Known as the most open-minded city in the Middle East, Dubai is the playground of the rich and the famous, of the royals, and all the other curious eyes that invade the city every year in search for beach, desert, and a virtually endless world of shopping possibilities. Famous for its skyscrapers and city life, Dubai is actually a mix of modernity and tradition, of concrete jungle, desert, and beach.
Within the city centre (along the famous Sheik Zayed Road), you'll encounter some of the world's finest malls (such as the Dubai Mall or Mall of the Emirates) that are a tourist attraction even for those less interested in shopping -- just visiting the structures itself (containing colossus such as indoor sky slopes and huge aquariums with sharks and the like) is worth it. Another "not to be missed" attraction in Dubai is the Burj Khalifa, the world's tallest building -- you can visit up to the one-hundred-twenty-third floor and, from the top, enjoy incredible panoramic views of the city, taking you from the blue sea of the Gulf to the endless beige of the desert.
The older side of town (Bur Dubai and Deira) is known for its heritage buildings and has a more typical Arabian feel to it.
To escape the city life, both desert and beach are recommended! Popular beaches include Jumeirah Beach (near the famous, seven-star hotel Burj Al Arab Dubai) and the stretch of sand in front of the famous dinning area of Jumeirah Beach Residence.
If you're into the sandy side of things, a desert safari is a must! The standard desert tour includes dune bashing inside four-by-four vehicles; a typical Arabian BBQ; camel rides; and, of course, belly dancing.
As Dubai is such a visited city, there are a lot of accommodation options; there are no backpackers hostels in Dubai in the typical sense, but instead you'll easily find a lot of smaller hotels and apart-hotels that can serve the same purpose. Budget-friendly options tend to be concentrated in the areas of Bur Dubai and Deira. Be advised that, when checking in a private double room with a person of the opposite sex, you might be asked for proof of marriage, as unmarried couples aren't allowed to stay together, as per the local customs.
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