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Dubai – desert oasis

Historic Dubai was once a small dusty town of Bedouin traders. Modern Dubai is opulent and grand, with an ultra-modern and every changing skyline. However the old blends in harmony with the new. Shopping at the gold souks is as exciting as the tax free shopping at the airconditioned malls. The Nad al Sheba Racecourse holds camel racing during the day and thoroughbred horse racing in the cool of the evening. There are restaurants from every culture, beaches, sports, historical sites, nightlife, and some amazing engineering developments to explore and amaze.

Deira is the oldest part of Dubai town, on the eastern side of Dubai Creek. The Creek now acts as a main artery for the city’s dhows and boats, and water taxis or Abras crossing the creek. Stay at the Concorde Hotel & Residence, just steps away from the Dubai Museum and Gold Souk.

Bur Dubai is located on the western side of Dubai Creek. Many historical attractions are found here among the range of restaurants and shopping malls. Stay at the Georgian style Ascot Hotel and enjoy a drink in their Irish Pub!

There is a range of tours and sightseeing in and around Dubai, however my favourite has to be the 4X4 Desert Adventure Safari. 4WD-ing across the sand dunes like a rollercoaster, stop at a camel farm, view the amazing desert sunset, ride a camel or sandboard, then enjoy a fabulous BBQ meal with belly dancing. The Dubai Hop-on Hop-off Tour is also a great orientation of the city and surrounding areas.

Jumeirah Beach Park is the main focal point of beachside Jumeirah, spanning 12 hectares of parklands with kids play areas, picnic sites with BBQ, kiosks, and a patrolled beach frontage. Mall of the Emirates, Ski Dubai and the Wild Wadi waterpark are all nearby attractions. Stay at set on 1200 metres of private beach with a 238 berth luxury marina. Other facilities include 5 outdoor pools, 2 sheltered childrens pools, a health club and watersports.

You can’t write about Dubai without mentioning the iconic Burj Al Arab hotel. Admired by many, enjoyed by an elite few. I was invited to tour the hotel whilst I was there, an honoured invitation extended to few, with many restrictions – no photos, no eye contact with guests, no talking! If you can’t afford one of the lavish $4000 a night standard rooms (well really – who can!), book in for afternoon tea in the Skyview Bar on the 27th floor. It costs around AUD75 each, but you will get the best views of town, and a once in a lifetime experience – plus it is a really nice afternoon tea!

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