Editor’s Note: This post was originally published in December 2012 and has been updated.
If you are looking for city holidays, there are plenty of tourist destinations that cater to your vacation needs pleasingly. And then there is Dubai.
Cosmopolitan, yet culture-oriented, classy and flashy, yet not unapproachable, and futuristic without moving away from the past; Dubai is a melody of experiences and this is just what makes it a charming place to visit.
Find out what makes Dubai so unique both to its people and visitors.
The City of Superlatives
The tallest tower, the largest mall, the costliest hotel, the largest man-made island… not just in the UAE, but in the world; and these are just a few achievements that describe Dubai. You can also see some of the world’s richest people, flashiest cars, longest dancing fountains and best shopping festival.
These achievements may not seem all that impressive; but for a desert village whose only global interest was its pearl trade just a hundred years back to transform to a man-made paradise for tourists is indeed a great feat.
Getting Around in Dubai
Car lovers enjoy Dubai, because high-end sports cars are seen everywhere. Driving a car is not that great because traffic is a problem. If you speed, beware of the strategically placed traffic cameras. Tailgating, which is legal, can also be an issue, but don’t get ruffled by lights flashing and horns blaring.
Another contributor to congestion is the ubiquitous taxi. They are mostly clean and reasonably priced, but can be difficult to get during peak times. If you are unlucky, you may get in a taxi whose driver is new or has had little sleep, so they may have as hard a time finding their way around as you. Remember to buckle up!
Public buses are clean and cheap with many routes connecting the elevated Metro lines. You can purchase a Nol smart card to pay for bus fares and metro fees, ot book an open-top hop-on, hop-off tour. A nice touch is air-conditioned bus shelters in high use areas. Be aware that buses have designated areas for women.
The Metro is fun to ride even if you don’t have a specific destination because it provides a great view of landmarks like the Dubai Mall, Dubai Marina, the Gold Souk and Dubai's financial district (DIFC). has free parking at stations and convenient stops near shopping malls.
The Dubai Ferry is another fun way to see the sire. You can tour from the Al Jaddaf station at Business Bay to the Marina via Dubai Canal.
Only in Dubai Experiences
Bastakiya - The historic living quarters of the city is still preserved in the Bastakiya and most of the buildings now house restaurants and boutique galleries. Visit this place to get a feel of old Dubai and find out how the people here managed the sweltering heat before the days of air-conditioners by using wind towers.
Dubai creek – You don’t have to book an actual dinner cruise to enjoy floating over the Dubai creek. Just ride across the creek from Bur Dubai and Deira on an Abra (a water-taxi) and compare the conflicting sights of old and new Dubai from the water.
The souks - If shopping in Dubai’s fabulous malls is exciting and uplifting for the shopping addict, shopping at the city’s souks is a distinctively Dubai experience. Gawk at the incredible variety of gold jewelry displayed in the gold souks; even more interesting is the way the locals buy gold in baskets and trolleys as if they were shopping for grocery.
Desert Safari and Quad biking - While the desert safari in itself is an experience unique to the UAE, newer and more exciting activities like quad biking and sand surfing have caught the attention of adventure lovers. Feel the excitement mount when the red sand of the desert hits your face when you ride an ATV or a sand board over the dunes and hills of sand. Another option is to rent dune buggies to ride over the sand.
Skiing - Skiing? In a desert? That too throughout the year? Maybe the heat outside makes this activity seem all the more incredible, but the Ski Dubai in the Mall of Emirates with its huge indoor ski area, real snow, snow penguins and state-of-art equipments makes actual ski slopes seem dull.
Luxury - Experience better than world-class luxury in Dubai’s Atlantis The Palm, The Palace At One & Only Royal Mirage or the Burj Al Arab which claims to be the only seven star hotel in the world. This is of course, if you have loads of plastic money. If you don’t, do the next best thing and visit the Burj for afternoon tea. Reserve your table at the Skyview Bar on the 27th Floor and enjoy the view and great food amidst dazzling settings. And when you want to leave the luxurious ambience and step out to see the city, do so with your rented Lamborghini. What better way is there to see the city of bests?
Let Fare Buzz plan your trip to Dubai
Flying to Dubai from the U.S. can be difficult to plan, so let our Fare Buzz travel adivors navigate all the choices to find a discounted fare that matches your travel needs and budget.
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