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Trip Report Dubai - a review from just over a year ago!

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Dubai - the cosmopolitan center of the Middle East. Sandy beaches, built up city, shopping malls galore - there is literally something for everyone.

Everyone knows about the Burj Al Arab, the worlds first 7* hotel. And it really is amazing to see up close - well, as close as you can get! Apparently you need to pre-book just to see the foyer of this magnificent hotel. As well as this majestic architect Sheik Mohammed is currently constructing the worlds tallest building - the Burj Dubai. Only 3/4 built it is already the worlds tallest free standing structure...and when complete it will be the tallest man-made structure in the world!

Another worlds largest is the indoor ski center situated in the Mall of the Emirates. Walking in off of Sheik Zayed Road in the sweltering 98 degree heat to a 23 degree chill is quite something!

Talking of malls, another breath taking structure in Dubai is the Ibn Battuta Mall. The largest themed mall in the Middle East, it is split into 6 architectural courts: China, India, Persia, Egypt, Tunisia and Andalusia - places explored by Ibn Battuta in the 14th Century. The Indian court houses the amazing, full scaled "Elephant Clock"; the main Persia court is a replica of the inside of the Blue Mosque in Iran; and the others in their own 14th century style.

Dubai also holds an annual Rugby tournament, the Dubai Rugby 7's. If you like to drink, whilst watching some sport - this is the tournament for you! Beer stands, hot weather and good rugby. Except last year was the first rain in December for two years and was a rather damp affair!

Something that I highly recommend when visiting Dubai is to take a Desert Safari. There are a lot of companies who can organize these events, usually through your hotel reception. We decided to go through www.desertsafaraidubai.com who offer two types of safari: a day trip or an overnight trip. We decided to opt for just the day trip which involved dune bashing, camel riding, henna painting, shisha, sand skiing and dinner. Absolutley fabulous!
Quick Tips:
Try to travel after the high season - we went in late September/early October as the weather was cooling to around the 95 degree mark which was bareable!

As well as going on an organized desert safari, hire your own jeep and camping gear and drive out to the desert for a camping trip.

Wild Wadi - Dubai's famous water park. This is a wonderful place, with or without the children! My personal favorite is Dreamlands Water Park in neighboring Emirate, Umm Al Quwain - only an hours drive out from Dubai.

Dubai Creek, Golf and Yacht Club - have been in previous years but the partner wouldn't allow it this time round! An absolutely beautiful golf resort next to the Dubai Creek. If this is your main reason for Dubai then it would be best to stay at the Park Hyatt Dubai situated on site.

The night life in Dubai is very vibrant with so much that you can do. Barasti Bar near the marina, Buddah bar to relax, Rock Bottom to end the night, Double Deckers to see those drunk Europeans or many many more!
Best Way To Get Around:
There are many ways to get around Dubai, but the public transport really is not the best. The buses are cramped and over loaded with peopl, no air conditioning and you'd be lucky to get a seat!

Taxis are frequent and relatively cheap, with mainly english speaking drivers - even the call center for the government owned firm has an option for english speakers!

If you want to see more of Duabi, and the UAE in general, hiring a car is the best way to go. You can per-book with companies like Holiday Autos or Auto Europe, or you can pick up a vehicle locally with Hertz or Avis. Traffic in Dubai can get real bad during rush hour, especially along Sheik Zayed Road an in and around Bur Dubai and Deira. Instead of taking the Sheik Zayed I reccommend you go along the Jumerieh Beach Road - better views of the coast as well! Or you could just go to Aspres Bar (if still open) overlooking the ski center or have a coffee in the marina.

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