid, so you will want to drink some water). If a shop is open for a meal, you will usually have to eat behind a screen so that other people cannot see you. Tourist hotels might be your best bet as street food is unlikely until the sun goes down. Once the sun goes down, there is a quite festive atmosphere as all the families eat together.

I've attached a few photos to give you a bit of the flavour of Dubai, @Matt_01.

My son riding the Dubai Creek abra. A really good experience, and so cheap at 1 dirham.

Duabi abra.jpg

Delicious Street food - although maybe not during Ramadan until the sun goes down. Do not miss the amazing array of juices - when there is no alcohol, juice drinks are very creative and spectacular. Not to mention cooling!

Dubai street food.jpg

View from the Burj Khalifa

Dubai burj view.JPG

View of the burj from the Mall entrance
Burj.JPG

Amazing mix of cultures on the At the Top viewing area.
people burj.JPG

Full sized aquarium in the Dubai Mall. If you are a licensed scuba diver, you can do a dive in the aquarium. You can rent all the equipment. It's free to stand and watch the divers, the fish, feeding times etc. You can view the aquarium from at least 2 floors of the mall and it may be 3.

mall aquarium.JPG

I also recommend using the metro. It's quite cheap, airconditioned, automated and a good way to cover distances. You'll need to buy a metro card (easily done at the stations) see here. Mrs and Ms Matt-01 might like to try the ladies only carriages for a nicer experience!

If you prefer, taxis are not terribly expensive, but be sure to get an official taxi with a meter! And be sure they turn the meter on at the start of the trip.

women's metro.JPG
 

Matt_01

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@Seat0B thanks for the photos, Mrs and MissM will not be travelling with me they will be travelling with SQ and meeting at JFK. As I will be travelling on rewards the options had been limited to DXB-ATH-EWR arriving around 10 pm. I would have arrived the night before the girls and I would have made my way to the TWA hotel and meet up with them when they arrive. It seems like EK203 has come back onto the schedule from Mar 22 and seems to be a good option as it arrives at JFK at around 08:30 and the girls will arrive around 11:00.

@MEL_Traveller the a380 is not a determining factor, I have been fortunate to travel on the a380 several times, however EK203 is currently showing as an a380.
 

MEL_Traveller

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@MEL_Traveller the a380 is not a determining factor, I have been fortunate to travel on the a380 several times, however EK203 is currently showing as an a380.

Not so much the plane but the seat. Angled lie-flats and having a neighbour to climb over you (or v.v.) for 14 hours isn't much fun.
 

Matt_01

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Not so much the plane but the seat. Angled lie-flats and having a neighbour to climb over you (or v.v.) for 14 hours isn't much fun.
That won't be an issue as I am planning F rewards, the trip via DXB is one of the back up options I mentioned in the "oneworld" award Planning thread yesterday. I am aware that EK is not part of oneworld, the points total to the US with EK (F) and back to AU with JP or CX in F and J is the same amount of points as the OW 455K cap. As I can cancel without penalty until 28/2/22 I am not putting all my eggs in one basket.
 

travelbee26

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It’s sad you will only have a few hours. Dubai is amazing and my husband and I always break our journey here, or Abu Dhabi, for several nights.
If you get the chance utilising the “Big Bus” tour company (not sure if covid has stopped it from operating) gives you the full experience of Dubai overall, in air conditioned comfort.
It’s such a large city 25kms + so BB is a convenient way to get to see it all. Then you just hop off if something is of interest to you. Includes Dhow boats snd museum entrances and most malls. Enjoy!!
 

PineappleSkip

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If you're looking for a 02:30 departure you can pack quite a lot into a visit to Dubai. Beginning of April the day will get hottish but not 'Dubai hot' and I wouldn't aim for walking much in the middle of the day.

