Why Go? With its world-class everything, Dubai is the ultimate destination for the groom-to-be who wants the best of everything in life and leisure.
Best Ideas: Go skydiving and skiing in the middle of the desert during the day, take in the nightlife at Zero Gravity after sunset, and do brunch at Saffron to recover the next day.
Good to Know: No matter how high-tech and Western Dubai often seems, it’s still a devoutly Muslim country with strict laws. Know what the laws are and don’t run afoul of them — possibly the worst way to end any bachelor party is with a prison sentence in a Middle Eastern country. You’ll only drink inside hotels, and should stock up on booze at duty-free at the airport when you land.
Massive, shiny hotels rise from the middle of a barren desert, but this isn’t Las Vegas. Tourists sun on vast beaches every day of the year, but this isn’t Miami Beach. A bottle service tab could cost more than you spent on a semester of college tuition, but this isn’t Manhattan.
You wouldn’t leave the United States if you wanted a typical bachelor party. Dubai has a lot of what you’d want, but it’s what you can’t get elsewhere that you came here for. You can skydive over a three-mile wide, man-made, palm-shaped island; gaze out from the top of the tallest building in the world; lounge on the white sand of a spotless beach; ski down slopes with actual snow; and smoke shisha among remote sand dunes — all in the same day.
Of course, you’ll want to spread out these activities, but the variety you find in Dubai is unmatched elsewhere in the world. A rager of a bachelor party this is not. Sure, you could drop a fortune getting drunk at clubs, but there are cities reachable by quicker flights for that. You want to find a healthy balance — and while you’re at it, stick around a few days. You didn’t come all the way to the Middle East for a weekend.
In This Article
Travel & Essentials for a Dubai Bachelor Party
A bachelor party in Dubai is quite the commitment. Any way you swing it, it takes lots of time and costs plenty of money. Even if you’re coming from a city with direct flights like New York, D.C., Chicago, San Francisco or L.A., you’ll still spend 12 to 16 hours each way in flight. Schedule this as an extra long weekend — as in a Wednesday-to-Tuesday weekend that isn’t even a weekend anymore. You don’t want to miss Dubai’s actual weekend (Thursday night through Saturday), and calling it a long weekend sounds better than a week when your buddies have to clear it with their other halves.
There is one thing that everyone in your party needs to be clear about before you go: The United Arab Emirates is Muslim country with ultraconservative laws. If any of your friends step out of line, they will get thrown in jail — likely for long enough to miss their flight home. What constitutes stepping out of line? Drinking alcohol outside of a licensed establishment. Public intoxication. Public displays of affection. Using profanity. Any anti-UAE statements on social media or verbally within the country, including mocking these UAE laws. It may sound very Big Brother, but you really never know who’s watching or listening. Freedoms and civil liberties that we take for granted in the USA don’t apply in the UAE. That said, don’t be intimidated. It’s perfectly possible to have a bachelor party free from debauchery. Respect the laws of the land and the Emirati people will welcome you with a smile.
Travel within Dubai is incredibly easy, efficient, and cheap. The metro runs from the airport parallel to the coast and reaches most of the city. A new tram also connects the busy areas of the Dubai Marina, Palm Jumeirah, and Dubai Media City. Buses are spotlessly clean and air-conditioned. Even taxis are crazy cheap thanks to low gas prices. Uber operates here, as does another rideshare app popular in the Middle East, Careem, but rates are actually slightly higher than taxis. One caveat, though, is that Uber uses a flat rate, so it’s cheaper during rush hour. Overall best answer? Get a taxi if it’s not rush hour, especially if there are several of you. During rush hour, take the metro or tram if convenient, otherwise order an Uber.
Summers get hot in the UAE, with average high temperatures from May through September in the triple digits. Don’t come during these months. Winter sees perfect beach weather but not much empty space on those beaches, especially during Christmastime and January’s Dubai Shopping Festival. You also want to avoid Ramadan, which varies every year, as it corresponds to the lunar calendar. During this month, Muslims fast and generally rest from sunrise to sunset so you’ll see much more limited business hours during the day, especially at bars and restaurants. The nightlife scene is also quite subdued. Shoulder season is when you want to be here, as October, November, March, and April are the only months where both the weather and the crowds will be bearable.
