Saturday, October 23, 2010
The rich culture of the desert city of Dubai draws on its ancient Arabian heritage, vast modern technology and cosmopolitan luxuries. For centuries a land devoted mainly to herding and trade, Dubai was rocketed into modern times by the discovery of oil just off of its coast in 1966. Enormous riches funded by oil production have produced a native population which, in the main, is well educated, healthy, highly paid and liberal minded. Tourism is actively courted in Dubai, particularly in the impressive Palm Islands development.
Touted as the eighth world wonder, Palm Island is a an incredible tribute to engineering, design, and absolute opulence. Palm Island – Deira is the largest of the three Palm Islands. A unique man-made phenomenon, the Palm Islands can be seen from space by the naked eye. A trunk, a 41- frond crown, and a water- breaking crescent island form Palm Island – Deira. Nearly eight thousand villas and apartment homes, private and public beaches, shopping, recreation and sports facilities are included in the plans for this incredible development. Fantastic resorts and attractions are also available for those looking for the ultimate upscale vacation experience.
Sport is a huge part of the culture of Dubai, and is reflected in the many entertainment options open to visitors of the city. Polo fields and golf courses abound. The richest horse racing event in the world, The Dubai World Cup, is run on a Dubai track and attracts visitors from around the world. Water sports from the most adventurous to the most tranquil are available in the warm waters off of Dubai's white sand beaches. Viewing some of the region's more traditional sporting events such as camel racing, dhow sailing and falconry should also not be missed.
Sophistication is one of the hallmarks of the Dubai – and larger United Arab Emerates – culture. World- class cosmopolitan restaurants sit next to local establishments serving the best in local cuisine and fresh juices. Indian, Lebanese, and Thai flavors are often featured in the most popular restaurants. Many of Dubai's best restaurants are inside of, or within easy walking distance of, the city's hotels, which are allowed to serve alcohol despite the city's Islamic roots. Prices range from very affordable to astronomically high, depending on one's tastes, and menus and service are most often available in English as well as the native Arabic.
So far, we've uncovered some interesting facts about Dubai. You may decide that the following information is even more interesting.
Shopping in Dubai is amongst the best in the world, with designer boutiques offering the most exclusive fashions and products to savvy shoppers. Jewelery, vehicles, electronics, décor items and sports equipment are also common purchases, often offered at low prices. There are no local taxes on purchases, and for those skillful at bartering, the souks (markets) offer vast opportunities for bargains on indigenous goods. Must-see sightseeing sites in Dubai include the Gold Souk, the Deira Covered Souk, the Spice Souk, the Palm Island development, Al Boom Tourist Village, Bedouin Village, the Dubai World Trade Centre, and the Jumeirah Mosque. Archaeological enthusiasts will enjoy the Al Ghusals, Al Sufooh and Jumeirah excavation sites featuring graveyards and artifacts more than 1,000 years old.
Dubai's ultra- contemporary architecture, panoramic ocean vistas, beautiful beaches, and historical sites are all fetching subjects for photography buffs, but it is wise to refrain from taking photos of government facilities, sea- and air ports, and military installations. Permission should also be asked and granted before photographing the local population, particularly Muslim women, who may be offended at having their photo taken.
Highly accessible to international traffic, Dubai is served by 90 airlines. Major European centers such as London are only seven hours away by plane with regular in- and out- going flights.
Arabic is the official language of Dubai, but written and spoken English is heavily used in the business and commercial sectors as well as in the tourism and entertainment industries. Dubai is a progressive Islamic country. Respect for local customs and religious traditions is expected and appreciated, but not to the extremes of some Islamic- ruled areas. In return, the Dubai people offer tolerance for differing lifestyles. Women are not discriminated against and may travel freely unescorted. Western visitors are able to dress as they like, however modesty in clothing is recommended. Limit very short, tight, or revealing items of clothing. The local population has adopted some styles of western dress, but it is most common to see men wearing the traditional white dishdasha or khandura robe and gutra (headdress), and women wearing modest black abaya robes and a head scarf over their regular clothing. These styles of dress suit the religious requirements of the Islamic population and offer protection from the hot desert sun.
Dubai's weather is picture perfect for most of the year, combining the best features of a sub-tropical, arid climate. Rain is very infrequent, falling an average of only five days each year (mostly during the winter season), but the temperature can vary by nearly 40 degrees Celsius between 10 degrees and 48 degrees Celsius.
Demand for property in Dubai has surged in recent years, driven by a burgeoning population of nearly four million people and the recent ability of foreigners to hold real- estate. Dubai's safe lifestyle, positive tourism investment potential, favorable tax rates and perceived high property value have all contributed to the current interest in buying property in the city. In addition to the variety of hotels, resorts and other standard tourist accommodation options, private accommodations from apartments to luxury villas located on secluded beaches are available for sale and rent in Dubai.