Dubai is becoming one of the most popular cities in the world to visit, with the scorching year round weather, spectacular skylines, hip cocktail bars, 24/7 shopping malls and golden sandy beaches, what more could you want form a short break? Although Dubai is warm all year round, many feel that the summer months are just too hot to thorough enjoy the visit. If you suffer in extreme heat, then try visiting between November and March, to experience a comfortable mid-20 degrees.
Many people have a large misconception about Dubai, first of all it is nothing like Las Vegas, no neon signs, strip clubs or casinos. Instead you’ll be surrounded by some of the world’s most unconventional architecture, fashionable bars and plenty of sand and sea. If you fancy a break from sunbathing, why not try your hand at haggling with the locals in the bursting and vibrant souqs which are full of native treasures, or try your hand as a camel rider across the sandy dunes.
If you are struggling to choose an area of Dubai to visit and you’ve never been before, try the Hilton Hotel located central to most bars and restaurants and next to the Jumeirah Beach Park. The park has shower, sunbed and towel facilities which other public beaches don’t have, and with more than 300 days of sunshine per year and over 1,000km of coastline, you’ll be spoilt for choice of sunbed spots.
Shop till you drop
The shopping in Dubai is like nowhere else, the 24/7 stores may be the same, but the experience is incredible. In the Souk Madinat, there are actual waterways which you can walk through from one store to the next – so you experience shopping in an aquarium!
Reach dizzy heights
At nearly twice the height of New York’s Empire State building, it’s safe to say that the Burj Khalifa is breathtakingly tall. The 163 floor building is the tallest in the world, standing that 2,722 feet (828m) tall, some people get rather dizzy at the top – so I wouldn’t recommend visiting if you’ve got a fear of heights!
Enjoy a slice of food heaven
For all you foodies out there, Dubai offers spectacular range of different cuisines, from Indian, Pakistani, French, Chinese, Persian, American and even British restaurants. Whether you have the budget to dine out every night in a Michelin star restaurants of fancy somewhere a little more off-grid, you’ll find it here. Don’t be afraid to explore the back streets for some of the most amazing food, and not to mention the array of food festivals that take place throughout the year.
Seek out the souks
If you fancy experiencing a richer taste of Dubai’s history, then be sure to visit one of their souk markets where you can haggle for food, spices, gold, jewellery and much more. You can wander through unguided, but be prepared to get lost and be bombarded with an assortment of sights, sounds and smells, as stall owners try to get you to buy their produce. Remember to haggle, haggle and haggle some more!
Visit the 7-Star Hotel
If you can afford too then it’s an obvious choice to stay in the magnificent Burj Al Arab 7-star hotel, but for most of us…that luxury is out of price reach, but don’t panic if you can’t afford the sky-high prices then you can always take a trip up to their sky bar roof and sip on a cocktail and enjoy the wonderful views of the city. The sky bar can get quite busy during sundown, so if you can get there an hour or two before sunset you’ll get to claim the best spot. The hotel itself stands on its own artificial island connecting to the mainland by a private bridge, so you’ll have to book a taxi to get there. The hotel also offers exclusive use of his fleet of Rolls Royce’s to the guest staying there, and what 7-star hotel would be complete without its very own helipad?
One of the main selling points of Dubai, is that less than an hour’s drive away from the city centre lies the Arabian Desert. Here you can experience dune surfing, camel riding and even a four-wheel drive safari tour. From gazelles to camels you’ll be surprised at variety of animals you will see in the barren desert. If you can, stay and watch the sunset over the dunes and enjoy a desert BBQ – don’t worry, it’s not as sandy as it sounds!
If you don’t fancy laying on a beach, then why not try your hand at a new skill? Tennis holidays are a great way to make friends, develop a talent, stay active and enjoy the city. A short break has the flexibility of different coaching hours and different coaches, including group and private sessions. You can then take advantage of having other members of the group to go and explore the fabulous city with, from haggling at the souks to taking some well-earned relaxation time on a local beach.
What you NEED to know:
- British Embassy: (00 971 4 309 4444; uk/government/world/united-arab-emirates), Al Seef Road, Bur Dubai. Open Sun-Thur, 7.30am-2.30pm
- Emergency services: Dial 999 (police), 998/999 (ambulance) or 997 (fire department)
- Currency: Dirham, written as Dh or Arab Emirates Dirham (AED)
- Telephone code: From Britain, dial 00 971 (for the United Arab Emirates), followed by 4 (for Dubai), then the seven-digit number
- Time difference:+4 hours
- Flight time:London to Dubai is approx. seven hours