Things to See in Dubai
Believe it or not, the tiny little Middle Eastern city-state of Dubai is a hot spot for economic growth and the tourist industry. And unlike most other areas in the region, people flock to Dubai not for the historical or cultural sites, but for the modern amenities and shopping.
There is an international airport in Dubai, making it relatively easy to get there from any other major city. Dubai is a very modern and consumer-oriented place so you won't have any trouble finding quality hotels and restaurants. There is a decent public transport system that can help you get around, or you could chose to take one of the many taxis.
One thing that you might want to see is the Burj Dubai, what will be the tallest building in the world once completed. It's slated to be completed some time next year, and currently stands around 156 stories high. It is still under construction, so doesn't offer a lot to see or do at this point. But it would be worthwhile to take a peek at this landmark, and to get a photo at this stage. Even unfinished, it is quite a sight and stands dominant over the skyline.
Mall of the Emirates
You may not consider a shopping mall to really be much of a tourist attraction, but you really can't miss seeing the Mall of the Emirates. It is the largest shopping mall outside of North America, with more than 200 stores. It's claim to fame is the indoor ski hill. In a country with an average winter temperature of around 30C (90F), this is no small feat. Rent skis or a snowboard, as well as warm clothing and hit the slopes.
The Burj al-Arab is quickly becoming a well-known landmark in Dubai, both for its architectural beauty and luxurious services. It is advertised as the only 7-star hotel in the world, and it stands like a ship's sail on a small man-made island. Staying at the Burj al-Arab will cost you at least $1000 for a night, for one of their smallest double-floor suites. Given the size of the building, there are only 202 suites in the hotel. The largest suite is quite a bit bigger than my house, at 8,400 square feet. If staying at the Burj al-Arab is out of your reach, you could just stop in for dinner or drinks. Even for a quick visit you will need to make a reservation as general passers-by are not permitted.
Dubai Guide Books
A typical tourist-style attraction, but worth a visit nonetheless, especially if you are in Dubai during the hot summer months. The Wild Wadi is an outdoor water park, complete with a wave pool, water slides and artificial surfing machines. The park is located in the heart of the city, nearby the Burj al-Arab and Jumeriah Beach hotels. Because Dubai is a coastal city on the Persian Gulf, there are also natural beaches available for swimming and sunbathing.
For the traditionalist traveler who wants to see more historic Dubai, there are many older souks, or markets that you can visit for a less-modern style of shopping. The gold souk is particularly popular, though a very expensive place to buy souvenirs. No matter what you are shopping for at the markets, it's expected that you are going to haggle over the price.