Dubai: the New Shopping Capital of the World
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When you’re visiting a new country it’s impossible not to have some preconceptions. For visitors to Dubai, that usually comes in the form of a few things: heat, fine dining, skyscrapers, gigantic malls and opulent hotels. When a place is attracting the rich and famous it has to think about more than king-size beds and elegant cuisine, hence the reason this corner of the UAE is now renowned for retail, and offers everything you could ever want to buy. And more.
It’s not all high-end designer boutiques and sparkling new indoor shopping centres either. Although mall culture in the country is exceptionally strong – partly a result of the fact that having everything under one roof makes it all so much more accessible, and partly due to the fact that air conditioning is a must in 50ËC temperatures – Dubai is also well-known for its traditional souks (markets). Some key destinations to remember if you’re after some bartering action are the textile souk in Bur Dubai, which oozes ambience, along with the famous Spice Souk (no longer really focused on spices, though), Gold Souq and Deira Souq.
Away from these atmospheric addresses there’s a wealth of ways to splash your cash in more formal shopping environments. One of the first malls to open was Deira City Centre, which remains among the most popular. A heavily-westernised experience, here you’ll find upmarket high street stores, cinemas, and restaurants. More glamorous and the largest of them all is the Dubai Mall, located beneath the Burj Khalifa, the world’s tallest building. A recent extension is indicative of how 100 million visitors per year are expected to descend on the complex, and this is also the home of the Dubai Shopping Festival.
Elsewhere, and Madinat Jumeirah, one of the most extravagant hotel complexes in terms of architecture, is well worth a look for more than just its design. So, while you can take a boat ride along the 3-kilometre purposefully designed waterways, and wander peacefully through the gardens, meandering through the Arabian-looking buildings, including a variety of restaurants and bars, an amphiteatre and the region’s only dedicated entertainment centre; this is also a great place to pick up well-made souvenirs at the Souk Madinat Jumeirah.
Like we said, there is a world of options, all located in one of the world’s most exciting and inspiring cities. All of which is before we even come to mention the reserves of the super rich, such as the offerings located within the Burj Al Arab, where platinum iPhones come as standard. Perhaps not for everyone (or their budget), nevertheless like everything else in Dubai when it comes to shopping, the experience is worth the trip in itself. Indeed, New York, Paris and London may have the history, but nothing quite compares to getting retail therapy when you’re in a place that believes town planning in itself should be a thrilling adventure.
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People come to Dubai for different reasons. Some want to shop until they drop, others choose to experience the glamorous lifestyle. Some prefer to relax indulgently, whilst some want to embrace the epic adventures Dubai offers- with more unforgettable experiences to be had than we can hope to mention here.
A glistening city in the middle of the desert, defined by some of the world's most modern and opulent buildings, contemporary shopping and high-tech entertainment, the Emirates' most famous destination is also a hotbed of culture; from art galleries and museums to the indigenous Arabian history.
When you're surrounded by warm waters, bathed in high temperatures and sunshine almost every day of the year, it should go without saying that everything from water sports to beach lounging, fishing to pearl diving, should be on the agenda. Welcome to Dubai, where all that and more comes as standard.
There are few places on Earth where you can sunbathe on the beach in the morning, snowboard in the afternoon, and head out to explore sand dunes before sunset. To top it off there are huge entertainment centres and waterparks too. All of which barely scratches the surface when it comes to keeping the family entertained in Dubai, one of the world's safest and most fun cities.
As a centre of international culture, it's no surprise that Dubai is home to an abundance of festivals and events of global repute. This is also a place steeped in a unique history, meaning that whilst visiting soirees appear dominant, you'll also find a host of traditional offerings to contrast the more lavish affairs.
Many cities have a claim to fame, but only the best have several. In Dubai, alongside unforgettable adventures and unparalleled shopping, the hotels represent a unique selling point all of their own. So whether you're spending big or modest, there's no chance you'll be disappointed.
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