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There is often a perception that Dubai is a playground only of the rich and...

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Dubai

There is often a perception that Dubai is a playground only of the rich and famous. This can mean that holidaymakers telling friends of a pending visit to Dubai can be suspected of a secret lottery win. The reality is, however, that the Dubai government are doing all within their power to encourage international tourism and the emirate is opening up to people of all social status.

One of the main reasons why international visitors come to Dubai is for its shopping facilities. There are more than seventy shopping malls in Dubai, as well as countless numbers of more traditional retail outlets. A lot of traders still negotiate on prices for items, so it is not always a good idea to pay the first price suggested. Shoppers and sightseers alike should not miss visiting the Ibn Battuta Mall. Named after a legendary traveller, the mall is separated in to geographically themed wings. As well as retail outlets, it also contains a wide variety of entertainment facilities and food and drink establishments.

History and culture in Dubai

Although much of Dubai is of ultra-modern construction and design, the emirate still retains a wealth of sites with Old World appeal. There is no better place to start your historic exploration of Dubai than at the Dubai Museum, a former fort, constructed in the eighteenth century. The museum contains artefacts relating to traditional Arabian life down through the centuries, from weapons to musical instruments. Sheikh Saeed al Maktoum House was the palace of a former ruler of the area and is now a museum, affording full insight in to the privileged lifestyle of the period. Jumeirah Mosque is Dubai’s largest and although tours are available on certain days, the magnificent architecture of the mosque is best appreciated when the floodlights come on after dark.

Relaxing in Dubai

It is imperative to remember at all times that only certain restaurants and bars in Dubai are allowed to sell alcohol but this should not detract from the entertainment value on offer. The Moroccan themed Kasbar is one bar to make a point of visiting due to its highly unusual terraced construction, while Carter’s in Wafi City in the heart of Dubai is one of the better combined bars and restaurants, very popular with the nightlife crowd later in the evening. The climate of Dubai is very much suited to sun worshippers, though dress code is required to be observed on many public beaches. This is another benefit of private holiday rental in Dubai, permitting discretion and full enjoyment of the climate. If you have children in your party, the Wild Wadi Waterpark is something which should not be missed, where the wonderful variety of rides and activities for all ages are based on the adventures of the legendary Sinbad.

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Looking for a great beach destination? The Red Sea’s warm water is great for... more
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Sharm El Sheikh
Looking for a great beach destination? The Red Sea’s warm water is great for swimming, and there are miles of great beaches in Sharm El Sheikh for working on your tan, but if you’re a diver, look no further. We’re talking enormous schools of fish and tons of excellent dive sites. Sure, it’s easier to get here if you live in Europe, but even if you’re farther afield, it’s worth the trek. (Editor's note: Our list was compiled before political unrest prompted many countries to issue travel warnings for Egypt. If you're currently planning a trip to Egypt, please consider the risks and monitor your government's travel alerts.)
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A youthful, modern metropolis with a diverse population, Tel Aviv dates back to... more
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Tel Aviv
A youthful, modern metropolis with a diverse population, Tel Aviv dates back to only 1909. Clubs, bars, a thriving arts community, gay life and beaches attract artists, musicians and young professionals to Tel Aviv's more secular scene. Its UNESCO-designated Bauhaus architecture has won the city the moniker "The White City". Walk, drive or take cabs between the cultural exhibition pavilions of Haaretz Museum, historic Independence Hall Museum, bustling Carmel Market and Old Jaffa's boardwalk.
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Cairo’s an ancient city that also happens to be a modern metropolis—it’s one of... more
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Cairo
Cairo’s an ancient city that also happens to be a modern metropolis—it’s one of the biggest cities in the Middle East and has the traffic and noise issues to prove it. But as long as you’re not looking for solitude, Cairo—the City of the Thousand Minarets—is a splendid place to explore Egyptian history and culture. (Editor's note: Our list was compiled before political unrest prompted many countries to issue travel warnings for Egypt. If you're currently planning a trip to Egypt, please consider the risks and monitor your government's travel alerts.)
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This former Bedouin fishing village is now a popular tourist... more
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Dahab
This former Bedouin fishing village is now a popular tourist destination—especially for serious windsurfers, who'll find some of the best conditions in the world off Dahab's beaches. Long known as a laid-back, backpacker-friendly town, Dahab is becoming more developed, yet retains a casual vibe. Finally, Dahab is also home to the Blue Hole, the world's most dangerous dive site. Only very experienced technical divers should attempt passage through "The Arch" here; if you're a novice diver, stay close to the surface. (Editor's note: Our list was compiled before political unrest prompted many countries to issue travel warnings for Egypt. If you're currently planning a trip to Egypt, please consider the risks and monitor your government's travel alerts.)
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Religious pilgrims have been travelling to Jerusalem for centuries, yet you... more
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Jerusalem
Religious pilgrims have been travelling to Jerusalem for centuries, yet you don’t have to share their zeal in order to appreciate this city’s profound cultural and historical significance. Plan on seeing the major sights, but also leave plenty of time to walk through the streets and simply immerse yourself in the daily life of such an ancient and revered place.
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Atmospheric backstreets paint a very different picture to first impressions of... more
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Abu Dhabi
Atmospheric backstreets paint a very different picture to first impressions of Abu Dhabi. The often slick and modern capital of the U.A.E. presents a fascinating mixture of tradition and progression. Tracing its rich history back to around 3000 B.C., Abu Dhabi maintains a more distinctly Arabian ambiance than glitzy Dubai. Taxis are a safe, reliable way to get around sites such as The Corniche Park, the White Fort, the Heritage Village, which offers glimpses into Bedouin life, and the Women's Craft Centre.
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Stunning coral reefs and turquoise waters perfect for windsurfing have made... more
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Hurghada
Stunning coral reefs and turquoise waters perfect for windsurfing have made Hurghada, on Egypt's Red Sea Coast, a busy resort town. Within easy reach of the stunning Giftun Islands and the Eastern Arabian Desert, Hurghada has seen enormous amounts of development in the past decade—and yes, it does seem overrun with tourists at times. But it’s a relatively easy beach escape for Europeans, and some of the world's best diving and snorkeling sites are just offshore. Walk or catch a cab to explore the old quarter, El Dahar. (Editor's note: Our list was compiled before political unrest prompted many countries to issue travel warnings for Egypt. If you're currently planning a trip to Egypt, please consider the risks and monitor your government's travel alerts.)
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The Luxor in Las Vegas : the actual CITY of Luxor, Egypt : marshmallow fluff :... more
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Luxor
The Luxor in Las Vegas : the actual CITY of Luxor, Egypt : marshmallow fluff : fois gras. (We’re sure you knew that. We just enjoy analogies.) Sure, the hotel/casino in Vegas might have a beam of light visible from space, but we bet you'll find a hot-air balloon ride over the Valley of Kings much more illuminating. (Editor's note: Our list was compiled before political unrest prompted many countries to issue travel warnings for Egypt. If you're currently planning a trip to Egypt, please consider the risks and monitor your government's travel alerts.)
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The shining jewel of Qatar, Doha is a multicultural city, home to most of the... more
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Doha
The shining jewel of Qatar, Doha is a multicultural city, home to most of the country's population as well as expatriate communities from a range of origins. Shopping abounds in the city's plentiful malls, while the Corniche impresses visitors with picturesque architecture and dazzling views of the harbor. Doha boasts myriad cultural facilities, including the futuristic Education City and the National Museum. Having hosted the 2006 Asian Games, the city is home to many sports complexes as well.
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