by Alice Wyly.
Sun-drenched desert. Glittering skyline. White sand beaches. World's tallest building. World's largest mall. That's Dubai! This superlative city is a melting pot filled with people from all over the world thrown together, and where stereotypes can be forgotten. Standing at 828m, Burj Khalifa is the tallest building in the world. From the observation deck, you'll witness how fast the city is growing.
HOW TO GET THERE:
The perfect transit stop en-route to Europe, Dubai is only 8 hours away from Hong Kong. Emirates and Cathay Pacific have daily direct flights to Dubai. Plenty of options! Those who are flying to Europe can even have a quick stop at Dubai to indulge.
WHAT TO DO:
Another expat city! Dubai is an ideal playground for anyone who wants to live the life. Spend the morning at the beach, the afternoon at a long free-flow brunch or lavish afternoon tea at elegant hotels, then cap the night partying at glamorous bars.
Beach bums will enjoy soaking up the sun at the Jumeirah Beach. But if you want a bit of exclusivity, head to Nassimi Beach at The Atlantis. On certain days, they have DJ playing cool music. Party, anyone?
A trip to the Middle East is incomplete without a desert safari. Book a sunset tour. The adventure begins with dune bashing (the thrill of a 4WD in sand!), followed by a variety of activities like quad biking, camel ride, and sand skiing. Once the sun has set, you'll be invited to join the rest of the group to experience the “Arabic lifestyle” - think shisha, belly dancing, henna painting... while getting served Middle Eastern food.
If you're traveling with kids, check out Wild Wadi Water Park and the Palm Atlantis Aquaventure Water Park. Or why not polish up your skiing skills at the Ski Dubai indoor slope at the Mall of Emirates?
WHERE TO SHOP:
Dubai is a great place for shopping. Dubai Mall, situated just beside Burj Khalifa, is the largest mall in the world. One day is not enough! Or shop to your heart's content in the Emporiums filled with the fashion brands both familiar and missed! Souk Madinat Jumeirah is a modern souk that has plenty to offer from shopping, dining, to entertainment.
WHERE TO STAY
You will never run out of accommodation option in Dubai. But hotel selection is all about location. If you're after shopping, stay near downtown. Treat yourself to a lavish stay at the Armani Hotel. If you prefer to stay near the beach, there's Jumeirah Beach Hotel or Sofitel Dubai Jumeirah Beach. If money is no object, book a suite at Burj Al Arab - the quintessential Dubai landmark.