Dubai City Guide
Dubai is the largest and most prominent emirate of the federation of seven Middle Eastern states, which constitute the United Arab Emirates. Dubai is an ultra modern city, which has a constantly evolving landscape. The city’s history reveals that it was originally an important port of call on the trade route between Mesopotamia and the Indus Valley. The emirate was also an important center for the pearl trade until the 1930's though it lost this position when the pearl trade was decimated by events like the World War I and the Great Depression.
The Sheikh of the ruling family of Dubai Rashid bin Saeed al-Maktoum then decided to find a replacement for the loss of revenue from the pearl trade and decided to exploit the strategic location of Dubai as a duty-free port in the Persian Gulf. Dubai soon became an important port from where goods were imported to and then re-exported throughout the world.
However it was the discovery of oil in 1966 which catapulted Dubai onto the world stage.
Dubai today is an important and growing commercial center which is also an attractive vacation destination that hosts year round sporting and shopping events like the hugely popular annual Dubai Shopping Festival. The city is divided by the Dubai Creek into two sections, Deira on the northern side and Bur Dubai on the south and both sections of the city have their own attractions in the form of souks, restaurants, hotels and shopping malls, which attract hordes of tourists to the emirate’s shores.
Where to stay in Dubai
Dubai is equipped with 566 hotels that offer 67,369 rooms of all types and grades that cater to a variety of travel budgets. Dubai’s many diverse hotels can be found all over the emirate but there are a few area hotels which are favored by visitors to Dubai.
Jumeirah Beach is Dubai’s prime beach front stretch that extends for miles along the Persian Gulf. The beaches located here feature simmering sands, which are enveloped by azure seas and they offer an ambience comparable to the Caribbean. The hotels located at Jumeirah Beach are world class luxury hotel resorts that offer a whole host of amenities like spas, health clubs and top notch dining and entertainment options. If you are looking to vacation with your family in Dubai, then the luxe hotels of Jumeirah Beach are probably a good fit for you.
Sheikh Zayed Road
The luxurious and truly impressive hotels that line Dubai’s Sheikh Zayed Road are generally favored by the emirate’s many business travelers. However, these lavish, luxury hotel properties offer many facilities for leisure travelers on a vacation to Dubai as well.
If you are looking for some local character on your vacation in Dubai then perhaps a hotel located in the old town of Deira and Bur Dubai might meet with your requirements. The best hotels located in the Old Town offer stunning views of the Dubai Creek.
Places to see in Dubai
Dubai offers a plethora of attractions which cater to all ages.
Dubai's souks constitute a fascinating attraction, which should not to be missed during any visit to Dubai. These ancient, covered bustling market places functioned as the center of trade for goods, which were discharged at the docks at Dubai's port by Arabic trading vessels coming from India, Ceylon, China and the Far East.
The most famous souk in Dubai is the world renowned Gold Souk, which inhabited by a veritable treasure trove of stores that have open displays of sparkling gold ornaments. Apart from gold ornaments, the stores at the souk also sell jewelry embellished with gems like diamonds, pearls, rubies and emeralds. Another souk worth exploring is the wonderfully aromatic Spice Souk, which stands as testament to Dubai's important position as a center of world trade from ages past.
The Dubai Fish Souk is another fascinating attraction especially early in the mornings and in the late evenings when the local fishermen bring in their catch. The catch is then immediately sold at a bargain bazaar.
The Dubai Museum
The Dubai museum is housed in the imposing Al Faheidi Fort and was opened to the public in 1971. The fort was built in 1799 to protect Dubai from regional invasions. The museum has an impressive collection of weaponry and host galleries that depict scenes from everyday life in the emirate before the discovery of oil.
The Jumeirah Mosque
The Jumeirah Mosque is another popular attraction of Dubai, which is located in the suburb of Jumerirah renowned for its pristine beaches, luxury hotels and water parks. The Grand Mosque was re-built in 1998 and is one of the few mosques in Dubai that allows entrance to non-Muslims. The mosque is a typical exponent of Islamic architecture and is adorned with forty five small domes, nine large domes and the city's tallest minarets.
