A Flying visit to Dubai
Dubai airport is growing in size and importance as quickly as the city itself. Because of Dubai’s convenient geographic location (it is almost equidistant from Britain and many major Asian and African destinations) it is a popular stopping point for many international journeys.
A growing number of airlines offer routes to and through Dubai and tour operators have begun to include an overnight stay as a part of holiday packages to the Far East and Indian Ocean destinations.
Image by Attila Malarik
This means that for many travellers, Dubai holidays last barely 48 hours, so it’s important to make the most of them. The city offers a fascinating range of historical and ultra-modern activities that are all accessible within the brief window of a stopover.
The airport is a marvel in its own right. With luxury shopping, world class restaurants, hotels and health clubs, visitors can easily spend their layovers within the walls of the airport and never get bored.
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As the airport is only 3 miles from the city center, venturing into Dubai is quick and easy. Visitors have their choice of Metro, taxi or Big Bus tours which all conveniently depart from the airport. Be sure to leave plenty of time to get through the immigration lines if you’re thinking about heading into the city, as they can be slow-moving.
A good place to start an brief overview of Dubai is in the district of Deira in the heart of the city. This part of town is home to several authentic bazaars, the most famous of which, the Gold Souk, is crammed with stalls selling all kinds of jewelry from around the world. The nearby Spice Souk is an sight to behold with vibrant colours and incredible smells it is sure to delight all the senses.
From Deira, walk down to the Dhow Wharfage which is a small pocket of traditional Arabian culture within the super modern Dubai core. Here you can see hundreds of dhows (wooden ocean vessels) loading and unloading cargo along the Dubai Creek, an impressive set inlet that cuts through the city centre.
Crossing the Creek in an old fashioned boat called an abra reveals excellent views of the city’s souks and skyscrapers, the combination of which perfectly embody the Dubai experience.
From here it’s possible to take a taxi to any number of modern marvels within the city. The Mall of the Emirates is home to designer shopping, excellent food and an indoor ski facility. Stopover visitors can easily spend an entire day in the mall so be sure to keep an eye on the time.
The Burj al Arab is perhaps the ultimate ‘must-see’ attraction in Dubai. Boasting seven star luxury and the title of tallest building in the world, the Burj is definitely worth a quick wander.
With many accessible indoor and outdoor attractions, Dubai is a great place for a short visit. Whether you stick to the airport or venture out in the city, you are sure to be entertained by this world-class city and its world-class hospitality.
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