Dubai's remarkable skyscrapers shown from a boat during sunset / places like Dubai

11 Places like Dubai to Consider Visiting

In the last many years, there’s been a fascination with Dubai, the skyscrapers, indoor skiing facilitates, over-the-top hotels, and ultra-fine dining restaurants.

But if you’ve been to Dubai, perhaps you’d like to go somewhere else, or maybe you’re looking for places like Dubai but cheaper!

Let’s explore the top 11 places similar to Dubai you should consider visiting. But before that, here’s a little more on why Dubai has become at the top of many people’s travel bucket list!

Dubai has gained significant fascination for several reasons. It’s known for its impressive architectural and engineering achievements, such as the Burj Khalifa, the world’s tallest building.

several impressive architectural building along Dubai's main city road at sunset

The city is also renowned for its luxurious lifestyle, extravagant shopping malls, and high-end hotels. Making it a playground for the rich and wealthy.

Additionally, Dubai has positioned itself as a global business hub, attracting investors and entrepreneurs from around the world. Its no income tax policy has gained quite a traction.

Overall, Dubai’s combination of modernity, world exposure, and cosmopolitanism has captivated the interest and imagination of many people.

With its development over the years, the city has captured the vision of other up-and-coming cities in the world that wish to replicate Dubai’s success.

Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates

Abu Dhabi's dense skyscraper area in the city from the beach

Abu Dhabi is the capital city of the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and shares similarities with Dubai in terms of luxury, modern infrastructure, and a thriving business environment.

It is known for its impressive architecture, luxurious accommodations, and a focus on becoming a global business and cultural hub.

With its stunning skyline and world-class museums, Abu Dhabi has experienced rapid growth and development. It is a major international city, attracting tourists and investors alike.

Abu Dhabi also boasts world-class museums and cultural attractions that highlight the rich heritage of the region, such as The Louvre Abu Dhabi and The Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque.

Beyond its business and cultural aspects, Abu Dhabi offers a luxurious lifestyle similar to Dubai and a wide range of recreational activities. The city is home to numerous upscale shopping malls and restaurants.

The Corniche, a picturesque waterfront promenade, offers stunning views of the city’s skyline and is a popular spot for leisurely walks by the water.

Doha, Qatar

aerial views of the dense skyscrapers in Doha, Qater

Doha is slowly but surely emerging as Dubai’s biggest competition regarding must-visit cities in this region of the world. Located in the Arabian Gulf, Doha is known for its impressive skyline, world-class museums, and thriving economy.

One of the defining attributes of Doha is its striking modern skyline. The cityscape is dominated by iconic structures such as the West Bay and the renowned Museum of Islamic Art. Dona’s skyline is becoming one of the most captivating city skylines in the world.

Doha is also known for its luxurious accommodations, world-class shopping malls, and stunning waterfront promenades. The city offers a wide range of recreational activities for visitors, including desert safaris, water sports, and other unique entertainment options.

In recent years, Doha has gained international attention as it hosted major sporting events such as the 2006 Asian Games, the 2011 Pan Arab Games, the 2019 World Athletics Championships, and the 2022 FIFA World Cup.


views of the main bridge and famous hotel Marina Bay Sands in Singapore

Singapore is a small island nation located in Southeast Asia, and it’s world-famous for its modern cosmopolitan city that seamlessly blends tradition with innovation.

Known for its efficient infrastructure, cleanliness, and cultural diversity, Singapore is a leader in global finance and is a popular tourist destination.

The Marina Bay Sands Hotel is the most famous piece of architecture in the city, with its distinct rooftop infinity pool. Singapore has a rather impressive skyline with plenty of futuristic skyscrapers.

Singapore offers a wide variety of attractions and entertainment options, from luxury shopping along Orchard Road to impressive museums and vibrant street markets in Chinatown and Little India. The city is also ranked as one of the best food cities in the world!

Despite its small size, Singapore is home to several cultures and ethnicities. The city’s multiculturalism is celebrated through its diverse culinary scene and neighborhoods. From Chinese to Indian, Malay, and more.

What makes Singapore stand out even more compared to other famous cities in the world is its commitment to green spaces within the city, which is evident in its numerous parks and gardens. The Singapore Botanic Gardens is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Hong Kong, China

aerial views of the densely skyscrapers along Hong Kong's skyline viewed from Victoria Park

Hong Kong is a dynamic city located on the southeastern coast of China. Known for its impressive dense skyline, vibrant culture, and bustling economy. Hong Kong is a global city and one of the most sought-after cities for tourists to visit.

The city is well-known for its efficient transportation system, including its modern subway network, iconic double-decker trams, and ferries. Hong Kong’s diverse culinary scene is also renowned, offering a wide variety of delicious cuisines from all over the world.

Hong Kong also boasts charming natural landscapes featuring country parks, hiking trails, and stunning beaches. Visitors can escape the bustling city and enjoy themselves in a tranquil natural atmosphere easily.

