Twisted Bridge over Dubai Canal
Twisted Bridge over Dubai Canal Image Credit: Shutterstock

Dubai: The best thing about Dubai International Airport is that it’s located in the heart of the city, so it's very easy to move to and from the airport.

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The Metro:

Terminals 1 and 3 are connected to the Dubai Metro. The metro station is a very quick walk (about 3 to 5 minutes) from the airport arrival hall, making it very convenient for tourists to move around Dubai with affordable transportation. Get on the red line from, which runs every 10 minutes running daily from 5.50am (5.30am on Thursdays) until 12am (or 1am on Thursdays and Fridays). A metro fare costs between Dh4 to Dh17 for single trips

Dubai Taxi:

Just hail a taxi from any terminal and go wherever you want. Depending on the time of the day, taxis should be your fastest mode of transportation and a very convenient. Taxi fares start at Dh25 from the airport and Dh5 from anywhere else, however there is a minimum fare of Dh12.

Uber and Careem:

If you have the app, this could be your best option since no cash is required. This saves you time and money at the airport exchange services. However, unlike in other countries, Uber and Careem are not cheaper than local taxis.

Here’s what to do if your layover is 8 to 9 hours

Check out the Burj Khalifa

Burj Khalifa 10
Image Credit: Gulf News Archives

Not much needs to be said about this iconic tower. Most tourists love to check it out when they visit Dubai. Easily accessible through the Dubai Metro red line, this should be your first stop. The best views of the Burj are from Dubai Mall. Once there, head towards the promenade to take your best selfie with the tallest tower in the world. You may also want to go inside the Burj Khalifa to the observation deck to see the entire city.

Location Dubai Mall Cost Free from the outside, At the Top:Dh360 per person for Adults Timings Daily from 8.30am until late Contact

The Dubai Mall Fountains

Dubai Mall Fountains
Dubai Mall Dubai Mall is the largest mall in the world. It also provides entry for visitors to Burj Khalifa and the Dubai Aquarium. The mall has an ice-skating rink, gaming zone, and cinema complex among other things. So if you have booked yourself at the observation deck of Burj Khalifa, you might as well check out the Dubai Mall. The mall also has special events such as live music and fashion shows in the mall. Location: Doha Road, just off Sheikh Zayed Road. No cost involved to visit the mall. Image Credit: Supplied by Dubai Tourism

While checking out Burj Khalifa, make sure you make a pit stop to see the Dubai Mall Fountains. It’s a favourite go-to spot among residents and tourists, the Dubai Mall fountain is an unforgettable experience that really just moves everyone because of its beauty and synchronized dance and song.

Location Dubai Mall Cost free Timings Afternoon shows, daily (except Fridays) from 1pm and 1pm, on Fridays at 1.30pm and 2pm, Evening shows daily from 6pm to 11pm, every 30 minutes 

Dubai Water Canal Boardwalk

Twisted Bridge over Dubai Canal
Twisted Bridge over Dubai Canal Image Credit: Shutterstock

If the weather permits, your next stop should be the Dubai Canal. Take your time along the beautifully illuminated walkways and pedestrian bridges that overlook the Dubai water canal and enjoy the sight of the mechanical waterfall. It’s a perfect place to take photos and just enjoy a cool day or evening out. The Wi-Fi there is really good too. And the best part is that it’s accessible by metro.

Location near Business Bay Metro Station Cost Free Timings Anytime

Food: Burgers at Pickl

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Pickl is the most talked-about burger joint in Dubai. The homegrown concept was created in Dubai by a chef and self-confessed burger-nut in 2019. Pickl is the place for burger lovers. They source quality meat and ingredients and their choice of pickled things are mind-boggling. Whether you want a cheeseburger, fried chicken or even a vegetarian burger, Pickl is a must-try. If you have the stones for it, there is even an ice-cream burger.

Locations City Walk, Al Safa, Motor City, Time Out Market, JLT 

Layover: 10 to 12 Hours in Dubai

In addition to the above, here’s what you can add on if you have a 12-hour layover in Dubai.

Catch the sunrise or sunset: Dubai Creek Harbour

Dubai Creek Harbour
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If you want to capture a photo of the Dubai skyline, head down to Creek Harbour and look for the Arch. The Dubai Creek Harbour is a beautiful place to snap photos of the skyline. Make sure you look for the giant silver arches as they’ll frame your photos quite nicely.

Location Dubai Creek Harbour Cost Free

Check out Old Dubai: Gold Souk in Deira

The Dubai Gold Souk is a traditional market in the heart of old Dubai by the creek. This market mainly sells gold, silver and precious stones. You’ll find the odd seller of handbags here and there, but this is the best place to buy gold in the UAE. The souk is home to over 300 retailers. Some have been there for over 40 years, while others have just set up shops a few years ago. It is a must visit for tourists who want to see more than just the glitz and glamour of the UAE.