I'd recommend Dubai Mall as there is plenty to see there. The giant aquarium (you can see it without paying to get in) and the skating rink. The A380 'sim'. Really a jimcrack ride with only a couple of controls but I enjoyed trying to land at Kai Tak. Access to Burj Khalifa lookout levels is from the Mall (booking some days in advance essential). Try a camel milk cappuccino after iftar. Ride an electric boat around the lake outside the Msll at the foot of the Burj Khalifa. 1200 shops, the bulk of which are absurdly expensive, but good for window shopping. There are also limited Ramadan dining options where you can get a drink, or something to eat without hiding in the toilets. There is also an excellent sound and light show using thd huge fountain on the lake every 30 minutes in the evening.

Tips: The Mall doesn't open till 10 am, and is very quiet till mid afternoon. Taxis are cheap and a quick way to get to the Mall (or anywhere). The drive down Sheikh Zayed Road is amazing. Beware, after about 19.00 the queues for taxis, and probably Ubers too, get very long. The big upside: There is also a concierge desk at Dubai Mall where you can drop off your hand luggage, which is why I tended to do my Dubai layovers there.

The metro also goes that way, and the metro has a small first 'gold' class section at the end, which tends to be less crowded - sometimes. The metro isn't the monorail, which is an isolated line at the Palm Jumeirah island, further away from the airport but still only 20-25 mins in a taxi. It runs from the stem of the Palm out to the Atlantis hotel. If out that way the Souk Madinat is another shopping mall with tourist entertainments.

If all this shopping mall stuff sounds a bit ho hum, well that's Dubai. Tourism tends to be a faux experience. You could also do a Desert Safari tour. The sunset ones are very popular, but there are morning and all day tours as well. To max out your day a morning tour gets you through the early part of the day - nothing much is open till 10.00.

This commentary is of course pre COVID. Goodness knows what will be happening next year.

cheers skip

cheers skip
 

Zulu0929

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@Seat0B thanks for the photos, Mrs and Miss M will not be travelling with me they will be travelling with SQ and meeting at JFK. As I will be travelling on rewards the options had been limited to DXB-ATH-EWR arriving around 10 pm. I would have arrived the night before the girls and I would have made my way to the TWA hotel and meet up with them when they arrive. It seems like EK203 has come back onto the schedule from Mar 22 and seems to be a good option as it arrives at JFK at around 08:30 and the girls will arrive around 11:00.

@MEL_Traveller the a380 is not a determining factor, I have been fortunate to travel on the a380 several times, however EK203 is currently showing as an a380.
I lived and worked in Dubai for several years and go along with most of the above. One thing I do take issue with is the photos. I am surprised to see a photo of local ladies posted and would recommend that you do not take any such photos under any circumstances. I have seen others do it and they have arrested because the local lady took exception to it. What is okay for an Emirati is not quite the same for tourists and expats.

I travelled on the A380 to both the US and UK and back and was fortunate to be right up the front and utilising the shower. Exceptional experience.

I had many visitors whilst in Dubai and developed a simple 7 page guide of most of the highlights - too much to copy here - which I update each time I travel through Dubai where I stop over for a few days in each direction.

Enjoy your visit.
 
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Seat0B

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I lived and worked in Dubai for several years and go along with most of the above. One thing I do take issue with is the photos. I am surprised to see a photo of local ladies posted and would recommend that you do not take any such photos under any circumstances. I have seen others do it and they have arrested because the local lady took exception to it. What is okay for an Emirati is not quite the same for tourists and expats.

I travelled on the A380 to both the US and UK and back and was fortunate to be right up the front and utilising the shower. Exceptional experience.

I had many visitors whilst in Dubai and developed a simple 7 page guide of most of the highlights - too much to copy here - which I update each time I travel through Dubai where I stop over for a few days in each direction.

Enjoy your visit.
I take your point, always being conservative myself, but I had express permission from them for the photo, as long as it was silouhette only. We had been speaking for some time in the long line to get in, and they initiated the conversation with me, commenting on my "modest dress, unlike most tourists". They then stayed with me for a large part of the visit, pointing out landmarks and laughing at my beginner's Arabic, compared to their excellent English. BTW, I am also female, so maybe that made a difference.
 

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