Celebrities and average travelers alike are now discovering Dubai as the next hottest tourist destination in the world. You'll find great weather, international cuisine, world-class resorts and spectacular beaches. Shopping is amazing here with flea markets bursting with gold artifacts and unusual treasures of this fascinating and interesting culture.

On 2 December 1971 Dubai, together with Abu Dhabi and five other emirates, formed the United Arab Emirates. Culture in Dubai is rooted in Islamic traditions that form the United Arab Emirates National's lifestyles. However, the UAE is tolerant and welcoming to foreigners who do not practice the religion of Islam. Expatriates are free to practice their own religion, alcohol is served in hotels and the dress code is liberal. Women don't face discrimination. Courtesy and hospitality are one of the many virtues of Dubai. Rulers are keen to maintain their culture and do so through a number of practices. One is promoting sporting events that are representative of their past. Falconry, camel racing and dhow sailing are still popular in Dubai.
Arabic cuisine comprises many types of cooking from countries like Morocco, Egypt, Afghanistan, Lebanon, Tunisia, and more. Throughout the city, vendors sell shawarma, a hot sandwich with lamb or chicken, carved from a rotating spit and served in pita bread with vegetables. A variety of juices from pineapple, banana, mango, or a mixed cocktail can be ordered from fresh juice vendors.

The official language is Arabic, but English and Urdu are also widely spoken. Dubai has a sub-tropical, arid climate, with perfect weather for at least six months out of the year. Rainfall is infrequent and happens mainly in winter. Usually it amounts to about 13 centimeters, spread over five days per year. Temperatures range from a low of about 10 degrees Celsius on winter nights, to a high of 48 degrees Celsius in the midday summer heat.

Dubai is labelled the "shopping capital of the Middle East". With so many shopping malls and souks, there's no better place to find products at unbeatable prices. It is truly a duty free shopper's paradise that gives you more for your money. Dubai's numerous shopping malls cater to every consumer need. Cars, haute couture clothing, jewellery, electronics, furnishing, sporting equipment, and any other goods will likely all be under the same roof.

Ladies you CAN'T MISS the Gold Souk!! Gold is serious business in this part of the world and the dazzling souk near the Hyatt Regency stands testimony for this. The gold souk, or gold market, is a truely dazzling sight to behold. It has earned Dubai a reputation for being the 'City of Gold'.In the late afternoon and in the evening, the streets around the Gold Souk fill themselves with people coming from all over the world. A colourful variety of Indians, Arabs, Africans, Europeans, Americans and other nationalities visit the "City of Gold".

More than 300 jewelleries situated one after the other are waiting for their visitors. Brilliants, emeralds, sapphires, bracelets, watches, rings and necklaces - everything the heart of a jewellery lover desires - glitter in the nicely illuminated show-cases. The assortment seems to be endless. Jewels in 18 carat or 21 carat gold and treated in the most precious way are acquired by their new owners. There is no doubt that prices are cheaper than in most places all over the world. 20 - 60 % savings compared to the purchase of gold in Germany are nothing extraordinary.

Haggling about the price is like a tradition. Take your time and plan 2 to 3 hours for your visit. The best time is the late afternoon. Usually, the shops are open until 10:00 p.m. The initial unsureness in bargaining gets lost pretty quickly, and you will really enjoy "haggling" about your favourite piece.

Dubai Shopping Festival

So what is the Dubai shopping Festival? Basically shopping paradise. Dubai is know around the world as such a paradise throughout the year, but they really lay out the red carpet during this special month, with over 2,300 retails outlets participating, that offer everything imaginable from gold, perfume, haute couture, cars, electronics to handicrafts and textiles. Most hotels and appartments also get involved offering special offers during the period, even the world famous Burj Al Arab is included in the hotels. With all these special discounts available many would feel that would suffice, but Dubai goes quite a few steps further. There are scores of raffles that offer very attractive prices outlined below, and Emirates and most other airlines flying out of Dubai offer discounted airfares and much needed excess baggage allowances during the festival.
There are other events as well, including international fashion shows, children's events, streetside performances, nightly fireworks, film festivals, and many other cultural events that reflect the emirate's cosmopolitan character. Plus one of the biggest events of them all, the Dubai World Cup also takes place during the festival, and with a staggering US$ 12 million purse that makes it the richest horse race in the world - not something to miss.


There is an abundance of excellent hotels in Dubai, it is the only place in the world that has a 7 star hotel, The Burj Al Arab as well as some of the most amazing hotel/tourism projects the world has ever seen scheduled to open within the next couple of years. Dubai itself is very compact, with excellent roads and good value for money txis nd so location isn't really all that important. You do though have to choose the location that you prefer, and you are really presented with three or possibly four different options. The beach area is very popular with business people and tourists alike, and truly is a wonderful place to stay, as you will be able to enjoy hotels that have all the business facilities you require and yet still offers splendid views of the Persian Sea, it can be very refreshing during a hectic schedule to have breakfast outside, breathing in the wonderful clean sea air, and over looking beautiful gardens, the beach and the Persian Sea. As most hotels along Jumeirah Beach are only around a 20 minute ride from the city centre (costing roughly 30 Dhs by taxi) you really can enjoy the best of both worlds.

The famous Creek area which is directly in the city centre, is another excellent option, as most hotels here offer excellent views of the creek and the numerous dhows that are constantly moving up and down. Obviously you have more amenities outside the hotel here than you would have along the beach. Dubai really has it all.

Grand Explorer will be hosting a deluxe 12 day trip to the United Arab Emirates later in 2008. Check the website for more details in the weeks to come!

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