Travel columnist Anna Farren reveals her five top tips for a dream adventure in Dubai.

Anna Farren

During my midterm break, I explored the sensational Dubai. With only a flying visit of 4 nights in total, arriving late on my first night there, I had to really make the most of my time.

With an Emirates flight at lunchtime, Irish time, I went to the airport well rested for my few days holiday ahead.

Arriving in Dubai at midnight, my friend Helen, met me at the airport and we made our way by taxi to her apartment (like every journey you take in Dubai I came to realise).

On Day 1, Helen had purchased my fast pass ticket to venture to the top of the tallest building in the world – the Burj Khalifa. So thankful for Helen and her knowledge of the fast pass trick, I skipped all the queues and flew my way to the top of the Burj Khalifa to take my token tourist pictures and wonder at the man made city below.


With a few hours to spare, I explored the Dubai Mall and promised myself that when I make my millions (by hopefully, winning the lotto), I would return to this shopper’s paradise!

The mall is an experience in itself, with every shop you can possibly think of and several tourist attractions in between – my personal favourite, the aquarium right in the centre of the mall.

That evening, Helen and I dined at the famous fountains, eating the tastiest of food in the outdoor area of Carluccio’s, with the fountains display to music, playing on the half hour from 6pm. With this display and the Burj Khalifa becoming lit up in an almost magical way as darkness fell, this was simply stunning – a definite highlight of my trip.

The following day, I had my first experience of the famous Dubai brunch by way of ‘Bubblicious’ in the Westin Hotel. A glamorous affair, one should attempt to get the balance right in choosing an appropriate outfit, which too leaves room for an obscene amount of eating, with so many goodies to choose from for 3 hours in total!

From here, we continued our dancing in none other than McGettigan’s Irish Bar (because who can ever go on holidays and not visit the Irish bar for some ‘craic’ overseas)!
On my last day, I took my life in my hands (an exaggeration perhaps) and went on the Desert Safari. The 4 by 4 jeep experience was mildly terrifying to say the least but so enjoyable too – a must do while in Dubai!

Following the safari, we stayed in the desert for the evening and enjoyed the performances by the tour group and a Dubai style BBQ.

And so, my top 5 tips for a Dubai adventure:

  1. Make sure to visit the fountains at the Burj Khalifa, not only to see, but for dinner outside. The views are incredible, this is an unreal, pinch yourself moment.
  2. Keep an eye on ‘Groupon’ for a fast pass to the top of the Burj Khalifa. You will save yourself not only money, but so much queuing time.
  3. Go on a Desert Safari. It’s an experience you will never get elsewhere and a thoroughly enjoyable, reasonably priced way to spend an afternoon/evening.
  4. Book a brunch, this is something you NEED to experience. It’s too much fun!
  5. When booking flights, be mindful of the 4 hour time difference. The Emirates afternoon flight home leaves you with time in Dubai to make ready for the airport and an early arrival home for your journey home from Dublin airport, ideal.