1 Burj Khalifa
Dubai's landmark building is the Burj Khalifa, which at 829.8 m is the tallest building in the world. For most visitors a trip to the observation deck on the 124th floor here is a must-do while in the city. The views across the city skyline from this bird's-eye perspective are simply staggering. The slick observation deck experience includes a multi-media presentation on both Dubai and the building of the Burj Khalifa (completed in 2010) before a high-speed elevator whizzes you up to the observation deck for those 360-degree views out across the skyscrapers to the desert on one side and the ocean on the other. Night-time visits are particularly popular with photographers due to Dubai's famous city-lights panoramas.
2 Bastakia (Old Dubai)
The Bastakia Quarter was built in the late 19th century to be the home of wealthy Persian merchants who dealt mainly in pearls and textiles, and were lured to Dubai because of the tax-free trading and access to Dubai Creek.
3 Dubai Creek
Dubai Creek separates the city into two towns with Deira to the north and Bur Dubai to the south. The creek has been an influential element in the city's growth, first attracting settlers here to fish and pearl dive. Small villages grew up alongside the creek as far back as 4,000 years ago, while the modern era began in the 1830s when the Bani Yas tribe settled in the area.
4 Dubai Aquarium
One of the city's top tourist attractions, the Dubai Aquarium houses 140 species of sea life in the huge suspended tank on the ground floor of the Dubai Mall. As well as free viewing from the mall, if you enter the Underwater Zoo you can walk through the aquarium tunnels.
5. Dubai Mall
Dubai Mall is the city's premier mall and provides entry to the Burj Khalifa as well as the Dubai Aquarium. There is also an ice-skating rink, gaming zone and cinema complex if you're looking for more entertainment options. The shopping and eating is endless and there are nearly always special events such as live music and fashion shows within the mall. The most famous of these are the annual Dubai Shopping Festival in January and February and the Dubai Summer Surprises Festival in July and August.
The Burj Al-Arab is the world's tallest hotel, standing 321 m high, located on its own artificial island on the Dubai coastline. Designed to resemble a billowing dhow sail, the exterior of the Burj Al-Arab is lit up by a choreographed coloured lighting show at night. Decadent in every way possible, it is one of the most expensive hotels in the world with the most luxurious suites costing over $15,000 for one night.
This strip of sandy white bliss is the number one beach destination for Dubai visitors. There are hotels strung out all along the length, with this being one of the most popular places to stay for tourists. The beach has excellent facilities with plenty of sun loungers, restaurants and water-sport operators offering jet skiing.
A desert safari offers the chance to get a flavour of the Bedouin existence from when the Dubai skyline was more sand than super-city. Numerous companies offer desert safaris but check them out before booking: ask what time you'll be dropped back at your hotel and whether they plan to stop anywhere on the way, especially what food there will be and any extras you may need to pay for.
Spectacular, exciting and - best of all - free! If you've seen the Belaggio fountains in Vegas and thought you'd seen it all, Dubai does it taller, bigger, louder and with an incredible light show at night.
One for die-hard curry fans and among Dubai’s longest-serving restaurants, Ravi deserves a place of its own in our top ten. Usually full with diners from all over the world, there are no white tablecloths, wine lists or snooty waiters, just honest Pakistani curry served up by friendly staff. Favourite dishes include chicken boti, mutton tika, daal and mutton kebab, and the bread is fresh, fluffy and hot. A whole family can eat here for less than 100dhs. Ravi has recently been refurbished, with the addition of a ‘family’ area, but it’s often more fun to sit outside or in the main area to soak up the atmosphere. Find it in the Khamees Building on Al Satwa Road.