Travellers Guide to Dubai

Dubai Nights

Most people might not be able to point to it on a map, but Dubai is becoming an increasingly popular holiday destination.

It is a country that combines cutting-edge modernity with a uniquely Arab past. One of the seven emirates of the UAE, this progressive city-state has placed tourism at the heart of its plans for the future.

With regular international flights and the best public transport system in the Middle East, there really is no excuse for not trying Dubai. Here’s what to expect when you get there…


Vibrant is definitely the word. Forget any preconceptions you may have about stern locals or a repressed society. In fact 2012 has boasted an exciting cultural calendar, with contemporary art events, a pulsating race season and a shopping festival running throughout Dubai city.

Alongside these modern proceedings, a series of traditional cultural events usually take place in the winter, ranging from gatherings at heritage villages, re-enactments of Bedouin weddings and performances of popular Khaleeji folk dances.

The popularity of golf has also exploded in recent times, with a huge expansion in courses to cater for sporting holidays.

The Emirates Golf Club is the premier venue of these new developments and hosts the prestigious Dubai Desert Classic every February. And, for those who like to relax in the ’19th’ hole – fear not.

Whilst alcohol is strictly regulated and largely prohibited on religious grounds, the majority of hotels have their own bars and nightclubs that are exempt from these laws.


Don’t let its westernised appearance fool you – Dubai is essentially a desert. It is hot and humid, especially during the summer, whilst temperatures plummet at night.

The sea breeze does help cool parts of the vast metropolis, although in weather like this you’ll still want to be lying on the beach or in a room with some serious air-conditioning.

Things to see

You could really spend a lifetime gazing at the wonders of Dubai. The Burj Khalifa is the world’s tallest building and appears to be reaching up into the heavens themselves. Standing nearly 830 metres high, the building is an architectural triumph and statement of Dubai’s progress.

No less impressive is the Burj Al Arab. Built on a man-made island, this 7-star hotel combines opulence and style in this 21st century masterpiece. Offering so much to tourists, the city should really be called Hotel Dubai.

Out with these impressive structures, Dubai offers a unique shopping experience. Its massive mall complexes place their customers first, with one transporting them about on its own internal river barges whilst the Mall of the Emirates even has a ski slope with real snow.

The city also plays host to some of the region’s finest Arabic cuisine. The numerous luxury hotel restaurants serve traditional delicacies alongside western classics. Or authentic local restaurants will give you a cheaper opportunity to savour the tastes and flavours of the emirate.

What draws you to Dubai?

Catherine Halsey writes for a digital marketing agency on a range of subjects.

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Hotels in Dubai

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