Women’s Museum

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While the UAE is a conservative country, it would be wrong to assume that it is one that negates the rights of women. On the country, the UAE has worked hard to promote the opportunities and achievements of its female citizens. Women make up two-thirds of government employees and one-third of the country’s cabinet. In fact, Sheikh Mohammed, Ruler of Dubai and Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE, has said “We are not enabling women, we are enabling the whole society with women”.

One way of doing so is by honoring the achievements of women in the UAE, both in the past and present. That is why Dubai is home to its very own Women’s Museum , dedicated to exploring the lives of women in the UAE. In this post, we’ll tell you everything you need to know about the Dubai Women’s Museum.

What is the Women’s Museum?

The Women’s Museum is a national archive and documentation center. It is dedicated to exploring the different facets of the lives of Emirati women – professional and personal, past and present. It includes artwork by various female Emirati artists, photographs showing the contributions of Emirati women. Examples of their Emirati jewelry and dresses and an exploration of how past and current rulers have affected the role of women in the UAE.

Who founded the Women’s Museum?

Dr. Rania Obaid Ghubash founded the Women’s Museum. An Emirati woman herself, Dr. Ghubash grew up on the shores of the Dubai Creek. Her mother taught her to value the history and culture of her home country, and this love permeates the museum. It is far from a clinical look at the past, but instead, a loving tribute to a precious lineage of strong Emirati women.

Where is the Women’s Museum located?

The Women’s Museum is located in Deira, by the Gold Souq (close to where Dubai by Foot offers its Old Dubai Tour). The house itself called Bait al Banat, which translates to The Girls House. It was built in the 1950s and was originally a residential home. Here three unmarried Emirati sisters lived – so even the building itself is of historical interest.

The entrance to the Women’s Museum can be tricky to find. When you are walking through the souq, turn left at 45th street. Once you reach the road, turn right and take the third street on the left. On your right, you should see a small sign directing you to the museum. If you’re having difficulty with the directions, don’t hesitate to ask one of the locals and they would be happy to guide you.

What are the hours of the Women’s Museum?

The Women’s Museum is open from Saturday to Thursday, from 10am to 7pm.

How much are tickets to the Women’s Museum?

A ticket to the Women’s Museum costs 20 dirhams.

How long does it take to see the Women’s Museum?

A tour of the Women’s Museum will take approximately 60 – 90 minutes. There are a lot of interesting artifacts on display, but the space itself is not very large so there is not a lot of walking from one exhibit to the next.

Does the Women’s Museum have a giftshop?

Yes, the Women’s Museum is home to the Um Al Duwais Perfume and Gift Shop. Perfume is a very popular amongst women in the Arab World. For one, it is a great way to mask sweat in a country that historically did not have a lot of access to water. For another, perfume was a way for women to ‘decorate’ themselves without having to wear immodest clothes. The Um Al Duwais Perfume and Gift Shop allows visitors to purchase high-quality, traditional Arabian fragrances and oils, making it a souvenir you can savor.

Furthermore, the museum also has its own café. The Banat Bu Ghanem Café is actually a public space, linking the museum to the surrounding Deira community. In addition to traditional eats and rich Arabian coffee, visitors can also purchase artisanal crafts, artwork and jewelry.

What’s the difference between the Women’s Museum and the Dubai Museum?

The Women’s Museum is within walking distance of the Dubai Museum, so it is only natural to wonder whether it makes sense to do both. There are several key differences between the two museums. The Dubai Museum is larger, less expensive, more crowded and covers a broader array of topics. The Women’s Museum is more of a hidden gem, with a specialized focus of women. Unlike the Dubai Museum, the Women’s Museum showcases artwork in addition to artifacts. Furthermore, the Women’s Museum has more of an emphasis on the UAE’s political history. The museum you choose to visit will depend on your personal interests and what you are hoping to get out of your visit.

The UAE works to respect and honor its female citizens. The Women’s Museum is just one way that it does so. It truly is a hidden gem of the city and one of our most frequent recommendations for visitors looking to head somewhere ‘off-the-beaten-track’. We hope you get a chance to visit and learn about the amazing contributions women have made to the UAE.

Basic Information About the UAE

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UAE Quick Facts : UAE 101

The UAE is a country that you may have heard about before. Perhaps you’ve heard about the staggering skyscrapers in Dubai or heard about the oil-wealth of Abu Dhabi. Yet, you may not be familiar with the varied details of the country. In this post, we’ll give you an overview of the UAE and tell you everything you need to know.

What is the UAE?

The UAE is a small country in the Middle East, spanning 83,600 sq km. The abbreviation ‘UAE’ stands for United Arab Emirates. The term ‘Emirate’ refers to a principality. It comes from the term Emir and specifically references principalities that are ruled by a dynastic Islamic monarch. There are seven emirates in the UAE – Abu Dhabi (which serves as the capital), Ajman, Dubai, Fujairah, Ras al-Khaimah, Sharjah and Umm al-Quwain. Each emirate has its own monarch, but Abu Dhabi serves as the capital and the Emir of Abu Dhabi serves as President of the UAE.

