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Attractions de Dubaï

Top things to do in Dubai

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Discover Dubai!

Dubai, located on the southeast coast of the Persian Gulf, is one of the seven emirates that make up the United Arab Emirates.

 

The former pearl fishing village became a hub for trade, then the discovery of oil brought wealth, and spectacular skyscrapers and opulent shopping malls were built. When the oil ran out Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum decided to reinvent Dubai as a premier tourist destination – a place where East meets West.

 

It had year round sunshine, but not enough beaches or places of entertainment to attract visitors. His answer to this problem was the creation of The Palm, Jumeirah, which extended Dubai’s coastline by 78 km.

 

He then wanted a map of the world made up of 300 man-made islands, and naturally he got his wish! Dubai is now home to the world’s tallest building, the Burj Khalifa, and what is described as the world’s most luxurious hotel – the sail shaped Burj Al Arab.

Top things to do in Dubai

Sightseeing Tours

Board an air conditioned, double decker bus and marvel at Dubai’s awesome architecture and design masterpieces, opulent shopping malls, traditional souks, and the spectacular man-made seaside playground of The Palm, Jumeirah, with its iconic Atlantis Resort on the outer rim.

 

From Dubai, you can venture further afield to the cities of Abu Dhabi and Sharjah, or to the east coast and northern emirates to visit ancient forts, heritage sites, sand dunes, oases and souks, including a camel market.

Explore the delights of the Dubai Creek

By day, use the traditional water taxis, known as abras, to escape from the bustling city to the Spice Souk, across the water, and enjoy its enticing aromas. Using an abra will only cost you one Dirham per trip, and abras leave when they are full.

 

By night, take a romantic Dhow boat cruise and enjoy Arabian and international cuisine aboard a traditional wooden trading ship, decorated Arabian style, or if you prefer, dine on a modern fully glazed Bateaux Dubai vessel, a floating restaurant with unobstructed panoramic views.

Go back in time

Visit the Dubai Museum located at Al Fahidi Fort to get an overview of the history and culture of the area, pre-development, then explore the Bastakiya neighbourhood, with its traditional courtyard houses, quaint narrow streets and iconic wind towers (an early form of air-conditioning). On Saturdays you can roam around the Souq Al Bastakiya and buy clothing, jewellery and art and craft works to take home.

Hug a seal

Playful sea lions are ready to meet and greet you at Sea Lion Point, Atlantis. No swimming ability is necessary to get in amongst them in their specially designed lagoon and be you’ll be rewarded with a whiskery kiss! These sociable sea mammals love to show off their skills, and enjoy all the attention!

Swim with dolphins

Dolphin Bay, Atlantis, offers many opportunities to interact with these fascinating creatures. There are dolphin encounters to suit everyone, from non-swimmers to experienced scuba divers, and for those who just want to take pictures, a Dolphin Photo Fun experience will get you close enough for some good shots!

Immerse yourself in a lost civilisation!

The Lost Chambers, Atlantis, is the largest aquarium in the Middle East, and visitors can view more than 65,000 marine animals that reside amongst the sunken ruins of the mythical lost city of Atlantis, including charming seahorses, undulating rays, fearsome sharks and colourful fish from around the world.

Cool down at Aquaventure – the Middle East’s  top rated waterpark

Set in 42 acres of lush tropical vegetation, with record breaking rides, its own 700 metre private beach, 11 swimming pools, a mile long lazy river and a watery playground for small children, Aquaventure is a “must do” for families or anyone who enjoys a good soaking! Something for everyone from thrill seekers to tiny tots.

Take a helicopter flight

Set in 42 acres of lush tropical vegetation, with record breaking rides, its own 700 metre private beach, 11 swimming pools, a mile long lazy river and a watery playground for small children, Aquaventure is a “must do” for families or anyone who enjoys a good soaking! Something for everyone from thrill seekers to tiny tots.

Go Shopping!

Dubai has been dubbed the shopping capital of the world, so work on your haggling skills and bag yourself a bargain in the souks and malls!

 

Dubai’s annual Shopping Festival takes place from 1st January to 1st February in 2016, when good buys are guaranteed! Even if you’re not in a buying mood, a visit to one of Dubai’s opulent shopping malls is an experience in itself, each trying to outdo the others with their elaborate interior design, shops and entertainment.

Dubai has been dubbed the shopping capital of the world, so work on your haggling skills and bag yourself a bargain in the souks and malls!

 

Dubai’s annual Shopping Festival takes place from 1st January to 1st February in 2016, when good buys are guaranteed! Even if you’re not in a buying mood, a visit to one of Dubai’s opulent shopping malls is an experience in itself, each trying to outdo the others with their elaborate interior design, shops and entertainment.

Tips for visitors

  • Temperatures can rise to 49C in the summer months, and the humidity is high. Best time to visit is between November and March, when it provides a welcome escape from the dreary European weather, having average highs of 24’C.  Don’t forget your sunscreen and sunhats!
  • Bring some form of modest dress – long sleeved tops, long skirts, and headscarves for women (for visiting the mosques) & loose fitting trousers and long sleeved shirts for men – if you want to go out and about. You may be allowed wear what you like on your resort’s private beach or poolside, but will be refused entry to some areas, especially mosques, and villages, if you are inappropriately dressed.
  • Photographing Arab women is considered offensive, and men prefer to be asked first. Taking pictures of government buildings, sheikh palaces and military areas is forbidden. Snap away at tourist attractions instead! Bring a protective cover for your camera to guard against humidity and wind borne sand.
  • Non-Muslims are permitted to consume alcohol in hotels and licensed nightclubs.
  • Dubai is considered to be one of the world’s safest cities, with a very low crime rate.
  • Public displays of affection between couples are not allowed, and making rude gestures can land you in trouble, but if you make the effort to show respect for cultural etiquette, you will be rewarded with hospitality and friendliness that far exceeds that of many other destinations.

Discover Dubai this winter, and put some sun and fun into your life!

Kate Quigley

Kate Quigley Travel Writer