When you think of Asia, your thoughts may turn to lush rice paddies and steamy jungles, but what about the deserts? Yes, even the arid countries of this continent have their share of spectacular scenery, including sand dunes, rugged mountains, and mesmerizing sunsets. In the southwest portion of the Asian continent, you will find the United Arab Emirates, and its capital city, Dubai.
When most people picture Dubai, they imagine a city dominated by towering skyscrapers and state-of-the-art architecture. While it is true that Dubai’s skyline has become a global symbol of innovation and opulence, this metropolis also has plenty to offer travelers with an interest in history, culture, and nature.
From the 18th century until the 1930s, Dubai’s pearl industry was a major source of income for the emirate. However, when the market collapsed during the Great Depression, this once-thriving economy entered a downward spiral that was only partially reversed with the discovery of oil. In 1971, Dubai joined with six other emirates to form the United Arab Emirates (UAE). While oil still accounts for two-thirds of export revenues and government spending, steps are being taken towards economic diversification.
As a result, the city has become a hub for international business and is home to a growing number of cultural festivals and sporting events. Among these are the Art Dubai fair, which showcases contemporary art, and the Dubai International Film Festival, which promotes local and foreign movies. In addition, the Dubai Museum is a popular tourist attraction for those interested in learning more about the area’s past and traditions.
While many visitors come to Dubai to shop, eat, and drink, others enjoy exploring its many parks and green areas. The emirate has over 300 public parks and numerous outdoor recreational centres that offer a variety of activities, such as cycling, horseback riding, kayaking, golfing, and sand volleyball. The most famous park is the Jumeirah Beach Park, which is a stunning expanse of white sand that offers jogging, swimming, and kite-flying opportunities.
It is important to note that Dubai has strict dress codes, so visitors should wear modest clothing when visiting religious sites or other sensitive areas. It is also impolite to take pictures of strangers and to enter or photograph government buildings, so tourists should ask permission before snapping a photo. It is also important to be alcohol smart and to never drink and drive.
In terms of the climate, Dubai has a hot, dry summer and a mild winter with temperatures that rarely drop below freezing. The best time to visit is from November through March, when the weather is cooler and less humid. Visitors can expect a good deal of sunshine during these months, and they should pack light clothes and comfortable shoes. In addition, it is a good idea to bring sunscreen, as the sun can be extremely intense. Finally, visitors should be aware of the potential terrorist threat in the region and should monitor local news media for updates.