Definitely Dubai :
Dubai - 4 Nights

Marhaba :
Dubai - 5 Nights

Essential Information about Dubai

With year-round sunshine, intriguing deserts, beautiful beaches, luxurious hotels and shopping malls, fascinating heritage attractions and a thriving business community, Dubai receives millions of leisure and business visitors each year from around the world. These visitors can benefit from a range of services and a local infrastructure that help make any trip to Dubai smooth and hassle-free.

Dubai has a warm, sunny climate that is ideal for tourism, with mild temperatures for most of the year and a low rainfall. Summer temperatures in July and August can reach highs of around 45ºC (113ºF) with high humidity, making this the least comfortable time of year to visit in terms of climate. However, Dubai is well geared up for high temperatures, and public transport, shopping malls, hotels, restaurants and visitor attractions are all air conditioned.

English is widely spoken in Dubai, and as all restaurant menus, road signs and other information is usually presented in both English and Arabic, visitors who speak English will have no trouble making their way around. Many tour operators and travel professionals will also be able to offer services to French, Russian and German speaking visitors.

The local currency is the dirham, which is pegged to the dollar at Dhs 3.67. Dubai offers a sophisticated network of banks, currency exchanges and ATMs, making it easy to access money across the city.

Dubai is tolerant and cosmopolitan and all visitors are welcome. However, Islam is a way of life in the city, and therefore tourists should adopt a certain level of cultural and religious sensitivity for the duration of their stay. While dress codes are fairly liberal, swim wear should only be worn on beaches or at swimming pools, and when visiting shopping malls and other attractions, tourists should wear clothing that is not too tight or revealing. Certain attractions, such as mosques or religious sites, usually have stricter dress codes, requiring both men and women to cover up bare shoulders, arms and legs, and women to wear headscarves.

Despite being governed by Islamic laws, alcohol is available to tourists in licensed bars and restaurants (these are almost always located inside four and five star hotels), and in airport duty free shops. Drinking in public places (such as beaches) is not permitted, and being drunk and disorderly in public can result in stiff penalties.

Fascinating Facts about Dubai

Arabic is the official language of the UAE while English is the language of business, though it competes with Urdu as the lingua franca. You will have little trouble making yourself understood, though when you venture out to the rural areas you will find that English is not as widespread. Knowing the Iranian language, Farsi, will help you get by. Urdu and Malayalam (the language of Kerala in India) can both be reasonably useful because of the large number of Pakistani and Indian expats.

The UAE Dirham (Dhs) is divided into 100 Fils. Notes come in denominations of Dhs 5, 10, 20, 50, 100, 200, 500, 1000. There are 1 Dhs, 50 Fils, 25 Fils, 10 Fils and 5 Fils coins (although the latter two are rarely used today)

U.A.E Local Time is + 4 hours GMT.

Shops in Dubai Opens daily from 10:00 a.m. till 10:00 p.m., Lunch break from 1:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m.

Ramadan is the month during which Muslims fast from dawn until dusk. Bars and Pubs are closed for serving the alcohol in a day time throughout the month. Those with a liquor license can still buy alcohol for consumption at home. Everyone, regardless of their religion, is required to observe the fast in public. That only means not eating and drinking but no smoking as well. Although it is unlikely you will be arrested for breaking these rules, as you would be in Saudi Arabia, you may stopped by the police and told to get rid of your sandwich or put your cigarette out.

In taking photographs of places or people, ask for permission from the concerned people in a very polite manner before taking the shot. Military facilities must not be photographed at all.

Dubai has a land area of 4,114 square kilometers. This makes the emirate larger than Singapore (687 sq km), Hong Kong (1,104 sq km), and Maldives (300 sq km) combined.

The word Dubai may have evolved from the word Daba, which means to creep, referring to the process by which the Dubai Creek slowly flows inland. Another interesting version is, the poet Ahmad Mohammad Obaid claims that Dubai got its name from the same word, Daba, which also refers to a swarm of locusts.

