Dubai with friends: activities, relaxation and thrills on the programme

Year after year, Dubai continues to develop its many facets at breakneck speed. After a first discovery five years ago, Laurent Derossi aka Parisexplorer and his friend Yann came to take the time to observe and explore the city in a more authentic setting.

Between futuristic buildings and Emirati traditions, the journey is rich in hospitality, extravagance and colour. Here are five must-see experiences, for a taste of the 1001 atmospheres of the City of Gold.

A stroll through Dubai Creek
© frantic00 / shutterstock

The folly of grandeur

Faced with the immensity of the city, the scale of the buildings and the uniqueness of the architecture, the change of scenery begins as soon as you leave the airport in Dubai. The first impression is astonishing, and the wow effect is guaranteed when you discover the Downtown district!

A particular favourite is the Museum of the Future, which takes visitors back to the year 2071 through a variety of themes and revolutionary innovations. A real leap forward 50 years for Laurent and his friend Yann, in a building that is itself very futuristic.

The Museum of the Future in Dubai
© Sanoop.cp / shutterstock

"In the museum's DNA library, the atmosphere is such that we felt like we were plunged into a science fiction film!"

Laurent Derossi aka Parisexplorer
© parisexplorer

Take to the skies over the desert in a hot-air balloon

On a trip to the city of excess, discover the sand dunes that stretch as far as the eye can see. By buggy, 4x4 or camel, the best way to explore the desert is to get lost in it! If the opportunity arises, the experience is worth repeating, especially to contemplate the spectacle offered by the sun at the end of the day.

If you're feeling brave, you'll need to wake up (very) early to enjoy the sunrise from a hot-air balloon. The fine sand that seems to slide over the dunes in the slightest breeze gives a very striking effect from the basket of the hot-air balloon. It's worth noting that the landing can sometimes be a little turbulent - a funny anecdote to tell on the way back!

Hot-air balloon flight in the Dubai desert
© parisexplorer

"I had the sensation of floating above the desert, some magnificent images that will stay with me for a very long time."


The quest for authenticity in the old town

After spending a few days in the lap of modernity and luxury, and discovering the must-sees such as the Burj Khalifa and the malls, it's time to head for Old Dubai. The typical atmosphere and explosion of colours and flavours in the souks is incredible!

Spices in the souk
© Kateryna Galkina / shutterstock

The locals are all smiles and happy to accompany tourists between the spice souk and the gold souk. A striking experience immersed in Dubai culture, far from the usual clichés.

👉 Laurent's little tip: head to the old town at the end of the day, to take advantage of the milder temperatures and the captivating golden hour.

"Once we'd spent some time in modern Dubai, the contrast left us speechless."


Relaxing with your feet in the water

If the temperatures were too high, they could head to the beach or the swimming pool for a swim! After stocking up on souvenirs, Laurent and Yann were able to cool off in the facilities of Jumeirah Zabeel Saray. The hotel built on Palm Jumeirah is a reflection of Dubai: very beautiful and very luxurious. For the record, it was even used as a set during the filming of Mission Impossible! The artificial island is idyllic for sunbathing on the beach or enjoying the many water activities on the Gulf with friends.

"Dubai is a city of possibilities; you can do anything, all the time! It's great to be able to adapt your programme to any situation."

Jumeirah Zabeel Saray Dubai

Jumeirah Zabeel Saray

This 5-star hotel complex offers all the comfort and luxury you could wish for during your stay in paradise!
8.7 Superb
£203 / night

Spectacular nightlife

At nightfall, the buildings light up as the bustle of the day gives way to the hustle and bustle of the night. Board a traditional Arab dhow for a dinner cruise offering a different view of the architecture of the new city. Sailing between glittering skyscrapers on a boat offering a buffet of oriental flavours is the perfect moment to toast friendship!

Boutre face aux buildings de Dubaï au coucher du soleil
© Stanislav71 / shutterstock

Water acrobatics, meticulous choreography and a whole host of emotions are on the programme at La Perle, the must-see show of the night in Dubai. The perfect way to end a day in the City of Gold.

Practical information

👉 How do I get there?

The city has two airports: Dubai International Airport (DXB or OMDB) and Dubai World Central or the Al Maktoum International (DWC or OMDW).

The closest airport to the centre of Dubai is Dubai International Airport.

👉 How do I get to the city centre?

  • By taxi, the journey takes between 20 and 30 minutes. The journey will cost you around AED 60 (around €15).

  • By metro: the metro's red line passes through terminals 1 and 2 and serves the city's most popular tourist areas (Burj Khalifa, Dubai Mall, Dubai Marina, etc.). The journey takes between 30 and 40 minutes.

Fares vary according to the area covered, but for your stay we recommend you buy a NOL Card from an ATM.

  • The bus: if you want to immerse yourself in the local culture! Buses are equipped with Wi-Fi and air conditioning. To get to the city centre, take line 32C or C1.

  • The hotel shuttle: yes, you don't always think about it, but some hotels offer a shuttle service to pick you up at the airport (and sometimes even drop you off on your return). There may be a charge for this service, so check with your hotel before you leave.

👉 When is the best time to visit Dubai?

The high season lasts from December to April and temperatures are pleasant (between 25 and 30°).

July and August are the hottest periods, and temperatures can exceed 40°!

by Editorial Team
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