Region: Dubai

Dubai – an Arabian Cornucopia

From pristine white beaches, to the swirling sands and mystique of the Arabian Desert and the snow filled peaks of Ski Dubai, Dubai has it all! A trip to Dubai is like taking a journey through time. The city blends the magic of Arabia with 21st century comfort and opulence – it is like Arabian nights come alive in Gotham city! With a perfect winter climate, world-class hotels, outstanding facilities for a variety of sports and leisure activities and a wide choice of exceptional
dining and shopping, this burgeoning Arab city offers dramatic adventures, rich cultural experiences, exotic dining and gorgeous attractions designed to delight visitors from all walks of life. In a single day, the tourist can experience everything from awe-inspiring sand dunes to sandy beaches and lush green parks, from dusty villages to luxurious residential districts and from ancient houses with wind towers to ultra-modern housing complexes and shopping malls.

The emirate is friendly, safe and secure. Be it business or leisure, Dubai has everything that a discerning traveller needs. The bustling city is one of the seven emirates that make up the UAE.

A brief history:

Atrip to Dubai transports you on a journey through time. Archaeological finds suggest that, as long as four thousand years ago, small fishing communities lived along the coast of the Arabian Gulf on the site of modern Dubai. It is also believed that the natural sheltered harbour afforded by the Dubai Creek was a busy port on the ancient trade route between Mesopotamia and the Indus Valley. Modern Dubai, however, traces its origins to the 1830’s. At that time, the small fishing village on the Shindaga peninsula at the mouth of the Creek was settled by a branch of the BaniYas tribe, originally from the Liwa oasis to the south, led by the Maktoum family who still rule the emiratetoday.

Where to stay

On offer in Dubai are a range of hotels and hotel apartments to suit every taste, fad and budget; from the swanky, affluent and one of the most expensive seven star hotel in the world all the way through to the very affordable. The desert resorts offer unmatched peace and tranquillity amidst the sandy dunes. Whatever the choice, it promises to be an unforgettable stay as a tourist or business traveller.

Top Hotels:

Atlantis, The Palm Dubai

Atlantis, The Palm, Dubai is a magnificent, oceanic tribute to a mythological age. A vast waterscape, Atlantis is a place of sunken aquatic chambers, submerged ruins, and exhilarating water rides, where shark experiences thrill and dolphin encounters leave lifelong impressions.

Burj Al Arab, Dubai

At the Burj Al Arab, Dubai, one arrives in absolute awe and stays singularly enthused. This legendary and symbolic seven star hotel has attracted international attention and awe, ensuring its place as one of the most photographed structures in the world, and consistently voted the world’s most luxurious hotel. Designed to resemble a billowing sail, Burj Al Arab soars to a height of 321 metres, dominating the Dubai skyline. Illuminated at night by choreographed lighting representing water and fire – Burj Al Arab is simply individual, brilliant, striking.

Armani Hotel, Dubai

Soaring high above Downtown Dubai in the iconic BurjKhalifa, the world’s tallest tower, Armani Hotel Dubai is the world’s first hotel designed and developed by Giorgio Armani. Reflecting the pure elegance, simplicity and sophisticated comfort that define Armani’s signature style, every detail in the hotel bears his touch, beginning with the warm Italian-style hospitality and moving to each element of the design where sophisticated coloursand unique textures blend seamlessly to create an atmosphere of calm serenity and minimalist elegance.

Al Qasr, Madinat Jumeirah

Elevated to emphasise its splendour, Al Qasr is the “palace” at the heart of MadinatJumeirah. Surrounded by water, Al Qasr forms a virtual island looking down upon a multitude of fascinating aspects: ancient wind towers, pools, meandering waterways and the superb two kilometre wide private beach. The hotel is a magnificent tribute to Dubai’s heritage and is styled to resemble an ancient Arabian citadel; luxurious and ornate, combining the height of opulence with an overwhelming sense of tradition.