Dubai had a flourishing pearl business, which collapsed with the advent of the First World War and the Great Depression.

Dubai is a part of the Arabian Desert, but is topographically different from it. It is dotted with sandy deserts, where wild grasses and palm trees grow. To the east of the city lie the sabkha, coastal plains covered with salt, which see an abundant growth of desert hyacinths.

Every year, in winter, over 300 bird species migrate through Dubai.

Dubai experiences extremely arid and hot climates, with the mercury shooting as high as 45 Celcius. Average precipitation is not more than 140 mm annually. Summers are prone to severe sandstorms, locally known as shamal, which can last for days on end, and reduce visibility.

The Al Maktoum dynasty has ruled Dubai since 1833. Dubai does not follow the federal judicial system of the United Arab Emirates.

The culture and dress code in Dubai is much more diverse and liberal than the other emirates of the UAE. Though music, arts, and food have a distinct Arabic and Bedouin influence, the large influx of foreigners visiting and working in Dubai have left their indelible mark on the place, which is evident in the cosmopolitan culture of the society. Traditionally, men wear a kandura, a long white robe, that reached up to the ankles, and is either woolen or made from cotton. Women can be seen wearing the abaya, a black garment worn over the clothes.

Dubai has stringent behavioral laws in place, and kissing and dancing in public is considered illegal. It is imperative that Muslim religious restrictions be obeyed by non-Muslims as well.

Dubai has world-famous shopping malls, and tourists flock here regularly to enjoy the Dubai Shopping Festival. The Dubai Mall is the seventh largest mall in the world, and the city is called the Shopping Capital of the Middle East.

On either side of Dubai Creek, lie commercial districts known as souk. These districts are traditionally famous for the exchange of commodities, which were brought in by Arabian cargo vessels known as dhows from east Asia. Visit a souk to get a feel of true Dubai shopping, where customers bargain heavily.

Dubai is famous for its gold market, and the Gold Souk itself has over 250 gold shops! It is said that one in every five persons in Dubai buys at least five pieces of jewelry annually.

Dubai is home to some of the tallest skyscrapers in the world. The Burj Khalifa is the tallest man-made structure on the earth, at a height of 2,717 feet. This towering edifice also currently boasts of the highest restaurant, highest mosque, highest nightclub, and the highest outdoor observation deck in the world! Quite a feat, isn't it? Wait, there's more. If you happen to visit Dubai on new year's eve, this hotel will put up a brilliant display of fireworks, the highest of its kind currently in the world!

The tallest residential building in the world, the 23 Marina is also located in Dubai. The world's tallest hotel, the Rose Tower or Rose Rayhaan, is also found in Dubai, standing tall at 1,092 feet.

Crime rate is virtually zero across the city. Dubai is one of the safest places on earth, where racial tensions among different nationals are unheard of.

The Burj Al Arab, built in the shape of a dhow sail, one of the most luxurious hotels in the world, and the fourth tallest, is built on an artificial island, nearly 280 feet from Jumeirah beach. One of its restaurants, Al Mahara, features a massive seawater aquarium, made of acrylic glass. The entry to this restaurant is through a simulated submarine voyage. Another noteworthy fact, the lobby of this hotel is taller than the Statue of Liberty!

The Dubai Mall, part of the Burj Khalifa, is the biggest shopping mall in the world by total area. It houses the Aquarium and Discovery Center, which has the unique distinction of holding the world record for the largest acrylic panel.

The Mall of the Emirates features Ski Dubai, an indoor ski resort, with an area of 22,500 square meters. There's also the Snow Park, the largest indoor snow park in the world, with an area of 3,000 square meters.

Palm Islands, an artificial group of islands, are being constructed using land reclamation techniques, in Dubai. Once completed, these islands will be the biggest archipelago ever made and will house residential beachfront properties, luxury hotels, theme parks, entertainment centers, malls, sporting facilities, and much more.

