Dubai

The largest Emirate by population and second largest by land size, Dubai is a jewel in the United Arab Emirates crown. Visitors flock to the Middle Eastern metropolis to shop and stay in affluent surrounds, and indulge in traditional food and culture.

A global city and business hub – built on a once prosperous oil industry – Dubai has attracted the world’s attention time and time again with innovative large-scale construction projects, revered sporting events and grandiose celebrations.

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Discover Dubai
Population Approx 2,262,000
Languages Arabic (official), English
Currency United Arab Emirates Dirham (AED)
Discover Dubai
Foreign Correspondents: Expat Tales
On the Radar: Downtown, Dubai
Book Flights to Dubai Book now
Time Zone GMT+ 4
Downtown, Dubai, UAE
Paris, France
Dining

The only way to see the inside the world-famous Burj Al Arab is to stay or eat at the hotel. Choose from 10 restaurants and bars, and dine and wine in exclusive surrounds. Reserve a table or a private room at Al Mahara and indulge in a seafood degustation prepared by a Michelin Star trained chef. Or take in some of the best views of Dubai, from 200 metres above sea level, while dining on award-winning modern European cuisine at Al Muntaha.

A growing Indian influence sees the Dubai host a spectacular array of authentic Indian restaurants. Awarded Best Indian restaurant in UAE for 2011, Antique Bazaar, at Four Points by Sheraton, offers tasty meat dishes and an enchanting atmosphere. Ashiana – one of Dubai’s most famous and highly respected Indian restaurants – dishes up aromatic and spicy plates, amid a warm and friendly environment.

Taste the flavours of the region with traditional Middle Eastern menus. Visit one of Dubai’s busiest restaurants Al-Qasr, and feast on Lebanese dishes, while entertained by belly dancers and traditional Arabian Music. For Dubai’s top Persian dining experience, book a table at Shebestan, and take in a traditional assortment of Middle Eastern fare, overlooking the Creek.

When it comes to food in Dubai, it is hard to get more authentic than the fare on offer in the Jumeirah and Satwa areas. Try a kebab from a street vender. Sample a staple mixed grill. Wash down parcels of meat in pita with a freshly squeezed fruit juice. Or grab a treat from one of the areas’ legendary bakeries.

Shopping

Boasting an indulgent array of luxurious shopping malls, Dubai’s retail scene must be seen to be believed. Destinations such as Souk Madinat Jumeirah and the Wafi Mall showcase world-renowned fashion labels, while others, like The Dubai Mall and Mall of the Emirates, house attractions to rival famous Las Vegas landmarks – i.e. Mall of the Emirates’ ski slope and The Dubai Mall’s fountain show.

In contrast, Dubai’s Textile Souk provides the perfect playground for the bargain hunter and textile aficionado. A traditional Arabic treasure trove of textures, colours and weaves, the Textile Souk attracts locals and tourists alike into a myriad of bustling alleyways, filled with a virtually unlimited display of fabrics, sold at negotiable prices.

Known as ‘The City of Gold’, Dubai sells gold and gems at almost unheard of prices. For a good deal on gold visit Dubai’s Gold Souk – where the streets are lined with shops that gleam with glittering windows, showcasing gold, diamonds, rubies, emeralds, opals, pearls and amethysts – and haggle with the locals.