Dubai is an explosively growing and bustling city that over the past 30 years has grown out of the desert to become one of the world's most cosmopolitan hot spots! There is an exciting international environment mixed with Arab hospitality, impressive architecture, sunshine year-round and plenty of shopping and activity options.
Dubai is the capital of the United Arab Emirates and of course, has many Arabic characteristics. The city is a cosmopolitan melting pot with a distinctly international flavor, partly due to a large influx of foreign business branches and laborers. All in all, the city has much to offer, from exotic and simple markets and bazaars, to sumptuous luxury and design.
There are huge sand dunes found just outside of Dubai. It's quite entertaining to take the trip by jeep or buggy (or maybe by camel?) through those endless piles of red sand. Do like most do and end the journey in a nomad camp with a traditional local dinner, a little shisha (hookah) and a dazzling view of the star-filled sky.
Dubai is a shopping lover's paradise. Here you can find both large and small, luxury and pop kitsch. The city has more than 50 shopping centers and bazaars, so you will find plenty of international designer brands in shoes, clothes and jewelry as well as gold, spices, Pashmina shawls, and more local goodies. Try the bazaar in the Deira district, which is one of Dubai's most popular.
Oh yes, if there is one place in the world where you can find fantastic, imaginative and exuberant architecture, it is Dubai. Each building surpasses the next here - take, for example, the World, a collection of artificial islands in the sea just off the coast of the city. Each island is a precise, miniature copy of a real country, designed to look like the real thing. The hotel Burj Al Arab, the world's tallest edifice, which, when it is fully completed, will be approximately 800 meters high, is also in Dubai. There is so much more of this amazing architecture in Dubai. You just have to get out and discover it for yourself. The only danger is getting a sore neck from looking up (and yes, you will look up a lot out here).
Dubai has one of the world's wildest water parks called the Wild Wadi. It is located just in front of Burj Al Arab, so it's not difficult to find since Burj Al Arab is one the world's tallest buildings and can be clearly seen from all corners of Dubai. The Wild Wadi has plenty of water and lots of fun - wild water slides, swimming pools with artificial waves, 'simulated surfing' and much more. Try also the main attraction, Jumeirah Sceirah, the tallest water slide in the world outside of North America - 33 feet tall, throwing the courageous visitor downward with a speed of up to 80 km/h.
Dubai is also a piece of heaven for golf fans. Like so many other places, it is expensive - but then again, the courses are fantastic and the conditions perfect.
The beaches of Dubai are clean and inviting. There are not many waves here, but there are plenty of palm trees and the water is clean with good visibility. When the sun goes down and the beach life is nearing its end, it is time to put on some party clothes, grab a drink and head out into the nightlife. It occurs almost exclusively in the hotels, where most restaurants, bars and clubs are located. Especially Tuesdays are full of fuss - it is 'Ladies Night' with free drinks, but in reality there is, as you will soon discover, always a party to find in Dubai.
The best time to visit is Dubai is autumn and winter - summer here is simply too hot. As for hotels, Dubai unfortunately is mostly a luxury destination - there are 5-star hotels anywhere. However, you may find cheaper hotels in the older part of town. Try for example, in the cozy Deira neighborhood.
Friday is the weekly Muslim holiday, and on this day not only the mosques are filled, but also the shopping centers with local families. For your own sake, it is perhaps not this day, you should choose to go shopping - try instead an inviting all-you-can-eat brunch at one of those fancy restaurants. A little expensive but very tasty - and of course, the bubbly is ad libitum (is there anything better than a good champagne-brunch-hangover?).
Did you know that KILROY can also help organise your study tour to Dubai? Read on to learn more about how we can plan your study trip with the right academic content and interesting study visits in the city of your choice.
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