The Dubai International Airport is the 5th busiest airport in the world by international passenger traffic, and the 8th busiest cargo airport in the world. Terminal 3 of the airport is the single largest building, by floor space.

You do not need to pay personal and income tax in Dubai!

There are no shops selling alcohol or beer in Dubai. Buying in duty free is your only option if you don't want to pay hotel prices

Global cities require street addresses for couriers to find their destinations. Dubai has none. Posts are instead delivered to PO boxes.

Over 80% of Dubai's population consists of foreigners.

History of U.A.E.

Soon after assuming power on 6th August 1966 as the Ruler of Abu Dhabi, Sheikh Zayed underscored the importance of union and remarked: “In harmony, in some sort of federation, we could follow the example of other developing countries”. The significance of unity and the need to work in co-operation with the other emirates was thus ingrained in Sheikh Zayed’s thinking very early in his career. Although he was fully aware that federation was a novel concept in the region, yet he had a firm conviction that it could be implemented on the basis of common ties that bound the different emirates, and the history and heritage that they shared together for centuries. To translate his ideals of union, co-operation and mutual support into practice, Sheikh Zayed began to devote a large part of his emirate’s income from oil to the Trucial States Development Fund long before the inception of the UAE as a federal state.

In 1968 the British Government, under the pressure of adverse economic conditions, announced the termination of all its treaties protecting the Trucial States and its intention to withdraw from the Gulf by the end of 1971. This sudden decision while threatening to create a military and political vacuum in the area, also helped to reduce the obstacles and difficulties that had hindered the earlier attempts at union of the emirates. The very prospect of ending the special relationship that had existed between Britain and the Trucial States for one hundred and fifty years, clearly sounded the signal for some form of association more formal and more binding than was represented by the Trucial States Council. As a result of these new forces set in motion, Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, Ruler of Abu Dhabi, along with Sheikh Rashid bin Saeed Al Maktoum, Ruler of Dubai, promptly initiated the move towards establishing a federation. This federation was meant to be the nucleus of Arab unity and to protect the potentially oil-rich coast from the ambitions of the more powerful neighboring countries.

The initiative taken by the Rulers of the two leading emirates resulted in a meeting on 18th February 1968, at al Semha on the border between Abu Dhabi and Dubai. This was a historic meeting where Sheikh Zayed and Sheikh Rashid agreed to merge their respective emirates in a union and jointly conduct foreign affairs, defense, security and social services and adopt a common immigration policy. Other administrative matters were left to the jurisdiction of the local government of each emirate. This momentous agreement came to be known as the Union Accord and may be considered as the first step towards uniting the Trucial Coast as a whole. In order to further strengthen the federation, Sheikh Zayed and Sheikh Rashid also invited the Rulers of the five other Trucial States and Bahrain and Qatar to join in the negotiations for the formation of the union.

From 25th to 27th February 1968, the Rulers of these nine states convened a constitutional conference in Dubai. For over three years the eleven-point agreement, conceived in Dubai, served as the basis for intensive efforts to shape the constitutional and legal framework for this ‘Union of Arab Emirates’, comprising these nine member states.

There were countless meetings on many levels of authority. The key issues were agreed in the meetings of the Supreme Council of Rulers, formed by the nine Heads of State. There were formal discussions by the Deputy Rulers and by various committees, involving civil servants from these emirates as well as external advisers. In the summer of 1971, it became clear that Iran no longer lay claim to Bahrain and the Ruler of Bahrain, Sheikh Isa bin Salman Al Khalifah, declared the island states’ independence on 14th August 1971. Qatar followed suit on 1st September 1971.

