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Dubai is always on the radar for those wishing to explore the Middle East. It is a cheerful, vibrant little city that is one of the top 10 global cities of the world. If you are planning a foreign vacation this year, you should check out Dubai.

A Little Bit of Background on Dubai

Dubai has long been the most popular and populous city in the United Arab Emirates. The world’s major nationalities have been living in Dubai for decades now, and it is truly a melting pot of cultures. In fact, Dubai was a global city in terms of ethnic mix, infrastructure, quality of life and even housing and education, way before other cities in the world came on par with it.

Historically, Dubai was a major port of trade on the Persian Gulf. In the 19th century, it was discovered to have a natural port, and trading ships from around the world began to descend there to sell their wares and replenish some of their stocks. Most trading happened with neighbouring Iran. This gave rise to the ‘souks’, i.e. markets along the port area. Souks are still a traditional part of the Dubai cultural fabric. They are informal markets where you can buy a variety of things, from clothes to ittars (perfumes) and spices.

Apart from giving the country and the rest of the world some memorable souks, the trade relations between this port and many other countries gave rise to large scale migration. Dubai today boasts of several first generation ethnicities that have gained citizenship to the land. This has contributed largely to its cosmopolitan culture and way of life. However, the earliest settlements here consisted of nomadic tribes that made the desert their home. In those days, Dubai consisted of many fishing villages along its coastline.

In yesteryears, revenue from oil formed a bulk of Dubai’s riches, but today, only about 5% revenues come from oil. Dubai earns most of its income from tourism, retail, real estate, aviation, and advanced financial services.

Most of Dubai’s modern developments came about in the 1970s, when the city saw an unprecedented migration from those escaping the Lebanon war. The establishment rose to the challenge admirably, building houses, office complexes, increasing public transport options, improving connectivity within Dubai and outside it, and so on. Though the economy has seen its share of ups and downs, primarily due to events like the Gulf War of 1989, Dubai’s growth has been steady and robust. With the presence of several companies from the rest of the Middle East and the West setting up base in Dubai, it was only to be expected that the country’s fortunes would be on the upswing.

Reasons to Visit Dubai

Dubai is a fascinating city, making use of its resources to run efficiently and also borrowing influences from successful trade, transport, communications and digital tech from around the world. A truly modern city in every sense of the word, Dubai is a magnet for every kind of tourist. Here are some reasons to visit Dubai:

* It has over 1,000 km of coastline: That’s over 1,000 km of beaches and corniches to enjoy! It’s nothing to shake a stick at, given the size of this small country and the extent of its coastline. What’s more, Dubai’s beaches are amongst the best in the world, blending hygiene, orderliness, shopping and food plazas located conveniently close by, large tracts of parking spaces, and good connectivity via public transport. They are extremely safe as well. The best time to visit Dubai’s beaches is during the winter months, when the sunlight is not so harsh.

* It’s skyline is amongst the best in the world: Who can forget the iconic scene featuring Tom Cruise as Ethan Hunt in Mission Impossible, scaling the sides of the fearsome Burj Khalifa? The Burj Khalifa is the tallest building in the world, and many other countries are now competing to build an even taller edifice. Apart from this impressive wonder, Dubai boasts of a superb skyline comprising a series of towers, residential blocks and office complexes.

* The people here love their food: If you are a foodie looking for some new gastronomic experiences, you should certainly visit Dubai. Some of the best restaurants in Dubai serve up the most succulent dishes from cuisines around the world. Besides, you can check out authentic Mediterranean, Lebanese, Indian and American food in Dubai. You and your family will enjoy eating out at the street side stalls and even its swank restaurants.

* It has a thriving art and cultural scene: Dubai has also emerged as the go-to destination for art lovers from around the world. It routinely hosts a number of film, art and visual exploration festivals, while also being home to several art galleries in the Alserkal Avenue Art District, as well as the modern ones in the Financial Centre area. The Art Dubai and Design Days festivals take place in the middle of the year annually, so this is the best time to visit Dubai if you are an art lover or patron.

* It has several surprising and delightful sights: Many elements in Dubai’s public infrastructure seek to shock and awe. That is why you have such wonderful installations as the Dubai Fountain (comprising over 6,000 lights and 25 projectors), the manmade Palm Jumeirah Island, an indoor ski slope in the middle of the desert, and the biggest shopping mall in the world, The Dubai Mall.

The Best Time To Visit Dubai

You’ve now got a fair idea of how awesome Dubai is and the reasons to visit it. Let’s now understand the best time to visit Dubai.

The best time to visit Dubai if you are looking for pleasant temperatures and lots of outdoor activities, is during the winter months. These span from November to March. Though the nights can get quite chilly, the day time temperatures remain even and high. You will not feel hot during the day time, but you are advised to carry a light jacket just in case the weather turns suddenly (it sometimes does!) Another reason why this is the best time to visit Dubai is that the ever popular Dubai Shopping Festival takes place during the months of January and February. The city remains crowded with an excited buzz during this time, and the city records high footfalls eery year.