Bab Al Shams Desert Resort

Emerging from the heart of the desert, Bab Al Shams Desert Resort and Spa is an elegant desert resort in a traditional Arabic fort setting. Located just 45 minutes from Dubai International Airport, the Resort features 115 rooms and suites appointed in traditional Gulf decor, complimented by the region’s first authentic open-air Arabic desert restaurant, and a superb range of recreational facilities. For those seeking a unique desert experience within easy reach of Dubai, the resort presents the ideal destination.

What to do:

Parks and beaches:

Clean, white sand and crystal clear seawater make Dubai’s beaches a very popular destination for residents and visitors alike. A variety of family-friendly parks with excellent facilities cater to varied interests of people, be it taking a stroll by the beach or simply enjoying the surrounding nature and having fun with family and friends over a sumptuous barbeque.

Tours and excursions:

A visit to Dubai would not be complete without a trip into the desert or a cruise on the famed dhows. These excursions offer a taste of the true heartland of Arabia. The majesty and tranquillity of the desert and the sea can be experienced through a choice of exciting safaris, boat cruises and seaplane tours.

Museums and historic sites:

Museums and heritage sites that chronicle the history of the Emirate of Dubai can be found throughout the city, showcasing the emirate’s dazzling architecture, rich culture, and proud traditions.

Art galleries:

Dubai is home to a number of galleries that exhibit art and traditional artefacts that introduce vibrant new local artists enriching the community art diversity in the eclectic mix of paintings, sculptures and installations exhibited at the various galleries.


Munch on popcorn, grab a hot dog and catch the latest blockbusters at the world class cinemas that Dubai has to offer.

Family attractions: From ski slopes to

ice skating rinks, zoos to dolphinariums and indoor aquariums, water parks, gaming arenas and wonderlands; Dubai offers a wide range of exciting activities for adventurous and fun-loving people.


The Dubai Creek Golf & Yacht Club and the famous Emirates Golf Club are renowned venues for the European PGA Tour. Among other sports are power boat racing and horse racing which has already taken its place on the world stage, with show jumping and endurance riding now poised to follow.


One of the greatest attractions of Dubai is shopping. The city’s tax-free status means bargains galore. From souk to shopping mall, Dubai has it all – duty free – gold, electronics, textiles, cars – and is a true shopper’s paradise. Perfect for the shopaholics and for retail therapy!
A choice of modern air-conditioned malls offer attractive prices on the widest possible range of international brand names in electronics, stereo equipment, cameras, watches, textiles, perfumes, cosmetics and much more. The ancient “souks” or markets offer a romantic setting for the purchase of gold, spices, antiques, carpets and silverware.

Our picks:

Dubai Festival City:

Rising along the banks of the historic Dubai creek, Festival Centre is Dubai’s unrivalled waterfront destination for style, sophistication and glamour, showcasing an exciting array of prestigious retailers, an international gourmet offering and a world-class entertainment venue.

Mall of the Emirates

Strategically located in what is now termed as the heart of New Dubai, this huge mall offers a full range of shopping, leisure and entertainment options. After you’ve perused the retail stores on offer there is still plenty left to do. Magic Planet, a family entertainment centre complete with games and rides rivals any theme park. The fourteen screen multiplex cinemas complete with full reclining chairs offer a wonderful cinema experience. You won’t want to miss out on Ski Dubai, that world-renowned indoor ski slope which is also a part of the complex.

Dubai Mall:

With more than 1,200 stores and a host of world-class attractions, The Dubai Mall is revolutionizing the modern shopping experience. With an impressive array of leisure pursuits, this is the ultimate, cutting-edge shopping experience. A range of adventure sports vie for attention alongside the romance of ice-skating. A 21st century gold souk is set off against a world class aquarium. Step inside The Dubai Mall and experience a place like no other

Ibn Battuta Mall:

The Ibn Battuta Mall is the proud owner of the title of being the world’s largest themed shopping mall. It is designed in honour of Ibn Battuta, a famed Arabic explorer. Locals and tourists alike are able to enjoy a shopping experience that is also historically informative. The mall is divided into six courts, each an architectural reflection of a region that IbnBattuta explored.

