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Dubai is quickly becoming one of the most visited places in the world. Recent years have seen a dramatic increase in global visitors due to heavy government investment into the tourism industry. From relaxation and retail therapy to extreme sports, there literally is something for everyone to get involved in.
Top Things To Do:
ShoppingFor the astute shopper, Dubai is a retail paradise. Known as the shopping capital of the Middle East, the ‘Dubai Mall’ is the world’s largest shopping and entertainment destination, with over 1,200 outlets.
For a more native shopping experience, visitors can practice their haggling skills in the traditional spice and gold souks on either side of the creek. It is also worth trying out the agra (water taxi transport) to get to the souk districts for the equivalent of around 20 pence.
Water ParksThe younger generations are not short of amusement on their Dubai holidays either. There are a number of theme parks located all across Dubai; notable examples include the famous Wild Wadi Water Park on Jumeriah Beach Road, and Aquaventure with a host of exhilarating waterslides, located in Atlantis, the Palm Hotel. The resort also includes an animal habitat, where visitors have the opportunity to spend the day swimming with dolphins.
Desert Safari With choices from morning, evening and overnight safaris, this is a must for anyone visiting Dubai.
Ski resortsThe world's largest indoor skiing arena, SkiDubai proves that with a little innovation, it is possible to bring an authentic arctic winter ski experience to hot, sunny Dubai.
MuseumsFor a glimpse into Dubai’s past and how it has evolved, head to the Dubai Museum. Considered as one of the oldest buildings in the emirate, the museum boasts original artifacts and reconstructions of life in Dubai before the discovery of oil.
ArchitectureDubai is renowned for challenging architectural convention, and has recently completed the world’s tallest building, the Burj Khalifa, which stands at an astonishing 828 metres. Other examples of pioneering developments including the Palm Islands, which are three major commercial and residential infrastructures in the shape of palm trees.
Food:International and Arabic food is available everywhere when you’re on a Dubai holiday, from small diners to hotels. All the major fast food franchises are present in Dubai and from American to Chinese to Indian; Dubai caters to everyone’s needs. Blue Elephant is regarded as one of Dubai’s finest Thai restaurants. For a chance to sample the local Lebanese cuisine, head to Al Oasr, with its authentic Arabian style architecture and the chance to dine al fresco in a lovely garden.Shakespeare & Co is the long anticipated upscale coffee shop recently opened on the Sheikh Zayed Road, with a cosy continental atmosphere and contemporary furniture.
Festivals & Celebrations:The Sheikh Mohammed Centre for Cultural Understanding (SMCCU): Found in Bastakya, this is an excellent portal for introducing visitors and residents to the culture, tradition, and even politics of the country. Traditional food and interactive programmes make this an excellent opportunity to immerse oneself in the culture. Booking in advance is strongly recommended to avoid disappointment.
Dubai Shopping Festival: JanuaryThis month long shopping festival involves almost every shop in the city and an essential experience for fashionistas and bargain-hunters alike. With plenty of entertainment to keep children happy, as well as night-time firework displays, this is a festival as extravagant as its name.
Dubai Desert Rock: MarchFor two days a year, music lovers and festival goers have flocked to Dubai to experience this exciting gathering organised by CSM. Performances in the past have included Iron Maiden, The Darkness, Megadeth and The Prodigy, to name a few.
Ramadan: Falls around Oct-Sept depending on the lunar calendar.Ramadan is an Islamic month of abstinence, and therefore it is illegal throughout the UAE for adults to eat, drink or smoke in public during daylight hours. Many hotels, however, have areas where non-fasters can eat so food services will remain available in these places. Adults are also expected to dress more modestly during this time, and tight or revealing clothing should be avoided in public.