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Dubai

Time Difference: GMT + 4 hours.

Currency: UAE Dirham (Dh).

British citizens do not require a visa.

What's it really like?

Dubai is considered a safe destination for women who travel alone providing sensible precautions are taken.

Note: Kissing in public is illegal. Homosexuality is forbidden. The blood-alcohol limit for drink drivers is zero mg and there's a very strict drug policy.

 

The popularity of Dubai as an upmarket tax-free haven has soared along with the dizzying heights of its skyscraper luxury hotels.

The city's ultramodern, stylish accommodation boasts the worlds tallest building and the first undersea hotel alongside the contrasting exteriors in the Arabian palace style.

Some believe the name Dubai was an old word for money - the locals were a wealthy lot centuries ago when the city was a prosperous trading centre and in the shadow of the state-of-the-art architecture are remnants of the old capital with its original structures and mosques.

The city centre is divided into two parts by a natural sea-water inlet and linked by a tunnel near the coast and two bridges further inland.

It's worth noting that Dudai isn't just a laid-back holiday retreat, the working city attracts thousands of business people from around the world.

Note: There is a huge of amount of development underway and building work may cause a disturbance.

Dubai is making a serious challenge on Florida's claim to be the 'fun' capital by unveiling plans for its own SeaWorld island, a Busch Gardens theme park, a Discovery Cove day resort and an Aquatica water park in the United Arab Emirates city.

The four parks will open in 2012 on an island shaped like a killer whale, Shamu in the sea in the Persian Gulf off Dubai. Other man-made islands,  are expected to contain as many as 56 hotels as well as shopping and housing for 280,000 people.

Beaches: Jumeirah Beach is pristine and uncrowded, with shallow warm waters lapping its gently shelving sand.

The coast stretches for more than 8 miles with a vast range of water sports.

Days Out:

Dubai is a superb base for exploring the nearby rugged mountains, sand dunes and beautiful parks.

The city has taken full advatage of its duty-free status with no less than 24 huge, air-conditioned shopping malls. Many stay open until midnight and compete for your Dirhams with the famous market stalls in the souks.

Dubai is steeped in history and has captured it all in several museums.

Sightseeing trips on traditional boats (dhows) are popular. Visitors sail along the Creek to witness boatmen unloading their wares from the distant shores of India and Africa. It's a novel way to see many of the city�s landmarks.

A modern way to see the sights is from the cable car ride that runs the 2.3km length of Creekside Park or for an alternative aerial view there are helicopter trips and hot air balloon rides.

Deep-sea fishing, 10 golf courses, jeep safaris and camel rides are among the other day time excursions

The local air-conditioned buses tend to get overcrowded but getting around by taxi is cheap.

Nights Out: A typical evening out in Dubai doesn't come cheap and it won't suit those on a budget. The bars and nightclubs provide live entertainment; everything from belly-dancers to jazz bands. Most close at 3 am.

Dining out is a treat and the more adventurous eaters will need longer than a fortnight to sample the full range. De luxe restaurants serving local cuisine, Indian and Chinese compete with street traders dishing up kebabs and fast food cooked fresh.

Bucket and Spade Brigade: Wonderland is a family fun park that caters for the younger ones with water rides and roller coasters. It's worth staying later for the nightly water mist show.

Kids will also enjoy the crystal maze and other attractions at Wafi mall in additoon to the zoo at Jumeirah.

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