Deira City Centre:

The original favourite, this mall is conveniently located near to the airport and is known for its friendly service. Convenient to reach and offering a host of retail, dining and entertainment options, the mall is ideal for visitors on the move.

Events and Festivals:

Dubai has established itself as a major destination for a diverse array of local and international events. Throughout the year, Dubai hosts a range of popular annual sporting activities, shopping festivals, carnivals, dazzling entertainment attractions, as well as conferences and exhibitions. The Dubai Shopping Festival held during the months of January and February offers a shopping bonanza that is unparalleled along with a plethora of fun-filled activities and events. During this world-famous event, merchants offer their wares at ridiculously reduced prices. Everything from Oriental carpets and jewellery to electronics and automobiles can be purchased here for much less than anywhere else in the world. Book a hotel, enjoy the fine Dubai cuisine, and visit a shopper’s dream destination! Plan a shopping excursion to Dubai at the start of the New Year and you’ll see why no shopping experience can top The Dubai Shopping festival.

Must see:

Sheikh Saeed Al Maktoum House:

This was the house of the grandfather of the current ruler. It is now converted to a museum with photographs of old Dubai and the current developments. It gives an interesting glimpse into the history of the place.

Bastakiya Quarter:

A visit to the Bastakiya Quarter includes culturally significant sights, such as Dubai’s oldest building (1780s), the Al Fahidi Fort, the Dubai Museum and the Sheikh Mohammed Centre for Cultural Understanding (SMCCU).

Jumeirah Mosque:

This grand mosque located in Jumeirah is one of the most beautiful mosques in the UAE. An organised tour of the mosque is conducted for visitors helping them understand the fundamentals of Islam.

Al Fahidi Fort and Dubai Museum:

The fort dates back to the 18th century and houses interesting archaeological finds and relics commemorating olden times along with interesting installations giving glimpses of the ancient Bedouin lifestyle.

Heritage and Diving Village:

This heritage site displays ancient artefacts from sites dating back as 550BC. You may enjoy coffee and traditional Arabic bread at a small souk in the village and try your hand at pearl diving and get an insight into this ancient trade.

Aerial Tour:

Embark ona new and unique aerial sightseeing excursion that provides a magical journey across Dubai’s dramatic and ever changing coastal skyline.

At the Top – BurjKhalifa

High atop one of the world’s most dynamic cities is one of the world’s most extraordinary experiences. On the 124th floor of the tallest tower in the world, nothing else matters but you. Get ready to enter the record books and experience a journey through Dubai’s exotic Arabian heritage, the extraordinary story behind BurjKhalifa, experience 360 degree sweeping views from level 124 of the world’s tallest tower.

The Dubai Fountain:

Set on the 30-acre BurjKhalifa Lake, the dancing fountain shoots water jets with the play of music to a height of over 500 ft, equivalent to that of a 50-storey building. Over 6,600 WET superlights and 25 colour projectors create a visual spectrum of over 1,000 abstract attractions. The beam of light shining upward from the fountain can be seen from over 20 miles away, and will be visible from space making it the brightest spot in the Middle East, and quite possibly in the entire world.

Gold and Spice Souq:

There are over 800 jewellery shops in both shopping malls and souks. The gold is in 18, 21, 22 and 24 carat sold at a prevailing daily rate with a fee for craftsmanship. The spice souk has an amazing selection of ginger, garlic, cardamom and other spices along with frankincense and Shisha.


The state-of-the-art Meydan racecourse is a must see. It plays host to the famed world cup every March and with the exception of World Cup night, general admissions to the races are free and you can access the Terrace seats and lawns area and get a feel of the pulsating excitement.

Dubai Aquarium:

The world’s largest aquarium window located in the famed Dubai Mall brings you face-to-face with enormous Sand Tiger Sharks, graceful Stingrays, giant Groupers and shimming shoals of pelagic fish.

Dubai Dolphinarium:

Dubai Dolphinarium is the first fully air conditioned indoor Dolphinarium in the Middle East offering dolphin shows and interactions with the dolphins and seals.

