DUBAI, best cosmopolitan city in the Gulf
Gorgeous pics of different cities and places to see in UAE
"Ahlan" means welcome in arabic.
"AHLAN" Dubai, a great travel destination well known as the best cosmopolitan city in the Middle East. Dubai actually is only one (1) part of the seven (7) emirates of the United Arab Emirates which comprises Abu Dhabi, Al Ain, Dubai, Sharjah, Ajman, Ras Al Khaimah & Fujairah.
Abu Dhabi is the actual capital of the UAE although, Dubai has been a famous byword of almost every westerner who dreams about having to enjoy the warm sunny days of the middle east sans the rigid and strict arab culture & traditions being observed in other Gulf countries like Kuwait, Iran, Iraq, Oman, Bahrain and especially the highly restrictive rules of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. Dubai is situated in the middle east bordering the Gulf of Oman and the Persian Gulf, between Oman & Saudi Arabia.
One can but dream of stepping down at Dubai International Airport Terminal 1 for all other airlines or at the new and “exclusive” Emirates Airlines Terminal 3 with its airports having the largest Duty-Free Shops, and be welcomed with warm “marhaba” ( hello) greetings of ground crews and staff. A huge airport that boasts of numerous immigration counters staffed with emarati local men dressed in their traditional “kandouras” (long white or gray neat and crisply ironed dress) and matched with their elegantly wrapped or draped headgears or what they call “khatras” or the emirati local ladies covered in black veils “sheyla” and black dress “abaya”. A welcome exposure to some traditional basics of what you expect to see around town but will surprise you enough to see the modern side of these locals, who speaks english fairly well.
Rounding up the city you will find Camry’s and Chevrolet’s, Volvo’s being used only as taxi’s around town, while you will find almost every household having 3-4 cars, mostly individuals after reaching the driving age of 18 among locals drive their own cars, mostly preferring the latest model to date. So don’t be surprised to see around each street and corner or highways , speeding cars like Porsche, Lamborghini’s, Camaro’s, Mustang GT’s, Corvettes, BMW’s, Mercedez Benz, Jaguars & Rolls Royce and SUV’s like Range Rover, Land Rover, Nissan Patrol, Pathfinders hovering around you. Well, of course not to forget to mention, Honda’s, Toyota’s, Mitsubishi’s, Kia, Nissan, Chevrolets and others that are commonly available and used by most expats.
Hotels are all around town. Expected low season is mostly during May – August, which are the summer months, slowly peaking up for the spring and cold weather of Dubai around September till after February of the year.
Getting into Dubai will lead you to an amazing array of dazzling infrastructures, 5-7 star hotels that includes the very famous sail-like 7-star hotel, “Burj Al Arab”, and the newly acclaimed tallest building, hotel in the world which is “Burj Khalifa” boasting of a high 160 story-tower where one is allowed till the 124th floor view deck is located and where the last “Mission Impossible” movie of Tom Cruise was shot to fame, where he courageously (without-double) scaled its heights (without-double). Visit the strips of plush hotels around like The Address, Old Downtown Dubai, Armani Hotel, and others, while a must-stop here too is the huge Dubai Mall where you can see the largest Aquarium, the largest Candy Shop and hundreds of shops and signature boutiques sprawled around. And just after the sun sets down, enjoy a romantic evening to choose among over 40 international restaurants, and enjoy your dinner while you sit back and watch the awesome sight and music from the Dancing Fountain that plays every evenings.
Care for some tips to get the best out of your next holiday plan for a worthy trip to Dubai even for just a one-week span?
You may consider spending the first 2-3 days getting around Dubai, and a “must” to visit of course is the Burj Al Arab Hotel, and if you can’t afford to check in there, one can have a swim at the clean open beach just outside the Burj or visit the Wild Wadi Waterpark near the sailboat themed Jumeirah Beach Hotel, then walk over at the nearby Souq Madinat Jumeirah, sip some nicely brewed coffee or the traditional tea “chai” or “karak” while simply lazing around sightseeing the iconic Burj Al Arab and the stretch of Jumeirah Beach. Driving further to the beach side you will see the cosmopolitan view of Jumeirah Beach Residences and various Hotels towering across the white sand Open Beach upfront. Now for food savvy lovers, drive down towards Palm Islands, Atlantis Hotel and go for some sumptuous lunch/dinner buffet (US$48/person).
You can also have a swim or dive with the dolphins at its largest Aquaventure Park; or try some adventure skydiving over the Palm Jumeirah islands. Dubai amidst its hot humid weather most of the year, but then you can cool off at the indoor ski at Dubai Ski at the Mall of the Emirates or play golf at the Dubai Creek & Golf Club located at the center of the city just next to Deira City Centre for a real shopping galore with its array of great buys and bargains here and there. After all, Dubai is superbly a “tax-free” city to enjoy.
Next best place to go from the city is the country side emirate of Ras Al Khaimah, about 45 mins drive along the emirates road passing thru the desert side of Sharjah towards Um Al Quwain, where you will see alongside the big highways, a seemingly endless red sand dunes and camels idly walking by before ending up to Ras Al Khaimah town proper. You may consider enjoying a day or two stay at the Mediterranean inspired, Cove Rotana Hotel & Beach Resort or the traditional Arabic touch at Al Hamra Fort Hotel. Daytime till noon is an ideal for some dune or buggy rides up the red mountain sides and afterwards go for some relaxing hot spring bath and massage at the Al Khatt Hot Spring Hotel located at the hillside rugged terrains of Ras Al Khaimah.
En route going back to Dubai you may take the trip passing along the beach coast of Fujairah passing in between the twin mountain highways with traditional market of fruits, local delicacies and traditional paintings, potteries and nicely woven Persian carpets on sale alongside of the road. And slowly before reaching the city proper of Sharjah, you will find most places where you can have fun doing desert safar, sand surfing, dune bashing and camel rides. For this you may contact local desert safari tour operators at any customer service counters at malls or hotel reception/lobbies. While in Sharjah, you can visit the Gold Souk, the Iranian inspired twin buildings that houses shops of Gold and Silver, where you can choose from thousands of designs, sizes, shapes and weight. And as you wander thru the cornice and the Sharjah-Dubai Al Mamzar Open Beach can stop by for jet ski rides as you fix a barbeque picnic and have some “shisha” traditional water pipe type of smoking using flavoured tobacco (grape, apple, mint, etc.) while enjoying the sight of sundown o’er the beach.
A trip to Dubai of course will not be complete unless you’ve visited the famous and newly opened Yas Island, the Ferrari World Abu Dhabi and the very elegant Emirates Palace Hotel that signifies fine Arabic Architecture and grandiose. And of course ending up a trip to the UAE means being able to round off all it’s seven (7) emirates and that includes the “city of flowers” and roundabouts (circle-like intersections) which is called the city of Al Ain. Have a drive through the upside road of Jabel Hafeet Mountains, overlooking the city down below where parks on the sides are available for picnics and pictorials, then laze around the serene atmosphere at the Hatta Fort Hotel.
Oh yes, and by the way, lucky enough that for most Americans, Canadians, European & other Asian countries, visa to enter the country and stay for a maximum of 30 days as tourists can be obtained upon arrival.
Alas, hope I had successfully shared an insight to the country of sun and sands and magnificent buildings and technology. United Arab Emirates or the Emirates for short, a relatively small but open-minded, multi-cultural, a mixture of traditional and modern society that I am proud to be a part.
My name is Angela, proud to be a filipino, an expat in Dubai for almost 20 yrs and still counting. Ahlan!!! (same article has been written by yours truly and published for the Sept.15 - Oct. 15 Issue, Philippine Times Canada)