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COMPARE DUBAI HOTELS

Dubai United Arab Emirates

Dubai (دبي) is one of the seven emirates that make up the United Arab Emirates. It is rather like an independent city-state and is the most modern and progressive emirate in the UAE.

A relatively new tourist destination, Dubai has gained in popularity in recent years. It is essentially a desert city with superb infrastructure, liberal policies (by regional standards), and excellent tourist amenities. Just 5 hrs from Europe and 3 hrs from most parts of the Middle East, the Near East, and the sub-continent of India, Dubai makes a great short break for shopping, partying, sunbathing, fine dining, sporting events, and even a few sinful pleasures. It is a city of superlatives: for the fastest, biggest, tallest, largest and highest, Dubai is the destination.

The weekly day off is on Friday. Note that, since September 2006, a harmonised weekend of Friday and Saturday has been adopted for the public sector and schools. Government departments, multi-national companies, and most schools and universities are now off on Friday and Saturday (after years of a mixed bag of Friday/Saturday and Thursday/Friday weekends). Some local companies still work a half day on Thursday with a full-day on Saturday.

Climate

The city of Dubai is situated on a coastal strip bordered by desert and gets very hot. It is dry on the hottest days and humid during the cooler days in the summer. Cooler, more pleasant weather lasts from the end of September to beginning of May (although note that pleasant is relative, with daily temperatures from October to January and March to May still being in the lower 20s Celsius/70s Farenheit), but be prepared for cold night temperatures. In winter the temperature at night is usually from 10-16 Celsius (50-60 Farenheit). In May, June, July, August and September, the sun is intense and temperatures can touch 45 degrees Celsius in the city and even higher in the desert. The heat coupled with humidity of 60-70 near the coast effectively precludes most activity outdoors for the daylight hours during summer.

December to April generally produces the highest precipitation, which at 10 cm (5 in) still isn't much. Some years yield no more than a few minutes of shower in Dubai. November 2006 brought record rains up to 50 cm of rain with temperatures going down to record lows.

See

Old Dubai

  • Wind tower in the Bastakiya districtAl Ahmadiya School, Deira. Built in 1912, this was Dubai's first school and has now been nicely restored. It would be a stretch to call the exhibits of old reed pens and diplomas fascinating, but they've tried pretty hard, and if nothing else, the air-con and clean toilets may come in handy. Free entry.
  • Bastakiya District. One of the last remaining pockets of "old Dubai", home to many reconstructed buildings in the traditional style. While information on the structures is slim here (see the museum in preference), the atmosphere is very evocative and there are plenty of delightful art galleries and cafes to explore.
  • Dubai Museum, Al Ibn Abi Talib Road, ph: +971 (4) 353-1862. A must-see for anyone interested in the social history of the Emirate (and indeed the country). A visit starts at the al-Fahidi fort, which has a few examples of the traditional reed houses and other artifacts, but isn't much to look at. The more interesting part is the modern extension built underneath the fort, showcasing Dubai's history using the latest technology and culminating in a reconstructed souq from the pearling days, complete with authentic sights and sounds. It's quite fascinating to see the speed at which the transition from poor pearling village to modern metropolis occurred. Admission 3AED.
  • Ship atop the Dubai MuseumJumeirah Mosque, Jumeirah Road, Jumeirah 1 (opposite Palm Strip Mall). Generally considered to be one of the more attractive mosques in the region, as well as one of the few which are open to non-Muslims for tours. Tours run on Thursdays and are followed by a question-and-answer session about Islam for those who want to know more.
  • Shindagha District — Home to the open museums of the Heritage Village, and has the home of former Sheikh Rashid Al-Maktoum.
Modern Dubai

Don't miss Dubai's overwhelming shopping malls, listed under Buy.

  • The Burj al-Arab hotel seen from a nearby hotel.Burj al-Arab hotel . For a real glimpse into "how the other half lives", (self-proclaimed as the only 7 star hotel in the world), afternoon tea, or cocktails, may be an interesting experience. Entry to the hotel requires a reservation which will be confirmed at the entry gate, although residents of adjacent Jumeirah hotels may be able to visit by arrangement. Other tourists may occasionally be able to book tours of the hotel itself, however these will not run when the hotel is full. A "very smart casual" dress code applies. Reservations are usually required about a month in advance for a room, but a few days will generally suffice for a meal.
  • Burj Dubai— Already the world's tallest structure and still growing taller every day, this is one landmark you cannot possibly miss seeing. The exact final height remains a mystery, but it has already passed 600m (100m taller than Taipei 101, the previous record-holder) and is expected to pass 800m before completion in late 2009.
  • Palm Islands— The three largest artificial islands in the world.
Do
  • Beaches and sea. There are endless water-sport opportunities as Dubai has some of the whitest and sandiest beaches in the world. Ocean temperatures range from 22°C in winter up to 35°C in summer, meaning you might as well forget a hotel and bathe in the ocean. Very salty though. Diving activities have been severely affected by offshore construction work for the Palms and The World; consequently, long boat trips are necessary to reach wreck sites. Alternatively, one can make the 90 minute road journey to the East coast Emirate of Fujairah or the Sharjah enclave, Khor Fakkan, for top class diving on coral reefs supporting extensive marine life.
  • Desert Safari or Dune Bashing. Head out to the desert in an SUV with specialist Desert Drivers. The drivers will take you for a roller-coaster ride over sand dunes, show you the sunset from a strategic vantage point and then take you to a lavish dinner with music and dance to complete the atmosphere. You may want to stay clear of the dune-bashing if you know that you get carsick easily.
  • Ski . Dubai now has its own snow skiing centre. Located in the new Mall of the Emirates (MOE), on the Sheikh Zayed Road, it offers both skiing and snowboarding. The slope is quite large for an indoor area. All equipment is available for hire. Although it is -4°C inside, you don't need to bring a jacket because they supply pretty much everything except gloves and a hat (which you can buy right there). A 2 hour pass costs Dhs160 plus Dhs10 for key deposit.
  • Wild Wadi . Located in the heart of the city, next to Jumeriah Beach Hotel, this is a water amusement park that is loved by kids as well as adults. It has light as well as adventurous rides; and sports like water surfing. A great way to beat the heat and enjoy the day away from the bustle of the city.
  • Dubai Creek Cruise/Ride. The Dubai creek is the foundation from which Dubai grew. It originally served as a port for trading vessels plying to and from India, Africa and the Middle East. Today a bit of the old shipping culture still remains. In and around the creek one can see some of the original buildings that have served as customs houses and defense structures. You can book a ride on the creek with a dinner cruise or even rent a private boat to take you on a hour long ride up and down the creek.
  • Golf. It may be a desert, but a lot of money and water is spent on irrigating opulent golf courses. Alternatively, for a more local flavor, try sand golf!
  • Hot Air Balloon. Great Fun seeing all the sand Dunes and mountains early in the morning or during sunset.
  • Dubai Zoo, Jumeirah Road. An outdoor zoo near to the beach. Considering the extreme temperatures during the summer months, there are plans bring the zoo indoors. Admission 3AED.

If interested in more fun things to do while in Dubai, a local company in Dubai called Blue Banana specializes in activities like racing round the autodrome in an Audi and snorkling and can be arranged before your visit to Dubai.

All List of Dubai Hotels

 


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