Originally a small fishing settlement that became a busy port of call on the ancient trade route between Mesopotamia and the Indus Valley, the emirate was rapidly transformed into an international business centre and modern tourist destination following the discovery of oil in 1966.
Today Dubai ranks as the country's foremost commercial centre, a city whose skyline is constantly being upgraded with new developments providing the infrastructure and facilities needed for a progressive society, including world-class hotels, shopping plazas and outstanding sports facilities. Dubai Creek divides the city centre into two parts: Deira on the northern side and Bur Dubai to the south and each has its fair share of souks, restaurants, hotels, shopping malls and fine mosques.
From within these high standards of luxury and convenience, visitors can experience exotic Arabia in the bustling souks or a night in a Bedouin tent with belly-dancing under the starlit desert skies, as well as a way of life that is still embedded in the Islamic traditions of an ancient land. Dubai's attraction lies in the contrast between the ultra modern and the enchantingly traditional, which gives the city a personality like no other and visitors a variety of experiences to choose from. From desert oases and unspoiled beaches, camel races and old wind towers, to top-class shopping opportunities, avant-garde architecture and the finest international cuisine, Dubai has more than enough depth to satisfy even the most seasoned of travellers.
One of the city's top attractions is its excellent shopping. As an open port with low import duties, Dubai can offer an incredible range of top brand names at cheaper prices due to the tax-free environment, and 'shopping tourists' are drawn from around the world to this paradise of malls, souks, boutiques and modern department stores selling everything from Paris fashions to Japanese electronics. The annual Shopping Festival attracts millions of tourists to the city for a shop-till-you-drop holiday.
The most common way of getting around Dubai is by taxi; they are cheap and easy to find. The new Dubai Metro system opened in 2009 and now has 47 stations across 46 miles (75km) of track . It covers the length of Dubai from Jebel Ali in the south, all the way to the airport, then inland to All Rashidiya. Most of the malls are connected on the central portion of the route. There is a Gold class cabin, and special carriages for women and children. Tickets costs from AED2. Many hotels offer shuttle bus services for guests as well. Metered taxis are cream coloured, with uniformed drivers. The public bus service covers most areas of the city and its beaches; the monthly period pass as well as the discounted purse pass are available. Routes and bus numbers are posted in both Arabic and English. Small wooden motorboats ( abras) cross the creek every few minutes between Bur Dubai and Deira. Cars are the most popular method of transport for locals in the city, and although roads are well-marked and car hire cheap, visitors should think twice about hiring one, as driving standards are erratic and accidents frequent. All accidents must be reported to the police, and chances are good that a visit to the police station will be necessary. Outside the city, signposts are rare. To hire a car, a credit card, valid passport and International Driving Permit are required and the minimum age is 21 (drivers must have held a full licence for one year).
Dubai Shopping Festival
The Dubai Shopping Festival (DSF) was started in 1996 by the government to promote retail trade in the city, and has since grown into the foremost shopping event in the world, an annual extravaganza of shopping and entertainment that promotes tourism and attracts millions of people from around the world to Dubai every year. The city is already known as a shopping paradise, but for a whole month thousands of retail outlets offer further specials, with hotels, travel companies and airlines also extending special discounts to visitors during this period. Besides the shopping malls and souks, one of the most popular shopping spots is the Carpet Oasis, showcasing thousands of exclusive carpets from around the world. Other events include nightly fireworks, laser/light shows, international fashion shows, street performances, music concerts and many cultural events. Daily raffle draws offer very attractive prizes of money, gold, cars and 4x4s. The festival also coincides with the richest horse race in the world, the Dubai World Cup (US$15,250,000 in prize money).
Dubai Desert Classic
Part of the European PGA tour, the Dubai Desert Classic takes place at what was the first grass golf course in the Middle East, which was entitled The Desert Miraclein 1988. The tournament attracts prestigious international players to compete for the trophy and US$2.5 million in prize money.
Dubai Rugby Sevens
The Emirates Airline Dubai Rugby Sevens heralds the opening of the IRB Sevens World Series, and features 16 of the best international rugby sevens teams each year. The event has grown rapidly over the last few years and attracts over 70,000 fans from around the world, drawn by its carnival-like atmosphere, making it one of the most popular events in the Middle East.
