Self Guided Tour

Self Guided Tour of Jumeirah

Jumeirah was once the domain of traditional Emirati fishermen and pearl divers. As Dubai became more and more developed, however, the beachfront region became home to a growing number of expatriates. Today, Jumeirah is a great mix of traditional culture and modern marvels.  A tour of Jumeirah allows you to see Dubai’s historic and contemporary aspects. Here, we offer a self guided tour of Jumeirah great for any tourist who wants to explore this part of the city.

Jumeirah Mosque

Jumeirah Mosque

Jumeirah Mosque

The Jumeirah Mosque is one of the few mosques in Dubai that is open for public visits. It is the locus for the Sheikh Mohammed Center for Cultural Understanding’s “Open Doors. Open Minds” programme. In order to help build cross-cultural understanding, it is open to non-Muslims as well.

The tours are carried out by dedicated volunteers. They explain the features of the religious architecture, dive into the history of the Islamic faith and elaborate on how the ancient traditions have been adapted for modern worship. The guides are all bright and friendly, and will be happy to answer any questions you might have.

Tours of the Jumeirah Mosque run 6 days a week from Saturday to Thursday. The tour starts at 10:00am, but you should arrive at the entrance of the mosque by 9:45am (which is why we recommend beginning your self-guided tour here!). Tickets cost 20 AED each, though children under 12 can enter for free.

Your admission includes water, dates, tea, Arabian coffee and traditional pastries. In terms of attire, modest dress is recommended, so an outfit that covers your shoulders and knees is your best bet. However, you can also borrow traditional attire from the mosque itself at no extra charge (and it makes for a great photo op as well!).

Kite Beach

Kite Beach

Kite Beach

After the peace and calm of the mosque, why not head somewhere that will get your blood pumping? Kite Beach is one of the most popular beaches in Dubai and is known for the variety of watersports that take place across its waves. If you want to rent a jetski or try your hand at surfing, this is the place to be. And if you don’t feel like getting out on the waves, there’s plenty to do on the shores as well. You can try Wire World, and weave your way through an elevated wire obstacle course. You can take a stroll along the paved jogging path. Or you can simply sit on the beach, and watch the kitesurfers as they sail upon the waves.

Like to keep active on your holiday? Check out our variety of walking tours!

Burj Al Arab

Burj Al Arab

Burj Al Arab

After the open seas of the beach, it’s time to experience one of Dubai’s most iconic landmarks – and one of the world’s most luxurious hotels. The Burj Al Arab is a towering hotel shaped like a sail over the sea. Its interiors boast gorgeous fountains and an amazing rainbow atrium.

It is important to note, however, that the Burj Al Arab is not easily accessible. The hotel sits upon a private island, and tourists have to prove they have some sort of business at the hotel to even cross the bridge (wanting to wander around the lobby doesn’t count!).

The best way to see inside the Burj Al Arab is to book an afternoon tea there. Luckily, we’ve written a pretty detailed guide on how to do that here.

If you feel that a trip inside the Burj Al Arab does not fit in with your schedule or budget, don’t worry. You can skip the visit and still take great photos of the hotel’s exterior at Kite Beach and/or our next stop, the Souk Madinant.

Souk Madinat

Madinat Jumeirah

Madinat Jumeirah

A souk is a term referring to a traditional Arabian-style marketplace. Souk Madinat takes its inspiration from the souks of yore, but with a distinctly modern twist. The winding shopping complex boasts air-conditioned corridors, upscale shops and a variety of restaurants. Unlike many other souks, prices at this one are pretty fixed, so it’s a good option for people who can’t stand to haggle (if you want a more authentic souk experience, check out our Dubai Souk Tour.) Prices are a bit higher compared to the souks near Bastakiya, but you can find some really beautiful pashminas, carpets and souvenirs here.

And if you wander to the back of the souk, you’ll find a great spot to take a photo with the Burj Al Arab rising in the background.

Madinant Jumeirah Abra Tour

We recommend ending the tour with a peaceful abra ride around Madinat Jumeirah.  You’ll have the opportunities to set sail in a traditional wooden boat and traverse the area’s meandering, man-made waterways. After a long day of exploring, it’s nice to sit back and feel the wind on your face.

Abra tours occur every 20 minutes, and last around 20 minutes each. The boat departs from the Souk Abra station near Trattoria Toscana. You can also buy your tickets at the station – 85 AED for an adult and 50 AED for a child. More information can be found here

If you’d like to try a more traditional abra ride, our Dubai Souk Tour also includes an abra ride in the price of the ticket itself.

We hope you enjoyed our guide to Jumeirah! The area’s mix of extreme luxury and humble traditions makes it a great place to explore and the perfect microcosm of Dubai.


