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With plenty to see and do, along with some fantastic cheap holiday deals, Dubai has become one of the most popular tourist destinations in the world.
The United Arab Emirates (UAE) is a federation of seven countries (former sheikdoms) on the southeast part of the Arabian Peninsula on the Persian Gulf and has borders with Oman and Saudi Arabia. The seven countries, termed emirates, are Abu Dhabi, Ajman, Dubai, Fujairah, Ras al-Khaimah, Sharjah, and Umm al-Quwain. Abu Dhabi is the largest and also the capital. The second most important city is Dubai which is 95% Muslim. Arabic is the native language. So here is my guide to getting the best out of your Dubi holidays.
Great Resons to Holiday in Dubai:
Cheap shopping in Dubai
There are many people who travel to Dubai just for the shopping, there is of course much more to Dubai but it is one of the cheapest places to buy luxury goods as it's a tax-free city. Haggling is expected in the souk if you are brave enough (I'm not!) and shop owners will usually drop the price, particularly for a cash sale. Shopping for gold jewerlery where you can make savings of up to 70% when compared to UK prices is what brings many people to Dubai. A great idea if you are planning to get engaged is to surprise your partner with a romantic trip to Dubai where you can shop for your engagement ring.
Short Golf Breaks to Dubai are also very popular and why not with some world class golf courses, impeccable fairways, white flamingoes and futuristic clubhouses, there are plenty of options if you are looking to play some golf in Dubai. Dubai also plays host to the Dubai Desert Classic so you could combine a golfing holiday with watching world class golf all in one place. Check out the beach holiday guide to Golf in Dubai and the Desert Classic >>
Dubai as an action adventure holiday?
Desert safaris, camel racing, sand skiing and exploring the wadis (dried up river beds) in a 4x4 vehicle are very popular or you could try a cruise on a traditional wooden dhow on Dubai Creek.
Ski Dubai: Skiing in Dubai
Before you laugh at me, yes it is possible to go skiing in Dubai. Dubai has the largest indoor ski center in the whole world. Ski Dubi has 4 slopes and a black run included that is over 400 meters long and two resturants! It is a great placr to visit whilst on holiday in Dubai. Check out the Beach Holiday Blog post: Ski Dubai: Skiing in Dubai, for more information.
Desert Safaris Dubai
Once you get out of the main city of Dubai, your in the desert, it is a unique environment with sunsets that will take your breath away. With everything from photographic safaris, to an evening dinner with Bedouin tents and belly dancing. Sand dune surfing is also popular: a thrilling 4x4 drive over sand dunes, or wadi bashing your way to the mountains (wadis are pools of water that are almost designed for four wheel drive vehicle adventures.)
Creek Tour Dubai
Take a traditional wooden dhow or abras tour of the creek. Tours usually last a few hours and are an excellent way to get a different view of Dubai and makes for a great way to get some stunning photographs. Look out for dinner cruises, some creek tours will also serve great food on the boat and makes for a unique dining experience.
Dubai cheap beach holiday packages
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Dubai has some beautiful beaches and you are almost always guaranteed sun. You also don't need to worry if you are not staying on a beach hotel like the Sheraton Jumeirah Beach hotel as many of the other hotels offer scheduled shuttle buses for free to the public Jumeirah Beach Corniche and the private Jumeirah Beach Park.
In Dubai there are various beaches that are known as Jumeirah. Jumeirah
is an affluent suburb on the south west of Dubai
Russian or Moscow beach - The Public Beach near Dubai Marine Beach resort is also known as Russian or Moscow beach. It is open, sheltered, gently shelving and there is car parking, kiosks and showers and it's completely free! It is also covered in cigarette ends and full of men who come to stare at the ladies from Eastern Europe in their inappropriate string-like beach wear bottoms.