Skywards Dubai International Jazz Festival
Ten of thousands of jazz lovers flock to see some of the finest international acts in the world performing in a variety of genres including rocket-fuelled funk and bluegrass, pop, blues, rock, reggae, and afro-centric music. The increasing number of fans has helped secure it an award for the Best Festival in the UAE.
Dubai World Cup
The Dubai World Cup is the richest horse race in the world, offering a purse of US$10 million, with US$3.6 million going to the winner of the mile-and-a-quarter race. The event attracts the best horses and jockeys from around the world every year. A visit to the state-of-the-art racecourse is an event in itself with its floodlit sand and dirt track and television monitors in all areas. The competition is almost as fierce off the track among the style conscious who compete for title of the best dressed.
Global Village Dubai
The Global Village is a shopping, eating and entertainment extravaganza which runs throughout the winter months in Dubai. Bringing together traditions from across the globe, thousands flock each year to sample exotic foods, buy international goods and experience the sounds and smells of hundreds of diverse cultures. Many countries are represented, each housed in its own enormous pavilion and decorated in accordance with that country's heritage. Each year, organisers strive to make the attractions and pavilions at the Global Village bigger and better. In recent years attractions have included a five hundred metre man-made canal and forty metre Ferris wheel overlooking the desert.
Dubai Tennis Championships
The world's top tennis stars descend on Dubai in February for the Barclays Dubai Tennis Championships 2010. It marks the 16th year the competition has been held in the Emirate and will feature the top ten men's and women's players from across the globe. All four current women's Grand Slam champions, Maria Sharapova, Ana Ivanovic and Venus and Serena Williams, have been confirmed to appear on Centre Court. Tickets for the sports event are on sale now. Grandstand seating is free.
UAE National Day
UAE National Day is celebrated on 2 December every year to mark the day in 1971 when the seven emirates first joined together to form the United Arab Emirates. It's a day to abandon reserve and party hard, as parades and fireworks erupt around town. Flags are waved all around, including - as one might except from the UAE - the world's biggest flag, unfurled in 2009 in Sharjah. The best spot to watch the festival parades is Beach Road while the fireworks can optimally be appreciated on the Burj Khalifa observation deck or at the Burj Al Arab in Dubai.
Dubai Summer Surprises
Dubai Summer Surprises (DSS) is the summer version of the famous and much larger Dubai Shopping Festival (DSF), which takes place every year in January. DSS is a pageant to consumer excess with a range of events and performances designed to enhance the mega-sales and exciting discounts in shops and malls all over Dubai. Lookout for the enormous yellow worm, Modhesh, the DSS mascot which is plastered on buildings and billboards. DSS has become the single biggest summer event in the Middle East, with over 6,000 mercifully air-conditioned stores taking part. In 2009 the event attracted 2.2 million visitors who spent over D .37 billion.
The natural seawater inlet that cuts through the centre of the city is the historical part of Dubai where visitors can take an abra(small water taxi) and view the old trading port and the dhows from the water. A cruise to Al-Maktoum Bridge will pass many of the city's historic, as well as modern, landmarks. A stroll around the wharf offers a picturesque glimpse of Dubai's trading heritage, where dhows bound for distant places dock to unload their goods.
The old Bastakiya district is a step back in time to the days before electricity and air-conditioning, where traditional courtyard houses were cooled by wind towers. Old Dubai was famous for its wind towers that lined the Creek on both sides, and today the narrow lanes festooned with the distinctively Arabian architecture are a popular historical attraction marked for tourist development.
The souks, or traditional markets, are popular with bargain hunters as well as sightseers and photographers. The most famous is the Gold Souk, where the narrow streets are lined with shops selling everything golden, from 24-carat bars to rings and elaborate necklaces, and all at low prices. The tiny lanes of the traditional spice souk are scented with sacks of cinnamon, incense, spices, and dried fruit, while the modern fish souk bustles with activity and is redolent with smells of a more unpleasant nature. At the heart of the Bur Dubai souk lies Al Fahidi Street, selling the latest electronics, photographic equipment and home appliances at competitive prices. Other streets sell everything from materials and carpets to traditional coffee pots, loaves of unleavened bread and hubble-bubble pipes.
Boasting the city's tallest minaret at 230 feet (70m), the Grand Mosque is a notable landmark with its multi-domed style and impressive size. It is an important place of worship and can accommodate up to 1,200 worshippers inside. Non-Muslims are not permitted to enter the Mosque.
