THE ARABIAN DREAM :
Dubai One of the most important of the 7 Emirates, this city is the perfect combination of traditional hospitality,most famous and modern day amenities, sandy dunes and lush greenery, stretches of beaches to snow covered mountains, rich cultural experiences to world class hotels. A fascinating mix that is an entire world by itself.
During the 1830s, small fishing villages dotted the coast of the Arabian Gulf. One such village on the Shindaga Peninsula at the mouth of the creek belonged to the Baniyas, led by the Maktoum family who rule Dubai till today. This was then a busy port between Mesopotamia and the Indus Valley.
TOP OF THE LINE HOTELS :
Atlantis, The Palm Dubai : a marvelous and tremendous oceanic experience with water rides and shark and dolphin encounters. It has submerged chambers and sunken ruins from another moment in time. Aquatic and fascinating.
Burj Al Arab, Dubai : the world’s most luxurious hotel, this 7 star wonder looks like a billowing sail and soars to a height of 321metres! Needless to say it is one of the most photographed structures in the world. Don’t miss the nightly display of fire and water. It’s illuminating!
Armani Hotel, Dubai : designed and developed by Giorgio Armani, this hotel elucidates his understated class and elegance right from the design and structure to the sophisticated colours, textures and warm Italian hospitality.
Al Qasr, Madinat Jumeirah : designed to look like an ancient Arabian citadel, this heritage hotel is luxurious and opulent to the brim. Steeped in tradition this ornate palace is set in the middle of an island with meandering waterways, age old windtowers and pools. It has an amazing 2km stretch of its very own beach.
Bab Al Shams Desert Resort : set in a traditional Arabian fort with 115 rooms and suites, it boasts of the land’s first open air desert restaurant. It offers you many recreations and a full fledged desert experience in elegant surroundings.
GET IN TO ACTION :
Parks and beaches : here the white sands and the blue seas beckon. Swim or stroll through a park or enjoy a barbeque at the beach… the choice is yours.
Tours and excursions : enjoy the mysteries of Arabia through our desert safaris, boat or dhow cruises and sea plane tours. The desert and the ocean both beckon with equal vigour.
Museums and Historic sites : a city of rich culture and tradition with heritage sites and marvellous architecture is yours for the taking.
Art galleries : the city has a number of galleries that promote and exhibit art in the form of sculpture, paintings and traditional artefacts as well as showcase and encourage modern artists too.
Cinema Halls : updated with the latest technologies in terms of visuals and sound effects, you are sure to enjoy a world class cinema experience.
Family adventure : you name it and we have it… ice rinks, ski slopes, aquariums, dolphinariums, water parks, gaming areas, wonderlands and zoos. Phew!
Sports : famous for power boat racing and horse racing, Dubai is now acing in show jumping and endurance riding too. The Emirates Golf Club and the Dubai Creek Golfand Yacht Club are venues that have been marked out on world sporting maps.
Shopping : you can go from the antiquated souks for gold, silver, spices and carpets to ultra modern malls for popular brands in electronics, cars, textiles, perfumes and cosmetics… that too tax free and duty free as well! Guaranteed to turn you into a shopaholic… burp!
DAZZLING DUBAI :
Dubai Festival Centre : for world class entertainment, retail therapy and finedining all at the city’s most famous waterfront destination.
Mall of the Emirates : besides shopping and leisure, they have the magic planet with games and rides galore, an ultra luxurious 14 screen multiplex cinema and of course Ski Dubai, the now world famous indoor ski slope! All in the heart of New Dubai.
Dubai Mall : with 1200 classy stores, ice skating, a 21st century gold
souk, numerous adventure sports and a world class aquarium… what an experience!
Ibn Battuta Mall : this is the world’s largest theme shopping mall. Ibn battuta was an Arabian explorer so the mall is divided into 6 courts that represent each of the regions that he explored. So you can actually take a lesson in history as you shop!
Deira City Centre : this mall is known for its friendly service and proximity to the airport making it a popular one stop shop before take off.
Events and Festivals : the most famous being the Dubai Shopping Festival held in the months of January and February, where the locals sell their wares at unbelievably low rates… right from jewellery to electronics to automobiles to carpets (magic???) along with a range of funfilled activities and events. This bonanza quite expectedly attracts tourists and shoppers from all over the world. Dubai is also a popular spot for annual sporting events, carnivals, conferences, exhibitions and various entertainment activities both local and international in nature.
DO NOT MISS :
Sheikh Saeed Al Maktoum House : now a museum with a rich history, it was originally home to the grandfather of our current ruler.
Bastakiya Quarter : this houses the Al Fahidi Fort, the Dubai Museum, Dubai’s oldest building built in the 1780s and the SMCCU, a centre for cultural understanding. The fort is from the 18th century and displays ancient relics that point to Bedouin culture and traditions.
Jumeirah Mosque : this is one of the most magnificent mosques in the Emirates and speaks volumes about the fundamentals of Islam.
Heritage and Diving Village : it displays ancient relics and artefacts dating back to 550BC. This village is also popular for pearl diving and an aerial sighting excursion.
