The Paris of the Middle East, Dubai is the fastest growing city in the world and is a tourist’s paradise. Holidaymakers flock the city all year round to enjoy the sun, sand, beach and shopping.
The rapid expansion of Dubai has caused it to be divided into two parts: the northern Deira region and the southern Bur Dubai with the star tourist attraction of Jumeirah. Either side of the creek, these two areas can be travelled to by Abras: traditional water taxis. Both sides are rich in contemporary and historical sights.
South of the creek, Bur Dubai contains the Bastakiya Quarters which portray old Dubai with the narrow streets and wind towers that used to cool houses during the days when electricity was a figment of imagination. Along with the historical Dubai Museum with its excavated graves, ancient weaponry and musical instruments, this part of Dubai allows the tourist to grasp exactly how much Dubai has changed. The unique desert life, Arabian homes, pearl diving and trade on show in these areas are remarkable. The Grand Mosque with the tallest minaret of the city at 70m and its numerous domes is also a distinguished landmark with spiritual importance as well. The Sheikh Saeed Al Maktoum House near the sea port completes the list of star attractions in Bur Dubai. Built in the 1880s, this house was restored to its former grandeur and represents the cultural and historical roots of the city.
This region contains perhaps the most illustrious of Dubai’s landmarks: Burj Al Arab. Unofficially a seven star hotel, this sail shaped building boasts of an extraordinary design along with a royal interior and grand outlook. Another modern landmark close by is the Wild Wadi Water Park, a recreational area fit for the enjoyment of children. Modern Islamic architecture is portrayed in Dubai’s largest mosque: Jumeirah Mosque. Its beauty is further amplified at night when it is floodlit after dusk. The Jumeirah Archaeological Site in the area is also a place worth visiting where artifacts dating back to the Umayyad Dynasty of the 6th century have been found.
Burj Nahar is one of the three watch towers which guard this city. It is located in Deira amongst scenic gardens exotic surroundings and attracts a lot of tourists due to its beauty and majesty. The Heritage House, a wealthy pearl merchants house built from coral and gypsum is also a must visit for tourists. A tour of the house also includes an Emirati snack of chick peas and tea. Deira also contains traditional markets such as the Covered Souk, Spice Souk and Gold Souk.
Being the shopping capital of Middle East, Dubai is the best place to find products at unbeatable prices. Cars, clothing, jewellery, electronics or sports goods- You name it, Dubai has it. International high street chains and luxury brands like Gucci, Armani, Next, Chanel and Givenchy are on show in malls like the Wafi Shopping Centre, Mercato Mall and Emirates Towers Boulevard.
The Best Time to Visit:
Given the high temperatures in the area, The Best Time to visit Dubai is from November to April so that one can enjoy the outdoor activities as well. Indoor activities are not hindered by the sun as hotels, malls and other complexes are all fully air conditioned. During the month of Ramadan however, visiting Dubai on holiday is not a good idea as the rules of Islam forbid eating, drinking and smoking in public places. Although hotel prices drop to 70% of their usual, the strictly followed festival of Ramadan would lessen the fun for most vacationers.
Dubai, at present, boasts of the most exciting array of shopping centers, recreational parks and majestic landmarks. The future holds more with the Burj Dubai, the tallest tower in the world and still rising, the world’s first underwater hotel in the Hydropolis and the Atlantis Resort and Hotel. Just off the coast of Dubai a fascinating collection of private and commercial artificial islands in the shape of the World also offer to be a mesmerizing addition to Dubai’s landmarks.