When your plane lands in Dubai, there is one question you need to ask yourself before you even unbuckle your seatbelt: am I going to play it safe or am I going to be adventurous and go wild? If you chose the former, you may as well stay seated on the plane and go back home. If you selected the latter, prepare yourself for a concoction of flavours, sites, sounds and experiences. You are now in second largest city of the United Arab Emirates; an oasis in the desert located in the Persian Gulf.
Owing to its recent and massive industrial growth, Dubai is home to some of the tallest buildings in the world and world-famous festivals. You do not have to be rich and famous to enjoy the funky vibes, relaxation resorts or beautiful beaches. Here are the top five things to do during your stay in Dubai:
Once again you have a vital decision to make. Unlike your choice on the plane of beef or chicken, you now have to decide between contemporary and traditional foods. Dubai’s cuisine draws inspiration from both its neighbours and distant places around the world. Strong influences include Morocco, India and America, amongst others. Additional to this, traditional Arab dishes are on offer at affordable prices. For those looking to experience a cultural mixture through fusion food: local flavours are often mixed with exotic trends.
What better way to become acquainted with a place’s cultural bearings than through music? Music often reflects social conditions or ignites and evokes reactions in the audience. If you are looking to relax to some jazz and blues, jive to thriving performances, dance the night away to DJ remixes or embrace local talent; Dubai offers a variety of live music venues. Some of the more popular hangouts include: Dubai Community Theatre and Arts Centre for its classical concerts and large-scale art endeavours, Jules Bar is a favourite of locals for bargains and good deals, American-style Peanut Butter Jam with BBQs and karaoke-like music acts, Dubai’s main performance venue of Palladium which seats 15 000 people, Hard Rock Café a hit amongst those with an appreciation for music legends, and more.
Boasting blue flag status, caves along the coast, golden sands, and blue waters, Dubai is well-known for its beautiful beaches. There are public and privately-owned beaches which are either free or require payment in order to enter. Many of the beaches belong to hotels, but this does not mean that they are not accessible to by the general public. Whether you want to swim, surf, jog, drink, or people-watch, Dubai’s beaches offer it all. Some of the more popular beaches include: Mamzer Beach Park, Ghantoot Beach, Russian Beach, and Jumeriah Beach Park, amongst others.
There is an entire annual festival dedicated to shopping in Dubai. What began in 1996 is now a month-long shopping experience that attracts more than 3 million people to the area. Not only does the festival draw people in from around the world, is offers international products to suit any need or desire. If the 25-odd shopping malls are not enough to satisfy the shopper’s thirst for accumulating purchases, there are traditional open-air markets, street performances and many other experiences that form part of the festival.
If the above mentioned attractions have not yet convinced you to get off of that plane or to board a plane to the United Arab Emirates, Dubai hosts a number of diverse activities that are sure to accommodate your quest for adventure, knowledge, and culture. Some of these activities include: world-class golf courses, picturesque hot-air balloon rides, desert safaris or off-roading on sand dunes, skiing on snow or on water, and marvel at the architecture, galleries and museums.
Dubai is the melting pot of flavours, sites, sounds and experiences. It is a city that caters for both the contemporary thrill-seeker and the visitor in search of the traditional and authentic.