Details from the View from Above team:
Welcome to the View from Above! A series where we take you on a Journey to some of the most beautiful places on earth!
There is a jewel that lies in a corner of the Arab world’s vast sandy wastelands. Dubai is a glistening metropolis that may seem to speak to only the rich and famous, but the truth is that the stupefying landmarks, golden dunes and world-famous shopping are appealing to all.
Dubai is an emirate that falls part of the United Arab Emirates, a state on the north facing coast of the Horn of Africa. The region was largely unimportant until the advent of large volumes of British and European trade past the Horn of Africa in the mid-1800s. When oilfields were discovered just off the coast of Dubai in the mid-1900s, the emirate used the influx of foreign capital wisely, and attempted to build a modern, commercial city to which the whole Arab and outside world would flood.
The visitor to Dubai would usually land at the Dubai International Airport, the seventh busiest airport in the world, after which they will quickly have to adapt to the futuristic metropolis. The most iconic Dubai landmark, the Burj Khalifa, is immediately noticeable. The world’s tallest building has an astounding 154 useable floors, and is a great place from which to look at the surrounding landscape. The Burj Khalifa is certainly as beautiful as it is tall, but the Burj Al Arab is marginally better looking. The fine building, shaped like a sail, sits on an artificial island just off the coast, as is a favourite location from which to take helicopter tours.
At the base of the Burj Khalifa is the Dubai Fountain, an incredibly popular location where visitors can marvel at water shows accompanied by traditional Arabic music. Not too far from the fountains lies the Dubai Mall, the world’s largest shopping mall. With thousands of stores, duty-free items and a huge indoor aquarium, the mall is a must-see for any visitor, and is a reason to visit Dubai on its own. For those looking for a more unique ‘bazaar’ experience, the Souk Madinat Jumeirah is a colourful experience. The Marina Boardwalk also hosts plenty of world renowned shopping brands that face the famous Dubai Marina.
The Dubai Marina is home to the Dubai Yacht Club where the world’s richest regularly drop anchor. Visitors are allowed to wonder the many piers and sample the fair from the expensive restaurants. The Marina also has a famous beach where those with some spare time can retreat for some tanning and swimming. If you enjoy playing in water, then head over to the Aquaventure Waterpark where you can slip and slide all day. The nearby Dolphin Bay allows visitors to swim with one of the planet’s most intelligent creatures. The Wild Wadi Water Park by the Burj Al Arab is a good alternative to Aquaventure.
If the visiting tourist wants a bit of action, they can hitch a ride with one of the numerous desert safari tours. Riding the dunes in 4x4s is a popular Dubai pastime, and everyone visiting the city should try and head out to the dunes for a moonlit desert dinner picnic. Those with a little more talent can test themselves at some sand boarding or ride a camel across the hot desert sands within the Desert Conservation Resort.
The city of Dubai is certainly not limited to welcoming the rich. There are more than enough wondrous landmarks and exciting activities for all to warrant Dubai as more than just a shiny, modern community, and the awe-inspiring location can no longer be seen as a simple stop-off, but rather as a destination all on its own.