Dubai, United Arab Emirates
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Exploring Dubai City

This super-wealthy desert city of Dubai has grown immensely since the discovery of oil, before which it was a bit of a backwater. Today, it has a superb infrastructure complete with a vast range of accommodation, most of it in the upper end and tailored to the business traveller, as well as to couples and families. Dubai also has a striking coastline, which is now pockmarked by the Palm Islands and the sun shines here throughout the year.

The beach stretches for many kilometres and has been set up with extensive facilities for tourists to enjoy. There are all sorts of water sports available, along with lifeguards and changing facilities at Jumeirah Beach. If you are lucky enough to stay on Palm Jumeirah, your hotel will have its own stretch of beach.

The shopping is right up there with major global cities and there is a spread of eating options and sporting events. Though it has a wide range of hotels, it is more geared to the four- and five-star bracket and even boasts the world’s only ‘seven-star’, the elegant Burj Al Arab. More modest options include the likes of the four-star Golden Sands Hotel Apartments and the three-star Premier Inn Dubai Silicon Oasis.

Sights nearby

Dubai’s many fun attractions and the beach are within easy shouting distance of its hotels. They are to be found in all tourist districts, from the old commercial centre of Deira to the new downtown and the marina.

Downtown Dubai
Not the original centre of Dubai—which is roughly the Deira and Bur Dubai areas—the ‘Downtown Dubai’ of today is a modern development of towers, hotels and malls situated behind Satwa and Jumeirah. It is best known for the massive Burj Khalifa, the world’s tallest tower, and also for the Dubai Mall, the world’s biggest. Other sights here include a stunning fountain and park, while nearby the Satwa district boasts a Little Manila and Little India.

Dubai Marina
Dubai Marina is another of Dubai’s more recent developments and is positioned at the bottom of Jumeirah Beach, near the entrance to Palm Jumeirah. Many tourists base themselves here, with the five-star Hilton Dubai Jumeirah Resort a popular accommodation option. Be sure to take in the Jumeirah Beach Walk and the fabulous Dubai Marina Mall.

Jebel Ali
The Ibn Battuta Mall is one of the star attractions of the up and coming Jebel Ali district, which is noted for its huge port and also for Palm Jebel Ali. Located near the Ibn Battuta Gate hotel, this massive mall has stores from around the world and is surrounded by pretty gardens that include all sorts of options for recreation, including swimming and football.

Eating and drinking and shopping nearby

The shopping in Dubai is excellent, though deals on electronics and fashion are not as forthcoming as years gone by. There are large modern malls all over the place, particularly so in Bur Dubai, while traditional souks with gold and spices remain. Everything from fine foods to McDonalds and tasty street shawarma is widely available, with some of the cheapest and tastiest eating in the Little India area of Satwa. Top-end hotels also have fabulous restaurants and the best bars.

Public transport

Most locals travel about by car as Dubai is spread out and not totally covered as well as it could be by public transport. The main tourist areas are well covered, however, with a couple of metro lines crossing the city. The bus system is fairly efficient and cheap, though busy, and there are meter taxis everywhere. Most hotels offer airport transfers and there are water taxis that cross the Creek, while those staying on Palm Jumeirah can make use of the monorail system.

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