One of the most advanced water theme parks ever designed, the five-hectare (12-acre) water park at Wild Wadi offers families and thrill seekers hours of fun, relaxation and adrenalin-pumping action. Designed like an Arabian wadi (oasis), the park has an Arabian folklore theme and features some of the highest and fastest water rides outside of North America with 24 state of the art, high-adrenaline rides and slides. Rides for thrill seekers include Jumeirah Sceirah, a 108ft (33m) free-fall at 50 miles per hour (80km/hr), Master Blaster slides that are water roller coasters propelled uphill by high-powered jets, the white-knuckle ride at Rushdown Ravine or the high waves at Breakers Bay.
While Musandam is technically part of Oman, the tiny peninsula is all but surrounded by the United Arab Emirates. The barren mountains that make up most of Musandam are home to a few isolated villages; Khasab is the largest, with a few cultural attractions like prehistoric rock paintings and a 17th-century castle. But tourists don't come to Musandam for nightlife, they come for the spectacular views and quiet beauty of nature. The coastline of the peninsula is made up of stunning fjord-like inlets, and dhow and boat trips along the coast are a popular activity in Musandam (and a good way to spot dolphis frolicking in the sea). Scuba diving is also popular, especially from the dive centre at the Golden Tulip Hotel, the only major hotel in the region.
The Jumeirah Mosque is one of the most photographed sights in Dubai. A fine example of modern Islamic architecture, this beautiful mosque is also one of the city's largest, with a majestic dome and twin minarets, and is one of the few mosques open to non-Muslims for tours. Non-Muslims may only enter the Jumeirah Mosque on an organised tour. Modest dress is preferred, however traditional attire can be borrowed from the Mosque.
The imposing 19th-century Al Faheidi Fort houses the Dubai Museum, which has an impressive collection of military and cultural artefacts, as well as working models and life-size displays depicting various aspects of Dubai life such as the markets, an Islamic school, the desert, Arab houses and Gulf marine life. One of the most interesting exhibits shows the underwater world of pearl-diving. The fort was built in 1799 to guard Dubai from landward approaches, and was once the residence of the city's rulers as well as the seat of government until 1971.
One of the city's newest and most interesting attractions is the region's first indoor ski resort, with real snow and five runs catering to both beginner and expert skiers and snowboarders. The monumental indoor snowdome can host up to 1,500 people. The longest run is 1,312 feet (400m), dropping 197 feet (60m), while a freestyle zone and quarter pipe cater specifically for snowboarders. Ski lifts, snow patrols and professional instructors help to create an authentic environment. A Snow Park at the bottom is ideal for children to play in the snow. Slope passes include all equipment and ski clothing except hats and gloves. Guests need to pass a minimum skills test to access the main slopes, and those who don't pass can take lessons.
Sheikh Saeed Al-Maktoum Museum
Sheikh Saeed Al-Maktoum's house dates back to the 19th century, and was built for Dubai's ruler with commanding views over the sea. It is one of the oldest residences in the city and has been restored as a museum exhibiting historical photographs and artefacts showcasing Dubai's history and development. Its architecture is also a fine example of the regional style with its wind towers and central courtyard, teak wood doors and windows and wooden lattice screens.
For a real taste of Arabia, visitors can take a trip into the desert with any number of tour operators into the rolling sand dunes surrounding Dubai. Tours usually include a thrilling 4x4 drive over the dunes, camel riding, a visit to a local Bedouin village, and end with a traditional Arabian barbeque under the stars with a show of belly dancing.
No visit to Dubai would be complete without a trip to the racesÂ the camel races. This is a traditional sport in the UAE and hugely popular among local Emiratis who head to the race tracks early in the morning to watch these magnificent animals. The racing season runs from September to March and race tracks can be found in various locations around the Emirate and on the way to Abu Dhabi. In 2007 a brand new venue was built close to Nad Al Sheba racecourse and races are held early on Thursday and Friday mornings.
Jumeirah Beach Park
One of the main reasons holidaymakers flock to Dubai is to take advantage of the stunning beaches. If visitors aren't staying somewhere with access to the sand and sea, and don't want to pay AED 100 or more to use a hotel's facilities, then Jumeirah Beach Park is a brilliant alternative. The beaches are clean and safe, and unlike some of the other public areas in Dubai, are not populated with 'gawkers'. There are even designated 'women only' sessions. The park section of the beach is equipped with barbecue facilities and seating areas. There are also showers and toilets on the beach, and lifeguards on duty at all times.
