Dubai, the fastest growing city in the world has been attracting tourists from everywhere in the world for more than half a century. Though cool and breezy in the evenings, the weather could be a bit balmy during the daytime; even so, it is no wonder the sand dunes of Dubai holds the most enthralling spell in the world. How else do you explain the fact that Dubai, which was once a sleepy fishing village has emerged to be one of the best destinations in the world, both in terms of business and in tourism?
How about a little history?
Knowing a little history about Dubai would let you enjoy the spirit of the city more than ever. Rashid bin Saeed al Maktoum was a man with a vision and he had a huge dream for his city when he used to walk the shores of Dubai with his son. In 1959, Rashid bin Saeed al Maktoum borrowed millions of dollars from Kuwait, and developed the city, and dredged up the creek so ships could come to Dubai. Then he built roads, buildings, wharves, warehouses, schools, homes and everything that was required to transform his vision. His son, Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid al Maktoum carried on with his father’s feverish dream and is now the ruler of Dubai. He built towering, air conditioned buildings and converted the shores of Dubai into a skyscraper fantasy.
Renowned to be the tallest building in the world, Burj Khalifa is a sight to behold and offers the best and more magnificent view of Dubai. Getting to the top of Burj Khalifa and back would take at least 90 minutes. Of course, it is your wish if you want to spend more time staying at the observation deck.
Only in Dubai will you see the impossible made possible, and in the most beautiful manner. Palm Jumeirah is one of the three man-made islands in Dubai. The other two are Palm Jebel Ali and the Palm Deira manmade island shaped like a palm tree, extremely beautiful and renowned to be the largest island of its kind. If you are in search of the iconic Atlantis, you will probably find it here. Palm Jumeirah has five-star hotels like Waldorf Astoria, Fairmont, One & Only, Jumeirah Zabeel Saray.
The Dubai Eye
The firsts that are attributed to Dubai doesn’t end with its islands. The city is known for having the world’s biggest Ferris wheel in one of its major tourism complexes. You can see Burj Al Arab, Palm Jumeirah and Burj Khalifa while atop the Eye. Other attractions and entertainment options are also available in the Eye’s vicinity. It is bigger than even the 165-meter Singapore Flyer.
Burj Al Arab
The world’s fanciest hotel, probably? You’ve got to visit this hotel while touring Dubai because this city identified by certain buildings and landmarks, and this hotel with its distinctive sail-shaped silhouette is one of them. Was it your dream to ride in a chauffeur-driven Rolls-Royce? If yes, then now would be the time to opt for it.
Dubai Miracle Garden
Dubai Miracle Garden or DMG is an iconic attraction of Dubai. Extremely beautiful and beyond all description, this garden is a natural flower garden where you can enjoy thousands of varieties of flowers. While at DMG, you must visit the Butterfly Garden, Souvenir Shop and of course the 160 million flowers that are on display. If you are intrigued about how a 2000-square meter garden can exist in the middle of a desert, then you must visit it to be convinced. The quirky flower-covered structures, the giant peacocks, the flower covered heart, the 8-metre-high replica of the Burj Khalifa, a lake and fountain area integrated with a giant tap with running water suspended in mid-air are just some of the wonders just waiting to awe you.
Jumeirah Beach Residence (JBR)
If you love the sun, the sand and the beach and want endless amounts of all three, then head to Jumeirah Beach Residence (JBR). There are four distinct plazas in the JBR and you can visit the cafes and restaurants while walking along the beach. You even have an open-air beach cinema, a kid’s water park and an all-purpose running park in there.
The twisted tower
With a height of 1,010 feet and housing 495 apartments, the twister Cayan Tower is a delight for all architects. It is also the biggest such structure in the world. There is an exquisite view over the waterfront promenade of Dubai Marina for those living in the lower floors and a view of the Persian Gulf for those living on the upper floors.
Dubai’s Water Discus Hotel
Would you like to sleep and have your meals underwater while all sorts of fishes course by lazily. Then book your room at Dubai’s Water Discus Hotel and enjoy a magnificent view of a never-before imagined water life.
On a budget
If you are on a budget while visiting Dubai, do not worry about that because there are plenty of things to do while in this city that you don’t have to blow your savings just to enjoy a great vacation. Here they are:
How about wandering inside the Dubai Mall so you can be mesmerized by the sights and sounds of the wonder that is Dubai? And definitely so, as Dubai Mall is the largest shopping mall in the world, and the best in terms of entertainment it provides too. While this is not exactly something you would do on a budget, if you are ready to splurge and have fun with your kids, this is where you go. There are about 1,200 retail stores in Dubai, a massive, really massive aquarium (you can go diving and snorkeling here), an Olympic-size ice rink, a musical fountain repertoire (rumor has it that you can see this from space). The Creekside Park is another famed spot in Dubai Mall. Entry to the park is just $1.35 and it’s a spot where your kids can have wholesome fun. It is also worth taking family ticket to Children’s City, an interactive museum exclusively for children. Dubai Mall also boasts of an underwater zoo and an Aquarium fitted with the world’s best viewing panels. The mall is rightly known as mini metropolis and you will know why it is called so when you get there.
A ferry across Dubai creek
Take a ferry across Dubai creek to enjoy the true beauty of Dubai in the most inexpensive way. These ferries are known as abras and are traditional wooden boats fitted with diesel engine. You can take dinner cruises and enjoy a sumptuous meal as well. This creek is famous for its saltwater estuary and has tremendous historical importance as it was here the Bani Yas tribe settled in the 19th century. You can visit the Dubai Museum in the Creek (mentioned earlier) and also the well-planned labyrinthine alleyways of the gold, spice and textile shops where you can shop till you drop. If you are an incurable wanderlust then Dubai is a must-visit destination for you; its opulence and extravagance would win your heart and thrill your spirit, leaving you with plenty of good memories and stories to take back home.
Would you like to see the chronological history of Dubai when it got transformed from a sleepy village to a rich metropolis in a few decades’ time? Then head to Dubai Museum in the Creek; you can get in for less than a buck and enjoy the enigma that we call Dubai.
Beit Al-Rekkab is the House of Camels. It is free and you can learn all about the ship of the desert here