Travel To Dubai – An Experience In Extravagance

I’ve briefly mentioned Dubai a couple of times. Their marketing strategy is pretty brilliant (doing a bunch of crazy stuff that gets people talking about them). And commenters on this blog seem to say it’s worth visiting. Anyway, here is a longer look at Dubai (not written by me):

If you’re looking for the ultimate destination and perhaps an experience of a lifetime, Dubai holidays are worth considering. Situated on the Persian Gulf coast, the once obscure little village of fishermen and pearl divers has come to life in a big way. The thatched huts of 20 years ago have been replaced with amazing architecture you have to see to believe. Covering an area of over 4,000 square kilometers, the second largest of the United Arab Emirates, Dubai is expanding into the sea with a series of man-made islands in The Palm and The World.

Although the desert climate can be hot and humid, the pleasant, balmy winter months attract swimmers and surfers to the warm waters of the sea. Families gather beneath the palm trees near the coast for picnics and barbeques beside the popular Jumeira beach. In direct contrast to the tropical atmosphere and scenery are the modern marvels that continue to bring the most seasoned travelers to Dubai. Here you’ll discover the underwater Hydropolis hotel, the manufactured islands of The World resembling the seven continents, the Burj Dubai, the world’s tallest building at three times the height of the Empire State, and One Central Park, a residential high rise of apartments for the elite.

If money is no object, you can really splurge on accommodations such as the luxurious 7-star Emirates Palace, known as the “Taj Majal of the Middle East,” or the Burj Al Arab, built on its own man-made island and accessible across a bridge for a mere $55. These hotels are obviously the latest in style and elegance, with rates far above the average traveler’s budget. Fortunately, you don’t have to be among the rich and famous, however, to enjoy the obvious appeal of Dubai. For the more budget conscious traveler, there are a number of modestly priced hotels, some for under $200 a night, such as the Sheraton at Jumeira beach, or the Shangri-La and the Dusit near the Dubai World Trade Center. Some visitors will prefer hotels in the heart of the city for the convenience of downtown shopping or the leisure in watching the abras, or water taxis, and dhows that travel on the Dubai Creek. From beach, spa, golf, and city resorts to villas and hotels, there is no lack of places to stay.

Of course, you could always rent a villa by the sea; buying these million dollar properties is in high demand, especially on the Palm Islands. The engineering of these three islands is a marvel in itself. Each is constructed in the shape of a palm tree, with 17 branches, surrounded by a reef, 7.5 miles long x 3 miles wide. There are over 900 foot bridges connecting the branches to the mainland, as well as two harbors to accommodate those traveling by water. Actually buying an island of your own may be well out of reach, but in Dubai it seems that anything is possible. Investing in real estate here has some advantages with financing available, no capital gains tax, low registry fee, and good quality in an area of relatively low crime and an up-and-coming tourist destination.

For those travelers who aren’t fond of sun, sand, and sea, Dubai offers its own ski vacation. The huge indoor Ski Dubai resort has the largest snow park in the world with five ski runs, and plenty of entertainment for the entire family with skiing, tobogganing, and snowboarding.

The wide variety of restaurants caters to the international tourist trade by featuring an excellent selection of Asian, Middle Eastern, European, and American cuisine. The Arabian nights come alive with pubs, bars, discos, and upscale clubs and cocktail lounges for the casual and the more sophisticated crowd.

Shopping in Dubai is another experience to enjoy, where the scent of perfumes, spices, and incense fills the air at the Wafi, Bur Juman, and Emirates malls. These exotic smells mingle with the familiar ones of a city, the local grocery stores, and the enticing flavor of cardamom coffee. When evening comes to Dubai, you’ll experience the tradition and distinctive fruity aroma of hubbly bubbly, or shisha, as men gather in cafes to smoke a pipe of these unique types of Arabian tobacco. Other activities include the Art Dubai fair, an international film festival, golf classics, football, cricket, and thoroughbred horse racing.

Transportation in and around the city is plentiful with reasonable taxis, buses, and cars for hire. A metro system with above ground and underground stations is currently under construction, as well. Traveling to Dubai by air is facilitated by a number of airlines including the national Emirates airline, and other international flights. Future plans in tourism entertainment include Dubailand, Eco-Tourism World, Leisure and Vacation World, and numerous other shopping and retail establishments.

Many travelers will add Dubai to their list of must see places, as it continues to build the largest, the tallest, and perhaps the best, if not the first, wonders of the world.

Guest entry by Sharon Slayton

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  1. Paul says:

    I’ve been through Dubai many times as a contractor working in Baghdad over the past five years. Baghdad is hot and dusty for four or five months of the year. The rest of time it is comfortable. In the winter it is mildly cold and rainy. Not so in Dubai–Dubai is dusty, hot and HUMID twelve months a year. In the winter, Dubai is just less hot than the Summer, but it is still humid and dusty. Do you know what it is like to walk off the plane and have your clothes immediately drenched in 100% humidity and afterwards dust gets blown all over you making you feel instantly gritty? That’s Dubai.

    It is amazing the amount of construction in the city. It appears they are attempting to construct all the buildings in downtown Manhattan at the same time. I’ve never seen that many sky cranes in one city. However, be warned–Dubai hasn’t constructed an effective mass transit system yet. The construction of the metro system is still years away, so you will likely spend at least 30 minutes in a car for each mile traveled.

    Dubai is designed to take your money. It seems like an endless suburban mall selling expensive crap. Even the city park costs you a five dollar entrance fee just to access some grass and trees.

    Dubai does have a lively night life, though. Dubai is the Las Vegas for Gulf Arabs. The nightclubs are an Oasis of alcohol and prostitutes, in a sea of conservative Wahabis.

    In sum, Dubai has some of the most uncomfortable weather on the planet, is not a good value in terms of what you receive for a dollar spent and the traffic is a nightmare.

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