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Dubai is a place that is constantly in flux, and it is this dynamism that makes it so fascinating. From the architectural audacity and sheer iconoclasm of its buildings and shopping malls to its beautiful beaches, climate-defying ski slopes and vibrant nightlife, Dubai never ceases to wonder. Gold, oil, commerce, tourism, immigration and conspicuous wealth have helped to make this a dream destination whose reality is many things, but never dull.
The Creek – This is where it all began. Check out the photos in the Dubai Museum and you’ll see that just fifty years ago there was just creek and desert. Traders crisscrossed the calm waters between Deira and Bur Dubai just as you can today on the abras (motorboat ferries).
Deira – Along with Bur Dubai, this is the heart of the old city. Visit the souqs to smell the spices and test your bargaining prowess against the gold traders. Wander along the Dhow Wharfage to marvel at how boats so laden with white goods, trucks and cars can still stay above the waters.
Bur Dubai – Take a trip down the creek to see all that happens between here and Al-Maktoum Bridge. Wander to the Heritage Village and the Sheikh Saeed Al-Maktoum House to see how things once were. Stroll through the Bastakia area, where the wealthy merchants used to live, and into Karama, where the ex-pat workers now reside, for a telling way to experience the contradictions that make Dubai what it is.
Sheikh Zayed Road – Architectural fans will love the structural battles that have been held as each new hotel or development has attempted to outdo its neighbours.
Jumeirah – Here is where life is a beach. From your luxury beach resort you can take in the artificial islands of the Palm and the grandeur of the Burj Al Arab, an iconic symbol of the city.
Dubai’s architecture can be kitsch, but it is never less than impressive. Take an architectural tour to see all the best buildings, including the ‘sails’ of the Burj Al Arab, the triangular glass facade of the Chamber of Commerce and Industry, the upside down Y of the Dusit Dubai and many others. There are numerous art galleries in Dubai, of particular note are the Majlis Gallery, Total Arts and the Green Art Gallery. For the most spectacular views over Dubai be sure to check out the view from the top observation deck at Burj Khalifa.
Even the most die-hard shopper will eventually drop in Dubai. From the bustle of Deira’s souqs to the hyper-modern shopping malls, there is no end of opportunities to browse, buy and desire. With many high-end restaurants, and a melting pot of cultures ensuring plentiful cuisines, eating out is a real pleasure in Dubai. After your meal you can dip into the vibrant nightlife scene that incorporates smoky shisha lounges, flashy dance temples, swanky cocktail bars, chic rooftop terraces and party-hearty beach clubs. There are countless other activities to enjoy in Dubai too. Fancy some scuba diving? No problem! Maybe a water theme park? Or, perhaps, indoor skiing in a shopping mall? It’s all here! A Desert Safari? Just decide if it’s to be by camel, quad bike or camel! In Dubai nearly everything is possible.
Dubai is also great for the kids too. Escape the heat in Dubai’s ultimate waterpark, Aquaventure. Here you can ride waterslides, ride down a flume that passes through a shark-filled lagoon and swim with dolphins. Truly an unforgettable time awaits at Aquaventure.