Things to See and Do in Dubai

Are you travelling to Dubai, or maybe you are having a long airport  layover on the way to Africa in Dubai? Get an idea what to do and see in Dubai, discover sights and places that will keep you busy. Below is a post by fellow traveller and blogger who lived in Dubai.


The name of Dubai gives an image of a luxurious extravagant oasis in the desert with sky scrappers everywhere to be seen and people from all the parts of the world. Most of the travelers visiting Dubai aims to do all the touristy glittery things in the Emirate and why not because that’s what Dubai is actually famous for.

However, beyond the sky-high buildings and the ultra-modern vibe that Dubai offers, there is a lot more to be done in Dubai, which is much closer to the very few cultural aspects that are not left within the hustle bustle of Dubai.


After spending a long part of my life in Dubai and living an expat life there, I have known the real Dubai and the Bedouin Arabian values of the Emirate which many tourists fail to experience nowadays. Based on my personal experience of living in Dubai, I am going to share some of the lesser-known and most importantly free of cost places to visit in Dubai.


things to do in Dubai UAE

Things to Do in Dubai – The Abra Ride

The ‘Abra’ is a water taxi which was used in the earlier days of Dubai to transport the laborers from the Deira area to the other parts of the United Arab Emirates. However, the water taxi is used for the daily commute of the people going from Deira to Bur Dubai and vice versa.

Moreover, it is also a fun activity to do for the tourists as it is one of the very few activities in Dubai that relates to the history of the country. The ‘Abra’ is a small wooden traditional boat, which was used all around the Arabian states back in the day.

What makes the Abra ride a must-do activity in Dubai is the fact that it is still operated just at a whopping price of 1 AED! There is hardly anything to get in Dubai at such a small price, therefore, it is highly recommended to enjoy perhaps the only activity that costs so less in Dubai!

Things to Do in Dubai – The Spice Market

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Another thing which is fairly close and related to the culture of Dubai is the Spice market the Spice Souq, as the locals call it. Just within the Gold market in the area of Deira is the Spice Souq where one can find possible any kind of powdered spices and some really rare to find food items like Jaggery and different kinds of cinnamon sticks among the others.

However, the spice market has nothing much to do with the local Arabian values as it was set up by the South Asian laborers mostly from India and Bangladesh who used to live in Dubai back in the days.

Now it is a local market which is still mostly still used by the expatriates from India, Pakistan, and Bangladesh, however, it is an interesting place to visit and experience a different side of Dubai. The Spice Market is located in the not so lavish alleys of Dubai and it gives an all different perspective of life which many expatriates live in Dubai.


Things to Do in Dubai – Dubai’s Outdoor Cinemas

Watching a movie under the stars sounds like a perfect way to spend the evening right? You can enjoy doing this at Dubai’s outdoor cinema and that too totally free of charge! The outdoor cinema is located at the Pyramids Rooftop Complex in the Wafi Complex in Dubai.

The rooftop is designed to be comfortable for the movie-goers with a thick rug laid out on the floor with beanbags and pillows. The open-air rooftop theatre in Dubai is one of its kind and it is only operative on Sundays as there are other events happening on the rooftop for all the other days of the week.

So if you really want to enjoy watching a movie under the stars so make sure to plan a trip to the outdoor cinema on a Sunday. Also, do not forget to take a blanket, some pillows and of course popcorns to enjoy the movie while being warm and cozy. 

Things to Do in Dubai – Riverland Dubai

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The Riverland Dubai is a fun themed park actually parks as there are different theme parks inside it and also a great shopping and dining destination in Dubai. People only knew Riverland for the theme parks inside it but the place has a lot more to offer and most importantly that’s free of charge!

The shopping and dining area in the Riverland Dubai can be accessed without any entrance fee. And that’s not all! As the name suggests there is an artificial small river cum lake in the center of the park and a small bridge too which is extremely picturesque and apt for a nice stroll during the cooler months of the year.

If there are any events happening in the park then some great fireworks show can also be seen from the shopping and dining area of the Riverland.

Things to Do in Dubai – La Mer By Meeras

La Mer is an exotic and lavish beachfront in Dubai at the prestigious Jumeira One area in Dubai. It is a long stretch a never-ending fun activity comprising of many cafes, restaurants and a retail shopping arena located right in front of the emerald waters of the Arabian Sea.

La Mer is one of the favorite spots to hang out and just enjoy the bustling and extravagant vibe, which Dubai has to offer. The place is free of cost to enter so one can enjoy a nice even stroll or perhaps a drink during the evening at La Mer.  During the cooler months of the year, it is more enjoyable to visit La Mer when the cool breeze from the sea makes the place more pleasant.

Also, it is one of the most instagramable spots in Dubai with cool wall art graffiti and extremely picturesque cafes and bars. So do not forget to dress chic and fancy to get those gorgeous Instagram shots at La Mer.

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Insider Tips for Dubai

Dubai is very unlike anywhere else in the world. Being the largest and the most populous city of the United Arab Emirates, Dubai has welcomed the world to experience its Bedouin heritage and the ultra-lavish lifestyle.

As Dubai is the most liberal cities in the Middle East with people from all over the world, it is still important to remember that Dubai is an Islamic state and still practices the Islamic law and values in the Emirate. Though, when it comes to dressing, there are no obligations like covering the head with a headscarf or wearing full-length dresses for the women, however, while visiting museums and castles, modest dressing is appreciated for both men and women if not mandatory.

Also, it is very important to respect the local dressing style. Photography is not allowed at some of the places, so better look-out for the signboards before clicking the pictures away. The one thing which is not tolerant in Dubai at any cost is the public display of affection.

There are very strict laws and penalties for anyone who is found involved in any act of public display of affection, therefore, it is better to confine it within the boundaries of the bedroom. The minimum drinking age in Dubai is twenty-one and due to the Islamic practices, alcohol is not readily available everywhere.



Written by: Rahma Khan who is  the blogger behind ‘The Sane Adventurer‘, a blog aimed at safe travels and adventures in off the beaten tracks around the world. An engineer by profession and a traveler by passion, Rahma is currently just ten countries old. However, her love for traveling across all the continents is slowly but passionately taking her to new places.