Dubai fascinating city, where the modern stands side by side with the historic, offers some of the best duty-free shopping in the world. Here, traditional dhows still ferry their wares along the creek which divides the city. The championship golf courses, superb water sports, sandy beaches, sophisticated hotels, bustling souks where travellers and locals can bargain for gold, carpets and fine handicrafts, all combine to make this a most exciting city.
The history of Dubai is relatively short but forms an integral part of the new ‘modern’ Dubai. The Emirate has been there for about thousands of years, but within the last few decades, Dubai as managed to transform itself into the enthusiastic, charismatic Emirate which is experienced by people today.
The introduction of full tax exemption in 1894 in Dubai attracted traders from around the globe to take full advantage of the unique benefits provided by the Emirates. In 1940’s and 50’s, Dubai blossomed in the gold trade which bought a strong economy for its population of 40,000 people. In the mid of 1960s, Dubai discovered oil which boosted its economy leading to an incursion of foreign workers outside Dubai.
In the year 1973, Dubai, along with other Emirates, accepted a single currency: UAE Dirham. In the late 70s, Dubai created the Jebel Ali Free Zone which was the world’s largest port where imports and exports of foreign countries and businesses took place.
Due to an increase in prices of oil, Dubai started to target the development of free trade and promoted tourism. By the year 2000, financial market of Dubai was well established and by the end of 2006, it was able to make a net profit of around AED 797.5 million. The Emirate also invested and contributed in the development of the Jebel Ali Free Zone, which became a success and added around 26% towards GDP of Dubai in 2007.
Apart from Jebel Ali, the Internet City and Media City of Dubai were two of the original free-zones which offered tax free commercial space to foreign companies. The demand for residential real estate was bizarre with thousands of companies moving their offices to Dubai. Investors were keen to invest in properties in Dubai even before the construction took place which attracted the whole world towards Dubai.
The Crown Prince of Dubai made a promise to foreign nationals to own a freehold property within the Emirates which was followed by the publication of the law which allowed the foreign nationals the right to register their freehold properties.
Dubai has retained the foundations which excelled it to become the place for an investor’s dream despite the current global economic conditions, Dubai has become a unique place and has one of the most booming real estate industry of the world. The prices have changed now and the market is now coming back. Now, the best property deals ever seen are available on the market and some areas like Dubai Marina have even experienced a rise in rental prices.
Burj Khalifa is the tallest skyscraper in Dubai and is the world’s biggest building ever built. Its height is around 2,712 ft and is 160 stories high. Its construction was started in the year 2004 and was inaugurated on Jan 4, 2010 and is also the tallest man made structure in the world. The person needs to buy entry tickets to go inside the Burj Khalifa
It is a luxury hotel in Dubai and is located on an artificial island which is connected to the mainland by a private curving bridge. It is the third tallest hotel in the world and is shaped like the sail of a ship. It has a helipad at a height of 210 m above the ground. The hotel is managed by the Jumeirah group and has 28 double storey floors which has 202 bedroom suites
It is the world’s largest shopping mall by total area and has 1,200 shops. It was the most visited building in the planet in the year 2011. It attracts over 54 million visitors every year. It includes a 250 room luxury hotel, 22 cinema halls and 120 plus restaurants and cafes. It has over 14000 parking spaces with valet services and car locator ticketing systems. It was inaugurated in the year 2008 with 1000 retailers
It is also known as Bastakia quarter which was built in the 19th century. It was a home to wealthy Persian merchants who dealt with pearls and textiles and who were lured to Dubai because of tax free trading. The buildings showcase the Arabian architecture and narrow lanes tells about the history of Dubai. One can find various art galleries in the historic buildings located here
It is a fountain complex and the world’s second largest choreographed fountain system which is located on the Burj Khalifa lake. It has 6,600 lights and 25 colorful projectors. It is 275m long and throws water up to 500 ft in the air with contemporary Arabian and world music. The water seems to dance when the show starts, with lights and projectors on, it is a beautiful sight and a must see show for visitors
People of Dubai are known as Emirates. They are very warm and welcoming towards the visitors. They are known for their generous hospitality. They are said to be traditional and orthodox by nature. The men wear long white shirt dress known as Khandura along with a head scarf known as ghutra and agal. and women wear black coloured burkha and hijab. Islam is the national religion which is followed by the Emirates
It has a climate as of a tropical desert. Summers are extremely hot and humid. Most days are sunny throughout the year. Winters are warm and short. August is the hottest month and January is the coldest. Due to the weather, rains are short and irregular in Dubai. Most of the rainfall occurs from December to March period. The weather is best from December to March and remains warm
The official currency of Dubai and the United Arab Emirates is Dirham (AED or Arab Emirate Dirham). Notes come in denominations of 5, 10, 20, 50, 100, 200, 500 and 1000 dirhams
Dubai is very well known for its exciting and vibrant nightlife. It has many things to offer in terms of late night entertainment. It hosts several pop stars and DJs from around the globe as well. Although mini skirts, short dresses are frowned upon if wearing in malls and other public places but they are considered as normal clubbing attire in the town. Legal drinking age in Dubai is 21 and IDs are checked to make sure that drinks are not served to people below the age of 21
Some of the clubs serve liquor to those above the age of 25. For visitors, passport can be considered as their IDs and for locals, their driving license or Emirates ID is considered. It is better to take a cab back home if you are planning to drink as UAE has no tolerance for drink and drive. Some of the clubs even host Ladies night and even offer free drinks along with free entry to ladies. The clubs usually start filling around 10 pm and all clubs close at 3 am and bars close around 1 am
The official language is Arabic in UAE but English is the most spoken language in Dubai. Many people will also speak Hindi, Urdu, Bengali, Tamil, Persian, Chinese, Malayalam in addition to many other languages