When October fog takes over Dubai's brick and mortar canopy, holiday makers enjoy the ostentatious glitz of the world's fastest growing city in a dream-like atmosphere that remains unrivalled in the urban world. The startling constructions belie Dubai's past as a sleepy fishing town.
A little of the third world has been left behind, where camel trainers, traditional wind towers and calm desert sands are found facing a mystical backdrop of first world excesses. Dubai can be defined by its contrasts, which are most evident in its position as a lush tourism hub that is at the same time home to thousands of migrant workers with few rights.
Your holiday to Dubai can be tailored towards a more profound and meaningful expedition through its cultural hotspots and ecotourism destinations. The Sheik Mohammed Centre introduces guests to the city's customs, history and religion. Dolphin Bay is considered one of Dubai's greatest assets for its premium marine habitats and interactive shows. Swim with the ocean's kindest aquatic creatures in a tropical setting as they tow you out to the lagoon's depths.
Immerse yourself in Dubai's most characteristic ecosystem featuring sand plains and desert dunes at the Desert Conservation Reserve. The spectacular Dubai fountains create a watery musical landscape with fountains that rise to the heights of a 50 storey building. Alternatively, enjoy the city's most magnetic tourist attraction, Burj Khalifa, which offers a real time telescopic view of the skyline from the top of the tallest skyscraper in the world.
It doesn't take an expert in architecture to recognize the bold splendour of Dubai's cityscape, and the masterpiece that supersedes all is the lofty Burj Khalifa. The world's tallest building is surrounded by stellar displays of grandeur and sparkling night life. The park's design blends greenery, lighting and sculptural water features to achieve an eerie backdrop for outdoor dining, ice skating and marine life viewing at the strategically placed Dubai Mall.
Every destination on your holiday in Dubai is delivered in style. The Aquarium and underwater zoo presents diversity gargantuan enough to win rank as one of Lonely Planet's premier global destinations. Extremists can scuba dive with sharks, whilst the timid can delve beneath safer waters from within the glass tunnel. Artificial coral and three eco zones act as biomes for rare and fascinating creatures such as giant spider crabs and sea dragons. Active party fiends boogie on ice at disco evenings held at the mall's Olympic size ice rink. Whether your preferred viewing pleasure takes place above or below sea level, the downtown district has what it takes to astonish the most seasoned travellers.
Instead of following the path of millions of tourists who have taken before you, holidays in Dubai can be approached from a more unusual angle. For a truly Arabian experience, amble through the local mosques and markets. Practice your haggling skills at the Karama Market, where friendly shopkeepers will introduce you to their secret collections behind closed doors. Enjoy an authentic feast at Gordon Ramsay's culinary outpost at the Dubai hotel, Grosvenor House.
Extra Michelin star cuisine is enjoyed at Hilton Dubai creek. A more cultural gastronomy event can be had on Al Dhiyafah street, a local haunt with true Arabic character. Shopping is taken to new heights of absurdity by malls in which guests navigate by water, snowy slopes and aisles dotted with mechanical dinosaurs. Those who have dreams of treasure lined caskets will find their fantasies recreated at the gleaming Gold Souk, where jewels and gems are bartered for in a quality controlled environment.
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