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Destinations / Arabian Gulf / Dubai / Dubai City

Truly a global city, Dubai has fired the world's imagination by claiming the tallest building in the world and possibly the world's first and only 7 star hotel! From humble desert beginnings, Dubai grew and flourished due to the oil industry, but ultimately flowered and succeeded as a result of huge construction projects and a concentration on financial services and, of course, tourism.

The Gulf War in 1990 had a negative affect on Dubai's fortunes as did the property collapse in 2008/9; however, the city recovered and is again a touristic force to be reckoned with in the Middle East. In 1971, Dubai joined up with Abu Dhabi and 5 other emirates to form the United Arab Emirates and use the dirham as their unit of currency.

Dubai is located on the Persian Gulf and has a natural inlet, Dubai Creek, where traditional "dhows" ply the waters and ferry locals and tourists from one side to another. The Creek is beautifully atmospheric at night too when the play of light from the international hotels on the perimeter cast their shadows and reflections on the water and floating restaurants glide silently by. Local Emiratis use the "abra" (ferry boat) as the traditional mode of transport between Deira and Bur Dubai, so the Creek is a busy place indeed. The city benefits from the shelter of the Hajar Mountains and the Arabian desert provides a landscape straight out of 1011 Arabian nights! Dubai Creek runs northeast southwest through the city and the eastern part of the city forms the atmospheric locality of Deira.

A mecca for shopping, Dubai (in fact, the city is often referred to as the shopping centre of the Middle East!) is world renowned and is home to Dubai Mall, the biggest shopping centre in the world. The Gold Souk in Deira probably houses the greatest concentration of goldsmiths in the world and is a fantasy land of sparkling jewellery and gems. Burj Khalifa is currently the world's tallest edifice and is a masterful architectural example.

Jumeirah Beach is a renowned coastal area and is perhaps the most exclusive zone of Dubai City, home to fabulous hotels, stunning sugar white sand beaches, swaying palm trees and crystal waters of unimaginable blue hues. Once the modest home of fishermen, traders and pearl divers, Jumeirah, including Jebel Ali, is now synonymous with luxury. The actual port town of Jebel Ali, 35k southwest of Dubai City, is the world's largest harbour.

The Burj al Arab is a deluxe hotel where luxury takes on a whole new meaning! The Palm Islands are an ambitious plan of 3 artificial islands, (which incidentally are allegedly visible from space), and presently, only one, Jumeirah Palm is actually open. Whatever view one has on Dubai, the facts are that it is glitsy, glam and frequently, over the top. Once described as a Disneyland for adults, it nonetheless never fails to please and excite.

Important Information:

During the month of Ramadan (27th May to 25th June 2117) locals will fast during the day. As such, services in all hotels will be restricted from sunrise to sunset, including food, drink and entertainment. Tourists are asked to dress modestly and avoid eating and drinking in public areas. Speak to our travel consultants for more information.

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