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By Anthon Garcia (Gulf News)
With so much to see and do in the city, you might find it quite a struggle to fit it all in. Our guide will help you make the most of your time, even if you are in Dubai for just a short stay.
Whether you’re in Dubai on a business trip or for a leisure holiday, we’re assuming that food is one of the things you would certainly be looking for. The hotel where you’re staying should have plenty of food and beverage options, but if you’re the type who likes to explore a city, there are many options in Al Diyafah Street or in the Al Riqqa area. You are sure to find an assortment of delightful cafes and restaurants while leisurely walking through these streets during the cooler months.
Try The Walk at Jumeirah Beach Residence for an even more delightful dining adventure through various coffee shops and snack bars as well as restaurants featuring an eclectic mix of international cuisines. Jumeirah Beach Road should be another enticing option, where some of the finest beach side restaurants are located.
Dubai has become synonymous with shopping, boasting some of the largest shopping centres in the world. The most recognisable ones are Mall of the Emirates and Ibn Battuta Mall towards the south, while Deira City Centre and Al Ghurair City are some of the better options up north. The Dubai Mall, the world’s largest mall, is located in Downtown Burj Khalifa.
For the best bargains head to the small shopping stalls in Karama and Naif. Both these discount districts provide a wide range of items — from electronics and clothing to furniture and perfumes. Dubai is best known for its gold, so make sure to drop by the Gold Souq. Haggling is expected so make sure to ask for the last price.
Head to the beach and enjoy Dubai’s year-round sunshine. A popular tourist beach in Dubai is Jumeirah Beach Park. The gated beach has excellent facilities and is perfect for strolling, swimming and engaging in all sorts of watersports. There is an open beach option, which has recently seen an upgrade of facilities and security so you should be safe while frolicking under the sun.
An alternative option is to go through the city’s parks in Jumeirah and Safa, as well as the Creekside Park in Oud Metha. Zabeel Park has also become a popular option for family picnics and get-togethers. If you have a spare day, you might want to head off to a desert safari adventure. Give your Dubai holiday an adrenaline boost with an afternoon of dune bashing, then slow down with a camel ride.
Cap off the day by indulging in a sumptuous BBQ dinner while watching the expert moves of a belly dancer.
If you are in the mood to get your groove on, head to one of the city’s numerous nightclubs. Hotels here have the swankiest clubs and are usually found along the stretch of Shaikh Zayed Road and the vicinity, such as the Dubai Marine Beach Resort. Most clubs have special offers for the ladies and happy hour promotions.
There’s also plenty of great live entertainment throughout the year. Try Rockwell Café in Capitol Hotel for arguably the most popular Filipino live band in the Emirate, or the Club Africana at the Rush Inn Hotel on Bank Street, for a fantastic experience of soulful music.
Dubai has a thriving cultural scene, with a number of heritage sites and museums providing an insightful glimpse into Emirati culture. The Bastakiya area and Heritage House should be a good start. Close by is the Dubai Museum which has quite a comprehensive collection of artefacts as well as a number of exhibits on traditional life in Dubai, giving visitors an appreciation of Dubai’s transformation from a small fishing and pearl-diving village into a modern city that it is today.
For art lovers, there are a number of galleries in Al Quoz with Third Line, Jam Jar and XVA Gallery being the most active in terms of mounting shows for established and upstart artists. The Dubai Community and Theatre Arts Centre (DUCTAC) at the Mall of the Emirates also has an art gallery in addition to a theatre where a number of cultural and musical productions are being staffed on a regular basis.
Dubai is the poster city for landmark and mega projects. No city has seen a dramatic change in its landscape in so short a time. While in town, enjoy the many fantastic sights and attractions of the city. The best way to do this is either through the Big Bus tour with fellow tourists, or by the Dubai Metro.
The towering Burj Khalifa should be topping your must-see list. It is a global landmark — the tallest building in the world. Stay within the Downtown Burj area for a glimpse of the spectacular Burj Khalifa Fountain. Nearby at the Zabeel Park, you can take your family through a fun science adventure at the Star Gate or watch a dolphin show either at the Creekside Park or the Dolphin Bay in Atlantis Palm Jumeirah.
Don’t forget Dubai’s famous Burj Al Arab, the world’s only seven-star hotel, or the Palm Jumeirah, a series of man-made islands patterned in the shape of a palm tree.
The Dubai Metro is the fastest way to go around the city. It connects most areas of the city through a network of buses. Although the routes currently open are limited, the Metro passes through main districts. Other routes will be opened in the next few months. Taxis are plentiful and relatively cheap. If you want to explore the city at your pace and on your own, there are a number of car rental companies to choose from. Just for the thrill of it, try the abra (water taxi) when crossing the Dubai Creek.
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