Dubai is a glittering gastronomic, business and tourism oasis in the United Arab Emirates (UAE). A soaring city of glass and concrete surrounded by miles of sandy beaches and crystal gulf waters, Dubai is renowned for its luxury hotels and resorts as well as its shopping malls and opulent retail spaces. It is also home to the world’s tallest building, the Burj Khalifa.
The city is a modern, vibrant metropolis with many international businesses and sports events attracting millions of visitors annually. Its economy has transitioned from being oil-driven in the past to a more balanced mix of industries with tourism, aviation, real estate and financial services now accounting for most of its GDP. The city is a popular stop on flight routes between Europe and Southeast Asia, and is a major air cargo hub.
It is easy to get around the city, with most of the major hotels and shopping centers located in a central location within the downtown area. The most convenient and cost-effective way to get around is via public transportation, with the Dubai Metro being a quick and efficient option. Taxis are also plentiful and relatively inexpensive, with rates ranging from $3 to $10 for a short ride.
A variety of dining options are available, with a wide range of restaurants and cafes serving up local favorites as well as many international cuisines. Some of the most popular dishes include koobideh, kebabs, falafel and baklava. Many eateries serve belly dance entertainment as part of the dinner experience, making it a fun and unique way to enjoy a meal in Dubai.
For those looking for a more upscale experience, there are also several fine-dining restaurants. One of the most notable is the Michelin-starred Eleven at Jumeirah, a stunning restaurant overlooking the Arabian Gulf. The restaurant serves a limited number of tables in two sittings each night, with a rotating menu that includes creations like foie gras stuffed dates and 36-month-aged Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese.
With a burgeoning art and film scene, Dubai hosts the annual Art Dubai fair as well as an international film festival. The city’s cultural institutions are complemented by a well-established public library system and an impressive selection of museums.
Sports are a big part of life in the UAE, with Dubai hosting a number of global events. These include the Dubai Desert Classic golf tournament on the European PGA Tour and the Dubai World Cup, the world’s richest horse race. The Dubai International Motor Race is another popular event, and the city’s new stadium is home to the Middle East’s first Formula 1 race.
The city is a safe and secure place to live, with low levels of both violent and property crime. Petty crimes such as pickpocketing and scams are common, however, and expats should exercise the same level of caution they would in any large city.
While the UAE is a predominantly Muslim country, its citizens are free to practice their religion and attend international schools, with the majority of students enrolled in private or government-sponsored schools. The city’s media industry is a blend of state-backed television and newspapers, which are heavily censored, as well as branch offices for foreign news outlets, such as the BBC and the Associated Press, which operate without restriction.