Your Essential Dubai Layover Lowdown


Dubai International Airport (DXB) has fast become one of THE hottest layover destinations, serving as the ultimate international hub connecting flights between the West and the East. The UAE’s strategic position between Africa, Asia and Europe means that you might soon see yourself face-to-face with a layover in the ‘Las Vegas of the Middle East’.

Luckily for you, its close proximity to major sights and attractions means you can easily turn your ‘inconvenient layover’ into an adventure to tick off your travel bucket list!

Drop Some Dirham

It’s no surprise that the land of the biggest, best and most extravagant is home to one of the world’s largest shopping malls in the world, Dubai Mall. With over 1,200 outlets, an abundance of eateries and over 80 luxury brands housed in its Fashion Avenue wing, it’s easy to get lost, but certainly not bored! If you’ve burnt a hole in your pocket and are starting to worry about stuffing all of your new purchases into the overhead compartment, then you can always take a trip to the aquarium, ice skating rink or underwater zoo (yes, you heard that right). One piece of advice: get yourself a map!

Soak Up the Souks

Easily one of the most alluring attractions of Dubai are the souks, otherwise known as bazaars or Arab marketplaces. Head to the vibrant Spice Souk in Deira to find every spice and herb under the sun, with colourful sacks lining the narrow passages and wafting scents coming from every direction. Spices not your thing? You’ll also find souvenirs a-plenty in the form of silk scarves and slippers. Just a gem-stone’s throw away is the Gold Souk, offering up glimmering stones and metals that will have you feeling like you’ve stepped into the world of Aladdin. Note: loose rubies are not a form of currency!

Bird’s Eye View

In keeping with the mind-bending landmarks in Dubai, there’s no better view of the city than from the observatory deck at the Burj Khalifa, the world’s tallest building! Spread across levels 124-148, the deck offers 360-degree views spanning desert, ocean and city. If sky-level sights aren’t enough for you, then there’s always the option to soar higher for a more daring sense of perspective. Atlantis, The Palm offer 15-minute fun-rides passing over all the major sites, or if you’re feeling like splurging, take advantage of UberCHOPPER to really elevate your sight-seeing experience!

Get the Dhow-N Low

Bad pun, we know, but these nifty little boats really are a great way of seeing the city and maximising your time. The ‘dhow’ are traditional Arabic vessels that were used for trading, fishing and pearl diving. Nowadays, they provide convenient ways for tourists to take in the sights and sounds of the city, often providing dinner and drinks during the cruise. Opt for a Dubai Marina dhow cruise for views of the Marina Canal, the Palm Island and Shoreline of the ‘New Dubai’ area. Fancy yourself a history buff? Take your trip down Dubai Creek, cruising through Old Dubai to see a more authentic side to the city!

Hit the Dunes

If you’ve got around five or more hours to play with, we’d suggest heading to the desert for the day. It’s a great way to take in the Emirate in its natural form and take a break from the cosmopolitan city. Barrel down the terracotta-coloured dunes in your own air conditioned 4X4 with an expert guide at the helm, mount a camel (and try not to fall off!), try your hand at sand boarding or whizz around on quad bikes. Facing an overnight layover? Moonlit safari experiences are when the desert really comes alive! Dinner safaris venture to desert camps for a bonfire, bellydancing and all things Bedouin!

Thinking of staying a little longer? Check out our Dubai holiday deals!