Self Guided Tour of Dubai Mall

Dubai Mall is one of the largest shopping malls in the world, with a total area of 12 million square feet. It’s home to a vast array of stores, from high fashion boutiques to kitschy treasures, and a plethora of restaurants serving food from all across the globe. What is more, inside you’ll find an underwater zoo, an ancient fossil, unique art installations and many other attractions. Since the area is so big, we’ve decided to provide a self guided tour of Dubai Mall, to help people navigate the massive complex.

Getting there

To get to the Dubai Mall by metro, take the Red Line to the Burj Khalifa/Dubai Mall Station. You can see our guide to traveling by metro here. The station connects to the mall via a long, airconditioned bridge. The walk to the metro is a bit long (around 15 minutes), but there are moving walkways that make it seem shorter. If you arrive by metro, you will exit onto the 2nd floor of the mall.

You can also travel by car or taxi. If you travel by car, you’ll find plenty of parking at the mall. If you travel by taxi, the taxi will drop you directly at the ground floor entrance of the mall.

Dubai Mall Tour

One of the best parts of visiting Dubai Mall is the exploration. To really get the Dubai Mall experience, we recommend doing some free wandering around the various shops. To complement your exploration, however, we’ve put together this self-guided tour of several key attractions at Dubai Mall.

2nd Floor

Kidzania

Kidzania is an ‘edutainment’ center aimed at children between the ages of four to sixteen. Children can take part in role-playing activities, including as firefighters, dentists and journalists. Through their work, they earn ‘currency’ which can be spent within Kidzania city. Kidzania helps kids to explore different career paths through practical experience, whether it’s cooking up a meal as a chef or solving a crime as a police officer. It’s an experience that’s both entertaining and educational.

Economy tickets to Kidzania cost 150 AED, while accompanying adults pay a reduced fare of AED 50. There is also the option of purchasing a Business Ticket for AED 225, which includes Kidzania access for the child and Business Lounge access for the adult. More information on the various ticketing options can be found here.

SEGA Republic

Spread out over two levels, SEGA Republic is a wicked indoor theme park for all ages. It features 16 attractions, such as rope obstacles and trampolines. It is also home to 170 amusement arcade and video games (including several virtual reality games). At SEGA Republic, you have the option of choosing a Pay & Play Pass (loaded with the credit amount of your choice) or one of the unlimited passes, which cost between 200 AED and 300 AED. You can find more information on SEGA Republic tickets here.

Hysteria Haunted Attraction

Hysteria is not for the faint of heart. It’s a haunter ‘manor’ located within the mall. As the story goes, the children of the manor have disappeared and the manor’s guests have to dodge their hysterical parents’ attempts at revenge. The attraction uses fog, strobe lighting and character actors to really make people jump out of their skin. Tickets for Hysteria cost 100 AED.

Ground Floor

Dubai Aquarium

Aquarium in Dubai Mall, Self Guided Tour

Dubai Mall Aquarium

The Dubai Aquarium is one of the mall’s key attractions and is easy to find. You’ll see signboard up above pointing you in the right direction, and the aquarium stretches over several floors, so it’s difficult to miss. The 10-million litre Dubai Aquarium Tank is one of the largest suspended aquariums in the world and is home to over 140 species of marine life. The aquarium can be viewed from the outside, so anyone can admire the various sea creatures.

 

To get the full experience, however, you can purchase one of several tickets on offer, including Explorer Experience (with a glass bottom boat ride), Otter Encounter, Ray Encounter (with ray feeding) and King Croc Encounter.

See here for more ticketing details.  

Candylicious

Dubai Mall Candylicious

Candylicious

Right opposite the Dubai Aquarium, on the ground floor, you’ll find Candylicious. Stepping into Candylicious makes you feel as if you are stepping into Willy Wonka’s factory. Inside, you’ll find over 5000 types of sweets, a 3-D printer for gummy candy, an array of lollypop trees and towering spires of jellybeans in every flavor. You even have the opportunity to purchase candy-themed souvenirs, like ice-cream plushies or brownie key chains. The entire store is an experience (and a particularly Instagrammable one) so it should be a definite stop on your trip to Dubai Mall.

Dubai Mall Gold Souk

Gold Souk Dubai Mall, Self Guided Tour

Gold Souq

From Candylicious, make your way to the Dubai Mall Gold Souk, which is the world’s largest indoor gold souk. It features 220 fine jewelry outlets in an air-conditioned, Arabesque setting. The area has an almost maze-lie design, making it perfect for a leisurely walk as you ooh and ahh over the glittering jewelry showcased in the display windows. The meandering walkways are dotted with bronzed statues of camels, horses and palm trees, allowing for plenty of selfie opportunities as well.

