Guide to Dubai

Dubbed ‘the shopping capital of the Middle East,’ this modern metropolis is a natural destination choice for shopaholics.  It also has much to offer foodies, families, culture vultures and thrill seekers.

Dubai is a fascinating city located in the emirate of Dubai, in the United Arab Emirates.  It has a population of around two million inhabitants and is rapidly growing. Arabic is the official language, and English is second.

The city is one of the most expansive and expensive in the world. Located on the emirate’s northern coastline, in the Persian Gulf, it has been a major global trading centre and is the commercial hub of the Middle East.

You can shop until you drop in Dubai as there are more than 250 shopping malls, including the largest mall in the world, Dubai Mall.  Here, alongside over one thousand shops, you’ll find some unexpected attractions such as Dubai Aquarium with the largest viewing panel in the world and an underwater zoo.  The mall is home to Ski Dubai, the world’s largest indoor ski slope – not something you might expect in a desert.

The Dubai Fountains by Dubai Mall are a spectacular sight, not to be missed.  Watch how the water dances to music and illuminates and shoots up to 500 metres into the air.  The fountain show is a fun family attraction, occurring every hour for a few minutes.

Another family favourite is Dolphin Bay, a stunning dolphin park with adjacent waterpark.  Get up close to Flipper and friends for an unforgettable interactive experience and swim with the dolphins.  Book ahead to avoid queues.

Dubai’s large constructions are world-renowned and have become symbols of the city.  Check out the Burj Khalifa, the tallest  building in the world.  In less than a minute, you can take a trip up the 124th floor for excellent views across the city.  The telescopes give you a unique look at Dubai past and present, and reveals how the city has evolved.  Advance tickets can save time and money here.

Dubai lies within the Arabian Desert.  It has a hot climate with scorching summers and warm winters. To experience its distinctive desert environment, take a trip off the beaten track to the Dubai Desert Conservation Reserve. Go ‘dune bashing’ in a four wheel drive tour and end the day with dinner in the desert.

To enjoy the sand of a beach by the sea, head to Jumeria Beach and Park.  Here you can relax on white sand and swim in clean, clear waters. 

Take to water on the Bur Dubai at the Abra Dock. This traditional wooden boat ride will take you across Dubai Creek to the old town where you’ll find Dubai’s traditional souks (marketplaces) selling traditional items and souvenirs. You’ll also find the Gold Souk with hundreds of jewellery retailers.

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