Friday, May 14, 2010

10 things to do in Dubai

Dubai is a wonderful tourist destination with a lot of things to do for all types of tourists from around the world. Although you will find many tour operators selling you their products in the form desert safaris and tours around the place, you will rarely find out exactly what places should be see while you are on a visit to this wonderful city. Here we have compiled a list of 10 places you must see on your trip to Dubai:

Sheikh Zayed Road:
This road is named after the Great Sheikh whose direction brought the emirates together and is the heart of the city. On a drive of this road you will witness the amazing advances this tiny emirate has made over a very small period of time, you will also see amazing architectural marvels unique to this country.

Dubai Creek:
Dubai Creek is a marvel in itself, dividing two main parts of the city the creek at one time used to end 3-4Kms inland but that has been converted to a huge waterfront circling the city and creating prime waterfront property.

Burj Al Arab Hotel:
Burj has become a symbol of Dubai everyone the world associates this 7 start hotel with Dubai, Truly a marvel to witness from the outside as well as the inside. This hotel is built on a small manmade island and offers the best of luxury to its guests. The only way burj al arab can be seen or visited is if you have reservation for a room, or one of the cafes or resturants located inside the burj.

Palm Jumeira:
Palm Jumeira is one of the iconic projects that put Dubai on the world map and brought celebrities rushing to buy holiday homes on the island. This is one of the biggest man made islands in the world shaped like the palm tree with commercial as well as residential properties and signature hotels, this is a place you must visit on your next trip to the desert kingdom.

Dubai Shopping Malls:
It is always said that Dubai is a shoppers paradise, so definitely while in Dubai one must go out and see the shopping malls that make Dubai the shoppers paradise. Dubai has some ofthe most amazing and innovative malls,Be sure to visit Emirates Mall , it has Ski Dubai an indoor ski slope. Ibn Battuta Mall for it’s themed layout and Dubai Mall the newest and biggest Mall in Dubai with 200 Gold outlets, a gigantic Aquarium and much more.

Dubai Marina:
The home of the cranes in Dubai it seems this whole place is under construction, this is New Dubai and well wroth a walk around the Marina to see a city within a city rising.

Jumeira Beach:
Definitely the most famous beach in Dubai. Mingle with the locals and savor the Arabian sea, white sands and deep blue waters. Even if you are not in Dubai for a beach holiday you have to see the beaches and catch a glimpse of the Burj Al Arab when the sun is setting.

The Souqs:
Whether it be the Gold souks , spice souk or perfume Souk a trip to old Dubai isn’t complete without seeing the way most of Dubai lived before it became global. The souks really remind you where in the world you are in the Middle East, almost a feel of being in Cairo.

The Mosques:
Dubai has numerous mosques, most do not allow foreigners to go inside but the architecture and the intricate hand made columns and domes make them a must see place for all tourists. Jumeira Mosque is the most famous and the most photographed building in Dubai for sure, carved in sandstone and from the Fathamid period of Islamic History it is like many things in Dubai lit up at night, creating a must have photo opportunity. This is probably the only mosque in Dubai the offers tours for foreigners.

Dubai Museum:
This is the place to come to see the way people lived in Dubai before oil was discovered. Whether it be pearl diving or old traditional living standards Dubai Museum will guide you through the history of Dubai.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Al Maha Resort

Relaxation comes at a price. As one of the most expensive hotels in Dubai the Al Maha Resort is reserved for a select few, but those that can make the cut are safe in the knowledge of money well spent. The resort is a world class sanctuary set in 225 square kilometers of pristine desert landscape. Private plunge pools, couples therapy and the knowledge that there is not a traffic jam anywhere near by will relax you before your treatments begin.

One can't help feeling a little like Lawrence of Arabia on the journey to the Al Maha Resort in the heart of Dubai's desert. Al Maha is located 45 minutes away from Dubai city of Gold. Though 4-wheel drive jeeps have long since replaced camels as the most common form of transport, the sense of adventure, privacy and isolation remains. Open since March 1999, the Al Maha was the first ecotourism resort built in the United Arab Emirates, home of the indigenous species such as the Arabian Oryx and Gazelles have been reintroduced and wander freely.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Al-Marhoum Mosque

This beautiful mosque stands by a roadside in Dubai. This is a little known mosque on the famous Jumeira road patch near the Jumeira beach. I came there at prayer time and there was barely a soul using it besides the usual three or four men from the sub-continent. The work put down on making this mosque more than just a hastily erected monument is inspiring.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Bedoin Woman

Binding red and silver thread together, this bedu woman from Ras Al Khaimah was employed like many other locals to showcase her country's heritage at the Sharjah Heritage Village.

On the opposite side of Burj Avenue is the Heritage area, devoted to local markets, meeting places and small museums. This beautifully renovated district is a shining example of Sharjah’s commitment to heritage and culture that was instrumental in earning it the UNESCO title of cultural capital of the Arab World in 1998.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Oldest Mosque in UAE

The oldest mosquein the UAE can be found in Fujairah. Al-Bidyah Mosque is believed to be 580 years old. The construction reminds me a lot of the clay mosque in Mali. The simple lines, the feeling of being a building that sprung out from the earth beneath it.

The Imam of the mosque is a stout Bengali fellow. As I entered the mosque I stood in the doorway and was quickly welcomed in with a smile. "It's ok, pictures are allowed."

Men prayed on one side of the tiny praying space, and women on the other side. Equal space, side by side.