Dubai Sights and Attractions
The Al Fahidi Fort, which houses the Dubai Museum, was built around 1799 and has served as palace, garrison and prison, but was renovated in 1970 for use as a museum. Colorful dioramas depict Dubai's history, while artifacts dating back more than 3000 years provide visitors with a taste of ancient civilizations.
The Bastakia Quarter in Bur Dubai is one of the city's most picturesque heritage sites. It was built in the late 19th century by Persian merchants attracted to the city by its relaxed trade tariffs. The area has been declared a conservation area and, while some buildings are private homes, many are open to the public.
Dubai Creek offers a picturesque glimpse of Dubai's trading heritage. You can choose to sail or take a traditional abra (water taxi) for a one- or two-hour cruise, or tour operators offer both day or night cruises.
No visit to Dubai would be complete without a trip into the desert. Such excursions are best organised as part of a group tour, but offer a taste of the true hearthland of Arabia. The majesty and tranquility of the desert can be experienced in a choice of exciting half-day, full-day and overnight safaris, and those with a taste for speed can try sand skiing down the dunes of the Dubai desert.
Burj Khalifa, achieved the distinction of being the world's tallest structure with its 828 meters (2716.5 ft). Other world records for Burj Khalifa include the highest occupied floor in the world, at over 550 meters; the highest outdoor observation deck in the world - At the Top on Level 124; and the tallest service elevator, which travels to a height of 504 meters.
The Dubai Dolphinarium is located in the heart of Dubai Creek Park (Gate1) and is an amazing place, where you are guaranteed to meet some of the most beautiful animals that inhabit the oceans.
THE DUBAI MALL
The Dubai Mall is the world's largest shopping and entertainment destination and is spread over a total area of 1 115 000 sq.m (12 million sq.ft). Along with the 1200 retail stores, the 160 food and beverage outlets, the leisure attractions of The Dubai Mall include The Dubai Aquarium & Underwater Zoo, with over 33,000 aquatic animals including sharks and rays, and featuring the largest scrylic viewing panel in the world and a walk-through tunnel. The Olympic-sized Dubai Ice-Rink is another key leisure attraction and a destination for skating enthusiasts.
THE DUBAI FOUNTAIN
The Dubai Mall waterfront promenade opens onto the Dubai Fountain, a spectacular water, music spectacle, set on the 121,400 sq.m (30-acre) Burj Khalifa Lake, which shoots water jets 150 meters into the air, equivalent to the height of a 50-storey building. The fountain is 275 meters long and has five circles of varying sizes, two central arcs and was designed by the creators of the Fountains of Bellagio in Las Vegas.
AL KHOR WILDLIFE SANCTUARY
Located at the beginning of the creek (and encircled by highways) the marshy ground is home to thousands of flamingos, waders and other birds, many of which migrate to Dubai seasonally. Three hides are open to the public. Admission to the hides is free but a maximum of ten people are permitted at one time and groups larger than four must apply for an entry permit from the Municipality.
THE WALK AT JUMEIRAH BEACH RESIDENCE
The Walk at Jumeirah Beach Residence is Dubai's only outdoor shopping experience by the beach offering breathtaking views over the Arabian Gulf and boasting world class retail outlets.
With annual imports of over 500 tonnes and the gold business worth in excess of Dhs 25 billion per year it is little wonder that Dubai is known as the City of Gold. The famed Gold Souk is in Baniyas Street on the north side of Dubai Creek in Deira the old part of town. Even if you are not in the market to buy some gold it is well worth visiting, especially in the evening, just to wonder at the glittering array of shop fronts and merchandise available.
There are over 800 jewellery shops in Dubai, both in shopping malls and souks, and gold is offered in 18, 21, 22 and 24 carat and sold at the prevailing daily rate with a relatively small charge being made for craftsmanship. There are low import duties, and this, allied with the fact that gold is sold in high volume therefore allowing lower margins, ensures that Dubai is probably the cheapest city in the world to buy gold jewellery.
Again situated on the north side of Dubai Creek and close to the gold souk is Deira Old Souk which is a pleasant place to pass an evening wandering around. The souk has a breathtaking selection of spices such as ginger, chillies, cardamom and frankincense all displayed in huge sacks which are bursting at the seams and the fragrances tend to work up an appetite.
As with the Gold Souk, the best time of the day to go in the evening when the souks are busier.