Being in Dubai was incredible, especially due to the tall skyscrapers, the convergence of a multitude of different countries through expat representation, and the combination of constantly being near the water or the desert. In order to explore this ornate city and understand its culture and history better, Sharon and I decided to go on a Dubai City Tour through Knight Tours. This tour provided us with a glimpse of what to see in Dubai and its cultural landmarks. Keep on reading to see what you can expect on this tour:
On the day of the tour, the driver picked us up directly from our Airbnb. As we weren’t too familiar with the streets, this was very convenient and we appreciated that he was on time.
After the pickup, we headed towards the Zabeel Palace, which is home to the Ruler of Dubai and Prime Minister of the UAE, Shiekh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum. Mere mortals cannot enter the Palace, you must be an invited guest of the Shiekh. However, this did not stop us from taking photos outside of the Palace gates!
Next, we headed towards the Dubai Museum, which is located in “Old Dubai.” The cost to enter the museum was only 3 dirhams, which is equivalent to less than 1 USD (3.6 dirhams = 1 USD). At the museum we were able to learn more about the livelihoods of the people of Dubai and see archaeological treasures. Their exhibits included moving life-size figurines that illustrated how life was in Dubai, such as a figurine going pearl diving. Walking through the exhibits felt a little bit like going through “It’s a Small World” in Disneyland.
The next stop was to the souks! The gold souk and spice souk are located right next to each other and on a Friday afternoon, they were heavily crowded with tourists and some locals. While walking in between the stores, there are people trying to sell you watches or a refreshing drink. While neither Sharon nor I bought anything, it was fun to see the ostentatious displays of wealth, with gold this, gold that, gold everything. One store even sold something that looked like gold suspenders.
The Islamic Art Center was our next stop. While I thought it was going to be a museum, we quickly discovered it was more of a high-class gallery filled with expensive antiques and modern pieces. Upon arrival at the center, we were met with a sales associate, who guided us through the store. We saw antique chess tables, lush rugs, and displays of jewelry. If you’re looking for an expensive souvenir to take home with you, this wouldn’t be a bad place to start.
For our final stop, we were originally supposed to go to Atlantis, which is a hotel resort built on a man-made island. We had already gone there multiple times, either for the aqua park or for nightlife, so we opted to go to the Burj Khalifa, the tallest building in the world. It was nice that our tour guide was flexible and able to change destinations easily.
Overall, this tour provided a glimpse of Dubai’s past as well as its future. Seeing the souks and then seeing the tallest building in the world was a nice intersection of the old and the new.
Total cost: 20 USD (ticket price) + 1 USD (Dubai Museum entry fee)
- Having a cell phone with working cellular access will be extremely helpful in terms of calling your tour guide for pickup after seeing the various sites.
- As this tour was scheduled from 10am – 2pm, we asked the driver to stop for lunch. If you’re trying to travel on a budget, consider packing your own to save those hard-earned dirhams!
- This tour guide accepted payment in USD, but some tours might not! Clarify this before attending the tour so you can be adequately prepared for payment.
*Thanks to Knight Tours for supporting Sharon and I on our Dubai City Tour. As always, all opinions are my own.