For shoppers, Hong Kong is a shoppers’ paradise, with numerous shopping districts and malls offering everything from high-end luxury brands to bargain markets. Popular shopping areas include Causeway Bay, Tsim Sha Tsui, and Mong Kok.

Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

the world famous Petronas Towers lit up bright in the night

Kuala Lumpur, often referred to as KL, is the capital city of Malaysia. It’s a vibrant and cosmopolitan metropolis that showcases a mix of modernity and rich cultural heritage.

The city is known for its impressive architecture, many iconic landmarks, and diverse culinary scene.

Most recognized are the famous Petronas Twin Towers, once the tallest buildings in the world. The surrounding KLCC Park is a popular recreational spot and a great place to relax amidst the urban hustle and bustle.

Kuala Lumpur is a city where different cultures are embedded with one another, with a diverse population consisting of Malay, Chinese, Indian, Arabic, and other ethnic groups.

This multiculturalism is evident in the city’s culinary scene, offering a vast array of flavors and dishes. Whether you prefer street food stalls or fancy restaurants, Kuala Lumpur has something to satisfy every palate.

Popular sites to visit in Kuala Lumpur are the Petronas Towers, Petaling Street, Jalan Alor Market, Merdeka Square, the Islamic Art Museum, and many more. The city’s most famous attraction is located slightly outside the city, The Batu Caves, a series of limestone caves and Hindu shrines.

Like many large cities, KL also offers a range of shopping experiences, from bustling street markets to luxury malls, and its transportation system is quite impressive as well.

Shanghai, China

views of the Shanghai skyline along the water at sunset

Shanghai, China, is a thriving and lively city that acts as both a global financial hub and a significant cultural destination.

Renowned for its impressive skyscrapers, historic sites, and diverse cultural heritage, Shanghai seamlessly combines modernity with tradition, creating a distinctive and captivating atmosphere.

Popular sites in Shanghai to visit are the Shanghai Tower, one of the tallest buildings in the world, and The Bund, a waterfront promenade along the Huangpu River, which showcases a stunning contrast between colonial-era buildings and futuristic skyscrapers.

The city is one of China’s strongest financial hubs and boasts many historical and cultural attractions for tourists. The Yuyuan Garden is a classical Chinese garden, a beautiful urban landscape amongst the city.

While Shangai’s population is mostly Chinese, the city’s culinary scene is diverse and renowned for its delicious cuisine. From a wide variety of traditional Shanghainese dishes to international cuisine, the city offers a wide range of fine dining options. The city also has a vibrant street food scene.

Shanghai has become a bit of a luxury playground for many well-off Chinese; its shopping districts and malls are over the top. The city’s transportation is highly efficient, offering ease between the city center and airports.

Seoul, Korea

the stunning pond at the Gyeongbokgung Palace in Seoul, Korea on a beautiful Fall afternoon

Known for its cutting-edge technology, K-pop music, and delicious cuisine, Seoul has become a popular destination for travelers from around the world. For the year 2023, it ranked 14th among the most visited cities in the world.

One of Seoul’s most charming attributes is its many diverse, unique neighborhoods, each offering its own unique atmosphere. The city’s excellent subway system makes it easy to get to all of them. There are many areas, but to list a few:

Myeongdong is popular with tourists, offering many shops, bright lights, and shopping. Itaewon is known for its museums, fine dining restaurants, and charming streets. Hongdae is a hip neighborhood with a younger crowd famous for its restaurants, karaoke, and arcades.

The city is home to numerous historical landmarks that showcase its rich cultural heritage. Places like Gyeongbokgung Palace, Changdeokgung Palace, and Bukchon Hanok Village offer glimpses of Korean traditional architecture and tranquil settings. The iconic N Seoul Tower, located on Namsan Mountain, provides stunning panoramic views of the city.

When it comes to food, Seoul is a foodie’s paradise; the city’s culinary scene is diverse and renowned. Seoul is famous for its street food, with bustling markets like Gwangjang Market and the Myeongdong Night Market offering a wide array of delectable treats. Then there’s the mouthwatering Korean barbecue, bibimbap, and stews, among other famous foods.

Seoul is also a shopper’s paradise, with a wide range of shopping districts catering to different tastes and budgets. From trendy fashion boutiques in Itaewon and Myeongdong to thrift stores in Hongdae or traditional markets like Namdaemun and Dongdaemun.

Tokyo, Japan

several bright lights displayed on buildings in one of Tokyo's most famous city intersections

Tokyo, Japan, there aren’t many places in the world like it. It’s most known for its vibrant hustle/bustle, urban scenery, state-of-the-art technology, and distinct future-like characteristics.

The city is home to iconic landmarks such as the Tokyo Skytree, Shibuya Crossing, and the historic Meiji Shrine, showcasing its rich history and architectural wonders. Navigating the city is a breeze due to the city’s exceptional transport system.

Tokyo is home to countless shopping districts like Ginza and Harajuku, offering a diverse range of fashion, electronics, and traditional crafts.

The city’s culinary scene is equally impressive, with Michelin-starred restaurants, street food stalls, and traditional izakayas serving up a variety of mouthwatering dishes.

