Dubai Tourist Information
Dubai commands your attention from the moment you first lay eyes on its miles of golden beaches and gleaming high rises making their way up towards the sky. There's nothing mundane about this city, which constantly surprises and dazzles its visitors. It's home to the world's tallest structure, the Burj Khalifa, as well as the largest dancing fountain, the Dubai Fountain. And with construction still booming, there will be even more superlatives listed in Dubai tourist information packets in the years to come. ¶ Not too long ago, Dubai was a small, pretty fishing village. The discovery of oil in the region led to a boom in population and an explosion in construction, to make it the cosmopolitan city it is today. The population has doubled since 1995, and Dubai now has the largest immigrant population in the world. This lends a multicultural diversity to its dining and arts scenes.
Things to do in Dubai
Dubai's beaches provide a refreshing retreat from the heat. Try your hand at kite-surfing on Kite Beach or take a dip in the water at Al Mamzar. Strolling along the Dubai Marina is one of the most enticing things to do in Dubai. Its Jumeirah Beach Walk provides an open air market, live entertainment, and a number of restaurants. Shopping is taken to an elevated art form in Dubai's glittering shopping malls. Visit the Souk Madinat, which has its own waterway to transport you to and from shops and restaurants. The Mall of the Emirates comes equipped with an indoor ski slope, should you tire of the beaches outside. Dubai's dazzling Gold Souk is worth visiting, with its eye-catching displays of gemstones and low prices.
Things to see in Dubai
You can easily spend several days exploring Dubai's high rises, theme parks, and shopping malls, but there's another side to the city. The Bastakia Quarter is one of the best traditional things to see in Dubai, its labyrinthine corridors are lined with contemporary art galleries and cafes. You can see the medieval Jumeirah Mosque, with its elegant domes and stained glass. Pay a visit to the textile souk, rich with elaborate tapestries and saffron-coloured bolts of fabric. You can also explore the vast sands of the Sahara by taking a sand dune 4WD safari, or even soaring above them in a hot air balloon at sunrise. Seeing the sun's rays slowly awaken the shifting desert sands with light and colour is an unforgettable experience.
Dubai International Airport is the home of local airlines Emirates and FlyDubai, yet it offers a wide range of international connections as the largest hub in the Middle East. Emirates Express bus service connects Dubai with the other six emirates of the UAE, and operates from several terminals in the city. There is also an international cruise terminal at Port Rashid. Dubai transport is rather sprawling and car-oriented. You can either rent a car for use during your stay or rely on taxis. There is a metro system currently being expanded, already covering a good percentage of the city centre.
You'll find Dubai events on every month of the calendar. The Dubai Marathon is in January, with runners participating in the race for charity. January is also when the Dubai Shopping Festival is held. Although shopping is special all year round in Dubai, retailers pull out all the stops with sales and special events during this month. Music lovers will want to attend the prestigious Dubai Jazz Festival, held at Dubai Media City and drawing well-known international musicians. The Festival of Taste is another event held at Dubai Media City, although this one focuses on gastronomic innovation and cooking demonstrations.
Restaurants in Dubai
From celebrity chefs to street food, you'll find delicious meals to suit every budget. Many restaurants in Dubai make use of freshly caught fish and a rainbow of spices to create their own Arabic-Mediterranean fusion cuisine. ¶ The Dubai Marina is a good place to start if you're in the mood for fine dining. Should you tire of high end dining in Dubai's hotels and shopping malls, try heading to Al Dhiyafah Road for a plethora of cheap ethnic cuisine. You'll find packed, cosy restaurants serving authentic Lebanese and Indian cuisine in heaping portions, often accompanied by spicy curry sauces.