The authorities in the seven Trucial States next worked on an alternative to the ‘Union of Arab Emirates’. Already the Rulers of the six Trucial States viz., Abu Dhabi, Dubai, Sharjah, Ajman, Umm al Qaiwain and Fujairah, (with Ras al Khaimah still hesitating) had decided to form the United Arab Emirates in a meeting held in Dubai on 18th July 1971. The foundation of an independent, sovereign state was formally proclaimed on 2nd December 1971, and after Ras al Khaimah joined on 10th February 1972, the federation was complete with the inclusion of all the seven former Trucial States. This newly founded federal state became officially known as Dawlat al Imarat al Arabiyya al Muttahida or the United Arab Emirates (UAE). A Provisional Constitution, based on an amended version of the earlier draft constitution of the nine Gulf States, was agreed upon as its formal basis. It defined as its highest objective, the common good of the UAE as a whole. The Provisional Constitution consisting of 152 articles, divided into a Preamble and 10 parts, specified the powers which were to be allocated to the new federal institutions, while all others were to remain the prerogative of the local governments of the individual emirates. The five central authorities outlined in the Constitution are:

The Supreme Council constituted by the seven Rulers; it is the highest policy-making body of the state and is vested with the ultimate legislative and executive powers.
The President and Vice President of the federal state.
The Council of Ministers or Cabinet.
The Federal National Council (FNC); it is a consultative council comprising forty members drawn from the emirates on the basis of their population with eight deputies each from Abu Dhabi and Dubai, six each from Sharjah and Ras al Khaimah, and four each from Fujairah, Ajman and Umm al Qaiwain.

The Judiciary; it is structured into a hierarchy of courts at the apex of which is the Federal Supreme Court.

The Ruler of Abu Dhabi, Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, was elected by his fellow Rulers as the first President of the UAE, a post to which he has been successively re-elected at five-year intervals. The then Ruler of Dubai, Sheikh Rashid bin Saeed Al Maktoum, was elected as Vice-President, a post which he held until his death in 1990, when his eldest son Sheikh Maktoum bin Rashid was elected to succeed him. In a historic meeting on 20th May 1996, the Federal Supreme Council approved a draft amendment that made the country’s Provisional Constitution the permanent Constitution of the UAE, and named Abu Dhabi as the capital of the state.

The UAE embarked on its political career as a federation of seven regional states of very different sizes, natural resources, population and wealth, but with a common history and heritage. Abu Dhabi, is the largest in terms of area, and is also blessed with the richest oil reserves. The federal institutions are very largely financed by Abu Dhabi. Dubai was even in 1971, the best connected of the city-states and continues to grow as the hub of the region’s trade and business. Some of the other emirates have always been endowed with relative wealth of water and arable land. But despite these disparities, the UAE’s impressive record of progress has been possible because of the success of the federation and its leaders working in a spirit of harmony and co-operation for the achievement of common goals.

The central authorities undertook as their primary duty, the utilization of the wealth of the country’s natural resources for the benefit of the UAE as a whole. This contributed in a large measure to the success and permanence of the federation. The Rulers of the UAE, which today ranks among the top oil and gas producers worldwide, used its oil wealth with remarkable vision and foresight to improve the lives of its people, and create an infrastructure that supports a growing list of non-oil industries and activities. From the very outset, it has been the firm conviction of Sheikh Zayed that “Money is of no value unless it is used for the benefit of the people”. The social services provided by the federal ministries, especially free education, housing, healthcare and social aid for the Emiratis, paved the way for a rapid and phenomenal growth and development throughout the country. And finally with the advent of modern technology, the UAE has been transformed from one of the least developed countries to a modern nation state within less than three decades.

Another important factor contributing to the political stability enjoyed by the UAE since its formal inception, is the carefully planned and successfully implemented foreign policy of its leaders which is primarily aimed at “promoting conciliation and defusing confrontation and conflict”. The cornerstone of the UAE’s foreign policy is to protect the sovereignty of the country and the independence of its citizens within the broader framework of Gulf security. Another key component of this policy has been to gradually expand the country’s political horizons and develop relations with international powers and work in co-operation with international organizations.

