Dubai. The Shopping Hub of Middle East.
The most populous in the United Arab Emirates, this city has become the business hub of the Middle East and has emerged as a global city. Dubai has become famous for its skyscrapers and luxury shopping along with its architecture and is home to the tallest building in the world, Burj Khalifa.
It has been settled since as long as the bronze age where they followed a nomadic lifestyle. In c. 3rd century CE before the introduction of Islam and coming of Umayyad caliphate, the region was under the Sassanid empire. Fishing and pearl diving were the primary economic activities at this point of time and with the establishment of trade routes, the region had a chance to blossom.
It was in the 19th century that the Al Abu Falasa dynasty established Dubai. Export of pearls was the backbone of the city’s economy which came under severe strain during the great depression in 1929. It was only in 1966, with the discovery of oil that Dubai became this prosperous mega city.
2. Night Life in Dubai
The laughter factory, a comedy club that has been operating in Dubai for almost two decades now, is a good place to chill for a few hours and let loose a little.
The Stereo Arcade on the other hand is every teenage boys dream come true; it’s a bar, a club and a gaming arcade all in one place. The Gramercy is your modern old-school bar with the classics, both food and music. If there is one thing this city does not lack, then it’s bars and lounges. Plethora of places to go to for a drink and dancing. You can find a club in almost any part of the city.
There are plenty of sports bar too where you can enjoy a cold beer and dig into greasy hot food for a game. This city also offers you a lot of live music bars.
Crime rate in Dubai is relatively low; safety precautions taken elsewhere should be applied here as well. It is important to remember that eating, drinking or smoking in public is not allowed during Ramadan. It is best to dress modestly at this time, if you’re in Dubai for a vacation.
Having said this, it does not mean that Emiratis are intolerant. The people here infact are very warm and welcoming.
4. Living Expenses in Dubai
Renting a one bedroom apartment can cost range from 6000 AED to 8000 AED (USD 1633 – USD 2177) depending on whether the location is on the outskirts of Dubai or in the centre.
On an average buying one square feet of apartment will cost around 1500 AED (USD 408).
Burj Al Arab Jumeirah the most expensive hotel in Dubai charges around 7796 AED (USD 2122) per night, whereas other luxury hotels like Radisson Blu, Raffles and Shangri-La charge up to 1000 AED (USD 272) per night. Budget hotels have tariffs of around 250 AED (USD 68) a night.
The underwater suites of Atlantis, the Palm are a little expensive but nothing compared to Burj Al Arab, costing you around 2,500 AED (USD 680) per night. If you do get a chance, stay here, the view will be worth it.
5. Cuisines of Dubai
Dubai is no doubt the best place to sample the Gulf and Middle Eastern cuisines, from Iranian to Lebanese to Arabic. From fine dining at the most luxurious hotels to a quick bite at a street corner, the city caters to extravagant tastes and this multicultural cuisine has food to die for.
In Dubai, camel meat is common and popular, the stuffed camel being the favourite of locals. Falafel, hummus, ghuzi and shawarma are some of the other popular dishes. Meat, fish and rice are the staple food of Emirati cuisine. Traditional dishes include Ma’louba, Margooga, Harees, Machbous, Frsee’ah, Fireed, Jisheid, and Mishwy.
Alcohol is not forbidden but only restricted to hotels, bars and nightclubs. It is not served to Muslims and drinking in public is an offense. A liquor permit is required to purchase alcohol.
Pork is also regulated and sold only to tourists and non-Muslims.
6. Statistics of Dubai
It is the most expensive city of Middle East, and 22nd most expensive city in the world. The hotel rooms are second most expensive after Geneva. The city of Dubai has an area of 4,114 sq. km with a population of 2,459,068.
Arabic is the national and official language, English being spoken as the second. 85% of the expatriate population is made up of Asians; Indians and Pakistanis being the majority of it.
7. Public Transport in Dubai
Dubai International Airport acts as the hub for the city and other emirates and is listed in the top ten busiest airports of the world. Emirates airline serves as the national airline.
Interestingly to promote use of public transport, the transport authority commissioned the construction of A/C passenger bus shelter. Dubai also has an exclusive ladies taxi service for female passengers which employs only female drivers.
The Dubai metro connects the financial and residential areas of the city and are run on automatic navigation, without any drivers. The city also has a tram and monorail as well as two commercial ports.
You can pay for metro, bus, water bus and tram all by your Nol Card. You can have a day, week, month or year card.
8. Weather of Dubai
The city experiences a tropical desert climate with long, hot and humid summers and short warm winters. Sea temperature too can go really high and do not really provide a reprieve from the heat. Average rainfall is 150mm, where February is the wettest month. The best time to plan your vacation would be in the winters as the weather is pleasant and enjoyable. It is therefore a pretty hot destination all year round.
Summer: May to September. Average low 32°C; Average high 41°C
Autumn: October to November. Average low 21°C; Average high 32°C
Winter: December to February. Average low 16°C; Average high 25°C
Spring: March to April. Average low 18°C; Average high 30°C
9. Culture of Dubai
Dubai Shopping festival is undoubtedly the biggest event of the year; taking place in January, this month long festivity is a time for fun, adventure and shopping. Along with the Film Festival, these two events are a major attraction for tourist and celebrities.
Since 2014, the city has also been hosting the Dubai food festival featuring cuisines of over 200 nationalities.
10. Places to visit in Dubai
Things to do in Dubai: It is famous for its shopping experience, from really big malls to local markets with exotic products you are in for a treat. Dubai fountains at night is breathtaking, the view should not be missed at any cost. Burj Khalifa the tallest building in the world is also here. Jumeirah mosque, Dubai mall and Al Fahidi historic district are all places worth your time. Apart from all of this, the city offers a variety of other fun activities that you can enjoy; the Dubai heritage village, safaris, spas, beaches, scuba diving, and snorkeling. Dubai creek is offers boat tours and is really a magnificent site.
Things to do for Kids in Dubai: Your kids will surely remember the trip for a really long time, there is an Aquaventure water park with loads of fun rides, Dolphin Bay allows you to be in close contact to nature, Dubai aquarium and underwater zoo is also a fun experience for people of all ages; snow penguins at Ski Dubai should not be missed, the Zabeel park and butterfly garden are also worth exploring.
Museums and Galleries: This city is rapidly evolving in terms of art although most of it is very hush-hush. Finding a good art gallery may become difficult as they are generally in nondescript building. This city lacks in number of museums as compared to in other cities, but The Dubai Museum in Al Fahidi Historic district is the oldest building in the city.
Places Nearby: Hatta Dam is a sight for sore eyes. Located on hilly terrain, this place serves as a popular destination for adventure enthusiasts.
Offbeat Places: Skydiving, indoor sky, balloon rides, and desert safari are some options available. A visit to spice souk early morning is a nice kick start to your day; here you will find a myriad of spices and potpourri. Gold souk on the other hand is a good place to buy some extravagant jewelry.
Author’s Conclusion: Dubai is a curious combination of the old and the new, an exciting blend of culture and history; it is indeed one of a kind. The luxury and lifestyle of this place is so compelling, you’ll want to come here again and again.
|Country||United Arab Emirates|
|Languages||Arabic, English, Hindi and Urdu|
|Currency||AED (1 AED = 0.27 USD as of 16th February 2016)|
|Time Zone||UAE Standard Time (UTC + 4)|
|Driving||Left Hand Drive, Right Hand Traffic|
|Helpline||Police – 999 ; Fire – 997 ; Ambulance – 999|
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