Sprouting up from the desert, from a predominantly pearl diving culture to a tourist mecca and business hub for the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region, Dubai is certainly not devoid of ambition.
Things in Dubai change and evolve very quickly, and hate it or love – it cannot be ignored. In a culturally rich city where expat culture has managed to coexist with the traditions of the local people, there is much to explore and discover.
Beneath the glitz and glamour that is normally associated with this flamboyant emirate lies a city that is thriving with a vibrant art and music scene, world-class sports tournaments, and widespread entertainment.
Scratch the surface and you will find that there is plenty to suit everyone’s taste and budget.
Below are our top 13 reasons why every traveler should have a trip to Dubai on their bucket list.
1. Spectacular Skyline
Punctuated by some of the world’s most amazing skyscrapers, including the world’s tallest building, the Burj Khalifa, and one of the world’s most luxurious 7-star hotels, the Burj Al-Arab, the modern architecture of Dubai is considered by many of the world’s leading architects as simply remarkable.
Apart from these two marvels of engineering, there are many other wonderful structures including the Emirates Towers and the wave-shaped Jumeirah Beach Hotel, which is a stone’s throw away from the Burj Al-Arab.
2. Melting Pot of Different Cultures
With over 200 different nationalities living together, and the majority of the population composed of expats, Dubai is a cultural melting-pot and arguably one of the most cosmopolitan cities in the world.
Although these cultures have retained their distinct identities, they all add flavor and lend character to the culture of the region. If you are looking to get international exposure, there are few other cities than can compete with Dubai in terms of cultural and ethnic diversity.
3. Safe for Travelers
Despite the population of the city, Dubai is one of the world’s safest destinations for tourists, including women who travel alone, providing that they use common sense and respect the traditions of the city.
Owing to Dubai’s highly efficient police force, who take great pride in their city, everyday crime is virtually non-existent.
4. Shopper’s Paradise
There is nothing you cannot find in Dubai, which is world renowned for its high-end, modern shopping malls. You can find all the latest boutique and popular brands from Europe and the U.K. in most of the big malls.
In contrast, the traditional souks (marketplaces) have a wealth of merchandise and are typically located in smaller streets. A popular draw for visitors, the Gold Souk is lined with shops of gleaming gold jewelry in a mind-boggling variety of designs – at comparatively reasonable costs.
Dubai is truly a shopper’s paradise for the shopaholic, who is guaranteed an unbelievable shopping experience.
5. Weather in Dubai
For sun worshippers, Dubai is the perfect holiday paradise. Visitors can expect to enjoy blue skies and sunny weather almost all year round, although enjoying the outdoors is only realistically possible during the cooler months from October to March.
During peak summer months in June, July, and August, the sun is unbearably hot, keeping all but the most diehard outdoor enthusiasts indoors. However, most malls, schools, homes, and enclosed public spaces are air conditioned – and malls usually host a ton of fun, indoor activities to attract people.
This combined with lowered, highly competitive hotel rates still makes Dubai a popular tourist destination even at the peak of summer.
6. Dubai Beaches
Dubai has long stretches of beautiful, clean beaches – some of which are private and belong to waterfront hotels, and others that are free and open to the public. The most popular beach is the Jumeirah Beach, from which you get a spectacular view of the Burj Al Arab.
7. Sports Capital of the MENA Region
Additionally, Dubai also hosts the very popular Dubai Rugby Sevens, sponsored by Emirates Airlines, one of the most exciting sporting and social event of the year.
Other than these, there are a host of activities for those craving an adrenalin rush; sailing, deep-sea fishing, water skiing, camel racing, falconry, snorkeling and diving are all sports that have quite a large fan following here in Dubai.
8. Haven for Food Lovers
It is safe to say that visitors to Dubai are absolutely spoilt for choice when it comes to dining out in Dubai. With over 200 nationalities living here, it is only expected that these 200 nationalities have brought with them a similar number of cuisines.
With ethnic delicacies from the Middle East, Asian cuisines from the Indian subcontinent, Philippines, Malaysia, Singapore, and Thailand, as well as a host of continental fare on offer, Dubai has more than your taste buds can handle in the span of a single trip.
9. Mega Festivals in Dubai
It is said that the city of Dubai never sleeps. This is in some ways true, particularly when it comes to the city hosting festivals. In Dubai, there is a festival for everything from food, music, and art to sports, fashion, and shopping.
These are held year round and provide a great incentive to visit Dubai. The Global Village, Dubai Summer Surprises, the Dubai Shopping Festival, Dubai Cup horse racing, and the Dubai Jazz festival are just a few… The list is indeed quite long!
10. Travel Hub
Dubai International Airport is now the busiest international airport, recently having knocked Heathrow Airport off the top spot. Dubai’s strategic location, coupled with the government’s ambitious plan to make Dubai the hub that links the world’s largest aviation market, North America, with the world’s fastest growing one, Asia, makes it easy for travelers from all across the globe to come to Dubai.
From here, they can travel to pretty much anywhere in the world. With Emirates Airline’s recent tie-up with Qantas Airlines, Dubai is truly connected to the rest of the world.
11. Dubai Entertainment
Dubai has a vibrant nightlife with no shortage of willing party goers. Long stretches of beaches can be enjoyed for sunbathing during the daytime, and by night, they turn into some of Dubai’s most happening clubs – with entertainment provided by some of the world’s most renowned DJs.
Although Dubai is not primarily known for art, its growing art scene is starting to attract the attention of artists from across the globe.
Some art galleries are hard to miss, such as the Dubai Museum for Contemporary Art and the historical walking tours of Al Bastakiya, but others are hidden jewels waiting to be discovered – such as Amir Hossein’s incredible calligraphy art on display at Khan Murjan and the little known Majlis Gallery tucked away in the heart of Dubai.
13. An Incredible To-Do List
A vacation to Dubai is never short on fun and adventure with so much to do for everyone in the family. From looking out at Dubai from the 125th floor of the Burj Khalifa: At the Top to swimming with the sharks, the list of things to see, do, and experience in this amazing, vibrant city is endless!