Pros and Cons of a Bachelor Party in Dubai
- Wide range of adrenaline-fueled activities
- Almost everything is shiny and new
- Oversupply in lodging means reasonable rates
- Some of the best dining, lodging, and nightlife in the world (but at a cost)
- Expensive food
- Hefty taxes and big restrictions on alcohol
- Almost everything is upscale, so there are few budget and mid-range options
- Minimum 12-hour flight from the U.S.
- Never-ending, inescapable construction
Best Dubai Neighborhoods for a Bachelor Party
Dubai is a city unlike any other. Most neighborhoods listed here were a plot of sand or part of the Persian Gulf just decades ago. Every year, it seems the new hot area is under construction, as if the city were competing with itself.
These are the most popular of the many neighborhoods to make as your base in Dubai. Each one has ample lodging, dining, and nightlife.
Dubai MarinaDubai Marina - Dubai - United Arab Emirates
The famous skyline along this man-made marina is constantly seeing new additions. The waterfront is lined with outdoor cafes and dining. Hotels, high-rise apartments, restaurants, and clubs abound here, and Dubai Marina could act as its own ecosystem more than any other neighborhood. (Photo by @richiekane83)
Downtown DubaiDowntown Dubai - Dubai - United Arab Emirates
It’s impossible to miss Downtown Dubai. The Burj Khalifa is the obvious centerpiece, but it’s surrounded by a dizzying collection of upscale residences, hotels, and malls, which you are sure to get lost in trying to navigate on foot. Don’t miss the Dubai Fountain display in front of the Burj Khalifa, which makes the Bellagio Fountain in Vegas look like a garden sprinkler. (Photo by @visit.dubai)
Jumeirah Beach ResidenceJumeirah Beach Residence - Dubai - United Arab Emirates
The collection of residential buildings lines perhaps Dubai’s most popular beach, with all the shopping, dining, and hotels that come with a major urban development project. Be sure to grab a seat along the Walk one evening and watch the Emiratis slowly parade their Lamborghinis, Ferraris, McLarens, Bentleys, and Porsches through the waterfront before cycling back around to do it again. Outside of taxis, most cars passing in this nightly, unofficial car show retail above a quarter million dollars. Even the police drive Bugattis. (Photo by @placestovisitindubai)
The Palm JumeirahThe Palm Jumeirah - Dubai - United Arab Emirates
As much of a Dubai icon as any, the Palm is a series of man-made islands resembling a palm tree from above. Residences, shops, and restaurants line the branches, and at the top of the palm, the Atlantis Hotel stands like the lord of it all. (Photo by @dubai)
Deira (Dubai Creek)Dubai Creek - Dubai - United Arab Emirates
Across the creek from the modern-day madness lies the Dubai of old. What could now easily be lost in the shadows was the entirety of Dubai not long ago. Hop a boat across the creek and wander the markets to get a much more realistic glimpse into life for the average Emirati. To learn even more, check out the Dubai Museum. (Photo by @fluyrash)
Abu DhabiAbu Dhabi - United Arab Emirates
As incredible as Dubai is, in the UAE, it actually plays little brother to Abu Dhabi. The Emirate capital is 90 minutes from Dubai and highly recommended for a day trip. Ferrari World and Sheikh Zayed Mosque, despite operating at different speeds, are the main highlights. (Photo by @viajeroscallejeros)
Best Attractions and Activities in Dubai
Skydive DubaiAl Seyahi St - Dubai - United Arab Emirates
In nine years, skydiving in Dubai has gone from nonexistent to a world-class destination attracting the world’s elites (that’s kind of how Dubai rolls). You won’t have enough time to join a Guinness World Record-setting formation or get your wingsuit certification. Instead, go for the original classic that you can only find in Dubai, a tandem skydive over the Palm Jumeirah with unmatched views of Dubai’s epic skyline. Dubai prices apply, so the outing will run each of you $400 plus an extra $50 for photos and video. Do this in the beginning of your trip, before any big nights out. Your stomach will be churning enough — no need to battle a hangover, as well. (Photo by @skydivedubai)
Burj Khalifa1 Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Blvd - Dubai - United Arab Emirates
Back in 2010, when Chicago, Kuala Lumpur, and Taipei were arguing over fine print and stacking Lego blocks on top of their skyscrapers to claim the title of world’s tallest building, the Burj Khalifa came along and silenced everyone. Over 50% taller than its nearest competitor, the Burj Khalifa has held the crown, untested and undisputed, for nearly a decade (although currently suspended constructions in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, and another in Dubai are threatening its reign).
