There’s no denying that Dubai has become one of the premier tourist destinations in the world. Famed for its incredible architecture, amazing shopping and fantastic location, people who visit Dubai often say it’s like a fantasy land. If that’s true, it’s a fantasy land that’s grown very big very quickly. Back in the early 1970s (just 40 years ago), Dubai didn’t have a single high-rise building. Today, it’s home to 2.5 million inhabitants from around the world and some of the most famous buildings across the globe.
The recent boom in tourism is, in part, down to the growth of the international airport, which has made it much easier to find cheap flights to Dubai from any destination. With the rise in tourists, the selection of activities on offer has grown too, and these are just a few of the best.
BURJ AL ARAB
Known as the world’s only ‘7-star hotel’, the Burj Al Arab is one of the most iconic buildings, not only in Dubai, but in the world. Designed to look like a billowing sail, it stands at 321 m tall and is consistently voted the world’s most luxurious hotel.
As it’s out of the price range of most tourists, it’s often best looked upon from afar. One of the best places from which to view the hotel is the public beach right beside it, where you can get a fantastic view of the incredible architecture and capture a few great photos as well.
You can’t visit Dubai without seeing the world’s tallest building. At 829.8 m, it’s held this title since 2008. If you’d like to learn about the building’s history, you can experience the world’s fastest elevator, which only takes a few seconds to reach the top.
If you suffer from vertigo, this probably won’t be for you. Those who do make it to the top should take their camera, because the panoramic views of Dubai are incredible. The best time to go is at sunset, so you have the chance to view the city in daylight and after dark.
Dubai’s location in the desert means it’s just a stone’s throw away from some exciting sand-based adventures. A wide variety of activities are on offer, including 4×4 tours and camel riding. For the more adventurous, try hiring a dune buggy to explore the vast sand dunes. These tours typically end with a meal set on carpets in the desert, followed by shisha and belly dancing performances.
SHOP ‘TIL YOU DROP
Shopping might not be the first reason you think of for travelling overseas, but Dubai is a fantastic place for some retail therapy. Whether you prefer to haggle for souvenirs in the souks or browse designer clothes at one of the many air-conditioned malls, you’re bound to find a nice memento of your trip.
The Dubai Mall is right next to the Burj Khalifa and is home to over 1,200 shops and 150 restaurants, so it’s safe to say there are plenty of options. However, this mall is also much more than just endless shops and eateries. Inside, you will also find a theme park, an ice rink and a huge waterfall, as well as the Dubai Aquarium and Underwater Zoo, which host some fascinating species of colourful fish and other marine life.