UAE day visas: things to do over 12 hours in Dubai

With the news that the UAE plans to offer day visas for international travellers passing through its airports, we look at unmissable and unusual experiences to sample in Dubai

Dubai was also ranked the fourth most-visited city in the world by the Mastercard index. Dubai Tourism. 
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Land and take Dubai Metro or get a Careem or taxi to Al Fahidi Historical Neighbourhood, and wander around Al Bastakiya (the shops open at about 9am) to get a feel for what the city originally looked like, before having a lemon with mint at Creekside Cafe, from where you can watch the abras (water taxis) along the Creek.

The Sheikh Mohammed Centre for Cultural Understanding in Al Bastakiya. Dubai Tourism

11AM Next, take an abra across to the other side of the Creek to Deira, where you could have an early lunch of mixed grills at Aroos Damascus on the ground floor of the Green Palace Hotel in Al Muraqqabat, before getting on the Metro at Al Rigga and heading to The Dubai Mall.



Alternatively, if you fancy an excellent and cheap curry, take a cab from Deira to Karama and go to Aryaas Vegetarian Restaurant in the Nakheel Building (you’ll also be able to shop and see the street art in the area). From there you can still get on the Metro to The Dubai Mall.

Abras in Dubai. Dubai Tourism



1PM Once at The Dubai Mall, wander around – see the aquarium, ice rink, walk through the new fashion extension – and then go downstairs and outside to see the Dubai Fountain show – perhaps over lunch or coffee and cake on the terrace at Baker & Spice at Souk Al Bahar.



Option 1: Get a taxi to nearby City Walk, a new, low-rise pedestrianised district of cafes and restaurants (there's an Emirati fish restaurant, Al Mashowa, that's open from 8.30am until midnight if you want a late lunch).

City Walk Dubai. Dubai Tourism

Next, take a taxi to the new Etihad Museum next to the Jumeirah Mosque, then explore the surrounding area of Satwa on foot, before moving on to Kite Beach near Umm Suqeim Park. If you're feeling active, walk about two kilometres to the fish market along the ocean where you can have cheap seafood dinners and see the fishermen in action; Bu Qtair at the southern part of Umm Suqeim is an old favourite.

Option 2: Get a cab to Dubai Marina, and wander around the lively area, going for a swim at JBR Beach and maybe having dinner (there’s a range of choices at The Beach and an Emirati restaurant, Seven Sands, at the southern end of Jumeirah Beach Residence). From JBR, you could then catch the tram and then the Metro all the way back to the airport.

Dubai Marina. Dubai Tourism


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