Dubai Ice Rink:

The Olympic-size ice rink in Dubai Mall boasts world-class facilities. Whether you want to learn skating, perfect your technique, play ice hockey, socialize with friends or just have a great time, this spectacular venue is the coolest place to hang out, any time of the year.

Ski Dubai :

Ski Dubai is the first indoor ski resort in the Middle East and offers an amazing snow setting to enjoy or learn skiing, snowboarding and tobogganing, or just playing in the snow. An added attraction is the PenguinMarch that gives you a feel of the sub-zero

Wild Wadi:

When it comes to excitement, you just can’t get enough at the Wild Wadi water park! For one adrenalin rush after another, try the different rides that leave you breathless!

Hot Air Ballooning:

Glide gently in a hot air balloon over giant sand dunes, wandering camels, oasis and rugged mountains, while you marvel at breath-taking views of the sunrise and its magical effect on the desert vistas.

More activities:

Indulge in Luxury Yacht Charters, Fishing & Cruising Trips, Parasailing, Helicopter Rides, Luxury Car and Limo rides for that feel of lavishness.

Desert Safaris:

A full day desert safari offers a splendid chance to live the desert experience. A typical Arabian welcome awaits you at the Bedouin campsite followed by camel ride, Dune bashing, belly dancing and more.

Deep Sea Fishing:

Various sports fishing and cruise operator’s offer deep sea fishing and VIP fishing with their modern, spacious and remarkable comfortable yachts. Substantial species like the local hammour (grouper), barracuda, shark and sail fish are the prize of the catch.

Auto sport:

The Dubai Autodrome is the region’s first fully-integrated motorsports facility. The complex, a part of the Union Properties Motor city development, not only includes an FIA-sanctioned 5.39km circuit, which offers six different configurations, but also incorporates a Race & Driving school and a CIK-approved Karting track.


Dubai is the place to play some of the most beautifully-manicured golf courses.The spectacular nature of the various courses featuring pockets of palm trees and lakes makes this a perfect destination for a fascinating golfing experience.

Dubai has a rocking and happening nightlife comparable to some of the most happening cities in the world. The place offers a variety of exciting attractions for an electrifying night out. We pick the best…

Top night clubs:

360 degrees:

There’s simply nowhere else like it – Dubai’s unique circular venue, down a jetty one kilometre out to sea, in the famed JumeirahBeach Hotel, offers all the atmosphere of the ocean and the best views of the Burj Al Arab in town.

Armani Prive:

Stationed at the base of the BurjKhalifa, this happening lounge plays host to some of the most exciting nights in Dubai. Meet up with old friends, make new ones and dance into the wee hours to the foot tapping music of resident and international DJs. This is the city’s preferred destination for fast-paced fun.

Nasimi Beach:

An experience entirely unique to Dubai is partying on an artificial beach 7km out to sea, looking back at the glistening skyline. Nasimi Beach invites you to enjoy life and is equally-comfortable as a boutique beach club on weeknights and as a pounding club on weekends. It is located at Atlantis, The Palm.


Hosting fantastic international DJs on a weekly basis, this is one of the best places to hear modern music in Dubai. Trilogy at the Souk MadinatJumeirah, hosts three levels of pure entertainment, with a line-up of top DJ’s spinning cutting-edge music.

People by Crystal:

People by Crystal, is a decadent blast of glamour and lavishness. Located at the top of Raffles pyramid, the flashing lights shows, sprouting confetti, engaging beats and unrivalled views ensure this place is packed every night of the week.

Top restaurants:

Indego by Vineet – Grosvenor House

Indego by Vineet is an exquisite contemporary Indian restaurant headed by chef-patron Vineet Bhatia, owner of Rasoi and Urban Tadka in London and the first Indian chef to receive the globally-acclaimed Michelin star. The restaurant is renowned for its legendary combination of traditional spices coupled with fine dining presentation. Fusing together a multitude of flavours, authentic spices and colours of Indian culture within modern surroundings, Indego by Vineet offers guests a sophisticated and intimate dining experience.

