Dubai is a city that has been transformed over the years to become a larger than life, attracting visitors from around the globe. People visit Dubai not only experience the many attractions and unique adventures on offer, but to take that Insta-worthy selfies at some of her most amazing landmarks.
Dubai Miracle Garden
Flower power comes alive at this 72,000 sq m space. From mid-November to mid-May, around 150 million flowers are arranged in awe-inspiring shapes and patterns – think installations such as a 12m-high teddy bear and a 15-m working clock and an ornate castle featuring a dining facility.
Your money shot: Disney fans should head to Disney Avenue where a giant Mickey Mouse, made out of almost 100,000 flowers and plants, awaits.
Celebs spotted here: John Cena, Lindsey Lohan and Erica Fernandes
Burj Al Arab Jumeirah
Said to be the world’s most luxurious hotel (it’s even located on its own island), this iconic sail-shaped building is is a must as an Instagram backdrop. Just how posh are the deluxe suites? Every suite comes with a dedicated butler, a 14-item pillow menu, a bathroom stocked with Hermes toiletries and featuring a jacuzzi.
Your money shot: Umm Suqeim Beach, located nearby, offers a bird’s eye view of Burj Al Arab Jumeirah. Plus, the hotel even has a library, so you can loan a couple of reads for your sunbathing session. The beach is also one of the few ones in Dubai where night swimming is permitted.
Celebs spotted here: George Clooney, Selena Gomez, Kendall Jenner
La Mer’s Street Art
While most flock to this popular beachfront cove for its shopping, dining and entertainment facilities, those in the know come here for the hipster street art which gives La Mer its “open air canvas” nickname. The vibrant, eclectic graffiti-style murals provide the best backdrops for your #ootd.
Your money shot: Make your followers go wild over the 3D mural artworks.
Celebs spotted here: Lionel Messi
The Lost Chambers Aquarium at Atlantis, The Palm
The Lost City of Atlantis is resurrected here in the form of Dubai’s largest aquarium, home to more than 65,000 marine animals including sharks and stingrays spread out over 21 exhibits.
Your money shot: While everyone else is trying to jostle for a clear shot of a manta ray, here’s a little-known secret: sign up for the Hatha yoga class which takes place in The Lost Chambers Aquarium itself.
Celebs spotted here: Steve Aoki and Mischa Barton
Al Fahidi Historical Neighbourhood
Take a trip back into 19th Century, pre-skyscraper Dubai at this heritage site of winding streets and traditional courtyard houses.. Today, the historic buildings =house more modern-day pursuits such as museums, cultural centres, art societies and Insta-worthy cafes such as Make Art Café, Arabian Tea House, and XVA Cafe.
Your money shot: Some of the old courtyard houses have now been restored and converted into art galleries. Also get your #cantlivewithoutcoffee picture at the Coffee Museum.
If you want to see Dubai in a nutshell, visit this sprawling resort which was built to resemble a typical Arabian town. Madinat Jumeriah has its own 2km-long beach as well as a 5km-long river system with a fleet of traditional abras. Along the way, expect a myriad facilities including hotels, summer houses, restaurants and nightspots.
Your money shot: This mini city even has its own souk, a labyrinth of traditional Middle Eastern shops selling oud fragrances, jewellery and textiles.
Celebs spotted here: Petra Kvitova and KarolínaKurková
At 828m tall (read: 160 floors), the Burj Khalifa, easily identified by its sleek needle-shaped structure, is famous for being the location where Tom Cruise filmed a death-defying scene for Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol in 2010. It also houses the Armani Hotel Dubai, the Armani Residences, the Burj Club and the fine-dining restaurant At.Mosphere on level 122.
Your money shot: The Burj Khalifa has observation decks, with the highest one at 555m above ground. But if you want a shot of the building in the backdrop, one of your best bets is to take it from the Palace Downtown Dubai.
Celebs spotted here: Ben Yeo, Eva Longoria and John Travolta
The Dubai desert
There is so much to do in the expansive Dubai Desert. Just ask celebrities such as Justin Bieber, Kate Hudson and Kim Kardashian who have gone quad biking, tried camel rides and posed with falcons.
Your money shot: Enjoy a bird’s eye view of rolling sand dunes, the rising sun, herds of camels and more from your own hot air balloon. Some rides include breakfast at an authentic Bedouin camp. Hint: hot air balloon rides usually start with pick-ups as early as 5am so set multiple alarms if you have to.
Celebs spotted here: Justin Bieber, Gwen Stefani and Zac Efron
Flamingo Room by Tasha’s
This highly Instagramable restaurant is all decked out in hip millennial pink –’70s style – and serves burgers, pastas and African-influenced fare such as peri peri chicken.
Your money shot: Foodies, look out for the quirky flamingo-stamped butter. Also worth shooting: the flower-like sculptural ceiling lights that are an abstract interpretation of the African baobab tree by South African artist Mike Hyam. If it’s a quiet night (hardly the case at this popular haunt), try to sneak in a picture at the photogenic bar counter. You can also consider visiting in the day to capture the Arabian Gulf – the restaurant overlooks it.
Celebs spotted here: Ola Farahat and Ryan Giggs
Go café hopping
Every budding Instagrammer knows how important it is to have café posts. And Dubai is full of the prettiest, coolest cafes including Jolie Café, Culinary Boutique and Society Cafe.
Your money shot: Photography ideas abound at the two-storey villa, Tania’s Teahouse, which features a candy-pastels colour theme. The city’s fashion blogger crowd pops by here for the made-for-social-media dishes including the intriguingly named Mermaid Toast (with rainbow cream cheese swirls), the Red Velvet pancakes and the latte art. Drinks here come with cute names like “Cat-purr-ccino” and “Don’t Chai This At Home”. The café also has its own line of cool merchandise such as tea-infused lip balms.
Can't get enough of these hotspots? Visit Tourism Dubai for more options.