Asia Destinations

The best 20-hour layover in Dubai

April 30, 2017
Dubai one day layover guide

I love flying with Emirates. It’s my #1 airline for my travels to Asia and while I had a fair amount of layovers at DXB, I never had enough time to actually go into the city. This finally changed on my last trip from Bangkok, where I purposely booked a ticket with a 20-hour layover in Dubai. That also was the chance to finally meet two amazing ladies I know from the blogosphere: Sanne from and Hanna from who took great care of me during my time in Dubai (definitely check out their blogs!) 🙂 Unfortunately I was totally knackered and had a little stomach issue when I arrived, so I had to skip dinner at the Anantara The Palm but at least we had some nice conversations. Also the weather wasn’t too happy about my arrival – Dubai welcomed me with a crazy thunderstorm and lots of rain…

Dubai layover guide

Early morning at the Dubai Marina, when the after-effects of the storm were still visible…

Dubai layover guide

After a proper sleep (and the storm cleared) I felt much better and I was ready to hit the metro to make my way to the Burj Khalifa! Right away I got introduced to Dubai distances! Little did I know when I got off the metro, thinking the Burj will be right there…. I first had to walk through never-ending, air-conditioned corridors until I finally reached the Dubai Mall, the biggest mall in the world. You name it, it’s not like your neighbourhood mall… It took me another 30 minutes to find the entrance to the BK. Tickets for the observation deck need to be booked in advance through their website, so at least that part was hassle-free. The elevators are super-fast and catapult you to the 124th floor in a minute, and although this is by far not the highest floor of the world’s tallest building (total of 160 floors) – the views are quite impressive and you can spot some of Dubai’s iconic landmarks like the Burj Al Arab and the (unfinished) “World”!

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Dubai layover guide

I wasn’t much into shopping, but I couldn’t resist to have a glimpse of their gigantic aquarium inside the mall…

Dubai layover guide

And no, these fish weren’t part the aquarium but belong to the storefront of the Discovery Channel’s store – yup, they know how to splurge!

Dubai layover guide

In the afternoon I had a few hours left to meet up with Hanna and her kids who showed me around the old part of the city. Indeed it was an entirely different atmosphere in the old town, which felt more exotic and authentic. For a budget-friendly fare of 1 Dirham (25 cents) we got on one of those rustic boats for a little cruise on the Dubai creek, probably the cheapest activity of all Dubai 😉

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That’s how fast 20 hours went by… I can’t wait for my next layover!

Dubai layover guide: In 20 hours I was able to get an overview of the two different faces of Dubai - from the shiny malls and skyscrapers to the old town!

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  • Reply Hanna May 1, 2017 at 5:13 am

    Weather Gods were definitely having a show for your arrival!! We can’t wait to get you back to Dubai and show you more of it. Something bigger and flashier waiting for you for sure again the next time!

    • Reply sileas May 3, 2017 at 10:09 am

      It was such a pleasure! The best part of was meeting you and Sanne!

  • Reply annie lee May 1, 2017 at 8:32 am

    aww how amazing you guys got to meet up! 20 hours layover doesn’t sound too bad at all 😛

    • Reply sileas May 3, 2017 at 10:10 am

      Yeah it was super nice! Next time its our turn 😉

  • Reply SueT唐 梦 琇 May 1, 2017 at 10:24 am

    What an incredible city and lovely that you got to meet two other bloggers Julia.

    • Reply sileas May 3, 2017 at 10:11 am

      Absolutely! I’m so glad I met so many nice fellow bloggers around the world 🙂

  • Reply Paleica May 2, 2017 at 8:51 am

    was für ein verrückter ort. tolle eindrücke hast du mitgebracht <3 und wie schön ist es, dass das internet so die menschen verbindet!

    • Reply sileas May 9, 2017 at 10:21 am

      Absolut! Das hätte ich nie erwartet als ich mit dem Bloggen angefangen habe und jetzt es meine größte Motivation!

  • Reply jewels May 2, 2017 at 9:22 am

    Sometimes, that layover is gold! Glad that you got to meet up with Sanne and Hanne! I should have gone up to the top of the Burj al Khalifa when I was there, guess will save it for next time!

    • Reply sileas May 9, 2017 at 10:25 am

      Oh I’m sure there’ll be a few next times 😉

  • Reply Mitzie Mee May 2, 2017 at 12:34 pm

    So good to see you Julia! Your photos of Burj Khalifa are amazing. Hope to have you back in Dubai someday in the future:)

    • Reply sileas May 9, 2017 at 10:26 am

      Thank you Sanne, I’m so glad I met you! Luckily Dubai is quite an easy stop towards Asia 😉

  • Reply PinaySkattebasse May 3, 2017 at 10:12 am

    Looked like you have fun! 🙂 And the views are amazin!

    • Reply sileas May 9, 2017 at 10:27 am

      Yes, it was quite a productive layover 😉

  • Reply Tiffany. Yang May 3, 2017 at 8:51 pm

    I love Dubai, it’s a great place for food, adventure and of course, shopping haha! Though the time is short, but sounds like you did have fun!


    • Reply sileas May 9, 2017 at 10:32 am

      Oh yeah, indeed it’s the perfect place for all the things you mentioned! I totally skipped the shopping tho, maybe next time :p

  • Reply Vicky T. May 5, 2017 at 5:16 pm

    I’ve always wanted to visit Dubai; it looks like such a beautiful place. But a 20 hour layover! That is intense if it wasn’t intentional


    • Reply sileas May 9, 2017 at 10:42 am

      Yeah it was quite intense, but totally worth it 🙂

  • Reply Miyang May 6, 2017 at 8:10 am

    Wow! Meeting other bloggers in another country is very cool plus you’ve got to see Dubai even just for a short time.

    • Reply sileas May 9, 2017 at 10:45 am

      Exactly! The best part of blogging is connecting with others 🙂

  • Reply Christina May 15, 2017 at 11:26 am

    what a great place to explore for a day! you definitely made the most out of your ‘short’ layover despite your health-issues 🙂 and it’s so great that you were able to meet up with other lovely bloggers! 🙂

    • Reply sileas May 16, 2017 at 2:38 pm

      I’m sure without these ladies I wouldn’t have had such a good time in Dubai 😉

  • Reply tayonthemove May 25, 2017 at 5:18 pm

    I was recently in Old Dubai myself and absolutely loved it!

    • Reply sileas May 27, 2017 at 9:17 am

      Yes it’s so different from the modern and glittery part!

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