Dubai is the second largest of the seven emirates of United Arab Emirates. However, it has the biggest population of 3.232 million as of the 1st quarter of 2019 according to Dubai Statistics Centre. It is famous for luxury shopping, best hotels and sightseeing attractions. The city has a lot of cultural highlights to offer as well as glamorous modern add-ons.
Dubai is located in the northeast part of UAE along the Persian Gulf coast of about 7km length. It is positioned at 25°15’8″ N, 55°16’48” E. It covers 4,114 sq. km. which is 5% of the total area of the UAE. This is expected to expand twice the size due to the land reclamation projects from the sea.
Dubai shares borders with Abu Dhabi in the south, Sharjah in the northeast and the Sultanate of Oman in the southeast.
One of the captivating geographical features of Dubai is its 9.5 mile natural inlet in the Persian Gulf called the Dubai Creek. This was Dubai’s centre for more than a century because of the city’s early reliance on fish, pearl diving, and maritime trade.
Best Places To Go To
Dubai boasts about its luxury shopping malls, extremely modern architecture, and lively nightlife. The city has a competitive edge over many other popular destinations especially in the Middle East. It must be seen to be believed.
Here are the Best Things to Do in Dubai and top places to tick off your sightseeing list whenever you are in the city.
Dominating Dubai’s skyline, Burj Khalifa stands 828 metres high. This iconic tower is the tallest in the world and this should not be missed. At The Top is the observation deck on the 124th floor that offers a stunning view of the city.
The Walk and Beach at JBR
The Walk and Beach at JBR offers dining, shopping, and beach in one place. JBR features a lot of activities such as guest DJ’s during the weekends and a regular open-air cinema.
The Dubai Mall
The Dubai Mall is the city’s premier mall that provides an entrance to Dubai Aquarium and The Dubai Fountain. There are more than 1,200 shops and 150 restaurants that provides endless shopping and eating options. There are plenty of things to do inside the mall with their entertainment options such us an ice-skating rink, gaming zone, cinema complex and a lot more.
The Dubai Fountain
The Dubai Fountain, a must-see attraction in the city, is the world’s largest choreographed fountain. It is located at the base of the Burj Khalifa and right outside Dubai Mall. The fountain is choreographed to various musical numbers all around the world and performs daily. The show starts at sundown and takes place every 30 minutes until 11 PM.
Palm Jumeirah is the world’s famous man-made island development. It is shaped like a palm tree, hence the name. It is a home to a vast array of luxury hotels such as the iconic Atlantis The Palm, Waldorf Astoria, Fairmont, and Jumeirah Zabeel Saray.
Tourists can enjoy old Dubai’s winding waterways and souq in Dubai Creek. This was the city’s trading centre where the main forms of economy like fishing, pearl diving, and trading were done. Today, the area is home to Dubai Museum and a labyrinthine alleyways of the gold, spice, and textile souqs. The traditional abra is a must-try for only AED 1 per ticket.
A top destination for sunbathers, Kite Beach is the perfect place to lap up a lazy day of swimming and soaking up. It is a spot for a lot of watersports activities plus provides an awesome view of the famous Burj Al Arab.
Dubai Marina, the world’s largest man-made marina, features a stunning cityscape. It features lively restaurants, Best hotels in Dubai Marina and bars. The impressive apartment buildings in the neighbourhood makeup the iconic skyline of the city. The best way to enjoy the place is by strolling or taking one of the boat rides.
Heading out of the skyscrapers, there are plentiful desert tours offered in Dubai. The Arabian Desert is less than 20 minutes drive from Downtown Dubai. Dubai Safari Dune Bashing, sand boarding and camel riding are some activities offered during the tours.
Al Fahidi Historical Neighbourhood in Bur Dubai features the heritage neighbourhood of the city. The area has 50 buildings containing museum, craft shops, art galleries, cultural exhibits, courtyard cafes, and boutique hotels.
Dubai Water Canal is a 3.2 km long artificial canal which leads to the Arabian Gulf from Dubai Creek through Business Bay. Along its waterfront are luxury hotels like the W Hotel and St. Regis. The canalside walk is also made up of 450 restaurants, 1 shopping centre, luxury residences, walkways and cycle paths.
This ginormous 150-meter-high picture frame offers a stunning panoramic view of both old and new Dubai. A series of galleries presenting the city’s history and Emirati heritage can be found inside the frame before your reach the Sky Deck.
Dubai Opera is the first of its kind in the city. It is located right next to Burj Khalifa with the view of the Dubai Fountain. It hosts many events such as musicals, singing performances, and Q&As with famous faces.
IMG Worlds of Adventure
This indoor theme park offers an immersive entertainment at its finest. It provides thrills and spills for both kids and big kids. From the most up-to-date rides to the restaurants and shops, the whole family will have a guaranteed fun-filled day out.
City Walk is an open, European-inspired neighbourhood with hundreds of exclusive shops, restaurants, and leisure activities. It is famous for its stunning collection of contemporary street art murals.
Dubai Parks and Resorts
Dubai Parks and Resorts is the biggest theme park in the world that houses smaller theme parks such as Motiongate, Bollywood Park, and Legoland Theme Park & Waterpark. Riverland Boulevard features restaurants and exciting entertainment programmes. Also situated in the area is The Lapita hotel that provides an easy access to the facilities on offer.
Madinat Jumeirah is a resort complex that houses luxury hotels, Talise Spa, Souq Madinat, Madinat Theatre, and more than 40 restaurants and lounges. The structure of the area is inspired by the Arabian citadels of the past.
Hatta is a beautiful scenic getaway that must not be missed. The area features mountains, wadis, farms, dams, and fresh air. Hatta Wadi Hub hosts a number of adventure activities such as mountain biking, zorbing, and free-fall jumping. A chic-lodge -style hotel is a new addition to the area.
The culture in Dubai is rooted in Islamic traditions that forms the lifestyle of the Emiratis. Muslims see Qu’ran literally as the word of God and issues specific moral guidelines in dealing with daily living.
Every neighbourhood has its own mosque where faithful congregations pray 5 times every day. Ramadan, the holy month for Muslims, is observed annually in Dubai. This marks the time for prayer, fasting, and charity.
Emiratis are most of the time in their traditional culture clothes influenced by their Islamic belief. The expatriates and visitors of the city are expected to dress appropriately when touring around the city and visiting historical sites. However, they are allowed to dress whatever they wish when in hotels, beaches, and bar or club.
Alcohol is allowed in Dubai as long as it is inside a hotel, bar or nightclub. It is illegal to drink in the streets or public areas. Residents are allowed to drink at home as long as they can present a license issued by the municipality. Pork is available in some supermarkets for non-muslims.
Dubai is one of the fastest-growing cities in the world as the population is growing by about 7% annually.
The city is made up of a multicultural society of which only about 10% are UAE Nationals and the rest are expatriates from all over the world. The expat population comprises mostly of Indians and other nationalities from other Arabic countries.
Islam is the official religion of Duabi and the UAE. The locals and most expatriate populations are muslims. There are also a significant number of Christians, Hindus, Bhuddists, and Sikh communities in this emirate.
The official language of the city is Arabic. However, English is widely used, especially in the workplace.
Photo Credit: Expo 2020 Dubai
Best Time To Visit
The best time to visit Dubai is during the winter months, from November to April. A lot of tourists are expected during the months of January and February because of Dubai Shopping Festival.