The most time consuming yet most enjoyed part of the trip planning is preparing the itinerary.
It is almost impossible and more infeasible to pre-decide the itinerary and strictly follow it for a city like Dubai. One thing we realized that this will be an ongoing activity.
We started to build the tentative itinerary by noting down the list of places to visit and activities to do. A few, as below, were already known for either they are unique to Dubai or Abu Dhabi or are famous among tourists, especially Indian.
- Burj Khalifa & At The Top observation deck
- Dubai Fountain
- The Dubai Mall
- Palm Jumeirah and Atlantis the Palm
- Desert Safari
- Dhow Cruise
- Meena Bazaar
- Gold Souk & Spice Souk
- Global Village
- Mall of the Emirates
- Ski Dubai at Mall of the Emirates
- Burj Al Arab
In the second round, we took help from the internet and various Apps. TripAdvisor, LonelyPlanet, Google Trips, Visit Dubai (Official Dubai Tourism App), Go To Dubai App and Visit Abu Dhabi (Official Abu Dhabi Tourism App) to name a few.
Through these, we discovered a few more attractions like…
- Dubai Museum and Al Fahidi Fort
- Dubai Dolphinarium
- Legoland Dubai
- The Dubai Aquarium and Underwater Zoo
- The Lost Chambers Aquarium @ Atlantis the Palm
- Aquaventure Waterpark @ Atlantis the Palm
- Wild Wadi Waterpark
- Dubai Miracle Garden
- Ibn Battuta Mall
- Dubai Marina, Marina Walk and Marina Mall
- Souk Madinat Jumeirah
- Jalboot Tour
- Train YAS at Yas Marina Circuit
- Observation Deck at 300, Jumeirah at Etihad Towers
- Emirates Palace
- Abu Dhabi Corniche and Marina
- Marina Eye
- Marina Mall
- Louvre Abu Dhabi
Malls, souks and water parks were of lowest priority to us. A little bit of further consideration helped us exclude Miracle Garden, Global Village and Legoland.
As we were travelling with a child, we had to omit some other places like Sky View Bar @ Burj Al Arab because of age restriction and Ferrari World, Abu Dhabi as my son wouldn’t qualify for most of the rides because of minimum height requirement.
During these, we also considered visiting Al-Ain city for a day, primarily for Jabel Hafeet. Various considerations were made like, staying there overnight, visiting Al-Ain en route Dubai to Abu Dhabi or vice-versa. Finally, we settled at city tour of Al-Ain from Dubai and even made advanced payment to Rayna Tours accordingly for a half day city tour that included Jabel Hafeet and a museum in Al-Ain.
In the second half of October, we got to know about Dubai Garden Glow and Dinosaur Park. Just by watching the videos of the previous year, my son got super excited and we decided to trade Al-Ain for it.
Following was the tentative itinerary resulted from a thoughtful consideration of our interest and time.
|Day 1 – Dubai||Arrival at Dubai|
|Day 2 – Dubai||Palm Island, Atlantis the Palm|
|The Lost Chambers Aquarium|
|Dubai Garden Glow and Dinosaur Park|
|Day 3 – Dubai||Take Abra ride to Gold Souk + Spice Souk|
|Dubai Museum and Al Fahidi Fort|
|Day 4 – Dubai||Dubai Dolphinarium|
|Burj Khalifa, At The Top observation deck|
|Dubai Aquarium and Underwater Zoo|
|Day 5 – Abu Dhabi||Observation Deck at 300|
|TrainYAS at Yas Marina Circuit (if scheduled)|
|Day 6 – Abu Dhabi||Emirates Palace|
|Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque|
|Abu Dhabi Marina/Corniche|
|Day 7 – Dubai||Dubai Marina / Marina Walk|
|Day 8 – Dubai||Burj Al Arab and nearby beach|
|Departure from Dubai|
|Optional||Souk Madinat Jumeirah, Dubai|
|Louvre Abu Dhabi|
We pre-booked some attractions/activities like Desert Safari, Burj Khalifa At The Top observation deck, Dubai Dolphinarium and The Lost Chambers Aquarium. For others, we relied on spot booking to have some flexibility in our itinerary and thankfully it helped.
Day 1. Marhaba Dubai
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