Dubai is the largest city in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and is located on the northern coast, alongside the Persian Gulf. Part of the Dubai emirate, this city hosts a constant stream of visitors from all around the world; and when you look a little closer at all the city has to offer, it is easy to see why it is such a popular, luxury travel destination.
The buzz of excitement in the city is palpable as shoppers, merchants, residents and sight-seers go about their business under the lofty gaze of the Burj Khalifa. The Arabic culture can be difficult for outsiders to understand, however, this friendly nation is sincere in its quest to welcome Dubai's visitors with generous hospitality.
The ‘anything is possible’ mantra permeates every part of the country but is especially evident in the innovative metropolis of Dubai. The unbelievable volume of man-made attractions that can now be found in the middle of the Arabian Desert, simply blows the mind. Actual snowy ski slopes, a collection of elaborate shopping malls and a few genuinely convincing replicas of international landmarks; Dubai seeks to enthrall the world with its unbelievable ingenuity.
Another example of Dubai's talents, is advertised as "the most astonishing place in the world". The Falconcity of Wonders is a project currently under way that is set to contain life-size replicas of the Seven Wonders of the World. It is projects like these that give Dubai its edge, a 'can do' attitude that sends it soaring above the rest.
Where is Dubai?
A powerful player in the Middle-East, Dubai is the largest city in the UAE. It is just north east of Abu Dhabi and lies in the north eastern part of the country.
Getting to Dubai
The impressive Dubai International Airport serves as the main entry point for visitors. It is a short drive from the airport to the city and travelers have the option of taking one of the frequent buses that are available, the Dubai Metro from Terminal 3, a taxi or even a limousine service, if you fancy a more luxurious ride.
There are plenty of taxis available around Dubai and these are considered to be a safe and reliable mode of transport. The fairly new metro system now also offers an even simpler way of getting around the city and is being continuously expanded to include new routes.
Things to Do in Dubai
In this dynamic city of no impossibilities, there are endless attractions on the visitor's to-do list. So to make the most of your limited time in Dubai, it would be best to wear comfortable shoes and prepare to be amazed, continuously.
It's the first thing most visitors notice is the towering building rising high above the city of Dubai, the phenomenal Burj Khalifa is the world's tallest free-standing structure and has the highest number of stories. Right on the top of the building, the staggeringly high observation deck sits on the 124th floor and it is the highest outdoor observation deck in the entire world. Housing hotels, restaurants, and retail outlets, this awe-inspiring creation is well worth a visit.
Dubai also offers plenty of other exciting activities; beautiful mosques, luxury shopping malls, desert day tours, water parks, ski slopes, ice rinks and relaxing sheesha bars. There is also the cultural experience of haggling at the local 'souks' (or markets) that offer an array of local specialties.
The Burj Al Arab, said to be the world's only seven-star hotel, is yet another amazing attraction in Dubai. Unable to enter without a reservation at one of the first-class restaurants, prospective guests are advised to book early to secure a place at this gorgeous hotel and a table at one of the finest restaurants in the city.
The amazing Burj Al Arab includes decadent cocktails at its scenic Sky Bar, a gourmet underwater seafood restaurant and massive colorful aquariums surrounding the escalators; it is also in close proximity to a water park and an Arabian style luxury shopping complex. The Burj Al Arab, luxury accommodation at its finest.
Shopping in Dubai
The Dubai Mall is one of the world's largest shopping malls in the world. But there is so much more to it than meets the eye. The luxury shopping and tantalizing eateries fade into the background of the other amazing features; like the Sega World indoor theme park, an aquarium complete with an underwater zoo, the huge cinema offering at least twenty-two screenings, a full blown ice rink and a world-class fountain show starting daily at 18:00 sharp.
Almost too many to mention, the luxury shopping malls of Dubai are one of central attractions for international visitors. The Mall of the Emirates (also showcasing a 1300 feet ski slope), the Jumeirah Plaza and the Burjuman Centre are just a few other malls in the city that are well worth a visit.
Dining and Nightlife in Dubai
Dubai boasts a huge variety of fine dining options, including both local cuisine and top-class international eateries. From authentic Japanese sushi bars to exorbitant gourmet establishments, whatever your taste preference, you will find it in Dubai.
The weekend starts on a Thursday night and although alcohol is strictly prohibited in this Islamic society, this is no indication of the availability of establishments that do serve alcohol, and lots of it. Dubai offers an array of classy lounge bars, flashy nightclubs, high-end VIP rooms and of course, the popular beach clubs.
Visitors can also find a range of popular jazz clubs and tasteful chill out lounges, like The Blue Bar and The Ivy Dubai, where the crooners fill the air with the sounds of soul and life's disappointments fade away into the music.
There are even parties with panoramic views of the city, like at the Armani Privè VIP lounge, which is part of the Armani Hotel. Enjoy a first-class meal at Atmosphere, on floor 122 of the towering Burj Khalifa, before heading down to the Armani Privè VIP lounge, also in the Burj Khalifa and continue with the night's festivities.
Guests should be aware that public debauchery is not permitted and could end poorly without a little discretion. Most nightclubs close around 3am and there are always a variety taxis available to transport you safely back to your hotel.
Excursions and Tours in Dubai
Travel in air-conditioned comfort, a great blessing in the Dubai heat and have more than enough time to photograph and explore the famous sight and sounds of the city, with a personal expert guide.
For those with a little more time to spare, there is a large selection of tour operators that offer full day tours; including desert 4x4 experiences, camel rides and a belly dancing private show while you enjoy a traditional Arabic meal, in true Bedouin style.
There is also the usual 'hop on hop off' bus tours available around the city; or the subway system, which is fairly quick and user-friendly.
Events in Dubai
Dubai prides itself in the magnitude and frequency of events held in the city. An impressive variety of global business event have been held in the past few years, by a very long list of prominent delegates from all around the world. The city hosts numerous international sector leading events like congresses, tradeshows, conferences, symposiums, fairs, exhibitions and summits every year.