Dubai is a city that holds a certain aura of splashy luxury and over-the-top extravagances. Everything about this glittering city is superlative from the world's most luxurious hotel (7 stars), the world's tallest building, to the world's largest shopping mall and the world's largest man-made island. Yet in the midst of this vibrant cosmopolitan city, Dubai is a city that is very much in tune with it's heritage and it's humble beginnings as a small fishing village. It is this dichotomy between constantly looking to the future and yet honoring the past that has created an exciting dynamic that has appealed to tourists around the globe.
The most well-known emirate of the UAE, Dubai is famous for shimmering skyscrapers and miles of shopping malls. Dubai is also home to a thriving population of over 200 different nationalities, and more foreigners than its own citizens. This has produced a truly cosmopolitan atmosphere with a lively nightlife and an impressive culinary scene with influences felt from the far reaches of the globe. Perhaps one of the most famous Dubai gastronomic experiences are the legendary Friday brunches, an opulent all-day affair with never-ending food and drink selections to enjoy.
A visit to Dubai calls for an immersion in to the opulent lifestyle of the locals with a multi-course lunch and breathtaking views from the top of the world-famous Burj al Arab, a shopping trip to the Dubai Mall, indoor skiing despite the desert heat at Ski Dubai, and perhaps the most spectacular evening views from the top of the world's largest tower, the impressive Burj Khalifa.
And yet the surrounding areas and the rich history of this historic port town are not to be missed. The bustling gold and spice souks are an exciting way to experience the Arabian marketplace of yore and are the ideal place to pick out souvenirs to take home. Traditional wooden abras float on Dubai Creek, and the calls to prayer can still be heard throughout the day from the storied mosques sprinkled throughout the city. Bastakiya Quarter, Dubai's historic district, is filled with art galleries and cafes and offers a nice respite from the glitz and glamour of downtown Dubai. End your day with a desert safari and a traditional Royal Bedouin dinner under the stars.
Dubai is an intoxicating fusion of extravagance, heritage, and contemporary style and will leave you with an experience that will be hard to forget.
Sinbad the sailor tells the story of how he grew restless with his life of leisure and set to the sea: "When I had been a while on shore; and when, in my comfort and pleasures and merry-makings and in my rejoicing over my large gains and profits...the carnal man was again seized with the longing to travel and to see foreign countries and islands." On his second voyage, Sinbad discovers a land of peril and riches, where the valleys are carpeted with diamonds but also covered in snakes, and birds pose a grave danger. Sinbad is captured and carried away to the nest of a giant bird, where he collects a large treasure and manages to escape to a nearby merchant ship. Seeing many marvels along the way, he returns with his stories and fortunes with a renewed appreciation for his home.