Dubai

 

Holiday Dubai!

So you have heard of all the incredible buildings and the property development that has been happening in Dubai over the last five years. Yet nothing prepares you for the reality. The real estate projects are on a different scale altogether. Burj Dubai – the world’s tallest building, the Palm Islands – the largest manmade islands in the sea, The World – islands shaped like the different continents, Burj Al Arab – the largest all-suite hotel, to name a few, are all here. The city is glitzy, ostentatious and ever changing. Dubai has some of the biggest shopping malls you have ever seen are here and new ones that are even bigger, brighter, bolder are being built.

The biggest surprise however, is that Dubai is nothing like your idea of an Islamic country. Expatriates from the subcontinent, Philippines, Europe, Australia, South Africa, Japan, Korea and the neighbouring Arab states outnumber the local Emiratis by far. Thus the city has a cosmopolitan culture and you will hear many languages being spoken, the most common of which is English. There are no restrictions on dress, unless someone is dressed truly indecently.

One of the highlights of your Dubai holiday will be the sheer variety of cuisine that’s available thanks to its ethnic mix. You should definitely try the Arabic delicacies on your visit to Dubai. The nightlife is amazing with an interesting mix of nightclubs, lounge bars, pubs and restaurants. All the restaurants and bars that serve alcohol are located in sports clubs or hotels with at least 3 stars. Hotels in Dubai like the Burj Al Arab, Jumeirah Beach Hotel, Emirates Towers, Atlantis, Dusit and the Madinat Jumeirah complex, are as much architecture statements for the city as they are hotels.

Private Beach

The other surprise in Dubai is its excellent beaches. The sand is powdery white and the water turquoise blue. Some of the posh hotels on the Jumeirah beach stretch have their own private beaches. Hotels with a private beach include Jumeirah Beach Hotel, Dubai Marine Beach Resort and Spa, Hilton Jumeira, Le Meridien Mina Seyahi, Ritz Carlton, Madinat Jumeirah, Atlantis on the Palm Islands and of course the iconic and super luxurious Burj Al Arab. Parks such as Al Mamzar Beach Park and Jumeirah Beach Park also have nice beaches.

Thankfully there are also a few places that haven’t been obliterated by the building boom. The old markets in Deira and Bur Dubai still retain some of their ancient flavour with narrow, bustling alleys packed with small traders.

Things to do in Dubai:

This over-the-top city is a place to live it up. Here are a few things for you to do on your holiday travel in Dubai:

• Desert Safari: Get into a 4×4 and then hang on for dear life as expert drivers take you over mammoth sand dunes. It’s an incredible experience so don’t miss it. Your desert adventure will be followed by a barbecue and belly dancing at a desert camp.
• Strolling through Bastakiya: This is a small area where old houses with wind towers have been restored and converted into museums, art galleries and cafes.
• Visiting the Spice Souq: Walk down the creek in Bur Dubai and watch Dhows (traditional wooden ships) sailing by. Then take an Abra (a small boat) across the creek and go to the Spice Souq
• Wining & Dining: Thai Kitchen at Park Hyatt for contemporary Thai food, Asado at The Palace for Argentinean steaks, Zheng He at Mina A’Salam for Chinese, Bice at Hilton Jumeirah for Italian… There are hundreds of great places to dine well.
• Mall Trawl: Apart from shopping, check out the ski slope at the mall of the Emirates and the aquarium and dancing fountains on the lake at Dubai Mall. For an upscale venue go to Souq Madinat which has been built like a traditional Arabic souq or market.

Best time to visit Dubai:

November to March. Summers are scorching but come winter, the city comes alive and the weather is perfect for a day on the beach.

Read about the best Romantic Spas, Beaches, Cruises, Ski Resorts and more holiday travel ideas on this site.

Posted by on November 17th, 2009

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