This is the kind of trip planning that I like the most because I literally have no idea where I am heading to. This time, my girlfriend and I decided that it was time for a girl’s trip! We had only one week to explore and pack our bags to somewhere sunny and hot!

I found that the best tool to make my blind travel research is without surprise, Skyscannner. I always find it amazing to search by the destination “everywhere”, and then I can let myself surprised by the destinations that come up. It will always show the closest destinations to Dublin first so depending on how adventurous we feel, we can keep scrolling down for a long time, ah!

After few seconds, we stopped on the very hot Dubai. Reserved and extravagant at the same time, I was always intrigued by this country. On top of that, the flight was operated by Emirates, one of my favourite airlines for its comfort; and cherry on the cake, it was affordable because March is a low season month.

One week in Dubai is short for a first time, given the fact that it is 8 hours long journey from Europe, so I had my list ready to make the most out of the experience.

Here are 8 places to visit in Dubai for first -timers, like really must do:

1# Visit the Gold Souk in Deira

This is an incredible market where you will find gold and precious stones in all its form sold by more than 300 retailers (mostly jewellery). To spice up the experience, you can get there by crossing Dubai Creek in water taxi “Abras” and enjoy the beauty at the same time! Once you get there, the shops are quite impressive.

2# Visit the Burj Khalifa

The highest ever built tower who made Dubai famous to the world will take your breath away. You can enjoy a fountain show everyday at 1pm and 2pm during day time and every 30 minutes starting 6pm for the evening show.

3# Smoke a shisha and try camel meat in the typical emirati Siraj restaurant in Souk Al Bahar

Right next to the Burj Khalifa, cross the bridge and head to the Souk Al Bahar, it is a beautiful gallery where you will find craft arts, shops and restaurants.

The architecture is remarkable and you can stop at the Siraj restaurant. Not only they will welcome you a beautiful Arabic style interior but they serve typical emirati food. One of the highlight of the menu is the humus topped with camel meat that was absolutely delicious.

If you choose the outdoor, you can relax and enjoy a shisha with a view on the fountain… the dream.

#4 Get lost in the desert and enjoy the safari

Guys, I cannot emphasize enough on this one. The desert safari is a must do no matter what.  I have always wanted to do a safari in the desert, and so far I can tell you it is the best experience I had in Dubai thanks to City Tour Quad Dubai. Driving a quad, sand dune bashing were unforgettable experiences. I really recommend to eat a light meal before because sand dune bashing can really shake your stomach, lol, but so worth it, I swear!

#5 Visit the Grand Sheikh El Zayed Mosque in Abu Dhabi

Only an hour drive from Dubai, you can to the capital Abu Dhabi for a different atmosphere. Definitely less extravagant but not less charming, Abu Dhabi is the proud home of the majestic Grand Sheikh El Zayed Mosque. An architectural gem that is large enough to accommodate over 40,000 worshippers, while the main prayer hall can hold over 7,000. It features 80 domes, around 1,000 columns, 24-carat gold-plated chandeliers, and the world’s largest hand-woven rug. The courtyard, with its floral design, measures about 17,000 m2 (180,000 sq ft), and is considered to be the largest example of marble mosaic in the world.

6# Visit the Louvre Abu Dhabi museum

In exclusivity, while in the capital, you might allow few hours to visit the newly inaugurated Louvre Abu Dhabi.  Another crazy art masterpiece built on water; it truly looks like a diamond on water and the exhibitions inside will not disappoint you.

7# Clubbing in Dubai Marina

A city tour of Dubai would not be complete without a dive in the night life. The least I can say is that there is a club for every single taste. From house, electro to hip hop, you will be able to find the place to enjoy all night long. For the ladies, most of the clubs and bars have lady’s night and offers free drinks, so all is made for us to spend a great time with a great view on the Marina! Pier 7 is waiting for you.

8# Relax on the beach or by the pool

Looking for a moment of relaxation, again Dubai is mastering the art. From pool or beach parties to Jumeirah Beach and Burj El Arab, or a brunch by the pool of a 5 stars hotel, the choice is very wide.

Last but not the least, this experience would not have been amazing without the help of our airbnb host, Diane. She nicely decorated the boutique ensuite room so we can feel in an emirati palace… with a view on the beach! Right next to the tram station mina seyahi, only 10 minutes walk to the Marina and 20 mins walk to Jumeirah Beach, the location of her place is perfect. The area has also a lot of restaurants and Diane is full of tips about the city! She will advise you about the best restaurants and activities to fit your budget…the dream host!

It was definitely a great experience and I definitely recommend you to visit the country.  As for me, I will definitely come back, and who knows this time, maybe for skydiving !

Check out also our video from UAE.