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Dubai - The Sky Is the Limit

Updated on November 1, 2014
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Common scenario of streets in Dubai

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When the Middle East discovered oil, they promptly started developing two of its most prominent cities - Dubai and Abu Dhabi - into the powerhouses they are today. While Abu Dhabi is the tamer sibling, Dubai turned out to be the more aggressive, hard partying brother. Shiny, fancy cars fill the streets, the nightlife is A+ and the shopping is world-class. Dubai is often seen as a brash, cosmopolitan oasis of glitzy glamour in the Middle East but it is not one bit sorry for its high-end culture.

Dubai thrives on the attention it is getting from all over the world. Everything in Dubai is over-the-top, gilded and served on a gold platter. The first thing visitors notice is how seemingly materialistic the city is. It treats every tourist like a VIP and this indulgent ego-stroking leads them to spend more in the city's shopping malls and entertainment centers. Very much a win-win!

Abu Dhabi skyline from fron Corniche Road

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ADIA Tower to the left and The Landmark at the right in Abu Dhabi

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Shopping in Dubai

This is a city that has invented the all-out sale. Dubai Shopping is one of the biggest shopping events in the city. Every year thousands of stores put together unbelievable discount sales, which prompt locals and foreigners to buy and swipe away with the credit card. At the buffet of shopping malls, and flamboyant independent boutiques, it is easy to forget how much you have spent. "Budget" is the first word Dubai deletes from your vocabulary and "no" comes in a close second. Places like the Dubai Mall, with more than 1200 stores, resemble a battlefield where shoppers whose arms are already loaded, plow through to the next row of stores, because hey, everyone needs another pair of shoes, right? There are many other shopping malls and retail centers in Dubai. Next to the Dubai Mall is the Mall of the Emirates and ever popular is the Gold Souk for jewelry and trinkets.

A shot from Duba's 48-hour shopping festival - can you imagine that?

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Dubai Mall Galleria

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A stunning shot of Dubai Mall Aquarium

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Dubai Mall Ice Rink

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Dubai and its rich cultural heritage and mementos amidst the wide-ranging modernization - You can just say aloud what's in your mind!

Sheikh Zayed Mosque front
Sheikh Zayed Mosque front | Source

Al Bastakiya in Dubai

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Dubai Heritage Village

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A Different Dubai

With all of Dubai's glitz and glamour hitting you right in the face, it is hard to see beyond the commercial aspect of the city. However, if you put down your shopping bags and look close enough, you will see a city that is a far cry from what the magazines describe. You will discover that Dubai does have history and a rich culture hidden in its metropolitan existence. Take a trip to Dubai's Heritage Village especially during Ramadan. There you will experience a quieter, more traditional Dubai where the native Emiratis still celebrate with their traditional songs and dances. The people here are still so steeped in their tradition that it is hard to imagine that only minutes away is the flamboyant edifice of teflon-covered fiberglass and steel: Burj al Arab. Life is easy in the Heritage Village and no credit card is required for admission. You can spend a few hours simply watching the dhows (traditional sailing vessels) on the creek while having a cup of strong Arabic coffee or smoking on a sheesha. Life, on this side of Dubai, is good and cheap.

Whichever Dubai you prefer is up to you. But you might as well try both sides and make your trip twice as memorable.

Burj al Arab tower

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Dubai Rules: What to do and what not

Dubai is a Muslim country and unlike the western countries, and many other countries in Asia it has its own distinct tradition that affects its rules and conduct. When you reach Dubai, consider yourself in another territory wherein you will be bound by certain rules, although they are not expressly stated. To make your stay even more memorable, respect each rules and values of every city you are visiting.

Dont's

  • Don't wear sexy and see-through dresses, especially those that exposes your shoulders and legs if you are in public places.
  • Don't wear shirts that display provocative language or sayings.
  • Don't shout in places where silence is a must, such as in holy places. Don't yell at anyone.
  • Drinking is against Dubai law so don't drink unless the bar is licensed.
  • Don't dance with girls. No to hugging and kissing in public, even if it is your girlfriend or wife.
  • Do not enter relationship with Dubai girls unless you are serious with it.
  • Do not smoke in public.

Dos

  • Dress appropriately especially when you are out in parks, malls, etc. For men a clean polo shirt and pants would be okay. Girls should be conservative. It is best to wear long skirt and long-sleeved blouses. Dresses that are below the knee-level would be great.
  • You can drink but only in licensed restaurants, bars, special private venues, at home, or inside your hotel room.
  • Holding hands for married couples is okay.
  • Cover your tattoos.
  • If you enter a holy place, make the sign of respect just like Muslim would usually do. If you need to bow, just do it.
  • Smile and be friendly.

A sneak-peak to Dubai's beach life

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A preview of the mouth-watering traditional food in Dubai

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Dubai's traditional women in their daily wear

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The unbelievable Palm Jumeirah

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Fireworks at Palm Jumeirah

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10 Things to Do in Dubai

  • Cheap and Chic Eat
  • Shop
  • Visit the Gold Souk
  • Champagne Brunch
  • Tour in Burj Al Arab
  • Immerse in Dubai tradition
  • Soak in Palm Jumeirah
  • Ride a camel to the beach
  • Drive to the desert
  • Go golfing


Construction of Palm Jumeirah

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    • GmaGoldie profile image

      Kelly Kline Burnett 18 months ago from Madison, Wisconsin

      Mary,

      I have been privileged to have visited Dubai but I missed so much and I am anxious to return. What a remarkable treasure on earth and your hub captured so succinctly the travel tips. The only item I would add is the fact that Emirates Air is five stars and would be my first choice for air travel to Dubai. Hope this helps a few travelers.

      Thank you so much for sharing! And thank you for following me so I could start following you!

    • Mary Cimeni profile image
      Author

      Mary Cimeni 3 years ago from Philippines

      thanks srsddn. definitely, it doesn't really matter what the tradition of the country is, you can still meet a lot of good people and the most important thing is about not missing the chance of seeing such a wonderful place. :-) Happy holidays to you!

    • srsddn profile image

      srsddn 3 years ago from Dehra Dun, India

      marycimeni, Dubai seems to be a great commercial hub and there are lot many people attracted to be there. Irrespective the traditions and rules which are followed strictly, it happens to be a destination for many. It has developed very fast and is a centre of attraction for the world today. Thanks for sharing. Voted up. Beautiful!