Naturally, a visit to the observation floors is a must (from $40). Early morning or late in the evening will see fairly thinner crowds, but entry usually sells out, so the tourists are inescapable. If any of the fellas complain that an observation deck isn’t exciting enough, book the $10 Mission 828 virtual reality experience, which simulates scaling the outside of the skyscraper then parachuting from the top to the lake below. Be sure to record the griper’s reactions and properly mock him after. (Photo by @burjkhalifa)
Ski DubaiSheikh Zayed Rd - Dubai - United Arab Emirates
If you thought it’d be impossible to ski or snowboard in the middle of a flat desert that rarely sees temperatures dip below 60 degrees Fahrenheit, you’ve learned nothing about Dubai so far. At the end of the Mall of Emirates, Ski Dubai features two parallel, quarter-mile-long runs with artificial snow. While it is an engineering marvel, the experience feels a bit gimmicky. But at a reasonable price, it’s a great way to escape the midday heat. The two-hour pass is $54, with all gear included, and that’s all the time you’ll need. But why stop at one indoor ski slope in the middle of desert? Keep an eye out for the three-quarter-mile-long ski slope expected to open at the Meydan One Mall in 2020. (Photo by @junglematt)
The Sheikh Mohammed Centre for Cultural UnderstandingAl Mussallah Rd - Dubai - United Arab Emirates
Nothing about the title of this place sounds like a bachelor party activity, but if you’ve come this far, you should be looking for experiences you can’t find in the cities you flew over to get here. The Sheikh Mohammed Centre for Cultural Understanding hosts breakfasts and lunches (from $20) on various days of the week where you’ll have a traditional Emirati meal and learn about Emirati and Arab culture and customs directly from the people themselves. The goal is to educate guests and remove cultural barriers. The food is delicious, the welcome is warm, and you’ll walk away with a better understanding of hundreds of millions of people. You may also get a few useful responses for that uncle next Thanksgiving. (Photo courtesy of the Sheikh Mohammed Centre for Cultural Understanding)
Desert SafariOffice Number 212, Second Floor, Office Court Building - Dubai - دبي - United Arab Emirates
While it’s hard to look away from the oasis of Dubai, massive sand dunes are calling in the distance. An evening desert safari may be the most popular outing in Dubai, mainly due to its relative affordability (from $50). The standard safari will pack you into a 4×4 and take you to the desert for “dune bashing,” which will test the limits of your motion sickness. Then you’ll be shuttled out to a large Bedouin tent for an included dinner, shisha, and belly dancing.
For the money, the evening is worthwhile, but it does have an assembly-line feel. Optional extras can alleviate that. The dunes are better experienced when you each ride your own ATVs for $50 more. Or you could opt for a private outing for your group from $100 per person more. There are seemingly as many tour operators as there are sand dunes. Book based on recommendations, not prices. For an adventure exclusive to your party, Dubai Private Tours is as highly rated as they come. (Photo by @dubaiprivatetour)
Ferrari World Abu DhabiYas Island - Yas Dr St - Abu Dhabi - United Arab Emirates
Pile into taxis for the 90-minute journey to Abu Dhabi, where you’ll find this Ferrari-themed amusement park and the fitting home to the world’s fastest roller coaster, Formula Rossa. Ferrari World isn’t just for gearheads. The coasters are no joke — be ready to make fun of whichever one of you loses his shit on Flying Aces. The park proudly boasts its title as the world’s largest indoor amusement park, but “indoor” is the key word here. While you’ll be mercifully protected from the heat, it’s a fraction of the size of a Six Flags park in the U.S. Regardless, it’s still one of the best adrenaline-pumping outings you can find in the UAE. Tickets are cheapest if you buy them beforehand from Klook ($67). Though the park is technically all ages, it lacks the kiddie vibe of a Disney or Six Flags park. The whole place feels as cool as, well, a Ferrari. (Photo by @ferrariworldabudhabi)
Expo 2020Dubai - United Arab Emirates
For 173 days from October 2020 to April 2021, representatives from 192 nations will come together for Expo 2020, an apolitical showcase that promises to “astonish the world.” The theme is “Connecting Minds, Creating the Future.” You’ll see everything from viable solutions to real-world problems to futuristic concepts that would boggle even a sci-fi mind. It’s not an overstatement to say there has never been a comparable event held in human history. If you can schedule your bachelor party during this event, the expo will be the central focus of your trip. Expect to have your minds blown — over and over and over again. (Photo courtesy of Expo 2020)
Best Hotels and Airbnbs in Dubai
The hotel boom over the past decade in Dubai has created a problem of oversupply in the city, which does help prices for your stay. The majority of hotels are four-star and above, but some rates are surprisingly doable.
