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Last updated : Nov 2009
 
Dubai Travel Guide
Dubai Travel Guide and Dubai Travel Information - TravelPuppy.com
Dubai is known as the ‘Pearl of the Arabian Gulf’and grew up as a seafaring village along either side of the Creek, a natural harbour for dhow traders, fishermen and pearl divers. Bur Dubai to the south and Diera on the northern bank are connected by a tunnel and two bridges and can also be reached by water taxi known as abras. Bur Dubai has a number of old buildings, traditional alleyways and the local souks or markets. It is also home to the world-famous Gold Souk and colourful Spice Souk. Glimpses of the past can be enjoyed from Al Fahidi Fort, the Dubai Museum that houses, among other things, artifacts recovered from the ancient graves at Al-Ghusais. Other areas of interest are the traditional wind tower houses of the Bastakiya district. At the mouth of the Creek you will come across, the magnificently restored Sheikh Saeed’s Palace, as well as the diving and heritage villages. On the Diera side of the creek life is more cosmopolitan. Here you will find many attractive gardens and first-class shopping facilities, ranging from Western-style shops to the ancient souks where perfume, spices, clothing, handicrafts, antiques and jewels are widely available.

Dubai’s growing tourist industry is based on solid sunshine, a clean and safe environment, bargain shopping and a wide range of sporting facilities, golf and water sports. A long corridor of development alongside the Gulf, extending west and south of Dubai city to Jebel Ali offers an incredible array of coastal hotels and resorts. The sporting and recreation complex en route to Jebel Ali includes an all grass cricket pitch and a golf course. Freshwater lakes full of Japanese carp can also be seen here.

There are many well-qualified tour companies offering such activities as camel riding, desert safaris by four-wheel drive, moonlit bedouin barbeques, sand skiing and dhow cruises. The emirate also holds the world's richest horse race, The Dubai World Cup, the popular PGA Desert Classic Golf Tournament, Dubai Shopping Festival and over 80 major trade exhibitions are some of the high-profile events bringing business and leisure visitors to the city each year.

By looking at all the newly built structures and futuristic skyline, it is tempting to think of this emirate as a thoroughly modern creation. But Dubai’s history goes back to at least the third century BC, when nomadic tribes struggled to make a living in the arid deserts. Dubai became an important hub on the ancient trading route between Mesopotamia and the Indus Valley. By the 19th century, a fishing village inhabited by the Bani Yas tribe had taken root on the Shindagha peninsula, at the mouth of Dubai Creek. This tribe who were led by the Maktoum family, still presides over Dubai today. As Europe entered into World War I, Dubai still had no running water, no roads. The main mode of transport was the camel. Dubai’s success began in the 1960s. While shaking off the shackles of British colonial rule, oil was struck in 1966.

Incredible wealth came to this small emirate in a short time. Dubai drew in billions of dollars from the sale of oil. The money that was wisely invested in building up infrastructure. Contrary to popular beliefs about Dubai oil only accounts for 10% of the economy. Today the emirate has expanded its portfolio into trade, service industries, finance, light industry and tourism. Another myth is the idea that alcohol is completely banned. In the city’s numerous hotels, bars and restaurants, drinks flows freely. With gleaming skyscrapers vying for attention along Dubai Creek the astronomical wealth on display cannot be ignored. Even more elaborate is government sponsored construction projects that are underway. The latest is Palm Islands, a massive undertaking that will bring 120 km (75 miles) of new beachfront creating the world’s two largest man-made islands, as well as hotels, villas, shopping malls, cinemas and Dubai’s first marine park.

Even though Dubai is one of the hottest and arid places on earth , there are four first-rate golf courses and more on to come. Now underway is the construction of an indoor ski slope with real snow scheduled to open in late 2006. Dubai does not take short cuts. With some of the world’s tallest and most expensive buildings with top designers brought in to supervise the ever more elaborate projects. Dubai has become a real playground for the rich and famous. Now with almost 400 hotels, first-class shopping and plenty of space for future development, there is also enough room for tourists of every budget.

Dubai enjoys an ideal climate for much of the year. Constant sunshine and very little rainfall is the forecast for most days. During the summer months the heat is extreme and making trips away from air-conditioned cars and buildings somewhat challenging.