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Author: Leni Herr
Date of Trip: May 2013

If you ever get the chance to go to Dubai, do it! It is an amazing city, built up over the last 30 years or so into an awe-inspiring city at the edge of the desert on the Persian Gulf, or, as they say in Dubai, the Arabian Gulf. Everything in Dubai is bigger and better! Or the biggest and the best in the world!

I have been priviledged to travel there 3 times now and each time gets better. My brother is a captain on Dubai’s airline, Emirates, and lives in Dubai, so I am lucky to have a place to stay. Hotels can be pricey, but Dubai offers low-cost hotels near the airport, villa rentals, and apartment accommodations, depending on how long you will be visiting. There is also the 7 star hotel, Burj Al Arab, shaped like a sailboat, on the beach, where Tiger Woods hit a golf ball and a tennis match was played from the heliport. The hotel offers a Rolls Royce limo for guests who need transportation to the Gold Souk and elsewhere. The Atlantis Hotel, built on the head of the Palms islands, was advertising a summer special of a little over $200 a night; not bad for a 5 star hotel with an Expedia advertised rate of over $300 per night.

Take the Big Bus Tour, which offers both a city tour and a beach tour, both of which can be done on a 24 hour ticket. The tour includes a one hour ride on a dhow, a traditional Arabian boat, on the Dubai Creek. The Big Bus will drop you at various points throughout the tour, offering hop on, hop off service. You will visit the old city of Bur Dubai, where the traditional gold and spice souks are. Don’t forget to buy some saffron to take home while the price is affordable. The bus stops at Jumeira Beach if you want to do some swimming in the Gulf.

You will also be able to visit the Mall of the Emirates where they have the world’s only indoor ski slope. They provide clothing for the experience. End the city tour at the Dubai Mall, the world’s largest mall, with big name fashion designers in shops, from Stella McCartney to Vera Wang, and have lunch at the Cheesecake Factory. The mall also includes a huge aquarium, where you can dive…for a price of course!

Once you are at the Dubai Mall, don’t miss a trip At the Top, the 124th floor observatory, of the world’s tallest building, the Burj Khalifa. The Palm Islands, the World Islands, and the rest of the city can be seen, a breathtaking view! The building is 165 stories, with the top 20 floors unoccupied at this time. You will see an amazing display of how the building was built with the base in the shape of a desert lilly. The display will explain how tests were done to measure winds, rain, earthquakes, etc. The building is an amazing work of architecture and well worth the entry price of less than $35 US.

It has been amazing to watch the city grow over the last 7 years that I have been able to visit. You will find neighborhoods at the edge of the city: the Marina District, Knowledge Village where the universities are, Media City where CNN and other communications companies are located, and Internet City, among other areas. There are many more housing developments since I was there 5 years ago. The Metro system is also now complete.

Whatever you plan to do in Dubai, don’t miss the opportunity! You will be amazed!

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