Dubai has transformed from a sleepy fishing village fifty years ago to one of the world’s hottest destinations. If you love sun, sand and shopping malls look no further than this stunning pocket of paradise. Dubai is a city of extreme scale: towering buildings, huge malls and the world’s first series of 250 man-made islands shaped to represent a map of the globe. Perfectly situated between the desert and the warm blue waters of the southern Gulf it is one of the seven emirates that make up the UAE (United Arab Emirates). It is the most populated and second largest emirate after the renowned Abu Dhabi.
This city is fast pace in every aspect; day to day, diversity, future planning and development. Its history contrasts brilliantly with its new reputation in spectacular growth. Those who wish to taste the ‘other’ Dubai can visit the creek; a natural inlet from the Gulf that divides the city in two. The eastern is known as the Deira, western is Dubai. This artery acts as the main inlet through the city and leads to the historic waterfront at the mouth of the creek. Traditional cargo boats are often spotted along these waters amongst taxis crammed with both locals and tourists crossing from one side of the city to the other.
Dubai’s economy was built on the oil industry but revenues from oil and natural gas currently account for less than 6% of the emirate’s revenues. It is the innovative, adventurous and contemporary real estate projects that set Dubai apart from the world. Tourists flock to Dubai to see the many spectacular sights, some of which include; Burj Al Arab, Burj Khalifa, Palm Islands and the Grand Mosque. Many tourists visit the Aquaventure Water Park, a remarkable state of the art water park that attracts thrill seekers in abundance. Situated in 12 acres and featuring over 30 adrenalin fuelled rides as well as many relaxed family friendly activities it is one of the most advanced parks ever designed. A great day out for all the family! One of the more recent additions to the plethora of attractions is a fully equipped indoor ski resort suitable for both experts and beginners.
Dubai’s diversity infuses every ideal type of holiday together in one truly remarkable city. In a single day tourists can experience everything from rugged mountains to sandy beaches and dunes followed by lush green parks and luxurious residential districts.
Jane Zollo, Travel Counsellor
“What I love about Dubai is the fact that 5 star really means 5 star – I mean this in terms of hotels, attractions, food and service! Dubai offers something for everyone – from a couples retreat in a One&Only Hotel to a family stay in Atlantis or Jumeirah Beach or for honeymooners a swim out room at Anantara. A year round experience – perfect weather and fun activities for all. I personally love visiting the water parks with my family and there is nothing better than sitting in the lazy river in the sunshine and then topping off the day with a fantastic meal.”
Dubai has a contemporary and vibrant dining scene that caters for the most discerning of palates. The choice is almost endless with speciality restaurants catering for every occasion and budget. The local flavour is taken from Lebanese, Indian and Iranian influences and this is often combined with the delicate tastes from Western Europe. Chain restaurants are best found in the many shopping malls around the city whilst for a more luxurious dining experience head for the many upmarket hotels. There are some high street restaurants in and around Dubai and recommendations from locals and hotel concierge staff will ensure you choose the right one.
Flights from the UK to Dubai take approximately 7 hours. Dubai has its own international airport with three terminals located 3 miles (4kms) from the city centre. On arrival passengers need to collect the original visa permit at the airport and can do so at the specially designated desks at the end of the arrivals tunnel before taking the escalators to passport control desks. Visitors to Dubai need a valid passport that is valid for 3 months from date of entry, or 6 months if their intended stay is longer than 90 days. UK visitors will be granted a 60 day visa on arrival that can be extended for a further 30 days.
Upon arriving in Dubai there is a one stop passenger service desk where you can book hotels, airline tickets, private transfers and excursion packages. Taxis at the airport are readily available and public transport is very efficient all around Dubai. There is a frequent bus service that is available to tourists from the airport to the city and stations are located opposite both terminals. The journey is 15 minutes and it costs around 3 dirhams.
Dubai has a sub-tropical, arid climate with blue skies and sunshine year round. The hottest months are between June and September, when temperatures can reach 113°F (45°C) and humidity levels are very high. Even the sea temperature touches on 104°F (40°C) during the summer months, and swimming pools at hotels are usually cooled to be refreshing. Temperatures are more moderate the rest of the year, the coolest time being between December and March when the temperature averages 75°F (24°C). There is very little rainfall in Dubai, but when showers do fall it is mainly in the cooler months.
David Griffin, Travel Counsellor– “A lot of the hotels in Dubai at certain times of year have complimentary Half Board offers on, these are well worth it and at some hotel chains, you are not just restricted to one hotel, you can eat in several of the hotel chains restaurants. This shows that even in Dubai there is great value and a range of wonderful dining choices to experience. When you visit Dubai, Marina yachts are docked by the creek and it’s really nice to go here in the evenings for a walk, or to have dinner, there are plenty of restaurants to choose from. If you visit during the evening time as well, the surrounding sky scrapers are lit up and you will probably be reaching for your camera a lot, it’s well worth a visit and it’s a fantastic walk.
When you’re in Dubai make sure you visit the Burj Khalifa , the tallest building in the world, centred in downtown Dubai and the views at the top on the observation deck, give you that sort of on top of the world feeling! For something more adventurous do the desert safari and sunset barbeque, which gives you an exhilarating ride over the dunes in the desert, in a 4×4 vehicle, followed then to a visit to a Bedouin camp, for a dinner barbeque, dance with an authentic belly dancer and a ride on a camel! A great trip!”