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February 27, 2024

Discover Dubai: The perfect 3-day itinerary for your next trip

Schenelle Dsouza 
A city recognized for its opulent lifestyle; Dubai deserves its reputation. Having been to the Middle East before, it seemed easy to assess my expectations for my trip to Dubai. And yet I was taken by complete surprise. Often deemed the Venice of the Gulf, Dubai has a reputation for being one of the most luxurious cities in the world. Everything from the lifestyle to the culture and experiences, Dubai serves its ‘opulent expectations’ while delivering more in-depth, cultural experiences that often fail to make it onto social media. And not once does it disappoint.
While I had quite a busy schedule in Dubai, there were a few experiences that stayed with me.
Day 1 – Coffee Museum
Touching down on a hot summer day, my trip took off very quickly, going from the airport to the hotel for lunch and then a rather offbeat but gratifying experience at the Coffee Museum. Located in the historical Al Fahidi neighbourhood, the Coffee Museum was transformed from a traditional Emirati home, and can often be mistaken for one, especially if you’re in a hurry.
Coffee Museum
Photo Courtesy: Coffee Museum
Walking through the doors, the strong aroma of coffee instantly seeps in, and if you’re a true enthusiast, you will be able to point out complementary aromas of the different spices melding with caffeinated notes. Apart from the olfactory sense, your eyes too are treated to some of the most astonishing coffee collectibles that easily date back more than a hundred years. Spread across two storeys, the museum is divided into six rooms on each floor, three of which display as many as 500 antique coffee collectables from all over the world. A small courtyard lies in the middle of it all; flags of the different coffee countries hang from the topmost floor and make for quite the attraction.
Coffee Museum
Photo Courtesy: Coffee Museum
Walking into the main courtyard, we were greeted by Mr. Khalid Al Mulla, a Dubai-based coffee trader and owner of the Coffee Museum. A true-blue coffee enthusiast, Mr Khalid, like any Emirati kid, found his love for coffee at an early age, which encouraged him to join the coffee industry, to import to the UAE varieties from more than 16 countries across the world. Mr Khalid walked us from room to room, talking about the entire process of coffee making, right from plucking the fruit to roasting and grinding the beans. He also gave us a brief history of coffee in the world, and in the Middle East. The antiques were one of the most interesting aspects of the museum; there were as many as 500 pieces scattered throughout.
Coffee Museum
Photo Courtesy: Coffee Museum
The three rooms with the international antiques had some of the oldest and rarest pieces, be it coffee grinders from World War I, ancient brewing pots from Yemen, Egypt and Ethiopia, Ethiopian ‘Jebena’ clay coffee bins and more. The most interesting room in the whole museum had to be the Emirati-style majlis. A quaint sitting room, the majlis is where you can spot the native Bedouin coffee culture. Mr Khalid was kind enough to share with us some of the common rules, or rather etiquette surrounding the Bedouin coffee culture. While you’re not allowed to actually sit in this room and sip coffee, visitors can enjoy some fresh-brewed Ethiopian coffee at the hands of an Ethiopian lady in the courtyard, or head to the top floor’s brew bar for some delicious speciality coffees.
Coffee Museum
Photo Courtesy: Coffee Museum
Fancy yourself a takeaway? The museum shop on the ground floor has everything related to coffee, right from coffee beans and powders to tampers and art pens, and even books about the history of coffee, recipe books, novels, guides etc. It goes without saying that the Coffee Museum is a must for all coffee enthusiasts. Given the significance of coffee in Arabic culture, the museum is a wonderful way to understand the culture, importance and everything there is to know about coffee, both in the Emirates as well as in the world.
Address: Historical Neighborhood, Bastakiya, Villa 44, Al Hisn St, Al Fahidi, Dubai
Day 2 – Museum of the Future 
Day 2 in Dubai began with an intellectual tour of the renowned, Museum of the Future. Regardless of whether or not you’ve visited Dubai, the Museum of the Future is something everyone has heard about. One of the grandest openings of 2022, the Museum of the Future, founded by the Dubai Future Foundation, made headlines for its unique concept, architecture and offerings.
Museum of the Future 
Photo Courtesy: Museum of the Future
The grand structure of the building, easily visible from a distance, is one of the most talked about aspects of the museum. Like most buildings in Dubai, the structure is contemporary, unique, and very seamless, with no visible corners or columns poking through. The oval-shaped structure features inspirational quotes written in Urdu by His Highness, Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum.
A complete white-washed lobby gives you the instant sense of stepping into a futuristic-themed space, with a robotic dog and a flying penguin strutting about. Word of advice, the lines can be seemingly endless, which is why visiting early in the morning is key to getting a speedy, more fruitful experience.
As seamless on the outside, the interiors of the museum have a well-structured format with seven storeys, five of which are divided into experience zones with unique, immersive experiences. The zones are carefully curated to cover the future of space travel and living, climate change and ecology, health, wellness and spirituality.

