The distinctive double-decker buses are now an integral part of Dubai's automotive landscape, shuttling an increasing number of tourists round the city's principal sights in considerable numbers. Each ticket entitles you to a free one-hour Arabian Treasures Walk around the souks. Tickets are valid for 24 hours and passengers may hop on and off a tour at various stops. Live English commentary is available. It's a great way to see the city.
Al Faheidi Fort, which dates back to the early 19th century, houses the Dubai Museum, which has an impressive collection of military and cultural artifacts. The fort, believed to be Dubai's oldest standing building, was originally constructed to defend the town's early residents from warlike tribes in the region. Today, visitors can tour the old fort and see antique pearl diving tools; copper, alabaster and clay artifacts; antique khanjars; and traditional musical instruments. A must see if you're visiting Dubai for the first time.
Wild Wadi Waterpark offers families an entire afternoon of thrills and water activities. This "hidden lagoon" features everything from waterfalls, soaring cliffs and hidden lagoons to swimming holes, a tidal pool and scores of waterslides. Best of all, Wild Wadi is only a short walk from some of Jumeirah Beach's finest hotels and resorts. Towel and locker rental are available for minimal fees.
The Dubai Heritage & Diving Villages, located next to the Sheikh Saeed Al Maktoom House, offer invaluable insight into the city's past. This center focuses on the Emirate's cultural and social development in three fields: architecture, pearl diving and maritime. Displays and exhibits include a Bedouin tent village, an ancient armory, and a wide range of excavated items from a nearby archaeological site. A small cafe and gift shop are on the premises as well.
When it comes to organizing desert safaris and 'dune bashing' expeditions, Arabian Adventures knows the fun possibilities of just about every grain of sand in the Dubai vicinity. In response to public demand, the company has broadened its range of services in recent years and can now tailor-make packages to meet visitors' requirements, be they a city tour, deep sea fishing excursion or cruising aboard a traditional dhow.
Of all Dubai's attractions, this ingenious 'skiing in the desert' facility is the one that's raised most interest. The region's first indoor ski resort, spanning 22,500 sq meters, features real snow. It has five runs, the longest being 400 meters with a fall of 60 meters. The Snow Park at the foot of the slope is a magnet for children who can perfect their snowball throwing. There's even a restaurant halfway up.
Encompassing nearly 20 hectares of fun water activities, Dubai's SpashLand is a favorite with adults and kids of all ages. This enormous fun park has scores of waterslides, a log flume, bumper boats and even inner tube hire. After having some family fun in the sun, head over to the Caribbean-style Main Street area, where a cafe, ice cream parlor and gift shop offer an hour's worth of rest before you hit the wave pool again. WonderLand features a variety of thrilling roller coasters and other rides.
One of the oldest residences in the city, Sheikh Saeed Al-Maktoum's House dates back to the late 19th century. The home was constructed using traditional preparation techniques, and large windtowers helped keep the home cool even on the hottest days. When the Al-Maktoum family first lived in the home, it boasted unparalleled panoramic views of the Persian Gulf, but development along the shoreline in recent years has diminished them somewhat. Today, visitors can tour the home, which also exhibits historical photographs and artifacts that chronicle the history of the Emirate of Dubai.
This exquisite structure is one the city's most noted and photographed landmarks. The Jumeirah Mosque, located a few minutes' drive from the beach area, is a gleaming example of a contemporary take on traditional Muslim architecture. The entire structure is built of white stone, and its two towering minarets reach skyward, flanking the mosque's crown-like central dome. Non-Muslims are not allowed to enter mosques in Dubai; however, you may enter the Jumeirah Mosque if you are part of the organized tour on Saturday, Sunday, Tuesday and Thursday mornings.