Jumeirah Beach Park is the municipal park. It is a very clean beach and has toilets which must be said are not that clean! There is also a snack bar and showers. There are large landscaped grass areas with beautiful flowers and trees. There are barbecue grills for free and lots of trees and sunshades. It gets packed on Thursday & Friday particularly in the afternoon and evening. Very popular with large groups. There is also Free parking outside and paid parking if you want to park inside. It is important to note that Saturday is Ladies' Day for Women & children only. No men or teenage boys will be admitted for the whole of the day. This allows Muslim ladies to visit the park.
Jumeirah beach strip which is behind the University of Wollongong near Dubai Offshore Sailing Club and up towards Jumeirah Beach hotel is an open beach an thus has no facilities. It is very popular with the kite surfing and surfing fraternity and is an excellent place to visit.
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Dubai Beach Hotels
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There are many Luxury beach hotels in Dubai where you can actually find cheap all inclusive Dubi holidays the 5 star Sheraton Jumeirah Beach Hotel which is a modern 9-storey building sitting by its own stretch of private beach and surrounded by well-tended landscaped gardens and often offers cheap late or last minute deals.
The 5 star Madinat Jumeirah - Mina A' Salam is close to Jumeirah beach and linked by a board walk to the Jumeirah Beach hotel, Wild Wadi Water Park and Burj Al Arab and is about 25 minutes from the Dubai International airport.
Le Royal Meridien a 5 star Beach Resort and Spa and The One and Only Royal Mirage Hotels are located on Jumeirah beach and overlook Palm Island Bay. They are about 30 minutes drive from Dubai International Airport and opposite the prestigious Emirates Golf Club.
Cheaper hotels which offer great late and last minute deals situated on the beach in Dubai include the 4 star Grosvenor House West Marina Beach which is located in the new Dubai Marina Development near the Jumeirah Beach area and only about 30 minutes transfer from the airport.
Places to Eat - Dubai Restaurants
For some fine dining, you must try the Le Classique Restaurant, located at the Dubai Emirates Golf Club not far from the city center. It has a reputation as one of the best places to eat in the whole of the middle east. Check out the Le Classique restaurant at the Dubai Emirates Club for more information.
Camel races in Dubai often occur on fridays or public holidays. Loads of excitement, energy, traditional dress and the small matter of racing camels complete with jockeys make this a specticle not to be missed. Betting is not permitted on camel racing in Dubai, but there are big prizes for the winners. In the past jockeys used to be as young as six years old, but this has now been stopped and keen camel jockeys now have to wait until they are atleast 15 now! Up to 70 camels can take part in races of up to 6 miles long and the best bit is that they are free to watch.
Water Parks Dubai
Because of the weather in Dubai, water parks are very popular and as with many things in this unique place the water parks are simply incredible. You just have to see the Wild Wadi Water Theme Park near the Jumeirah Beach Hotel to believe it. The biggest slide is 33 meters high, where you can reach speeds of up to 50mph. If that sounts a little too scary, there are also plenty of more sedate rides, making a trip to a water park in Dubai a great day out for families.
The Grand Mosque
In a city full of so many iconic modern buildings, it is nice to step back and savour a little of the past although this too can also be a little deceptive.
The Grand Mosque in Dubai is one of the largest mosques in the United Arab Emirates and was finished around 1900 A.D. although it has been rebuilt in 1998 keeping in the same style as the original building which was built as a kuttab (Quranic school) where children learn to recite the Quran from memory. Unfortunately if you are not a Muslim, you will not be permitted inside, but can look at it from the outside.
Abu Dhabi is about 30 minutes drive from the Dubai international airport
and is the capital city of the Emirates, well known for it's colourful buildings and Mosques, endless sandy white beaches, golfing holidays and for it's duty free shopping! It also has a reputation as the international playground for the rich and famous. This however does not mean that you have to be rich or famous to enjoy a holiday in Dubai, in fact there are many cheap holiday packages to Dubai and the rest of the Middle East, you just need to do a little research.
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