Flag of the UAE

The UAE’s flag is made up of a red vertical stripe and three horizontal stripes in green, white and black. These colors are traditionally the Pan-Arab colors. Furthermore, the black stands for defeat of enemies, the white for peace and calm, the green for hope and growth and the red for strength and courage.

History of the UAE 

Archaeological findings show that the land of what is now the UAE has been occupied for thousands of years. The people of the region were generally tradesmen, as the UAE has a very strategic location. Because of this, piracy was always a threat. So in the early 19th century, Britain signed a treaty to help protect the area from pirates (this also gave Britain access to the UAE’s strategic location). The different sheikhdoms in the area became collectively known as the Trucial States (from the word ‘treaty’). However, Britain began to feel stretched thin by the responsibility. At around the same time, the Trucial States began to desire freedom from Britain’s influence. On December 2nd 1971, the Trucial States signed an agreement for independence and became known as the United Arab Emirates.

Politics in the UAE

The UAE is an absolute monarchy. The various emirates all have their own emirs, but the Emir of Abu Dhabi serves as President and the Emir of Dubai serves as Prime Minister. These titles of President and Prime Minister are hereditary.

The current president of the UAE is Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, Emir of Abu Dhabi. He is the son of Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, the country’s founding father who was responsible for uniting the different emirates. After Sheikh Zayed passed away in 2004, Sheikh Khalifa ascended the throne.

The Prime Minister and Vice President of the UAE is Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Emir of Dubai. Sheikh Mohammed is credited with pushing Dubai’s growth to one of the most cosmopolitan cities in the world.

The economy of the UAE

 With a GDP of $407.2 billion in 2017, the UAE boasts the second-largest economy in the Arab world (right after the economy of Saudi Arabia). Approximately one-third of the GDP is from oil revenues. The UAE actually has the most diversified economy in the Arab World and the non-hydrocarbon sector is actually growing at a faster rate than the hydrocarbon sector.

Aside from energy, the next biggest contributors to the UAE economy are real estate (around 20%), retail (around 12%) and tourism (around 10%). It’s no wonder when you consider the country’s staggering skyscrapers, massive shopping malls, and multiple tourist attractions.

Demographics of the UAE

The UAE has a population of almost 9.5 million people. The native Emirati population only makes up about 11% of the population- the other 89% is made up expatriates who live and work in the country without obtaining Emirati citizenship. Some of the most common foreign nationalities found among UAE residents are Indians (27%), Pakistanis (12%), Bangladeshis (7%), Filipinos (5%), Iranians (5%) and Egyptians (4%).

The official language of the UAE is Arabic. Thanks to the country’s diverse population, however, you will also hear many other languages being spoken. English, Hindi and Urdu are some of the most common secondary languages in the country. Tourists who can speak English will generally have no issue getting around.

The official religion of the UAE is Islam. It is followed by approximately 75% of the population. Christianity is the next most common religion, at around 9%, with all other religions accounting for approximately 15%.  Of the other religions, Hinduism, Sikhism, Jainism and Buddhism are the most common. The government follows a policy of tolerance towards other religions, and churches and temples have been built in the UAE. However, people of other religions are strictly expected not to interfere with the Islamic practice of Muslims.

Gender in the UAE

Men far outnumber women in the UAE- there are 2.2 males for every female in the country. This gender imbalance is mainly due to migration – either bachelors looking to earn money in the UAE before settling down, or blue-collar workers who prefer to leave their families in their home country, where the cost of living is often cheaper.

For women who do reside in the region, they still have access to many opportunities. Currently, the UAE is ranked 42nd out of 188 countries as per the Gender Inequality Index. The government has also introduced the UAE Gender Balance Council, aimed at raising that ranking to top 25.

The UAE also places a high priority on women’s education. Women have a 95% literacy rate and they make up 46% of STEM graduates from UAE universities. In the working world, women make up two-thirds of public sector jobs. The UAE is also the first country in the world to make it compulsory for corporations and government agencies to include women on their board of directors.

National Animal of the UAE

Despite the preponderance of camels you may see in artwork around the country, the UAE’s national animal is actually the Arabian oryx. The oryx is a medium-sized antelope with two long, straight horns and a tufted tail. A picture of the orys is printed on the 50-dirham currency note. It has been suggested the white oryx, which in profile can look like it has only one horn, is the basis for the myth of the unicorn.

The national bird of the UAE is the Peregrine falcon or Falco peregrinus. This is due to the cultural importance of falconry among Emiratis in the UAE.

National Dress of the UAE

The national dress of the UAE has evolved to take into account both the desert climate and the cultural norms of modesty. Emirati men generally wear a kandura (also referred to as a thobe), a white long-sleeved, ankle length garment that resembles a loose-fitting robe or a long shirt. It is topped with a cloth headdress called a ghutra, held in place by a black cord called an agal.

 Emirati women traditionally wear an abaya, a thin, black flowing cloak that covers the body. Underneath, they usually wear a dress or jeans in a hue they prefer. They pair the abaya with a hijab, a veil meant to cover their hair, ears and neck. We talk more about traditional Emirati dress here, and also advise tourists on how best to dress.