Bateaux Dubai Dinner Cruise
The Bateaux Dubai Dinner Cruise provides visitors to the Emirate with a unique and memorable way in which to view the older part of Dubai. The two and a half hour cruise departs from just beyond the Al Maktoum Bridge and makes its way along the Creek past many of the city's most famous landmarks. Guests can take advantage of unobstructed views thanks to the non-reflective glass surround and extensive outside deck area. A four course a-la-carte meal is served during the cruise (diners with specific dietary requirements are requested to arrange at the time of booking) and alcohol is available to purchase on board. Musical entertainment is provided care of the Bateaux Dubai musicians and DJ. Booking is required in advance through the reservation line.
Opened in November 2008, the Dubai Mall is the world's largest shopping centre and is home to around twelve hundred retailers. It is the size of more than fifty football pitches and features an ice rink, movie theatres, playground, aquarium, hotel, and is the gateway to the Burj Dubai: the tallest building in the world. The mall is home to a number of the world's best known stores including Bloomingdales, Marks and Spencer and Montblanc. Designers such as Stella McCartney also have outlets in the complex and world famous jewellers Tiffany & Co. have a branch located there. The mall also has a number of restaurants ranging from fast food to fine dining. No trip to Dubai would be complete without an outing to Dubai's latest shopping spectacular.
Dubai Aquarium & Underwater Zoo
Located in the enormous Dubai Mall, the recently-opened Dubai Aquarium and Underwater Zoo is fast becoming one of the Emirates' most popular attractions. Featuring the largest viewing panel and one of the biggest tanks in the world, visitors have the opportunity to experience the incredible underwater domain of thousands of creatures of the deep. Highlights include feeding time for the enormous Sand Tiger Sharks and the majestic Stingrays. The aquarium and zoo is home to over thirty-thousand types of sea life and provides an exciting, educational day out for adults and children alike.
Al Nasr Leisureland
With a variety of sports to choose from, Al Nasr Leisureland offers facilities to cater to just about every sport under the sun. From an ice rink to swimming pools, tennis courts and a bowling alley, children will have a great time trying their hand at everything. There is even an amusement park with bumper cars, rollercoasters, go-karting and much more.
This 82,890-square-foot (7,700 sq-metre) education park is located in Dubai Creek Park and offers a wide range of activities geared towards kids, making the educational process fun. Children can learn all about the human body, science and space and the park also features a theatre, cafÃ©, souvenir shop and wonderful views of the creek.
Wonderland Theme and Water Park in Dubai Creek Park is a must for children struggling with the heat in this scorching city. The Caribbean-themed park offers thrilling rides and slides such as the Red Baron, the spinning-coaster, the Action Arm, Lazy River and Surf Hill. The attached water park is low-tech, but provides cool entertainment for the whole family. Wonderland is a great way to spend the day with the family and a must for children of all ages.
The Dubai Dolphinarium offers guests the chance to interact with these gentle aquatic mammals and watch them perform tricks with their trainers. The Dolphinarium is home to four Black Sea Bottlenose dolphins as well as four Northern Fur Seals. The dolphinarium allows visitors to swim with the dolphins in a pre-arranged session, and also features a restaurant and gift shop.
With what seems like an endless lawn, Creekside Park is a great place for families and kids to enjoy while on holiday in Dubai. Boasting botanical gardens, an 18-hole mini golf course, an amphitheatre, picnic locations with barbecue equipment and a mini train and children's play areas, kids will be beside themselves with the endless amount of activities to enjoy here.
An ancient village positioned in the foothills of the Hajjar Mountains, Hatta is located about 71 miles (115km) east of Dubai. A popular weekend getaway for residents of the city, Hatta has a mild climate that makes it ideal for escaping the heat of Dubai. The town itself is basic, with an ATM and roadside market being the main tourist infrastructure, which gives it an unspoiled atmosphere that makes it interesting to explore; the 16th-century fort is a must-see. Hatta also makes a good base for exploring the surrounding region. 4x4 trips and off-road adventures are a popular way to take in the scenery, including the Wadi Hatta gorge with its magnificent waterfall, and a few picturesque rock pools. Travellers driving to Hatta should keep in mind that the road from Dubai passes through Oman; although there are no border stations, most rental car agreements from the UAE will not cover incidents that happen in Oman.