The experience begins with a journey into space in the year 2071. A small elevator dressed as a space shuttle takes guests about 600 km above the earth providing glimpses of the moon and stars, and presents a scenario where the moon could be transformed into a source of renewable energy for the entire planet. As the doors of the space shuttle open, you are welcomed onto the space station. Here, the museum uses interactive installations that play with light, sound and shadows to depict a futuristic world that is driven by technology. 
The entirety of the Museum of the Future is commendable, but the Library of Life is perhaps the most enchanting space in the entire building. A mammoth installation, the library comprises genetic codes of as many as 2400 species housed in LED-lit glass tubes. The installation depicts an immersive ecological archive of our planet’s biodiversity that has all been laid to waste by the year 2071, thanks to the human’s inability to cope with the different ecosystems. The shifting lights of the many thousand specimens pose a truly immersive experience that in a wonderful way serves as a wake-up call for humans in the present day to take action in order to preserve our ecosystem.
Museum of the Future 
Photo Courtesy: Museum of the Future
The final experience zone is a sanctuary that encourages guests to disconnect from technology and reconnect with their mind, body, and spirit. There are different sections that cater to different experiential zones where visitors can immerse themselves in vibrations that rebalance electromagnetic fields and restore natural rhythms or gaze beneath a dome of light and water, place the present on pause and imagine what could be. A complete contrast to this section is the topmost floor where it’s everything technology. From a humanoid robot to futuristic cars, gadgets and even a Robodog with 3-D vision.
Museum of the Future 
Photo Courtesy: Museum of the Future
If you visit the museum, you have to go onto the terrace. Quite a thrilling experience, the terrace gives you a close-up view of the oval structure and a spectacular view of the city, if you aren’t terribly afraid of heights!
Address: 67CP+H4Q, Sheikh Zayed Rd, Trade Centre, Trade Centre 2, Dubai
La Perle by Dragone
This was by far one of the most impressive details in my itinerary. Theatric enthusiast or not, the La Perle by Dragone play will teach you to appreciate the beauty of theatre and the talent and effort put in by every single member of the crew.
La Perle by Dragone
Photo Courtesy: La Perle by Dragone
A novel, aqua theatre, the La Perle theatre showcases the UAE’s first permanent live show in a massive 1,300 seater auditorium. Now while the size of the theatre may leave you in shock, it’s not the only detail to do so. A theatre of wonders, La Perle is a purpose-built theatre with a humongous 8-meter deep swimming pool. The beauty of the pool is that it holds approximately one million litres of water that can flood the stage and then drain away in a matter of seconds.
At the centre of it, is a brilliant, professional crew of 65 artists from across the world performing remarkable feats such as aerial acrobatics, death-defying dives and unbelievable motorcycle tricks to name a few. The story of La Perle was created by legendary director Franco Dragone, who is known for performances like The House of Dancing Water in Macau and Le Reve in Las Vegas.

