Dubai, the economic and commercial centre of the United Arab Emirates is known for its ultra-luxurious lifestyle and colossal architecture but this beautiful desert oasis also offers visitors a wealth of authentic Middle Eastern experiences if you know where to look.
While the Dubai Mall offers shoppers a chance to purchase goods from a dizzying array of stores, a trip to one of the local markets called a Souk is a once in a lifetime experience. If you have ever wanted to buy gold, the Gold Souk is not only a fantastic place to get a great price (haggling is a necessity) but also to buy some beautifully crafted and original jewellery.
Marvel at the endless rows of stalls, glittering with gems and metals but make sure to bring plenty of cash with you for purchases. Also worth a visit is the nearby Spice Souk. Here you can buy everything from gelato to saffron.
Visit the Dubai Desert Conservation Reserve. This natural desert ecosystem is home to many wildlife and plant species. Tour companies offer packages allowing visitors to ride camels through the sand dunes and enjoy an authentic Arabian dinner after sundown complete with belly dancing. This is a must do for anyone wanting to experience the desert first hand.
After a day in the desert, you can escape indoors with a visit to the Dubai Museum. Although small, the museum uses life size displays to depict what life in the Emirate was like before the discovery of oil. Spend a few hours here and then head out to the Marina for a relaxing walk and have some dinner at the Dubai Creek Yacht Club. Here, you can enjoy panoramic city views from an open air terrace and watch the sun set.