Thus soon after its emergence as a full-fledged state, the UAE joined the Arab League and the United Nations. It was one of the driving forces behind the foundation of the Islamic Conference Organization (ICO) in the 1970s. The establishment of the Gulf Co-operation Council (GCC), comprising the UAE, Oman, Qatar, Bahrain Kuwait and Saudi Arabia, at a summit held in Abu Dhabi in 1981, and the promotion of relations with other Arab countries, are reflections of the UAE’s determination to bolster solidarity with the rest of the Arab World.

The role of the President of the UAE, Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan, needs to be particularly emphasized in this connection as his stature has grown internationally in tandem with the status of the country on the world stage.Over the years, he has emerged as the mentor and mediator for the younger statesmen not only in the GCC, but also within the Arab World and for many a developing country. It is also largely due to his humanitarian approach derived from his firm faith in Islam, that a host of poor countries and communities worldwide have benefited from the financial and material assistance given in the name of the UAE by the Ruler of Abu Dhabi. Furthermore, the UAE’s military organization is the only non-Nato force helping with peacekeeping in Kosovo. It is not surprising therefore, that the spectacular generosity of this small country has drawn the attention of the world by helping to alleviate the misery of the victims of natural or man-made calamities at home and abroad.

Even individually, all the emirates and notably Abu Dhabi, Dubai and Sharjah, are drawing international attention by offering wide-ranging economic opportunities, sports and leisure facilities, cultural activities and also by creating awareness for the protection of the environment and wildlife, and by promoting tourism. The remarkable advancement of the Emirati women in every sphere of life constitutes another important yardstick for measuring the progress of the country as a whole. Accorded equal status and opportunities by the Constitution, women of the UAE today are making their presence felt in society in a pronounced way. The UAE Women’s Federation established in Abu Dhabi in 1975 by Sheikha Fatima bint Mubarak, wife of the President, along with its branches in all the other emirates, deserves credit for playing a major role in the emancipation of women. However, what is even more noteworthy is that despite overall modernization, the architects of UAE’s development consider the preservation and continuation of their traditional culture and time-honored heritage to be of utmost importance.

The success of the UAE’s political system lies in the fact that it represents a unique combination of the traditional and modern with an inherent commitment “to consensus, discussion and direct democracy”. The sacrifices and achievements of its founding fathers, contributed to the emergence of this modern nation in place of the erstwhile independent and backward emirates. The UAE is the only federal state in the Arab world that has not only survived, but has succeeded in evolving a distinct national identity through the passage of time. On the occasion of the celebration of twenty-five years of success of the federation, Sheikh Zayed had remarked with satisfaction, “that which has been accomplished has exceeded all our expectations, and that, with the help of God and a sincere will, confirms that there is nothing that cannot be achieved in the service of the people if determination is firm and intentions are sincere”. The Federation of the UAE is, and will continue to be, a source of pride for the present and future generations of Emiratis.

Seven Emirates

The United Arab Emirates is comprised of seven emirates, which occupy the southeastern corner of the Arabian Peninsula. Each emirate, unique and rich in tradition, is an essential component necessary for making up the whole.

Abu Dhabi
Abu Dhabi, by far the largest emirate, is ruled by the Al Nahyan family. It occupies 67,340 square kilometres or 86.7% of the total area of the country. The emirate is primarily a vast desert area with about two dozen islands in the coastal waters, including the island where the city of Abu Dhabi is located, plus six sizeable islands further out in the Arabian Gulf. The population of the emirate is concentrated in three areas: the capital city, Abu Dhabi; Al Ain, an oasis city located near the Hajar Mountains; and the villages of the Liwa oases.
Traditionally, the population along the coast relied on fishing and pearling for their livelihood, whilst those in the hinterland relied on date plantations and camel herding. Through remarkable leadership and personal commitment, His Highness Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan developed Abu Dhabi into an influential, fully modernised state. Upon Sheikh Zayed's death in November 2004, Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan became UAE President and Ruler of Abu Dhabi.