 

If you’re interested in a more traditional souk experience, our Dubai Souk Tour will guide you through the textile, spice, gold and perfume souks in Old Dubai

Dubai Dino

While you’re at the Gold Souk, make sure you check out the Dubai Dino located at the Souk Dome. The impressive Diplodocus longus skeleton is 155 million years old. It stands at nearly 8 meters tall and 25 meters wide. Nearly 90 percent of the fossil’s bones are the original. This makes it the most original skeleton finding of a Diplodocus longus to date.

The dinosaur fossils were originally discovered in a sleeping position at the Dana Quarry in Wyoming, USA. Understanding the rarity of the find, Dubai Mall chose to purchase dinosaur and fly it to Dubai, rightly pointing out that the shopping mall sees more foot traffic than most museums. After a Twitter competition to name the mall’s new resident, the skeleton was titled, “Dubai Dino.”  

The Dubai Dino is open and free to view during mall operating hours.

Dubai Mall Ice Rink

Ice Rink Dubai Mall, Self Guided Tour

Dubai Mall – Ice Rink

After your walk in the gold souk (and your selfie with the Dubai Dino), head over to watch the figure skaters at the Dubai Mall Ice Rink. While the indoor ski park Ski Dubai is located in Mall of the Emirates, Dubai Mall has done its own part to build an indoor winter wonderland. The Dubai Mall Ice Rink is an Olympic-sized rink located on the Ground Floor. If you’re in the mood to try some jumps and spins, you can buy tickets online or in person.

Otherwise, you can watch the skaters from behind the glass. The Dubai Mall Ice Rink also has special sessions, such as Disco Sessions (with a DJ and light display) and Snowfall Sessions (wherein a snow sprayer rains white flakes on the crowd). You can find the list of session timings here. The skaters at the Dubai Mall ice rink are well worth a watch, so you should definitely make this a stop during your tour of the mall.

The Dubai Mall Waterfall

Waterfall Dubai Mall, Self Guided Tour

Dubai Mall Waterfall

Close to the Ice Rink, you’ll find the Dubai Mall Waterfall which is referred to as The Divers. It is a beautiful piece of installation art and one of the most recognizable features of Dubai Mall. The Waterfall cascades down all 4 floors of Dubai Mall. According to us the ground level is the best place to take pictures from. The most distinctive feature is the series of fiberglass sculptures shaped like human divers. They provide an intriguing stillness to the rush of water behind this. This is a very popular photo spot, so make sure you head over.

 

Level Shoes

Once you’ve taken enough photos of the waterfall, it’s time to head to another shopping district – this one dedicated to shoes. At 96,000 square feet, Level Shoes is the world’s largest shoe store. It offers 40 boutiques with both classic fashion and hip trends on display. Level Shoes strives to make shoe shopping a luxury experience, offering feet therapy, shoe restoration and customized designs. If you’ve been eyeing a pair of Jimmy Choos or Manolo Blahniks, this is definitely the place to pick them up. And even if you don’t purchase anything, you can still wander around the beautifully appointed store. Here, the shoes are displayed as carefully as if they were museum pieces.

Apple store

You might be raising your eyebrow at the idea of going to an Apple Store while touring. However, the Dubai Mall Apple Store is one of the coolest stores in the mall. Beyond the signature look featured in Apple Stores across the globe, the Dubai Mall Apple Store features great views of the Burj Khalifa. The store’s 180-feet wide window is comprised of 18 motorized “solar wings”. These “wings” open and shut in response to environmental conditions. In the evenings, when the weather is cool, you can head out to the terrace to view the Dubai Fountain show.

Lower Ground

Burj Khalifa

The entrance to get to the top of the Burj Khalifa is located inside Dubai Mall, so we’ll consider it as part of the Dubai Mall tour. You can see our guide to visiting the Burj Khalifa here.

Dubai Fountain

Dubai Fountain, Self Guided Tour

Dubai Fountain

Afterwards, head outside to view the Dubai Fountain. The Dubai Fountain isn’t operational all day. It’s the world’s largest choreographed fountain system, offering a spectacular show of music, light and water. The Dubai Fountain offers two shows in the afternoon (1:00pm & 1:30pm Saturday to Thursday, 1:30pm & 2:00 pm on Friday).

Otherwise, it has an evening show daily every 30 minutes from 6:00pm to 11:00pm. Viewers will find a different music and choreography for every show. The evening shows tend to be the best, as they allow for full use of light along with the music and water. Therefore, if you’re planning a visit to Dubai Mall, try to time it so that you’ll be present for one of the evening shows.