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Dubai Information Sheet - 2 minute guide to Dubai

Dubai is the Gulf's leading centre for trade, commerce, media, travel and tourism. Dubai has grown in 60 years from a small Arabic style fishing and trading port into a futuristic city of skyscrapers, shopping malls, parks and superhighways, but still retaining some of the charm of the old city at its centre.

There are countless reasons to come to Dubai and most visitors have a fantastic and memorable Dubai experience.

Here are some Dubai highlights:

Shopping in Dubai

In Dubai, shopping is cool. Prices are relatively low and there's a huge range of goods on offer. You can do the 'Grand Tour' of the shopping malls, stopping off the Bur Juman, Dubai City Centre, Wafi, Jumeirah and lots more.

The Gold Souq in Deira offers a traditional souq-style setting with dazzling shop windows full of with gold and silver. Negotiate for the best price.

Walk through Deira's busy streets with their tiny stores selling electronic items, cameras, computer equipment and more at discounted prices. One of Dubai's most high profile events is the Dubai Shopping Festival.

Sport and leisure in Dubai

Sport and leisure activities in Dubai revolve around the hotels, many of which have sporting facilities including swimming pools, health centres and opportunities for beach sports. Hotels can also arrange tours to camel racing and horse racing events. Dubai is famous for golf with its world-class golf courses including the Creek Golf Club.

Dubai sights and attractions

Dubai has some stunning and world famous tourist attractions and places of interest. My highlights would be:

The Burj Al Arab Hotel - Has to be seen to be believed. Stay there if you're feeling extravagant, look on the internet for special offers.

The Madina Jumeirah hotel - an Arab style palatial fantasy come true. Visit or stay there. Check the internet for rates.

The Creek, Dubai's sparkling waterfront, looks like a river but it's an inlet from the Gulf, overlooked by glittering modern buildings. The Creek is spanned by road bridges and a tunnel, the best and cheapest way to experience the Creek is to take an abra or water taxi, or you can hire a boat.

The Gold Souq - Even if you're not thinking of buying, the Dubai Gold Souq is an experience in itself, and a magnet for tourists.

The shopping malls, each one glitzier than the next, the place for window shopping, sipping a coffee, meeting up with friends and conact. The shopping centres are where people in Dubai congregate.

The Dubai Museum is a world class attraction based around the old fort. A multimedia exhibition tells the story of Dubai from the earlest times to the present day. You must come here to get a sense of Dubai's history. Nearby Bastakia district gives a taste of how Dubai used to be.

The Heritage Village, based around a reconstructed house, aims to recapture the character of a traditional Gulf Arab village, with crafts, cooking, gift items, camel rides and more.

Excursions from Dubai

From Dubai you can go in all directions to get a taste of the wider UAE and its amazing cityscapes and landscapes.

Sharjah, a 15 minute drive from Dubai, longer at rush hour, is Dubai's next door neighbour and has a different feel and pace. It too has many shopping centres and attractions, including the Blue Souqs, or traditional Arabic markets.

The inland town of Hatta belongs to the emirate of Dubai and is a centre for excursions into the mountains.

You can go on guided tours by 4WD in the desert with experienced drivers, and stay for an overnight desert experience at a tourist camp, and get a taste of nighttime Bedouin life under the stars.

UAE capital Abu Dhabi is 90 minutes drive to the south and has many attractions, including shopping malls, the old Fort and a newly created waterfront park.

All these excursions can be organised from your hotel after you arrive, or you can book them in advance through your tour operator.

Please ask me anything you like about Dubai
Got any questions about Dubai? Please contact via the guestbook. Your request will help me to provide useful and up to date information for the internet community. Thanks very much to George for the information request on which this article is based.

You can find more information about Dubai on the Dubai Tourism website www.dubaitourism.ae


Article and photos by Aidan O'Rourke, photographer writer. Aidan O'Rourke lived in the UAE from 1992 to 1996 and has visited Dubai many times. His first internet feature was 'Postcards from Dubai' written in 1995 and published on the Virtual Manchester website. He regularly visits the Gulf to photograph and document the changing face of Dubai and other destinations. Go to www.aidan.co.uk

Written by Aidan O'Rourke
Posted/Updated 2005-08-06

Aidan O'RourkeAidan O'Rourke has been active in photography and online media since 1995. He has documented the development of the local area in his Eyewitness website (1997-2005) and as a contributor to books, publications and the Manchester Evening News. He runs his Eyewitness photography walks in Manchester, Liverpool and other locations. He offers one-to-one tuition in Photography and Languages. He is a high-level speaker of German and can offer photography walks and tours through the medium of German. Visit www.aidan.co.uk

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