Simply say the word ‘Dubai’ and images of star-reaching skyscrapers and camels crossing sun-kissed dunes spring to mind. That’s because Dubai is a place of contradictions: it’s racing towards its futuristic ambitions on one hand and maintaining its strong cultural traditions on the other. This could explain why there are so many misconceptions about Dubai—as well as why it’s such a fascinating place to explore…
A desert? Really? No way! Dubai is a place of incredible architecture, world-class cuisine, high-end shopping havens and glorious beaches.
You can marvel at the white stone majesty of Jumeirah Mosque, take a traditional cruise along the Musandam coastline, dine on oysters from Fujairah’s Dibba Bay at celebrity Chef Vladimir Mukhin’s Crab Market eatery, or take the quintessential ‘holding up the Burj Al Arab’ photo on Sunset Beach.
Just a desert? I think not…
Oh yes you can! Dubai has a bustling nightlife scene and there are plenty of stylish hotels, bars and restaurants that will sell alcohol to tourists 21 years of age and over. Just don’t get drunk and disorderly in public: That’s an offence.
If you keep within your limits, you’re sure to have an incredible night to remember, because Dubai’s drinking establishments offer a whole host of jaw-dropping cocktail lists and the services of some of the world’s finest mixologists.
Yes, Dubai is a city of unfathomably high buildings, palm-shaped islands and space age architectural wonders—and yes, there are even more impressive projects in the pipeline for 2020, when the World Expo is set to come to town—but the city offers so much more than cold, concrete modernity.
Take a stroll around the tranquil Al Fahidi Historic District, a beautifully-restored labyrinthine part of town. Explore the craft shops and courtyard cafes and marvel at the wind tower-topped houses, which provide natural air conditioning. Alternatively, take a dune drive out in the Dubai Desert Conservation Reserve and you’ll notice a severe lack of concrete!
While it’s always nice to be respectful of local cultures and preferences—wherever you travel to in the world—women travellers do not have to be covered from head to toe while they’re in Dubai. If you don’t want to offend, make sure you save the swimwear for the beach or pool, and if you’re visiting the older quarters of the city, try to dress on the more conservative side. And if you’re visiting a mosque, cover your shoulders, arms and legs and wear a head scarf. The local people will appreciate your consideration.
If you’re treating yourself to some Chanel, Christian Louboutin or Dior, the world’s biggest shopping mall, the Dubai Mall, is indeed a fabulous place to pick it up. But there’s also a great selection of outlet malls for bargain-hunters in search of cut-price treasures, such as the Dubai Outlet Mall (Harvey Nichols, Stella McCartney or Givenchy, anyone?) or the Outlet Village (if the Galeries Lafayette, DKNY, Michael Kors or Roberto Cavalli are more your scene).
Or how about putting your bargaining skills to the test at one of the city’s fascinating souks? Haggle over saffron at the Spice Souk, silk pashminas at Deira Covered Souk, or jewellery at the Gold Souk.
With temperatures soaring up to 50 degrees in the height of summer, there’s no denying that Dubai can get a little hot and steamy. But if you organize your trip for the ‘Dubai Winter’ season (December to March), when temperatures can cool down to anything from 15 degrees to 28 degrees, you can escape the oppressive heat. You may even see the occasional shower!
Do you dream of wandering around Dubai’s historic Al Fahidi Historic District? Of taking a dune drive out in the Dubai Desert Conservation Reserve? Of seeing the Burj Al Arab from Sunset Beach? Yes? Then come with us to Dubai. Not only will you have the experience of a lifetime, but you will have a sophisticated itinerary that has been lovingly-created by Indus’ Dubai experts. To find out more about our tours to Dubai, please feel free to contact us at any time.
About the Writer: Vickie Sam Paget
Vickie is a freelance writer and editor based in Vancouver, BC. When she’s not creating dynamic travel or tech content, globetrotting or gazing at the North Shore Mountains, you can usually find her curled up with a good book or sipping a pint of the good stuff in her local Irish bar.