Burj Khalifa : you are literally on top of the world on the world’s tallest tower, just 124 storeys high! After a 360 degree sweeping view I am sure you will have your own story to tell.
The Dubai Fountain : the brightest spot in the Gulf…. no maybe in the world, this musical dancing fountain shoots water to a height of 500 ft. It has over 6600 WET superlights and 25 colour projectors that can create over a 100 abstractions. A light beaming upwards can be spotted over 20 miles away from the Burj Khalifa Lake and can even be seen from Outer Space.
Gold and Spice Souk : with over 800 jewellery shops selling 18 to 24 carat gold and a spice souk that offers ginger, garlic, cardamom, frankincense and Shisha, we guarantee you an experience full of spice and all things nice.
Meydan Racecourse : is state of the art and hosts the world cup annually. The lawns and terrace seats are the places to be.
Dubai Aquarium : the largest one of its kind is in the Dubai Mall and is home to a host of exotic aquatic life like the Stingray, Sand Tiger Sharks, and Giant groupers amongst others.
Dubai Dolphinarium : offers you dolphin shows and interaction in a fully air conditioned indoor environment. You can also play with the seals.
Dubai Ice Rink : located in the Dubai Mall, you can learn skating or play ice hockey in this Olympic size ice rink. Quite cool huh?!
Ski Dubai : the first indoor ski resort in the Gulf, where you can simply play in the snow or enjoy tobogganing, snowboarding and skiing. Don’t miss the Penguin March.
Wild Wadi Water Park : make a splash here for the ride of your life.
Hot Air Ballooning : watch the sunrise on the magical dunes as you rise to the occasion and glide over camels, deserts, oases and mountains.
Desert Safaris : a full day tour from a Bedouin campsite that begins with a camel rideand goes on to dune bashing and belly dancing for your leisure and pleasure.
Deep Sea Fishing : you can indulge in the luxury of a yacht as you fish for the barracuda, shark, sail fish and the grouper.
The Dubai Autodrome : this is a fully integrated motor sports facilty that includes a FIA sanctioned 5.39 km circuit with 6 configurations; a CIK approved carting track and a Race and Driving school as well. It is a part of the Union Properties Motor City Development.
Golf : of course the golf course is a golfer’s delight, well manicured lawns dotted with lakes and palm trees to make it a truly tranquil experience.
What more? … parasailing, helicopter rides, fishing and cruising trips, limo rides and luxurious yachts… what more can you ask for? A rocking night life maybe?
TONIGHTS THE NIGHT :
360 degrees : in Jumeirah Beach Hotel, down the jetty, a km out to sea is a circular venue that offers the most romantic feel of the ocean and a spectacular view of the town.
Armani Prive : the most happening lounge in the city is at the base of the Burj Khalifa. Yes, tonights the night that things are going to happen.
Nasimi Beach : attached to Atlantis, The Palm, and needless to say completely unique, this artificial beach 7km out to sea is the seat of a spectacular night life.
Trilogy : located at the Souk Madinat Jumeirah, in 3 exciting levels, each one more rocking than the other with international DJs spinning out the latest sounds of music.
People by Crystal : this is located at the top of Raffles Pyramid and is quite flashy and upbeat. The right place to be seen every other night.
WAY TO GO :
Metro : with a fully operational Red line and Green line, it starts running before 6 am to 11 pm on weekdays and even later on weekends. Except for Friday morning of course when it starts functioning after 1.30 pm. Fares can be anywhere between AED 1.80 to 5.60.
Abra : these are traditional little ferries that carry people across the creek for just AED 1.00. Lately the new abras are air-conditioned and cost AED 4.00. Try it at least once.
Bus : the network has been recently updated and if you aren’t in too much of a rush, take a leisurely trip across town for just 4.00 Dhs.
Taxi : an efficient and amazing service that offers on-line booking, live support and a 24 hour hotline. Of course the taxis are metered and the minimum fare is 10 Dhs. You can’t go wrong as all the car hire companies are accounted for.
FACTS AND FIGURES :
Geography : located on the southern shores of the Arabian Gulf, this is the second largest of the 7 Emirates. It lies between 55.16 degrees East and 25.16 degrees North. This is a bustling city with a population of 3 million, and is surrounded by almost barren stretches of desert with very few inhabitants. Out of these over 80% are expatriates, e.g. Europeans, Asians and Arabs.
Local time : +4hrs GMT.
Climate : it has a sub-tropical arid climate with scanty rainfall. Temperatures range from 50 degrees F to 118 degrees F, the mean being 75 degrees F in January rising to 105 degrees F in July.
Language : Arabic. Though English, Hindi and Urdu are also common.
Money Exchanges : can be found all over the country as most currencies can be freely converted.
Credit Cards : all major credit cards like Visa, MasterCard, AmEx, Diners, etc., are recognised in this country.
Business days : shops and malls are open 7 days a week, except on Fridays when they resume after the afternoon prayers. Government and private sector offices are closed on Fridays and Saturdays.
Banks : you will find branches of most international banks here, and transfers can be made with great ease as the Dirham is easily converted.
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