The beautiful island of Kish is located in the Persian Gulf, off the southern shore of mainland Iran. Sometimes referred to as the 'Pearl of the Persian Gulf', Kish is home to a resort with both modern and ancient attractions. The luxury resort of Kish offers many family attractions, including the Kish Dolphin and Crocodile Park, Mysteries of the World Zoo, and a giant bird interactive sculpture. The resort takes advantage of Kish's stunning islands to offer water sports like snorkeling and scuba diving, yachting, fishing, parasailing and water-skiing. Unfortunately, women are not allowed in some of the best snorkelling areas, however there are women-only beaches available. Kish also has a number of historical attractions, including the underground town of Cariz, the ancient city of Harireh, and the remains of a Greek ship wrecked on the shore (a popular picnic site). Kish is a free trade zone, meaning there are good bargains to be had in the numerous shopping malls on the island. Shoppers should be aware however, that much of the merchandise is fake.
The heart of cosmopolitan Dubai is the slick and modern Dubai Marina, a development that continues to add new attractions each year. World-class hotels and shopping malls dominate the distinctive skyline, while the waterline is taken over by luxury yachts. Some of the best restaurants in Dubai are also located here. Dubai Marina has two walkways (The Walk and Marina Walk) that make pleasant places to stroll in the evening, and there are open markets on weekends between October and May. Although it is known as a beacon of over-the-top consumerism, the Dubai Marina transforms during Ramadan, when locals celebrate in song and dance in Heritage Village.
Cuisine style: Thai
Voted Best Thai Restaurant by Time Out Dubai, The Lemongrass in Oud Metha serves up traditional Thai food in a relaxed, modern setting. Decor is subtle and calming and seems designed to keep the chi flowing while visitors savour delicious Thai fare. Seafood features heavily on the menu and the grilled Red Snapper in red curry sauce is an alternative to the traditional Thai Green Curry. Also worth sampling is the interesting take on the Pad Thai Noodles. The Lemongrass is a 'dry' venue; however try the freshly squeezed juices and smoothies instead. The peppermint smoothie is popular among return visitors. The Lemongrass offers affordable, appetizing, authentic Asian food. Visitors arriving by taxi, should direct the driver to Lamcy Plaza.
Address: Oud Metha, Nr Lamcy Plaza
Cuisine style: International
British Chef Gordan Ramsay has firmly established his restaurant in the chic Hilton hotel as one of the classiest dining venues in Dubai. The minimalist dÃ©cor and discreet service focuses attention on the food, which is superb. The contemporary menu includes meat, seafood, chicken and delicious desserts. The sommelier will choose a different glass of wine to complement each course.
Address: Hilton Dubai Creek, Beniyas Road
Cuisine style: Italian
Located within the Le MÃ©ridien complex, Casa Mia is thought by many to be the best Italian restaurant in the city, known for its home-cooked Italian cuisine. The menu also includes delicious wood-fired pizzas, and in 2007 the restaurant was also honoured with an 'Award of Excellence' for its unique and extensive wine list. Open for lunch and dinner daily.
Address: Le Mï¿½ridien Hotel
Cuisine style: French
Michelin star chef Philippe Gauvreau creates fresh, innovative French cuisine in a comfortable, elegant setting that is widely acknowledged to be one of the best restaurants in town. As Le MÃ©ridien Dubai's signature restaurant, it was also honoured with a 'Best of Award of Excellence' for its extensive wine list. Diners should not miss the renowned signature dessert, the chocolate soufflÃ©. Open daily for lunch and dinner.
Address: Le Meridien Hotel
The Noodle House
Cuisine style: Asian
This laid-back venue offers delicious, contemporary South East Asian fare at surprisingly affordable prices. Diners sit at long communal tables and don't need to wait very long for the region's usual favourites to appear, such as spring rolls, noodle soup, or vegetable, chicken and meat dishes served with noodles or rice. The open show kitchen allows diners to watch the food being prepared. Reservations are not accepted, and the place is busy, but the turnover of diners is high so the wait shouldn't be long. Open daily for lunch and dinner.
