Arabian Nights.... Dubai style

Just before Christmas I had the opportunity to visit Dubai in the United Arab Emirates. I had three days there before I flew to on to India and I found it to be one of the most interesting cities I have every visited.

Built in the sand Dubai seems to be a self-sufficient world unto itself with skyscrapers and people of all nationalities. The first thing I noticed when arriving in Dubai was of course the airport. It was emaculate with colourful plush designs and even had a waterfall! The floor was so clean I could have eaten my dinner off it!

The city itself is a booming a metropolis with a skyline that rivals places like New York. One of the most famous buildings is the Burj al Arab which is a luxury hotel (see image on the right) and stands on an artificial island out from Jumeirah Beach. Part of the hotel is actually under the ocean. However, this building is only tip of the iceberg as far as design goes. There seems to be no limit to what designs people seem to come up with and build in Dubai.

Possibly the most impressive is the Burj Dubai which actually looks like something out of a science fiction movie! It is a tower which is a whopping 688m tall and they still want make it even taller. Only in Dubai does something like this seem to be possible.

The other attractions include the malls which, like the airport, are emaculate, gigantic and spotless. They have every major brand under the sun, however, if you are looking for bargains you may be disappointed. Price-wise it does not seem to be that much different to the UK. This didn't stop me having a look round though! One of the malls, unbelieveably, has a ski slope build on top of it with real snow!

Nightlife is also good there though being an Islamic country the purchase of alcohol is limited to certain places like hotels, restaurants, bars, etc. We found ourselves in a place called the Rock Bottom Cafe in Burdubai. It was kind of restaurant, then it became a bar then it became a club. The night we were there they had possibly one of the best tribute bands I have a ever seen! This band could play anything and were quite happy to make a transition from Oasis's Wonderwall to Coolio's Gangsta's Paradise to some crazy Latin number. They were all sort of people of different nationalities there which made for a very interesting and slightly intoxicating night!

On the last day we left Dubai in a land cruiser to explore the desert. This is something I would recommend to anyone do if have the opportunity to visit this part of the world. The journey was to a camp in the middle of the desert. To get there we had to negotiate the sand dunes. It was quite an interesting ride as you can see from the video especially as our driver seemed to be driving one handed for most of it!

We travelled to a camp in the desert where we enjoyed some traditional Arabic food along with Shisha. We also rode some camels for the full experience. The trip was rounded off with a belly dancer. It was obvious to my friend and I that she was very good at what she did... ;-)

All in all it was a great trip and I loved Dubai. On the last day I found it quite therapeutic sitting in the middle of the desert miles away from anything. I left Dubai the next day to travel to India so stay tuned for a post on that part of my trip.