Currency of the UAE

The UAE currency is called dirhams, abbreviated to AED (for Arab Emirates Dirhams).  Unofficially, you may see abbreviations like DH or Dhs. The dirham is subdivided into fils –  100 fils are equivalent to one dirham.

Coins in the UAE are are generally in the denominations of 1 dirham, 25 fils and 50 fils. Although coins of 1,5 or 10 fils exist, they are not often in use as most prices are rounded to the nearest 25 fils. Banknotes are available in a variety of values and colors – 5 dirhams (brown), 10 dirhams(green), 20 dirhams(light blue), 50 dirhams (purple), 100 dirhams (pink), 200 dirhams (yellowish-brown), 500 dirhams (navy blue) and 1000 dirhams (greenish-blue).

The dirham is pegged to the United States dollar, with 1 US dollar being equivalent to about 3.6725 dirhams.

Airports of the UAE

There are 10 airports in the UAE offering commercial service. One of them is Dubai International Airport, which is the world’s busiest airport by international passenger traffic. The other airports in the UAE are Dubai World Central (Al Maktoum International Airport), Abu Dhabi International Airport, Al Bateen Executive Airport, Al Ain International Airport, Fujairah International Airport, Ras Al Khaimah International Airport, Sharjah International Airport, Dalma Airport and Sir Bani Yas Airport. If you’re visiting Dubai, we recommend coming in via Dubai International Airport, as Dubai World Central Airport is a bit out of the way.

There are a lot of interesting facts about the UAE. The country has rich history and exciting present. Furthermore, we hope this overview has given you a good insight into the country. And if you’re looking to learn more, be sure to check out one of our many tours. Our guides will be happy to tell you everything you may wish to know.

World Records Held By Dubai

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In Dubai, everything is bigger and better. From the world’s tallest building (the 830 meter Burj Khalifa) to the world’s largest shopping mall by total area (Dubai Mall, at 1,124,000 m2), Dubai is a city that loves to think of challenges and figure out ways to meet or surpass them. Here are the top ten craziest Dubai world records that were listed in the Guinness Book Of World Records.

 

World’s tallest chocolate sculpture | Dubai World Records #1

As Dubai is home to the world’s tallest building, it only makes sense that the world’s largest chocolate sculpture should be a replica of that building. In 2014, Dubai Airport revealed a chocolate replica of the Burj Khalifa that stood at 13.52 meters tall. The sculpture was originally intended to be 17 meters tall, but as it was meant for the 42nd UAE National Day, time constraints meant the intended height had to be reduced.  The project required 500 tonnes of chocolate cubes and took 1050 hours of work to complete.

Highest BASE jump from a building | Dubai World Records #2

 

Courtesy: Redbull.com

Fred Fugen and Vince Reffet achieved this record in April 2014. Naturally, they chose to achieve this record by jumping off the Burj Khalifa tower in Dubai. The duo leapt an incredible 2721 feet off of the world’s tallest building. To prepare, they spent time on a Swiss mountain in order to acclimatize to the altitude.

World’s tallest hotel | Dubai World Records #3

As you may know, Dubai is home to the world’s tallest building. But what you may not know is that it is also home to the world’s tallest hotel. The record belongs to the JW Marriott Marquis Hotel, which stands at 355.35 m from the ground level to the top of the mast. The hotel itself is actually made up of two towers, each with 77 floors. Both towers are entirely occupied by the hotel. If you’re visiting Dubai, you can see the hotel in Business Bay, on Sheikh Zayed Road.

World’s longest handmade gold chain | Dubai World Records #4

 

One of Dubai’s taglines is “Dubai City of Gold”. The city’s famous gold souk allows shoppers to buy beautiful pieces at bargain prices, making it a popular destination for anyone looking to purchase quality jewelry with authentic craftsmanship.  So, to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the Dubai Shopping festival, Dubai’s Deira Gold Souk Bus Station played host to a 5km long chain of 22k gold. Known as the Dubai Celebration chain, it weighed close to 240 kilograms and had over 4 million links. The entire chain required 100 crafstmen and it took over 45 days to produce. Afterwards, shoppers were given the opportunity to purchase parts of the chain for themselves.

Most nationalities singing a national anthem together | Dubai World Records #5

 

Dubai is home to a huge expatriate population – 90% of the country’s residents are expatriates. Despite this, these expatriates still maintain their respect and appreciate for their adopted home.  In December 2014, to celebrate the 43rd National Day of the UAE, people of 117 different nationalities got together to sing the UAE’s national anthem.

The nationalities represented were:

Afghanistan, Algeria, Angola, Argentina, Australia, Austria, Bahamas, Bahrain, Bangladesh, Belarus, Belgium, Bolivia, Bosnia, Botswana, Brazil, Brunei, Bulgaria, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Canada, Chile, China, Colombia, Congo (Rep.), Cote d’Ivoire, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Djibouti, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Egypt, Eritrea, Estonia, Ethiopia, Fiji, Finland, France, Georgia, Germany, Ghana, Greece, Guinea, Hong Kong, Hungary, Iceland, India, Indonesia, Iran, Iraq, Ireland, Jamaica, Japan, Jordan, Kazakhstan, Kenya, Kosovo, Latvia, Lebanon, Libya, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malaysia, Malawi, Maldives, Malta, Mauritania, Mauritius, Mexico, Mozambique, Nepal, Netherlands, New Zealand, Nigeria, Norway, Oman, Pakistan, Palestine, Panama, Papua New Guinea, Peru, Philippines, Poland, Portugal, Qatar, Romania, Russia, Rwanda, Saudi Arabia, Serbia, Seychelles, Sierra Leone, Singapore, Somalia, South Africa, Spain, Sri Lanka, Sudan, Sweden, Switzerland, Syria, Tajikistan, Tanzania, Thailand, Trinidad & Tobago, Tunisia, Turkey, UAE, UK, Ukraine, USA, Uzbekistan, Venezuela, Yemen, Zambia and Zimbabwe.

