1998-Burj Al Arab under construction
The Burj Al Arab, is the world's first 7 star all-suite hotel. It is known for its unique architecture. It has been built on an artificial island and has the shape of a sail, which was inspired by traditional Arabian sailing boats.
2011-Burj Al ArabSomething one notices is that many of the new constructions tend to carry the labels "biggest", "fastest" and all sorts of other records. Many of those are concentrated at the Dubai Mall, which is the world's greatest mall, and hosts the Dubai Aquarium, which holds the Guinness World Record for the largest single acrylic panel in the world. Surrounding the Dubai Mall is the world's tallest building, the Burj Khalifa, also known as the Burj Dubai, with the world's fastest elevator, and the Dubai fountain, which is the world's largest fountain.
Dubai AquariumThe Burj Khalifa is currently the world's tallest building, standing at 828 meters, a height which was kept secret by the developers prior to its completion in order to avoid competitors from beating it.
Burj KhalifaThe evenings at the Dubai fountain are quite spectacular, as there is an animated performance with music. It is quite impressive to watch the first time but after staying there a few hours it can become repetitive and it is very likely to get wet, especially on a windy evening.
Dubai Fountain musical showDubai's other popular mall is the Mall of the Emirates. It is known for its indoor ski resort and slope. It is quite impressive as it is located in the desert of 30 degrees celsius and they have managed to bring it to minus 4 degrees in there.
Ski Dubai- Indoor ski slopeA big development in Dubai during these ten years was the extension of its coastline. Within these years they managed to build three artificial island complexes: the Palm Jumeirah, the Palm Jebel Ali and the World Islands. Out of the three, only the Palm Jumeirah is completed and functioning. The World Islands can only be seen from the air. At the top of the Palm Jumeirah is a famous resort, the Atlantis. It is worth a visit for its restaurants, its water park as well as its aquarium.
On the Palm Jumeirah- Atlantis in the background
Leap of Fate slide at the Atlantis
View of Jumeirah from the Atlantis water parkJumeirah is also considered the "new Dubai". It is the area at the west end of the city. It is full of new developments, complexes and hotels. The most lively part is The Walk at Jumeirah Beach. A walk full of restaurants, hotels and other forms of entertainment, and certainly, the beach!
Jumeirah SkylineOne of the buildings in the photo above is the twisting building that is still under construction. When it is completed, each floor is designed to move independently and make a 360 degree turn every day.
The Palm Jumeirah from a skyscraper on Jumeirah BeachA must see in Dubai is the various souks that exist in the city. A souk is a traditional Arabian market. There is the traditional one in old Dubai at the Creek, and there are also various modern ones, like the Golden Souk in Dubai Mall and the souk at the Madinat hotel which is also quite impressive.
Inside the souk at the Madinat HotelLast but not least, one thing that cannot be missed on a visit to the Emirates is a safari in the desert. It is an experience different than any other and requires a strong stomach. Going up and down sand dunes can become much more fascinating than a roller coaster as there are no bars and no set track. There are various companies in Dubai that organize safaris at the desert, and their programme usually includes some sand dune bashing with a land cruiser, camel rides, various sand sports and a barbecue to end the night.
A rare camel in the Dubai desert
UAE Desert 1998
SandboardingThe night after the safari ends with a barbecue and a show with traditional dancers and belly dancers at the camp.
Stay tuned for the second part of my adventure in the UAE!