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A city of contrasts
Dubai’s famous cityscape is a diverse collection of architectural styles. A short walk from the harbour is its historic Al Fahidi Bastakia Quarter, where the museums, narrow lanes and tranquil courtyards are set against a backdrop of cloud-skimming skyscrapers. In the distance, the world’s tallest building punctuates the already-ambitious skyline. You quite literally can’t visit the city without seeing the dynamic Burj Khalifa, as it soars 830 metres into the air. Ascend to the 148th floor for impressive views, stop off at the 122nd floor bar, or watch the fountain show on the 30-acre Burj Lake at its Hymenocallis-inspired base.
Decadent venues and regal resorts
Atop the reclaimed land of the waterfront, you’ll discover more of Dubai’s iconic landmarks, including the sail-shaped Burj Al Arab. A luxurious hotel dripping in extravagant décor and world-class facilities, it stands proudly on a purpose-built island and can only be visited with a reservation. If you get the chance, splash out on afternoon tea to get a glimpse of its opulent, seven-star interior. A few miles on either side, scattered across the Persian Gulf, sit striking man-made archipelagos of The World and Palm Jumeirah. Take a trip on the monorail to experience the latter island’s pièce de résistance at its furthest point. Atlantis, The Palm is an impressive, ‘lost city’-themed hotel boasting a water park, marine experiences and a labyrinth of 20 exotic aquariums.
Dubai - home to the world’s most exclusive shopping experience
Whether you love boutique stores filled with designer labels or prefer hunting around ambient marketplaces, Dubai’s shopping experiences will tempt you. Soak up the scents and sounds of traditional souks near Dubai Creek, where patterned pottery and ornate rugs sit beside glittering gold jewellery and sacks of mouth-watering saffron. Downtown, browse duty-free goods at vast complexes, such as the Dubai Mall and the Mall of the Emirates. Onsite entertainment zones such as an underwater zoo, indoor ski slope, cinemas and restaurants offer a myriad of leisure activities when you fancy a break from browsing.
Discovering Dubai’s roots
Beyond the sprawling metropolis lie the rippled sand dunes of the Arabian Desert. Reminiscent of Dubai’s not-too-distant past, this vast landscape makes for an exciting escapade. Keep an eye out for native wildlife on your Dubai cruise, as you explore this remote setting on an exhilarating 4x4 safari, or channel your inner Lawrence of Arabia and hitch a ride on a friendly camel. Optional adrenaline rushes come in the form of sand boarding or quad biking, while belly dancing performances and shisha round off the experience with an authentic Middle Eastern edge.