Dubai, the second largest of the seven emirates, is ruled by the Al Maktoum family. It occupies an area of approximately 3,900 kilometres, which includes a small enclave called Hatta, situated close to Oman, amongst the Hajar Mountains. Dubai, the capital city, is located along the creek, a natural harbour, which traditionally provided the basis of the trading industry. Pearling and fishing were the main sources of income for the people of Dubai. Under the wise leadership of its rulers, Dubai's focus on trade and industry transformed it into the leading trading port along the southern Gulf. His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum is the current ruler of Dubai.

Sharjah, which shares its southern border with Dubai, is ruled by the Al Qasimi family. It is approximately 2,600 square kilometres and is the only emirate to have coastlines on both the Arabian Gulf and the Gulf of Oman. In the nineteenth century the town of Sharjah was the leading port in the lower Gulf. Produce from the interior of Oman, India and Persia arrived there. Sharjah's salt mines meant that salt constituted an important part of its export business, along with pearls. In the 1930s when the pearling industry declined and trade decreased due to the creek silting up, Imperial Airways' flying boats set up a staging post for flights en route to India, which benefited the residents of Sharjah. Today, under the leadership of Sheikh Sultan bin Mohammed Al Qasimi, Sharjah is the cultural and educational centre of the UAE and takes pride in preserving the country's cultural heritage as well as promoting Arab culture and traditions
Ajman is the smallest emirate, comprising only 260 square kilometres. It is ruled by the Al Nuami family. Surrounded mostly by the emirate of Sharjah, Ajman also possesses the small enclaves of Manama and Musfut in the Hajar Mountains. Along the creek dhow building was the specialised trade. Fishing and date-trees provided the local population with their primary means of sustenance. Ajman benefited greatly from the union of the emirates, a fact that is reflected today in their stately buildings and infrastructure. Sheikh Humaid bin Rashid Al Nuami has been the ruler since 1981.

Umm Al Qaiwain
Umm Al Qaiwain is ruled by the Al Mualla family. It is the second smallest emirate, with a total area of around 770 square kilometres. Positioned between the emirates of Sharjah and Ajman to the south and Ras Al Khaimah to the north, Umm Al Qaiwain has the smallest population. Fishing is the local population's primary means of income. Date farming also plays a significant role in the economy. After the union of the emirates in 1971 Umm Al Qaiwain developed into a modern state, and continues to progress under its present ruler, Sheikh Rashid bin Ahmed Al Mualla.

Ras Al Khaimah
Ras Al Khaimah, the most northerly emirate, is ruled by another branch of the Al Qasimi family. It covers an area of 1,700 square kilometres. Thanks to the run-off water from the Hajar Mountains, Ras Al Khaimah has a unique abundance of flora, so it is no surprise that agriculture is important to the local economy. The emirate also benefits from its stone quarries, and fishing, which is plentiful in the rich waters of the Gulf. The city of Ras Al Khaimah, situated on an inlet, has a rich history. It was renowned for its prosperous port and for its exquisite pearls, which were famous as being the whitest and roundest available anywhere. Ras Al Khaimah's current ruler is Sheikh Saqr bin Mohammed Al Qasim

The only emirate without a coastline on the Arabian Gulf is Fujairah, which is ruled by the Al Sharqi family. Situated along the coast of the Gulf of Oman, Fujairah covers about 1,300 square kilometres. Unlike other emirates, where the desert forms a large part of the terrain, mountains and plains are its predominant features. Fujairah's economy is based on fishing and agriculture. Like Ras Al Khaimah, the land in Fujairah is irrigated by rainwater from the Hajar Mountains, making it ideal for farming. Sheikh Hamad bin Mohammed Al Sharqi is the present ruler.

Shopping in Dubai
Shopping in Dubai revolves around its malls - large and small - and a definite mall culture exists here. Malls are places to meet, eat and mingle. Many of these air-conditioned malls provide entertainment and people of all ages can spend hours in them. From the smaller community malls dotted around the city, to the ultra-modern mega malls that have changed the skyline, shopping opportunities abound and with most shops open until 22:00 every night, there’s enough time to browse. The popularity of the malls is evident by the crowds that they pull, particularly at the weekends.