Located within the Emirates Mall, Ski Dubai is the first indoor ski resort located in the Middle East. The resort is covered with real snow all throughout the year and has five runs that cater to every level of ski enthusiast.
Ski Dubai mimics an authentic ski resort as it is equipped with qualified ski instructors, ski lifts and snow patrols. The resort also encompasses retail shops, themed restaurants and a Snow Park where children can play in the snow. If you are on a vacation in Dubai with your children in tow then Ski Dubai should figure prominently on your things to do list.
The Burj Khalifa, which ascends to a height of 828 m (2,717 ft), is the tallest structure ever built. The tower is currently the tallest building in the world and is equipped with an observation tower on the 104th floor, which offers panoramic views of Dubai. The tower also encompasses a luxury hotel, upscale residences and is surrounded by a landscaped park. Burj Khalifa located in downtown Dubai should be considered yet another must-do attraction on your vacation in Dubai.
Best time to visit Dubai
Situated as it is within the Arabian Desert, Dubai experiences a year round hot and arid climate. The summer months in Dubai extend from May to September and are usually characterized by scorching temperatures that usually register 45C or 113F. During these months visitors and locals in the emirate tend to spend most of their time indoors in the numerous air-conditioned enclaves located all over the emirate.
The best time to visit Dubai is during the months of November to April when the heat in the Emirate is not as searing as it is during the rest of the year. In fact, Dubai has a festival or international event scheduled for almost every month of the year.
These events tend to attract visitors all throughout the year though the only time when the festivities grind to a halt is during the holy month of Ramadan. The holy month of Ramadan varies from year to year according to the Muslim lunar calendar.
Getting around in Dubai
Dubai can be accessed via its world-class Dubai international airport, which is constantly being upgraded and expanded. The Dubai airport hosts a whole host of international carriers, which make getting to Dubai from any part of the world quite easy.
This airport is located at a distance of three miles (4km) from Dubai city centre and well served by public buses and taxis. Dubai’s public transport system is made up of taxis, public buses and a metro system, which is a fully automated, driverless system, which was inaugurated in 2009.
Car rentals are plentiful and inexpensive in Dubai. Many tourists opt to rent a car in Dubai as it is quite easy to drive with an international driver’s license in the Emirate. If you need to rent a car for your stay in Dubai, then Fare Buzz can be of assistance as Fare Buzz has a wide range of affordable car rentals for Dubai, which can be booked via its usual booking channels.
Where to shop in Dubai
Dubai is renowned as a shopper’s paradise and this duty-free port actively promotes shopping at its annual events- the Dubai Shopping Festival- during which all of Dubai goes on sale and offers numerous festivities for shoppers who descend on the emirate. The Dubai Summer Surprises is held during the summer months in Dubai and is yet another shopping festival that is held to entice tourists to book a vacation to Dubai at a time when the weather is not very agreeable.
Besides these shopping festivals, Dubai offers a world of shopping opportunities at its many gargantuan malls like the Dubai Mall, the Mall of the Emerites, Dubai Festival City, Dubai Marina Mall, Dubai City Center, Burjman Center, Ibn Buta Mall and the Dubai Outlet Mall, which offer every conceivable product.
Where to eat in Dubai
Dubai offers a wide variety of restaurants that offer almost every conceivable cuisine known to man. European, Asian, American, Middle Eastern, and African, the emirate offers all types of restaurants that cater to various tastes and preferences. Some of the best restaurants in Dubai include eateries like Al Qasr, Al Nafoorah(Lebanese food), Yakitori House( Japanese), Zafran and Aryaas( Indian), Rivington Grill (British) and La Petiti Maison(French).
Nightlife in Dubai
Dubai has the hottest nightlife scene in the Middle East, so much so this Emirate, which is home to a cosmopolitan population, is often referred to as the ‘Ibiza of the Middle East’. Unlike in other neighboring countries in the Middle East, non-Muslims are free to drink in Dubai and hence the Emirate is equipped with a wide array of beach bars, pubs, wine bars, cocktail lounges, and nightclubs that usually have their busiest night on a Thursday for weekend holidays in the middle East are usually observed over Friday and Saturday and not over Saturday- Sunday like in the other parts of the world.