Dec 22, 2016
Less than eight hours away from Singapore by plane and bustling with myriad of things to do from dawn till dusk, the city of Dubai is perfect for a short weekend getaway.
With its reputation as a cosmopolitan city complemented by eclectically vibrant neighbourhoods, Dubai is also an ideal destination for a fun-filled long weekend.
Here’s how to make the best of your time on a long weekend trip to the most populous city of the United Arab Emirates.
Start your day off with a hearty brunch
The working week officially begins on Sunday in the Middle East, which means that Fridays mark the start of Dubai’s weekend.
Friday brunches are somewhat of a time-honoured tradition here. They begin from mid morning up until early afternoon and can stretch on for five to six hours at a go, so loosen your belts and get ready to indulge and savour every morsel of delicate cuisine.
Family-friendly brunch spots with exquisite views include the Rosso, Benihana and Horizon Friday Brunch at Amwaj Rotana Hotel, and The Waldorf Astoria’s Secret Garden Brunch at Waldorf Astoria Dubai Palm Jumeirah.
For boozy brunch alternatives, try the Feed Me Friday Brunch by W Hotel or The High Brunch at Nobu.
Sail past Dubai Creek on a motorised taxi
Forget fancy yachts and expensive cruises because there is no more authentic way to experience Dubai Creek than taking a ride on an abra – a small, motorised water taxi.
Shuttling 10-minute rides to and from Deira and Bur Dubai, the abra allows you to take in picturesque views of the glossy cityscape for a wallet-friendly fee of only 1Dirham (SGD$0.40) per person.
Indulge in a classy dinner
Just because it is a short getaway doesn’t mean you need to hold back on the pampering. For a ritzy dinner, head down to Tagine for sumptuous Moroccan fare amidst Moroccan-inspired décor and furnishings or visit the Kan Zaman Restaurant where you can bask in an unrivalled ambience and enjoy views of the Persian Gulf as you feast on Arabic staples like grilled meats and mezzes.
Soak in Dubai’s nightlife
You can’t truly experience Dubai until you have glimpsed its ever-vibrant and pulsating nightlife.
From hip hop to electronic dance music (EDM) and live band sets, all night clubs and bar establishments are within hotel premises as these places are authorised to sell alcohol. Some hotpsots include the N’Dulge located in Atlantis on the Palm Jumeirah, The Treehouse at Taj Hotel and Zero Gravity Beach Club in Dubai Marina.
Get around town on a world-class railway network
Dubai might be world-renowned as the epicentre of the fastest and most expensive luxury supercars on the planet, but the most wallet-friendly way to get around town has to be via the Dubai Metro. Safe, efficient and highly affordable, Dubai’s extensive railway network has also established itself as the preferred mode of transport within the city.
Operating daily from 6am to 11pm, trains arrive every 7-10 minutes, which minimises long waiting lines. Fares cost anywhere between AED2 to AED6 (SGD$0.70 to SGD$2.00) but do plan in advance to find the most cost-effective way to get to your destination. The Dubai Metro staffs include English-speaking train attendants, and train stations are stocked with maps in English, which makes planning and getting around town such a breeze.
Shop the souks
Roll up your sleeves and gear up for a shopping experience like no other. Dubai’s traditional open-air night markets add a touch of pizzazz to the city with its offerings of rare spices, hand-woven clothes, mesmerizing fragrances and handcrafted goods.
Souks are probably the only place in Dubai where bargaining is the norm, so don’t be afraid to ask for lower prices and purchase items at unbelievable discounts.
Sample authentic Emirati food
In order to feast on the best street food Dubai has to offer, sign up for Frying Pan Adventures.
This is a gastronomic walking tour helmed by friendly local foodies who will bring you on a journey of some of the finest street food available in Dubai, complete with a historical and geographical overview of the dishes that you tuck into.
Sip on locally brewed coffee
The Promised Land for any caffeine addict, the Dubai Coffee Museum blends history, sophistication and taste into a freshly brewed coffee concoctions inspired by the traditions of different coffee-drinking cultures.
From Ethiopia to Jamaica to Mexico and Egypt, get ready for a full-on morning trying out coffee from a dazzling array of countries.
Unleash your inner artist
Art has been found to be therapeutic and one of the best forms includes painting.
Whether you simply want to recharge or channel your inner Van Gogh, We Love Art is just the thing for you. With a weekly line-up of painting, pottery and craftsmanship sessions over hourly or half-day workshops, We Love Art is one of Dubai’s most recognized arts start-up that gives you a glimpse into the rich and exciting arts scene.
Pamper yourself right
End your trip to Dubai on a high-note by treating yourself to a relaxing spa experience that will calm the senses and recharge you for the journey back home.
Spa favourites include the likes of Assawan Spa and Health Club or the Talise Ottoman Spa—ideal for both him and her.
■ Bargaining at souks is part and parcel of the market atmosphere, so don’t feel shy about bargaining for a lower price before you pay.
■ Getting around the city via a taxi is always the easiest mode of transport. However, Dubai’s train (Dubai Metro), bus (RTA Bus) and tram (Dubai Tram) are equally efficient and reasonably cheaper than taxis where you’ll be treated to glimpses of neighbourhoods and sceneries that you might not get to see if you’re in a taxi, which takes the fastest route to get to your destination.
■ Stay hydrated throughout your trip. The last thing you want is to fall sick and be bedbound on a weekend trip!
■ Timing is key for a short weekend getaway, so plan ahead and book your activities in advance to avoid traffic jams and long waiting hours at restaurants.