Read: Your ultimate guide to Dubai’s Gold Souk

Location Al Ras Deira Cost Free entry Timings 10am to 10pm, some stores are closed between 1pm to 4pm

Eat some real Dubai street food: Shawarma at Al Mallah

Al Mallah
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One of the most loved shawarma spots in Dubai. With three locations around the city, Al Mallah is a popular choice for Shawarma lovers. The staff are friendly and the service is great. They also serve a mean falafel sandwich, if you want to try something different. Head to the Satwa location to be extra close to the airport.

Read about the 12 best shawarma places in Dubai

Location Satwa, Mamzar, Al Qusais Cost Dh8 per shawarma Timings Daily from 7am to 2am on weekends from 9am onwards

Layover: 16 to 18 hours in Dubai

In addition to the above, here’s what you can add on if you have a 16-18 hour layover in Dubai.

Relax at a beach club: Check out Twiggy by La Cantine

Twiggy by La Cantine
Image Credit: Supplied

Closely located to the Airport, Twiggy is one of the hottest new beach clubs in town. Located at the Park Hyatt Dubai Lagoon. The new spot comes from the team behind culinary hotspots La Cantine du Faubourg, Ninive and Lana Lusa. A place for those who want to chill, the sunny "beachside" restaurant offers a Mediterranean-inspired menu – with the addition of a sushi selection. It has chic vibes and a chilled yet playful atmosphere with an upbeat soundtrack. The best thing about Twiggy is that it gives you access to the famed 100m Park Hyatt Lagoon with prices starting from Dh200 on weekdays and Dh250 on weekends.

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Location: Park Hyatt Dubai Cost: Dh200 on weekdays, Dh250 on weekends Timings: The lagoon is open from 9am to sunset.

Happy hour at a rooftop bar: Treehouse at Taj

Treehouse Taj
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If you’re in Downtown Dubai, make a quick stop for a beverage at one of Dubai’s favourite rooftop bars. It looks more like a plush living room than an outdoor terrace. A Mediterranean-themed small plates menu is available but the focus here is on the beverages with the extensive molecular mixology menu providing plenty of interesting beverage options. Looking directly over the Downtown skyline, Treehouse has an amazing unobstructed view of Burj Khalifa and is the perfect place for a quick stop while on layover.

Location Taj Hotel, Business Bay Timings Weekdays from 7pm to 3am and weekends from 12pm to 3pm and 7pm to 3am 

Layover: 24 hours or more in Dubai

If you are staying for 24 hours in Dubai, make sure you book a hotel to spend the night.

The Dubai Frame

Reader picture Dubai Frame
Dubai Frame Image Credit: Siddhartha Trivedi/Gulf News reader

Dubai Frame is one of Dubai's major landmarks which overlooks the entire city. The unique architecture of the building allows you to enjoy 360 degrees views of both old and new Dubai.

Location Zabeel Park Cost Dh50 per Adult, Dh20 per child between 3 to 12 years old, Free for children under three, Entry for the elderly and people of determination and two accompanying persons will also be free of charge Timings Open daily from 10am to 7pm

Check out Tresind Studio


An unbeatable dining experience in Dubai, Tresind Studio is a one of a kind venue, which changes seasonally and only seats 20 people at once. Trèsind is an award-winning and critically acclaimed restaurant that has been serving a progressive take on Indian fine-dining since 2014. Emerging from Trèsind, Trèsind Studio is an immersive, intimate journey into modernist Indian cuisine. Chef Himanshu Saini and his team of dynamic young chef’s craft elevated seasonal tasting menus with creative dishes that have taken inspiration from everything from Frank Sinatra to quarantine banana bread.

Location Voco Hotel, Sheikh Zayed Road Cost Set menu is priced at Dh495 but changes depending on the occasion Timing: Monday to Saturday from 7pm to 11pm

Explore La Mer

A view of La Mer in Jumeirah, a Meraas project
A view of La Mer in Jumeirah, a Meraas project. Meraas has been one of the most active developers in terms of new launches this year. Image Credit: Meraas

Check out this exciting beachfront development that stretches out into the ocean in the Jumeirah 1 neighbourhood. Why not head down for a swim and a long lunch at one of their many restaurants in the area?

Location Jumeirah 1 Cost Free Entry Timings Weekdays from 10am to 10pm and weekends until 12am 

Visit the Iranian Mosque in Dubai

Iranian Mosque Bur Dubai
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Also known as the Imam Hossein Mosque, this beautiful mosque is a popular spot for tourists to take pictures. The mosque is inspired by Persian architecture and is notable for its colourful exteriors and interiors. It is in the heart of the textile area of the Bur Dubai Souq.