World’s longest painting | Dubai World Records #6

 

The world’s longest painting was created for a good cause. It was made to raise awareness for autism. The entire work of art was painted by children from schools across the country. They were asked to paint a self-portrait, as part of a campaign titled ”I’m different just like you” which was aimed at teaching children to accept the differences in others. Around 20,000 students participated to create the 10,850-meter painting. The painting was so long that, for a flat surface, they needed to use the track of the Dubai Autodrome.

Largest water screen projection | Dubai World Records #7

For a desert city, Dubai sure loves water and water-based attractions. One of its coolest records is that for the largest water screen projection. It involves a 893 m2 light projection displayed on a curtain of 30 water fountains and mist. The 360-degree display, called ‘Stardancer’ also included music, fireworks and dancing, although the record was for the water projection alone. Thousands of Dubai residents showed up to see the record-breaking show. Today, visitors can still see ‘IMAGINE’ shows at Dubai Festival City.

Fastest game of operation | Dubai World Records #8

Have you ever played Operation? It’s a popular board game, wherein players need to remove plastic ‘ailments’ from cavaties in a patients ‘body’, without touching the edge of the cavity opening. It requires an extremely steady hand, and so usually takes quite a lot of time to complete. However, at the Global Village Pavilion in Dubai,the record for the fastest game of operation was achieved. Maharoof Decibels managed to successfully complete the game in only 21.87 seconds.

Longest graffiti scroll | Dubai World Records #9

 

Dubai is a city that loves to mix the modern with the traditional. This record is a great example of that mindset – graffiti, a very trendy form of artwork, was used to tell the story of the history of the UAE. The entire scroll was 2 km long and created in the shape of the UAE. It involved over 100 graffiti artists (including 33 Emirati artists) painting under the theme Rehlatana, or ‘Our Journey’. Some examples of the artwork included are a women in a traditional niqab, looking up towards to the future and an Arabia Nights-esque representation of a towering mosque in the desert. The scroll was kept on display in Jumeirah Beach Park.

Smallest parachute canopy used for a jump | Dubai World Records #10

We talk about how things in Dubai are always bigger and better- however, those aren’t the only sort of records broken in Dubai.  In 2014, Ernesto Gainza fell from 14,000 feet, using a parachute of only 35m2. The average parachute today measures 70-90 m2, making this the smallest parachute canopy used for a jump. The feat was accomplished at Skydive Dubai, a popular sporting attraction in the city.

Records are constantly being made and broken, so it’s likely that this list won’t stay static. Nevertheless, it gives you a pretty good idea of the kind of city Dubai aspires to be – one that strives to be creative and to challenge itself in its quest to make a mark on the world.

Doing Business in Dubai

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Dubai is a country that is very friendly to visitors. It’s great for tourists, as our many walking tours can attest. Doing Business in Dubai is also equally great. Starting up a business in Dubai can be hugely beneficial – you have a prime location in the crossroads of Asia, Europe and Africa, access to a talented workforce and the attraction of working in a country with limited to no taxation. In this post, we’ll give you an overview of what’s involved in setting up a business in the UAE.

What type of company to open for doing business in Dubai ?

There are two main types of businesses that foreign investors and entrepreneurs can set up in Dubai – an LLC or a Freezone

LLC

For small business, an LLC (also referred to as a mainland company) is the most common and the easiest choice. With an LLC, you will only own 49% of the business. The other 51% will be owned by an Emirati national or a company that is wholly owned by Emirati nationals. And yes, Emirati partners are actually required to show their family book, to prove their heritage.

Through an LLC, the foreign investor will have the opportunity to obtain UAE residence visas for themselves, their family members and a certain number of employees.

There are multiple business setup consultancies within the UAE, who help with the paperwork and logistics of setting up a business in the country. These consultancies are often the best way to get connected with an Emirati sponsor. Most of them are likely to already have a list of Emiratis who they work with. In most cases, you will have to pay the Emirati partner an annual fee in return for their sponsorship. This fee will vary based on the sponsor, so feel free to ask around to see where you can find the rate that is right for you. Generally, the partner does not demand a percentage of your company’s profits, nor is he likely to involve himself in your business decisions. So in exchange for paying this annual sponsorship fee, you get 100% of the profits and a silent partner.

Other Requirements to setup an LLC:

Setting up an LLC also requires that you have a physical office. You will need to pay 5% of that space’s market rent to the government as part of your licensing cost, so be sure to factor that in when choosing a space. The office requirement exists even if you plan to work virtually from home. If that’s the case for you, a consultancy can help you find an appropriate office space to lease, in order to meet the licensing requirements.

