A Guide to Dubai: A City of Contrasts

A Guide to Dubai: A City of Contrasts

A Guide to Dubai: A City of Contrasts

Dubai is a city and emirate in the United Arab Emirates known for luxury shopping, ultramodern architecture, and a lively nightlife scene. Burj Khalifa, an 830m-tall tower, dominates the skyscraper-filled skyline. 

At its foot lies Dubai Fountain, with jets and lights choreographed to music. On artificial islands just offshore is Atlantis, The Palm, a resort with water and marine-animal parks.

Dubai’s history

Dubai was named for its similar seafaring neighbours in the UAE, the Dhows, or traditional vessels. The name came from the Arabic word Zubaydah, or “embassy.” 

The name Dubai is taken from the Arabic dhow, meaning “muddy vessel”; in Persian, dhow means “ship.” The story of Dubai begins during the 15th century when the Arab traders in South Asia began constructing trading posts on the coast of what is now southern Afghanistan. 

The history of trade and alliances between the Middle East and South Asia make the area strategically important and have had lasting effects on the region. 

Dubai was home to Sheik Zayed Al Nahyan, who established the country after the fall of the Ottoman Empire. One of the three UAE emirates, it has remained among the fastest-growing cities in the Middle East.

How to get to Dubai

Dubai's international airport has direct flights to most cities in the Middle East. Travellers who don't have a visa for UAE need to apply for one online before travelling. 

There are no visas available for Indians in Dubai. However, citizens of the UAE can obtain a visitor visa at one of the government-owned shopping malls. 

The Dubai Department of Immigration website provides specific information on the process. How to get around Dubai There are many options for getting around Dubai, which is made up of a series of islands. 

Driving is the most common way to get around. An English-language map with all of the approved forms of transport, available at Dubai International Airport and Dubai Mall, lists the various forms of transport available.

The best time of year to visit

When things are at their most festive and there is a lot going on, like during Ramadan or during Dubai Festivals & Retail at the end of November. 

Dubailand and tourists celebrate the festivals of Ramadan Credit: GETTY Breathtaking views, vibrant energy, and an ability to find the best bargains in this commercial city are three things to look for. 

Winter: It gets colder in Dubai so the temperatures can get dank and damp - but there's also less humidity, so you'll be able to get a bit more Vitamin D. 

Dubai Festival City is the area to go in search of great bargains. Summer: Dubai really shines in the summer when the souk in Deira will get you right in the mood to shop.

What to do in Dubai

For those wanting a real taste of Dubai, take a look at the Emirates Palace, a palatial property for more than $1,000 a night. 

The Royal Dubai Opera opened in September and is a performance venue for opera and ballet. Dubai Marina’s Avenues Mall offers shopping and restaurants. 

Dubai Mall billed as the largest in the Middle East, is packed with shops, cafes, and restaurants. 

The city also has its fair share of golf courses, including several link-style courses. 

Dubai Creek Golf and Yacht Club, which opened in 2012, overlooks Dubai Creek and has five pools, 40 restaurants, and a beach. 

Another course, Al Marjan Island Golf Club, is also part of the Yacht Club.

Where to stay in Dubai

The Abraj Al Bait, with 256 guest rooms and suites, is one of the most luxurious five-star hotels in Dubai, located on the top three floors of Burj Khalifa. 

The rooms are named after landmarks in Arabic, such as the Chechen Palace and Mamre Palace. There is a water view on all floors, but room 242 has a 270-degree view of the Dubai skyline. Rooms start at AED6,000 ($1,805) per night. 

Abraj Al Bait, First Avenue, Burj Khalifa, Dubai 5. Hotel Mario; Costa Mesa, California Mario Batali has had a big impact on Southern California. 

His West Coast chain, Mario Batali Italian Restaurant Group, has more than a dozen restaurants in Orange County, one in Anaheim, and the group's flagship: Mario Batali's Del Posto.

Shopping in Dubai and what to buy

For a shopping experience unlike any other, Dubai’s Gold Souq offers a vibrant selection of gold jewellery, gemstones, silver, and platinum. 

For those who wish to explore the physical facets of luxury, the Dubai Mall’s 728 stores offer a vast selection of brands and designers, some of which are less easily found in other parts of the world. 

Nearby is the Burj Khalifa, the tallest building in the world. And Emirates Road, with its mix of shopping, traditional souk life, and overpriced property, is where you’ll find the Dubai Mall, the city’s most well-known attraction.

Nightlife in Dubai, where and what to drink

Perhaps not surprisingly, Dubai has a wide variety of nightlife options, from beach clubs to more upscale watering holes and clubs. 

Some of the best places to grab a drink include Reve Bar and Lounge on Burj Khalifa, Dubai Ice Rink, Mall of the Emirates, and Marquee, which is housed inside the Four Seasons Hotel Dubai. 

Nightlife in Dubai tends to lean on the younger side, which also means there's a younger clientele than some places in the country, particularly the more family-friendly beaches. GETTING THERE: 

It's a pretty easy place to get to if you can manage the passport requirements, as Dubai is a multi-instrument flight path. Heathrow is the closest airport, but you can also fly directly into Dubai International Airport.


Dubai's an easy place to reach, especially with Emirates Airline, Al Ain International Airport, and Abu Dhabi International Airport. 

The climate is hot and humid but the air-conditioning in the airport is adequate. 

The parks in Dubai are interesting and the shopping malls are large and have lots of shops. Dubai is a very big city, so it's quite easy to get around by taxi or auto-rickshaw. 

The beach is beautiful but you need to take a taxi to get to it. For a taste of Dubai, take a tour of the Burj Khalifa. Dubai Tourism website: http://www.visitdubai.com/guide-to-dubai For more information and resources on visiting Dubai, go to the following websites: http://www.visitdubai.com https://www.visitdubai.com/assessment/advice/ https://www.visitdubai.com/advice/ http://www.eat.dubai.

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