The Dubai Airport and Layover

The city of Dubai has much to offer during your layover to Zambia. If your layover is long enough to get out of the airport, Emirates (most of the time!) offers a free hotel room and meal vouchers for you. You will be notified if you have a free room when we book your airline ticket. Some people choose to stay in the hotel and rest up, while others wish to explore the city. No matter what you decide to do, there are many options available for you! This webpage is for “planners.” However, all of these activities can be booked upon arrival at the at the activities desk.

After you get to your hotel, take advantage of the many attractions Dubai has to offer!

Dubai Activities

Here are some of our favorite places to go and activities in Dubai, along with travel tricks for navigating the city.

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Burj Khalifa

Visit the tallest building in the world

  • The entrance of the Burj Khalifa is attached to the Dubai Mall

  • Tickets range from $40-163 depending on the level

  • Observation decks are located on levels 124 and 148

  • A luxurious lounge is located on level 153 with live performances and gorgeous views

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Dubai Mall

The largest mall in the world with over 1,200 shops and 120 restaurants.

  • There are a variety of restaurants ranging from American favorites to local cuisine.

  • Entertainment such as the Dubai Aquarium and Underwater Zoo, Ice Rink, and Cinema

  • Dubai Fountains have water shows every 30 minutes starting at 6 PM with a great view of the Burj Khalifa

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Mall of the Emirates

Luxury mall with a variety of restaurants and shops, in the heart of Dubai

  • With over 100 dining and cafe restaurants, it is easy to find a place for everyone.

Unique entertainment opportunities such as:

  • Ski Dubai, an indoor ski resort that includes multiple slopes, a snow park, and the opportunities to ski and snowboard.

  • Magic Planet, a family entertainment center that includes arcade games, rides, and bowling.

  • VOX Cinemas, a movie theatre with all of the newest movies

Big Bus Dubai

  • $60- $150

  • Explore Dubai at your own pace with a Classic, Premium or Deluxe ticket on Dubai's hop-on, hop-off open-top sightseeing tour bus, and learn more about the city from audio commentary in addition to Live Guided commentary . On the bus, you can change between the air-conditioned cabin at the front and the open-air seating at the rear.

  • Your ticket also comes with a complimentary Dhow Cruise, night tour and entry to 10 museums.

  • The Big Bus ticket combines three routes the City Tour, Red Route which takes 2 hour, the Beach Tour Green Route, which takes 1hour and the Marina Tour Blue Route, which takes 1 hour 35 minutes without hopping off.

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Desert Safari

Safari in a nearby desert

  • $40-70

  • Excursion can last from 4-7 hours depending on the package/company you choose.

  • Activities include dune-bashing adventure in a 4x4 Land Cruiser, sandboarding, and camel rides.

  • Some programs also have a BBQ dinner with local cuisines after the activities.

Jumeirah Beach

Scape Restaurant and Bar

Upscale dining option

  • Enjoy delicious Asian and Mediterranean food with incredible views of the Dubai skyline and the Persian Gulf

  • Located in the world famous Burj Al Arab (pictured above)

  • Reservations are required!

Jumeirah Beach

Free, public beach that stretches along the Dubai coast

  • At the end of the beach you can find La Mer, a pier with affordable dining and shopping options, as well as kid friendly activities.

  • Laguna Waterpark is a great place for children to cool off and have fun

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The Palm Jumeirah

Tree-shaped Palm Jumeirah island is known for glitzy hotels, posh apartment towers and upmarket global restaurants.

  • The Palm Jumeirah Boardwalk has food trucks, refreshment stands and souvenir vendors, along with view of the Dubai coastline and the famous Burj Al Arab.

  • Enjoy the Aquaventure Water Park in the Atlantis Resort with a one day mega-pass to 17 fun-filled slides and rivers and Dubai’s largest aquarium.

For more information or to book activities ahead of time:

It’s not required to book activities ahead of time. The hotel has excursion companies that can assist you once you reach Dubai!


There are many modes of transportation in Dubai. The metro is the cheapest way to move around the city. Taxis and ubers are easily accessibly and most taxis accept credit cards and dirhams (currency in Dubai). If you need to exchange American dollars for dirhams you can do so at the hotel.