A rapidly-expanding city teeming with people and possibilities, Dubai is one of the most populous cities in the United Arab Emirates. The city has literally built a name for itself, constructing a spread of manmade islands, raising the tallest building in the world, and recreating The World itself (in form of artificial islands, that is). From opulent skyscrapers to rundown eateries, this exciting city is an endless fountain of discoveries.
Where to go
Standing proudly at over 828m, Burj Khalifa has achieved its status as the tallest building in the world, among a list of other records. It houses a cluster of offices, residences, hotel suites, a restaurant with a 122-level vista, and an observation deck on the 124th floor. Purchase a ticket to zip up its 160 stories, or admire this towering building from up close, across the street, or anywhere else in the city.
The Palm Islands is another spectacular landmark to behold. Dredged out of only sand and rocks, the Islands were conceived by the Prince of Dubai as a naturalistic holiday destination. This megastructure off the coast of Dubai consists of the island clusters Palm Jumeirah, Palm Jebel Ali, and Deira Island. Apart from premium residences, the islands also sport hotels, beach resorts, and amenities like an amphitheatre and a night market. But perhaps more ambitious are the other artificial islands that reflect the city’s aspiration towards infinite possibilities – The World. It’s an archipelago mirroring the façade of the Earth. Stretching 6km long and 9km across the estate, the islands consist mostly of resorts and commercial districts, with each island reflecting different themes, such as high fashion.
For a more exhilarating water retreat, the Wild Wadi Water Park just down the road from the Palm Islands takes the senses on a wild ride. Shoot up to 15m on the Master Blasters water coaster, careen down the eye of a tornado in Tantrum Alley, and drift lazily down a river. Keep a lookout for their seasonal promotions and offers announced on their website.
When you’re getting a little peckish, head out into the streets for a taste of authentic Dubai food. Hotels boast a collection of Michelin-star restaurants of Gary Rhodes and Gordon Ramsay fame, while the stalls lining the roads have more affordable and down-to-earth grub to offer. For starters, head down Al Dhiyafah Road, which touts some of the cheapest bites from around the region. Refreshing salads thrown together in haste or the sizzling grill of meats and fresh seafood are enough to entice anybody back for countless visits.
Getting around in Dubai
The public transport networks in Dubai are an efficient way of getting around. Its buses and trains service almost the entire city, with payments made by the Nol Card. Note that the front of buses is reserved for women and families, and the trains are closed on Friday mornings. The most convenient and popular mode of transport is taxis, which run on meter.
To travel across the Creek, ferries called Abra are readily available and transport about 20 people at a time.
Getting to Dubai
Dubai International Airport is situated about 4km from Dubai and handles numerous regional and international airlines. Carriers serviced by the Airport include Cathay Pacific Airways and KLM.
A number of transport routes lead to the city centre. The Airport Road, D89, is a direct drive to Dubai. Buses from opposite both airport terminals travel to all areas in Dubai, and the Dubai Metro operates at Terminal 3 and Terminal 1. Taxi and limousine services are located outside the Arrivals hall.