We also recommend taking some time to fully think through the name of your LLC. There are certain rules you’ll need to follow. The name cannot reference God/Allah, cannot be obscene and cannot include parts of existing brand names. The name also needs to reflect the company’s business activity. So you can’t just choose a generic name. For instance, if you start a contracting company, the name will need to be along the lines of “‘XYZ’ Contracting”. Additionally, including certain words in your trade name, like ‘Emirates’, ‘Gulf’, ‘East’, ‘West’ or ‘International’ will lead to an additional license charge, so make sure you’re willing to pay that.

Is there a minimum capitol requirement to setup an LLC?

There is no minimum capital requirement to set up an LLC. However, there are costs associated with the initial set up of an LLC company. This number can vary drastically based on a variety of factors, including the name you choose, the rent of your office space, the agreement you make with your local sponsor, whether you are working with a business set-up consultancy and even the type of activity you are getting a license for. As an example, setting up an LLC to carry out General Trading could cost approximately AED 30,000, but it could be half that for a different business activity. In general, incorporating an LLC takes about 4-6 weeks.

Free Zone

Instead of setting up an LLC, foreign entrepreneurs also have the option of setting up a company in one of the UAE’s designated Free Zones. A Free Zone company is often an attractive option for foreign entrepreneurs. This is so because it does not require partnering with an Emirati sponsor. You can own 100% of your business. Through setting up a Free Zone company, you also have the option of obtaining residence visas for yourself, your family and a certain number of employees.

The Free Zones have a special tax, customs and imports regime. They are governed by their own framework of regulations (with the exception of UAE criminal law). Companies set up in a Free Zone receive 100% import and export tax exemptions, so this is a great option for any business involving the movement of goods in and out of the UAE. These companies also receive corporate tax exemption for up to 50 years.

There are more than 37 different Free Zones in the UAE, including some that are currently under construction. Each Free Zone centers on one or more particular business industries. If you want to set up a business in a particular Free Zone, your business activity needs to match the industry of that Free Zone.

Some of the most popular Free Zones are:

DMCC – Dubai Multi Commodities Centre – This is the UAE’s largest and fastest-growing Free Zone. It focuses on the trading of commodities like gold, diamonds, pearls and tea. Furthermore it also offers licenses for businesses trading in other goods.

DAFZ – Dubai Airport Free Zone – This Free Zone offers three types of licenses – Trade (imports, exports, storage and distribution of goods), Service and Industry (light industrial activities, packaging and assembling).

DIFC – Dubai International Financial Center – This Free Zone focuses on banking, financial services, insurance, and wealth and asset management.

DSO – Dubai Silicon Oasis – This Free Zone focuses on companies operating in the tech space, including IT, telecom, engineering, software, biotech and green energy. Consulting companies can also operate here.

D3 – Dubai Design District – This is a trendy Free Zone dedicated to the design community, both established brands and start-ups.

Dubai Internet City – This Free Zone is for companies operating in the ICT space. Companies like Microsoft and Oracle have set up in this Free Zone.

twofour54 – Located in Abu Dhabi, this Free Zone is aimed at companies operating in the media space. It includes television, print and public relations companies.

Masdar City – This is another Free Zone located in Abu Dhabi. Its focus is on companies operating in the renewable energy space. Interestingly, the entire city was designed to run on solar power, making it a one of a kind spot.

Choosing the Right Freezone:

Choosing the right Free Zone company is important. The minimum capital requirement of your Free Zone company will depend on which Free Zone you choose. Setting up in twofour54, for instance, requires no capital requirement. On the other hand DMCC requires AED 50,000 per company and AED 10,000 per shareholder. Additionally, the name you can choose, the set up fees you have to pay and the time needed for incorporation will all depend on the Free Zone.

Dubai by Foot can help you get the lay of the land as you are deciding whether to launch your business in the UAE. If you contact us, we can arrange a private tour showing you some of your mainland and Free Zone options, to help you make the right decision for yourself and your business.

Marsa Al Seef – The Creek Dubai

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There’s a new cultural hotspot in Dubai! Marsa al Seef !

Marsa Al Seef, which stretches 1.8km along the Dubai Creek, has just opened its first phase to the public. The area borders the Al Fahidi Historical District. This a region of Dubai that’s very close to us here at Dubai by Foot. In fact, it’s the site of our most popular walking tour, which is our Old Dubai Tour. Furthermore, we use our tour as a chance to look at Dubai’s past and contextualize the Dubai that we see in the present.

Marsa Al Seef was designed along the same lines. The area has a strong cultural and historical component. Furthermore, there are galleries that sell Emirati artwork and boutiques where one can admire traditional dress. Visitors to the area will also have a chance to see examples of traditional Emirati occupations like pearl diving, fishing and boat building. The surrounding area has been designed with an interconnected waterway system. This allows visitors to also have the chance to glide across the water on wooden dhows, just as Dubai’s first traders once did. It’s like having a touch of Venice in the Middle East.

