Dubai has begun to specialise in the resort-shopping mall combination and there are a number of resorts and shopping centres that now showcase this marriage of two holiday essentials. Emirates Mall is also part of the Kempinski Resort, The Madinat Resort complex has an extensive shopping area as well as a range of restaurants and cafes.
Dubai is a city within an emirate (state or province) of the same name. It is a place of many faces, some call it a fairyland with its desert and mountains, rich greenery, long white sandy beaches, and brilliant blue and green ocean, the Arabian Sea. Dubai is a sprawling metropolis intertwined with major highways and the Metro train system which opened in September 2009. Underpasses, overpasses, bridges, this is a city that never sleeps, a 24/7 phenomena that is continuing to expand.
Dubai is not just a tourist destination, but a major financial centre, industrial hub, and regional headquarters for many corporations. The commercial activity in Dubai is another major contributor to the city and emirate’s tourist and travel industry – it helps to fill airline seats and hotel rooms. From the sparkling new Atlantis on Palm Jumeirah, to the iconic Burj al Arab on the Jumeirah Beach coastline, the region’s hotels are mushrooming. All the major hotel chains are here and the existing large number of hotels is being added to virtually by the week. A large number of hotels are under construction or planned for all parts of Dubai.
Aside from the modern attributes there are still the relics of a bygone era.
The central part of Dubai housing the CBD comprises Deira on the northern side of the Creek, and Bur Dubai on the southern side. There is a tunnel and two bridges linking the two areas. All over the city, in Deira and Bur Dubai, there are skyscrapers, major office towers, hotels, souks, banks, universities, colleges, schools, hospitals, mosques, and shopping malls. The city too is dotted with huge apartment towers and low-rise villas, as residential living has become popular in the city as well as in the suburbs.
To the north of the city is the adjoining emirate of Sharjah. To the south are the suburban areas of Satwa, Jumeirah, Umm Suqeim, Dubai Marina and Jumeirah Beach.
The Creek is a natural inlet/harbour that connects to the sea. It runs right through the centre of the city separating Deira and Bur Dubai. Life is busy on the creek and on both sides of it. Dhows on the water arriving or heading off to exoitc destinations in the Far East and Africa. They carry trade goods, and you can trading taking place as the dhows arrive and depart.
A popular treat for visitors is to take a water taxi, which is known as an abra, which provide regular water crossings from one side of the Creek to the other.
Tourists can also take trip from the abra embarkation points to the mouth of the Creek and inland to the Maktoum Bridge, passing on the way many of Dubai’s historic and more modern-day landmarks.
At the inland end of the Creek is a large, shallow lagoon, now a wildlife sanctuary which has become a haven for migrating shore birds. Some 27,000 birds have been counted here at one time during the autumn migration. The most spectacular are the many Greater Flamingos which have made the Creek their permanent home. Cache level 3 courses