Day One

  • Bur Dubai

Start with a Cultural Breakfast at the Sheikh Mohammed Centre for Cultural Understanding for a rare chance to meet locals and eat home-cooked Emirati food. Delve further into local culture and history with a spin around the Al Fahidi Historic District, dipping in and out of the various small museums and shops before finishing up at the nearby Dubai Museum.

Enjoy the short stroll to the breezy Bur Dubai Souq via the atmospheric Hindi Lane and then catch an abra (traditional wooden boat) across the Dubai Creek to forage for bargains in the bustling Deira souqs. Before plunging into the beehive of activity, take a walk along the waterfront to snap photographs of the colourful dhows (cargo boats). Grab a juice from Jafer Binam Ali Cafeteria before sniffing exotic potions in the Spice Souq and squinting at dazzling jewellery in the Gold Souq.

After dinner, take a taxi to QDs and wind down with a drink or a shisha while counting the twinkling lights of the Dubai skyline across the Creek.

Day Two

  • Jumeirah

Kick off day two with a guided tour of the stunning Jumeirah Mosque and then cab it down the coast towards the iconic Burj Al Arab and explore the charming Madinat Jumeirah village, perhaps stocking up on camel toys and pashminas at its faux souq or taking an abra ride around its network of canals past Arabian-style hotels and lush gardens.

It’s the hottest part of the day so make a beeline for the Dubai Mall and visit the watery wonderland of the Aquarium before giving your credit cards a workout. Watch the sun set from the lofty observation terrace of the Burj Khalifa (book way ahead) and then see where you've just been during al fresco happy-hour drinks at Treehouse.

  • Dinner Marvel at the Dubai Fountain during a meal at Baker & Spice.
  • Downtown Dubai

Wrap up the day with a nightcap at Bridgewater Tavern with views of the Dubai Canal, or get your freak on dancing up a storm at deliciously wacky Cirque Le Soir.

Day Three

  • Downtown Dubai

Pack your beach gear and then greet the day with strong coffee and a healthy breakfast at Nightjar Coffee, before perusing the latest in Middle Eastern art on a gallery hop around the Alserkal Avenue creative campus. Be sure to drop by Mirzam chocolate factory. Call an Uber and head to trendy Kite Beach for lunch.

  • Lunch See what the fuss about Salt's Wagyu burgers is all about.
  • Dubai Marina & Palm Jumeirah

Cab it south to the Palm Gateway station and take the monorail to enjoy fabulous panoramic views en route to the tip of the palm. Take time to ogle at the massive Atlantis resort and then swing by Gordon Ramsey's Bread Street Kitchen for a glass of ale or cuppa before the return trip back. Hop in a taxi to Dubai Marina Mall for dinner at Pier 7.

  • Dinner Take in glittering marina views over progressive Asian at Asia Asia.
  • Dubai Marina & Palm Jumeirah

Follow up with a digestive stroll along the Dubai Marina waterfront past bobbing yachts and glittering futuristic high-rises, perhaps stopping for a nightcap and more breathtaking views at the Observatory or Atelier M.

Day Four

  • Desert

If you're sated by Dubai's velocity, it's time to sample desert serenity. Numerous companies offer safaris, tours and experiences like dune-bashing and sand-surfing. If you want a more authentic trip, try the Bedouin Life, Falconry and Wildlife Drive with Platinum Heritage Tours. It includes a camel ride, not in a circle, but to a Bedouin camp where you can chat with Bedouin over breakfast and meet their hunting dogs and falcons. You'll be back in town around noon.

  • Lunch For a simple but delicious shrimp or fish feast, head to legendary Bu Qtair.
  • City of Arabia

One of Dubai's latest ambitions is to position itself as the theme park of capital in the Middle East. One of the four parks that opened in recent years is IMG Worlds of Adventures, the world's largest indoor theme park. It's filled with fun and thrilling rides, simulators, coasters and even a hair-raising haunted house. An afternoon spent here passes in no time.

  • Dinner Head to The Walk at JBR for scrumptious Italian fare al fresco at BiCE.
  • Dubai Marina & Palm Jumeirah

Wrap up the day with an ice cream at The Beach or head straight to Smoky Beach to puff languidly on a shisha.