Jamie’s Italian – Festival Centre

The restaurant has ample seating inside and on the green landscaped terrace with a typical Jamie’s Italian design- contemporary mixed with rustic in a classic Jamie Oliver twist! Go Italian.

Khazana by SanjeevKapoor – Al Nasr Leisureland

Indian Master chef Sanjeev Kapoor’s Khazana, an award winning restaurant, is an elegant signature fine dining restaurant. The ambience of rattan and bamboo, combined with natural greenery, offers a familiar and comfortable atmosphere designed to take you on an Indian culinary journey. The delicate processes of cooking and presenting delicacies made with the freshest and finest of Indian spices and herbs is the specialty of the restaurant.

Nobu – The Atlantis, Palm Jumeirah

Nobu, the world-renowned Japanese restaurant created by Chef NobuMatsuhisa, combines his cutting edge style with South American influences to create a truly stunning space and unforgettable dining experience. Complemented by a sushi bar and sake lounge, Nobu gives you the perfect excuse to dress to impress, bring your friends to revel in the joys of good food, great conversation and a little oriental magic.

Rhodes Mezzanine by Gary Rhodes -Grosvenor House

Rhodes Mezzanine is headed by Michelin-starred chef Gary Rhodes OBE. This sumptuous restaurant offers the very best in British cuisine with a French flair in a stunning venue

Getting Around:


You must take an abra at least once while in Dubai. These are small traditional ferries carrying people from one side of the Creek to the other. The fare is AED 1.00.Air conditioned abras have been introduced and are certainly more comfortable and cost AED 4


If you are not in a hurry it can be good to get round Dubai by public bus. The bus network has been extensively improved and a typical fare from one end of Dubai to the other is around 4.00 Dhs.


By far the most convenient and most popular way to get round Dubai is taxi. Taxis are metered. Minimum fare is 10 Dhs. All the usual car hire companies are accounted for here if you have a specific company that you prefer. They offer online booking, live support and 24 hours hotline.


The Red line and the Green line of the Dubai Metro are fully operational now. It runs from about 5:50am to 11:00 pm on weekdays and slightly later on weekends (Friday-Saturday). However, it is closed on Friday mornings and starts operation at around 1:30pm. Fares range from AED 1.80 to 5.60 according to the distance of journey.

Facts and Figures:


The second largest of the seven Emirates that make up the United Arab Emirates, Dubai is located on the southern shore of the Arabian Gulf. Dubai city is a lively metropolis, while the outskirts are sparsely inhabited and characterized by desert life. The current population is approx. over three million where 80% comprises of Expatriates – Arabs, Asians, Europeans, and others.


Dubai has a sub-tropical, arid climate. Rainfall is infrequent and irregular. Falling mainly in winter, it amounts to a few days a year. Temperatures range from a low of about 50 degrees Fahrenheit to a high of 118 degrees Fahrenheit. The mean daily maximum is 75 degrees Fahrenheit in January rising to 105 degrees Fahrenheit in July.

Local time:

Dubai Time is + 4 Hours GMT or 4 hours ahead of the Greenwich Mean Time. Dubai lies between 55°16 East and 25°16 north.


The official language is Arabic.Arabic and English are commonly used in business and commerce. Hindi and Urdu are also widely-used.

Country Dialing Code:



UAE Dirham (AED).

Exchange Rates:

3.65 UAE dirhams per US dollar.


220 or 240 volts AC 50HZ.

Money Exchanges –

Most currencies can be freely-converted in Dubai and you will find money exchange companies all over Dubai.

Credit Cards –

All major credit cards are accepted in Dubai, including Visa, MasterCard, American Express, Diners Club etc.

Business Days –

All Government and private sector offices are closed on Friday & Saturday. Shops and supermarkets are open seven days a week, though on Fridays they start business after the afternoon prayers.

Banks –

Most international banks have branches in Dubai, servicing the usual retail and corporate segments. Transfers can be made easily as exchange controls are virtually non-existent, and the Dirham is freely convertible.


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