Further nods to the city’s past are also in the pipeline. The next phase of the project is set to incorporate an authentic souk. These souqs will be based off of the ones present in Dubai in the 1950s. The open-air market will be a chance for visitors to browse and purchase a variety of hand-made goods. Furthermore it will soon become a popular destination for tourists looking to bring home authentic, original souvenirs.

What to look out for in Marsa Al Seef?

Beyond this homage to the city’s past,  Al Seef has also been designed to fit into the city’s current image as a cosmopolitan hub. Along the waterfront promenade, one will find a selection of retail stores and cafés. Some of the options already open include a Lebanese-American restaurant (great for kebabs and dips like humuus), a high-end Italian gelato shop, and a homegrown community coffee house. When the project is complete, the area will be home to over 500 shops, galleries and eateries. Some of the restaurants in Al Seef are even being designed as floating restaurants. This will allow them to take advantage of the waterways surrounding the area. Another cool aspect of these waterways – if people want to avoid congestion on the roads, they can choose to arrive via water taxi, or even their own private yacht!

For visitors to Dubai, Al Seef’s cross-section of the old and new elements of the city make it a great place to stay. It offers the chance to truly experience the different aspects of the city. Luckily, there are to be three hotels in the district. Two of the hotels will be modern in design, and located in the more contemporary area of the district. The other hotel, however, will be a heritage hotel, located on the historical side and incorporating authentic Arabian hospitality.

Who is he developer for Marsa Al Seef?

The Al Seef district is being developed by Meraas. Their previous developments include The Beach at JBR and Citywalk. With that pedigree, Al Seef is set to be a top destination for anyone who wants to enjoy shopping, dining and entertainment in a unique and stylish locale.

Now that phase one is open, we recommend heading on out to experience what the location has to offer. And if you’ve finished one of our walking tours of the neighboring Al Fahidi District, we might just head over to Al Seef with you!

Famous Places to Visit in the UAE

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When people think of the UAE, they automatically think of Dubai – the skyscrapers, the hotels, the shopping malls, the souqs. It is easy to forget that Dubai is just one of the seven emirates that make up the UAE – and that it’s easy for visitors to Dubai to make a trip to any one of these emirates in order to see these amazing attractions outside Dubai. After you have gone on a tour of Dubai, why not look further and see what the other emirates have to offer?

Here, we offer a list of some of the best attractions outside Dubai in the UAE:

Abu Dhabi

Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque

This mosque is located in Abu Dhabi, the capital of the UAE.  Furthermore, it is one of the world’s largest mosques and features over 1000 domes, the world’s largest hand-knitted carpet and one of the world’s largest chandeliers. The entire surrounding area is breathtaking as well, as the mosque is surrounded by reflective pools that add to the site’s peace and beauty. We recommend checking out the 5pm sunset tour. If you arrive at 4:30, you’ll have a chance to take some gorgeous photos at dusk, before the tour starts.

Check out our guide to mosque dress codes here.

Emirates Palace

The Emirates Palace is a hotel, but it has also become a landmark in its own right. It is beautifully designed, with the building’s colors chosen to reflect the different shades of sand found in the Arabian Desert. The sense of luxury is prevalent in the building’s interiors, with gold, mother of pearl and crystal all incorporated. Whether you want to marvel at the shimmering chandeliers, wander the lush gardens, witness the unique evening lighting scheme or take tea in one of the cafés, the Emirates Palace is a great place to bask in true luxury and hospitality.

Ferrari World

Yes, this is a Ferrari themed amusement park. It is located on Yas Island, in Abu Dhabi. furthermore, this park is home to the world’s fastest roller-coaster, Formula Rossa, which reaches 100 km/hr in only two seconds. It’s so fast, riders are required to wear safety goggles! Beyond the thrilling racing rides, there are also more sedate options, including virtual history tours, educational movies and driving simulators. There’s even the option to do some shopping and pick up some Ferrari branded merchandise to take home. It’s a great option if you are looking for something fun to do in Abu Dhabi.

Louvre Abu Dhabi

The Louvre Abu Dhabi is a 24,000 sq km museum, set to open in November of 2017. It is part of collaboration with the famous Louvre in Paris, so art lovers can expect a similar level of quality to be on display. In particular, the Louvre Abu Dhabi will focus on bridging the divide between Eastern and Western art. We don’t have the final list of the museum’s catalogue yet, but it has been confirmed to include works by Da Vinci, Matisse, Van Gogh and Monet.

The Louvre Abu Dhabi is located in the Saadiyat Island Cultural District, which will be home to various other museums and cultural attractions as well. Furthermore, it’s shaping up to be a great visiting spot for tourists interested in arts and culture.

Jebel Hafeet

 Jebel Hafeet is one of the highest mountain peaks within the UAE. It’s known for the incredible fossil discoveries that have been made in the area. Over 500 ancient burial tombs, dating back over 5000 years, have been found in the foothills of this mountain. This mountain is a popular tourist site because it is relatively easy for visitors to access by car or even bicycle. Onece you’ve reached the top, you’ll be rewarded with some spectacular views.

