Dubai is synonymous with extravagance, luxury, glamour and excess. This is the country that is home to the Burj Al Arab, arguably the world's most luxurious hotel, and the man-made islands shaped like the countries of the world. Everything in Dubai seems a bit over-the-top, but that's precisely why tourists flock to this Middle Eastern city.
Whilst tourists usually try to budget on their travels, Dubai is all about spending money to the extreme. Visitors are treated like VIPs and have an endless choice of ostentatious hotels, clubs, restaurants and bars. It may not be everyone's cup of tea, but visitors can all agree on one thing- it's like nothing they've seen before.
Things to See and Do in Dubai
The iconic Burj Al Arab is the only seven star hotel in the world and a must-see attraction. Designed in the shape of a billowing sail, the Burj Al Arab is an impressive building that towers 321 metres above the Dubai skyline. Even If you're not staying in the hotel it is worth making a reservation to have cocktails or high tea in the Skyview Bar. Dubai certainly likes to go to the extreme, and the Burj Khalifa is the tallest building on the planet. Stand on the observation deck of the 134th floor to see the impressive view of the city below.
Go skiing at the first indoor ski slope in the Middle East at Ski Dubai in the Mall of Emirates and spend a day lazing in the sunshine at the Jumeira Beach and Park. Make sure you visit another of Dubai's iconic landmarks, Palm Jumeirah, which is a man-made archipelago in the shape of a palm tree. The main focal point is Atlantis, a luxury hotel that sits on the tip of the palm. Palm Jumeirah has plenty of things to do, with an aqua park called Aquaventure, luxury hotels, miles of sandy beaches, spas, aquariums, theme parks, restaurants and clubs.
Dubai and Shopping
If you're a shopaholic, you will find yourself in a shopper's paradise, with countless shopping malls to get lost in. The Dubai Mall is the most impressive and epic of them all, with over 1,200 stores, an Olympic-size ice rink, 22-screen cinema, a SEGA Republic indoor theme park, an aquarium complete with underwater zoo, a zone for kids called Kidzania and a 21st century gold souk. The highlight is watching the performance at the Dubai Fountain, the world's largest dancing fountain. Water spurts up to 500 feet high and is set to classical, Arabic and world music. If you want to buy gold, then the Old Gold Souk is dripping in it, so browse the glittering displays and see if you can haggle for a good deal.
If you want to get away from the skyscrapers and see something more authentic then pay a visit to the Bastakia Quarter heritage site, which was built in the 19th century by Persian Merchants and features traditional wind-tower architecture. You can also learn about Dubai's history in the Dubai Museum or take a boat trip across Dubai Creek, which divides the capital into two parts. If you would like to see inside a mosque, the Sheikh Mohammed Centre for Cultural Understanding runs visits on select days to the beautiful Jumeirah mosque.