Dubai, both the city and the emirate of the same name, are fascinating places of active business and cultural life in the 21st century Middle East. Dubai is one of the United Arab Emirates. It is the largest emirate in terms of population with over two million residents. It is the second largest emirate in land area. Its main city is located on the northern coastline of the emirate on the Gulf of Persia and is also names Dubai. Dubai (the city) is the hub of the Dubai-Sharjah-Ajman metropolitan region.
Dubai’s economy was first built on its location as a transportation hub and through the oil industry but today it has a Western-style business model leading its economy and its revenues are generating from tourism, real estate, aviation and financial services. Considered by many as a ‘gateway between the East and the West’, Dubai is known as a global city and has a distinctly cosmopolitan atmosphere and population.
According to 2013 records, only about ten to 15 percent of the emirate’s population is composed of UAE Arab nationals. The rest of the population is composed of expatriates from other countries, with some 85 percent of them being Asian, mainly Indian (51 percent) and Pakistani (16 percent). The largest group of Westerners in the city is approximately 100,000 British expatriates. The official national language is Arabic and English is used as a second language.
The city has gained an international reputation for its amazing skyscrapers and architectural wonders. Dubai is home to many structurally ambitious developments, such as man-made islands, hotels, high-rise buildings and the largest shopping malls in the region. The Dubai Mall is the largest shopping mall in the entire world. The Burj Khalifa (also known as the Khalifa Tower) is the world’s tallest building, topping out at 829.8 meters (2,722 feet) tall. The design follows patterning systems traditionally embodied in Islamic architecture but in 21st century style, with the triple-lobed footprint of the base of the building as an abstract version of a native desert flower. The Burj Al Arab (Tower of the Arabs) is the world’s first seven star hotel build on an artificial island reached by a private curving bridge. The tall white sails on the building mimic the traditional Arab dhow sails seen on Dubai Creek and the Persian Gulf. An underwater hotel project is currently in the planning stages.
The attraction for many Westerners to come to Dubai is for all the shopping available there in the many shopping centers and the world’s largest retail mall. Holidays to Dubai have much to offer individuals, couples and families. Dubai encourages tourism as it is an important part of their economy and maintains the flow of foreign dollars into their coffers. With Dubai’s desert climate, the days are sunny throughout the entire year though hot and humid, especially in the summer months. There are many sites to see in Dubai and shopping is not the only activity Dubai has to offer tourists.
Dubai is recognized as the most expensive city in the region but there are accommodations available in all budget ranges. It is a Muslim country but Western dress is allowed. Women are expected to dress modestly, however, and “indecent clothing” is not allowed. Tourists are expected to conform as a matter of courtesy to their host emirate. There are many Westerners here and tourists will not feel out of place.
Luxury spas in the desert offer pampered privacy. The Bab Al Shams Desert Resort Spa is an elegant retreat built in and around a desert oasis. The Al Maha Desert Resort and Spa in the Dubai Desert Conservation Reserve suggests an unusually rich Bedouin encampment. At the shore there are two beach parks with changing facilities, picnic areas and other amenities, the Al Mumzar Beach Park and the Jumeirah Beach Park.
There are other notable features of interest to visitors to Dubai. Some of the Dubaiest™ highlights for visitors are the Deira Gold Soug, the largest gold bazaar in the world; the Dubai World Cup, the richest horse race in the world; the Wild Wadi, the fastest and highest water slide outside North America; and the world’s longest floating bridge. There is so much to see and do in Dubai that you may need to return again and again.
Documentary – Dubai: The Greatest City In The World