Sharjah

Sharjah Arts Museum

With the Louvre Abu Dhabi about to open up, some might wonder why they should visit the Sharjah Arts Museum. However, this state-of the-art facility has a rich collection of works that would be of interest to any art aficionado. The collection is spread over 72 galleries. What makes it particularly unique is the museum’s focus on art that reflects the Arab World. You’ll find 18th century paintings done by travellers to the Middle East, representing the foreign perspective of the land. And you’ll also find contemporary artwork by local artists, showing how they see their homeland. The Sharjah Arts Museum is a great way to remember the breadth of perspective in art and is one of the must visit attractions outside Dubai.

Central Market

The Sharjah Central Market is a shopping center known for the wide variety of merchandise on display. The upper floors have a souq-like atmosphere, selling carpets, gold, perfumes and other exotic offerings.  The market also sells cotemporary merchandise like toys and electronics. The exterior of the central market is quite eye-catching on its own. It’s done up with intricately patterned blue tiles, earning it the colloquial name of the Blue Souk.

Fujairah

Al Bidyah Mosque

 The Al Bidyah mosque is not as glamorous as some of the other mosques in the area; in fact, it is actually made out of mud bricks. This mosque is the oldest one in the United Arab Emirates, and it’s a great insight into what early worship looked like in the country. The area surrounding this mosque was revealed to have a massive Islamic graveyard, including a tomb with artifacts dating back to 1000 BC.

Heritage Village

 The Heritage Village of Fujairah shows what life was like in the ancient times of Fujairah. Here, you’ll find models of traditional homes and examples of ancient tools that will show you what early life was like in this desert city. The Heritage Village is also near the Fujairah Fort, which is the oldest fort in the UAE. In addition to being a place of defense, this fort was also once home to the ruling family, which certainly makes it a point of interest for anyone who wishes to experience more of the UAE’s history. And if you’d like to know more, Fujairah Museum is located just to the south, and showcases ancient weaponry from the Silver and Bronze Age.

Ras Al Khaimah

Hajar Mountains

Hajar Mountains are a beautiful mountain range in the eastern part of the UAE. It is the highest mountain range in the eastern Arabian Peninsula. Furthermore, it is home to stunning vistas, winding trails and charming villages, making it a great spot for a road trip. The area is home to a variety of flora and fauna as well, so it is a great place to do some hiking and bird watching. There is plenty of different scenery on offer, from craggy mountain faces to picturesque wadis. If you’re an adventurous tourist looking to explore, this mountain range should definitely be on your list.

Conclusion

The UAE is a fascinating country. There’s something interesting to see, do or explore in every corner. We hope you found this list of attractions outside Dubai to be helpful. Furthermore, we hope they show you a well-rounded view of all the UAE has to offer.

If you would like to visit any of these amazing sites which lie outside Dubai, feel free to email us for a private tour.

Dhow Cruise on the Marina

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What is a Dhow?

A Dhow is a traditional Arab sea-trading vessel usually made of durable wood. Dhows have been innate part of the Emirati history. The trade of pearls, spices and gold were the largest sources of income for the UAE for many years in the past. When in Dubai, you can see that traditional dhows are still sailing into the Dubai Creek. They trade spices and textiles with Iran and other neighboring countries in the Gulf region. They are often parked on the Diera side of the Dubai Creek in Old Dubai and can be seen up close on our Old Dubai Walking Tour.

In Dubai, you can experience a Dhow from the inside, on an orchestrated Dhow Cruise on the Dubai Marina. The Dhow is parked in the waters of the Dubai Marina which is lined on both sides with some of the most iconic buildings in Dubai. The Dhow itself sparkles with lights in the dark as it slowly treads the quite waters. If you are into night-time photography, there are some very good photo opportunities on this cruise.

Dhow Cruise Dubai Marina General Itinerary:

The Dhow has a capacity of 200 guests. The Dhow Cruise features a buffet dinner as well. After being picked up from your hotel, you are brought to the JBR end of the Dubai Marina to board the Dhow. Typically the Dhow sails around 8:30PM but these times change subject to weather and the Holy month of Ramadan. When on the Dhow you are seated along with other guests and offered a soft drink and some snacks. The lower deck of the Dhow is fully air-conditioned and hence comfortable for guests throughout the year.

 

After the Dhow sails, the buffet dinner opens. Also there are live performances such as Tanoura dance. The sail time is usually 90 minutes to 2 hours. The dinner is usually Indian food with some selections of Arabic cuisine. The Dhow is a pleasant experience for those who are looking for an evening activity in Dubai. It allows people to wind-down, chill out and look out at the lovely Dubai skyline.

While Dhow Cruise on the Marina is a popular tourist activity in Dubai, in the past, it has received mixed reviews from guests. While the sail times are pre-determined, sometimes the Dhow is delayed in its start time. There is no live commentary or guided tour when on the Dhow. Therefore sometimes it is difficult to learn about the route, or the buildings and attractions built on the Dubai Marina.

What is the Best Time to Go on a Dhow Cruise?

The Dhow experience can be most enjoyable if you are in a large private group of your own. It is also best suited in the prime winter weather of December through February. During these months you can stand out on the upper deck and soak in the views in the cool Dubai breeze.