When you crunch the numbers, a home or condo rental may be better value than the cumulative price of everyone in hotel rooms. Compared to other costs in Dubai, a large luxury home for the entire party is downright reasonable.
Burj Al Arab JumeirahJumeirah St - Dubai - United Arab Emirates
The most iconic hotel in Dubai — if not the world — Burj Al Arab Jumeirah stands proudly like a sail ready to launch into the Persian Gulf. As you can imagine, rooms rates at the self-proclaimed seven-star hotel are ridiculous, starting at $1,000 per night, even in the ungodly hot season, and go up to pretty much infinity. The hotel also maintains an ultra-exclusive appeal. You can’t even get to the island on which it resides without a room or restaurant reservation. If you absolutely must see this place in person, afternoon tea is the best option at $160 per person. You get a seven-course meal of scones, sandwiches, and desserts and Champagne is included, but still, it’s $160 for afternoon tea. Otherwise, a better speed for your bachelor party may be happy hour at neighboring 360º for excellent views of Burj Al Arab Jumeirah, or spending an afternoon on nearby Jumeirah Public Beach for free. (Photo by @burjalarab)
Jumeirah Creekside HotelRebat St - Dubai - United Arab Emirates
A five-star hotel without five-star prices. The incredibly spacious rooms at Jumeirah Creekside Hotel start at under $100 per night, and stays include access to Wild Wadi Waterpark. You won’t have to leave the grounds, though, for the pool vibe you and the fellas are looking for. The Cu-ba rooftop pool bar has chic Latin vibes and killer sunset views. Want a preview? Look up as you enter the lobby. The glass-bottom rooftop pool peers down into the lobby below. (Photo courtesy of Jumeirah Creekside Hotel)
Media One HotelPlot No.1 Al Falak St - Dubai - United Arab Emirates
With room possibilities like Hip Room, Cool Room, Calm Suite, and Chill Out Suite, at least you know they’re trying to be cool. Even if the names don’t entice you, the prices sure will, starting under $100 per night, even in high season. Beginning in late-April, as the temperature rises, room rates drop closer to $50 per night. But it gets better. Media One Hotel offers an all-inclusive package, starting at $120 per person if you’re sharing rooms. Make sure that includes a Friday night stay — the Feastival Friday and Smoke & Mirrors brunch are included in the rate. If your group likes its libations, this may be the best value you find in Dubai. (Photo courtesy of Media One Hotel)
Jumeirah RetreatPalm Jumeirah - Dubai - United Arab Emirates
Located on the famed Palm Jumeirah, this six-bedroom luxury Airbnb home with eight beds and six and a half baths has a private pool and beach entrance to the lagoon. The decor, with it’s zebra patterns and affinity for purple, will be, at the very least, a conversation piece. The best part about this place is the price. From $750 per night, everyone in the party can get his or her own bed and pay less than $100 per night. (Photo courtesy of Airbnb)
Burj Gate PenthouseBurj Gate Penthouse dubai
With stunning views of the skyline through the floor-to-ceiling windows, this four-bedroom, four-bath, five-bed, two-story condo starts at $545 per night. You’ll have to fight over the corner bedroom with the circular Austin Powers bed. The Downtown Dubai location puts you within walking distance of the Burj Khalifa and Dubai Fountain. You’ll also have access to the building gym to get your swole on before hitting the outdoor pool or nearby Jumeirah Public Beach. (Photo courtesy of Airbnb)
Best Restaurants in Dubai
World-class dining is plentiful in Dubai. It’s the mid-range or cheap eats that are tough to come by. Be sure to get reservations everywhere, especially with a group the size of a typical bachelor party.