Address: Emirates Towers Hotel
Cuisine style: Fish
The signature restaurant of the Burj Al Arab, one of the top 10 hotel restaurants in the world, gives diners a unique experience. A mock submarine ride takes guests to the dining area, where tables are situated around a huge floor-to-ceiling aquarium full of fish. Al Mahara specialises in unforgettable first impressions and fresh seafood and was voted one of the top 50 restaurants in the world. Dinner guests will also be serenaded by harpists, adding to the underwater atmosphere. Jackets are required for men, and reservations essential. Open daily for lunch and dinner.
Address: Burj Al Arab
Cuisine style: International
Situated on the 25th floor of the Hyatt Regency Hotel, Al Dawaar Revolving Restaurant boasts the best views in the city while you dine. The restaurant revolves giving diners spectacular views of the Arabian Gulf, the Creek and the city of Dubai while enjoying a variety of international cuisines. The buffet is the most popular option, including Chinese stir-fries, spring rolls, sushi and local dishes. Open daily for lunch and dinner.
Address: Hyatt Regency
Cuisine style: American
The award-winning steakhouse is the finest in Dubai with steaks that 'cut like butter' and the freshest Maine lobsters, Dungeness crabs and oysters in town. It is popular for business entertaining as well as for romantic dinners. Begin with lobster bisque or seafood chowder, enjoy steaks, chops or seafood as a main, and finish with New York cheesecake or apple pie. DÃ©cor is New York style with lots of wood and leather, and the service is excellent.
Address: JW Marriott Dubai
The Meat Co.
Cuisine style: International
The Meat Co. at the Madinat Jumeirah is theplace to go for top quality steak in Dubai. So far this South-African chain has just the one restaurant in the Emirate but it's never short of patrons and booking is essential on Friday and Saturday evenings.The restaurant prides itself on delivering A Grade Angus beef, 'wet-aged to perfection' and basted to create succulent melt in the mouth steak. The menu doesn't cater solely for meat lovers, other highlights include the skewered grilled salmon and flame-grilled king prawns. In winter the best tables are outside alongside the Madinat's man-made canals, where diners can watch the boats transporting guests along the water.
Address: Souk Madinat Jumeirah, Shop 148, Jumeirah Beach Road
Al Muntaha at The Burj Al Arab
Cuisine style: Contemporary European Buffet
The Friday Brunch has become synonymous with the ex-pat lifestyle in Dubai in the last few years. Endless platters of seafood, meat, salads and deserts are offered at restaurants across the Emirate but, for really exclusive dining you can't beat the famous Burj Al Arab Hotel. On Friday 10.00 to 14.30, (Please be informed that the buffet is open until 16:00 hrs) guests can dine two hundred metres above sea level in the Al Muntaha restaurant whilst taking in the stunning view of the coastline. With spectacular views over the new Palm Islands and a plethora of mouth-watering dishes 'Brunch at the Burj' is fast becoming the most sought after venue. The dress code in the restaurant is Smart casual. Gentlemen are requested to wear a shirt with collar, long trousers or smart jeans and closed shoes (no trainers). UAE national dress is welcomed. Guests are advised to book well in advance.
Address: Burj Al Arab, Beach Road, Dubai
Spectrum on One
Cuisine style: Modern Eclectic
Guests really can eat across the spectrum at Spectrum on One; located on the first floor of the Fairmont Hotel, Dubai. No less than six countries are represented on the menu, meaning diners are spoilt for choice. The culinary fare reaches from the Middle East, South Asia, Europe and Japan and food is prepared in view at workstations around the restaurant. Service is carried out with military like precision; orders are taken down and immediately patched through to the chefs via hi-tech headsets. DÃ©cor at Spectrum on One is smart and chic and the atmosphere is too.
Address: 1st Floor, Fairmont Dubai Hotel, Sheikh Zayed Road, Dubai
The Aquarium at Dubai Golf and Yacht Club
Cuisine style: Seafood
The Aquarium is one of five restaurants situated at the exclusive Dubai Golf & Yacht Club. Located at the end of an impressive drive way, lined with immaculate gardens and enviable creek-side villas guests arrive at the water's edge to superb views of the creek and the arguably the best seafood in town. The Aquarium is aptly named; featuring ceiling to floor windows, an aqua-blue interior and an almost 360 degree panorama, the experience is rather like dining in a giant fishbowl. A large aquarium in the centre of the dining area displays a range of exotic looking fish, however it's the one's on the menu that keep reeling in diners time and again.
