Dubai is a global city in the truest sense of the term. Located on the Southeastern coast of the Persian Gulf, it is the capital of the Emirate of Dubai, one of the seven emirates that make up the country. It is the largest and the most populous city in the united Arab Emirates.Dubai has attracted world attention through large construction projects and sports events, in particular the world's tallest building, the Burj Khalifa. As of 2012, Dubai was the most expensive city in the Middle East. The area was covered with sand about 5,000 years ago as the coast retreated inland, becoming part of the city's present coastline. Pre-Islamic ceramics have been found from the 3rd and 4th centuries. Dubai is thought to have been established as a fishing village in the early 18th century and was, by 1822, a town of some 7–800 members of the Baniyas tribe and subject to the rule of Sheikh Tahnoon of Abu Dhabi. Dubai's geographical proximity to Iran made it an important trade location. The town of Dubai was an important port of call for foreign tradesmen, chiefly those from Iran, many of whom eventually settled in the town. By the beginning of the 20th century, it was an important port. Dubai was known for its pearl exports until the 1930s; the pearl trade was damaged irreparably by the Great Depression in the 1930s and the innovation of cultured pearls. With the collapse of the pearling industry, Dubai fell into a deep depression and many residents starved or migrated to other parts of the Persian Gulf. Throughout the 1960s Dubai was the centre of a lively gold trade. After years of exploration following large finds in neighbouring Abu Dhabi, oil was eventually discovered in territorial waters off Dubai in 1966, albeit in far smaller quantities. Since then, Dubai has been on an uninterrupted path of economic development.
The best time to visit this global city is between mid-November and early December. The average annual temperature hovers around 28°C.
WHAT TO SEE
PLACES TO VISIT
The Dubai Aquarium and Underwater Zoo is on the ground floor of the Dubai Mall and has a 51m walk-through tunnel in which 33,000 sharks, manta rays, and eels swim endlessly above the heads of gaping shoppers. There’s a marine zoo with crocs, colonies of penguins, and otters, and a choice of experiences from a glass-bottomed boat ride behind the scenes in the aquarium, as well as caged shark dives and fish feeding.
At 828 metres, Burj Khalifa is as of now the world’s tallest building. It houses three observation decks, including the world’s highest at 148 floors, way up in the clouds. Elevators ferry visitors to the 'at the top' observation deck on Level 124 at 10m per second to see a bird’s-eye view of Dubai, Arabian Gulf, and the desert laid out below.
The biggest dancing fountain of the world, the Dubai Dancing Fountain is a mesmerizing sight to behold. It has 6,600 lights stretching for 275m over the Burj Lake. Performances are every 30 minutes between 6 pm and 11 pm, with choreographed water jets shooting 150m into the air, 'dancing' in time to well-known classical tunes and world music.
Shindagha at the mouth of the creek plays host to two of Dubai’s numerous heritage projects. Displays are housed in restored barasti houses (made from palm-tree leaves and mud). The Heritage Village showcases ancient crafts, from pottery to cooking and weaving, while the Diving Village examines Dubai’s pearl-diving industry, which brought much wealth into the emirate.
On the west side of the Creek in Bur Dubai, Bastakia (now known as Al Fahidi Historical Neighborhood) is a charming conservation area of beautifully restored sandstone houses. Their distinctive wind towers were used as primitive air conditioning to tackle the stifling and dry desert heat. Nowadays, its shaded lanes and palm-fringed courtyards shelter smart art galleries, traditional open-air restaurants, and expensive design shops.
The Dubai Museum archives much of the city’s history. It offers the visitors glimpses of the people’s ways of life before the discovery of oil off the shore of Dubai. the museum whisks through the history of the UAE with a range of Middle Eastern weaponry; dioramas of a souk, a mosque; and an oasis showing the former lifestyles of Bedouin nomads. There are elaborate displays on the pearl-diving industry and traditional fishing by dhow in the Arabian Gulf.
The Bur Dubai Abra Rock provides the visitors with an opportunity Join the locals and jump aboard a traditional wooden abra to cross Dubai Creek from Bur Dubai to Deira. The Creek is where life began in the emirate and it’s still the hub of its commercial activity, with wooden dhows docking up and unloading their cargo haphazardly on the quayside.
The Aquaventure Waterpark is situated on the manmade island of The Palm, whose artificial fronds jut out into the Arabian Gulf. Aquaventure has dozens of water rides from family-friendly to seriously scary, feeding sessions with manta rays, and close encounters with dolphins.
The Dubai Desert Safari includes dune bashing at Big Red, sand boarding, or hot-air ballooning over the dunes as the sun goes down. It also offers the provision to join a traditional Bedouin feast in a nomadic encampment, complete with belly dancing, henna tattoos, and camel rides.
WHERE TO SHOP
Dubai Mall is the world’s largest one-stop entertainment centre and houses 1200 shops. Key shops include Bloomingdales, Galeries Lafayette, Marks & Spencer, Gucci and Armani; there’s a dazzling gold souk to take the shoppers by surprise.
Connected to the Dubai Mall by bridge on the lower ground floor, the Souk al Bahar is designed in Arabic style to resemble an ancient souk. It’s full of quality souvenir shops offering expensive carpets, brass and copperware, shishas, art galleries, and traditional fashions.
WHAT TO EAT
The souk also has a great choice of upscale cocktail bars and dining options, from seafood at Bice Mare to fine Arabic dishes at Al Malouf — both have terraces overlooking the Burj Lake.
Dubai offers its visitors an array of world cuisine. Delectibles that one must try while in Dubai include Manoushesh, Iranian Sangak, Chelo Kebab, Al Harees, Al Machboos, Tabbouleh, Kousa Mahshi, Shirin Polo, Baba Ganoush, Fatteh, Kellaj, Falafel, Fattoush, Shish tawook, Lahem bl Ajin, & Taboon Bread. Lipsmacking desserts offered by dubain include Mahalabiya, Luqaimat, Knafeh, & Khanfaroosh.
HOW TO REACH
The Dubai International Airport is the only airport in the metropolis and is the busiest in the UAE. The airlines servicing the airport connect the city to more than 100 destinations worldwide. The other ways to enter the city is through the Sharjah International Airport with Air Arabia. A cab can be availed to Dubai from there.
Emirates Express connects Dubai to all other emirates by buses. There are frequent bus services between Dubai, Sharjah, Ajman, Masafi, Abu Dhabi and others.