This is a short one. I had a 12 hour layover in Dubai in February 2014 leaving Yemen and heading to the Maldives.
I landed in the early afternoon. The only two things on my agenda was to go see the Burj Khalifa and to go snowboarding at Ski Dubai. A friend from high school who went into the military after graduation had messaged me prior to me leaving and saying that the gold souk was worth a look. He spent some time in Dubai while stationed in Iraq.
I pretty quickly went through customs and passport control. Passport control is all done on machines there now, so it goes pretty fast.
I followed the signs to get to the Dubai RTA metro in order to get to my first stop: the Burj Khalifa. The Burj Khalifa is the tallest building in the world.
It comes in at 2722 feet tall. You get off the RTA metro at Burj Khalifa/Dubai Mall. It's pretty obvious when you see it. So what I didn't know (which isn't a big deal) is that you have to make a reservation and pay to go up in it. I was content just seeing. It's a place I'm sure I'll end up back at.
To get to Ski Dubai you take the RTA Metro to the Mall of the Emirates. So Ski Dubai can be seen from inside the mall. There's big glass windows that separate it from the mall, so people can sit and watch you while shopping. Most futuristic shit I've ever seen.
It actually was a pretty good deal to snowboard there. The fee includes all your rental gear- board, jacket, snow pants and a helmet. The charges was $50 USD, but they did a percentage off if you paid with a Visa card (I don't remember the percentage) and then you do get money back when you return the scan card. It ended up costing me a little over $30 to snowboard for 2 hours.
2 hours is more than enough time for Ski Dubai. It is small, considering that it's inside a giant refrigerator. If you know how to ski or ride you get bored fairly fast. I ended up hitting the terrain park over and over. Until I wrecked so hard on a rail that peed a little in leggings.
After Ski Dubai I did have some time left over, so I did end up going over to the gold soul to have a look and grab some food. It's definitely a crazy bustling place.
I do plan to eventually come back to the Unites Arab Emirates one day to see what more it has to offer.