Address: Dubai Golf and Yacht Club
Cuisine style: Local
For shisha and cocktails QD's (Quarterdeck's) at Dubai Golf & Yacht Club is theplace to be seen. This super chilled out, funky venue is hugely popular, particularly with young Emiratis who flock here on Friday and Saturday night to enjoy the vibe. Guests can choose to sit on the raised deck by the waters edge or, to occupy their own personal shisha tent, complete with couches and beanbags, and order their favourite flavour Âhubbly bubbly' from the menu. Flavours include apple, grape, strawberry and mint. Shisha waiters are constantly on hand with more hot coals to keep the pipes bubbling and the air filled with the sweet smoky smell that has become synonymous with Dubai at night. Guests can also buy shisha pipes and tobaccos to take home as a memento
Address: Dubai Creek Golf Course, Deira, Dubai
Cuisine style: Creole
Trader Vic's has become something of an institution among expats in Dubai. The vibrant atmosphere, exotic menu and interesting cocktails remain popular with diners making ÂTV's' one of the Emirates best-loved eateries. Guests can feast on a wide variety of dishes including the famous Trader Vic's fish and chips, succulent duck wantons and delicious platters. The potent TV Mai Tai is also something of a legend in Dubai. There are currently two Trader Vic's outlets in Dubai the original branch at the Crowne Plaza and the immensely popular Souk Madinat Jumeriah location.
Address: Souk Madinat Jumeirah, Al Sufouh Road
Carters @ Wafi Mall
Cuisine style: Gastropubs
One of the best-loved restaurants at the Wafi Mall, Carters offers diners great food, in a relaxed cosmopolitan atmosphere whilst enjoying fantastic, friendly service. DÃ©cor is classic and stylish; reminiscent of a smoking lounge and in winter months the ambience extends out onto the large terrace. The menu features old standards such as Chicken Caesar salad, Chargrilled US Angus Rib Eye steak and hand cut fries, alongside alternatives to traditional dishes; marinated duck satay with honey glaze. The mouth watering Mars bar cheesecake is a firm favourite. Carters also offers a good selection of wines.
Address: Wafi Mall
Cuisine style: Asian
For Asian tapas with a twist the popular choice in Dubai is Ginseng at Wafi City Mall. Nasi Goreng, Pandan Leaf Chicken and Duck Satay are firm favourites, as are the platters which are perfect to share. The speciality cocktails are hugely popular at this funky hangout thanks to the fantastic deals on offer most nights; firm favourites are the Lychee Martini, Envy Champagne Cocktail and the Gingseng Summer Punch.
Address: Wafi City Mall
Cuisine style: Pakistani
This popular Pakistani restaurant in Dubai is famous for its good food and relaxed atmosphere. A cheap and cheerful takeaway with outdoor tables attracts both locals and tourists, rich and poor for its excellent slow-cooked beef nihari, lamb haleem, and fresh, buttery naan bread. There's also a family room and cafeteria. Ravi is open daily from 5am to 3am.
Address: Al-Satwa Road, Satwa
Dubai International Airport
Location: The airport is three miles (4km) from Dubai city centre and 105 miles (170km) from Abu Dhabi.
Contacts: Tel: +971 4 216 2525 or 224 5555.
Time Zone: GMT +4.
Departure tax: None.
Transfer between terminals: There are two terminals, but most major airlines arrive at Terminal 1. There is an airport shuttle service available between Terminal 1 and 2.
Facilities: Facilities at the airport include the renowned Dubai Duty Free, a food court, banking, bureaux de change, free Internet services, entertainment for children, business facilities, medical care, special needs, an airport hotel, post office and lounges. Passengers can also use the swimming pool, jacuzzi and gymnasium, charged on an hourly basis.
Parking: There are short and long-term parking options near all the terminals. Short-term parking is near the terminals and allows up to five hours' parking, while long-term parking is further away.
Transfer to the city: Dubai International Airport Buses and public buses leave regularly for the city centre; the bus stations are located opposite both terminals. The journey is 15 minutes and it costs around Dhs 3. There are car rental firms available in the Arrivals Hall; some also offer a specialised limousine service. Dubai Transport Taxis are available 24 hours a day at the Arrivals Terminal, a taxi from the airport to the city centre costs around Dhs 20.
Car rental: There are car rental firms available in the Arrivals Hall, such as Hertz, Europcar, Avis and Thrifty.
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