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Dubai Travel Guide

When Visting United Arab Emirates area this City is a highly recommend Location, you will be faced with myriad excesses: the world’s only 7-star hotel, its largest mall and longest indoor ski slopes to name a few, each made all the more striking by the juxtaposing backdrop of azure water and white sands against clear blue skies.

This is the largest and probably the most well-known, of the seven states that make up the United Arab Emirates. Just fifty years ago, Dubai, along with its counterparts, was a quiet Arabian port; however, after oil was discovered in the 1950s the country’s economy transformed, along with its landscape. In less than half a century, the ever-changing cityscape has undergone a breath-taking reconstruction, showcasing an array of modern, iconic architecture. Gravity-defying skyscrapers spring from the earth; innovative, imaginative and impossibly luxuriant hotels, apartments and restaurants seem to drip in gold. And yet, at the heart of it all, the Arabian roots still run through pretty much everything.

Getting around Dubai can be a challenge; the economic hub is packed with commuters, and the roads tend to come to a standstill at rush hour (7.00 a.m. – 10.00 a.m. and 16.30 p.m. – 20.00 p.m. Sunday to Thursday). In addition, from Friday afternoon to Saturday, the roads surrounding family attractions, malls and beaches can become extremely congested. Unless you are in middle east to work, it may be advisable to travel outside of rush hour and to spend the weekends relaxing in or around your hotel. Public transport is available and paid for with a NoL card, which is similar to the UK’s Oyster Card. However, make sure you know the etiquette first: women and men have different metro cars and you can be fined for a host of things on the metro – from chewing gum to falling asleep and even drinking water. To avoid confusion or offence, taxis may be a more convenient way of getting around – and there are usually plenty of cabs to choose from (look for the yellow light, which means the taxi is unoccupied).

There is no doubt that Dubai can be an assault to the senses. The dazzling white, blue and gold of the streets, beach and sky. The almost comedic contrast of regal Arabs, the rich and glamorous, and successful international entrepreneurs walking side-by-side with hot, sticky tourists. Even the exquisite contrast of the relentless heat against cool, opulent, air-conditioned interiors: every divergence adds to the exquisite tapestry of sights, sounds and emotions that make will make your trip to Dubai so special.

Airports near Dubai

Things to do in Dubai

Dubai city
1Flights to Dubai

Direct flights to Dubai are relatively easy to find, and will take you to Dubai International Airport (DXB), one of the world’s busiest airports. Flights from London take around 7 hours and the cheapest flights can be found in the less busy months of November and May. Unlike some destinations, if you are looking for cheap flights to Dubai, you need to book early. Statistics show that the cheapest flights are available about 20 weeks in advance; after this time, you will usually end up paying a lot more for your flights.

To accommodate the ever-increasing volume of passengers coming through the airport, DXB is continually expanding. Terminals T1 and T3 cater to flights from Emirates airlines and connected by shuttle; for budget airlines, T2 is a 20-minute shuttle bus journey away. If you are passing through DXB on a stop-over, there are free showers. Alternatively, you can buy a pass to some of the first-class lounges (be careful, though, as these can get very busy).

DXB is about 3 miles from the city centre. There are plenty of taxis and good public transport links to choose from – don’t forget to buy your NOL card beforehand.

Dubai port
2When to Go to Dubai

When you go to depends on your time constraints, preferences and, of course, budget. Dubai is known to have two climates: hot and very hot; those who are less able to face temperatures of over 100 degrees would be wise to visit between November and March. Be aware, however, that by choosing the less hot season, you will be joined by far greater numbers of tourists. You will find cheap flights to Dubai during rainy season (January – March), during which time the warm winter sun is interspersed with the occasional brief shower. Visitors can seek a reprieve from the balmy weather of the Persian Gulf in its many malls, luxurious hotels and activity centres.

The idea that Dubai is very much the reserve of grown-up indulgence is a myth. If you know where to stay and what to do it is a truly memorable break for all of the family. In fact, Dubai boasts the world’s largest indoor theme park, as well as a host of other fantastic attractions for all ages, including IMG Worlds of Adventure, Legoland and Bollywood Parks. For grown-ups, there are myriad choices – from fine-dining experiences, to indulgent treats and sun, sea and water sports. The fact is that, no matter how old you are or what you love doing, it is likely this city will be able to deliver – on a scale that you have only ever dreamed of.

With shopping, hotels and architecture like you have never seen before, accompanied by the warm sun on your back and incredible desert experiences, your trip to this world class city promises to be truly unforgettable. So, trek the desert on camel or jeep; sleep under the stars in a Bedouin tent; shop until you drop; live like a celebrity for a few days; take in some architecture or culture. You can go skiing, visit the cinemas, visit amusement parks, take a boat trip or simply sit and watch the world go by and get lost in the incredible contrast of people and cultures – in Dubai, your choices are virtually limitless.

Dubai mall
3Shopping in Dubai

Even the most shop-phobic tourists will be dazed and delighted by the shopping in Dubai, which offers the perfect combination of traditional and luxury shopping.

Souk Madinat instantly transports you to scenes from Arabian Nights. This reconstruction of a quintessential Middle Eastern market offers a beguiling mix of stalls purveying traditional fare alongside modern boutiques stocking a plethora of different items, from souvenirs to luxury jewellery and fashion. Those looking for a bite to eat will be spoilt for choice with over 24 eateries offering traditional delicacies from all over the world including Lebanon, France, Italy, India, Iran and America.

Situated in the prestigious Downtown of the city is the Dubai Mall is the largest in the world, boasting 1,200 shops and over 200 restaurants and bars. Every year, 80 million people visit the mall, which features an amazing Aquarium and Underwater Zoo, complete with a 270-degree walkthrough tunnel, kids’ “edutainment” at KidZania, a 76,000 square foot indoor theme park and Olympic sized ice rink. Browse the latest fashions in Fashion Avenue, the fashion capital of the region. Absorb the vibrancy of Arabic culture in the open-air streets space, or immerse yourself in the traditional colours, textures and scents of The Souk. With so many choices, one thing is guaranteed: the Dubai Mall offers a shopping experience that you will not find anywhere else on the globe.

Dubai skyscrapers
4Dubai Architecture

There is no doubt that Dubai is a city of contrasts and its architecture is a dazzling example of the city’s ethos: if it is iconic, anything goes. A particular favourite of architect lovers are the Emirates Towers, whose interaction with each other alter depending on the beholder’s vantage point. Constructed in 2000, the towers rise 355 and 309 meters and are one of the many architectural delights of the Dubai skyline. The two towers are connected by a Boulevard, which offers some of the most exclusive shops.

Presiding like a colossal sail over its own island, the Burj Al Arab is a hotel like no other. At 321 metres tall, the Burj Al Arab is one of the world’s tallest hotels. Built on an artificial island, the five-star hotel took five years to complete, opening to the public in 1999 and continues to be a popular retreat for those seeking the opulence for which Dubai has become renowned.

Legend says that the construction of the Burj Khalifa required enough steel to stretch end-to-end from Dubai to Melbourne. At 829.8 metres tall, the building took 5 years to construct and boasts a number of world records, including the tallest free-standing structure in the world, the most storeys, furthest travelling lift and highest outdoor observation deck.

Whilst Dubai is known for its luxurious offerings and price tag to match, it is possible to absorb the sights and sounds of this magical city on most budgets. With its spectacular scenery and proximity to the desert, many iconic aspects of the city can be enjoyed at a relatively low cost. Whether you book a 2, 3, 4 or 5-star hotel, your trip to Dubai will be truly and unforgettably 7 star.

Travel Guide