We are welcoming in the new month with a fresh destination, and we’re excited about this one because it holds a special place in our hearts. Dubai has been my home for 8 years, and Ross has been many times himself. That means we can give you the real low-down on the touristy things to see and do (we’ve done them all!) as well as sharing with you the locals-only insider knowledge. We’ll kick off the month with my 5 top reasons to visit Dubai.
1. Winter Sun
Dubai’s location in the Middle East makes is a perfect sunshine destination. Although the summers are scorching (we’re talking 45-50C during the daytime), the rest of the year is simply incredible. Winter daytime temperatures are a delightful 20-25C while the spring and autumn months hover between 30-35C. The weather is reliable; it’s the closest thing you can get to guaranteed sunshine. With an average of 6-10 rainy days a year, your chance of dancing in the rain is minimal. No really, the residents of Dubai love the novelty of rain so much that everyone is outside in it; the beaches are at their busiest when the skies are threatening rain.
2. Perfect Beaches
What’s your idea of a perfect beach? Maybe you like the sand between your toes to be powdery soft and white. Maybe you like the beach to have high quality, clean facilities such as restaurants, changing rooms and toilets. Perhaps you’ve got young children with you; calm, shallow water is a must for their safety and your own peace of mind. Perhaps you’re a sporty type with a passion for jetskiing or kitesurfing. Whatever you’re looking for from a beach, there is somewhere on Dubai’s coastline that’s going to tick your boxes. Over 100kms of coastline stretches the length of the city so you’re never far away from a place where sun, sand and sea meet.
If you think you never have anything to wear, then it’s time you restocked your wardrobe, and there’s no better place to do it than in Dubai. The Dubai Mall is the world’s largest shopping mall, with stores for every taste and budget. Flagship stores such as Galleries Lafayette, Bloomingdales and Debenhams stand next to boutique stores and high end designer brands. Throw in our beloved high street brands such as Next, River Island, Victoria Secret and Bath & Body Works, and you can shop ’til you drop. With the family? Don’t despair. Every mall has something to distract the non-shoppers, whether that’s an indoor ski slope, aquarium, ice-rink or a zero-gravity human flight experience.
Nature? I hear you ask. Yes! Surprisingly, the UAE actually has a bit of everything, which is another reason why it’s a top destination. Of course, with coastline along the East and West of the country, diving is a popular pastime of residents. Although Dubai is not a diving-specific destination, it is worth doing if you’re in the area anyway. You can see the resident dolphins on the East coast near Fujairah, as well as passing pelagics such as whale sharks and dozens of species of sharks. Turtles, barracuda, parrotfish, lionfish and porcupine fish as common, while divers with an interest in the small things will find many different species of nudibranch and seahorses. The East coast also has a magnificent mountain range, which can easily be explored by 4×4. Camping is allowed everywhere, so pitch a tent, make a fire and enjoy. The lack of light in the mountains also reveals a galaxy so full of stars, you can hardly believe it’s the same sky as the one you’re used to. The rolling sand dunes are also wonderful, so much so that they deserve their own article, and you can read about that here.
Dubai as a city is a melting pot of different cultures; 160 different nationalities have come together to live in peace and harmony. It’s a great experience, to be surrounded by so many different cultures and it takes people-watching to a whole new level. The other benefit of course, is that the food offering in the city is exceptional. Whatever your taste, whatever your preference, there is something for you. Whether you want to stick to the cuisines that you know and love, or whether you want to explore something new and different. Many people find comfort knowing that the large chain restaurants are nearby; we’re talking Cheesecake Factory, IHOP, Wagamamas and TGI Fridays. The world’s top restaurants and chefs are also represented, Nobu can be found in the incredible Atlantis hotel while Gordon Ramsey has several restaurants around the city. Add to the that the basic almost-street-food offerings which locals queue up for, such as Indian restaurant Ravis and fish restaurant Bu Qtair and your trip to Dubai can end up being a real culinary journey.
Now that you know why you have to visit, let us show you Dubai’s Top Sights. Have you been to Dubai? Tell us what you loved most about this vibrant city in the comments below.
*Feature Image by Jason Mrachina.