Dubai: From Desert to Metropolis

Dubai stands tall above the rest of the world, being the centre for global shipping and logistics. No less than 150 lines work in and around Dubai taking goods from all over the world to other countries. While trade is brisk and business is good there are many other reasons to visit Dubai – it is deliberately being made-over into a tourist paradise with attractions to suit everyone, and remarkable feats of engineering to make even the most cynical traveller gape in awe!

The Palm Islands are a group of manmade islands, crafted from natural stone and sand in the shape of palm trees. There are currently three of these island groups, all offering unprecedented miles of beach due to the curving fronds of the ‘trees’. These have been joined by The World, a map of earth, broken into convenient smaller pieces in order to ensure plentiful beach and seaside access and the The Universe is currently under construction.

The Burj Al Arab is an immense hotel, reported to have seven stars so great is its luxury, which rises from the sea like a sailing yacht made of glass and steel. The hotel is built on a small island and used to be the world’s tallest hotel until another Dubai edifice took that crown in 2009. The Burj Khalifa is the world’s tallest building, rising a magnificent 829.8 metres in the air. The graceful tower is designed as a stylised flower, proving that Dubai ingenuity can not only create almost unbelievable structures, but can do it with beauty!

The markets and shops are worth a visit too: from the plaza dedicated entirely to technology and gadgetry to the traditional souks and bazaars there is sure to be something to appeal to every visitor. The spice souk will inflame your inner culinary artist and the gold souk is sure to awaken your inner miser with its dazzling golden displays.

There are plenty of activities to try out in Dubai, from a 4×4 safari out into the blazing heat of the desert, or perhaps get a taste of authentic desert life with a camel ride to see some of the ancient sites. Dubai is also home to the biggest indoor snow slope, which features the only indoor black run and the longest indoor run in the world. If the 40 degree heat is getting too much for you, pop in and try your hand at skiing on real cold snow to cool off!

Other attractions are the aquarium, the zoo (soon to be in fabulous new, purpose-built quarters) and the daily fireworks show that happens near the fountains, which are, perhaps predictably, the largest choreographed fountain system in the world! Music and fireworks are accompanied by jets of water, beautifully timed, to put on a show for passers-by every evening, something you must see if you are in the area.

Dubai is already one of those places that everyone must see at least once in their lifetimes; and the authorities are not resting on their laurels, continuing to build higher and stronger, pushing engineers and architects alike to create more wonders and attractions to attract the world to their doorstep. Not too shabby for a humble fishing village, struggling for survival a mere hundred years ago! Travelling to Dubai isn’t always as expensive as you might think – you can find plenty of affordable Dubai flights if you check out airfare comparison sites like Momondo.co.uk

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