With its iconic landmarks, diverse shopping, delicious cuisine, and rich cultural experiences. Tokyo is one of those places that’s on everyone’s travel list, even more so than Dubai. It’s one of those destinations in the world that’s unlike any other.

New York City, USA

aerial views showing the Brooklyn Bridge and Manhattan bridge along the East River between New York City and Brooklyn

New York City, often referred to as the “Big Apple,” is a lively and diverse metropolis that captivates millions of visitors from around the world every year. NYC is renowned for its iconic landmarks and cultural diversity and is known as the city that never sleeps.

One of the most prominent features of New York City is its breathtaking skyline, dominated by towering skyscrapers such as the Empire State Building, One World Trade Center, and the Chrysler Building. And when it comes to restaurants and shopping, not many cities can compete with NYC.

New York City is a melting pot of cultures, with residents from all corners of the globe. This diversity is reflected in the city’s neighborhoods, each with its own distinct character and culinary offerings. From the vibrant streets of Chinatown to the artistic charm of Greenwich Village, NYC offers a wide variety of cultures and traditions to explore.

It’s impossible to run out of things to do in NYC, with plenty of parks and numerous world-class museums, theaters, and galleries.

From Broadway shows to museums like The Met, MOMA, Guggenheim Museum, and more.

Miami, USA

aerial views of several tall condos along Miami's beautiful extensive shorelines

Miami is a dynamic city renowned for its sun-drenched beaches, multicultural heritage, and energetic ambiance. Nestled in South Florida, Miami seamlessly combines urban vibrancy with breathtaking natural surroundings, creating a one-of-a-kind experience for visitors and residents alike.

With its stunning coastline, including famous spots like Miami Beach and South Beach, the city is a popular destination for sun-seekers and city lovers. Miami’s diverse population contributes to its vibrant culture, with influences from Latin America, the Caribbean, and beyond.

This is evident in the city’s cuisine, music, and art scenes, which all offer a rich taste of flavors, rhythms, and artistic creativity. Miami is also renowned for its thriving nightlife, with numerous clubs, bars, and entertainment venues that cater to a variety of tastes.

In addition, Miami boasts a thriving business and financial district, making it a hub for commerce and entrepreneurship.

Miami’s Brickell area has become one of the trendiest neighborhoods to live in the world, with its sky-high condos offering exceptional beach views, shopping districts, and excellent restaurants.

The city’s iconic architecture, such as the colorful Art Deco buildings in the historic district of South Beach, adds to its unique charm. With its warm climate, diverse culture, and vibrant lifestyle, Miami is truly a city that must be visited!

London, UK

a red double decker bus driving over the famous Big Ben Bridge in London, England

London is a bustling and historic city known for its rich cultural heritage, iconic landmarks, and vibrant atmosphere. As the capital of the United Kingdom, London offers a plethora of attractions and activities for visitors to enjoy.

From the majestic Buckingham Palace and the iconic Big Ben to world-class museums like the British Museum and the Tate Modern, the city is a treasure trove of history, art, and architecture. London is also renowned for its thriving theater scene, with the West End being home to some of the world’s most famous shows.

Additionally, the city boasts a diverse culinary scene, with a wide range of international cuisines and top-ranked fine dining restaurants. London ranks as one of the four fashion capitals and is one of the top financial hubs in the world.

With its vibrant markets, beautiful parks, and lively festivals, London offers a unique blend of tradition and modernity, making it a must-visit destination for travelers from around the globe.

Fun fact: Actually, amongst all these places like Dubai, London is visited the most by local emiratis from Dubai, more than any other city on this list!

Places like Dubai — Final Thoughts

There you have it; when it comes to places like Dubai, these 11 cities are as close as they can get!

When it comes to Dubai, there’s definitely a fascination with the city because of all the world headlines the city has made and tourism promotion over the last few years. If you haven’t been, it’s worth a visit!

Another city that’s similar to Dubai I’d recommend visiting that didn’t make the list is Bangkok, Thailand!

Personally speaking here, I’ve been to Dubai many times, and I’ve enjoyed it, but I wouldn’t say it’s on the top of my list; I was far more impressed by Hong Kong and Singapore!

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several camels passing by during sunset in the desserts of Dubai, United Arab Emirates

What place is similar to Dubai?

The most similar place to Dubai is Abu Dhabi, which is its lesser famous neighboring city that offers plenty of similar things to Dubai. The second would have to be Doha, Qatar.

What an alternative to Dubai?

Doha, Qatar, is very similar to Dubai in many ways, considering its impressive architectural skyline and waterfront promenade. Also, both cities share similar cultures.

What city is most similar to Dubai?

Abu Dhabi, which is Dubai’s neighbor, is the most similar city to Dubai.

Over the last few years, the city has put quite a focus on tourism and is slowly competing with Dubai.

How is Abu Dhabi different from Dubai?

Abu Dhabi is a calmer city version of Dubai, offering a more authentic feel for the local Emirati culture.

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