Dubai is a destination that mixes modern culture with history, adventure with world-class shopping and entertainment. Catch a show at the Dubai Opera, see downtown from atop the Burj Khalifa and spend an afternoon along Dubai Creek exploring the gold, textile and spice souks. If you’re looking for thrills, you can float above the desert dunes in a hot air balloon, climb aboard a high-speed ride at IMG Worlds of Adventure or skydive over the Palm Jumeirah.
Dubai is the most populous city in the United Arab Emirates (UAE).
Dubai has emerged as a global city and business hub of the Middle East. It is also a major transport hub for passengers and cargo. The emirate's Western-style model of business drives its economy with the main revenues now coming from tourism, aviation, real estate, and financial services.
Dubai has recently attracted world attention through many innovative large construction projects and sports events. The city has become iconic for its skyscrapers and high-rise buildings, in particular the world's tallest building, the Burj Khalifa.
Why I love Dubai
“Ever since first setting foot in this tiny powerhouse emirate back in 2007, Dubai has fascinated me with its energy, optimism and openness towards people from all over the world. I'm a die-hard foodie, so the staggering variety of authentic global fare is exhilarating, and even the shopping here – which I normally consider a chore – is actually a joy. Dubai is a place that's constantly in flux and it's been exciting...”
Andrea Schulte-Peevers (Writer)
Although Dubai is seen as a relatively young destination, it has a fascinating history and a vibrant heritage that offers visitors an intriguing glimpse into Arabian culture. A good place to start exploring the history and heritage of Dubai is the Dubai Museum: it is located inside Al Fahidi Fort, one of Dubai’s oldest buildings dating back to 1787. There are other museums in Dubai and in surrounding emirates that also offer important insights into the history and growth of the city and of the United Arab Emirates.
Everything about Dubai is Superlative
The words ‘first, tallest, deepest, most expensive, lavish, outlandish’ could have been created for this city. Where else would you find a seven-star hotel, visit a series of 200 man-made islands in the shape of the countries of the world, or climb the world’s tallest building?
Amidst all this modernity, as you head from a swim in the sea or a business meeting to designer boutiques, a round of golf or a top teppanyaki restaurant, the age-old souks still attract those who like to haggle. And yet only a few kilometres into the magnificent desert there are still camels roaming free.
There is a vibrant and cosmopolitan air about Dubai, for instance the way the traditional abra boats carry a kaleidoscope of tourists side by side with sari-wrapped Indians and locals sporting spotless dishdashas.
Outside of Dubai life is more traditional and moves at a slightly slower pace. As you explore the barren beauty of the mountains, or go about the UAE’s East coast beaches you will find people friendly and willing to chat, even when lacking a common language.
Dubai sightseeing areas:
The Creek: its waters bisect the city – it is the ideal place to start sightseeing in Dubai.
Deira: a constant hive of activity, this area really reflects how the old meets the new.
Bur Dubai: sightseeing is a must here, thanks to the plethora of historic buildings.
Oud Metha: largely residential, but with many recreational, retail and educational facilities.
Sheikh Zayed Road: the buildings stand like beauty queens competing to be the tallest, most stunning and graceful.
Jumeira and Satwa: raising the stakes in glamour, this area is all pampering parlours, café culture, malls and beach life.
The Southwest: the new face of Dubai, which includes Dubai Marina and many other developments.
Culture & Heritage: Courtesy and hospitality are among the most highly prized of virtues in the Arab world, and visitors will be charmed by the warmth and friendliness of the people. Dubai ’s culture is rooted in Islam, providing a strength and inspiration that touches all aspects of everyday life. Virtually every neighbourhood has its own mosque, where the faithful congregate for prayer five times every day. One of the largest and most beautiful mosques is Jumeirah Mosque- a spectacular example of modern Islamic architecture.
Dubai Nature : Dubai, with an area of 3,885 square kilometres, is the second largest emirate in the UAE. Situated on the banks of the Dubai Creek, a natural inlet from the Gulf which divides the city into the Deira district to its north and Bur Dubai on its south.
Here are some useful Dubai facts and figures plus basic information for travellers.
Currency: UAE dirham. US$ 1 = AED 3.67.
Time: GMT + 4.
Electricity: 220/240 v; sockets are three pin.
Weather: Temperatures range from a nightime low of around 10°C in winter (Dec-Mar), to a daytime high of 49°C at the height of summer (Jun-Aug). The best time to visit is from October to April, with perfect temperatures for long, comfortable days at the beach and balmy evenings outside.
Vaccinations: No special injections are needed.
Visas: Citizens from the UK, USA, Australia, New Zealand and most Western European and Far Eastern countries are entitled to a free, 30-day extendable visit visa on arrival. Others must obtain a visa through a local sponsor or hotel.
Duty Free: There is a useful Duty Free shop by the baggage reclaim belts in the airport. The incoming allowance is 400 cigarettes or 250 grams cigars, 200ml perfume and four litres of wine or spirits.
Clothing: Loose-fitting cottons suit the year-round sunny climate best, with hats for the heat of the day. Winter evenings can be surprisingly cool, and it is best to come equipped for ferocious air conditioning. Although Dubai is generally permissive, you should dress modestly when around town, and long skirts or trousers and short sleeves are a must when venturing further afield, especially during Ramadan.
Safety: The fact is, Dubai is one of the safest cities in the world, with very low crime rates meaning travelling around the city is very safe. That said, Dubai is a big world city and common sense precautions should be observed. Women should have little trouble exploring the city alone. However, a modest sense of dress will ensure less unwanted attention in the more traditional parts of the city.