A modern break in ever-growing Dubai
Jane Walsh, who runs her own travel company, Freespirit Holidays, explains that Dubai is very much a 21st Century destination for holidaymakers
THE sun shines almost every day, the shopping and leisure facilities are impressive, there are plenty of attractions and activities and the hotels are absolute luxury. Where? Dubai!
Dubai is a destination of the 21st century and has undergone an incredible amount of rapid transformations, from humble beginnings as a pearl-diving centre to one of the fastest-growing cities in the world.
It has earned a reputation of being the gateway between east and west and is considered the centre of the Arabian Gulf region.
Dubai’s beaches are a hive of activity and buzzing, so if you are looking for long empty stretches of sand, accompanied by the sound of quiet lapping of waves, you’ve come to the wrong place.
During peak season, the beaches are crowded with people playing beach games, picnicking, jet-skiing, jogging, swimming in the warm Gulf waters or sunbathing topping up their tans.
Many of the beaches along the Jumeirah stretch belong to hotels and are only accessible to their guests or those happy to pay a hefty day fee – definitely something to consider when booking your accommodation.
There are also public beaches, some of which are free and others that charge a small entrance fee, but offer decent facilities that are kept relatively clean and patrolled by uards. he new Dubai is a blended of Singapore and Las Vegas us Deira (old Dubai) which, f, is likened to a cross ween Cairo and Karachi, ecially in the carnival-like ks. Here you can hear the bic sing-song echoing und the small lanes, while he covered spice souk, vendors work hard on you to unload aromatic frankincense, dried lemons, chillies, exotic herbs and spices. A visit to the gold souk is a must, with hundreds of stores overflowing with every kind of jewellery imaginable.
As a complete contrast and part of ‘new Dubai’, the Burj Khalifa is a groundbreaking feat of architecture and engineering, which is either impressive or preposterous, depending on your point of view.
The world’s tallest building ierces the sky at 828m (seven mes the height of Big Ben). re you brave enough to take the view from the top? There are a vast range of otels to suit every taste, whim d budget! From the glitzy, opulent and e of the of the most pensive and only seven star tels in the world, all the way through to the very affordable.
Most of the reputed global hotel chains are present in Dubai and you can find these along the beach fronts, Dubai creek, the marina or Palm Island.
Getting around is easy enough. You can walk, travel by taxi or even make use of the train system that runs through the city.
There are many attractions to enjoy, from shopping in the worlds largest mall to visiting a Bedouin camp in the desert.
(Clockwise from above) The stunning architecture of the Atlantis Prime hotel, in Dubai; on a camel safari; and dramatic firework displays light up the Dubai sky