Situated on the smooth aqua waters of the Southern Gulf, surrounded by tranquil desert and with its vibrant souk (market) area, the city is captivating. There is something for everyone whether they’re after a relaxing break in the sun or an exciting new experience. There’s an array of water sports, superb shopping and plenty of interesting places to visit.
A relaxing walk along the banks of Dubai’s natural seawater inlet, the Creek, which runs through the centre of the city, is a significant focal point of past and present life in Dubai. You can witness the hustle and bustle of the traders and boatmen piling their cargo onto the dhows, many of which still follow ancient trade routes to places as far away as Africa and India. At one end of the Creek is a spectacular lagoon, which has become a wildlife sanctuary and a permanent home for thousands of Flamingos.
The Bastakiya district is a must see for a glimpse of old Dubai, with its narrow winding lanes, courtyard houses and tall wind towers. You can also visit excavation sites at Al Ghusaus and Al Sufooh where you can see artifacts dating back as far as the 7th Century. Camel races are extremely entertaining and serious business in Dubai, not to be missed if you visit during the cooler months when they take place every weekend.With its ultra modern city, historical original town and variety of attractions the ‘Pearl of the Arabian Gulf’ is a captivating and somewhat unique destination - not to be overlooked.
The Creek is the heart and soul of Dubai, the city’s historic birthplace now a harmonious if not somewhat incongruous blend of ancient and modern. The creek divides Dubai into two parts, Deira Dubai and Bur Dubai, water taxis known locally as Abras ply a near constant service connecting the two parts of the city. The Creek has played a major role in Dubai’s still burgeoning prosperity, since the days when Dubai was a major pearl fishing centre. Today, high-rise buildings line the waterside hiding the hidden treasures of the old city. A maze of ancient alleyways survives on the Deira side dwarfed by tall buildings giving the area a detached, subterranean atmosphere. Within these narrow lanes the visitor will experience all the sights and smells of true Arabia. Inside these winding lanes is the spice souk with its heavy, pungent and mysterious aroma of everything from rose petals to chili powder, close by the aromas change dramatically as you enter the fish souk. The best time to visit here is early morning as local fisherman unload their catches amidst the frenzied cacophony of bargaining and bartering. The range of fish landed is truly exotic; expect to see barracuda, red snapper, giant tuna, shark and a host of shellfish varieties. But perhaps the most famous of Dubai’s soaks is the gold market lined with dozens of small neat shops each trying to glitter brighter than the next to attract custom. The prices here are amongst the cheapest gold prices in the world. On either side of the Creek there are literally dozens of clean and inexpensive places to eat and drink whilst sitting in the sun drinking in the atmosphere of this bustling, vibrant area.
Shopping in Dubai.
Sunshine, good food, miles of golden beaches, charming people, what more could anyone want from a trip to Dubai? Shopping - that’s what, arguably the biggest bazaar on the planet Dubai will sell you anything, usually cheaper than anywhere else in the world. If the summer heat of the city doesn’t melt your credit cards the air-conditioned malls and stores will. Expect to spend; this is not a browsing city! Where to start? Anywhere downtown you will find a dazzling array of smart malls and department stores. Clothes are usually the hot ticket for most western visitors, and you will find all the big designer labels here at a fraction of the prices back home. If want you want has a price higher than you want to pay, haggle – bargain hard and you may surprise yourself at some of the bargains on offer. For the electronic gizmo and gadget fanatic Dubai will be heaven, with a range of goods unequalled in variety and low prices just about anywhere in the world. Something for the home? Carpet perhaps, this is the place to buy them, head for the Deira Tower Shopping Mall in Al Nasr Square, this is carpet city, not just Arabian but a staggering range of carpets from India, China and Central Asia too. Dubai is also a great place to buy porcelain, jewellery and perfumes. If you want to take something local home you can do much better than just a T Shirt in Dubai. There are plenty of shops selling local and traditional items including exotic brass coffee pots, wooden dhows and khanjars, a short curved dagger with an elaborately carved sheaf. Whatever you buy or whatever you want to buy don’t forget the golden rule….haggle and bargain for the best possible deals. The local traders will not be offended, they will in fact expect you to!
Burj Al Arab Hotel.
In a city where spectacular modern architecture has become almost commonplace The Burj Al Arab Hotel has entered the new millennium as one of the world’s truly astonishing new buildings. Standing almost 1,000 feet high the British designed hotel resembles the sail of a gigantic dhow anchored on a small man made island connected to the mainland by a short causeway. The opulent exterior is just a foretaste of what awaits the guest inside. This is a seriously luxurious hotel. with over 200 two-floor suites stacked with every imaginable luxury and quite a few that are just unimaginable. Each suite comes equipped with computer, personal fax and printer, plasma screen 70-channel cable TV, DVD player, remote control lighting and curtains and just about every other conceivable electronic gizmo. The rooms ooze affluence and unabashed opulence, there is gold leaf at every turn; Azukbahai marble from Brazil, Straccicario marble from Italy, the same marble used centuries ago by Michelangelo. The Burj has 6-world class restaurants including The Almahara Seafood restaurant accessed via a three-minute virtual submarine voyage. The Assawan Spa on the 18th floor caters for those requiring a little personal pampering; there is hydrotherapy baths, oriental massage, steam rooms, Jacuzzi and an assortment of beauty treatment rooms. The Burj is not for the traveler on a budget, however for a short stay in unadulterated luxury its well worth saving for.