If you thought brunch has gotten big in the U.S., wait until you see Dubai. Expats pull out all the stops on Friday afternoons for these all-inclusive affairs. Alcohol and full buffet is included in the set rate, but that won’t make it cheap.
It’s worth adding a reminder that even though an open-bar brunch seem as far from Dubai’s strict regulations on alcohol as you can get, laws do still apply, and intoxication is still technically illegal. As long as no one starts trouble and everyone is composed, no one will try to breathalyze your group. But it’s easy to forget where you are after a few drinks, and any rowdiness, especially after leaving, will land you in the slammer.
Saffron RestaurantGround Level, West Tower, Atlantis - Dubai - United Arab Emirates
Saffron Restaurant’s brunch is as iconic as the Atlantis hotel in which it happens, with 20 cooking stations, help-yourself bars, and 220 dishes to choose from. The resident DJ helps this meal progress into a dance party, making Saffron the original — and still premier — Dubai party brunch. Your biggest meal of the entire trip could well be a brunch.
Get your gang here at 12:30 p.m. sharp and come hungry. You have three and a half hours to make your $150 worthwhile — the lobster and sushi station can help with that. Dessert takes a page straight out of Willy Wonka’s Chocolate Factory and is impossible to miss. Be sure to help yourself to plenty of bubbly and mojitos along the way. By 2 p.m., the Jägermeister station is fair game. Once 4 p.m. hits, head to Daydream, Saffron’s after-brunch party with a two-for-one happy hour to keep the party rolling. This is Friday in Dubai, after all. (Photo by @saffronbrunch)
Double Decker PubRoda Al Murooj Hotel - Al Safa St - Dubai - United Arab Emirates
$70 for brunch doesn’t normally sound reasonable unless it’s listed just below Saffron. “Funch” at the Double Decker Pub is another staple on the Dubai brunch scene. The British pub serves a full selection of pub food and house beverages for four hours, accompanied by plenty of bar games. By Dubai prices, you will all easily get your money’s worth. (Photo courtesy of the Double Decker Pub.)
Prime68 Steakhouse68th - فندق جي دبليو ماريوت ماركيز دبي - شارع الشيخ زايد - دبي - United Arab Emirates
Dubai has no shortage of options for your obligatory bachelor party steakhouse outing, but go with Prime68. Prices are steep, so take advantage of the early bird menu available from 6 p.m. to 7 p.m. Your three-course meal could be a meatball appetizer, 200-gram tenderloin steak, and New York cheesecake dessert for $54, an absolute steal at what really is one of the finest steakhouses on the planet. If you want drinks, though, two craft cocktails and a carafe of wine will run you another $54. There is no extra charge, however, for the panoramic sunset views from the 68th story of the JW Marriott Marquis Hotel. (Photo by @jwmarriottmarquisdubai)
Bu Qtair RestaurantOld 32B Street, Fishing Harbour 2 - Dubai - United Arab Emirates
Bu Qtair is the best budget option for food in town. Queue up at this refreshingly basic outdoor seafood joint and choose between shrimp and fish, then grab a table along Jumeirah Beach and wait for your meal to come out, with sides. From $10 a head, this fresh, tasty seafood will give your wallets a much-needed break. (Photo by @buqtair)
Life’n OneJumeirah Beach Road, 27B Street, Villa 5/1B Jumeirah 1 - Postcode: 413752 - دبي - United Arab Emirates
You may feel as if you’re entering Bali when you walk into the Life’n One Wellness Center. The menu of the cafe is vegan, cane sugar-free, gluten-free, and soy-free. What’s left, you ask? A whole bunch of deliciousness that you never thought could be this healthy. Try the Vurger and don’t skip the Snickers Pie dessert. There is also a long smoothie menu. Come here when you need a mid-week detox or reset. Maybe even join a yoga class. (Photo by @lifenone)
Al Reef Lebanese BakeryAl Wasl Road,Jumeirah - Dubai - United Arab Emirates
This 24-hour joint in Jumeirah serves quick, cheap, carb-heavy food perfect for soaking up that alcohol from a big night out. The manakish — flatbread topped with cheese, sausage, and spices — is legendary. (Photo by @dear_juha)
Best Bars and Clubs in Dubai
Dubai law states that only hotels are allowed to serve alcohol. This means that all bars and clubs are located within a hotel and tend to be relatively upscale. There are no cheap dive bars here. Alcohol is heavily taxed, so a $25 cocktail is pretty standard. Most clubs won’t let you in with jeans, T-shirts, or shorts — no matter how bad the heat is.
