Saturday, July 31, 2010

DUBAI PART 2.(scris de Seabee)

    It's my pleasure to be a guest writer here,and to be able to tell you about the city I live in, Dubai,a city you should consider when you are planning your next holiday. This will be a series of stories, each one concentrating on a particular aspect of the city and the first is to introduce Dubai to you. Dubai is one of seven emirates (states) which make up the country of the United Arab Emirates. It is the second largest emirate (the largest is Abu Dhabi, which is also the federal capital) and is the commercial and tourist centre.Dubai is located on the Arabian (Persian) Gulf, with beautiful beaches, some of the best hotels in the world and a thriving tourist industry. The weather is sunny all year, with very little rain. Here the summer is very hot and humid, when you can expect temperature around 45 C or higher and humidity around 90%, so that's when the hotel rates are at their lowest and special airface deals can be expected. But the best time to visit is between October and April, when the weather is sunny, temperatures are warm and humidity is low-perfect weather for a great holiday!
      You've probably read about the amazing construction boom that's been happening in Dubai. It now has the world's tallest building, the world's tallest hotel, the world's largest man-made marina, the world's largest man made islands and many more new attractions.These developments are in what is known as New Dubai, which has been built on what was almost empty desert until 2001. So there are now two  parts to Dubai, the original historic city based around the Creek and 'New Dubai'. The Creek is an inlet from the Gulf around which the city developed, the modern era beginning in 1830. 'New Dubai' is where the beaches, beach hotels, Burj Al Arab (the famous seven star hotel), Wild Wadi water park, all the new cities and many of the mega-malls are located. Huge residential and commercial neighbourhoods, roads, a rail system, lakes and canals are all being built here.Offshore we have the world's largest man-made islands being built. There are three Palm Islands, the first at Jumeirah already has thousands of people living in villas and apartments and many hotels. There's also The World, which is 300 man-made islands in the shape of a world map. 
       If you're visiting you'll need to decide which area you prefer to stay in. My own preference is around the Creek because I love the old Dubai. But if you want a beach holiday, or want to be amazed by development on a scale the world has never before seen, then 'New Dubai' is where to stay. There are also several hotels on Sheikh Zayed Road, which is the main freeway between Dubai & Abu Dhabi and they're located in-between the two parts of Dubai.

The Creek is where the original settlement was established and it still is the bustling, evocative heart of the city with its own unique sights, sounds and smells. The traditional wooden boats, dhows, still use the Creek as their base, from where they trade cargo between Dubai and places such as Iran, India and East Africa. There's huge trade done by the dhows and it still continues as it's been done for nearly two centuries, living history to see. The traditional buildings now have ultra-modern towers alongside them and the original spot where the city began, Shindagah, is being restored and is a 'must-see', as is Heritage Village next to it. The traditional little wooden abras,( ferry boats ), travel between Deira and Bur Dubai, and with the fare each way just AED1 it's a great way to cross the Creek. With the city's traffic problems it's also the quickest and easiest way to cross the Creek. There are old souks on either side - Deira has the gold, spice and perfume souks, Bur Dubai has textiles and of course there are many other types of goods in both souk areas.
Local shopping streets
Around the two souk areas are older local shopping areas, colourful bustling streets with little shops packed with an unbelievable array of products. In Deira the shopping streets are in the area around Naif Road. In Bur Dubai it stretches back from the Creek up to Al Faheidi Street.

A little further out are two more older local shopping areas; Karama, which I find soul-less and not at all attractive although there are many bargains to be had, and Satwa, which is a much more atmospheric area.

The city also has several big new shopping malls, for example Al Ghurair City & Deira City Centre in Deira and Burjuman in Bur Dubai are well worth spending time in, even if you don't plan to buy anything.

The unprecedented development now taking place is many times larger than the original city. When I lived here back in the late seventies the population was less than 250,000. Now it's nearing 2 million. Dubai Marina, the world's largest man-made marina, is just one of many new 'cities'.  When it's completed it will be home to well over 100,000 people. It's easy walking distance to the beach, has many shops, restaurants and hotels and has two Metro stations, so it's a good location to base yourself for a holiday. 'New Dubai' is where you'll find the beach hotels, so if the beach is where you want to stay, this is where to look. They're not cheap because they're all five star resorts with private beaches and the rates reflect that. There are new cities springing up all over the new development areas. Some are commercial such as Internet & Media Cities, others are purely residential, often gated communities, others are mixed residential and retail with shops and restaurants. The famous seven star hotel Burj Al Arab is in 'New Dubai', alongside Wild Wadi water park, Jumeirah Beach Hotel and Madinat Jumeirah. Souk Madinat is a must-visit for it's stunning traditional design, the shops and restaurants. Alongside Burj Al Arab is a large public beach, which stretches for several kilometres, a great place to relax and to take photographs. It's about 30 kilometres from the city centre. The nearest beach to the city is Jumeirah Open Beach, which is on the outskirts of the city and easily accessible by taxi.
       'New Dubai' has several exceptional shopping malls, in particular Mall of the Emirates, Ibn Battuta Mall, Dubai Mall and there's also Mercato Mall in Jumeirah. MoE has more designer outlets than any other mall, Ibn Battuta is a stunning architectural wonder, Mercato is a smaller mall with a nice buzz and Dubai Mall is one of the world's largest malls. All have exceptional shopping and restaurant choices.
       So there's a very brief introduction to Dubai. Choose which area you prefer to stay in, but do take the time to visit New Dubai and the old original city.


      I want to thank you again for your beautiful article and for all your help and I can't wait the new things you'll write here on my blog..

1 comment:

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