Dubai - Holidays - Travel Guide - Attractions - Tours & Day Trips - Vacations
The emirate of Dubai is viewed by many as being the pearl of the Middle East. Every year tourists from around the globe flock to the destination, eager to experience the magic of its endless, white beaches, sensational shopping malls and luxury hotels.
Interestingly enough, the city of Dubai was originally a small fishing village which was known for being a source of pearls. It was not until the late 19th century under the rule of Sheikh Maktoum that the city really began to emerge as the commercial heart of the east. The discovery of oil and continued trade saw Dubai developing into the business and tourism giant that it is today.
In the past, many westerners were weary of visiting Dubai due to its strict Muslim laws and customs. The Dubai of today is both liberal and tolerant and provided that tourists are respectful of local traditions, Emirate citizens will be willing to overlook and forgive any indiscretion occurring as a result of ignorance. General guidelines include dressing modestly in public, only consuming alcohol in designated areas and being considerate of local religious practices. Keep in mind that non-Muslims are typically not allowed into mosques under any circumstances, so avoid wondering into any no matter how great the temptation may be. Those expressing an interesting in Islamic religious practices are entitled to scheduled, guided tours of the Jumeriah Mosque, which is explicitly the only exception to the former rule.
The majority of hotels in the city have at least a four star rating. Be warned, if you are working on a tight budget you may struggle in Dubai. In most cases no expense has been spared in ensuring that hotels offer the ultimate in amenities and service. As is the case with most things in life, however, you pay for what you get and rates charged by most hotels would definitely not be classed as low cost.
At hotels like the Crowne Plaza Dubai, the Fairmont Hotel, the Hyatt Regency and the Oasis Beach Hotel, room prices start at around $220 per night and suites go for anything from $280 per night to $2800 per night depending on what you are after. Hotels like the Millennium Airport Hotel and the Hilton Jumeirah and Hilton Dubai Creek generally offer slightly cheaper rates. It is advisable to do a bit of research before booking your accommodation as, due to the competition factor, many hotels regularly offer specials.
Tours of Dubai
The city itself has so much to offer that it is difficult to know where to start. Organized tours are often the best way to get the most out of your holiday, especially if you are pressed for time. Bus tours are also a far more economical way of getting around than metered taxis. Historical tours, bus tours and shopping tours are offered by tour companies throughout the city and run both day and night.
Finally, no holiday to Dubai would be complete without a trip through the numerous souks in Bur Dubai and Diera. Shopping tours offer morning and afternoon trips to the most well known souks in the city.
Trips out of the city allow for a more rounded experience of the Emirate, so if you get the chance to experience one they are definitely recommended. A trip to the tranquil Jebel Ali Beach can easily be done in a day, while trips to the historical town of Hatta, located in the spectacular Hajar Mountains, may require more time due to the fact that there is simply too much to see in a single day. Popular tours to areas surrounding Dubai include desert tours and wildlife tours which more often than not include activities like dune driving and camel riding. The more adventurous can also indulge in activities like buggy racing and sand skiing. If you have time to spare, tours into one of Dubai's neighbouring emirates like Sharjah, Abu Dhabi or Fujairah provide for a culturally rich and fascinating experience.