When you think of Dubai, modern marvels such as the Burj Khalifa – the world’s tallest building; Palm Island – the iconic manmade island in the shape of a palm tree; or the bustling Dubai Mall may come to mind. This, however, is just a small taste of what Dubai has to offer. Experience the lesser-known side of the city by adding our optional pre- or post-Egypt land package to your Secrets of Egypt & the Nile itinerary!
Dubai was a small fishing village in the 18th century and was an important point of trade between countries in the region. The most common items of trade during the time included pearls, gold, spices, and textiles, all of which still hold heavy relevance in Dubai’s culture today.
As part of our optional pre- or post-Egypt land package, you will step into the world of 18th-century Dubai as we visit the Al Fahidi Fort, the oldest existing building in the city. Originally used for defense against neighboring regions, it was later used as an arsenal for artillery and weapons as well as a prison. Al Fahidi Fort now serves as part of the Dubai Museum.
The Dubai Museum tells the complex and storied history of Dubai and other civilizations that have made their way through the region across time. In the museum you will gain a vast understanding of Dubai, from its humble beginnings to the modern marvel it is today. Other exhibits allow you to discover the local ecosystems and wander through an immersive recreation of old markets that used to scatter across the region. The Dubai Museum is also home to many preserved artifacts that were collected from interactions with different civilizations throughout Dubai’s history.
Flowing Through the Present
Today, Dubai is known for its stunning cityscape, featuring some of the world’s most striking buildings and modern architecture. One of these marvels is the artificial Dubai Water Canal. Taking a trip down the canal is like taking a trip through a time machine. Starting in old Dubai and ending in the Arabian Gulf, the roughly 2-mile journey runs down the center of city with many of Dubai’s iconic landmarks and colossal buildings, both old and new, being viewable from the water, offering a stunning sight of the city skyline.
Gold, Spice, and Everything Nice
Dubai has a long history of trading valuables and rarities. The Gold Souk is a prime example of this. Upon visiting Dubai’s oldest and most popular market, the ‘Gold Souk’, which translates to ‘The Gold Market’, you’ll see why it captures the attention of thousands of visitors a day. The market is a blinding labyrinth of gold, sparkling diamonds, and other precious stones and minerals of all colors and shapes, which are sold by approximately 400 retailers. It’s very easy to get lost in the glitz, glamour, and colors of Gold Souk, but if you’re looking for something to really tickle your senses, then a visit to the Spice Souk is not to be missed.
While visiting the Spice Souk, you will be greeted by the sweet smell of crimson saffron, the earthy yellow of chamomile flowers, the minty fragrance of green cardamom, the savory smell of cinnamon, and a blinding array of colors from countless varieties of peppers.
On Top of the World
Recognized around the world, the Burj Khalifa is the tallest building on Earth. Other than holding this title, the colossal skyscraper offers a vast array of activities. As part of our land package, you will have the opportunity to experience one of several of the highest observation decks in the world, offering breathtaking views that can’t be found anywhere else; dine at one of seven restaurants, all of which have different assortments of regional foods; rejuvenate your body and mind at The Burj Club Spa; and enjoy rooftop pools and jacuzzies with magnificent views of Dubai as a backdrop.
A Not So Deserted Desert
With its modern architecture and wealth of aquatic features and activities, it’s easy to forget that Dubai is a city in the desert. As part of your Dubai land package, you will be able to explore the magnificent orange- hued sand dunes that can be found just outside of the city in an adventurous 4x4. Experience local culture such as dance, art, and more, finishing the excursion with a traditional Arabic barbecue dinner.
From Desert to Grandiose
One of the biggest mosques in the world and largest in the country, the Zayed Grand Mosque is truly a site to behold. Accompanied by 82 domes, the pearl white mosque instantly stands out against its surroundings and is home to some unique artistic achievements. Inside the mosque, you will find highly detailed beige and gold interior decor, as well as an impressive collection of crystal chandeliers including the second largest in the world. The mosque is also home to the world’s largest hand-knotted carpet. The carpet spans 18,700 ft and is in the main prayer hall. Please be advised that mosques are highly religious Islamic sites, therefore it is required of all visitors to wear clothing that is loose fitting and provides full coverage of arms and legs, down to the ankles. Clothing such as t-shirts, shorts, or jeans is strictly prohibited.
After visiting the Zayed Grand Mosque, you will then venture to the equally stunning Presidential Palace. The palace is more than just a place for political figures and royalty, it is also a cultural landmark meant to emphasize a broader understanding of the history of the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and acts as a tribute to Abu Dhabi’s achievements. The palace houses art, a vast library, and a myriad of exhibits, all celebrating Arabic heritage.
A Timeless Journey
Dubai is truly a unique vacation destination where old meets new in surprising ways. With its vibrant culture, world record-holding architecture, distinctive art and flavorful local cuisine, Dubai exists in a middle ground of keeping the past relevant while transforming itself into one of the most modern and innovative cities on earth.
What’s Included in Your Optional Land Package
- 3 nights in the award-winning JW Marriott Marquis
- Convenient transfers between your airport and hotel
- Daily breakfast at the hotel
- Guided tours of the Dubai Museum, Al Fahidi historic district, Gold Souk, Spice Souk, the Burj Khalifa, Zayed Grand Mosque, desert safari, and Abu Dhabi
- The services of one of our wonderful local guides throughout your journey
Enjoy this wonderful land package for free on select sailings reserved before March 31, 2023. To learn more about this special, limited-time offer, see our Complimentary Land Package Offer page.
Contact your travel advisor to find out more about how you can add our Dubai land package to your Secrets of Egypt & The Nile journey.