If you wish to beat the tourist crowds and indulge in some shopping and eating out, then you can target the summer months between April and October. But be warned that the summer in Dubai is not for the fainthearted. Daytime temperatures may go even higher than 40⁰C during the months of May to July, and walking or moving about outdoors becomes virtually impossible till the Sun sets. However, you can head to the nearest malls which are air conditioned and spend the day there, before moving outdoors in the evenings. This is the best time to visit Dubai if you are looking for lower prices on tickets and resort bookings.

Things To Do In Dubai

There are many avenues of exploration and enjoyment in this wonderful city. Some of the most fun things to do in Dubai are:

#1 Visit the Aquaventure Water Park. How about doing yoga underwater, or swimming with dolphins, or even feeding stingrays (within a safe distance, of course?) You and the family can do all this and more at the awesome Aquaventure Water Park. A major attraction here is the Leap of Faith, a gigantic slide that takes you at top speed through a glass tunnel abounding in sharks! Just outside this water park is the Atlantis The Palm, where you can find a number of Michelin-starred restaurants.

#2 Go atop the Burj Khalifa. At a massive 828 metres height and comprising 160 floors, the Burj Khalifa in Downtown Dubai is the world’s tallest building. It took six years to build this tower, and was opened to the public in the year 2010. You can go as far as the 148th floor to catch some breathtaking views of the city.

#3 Sail to old Dubai. The old town is an important part of Dubai’s early origins. You can sail a boat across the small Dubai creek to get a look at the old fishing villages. You can even disembark and visit the old quarters to get a look at what old Dubai was like.

#4 Go to the Dubai Frame. Built literally like a frame, this iconic structure allows you to see the rise of Dubai through the ages via a one-hour tour. The frame houses a 150-metre high glass bridge, with two vertical towers connected by a bridge at the top. It is truly one of the most special places to visit in Dubai.

#5 Go to the souks. It is all very well to experience the splendour or Dubai’s huge malls. But the real charm of shopping here lies in the souks. These are traditional markets on the Dubai creek, with many shops selling gold jewellery, precious stones like diamonds, textiles, spices, ittars, coffee powders, brass and copper ware, footwear, and so on. Haggle hard, and if a merchant offers you coffee while you shop, accept at once and sit down to drink it with him.

Where to Stay In Dubai

Your Dubai vacation will be made even more special when you stay at the perfect Dubai resortThe Club Mahindra Arabian Dreams Resort in Dubai is the right place to book yourself into. It has a host of splendid suites and apartments that offer every amenity and luxury that you seek. The resort is located close to the airport, and has excellent amenities, one of the best restaurants in the city, a large pool, recreation areas for children, and much more.

FAQs

Q: Is March a good time to visit Dubai?

March is part of the peak summer months in Dubai. The city gets incredibly hot and humid during this time, so if you have low tolerance for these weather conditions, it is wiser to schedule your visit at another time of the year.

Q: How many days are sufficient to visit Dubai?

If you plan your itinerary such that you include restaurants, parks, buildings, malls and other attractions per day, then one week should be enough to visit all of Dubai.

Q: What are some of the Dos and Don’ts to follow in Dubai?

Though Dubai is largely easygoing and cosmopolitan, you must take care not to hurt anybody’s religious sentiments or cultural mores. For instance, while you may be allowed to wear certain kinds of swimwear on the beach, you are not allowed to indulge in public displays of affection outside closed doors. Some establishments also frown upon unmarried couples staying at their premises. Meanwhile, take care to dress conservatively when visiting religious shrines, and do not eat or drink outside in public places during the holy month of Ramadan.

Q: Which is the best area to stay in Dubai?

Though most areas of Dubai are good, you should consider staying near the Burj Khalifa in Downtown Dubai, The Palm Jumeirah, and the Dubai Marina.

Q: Are taxis expensive in Dubai?

Contrary to popular opinion, taxi rides in Dubai are much cheaper as compared to most countries in the West, and even other Middle Eastern countries. There are many types of taxis on hire, and you can always flag one down from any location in the city, at most times of the day.

About Mahindra Holidays

Mahindra Holidays & Resorts India Limited (MHRIL), India’s leading player in the leisure hospitality industry, offers quality family holidays as also stated by Club Mahindra Membership Reviews, primarily through vacation ownership memberships. While Club Mahindra is the flagship brand offering Club Mahindra Membership, the other brands offered by the company are –Club Mahindra Resorts Fundays and Svaastha Spa. As on Mar 31, 2019, MHRIL has 61+ resorts across India and abroad and its subsidiary, Holiday Club Resorts Oy, Finland, a leading vacation ownership company in Europe has 33 resorts across Finland, Sweden and Spain. Visit us at www.clubmahindra.com

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