With food and drink prices what they are, happy hour becomes an important part of scheduling. Dismiss what you already think of happy hour — there are no dingy bars serving $2 rail drinks for 60 minutes every afternoon. Instead, classy establishments offer discounts of 25% to 50% off food and/or drinks at surprisingly convenient times, bringing prices almost to a reasonable level. Many expats carefully plan their meals and social calendars around these happy hours.
Dubai Duty FreeAirport Terminal 1 - دبي - United Arab Emirates
While it may not be a club, the Duty Free shop in Dubai International Airport will supply the majority of your alcohol. Make sure every guy in your group stops by on his way into the country and buys the maximum four bottles of alcohol. Booze prices are reasonable here and nowhere else in the city. (Photo by @nsunith)
Zero GravityDubai Marina, Skydive Dubai Drop Zone - King Salman Bin Abdulaziz Al Saud St - Dubai - United Arab Emirates
Zero Gravity is the epitome of the Dubai club scene. A wide, glass-front swimming pool looks out over an expansive beach dotted with loungers and transitions seamlessly into a mood-lit open-air beach club at night — maybe that’s because the DJs never stop spinning. The accompanying two-tier restaurant and terraces ensure your crew can stay and play all day. (Photo courtesy of Zero Gravity)
WHITE DubaiMeydan Racecourse Grandstand Rooftop - Dubai - United Arab Emirates
What Zero Gravity is to beaches, WHITE Dubai is to rooftops. Atop the Meydan Racecourse Grandstand, this is the biggest and clubbiest of Dubai clubs. If you absolutely want to be part of the scene, this is your spot. The Dubai skyline backdrop is stunning, but most people don’t even notice it. If a big-name DJ is in town, chances are you’ll find them on the decks here. Doors open at 10 p.m., but don’t show up too much later or it’ll be packed. Oh, and you’d better look good. (Photo courtesy of WHITE Dubai)
Buddha BarGrosvenor House Dubai - Al Emreef St - Dubai - United Arab Emirates
An imposing Buddha statue looms over the dining hall, which features two-story bay windows and dazzling views of Dubai Marina. Grab a bite from the refined Asian menu before heading upstairs to Dragon Bar for sophisticated cocktails. You pay for opulence, but the ambience is as memorable as any in Dubai. Don’t miss Thursday nights, when aerialists drop from the ceiling at 9:30 p.m. and again at 10:30 p.m. (Photo courtesy of Buddha Bar)
Lucky VoiceGrand Millennium Hotel, 6th Floor - Hessa St - Dubai - United Arab Emirates
Come to Lucky Voice for the happy hour with two-for-one drinks and pizza. The hours are generous — 2 p.m. to 8 p.m. Monday to Thursday; 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. Friday; and 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. The feel is Tokyo nightlife, partly from the neon lights and partly from the karaoke pods available for rent. If anyone from your crew has any pipes, put them on display here during ladies night every Saturday. (Photo by @luckyvoicedubai)
As you may have guessed by now, there are no strip clubs in Dubai. The closest you’ll get is catching another tourist in a two-piece on Jumeirah Beach. You’ll have to travel many, many miles from here to get a lap dance.
We’ve barely scratched the surface of the possibilities in Dubai. And with the rate of development, the city may look different now than it did when you started reading this guide. But if you’re looking to go all out for your bachelor party, pick the city that goes all out for everything.