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What you should see in Dubai

Not so long ago, Dubai was only known to most tourists as a stopover on their way to holiday destinations further east. Today it is one of the worlds most fascinating, most sophisticated, most sought-after resorts in its own right. With good reason where else can you spend a vacation that combines sand dunes and Middle East culture with stunning high rise hotels overlooking pristine beaches and the warm turquoise waters of the Arabian Gulf (also known as the Persian Gulf).

Dubai is really two towns: Deira to the north-east, and Dubai to the south-west. They are separated by the Creek (al-khor), an inlet of the Gulf.

The city centre is actually in Deira, and most of the budget hotels are located in Deira's souk. The best way to start exploring Dubai is to hire an abra, for a boat ride along the Creek. It's also interesting to walk along the docks on the Deira side of the Creek, where shows bound for ports ranging from Aden to Mumbai (Bombay) load and unload their cargo.

Dubai is the ultimate stopover city. Roughly equidistant from Britain and most major Asian destinations (and many in Africa), it is the Middle East's major stopping-off point for long-haul flights east. An increasing number of airlines and tour operators now include a stay in the city in packages to Far Eastern and Indian Ocean destinations. Dubai and the UAE's future is focused upon creating a business and tourism environment second to none which canters around incoming foreign investment mostly in Dubai property from commercial institutions and individual investors. Because of this Dubai property market is like no other in the World, with a range of properties & facilities second to none.

There are two sides of Dubai to explore - the flashy world of breathtaking hotels, gourmet treats and luxury shopping; and the earthier old Dubai of wind towers, mosques, shwarma and souqs.

You should visit in Dubai the following places:

  • The magnificent mosque at Jumeirah,
  • The camel race track where the traditional sport of camel racing is still followed keenly, Camel racing is a major spectator sport in the UAE. If you miss the races, snap the more photogenic camel walks from their farms across to the track to train.
  • ‘Nad al Sheba’ where the Dubai Race & Golf Club is situated, the venue for the richest horse race in the world,
  • Sheikh Zayed Road, passing by the new commercial area of Dubai where modern skyscrapers tower alongside the 8 lane highway,
  • The World Trade Centre, which for long has been a distinguishing landmark on the landscape of Dubai leading onto the Sheikh’s palace,
  • The amazing architecture of Deira Towers,
  • The fascinating underground Dubai Museum,  Set in a historical fort, the Dubai Museum offers a snapshot of the social history of the Emirate, as well as other parts of the UAE. The centerpiece is a reconstructed souk from Dubai's pearling days, complete with authentic sights and sounds. There is also, understandably, a major focus on the speed of the area's transition from poor pearling village to modern metropolis.
  • The colourful textile market,
  • The old ‘wind tower’ houses, many of which are being restored to preserve their unique design and function for coming generations to marvel at,
  • The famous ‘gold souk’ where we cannot but help being amazed by the sheer volume of dazzling gold jewelry in row upon row of shops.
  • Creekside Park - This oasis of palm-shaded green stretches from Al-Garhoud Bridge towards Al-Maktoum Bridge, making for a heavenly escape from the heat and humidity of Dubai's streets. There are children's playgrounds - as well as the outstanding Children's City - kiosks, eateries, a cable car, an amphitheatre and beaches (though swimming in the Creek is not recommended).

Author: by Carol Grant

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