One of the richest, newest and most developed city in the world, Dubais rags to riches story started with oil, no surprise. However the oil and gas industry only makes up 7% of its entire economy. With its 2020 vision showing how Dubai is striving to become a ‘greener’ country moving onto more reusable forms of energy and using tourism as a fundamental part of their economy. The population of Dubai is made up of 80% expats from all around the globe and is said that 13.8 million people visited the emirate this past year which was an 8% increase from the year before that. Dubai is quickly becoming the new centre of the world, with more events happening there every year. The 2020 expo is set to be a record breaking event that will attract even more people to this vibrant city.
A lot of people have a prejudice against the middle east, including me before my visit to Dubai. Prejudice towards this part of the world is mainly stems from the global political issues with religion and the very different culture they have. The sheikh of Dubai in- fact loved the western world and reportedly regularly visited London and other parts of Europe and wanted to model Dubai on a western theme. The city still has the culture and feel of the middle east with its beautiful mosques and baron desert, however the city itself is very diverse and accepting I found. Upon first visit to Dubai, all you will hear is of their strict laws and how if you do anything, you will get the death penalty or thrown in jail. When in- fact the city is very accepting, as long you are respectful and mindful of the Muslim beliefs. Most hotels understand if you are not married you aren’t going to get two separate rooms and holding hands is not a crime punishable by death, believe it or not.
Anyway.. Why should you visit Dubai?
Besides from a taste of the Arabic culture, 40+ degrees and the monumental architecture in this amazing city, there is literally so much to do. Contrary to popular belief it is not as expensive as you may think and you can see the sights, partake in a few memorable activities such as, a desert safari day or a trip to Atlantis, without breaking the bank at all. It is also one of the safest cities in the world, (probably because nobody dares chance it with the harsh punishments) you can walk round freely till whatever time in the morning and feel completely comfortable. Just walking around the city can take up several days of your visit, as you meander around one of the monumental shopping malls. The malls in Dubai are unbelievable, with the two main malls being the ‘Mall of the Emirates’ and ‘The Dubai Mall”. Upon visit to the Dubai mall, you begin to just appreciate the architects awe- inspiring project and what can be achieved with an near infinite budget. A 10 million litre aquarium, the Middle East’s first indoor ski slope and the Worlds first indoor black ski slope, an olympic size ice skating rink, an indoor skatepark and thousands of shops, it is not hard to imagine the sheer size of these malls.
On top of being an insane city break, Dubai has some of the most luxurious and popular beaches in the world. It has a beach for every need, with water sports, relaxation and privacy or partying, the best thing is the sea is not freezing cold! The Palm Jumeirah, where the infamous Atlantis resort is located, is a completely man made island in the shape of a palm tree. On the tip of the island is the magnificent hotel which has now become an iconic sightseeing point which looks out into the Persian Gulf. It is also well worth getting a day ticket to the Atlantis waterpark where you can see dolphins, go on a slide through a shark tank or just chill-out on the lazy river and if it is in your budget, I would fully recommend even staying a night in the hotel making the most off the unlimited 2 day waterpark pass, 3 meals in one of the hotels buffet restaurants and just experience the 5 star Dubai life for a night.
I explain in the section ‘get the best deals‘ how to find the most affordable hotels and where to find them, also where to find the cheapest flights. If you like an always sunny holiday with summer heat year round, but don’t want to limit yourself to a beach resort, then Dubai is the perfect destination; just make sure you read my advice about getting the best deals to ensure you get there cheap.