 

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The 90-minute play regales the story of UAE’s pearl diving history and combines immersive performances with striking imagery and advanced technology to create an unrivalled experience.
Address: Al Habtoor City, 260 Sheikh Zayed Rd, Dubai
Day 3 – Theatre of Digital Arts (ToDA)
Art has always been given a significant spot in Dubai’s culture. While La Perle focused on artistry in the form of live performances, the Theatre of Digital Arts or ToDA, shines a light on the brilliant ideation and execution of digital art.
Theatre of Digital Arts (ToDA)
Photo Courtesy: Theatre of Digital Arts (ToDA)
The Theatre of Digital Art opened back in 2019 and has since become a groundbreaking cultural institution that marries art and technology in a captivating and immersive way. Located inside the traditional Souk Madinat Jumeirah, ToDA represents the convergence of digital art, multimedia technology, and human emotion, making it a significant landmark in the city’s cultural landscape. It serves as a medium for the different forms of digital art, be it immersive installations, interactive media exhibitions, VR and NFT films and artworks etc. The theatre, spread across 1,800 sq metres is divided into different sections, each catering to a unique form of digital art – traditional and classical art exhibitions, a contemporary digital art zone, hands-on exhibits for children, and a virtual reality area.
Theatre of Digital Arts (ToDA)
Photo Courtesy: Theatre of Digital Arts (ToDA)
A multi-sensory experience, ToDA transports visitors into a world of art, sound, and scent through its state-of-the-art dome-shaped venue. It uses cutting-edge technology to provide a level of immersion that is rarely seen in traditional art spaces. The digital art exhibitions held at ToDA are truly noteworthy with a dynamic range showcasing the work of both established and emerging artists. It provides a space for artists to push the boundaries of their creativity and engage with a broader audience.
ToDA’s immersive format makes art more accessible to a wider audience, including those who might not typically engage with traditional art forms. It appeals to tech-savvy generations and creates an inclusive environment for art appreciation. Dubai is known for its cultural diversity, and ToDA embraces this by featuring art from various cultures and backgrounds. It serves as a hub for cross-cultural dialogue and exchange of artistic ideas.
Theatre of Digital Arts (ToDA)
Photo Courtesy: Theatre of Digital Arts (ToDA)
Put simply, ToDA has carved a niche for itself for its ability to redefine how art is experienced, appreciated, and shared in the digital age. It’s a testament to Dubai’s commitment to fostering creativity and innovation, while also serving as a bridge between cultures through the universal language of art.
Address: Souk Madinat Jumeirah Dubai – United Arab Emirates
Ski Dubai
If you’re visiting Dubai during summer, then Ski Dubai is quite the relief from the scorching heat. The desert city’s very own indoor ski resort is a favourite among locals and tourists for its chill ambience and fun experiences. According to the locals, Ski Dubai changes its indoor experiences every couple of months. So if you have visited Ski Dubai on any of your earlier trips, you’ll always have something new to explore.
Ski Dubai
Photo Courtesy: Ski Dubai
At the entrance, much before you get into the ski zone, visitors have to collect their gear – ski suit, shoes, socks, and gloves. The resort does not provide any hats, so if you do get cold easily, be sure to carry a beanie or ear warmer. The cold temperature hits as soon as you walk in the doors, a chilling -4 degrees Celcius to be specific.
Ski Dubai
Photo Courtesy: Ski Dubai
The resort is spread across a massive 22,500 square meters. During my visit, the resort was designed with impressive real-life features such as cosy chalets, towers connected by a bridge, an indoor mountain, multiple ski slopes, zip lines, a snow cavern, a Twin Track Bobsled, the world’s first indoor black diamond run, and a Snow Park play area among other wonders.
Ski Dubai
Photo Courtesy: Ski Dubai
We began our snowy experience with a chairlift ride, which may look fun and friendly, but is a long, scary, thrill ride especially if you’re afraid of heights. The Twin Track Bobsled was my favourite ride at the resort, and a must if you’re visiting with friends or even alone. But be sure to close your eyes to avoid a snowy wind rush in your eyes.
Address: Sheikh Zayed Rd, Al Barsha, Al Barsha 1, Dubai
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Schenelle Dsouza

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