Very much a city of the future, Dubai is one of the most popular tourist destinations in the Middle East. With first-class hotels in Dubai, spectacular resorts, artificial palm-shaped islands, a variety of different attractions, beautiful mosques to explore and a sunny climate, Dubai makes a great holiday destination.
This shopping 'capital of the Middle East' is home to retailers with a variety of merchandise, from high-fashion and gold and jewellery to carpets, handicrafts, electronics and more. Visitors can shop at any number of places throughout the city, such as shopping malls, huge outdoor markets or at duty-free outlets.
Getting in and around Dubai
Dubai Airport (DXB) is sited off the Airport Road, around 5 km / 3 miles south-east of Dubai city. Two terminal buildings (Terminal 2 and Terminal 1, also called Sheikh Rashid) handle most of the traffic arriving and departing. Shuttles connect the two terminals and there are various ground transportation options linking to the city centre, Dubai Marina and Jumeirah Beach.
While many accommodation providers can arrange complimentary hotel shuttle airport pick-up and drop-off services, Bus stations are located opposite both terminals for public buses and Dubai International Airport also has its own special buses that provide services to the most popular corridors in the city centre.
Alternatively Limousines can be booked in the Arrivals Hall of Terminal 1, or Pre-paid taxis run to the city centre 24 hours. You will find taxi stands located outside the Arrivals concourses of both terminals.
In the near future Dubai is going to offer transportation via one of the largest metro networks in the world. In the meantime, the main way for tourists to get around the city relatively cheaply is by taxi. Although Dubai has a large bus system, it is not large enough to accommodate the volume of people who use it. Try to avoid busy areas at the end of the day as you may be faced with wait times of more than an hour to board a bus.
Port Rashid and Port Jelbel Ali are the two large commercial ports servicing Dubai. Local traders in dhows utilise Dubai Creek and Port Saeed. There is a Water Bus service on Dubai Creek, or for a more traditional method of getting across from Bur Dubai to Deira, Abras can be rented along with the operator for a nominal charge.
Dubai Car Hire
Avis, Herz and Europcar offer car hire services in Dubai as well as other local companies.
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A wide variety of accommodation types to suit all budgets and preferences are on offer in Dubai, ranging from backpacker to boutique and luxury hotels.
Most Dubai hotels are less than 20 years old and a large number of them less than 5.
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- Burj Al Arab Hotel Designed to resemble a billowing sail, this 7 star hotel is located in the Jumeirah Beach area of Dubai, 15 kilometres from Dubai International Airport.
- Al Maha Desert Resort Experience the true beauty of the desert and observe indigenous wildlife while staying just 45 minutes from Dubai City and five kilometres from the airport.
- Marco Polo Centrally located in the Deira District of Dubai, close to Dubai shopping malls and main cultural attractions, this hotel also offers excellent conference room facilities for business travellers.
- Arabian Park Hotel A mid-market business and leisure hotel, meeting high demand for short-stay and leisure accommodation, this property is set in a quiet city neighbourhood, just 10 minutes away from the Dubai World Trade Centre and is also five minutes from the central business district as well as leading shopping and entertainment complexes.
- Queens Hotel Dubai Offering pleasant accommodation, located in the centre of Dubai in the Deira district close to the Gold Souk, Spice market and other attractions.
- Youth Hostel Located approximately fifteen minutes drive from the airport this Hostel offers internet access for a small fee in addition to a tennis court and swimming pool and is only five minutes walk from a supermarket mall.
Things to do in Dubai
The old Bastakiya district with its narrow lanes and tall wind-towers gives a tantalizing glimpse of old Dubai. Immediately to the east of Al Fahidi Fort is the largest concentration of traditional courtyard houses with windtowers.
In the past, the city was famous for a mass of windtowers which lined the Creek on either side. These were not merely decorative; they were the only means of cooling houses in the days before electricity.
Burj Dubai -Opening in 2009, the Burj Dubai is a super-tall skyscraper set to be the tallest in the world. In a breathtaking design, which encompasses the makings of a small city in its interior, the Burj Dubai will be the center piece of Dubai's new Dubaitown District.
Al Fahidi Fort. It was built against foreign invasion. This splendid fort is now Dubai Museum. Thus, allowing the visitors to peep into the rich culture and heritage of Dubai.
Grand Mosque. Situated on the Bur Dubai side of the Creek near the Ruler's Court, Grand Mosque was re-built in 1998 and now has, at 70 metres, the city's tallest minaret. It has 45 small domes in addition to nine large ones boasting stained glass panels, making it a distinguished landmark and important place of worship.
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Day trips in and around Dubai
Bedouin Village. For those who are adventurous by nature, a trip to Bedouin Village would be quite exciting! Experience the traditional way of living in a desert! Enjoy the camel riding lessons from the inhabitants of Bedouin Village. Looking for more excitement? Then plan for accommodation at Al Maha! It is one of the most popular and unique luxury resorts and is spread over 3,300 acres of sun kissed dunes. Staying here would enable you to experience the thrill of desert safari.
The Deira Covered Souq has more of an Indian feel than an Arabic one, with folks hawking textiles, spices, kitchen wares, clothes and henna. The aromas, the sights and the flavours of this place are quite intoxicating!!!
Heritage and Diving Village - A traditional heritage village, located in the Shindagah area has been created where potters and weavers display their crafts. The Diving village forms part of an ambitious plan to turn the entire area into a cultural microcosm, recreating life in Dubai as it was in days gone by. Located near the mouth of the creek, this area is also popular in the evenings as a venue for its open-air cafeterias and live entertainment. Several shops also sell handicrafts. No entrance fees.
Spice Souk The narrow lanes of the spice souk are redolent with cloves, cardamom, cinnamon, incense, dried fruit and nuts. Imported from all over the Middle East, they are sold straight out of open sacks that surround the shop keepers.
There are three main archaeological sites in Dubai. They are located in Al Ghusals, Al Sufooh and Jumeirah. Al Ghusals and Al Sufooh have over 2000 years old graveyards. You can visit the excavation sites at Al Ghusais, Al Sufooh and Jumeirah where you will find artefacts from the 7th to 15th century.
Al Boom Tourist Village - Adjacent to Creekside Park, the village consists of a 2,000 seat banquet hall, a coffee shop, restaurant, amusement park, ornamental lake and a marina with five cruise boats. Its traditional architecture forms a stately city landmark. Located next to Wonderland Family Fun Park. It is open 7 days. between 9 am - 1 am. Entertainment includes evening boat cruises with dinner served!
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