Discover Dubai

Dubai’s Gold Souk sees streets lined with shops that gleam with gold, diamonds, rubies, emeralds, opals, pearls and amethysts.

As Time.com succinctly stated “You are unlikely to see a place where the divide between the "have nots" and the "have yachts" is so apparent”.

Imposing structures and recreational facilities sit dreamlike, between the desert and the ocean, towering over the city’s modest fishing villages. While the inconsistency can be startling, it is this evident divide that gives Dubai its interesting blend of modern and traditional drawcards.

Shop and ski (… yes ski!) surrounded by desert at the Mall of the Emirates. Take in the spectacular that is The Dubai Mall’s fountain show – a landmark that rivals Las Vegas’ famous Bellagio attraction. Tee off at a number of distinguished golf courses, some of which were designed by golfing luminaries such as Colin Montgomerie, Ernie Els and Tiger Woods.

See first hand, one of the world’s most photographed buildings, the Burj Al Arab. Billed as the globe’s only ‘seven-star’ hotel, the structure’s sail façade has become synonymous with Dubai. The only way to see the inside the world-famous Burj Al Arab is to stay at the hotel or eat at one of its 10 restaurants and bars.

Marvel at the audacious collection of man-made offshore islands – including Palm Jumeirah (the palm shape island that the city bills as the Eighth Wonder of the World) Palm Jebel Ali, Palm Deira and The World (a cluster of islands that forms a miniature world map).

Take a trip to the Heritage Village and witness a different Dubai, where local Emiratis revel in traditional song, dance and food. Stroll the endless alleyways at the souks (markets) and pick up local and exotic textiles, spices and gems. Dubai’s Gold Souk sees streets lined with shops that gleam with gold, diamonds, rubies, emeralds, opals, pearls and amethysts. Dubai’s Textile Souk is home to a traditional Arabic treasure trove of textures, colours and weaves.

Sample authentic local fare in areas like Jumeirah and Satwa. 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.

Dubai is a city that exists to command attention. Its over-the-top structures and showiness might not be to everyone’s taste, however the city has something to entice even the most discerning traveller’s attention.

Words by Alice Nash - Published 29 July 2013
Quick Facts 
Population Approx 2,262,000
Time Zone GMT+ 4
Languages Arabic (official), English
Currency United Arab Emirates Dirham (AED)
Share this article 
facebook Twitter Pinterest Google
Related Articles 
Foreign Correspondents: Expat Tales
What does living and working abroad mean? We speak to four expatriates in different parts of the world to find out if the grass is indeed greener on the other side of the fence.
On the Radar: Downtown, Dubai
Enjoy a fusion of luxe modernity and Arab grandeur in this neighbourhood that certainly doesn’t do things by halves. Not many cities have grabbed headlines in quite the same way as Dubai has of late...