Special events are held during Dubai Shopping Festival, Dubai Summer Surprises and Ramadan, with entertainment for children and some special offers in the shops. These are peak shopping times and an evening in the larger malls at this time is not for the faint-hearted! Most of the malls have plenty of parking – often stretched to the limits at the weekends; all have taxi ranks and many are handy for bus routes.

With so much choice out there, malls make sure they can offer something unique to shoppers to draw the crowds. In terms of architecture, Ibn Battuta is remarkable – six distinct architectural styles reflecting the sights of Egypt, China, India, Persia, Tunisia and Andalusia. Mall of the Emirates has got their unique selling point covered – a community theatre and a huge ski slope has made this one of the busier malls. Deira City Centre is the old kid on the block and yet is still consistently popular because of its excellent range of outlets, huge cinema multiplex and wide range of food outlets. Wafi City and BurJuman have cornered the market for exclusive boutiques and designer labels. Despite the choice of shopping centres on offer, more are opening every few months! The Dubai Mall being the worlds largest and most recent.

About Souq
‘Souq’ in Arabic represents a market or place where any kinds of goods are bought or exchanged. For centuries, traditional wooden dhows from India, Sri Lanka and the Far East would anchor in Dubai’s creek and sell their exotic wares. In those days gone by shopping was more than an exchange of money or goods, it was an important ritual, not only to stock up on essential items for the home, but also to meet up with friends and catch up on news.

Over the years, the range of items on sale in the souqs have altered to include the latest in electronic goods, consumer items as well the traditional spices, silks and perfumes. The souks provide a bustling market atmosphere and are alive with the cacophony of sounds from animated shopkeepers, to excited customers haggling for the best price!

Full of colour and character, a trip to any one of Dubai’s souqs will take you into a journey into the city’s history, provide you with excellent photo opportunities, and most of all it is a fun place to shop! And whilst you shop, you will get the delicious aroma of the freshly baked unleavened bread baked in the traditional ‘tandoor’ from the many bakeries in the souq.

So go ahead, discover and enjoy the souqs of Dubai.

The souks, or traditional markets, are one of Dubai's greatest attractions. They are located on both sides of the creek, with the most impressive on the Deira side. The highlight is the colourful Spice Market, which abounds with exotic aromas and bustles with local residents seeking bargains. Wandering around the atmospheric souks is a good way for visitors to get in touch with how life was in Dubai, before oil was discovered. They are worth a visit for their bustling atmosphere, the eclectic variety of goods and the traditional way of doing business. It is wise to visit when the weather is a little cooler in the late afternoon, but for early birds the souks open 07:00-12:00.They then re- pen between 17:00-19:0, every day except Friday, when they only open in the afternoon. Thursday and Friday evenings are the busiest times as this is the official weekend.

Gold Souk
Dubai is called ‘The city of Gold’ and the best way to experience this ultimate gold bazaar is with a visit to the traditional gold souk. Streets of shops are aligned with sparking jewellery - gold, diamonds, rubies, emeralds, opals and amethysts - the choice is impressive, as are the prices. The difficulty is in deciding where to start for the mere window shopper. For those looking for some precious addition to their collection, just enjoy the walk before closing in on your choice.

Spice Souk
A wonderfully different experience, the spice souk has narrow streets and an aroma so unique, it's like walking into another era. The rows of stalls displaying spice laden sacks are worth a look. The sellers are only too happy to advise you on the various spices and herbs.

Textile Souk
The shops that line the textile souk in Bur Dubai are a treasure trove of textiles, colours, textures and weaves from around the world. Shimmering threads adorn thin voile, embroidered satin and silk tempt and velvets jostle with peach skins as well as Swiss cotton in every shade and hue imaginable. The choice is virtually unlimited and prices are negotiable.