Expo 2020 – Dubai by Foot

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If you’ve visited Dubai Airport recently, you may have seen some signs – “Proud Hosts of Expo 2020”. This might lead people to wonder – what exactly is World Expo 2020? And why should I care about it? In this post, we’ll answer some of the common questions tourists might have about the upcoming Expo 2020 in Dubai, and tell you why you should get excited about this incredible event.

 What is Expo 2020?

Expo 2020 can be seen as a type of “World Fair,” showcasing the best innovations that mankind has to offer. It will consist of a series of pavilions connected by common themes that apply to all of humanity. The Expo provides a platform for the world’s best and brightest to display their most creative and ingenious ideas. For example, Expo 2015 included inventions like solar trees and energy-saving elevators.

When is Expo 2020?

World Expo 2020 is set to open on October 20th, 2020 and close on April 10th, 2021.

Where is Expo 2020 held?

Expo 2020 will be held in Dubai. Specifically, the Expo site is in Dubai South, which is close to Al Maktoum International Airport. The site itself will cover an area of almost 4.5 square kilometers.

How was Dubai chosen as the site for Expo 2020?

To get the privilege of hosting this event, Dubai was required to submit a bid. In this bid, the head of the Expo 2020 committee highlighted Dubai’s strong infrastructure, its residents’ support of the bid and the city’s commitment to making this expo an extraordinary one. Happily, Dubai was successful, receiving 116 out of 164 votes. The announcement of the win caused fireworks to go up by the Burj Khalifa and Sheikh Mohammed announced a holiday for educational institutions in the city.

How do I get to the Expo 2020 Dubai site?

If you’re a visitor, the best way of getting to the Expo 2020 site will be via the Dubai Metro. Currently, the Dubai Metro line is being extended to reach the Expo 2020 site. This extension is referred to as Route 2020, and it will link to the Dubai Metro Red Line. Furthermore, the Expo 2020 site metro station is set to be the biggest and most eco-friendly station in the Dubai Metro network, capable of handing an incredible 46,000 passengers per hour.

Nervous about potentially having to ride the metro? Don’t worry about it – the Dubai Metro is super easy to use. We’ve written a guide about it here.

 If you would prefer to drive, the government is set to build over 30,000 parking spaces at the fringe of the Expo 2020 site, making it accessible by car as well.

What is the theme for Expo 2020 Dubai?

Expo 2020 centers on the theme of “Connecting Minds, Creating the Future.” This links back to three main ideas – “Opportunity”, ”Mobility” and  “Sustainability”, which will drive the Exhibition displays.

What will people see at the Expo 2020 Dubai site?

The Expo 2020 site has a lot of really cool features. The plaza will be encased by a dome. At night, that dome will serve as a 360 degree screen, projecting a series of images both on the inside and the outside. Inside the dome, you’ll find the pavilions as well as features like fountains, parks and waterfalls. The dome is partially open at the top, so there’s no need to worry about the arena feeling stale.

Each participating country will have its own pavilion at the exhibition, with every pavilion featuring inventions and innovations hailing from that country. Even the UAE will have its own specialized pavilion, done up in an outline of a falcon. There will also be specialized pavilions focusing on the three main themes –  sustainability, mobility and opportunity,

I won’t be in Dubai when #Expo2020 is taking place! Can I still check out the site afterwards?

Fortunately, a good part of the Expo 2020 site will remain up even after the Expo has officially ended. For instance, the UAE pavilion, with its falcon design, will remain unchanged from what it was during the Expo, and the plaza dome will continue to grow a lush garden within its sphere. Other buildings will remain up, but will undergo a renovation inside. For instance, the Sustainability Pavilion will be transformed into a center for child and scientific education. More than being a strictly business space, the District 2020 area will be more of a community hub more than a strictly business space, making it a welcome area for visitors.

Will Dubai by Foot be offering a tour of the #Expo2020 site?

 It’s a bit early to plan a tour of a site that hasn’t finished construction yet, but we have definite plans to add the exciting District 2020 area to our collection of Dubai tours.

Expo 2020 is a perfect fit for a city like Dubai, with its focus on building connections, encouraging innovation and promoting sustainability. Furthermore, we’re incredibly excited for the upcoming Expo, and feel that it will be an extraordinary experience for visitors. We’ve already started the countdown!

Dubai Landmarks

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Iconic and Famous Buildings in Dubai

Dubai is known for its incredible skyline of towering skyscrapers, many of which are record-breakers in some form or the other. Most of these skyscrapers feature distinctive architectural features to make them stand out against the already impressive crowd. Any visitor to Dubai with a passing interest in architecture (or even someone who just likes landmarks that look cool) will be impressed by what the city has to offer. Here, we have given a list of the top ten skyscrapers in Dubai.

Almas Tower

Almas Tower is also known as Diamond Tower. It is a flagship building in the Jumeirah Lake Towers area of Dubai. The building is home to the Dubai Multi Commodities Center and includes facilities for the region’s rich gemstone industry – particularly, pearls, cultivated from the Arabian Gulf, and diamonds. This is the reason for the buildings colloquial name. In fact, the podium where the diamond exchange takes place was designed to resemble the triangular facets of a cut diamond. Security for the building is intense, due to the nature of the work carried out inside. You can still take some beautiful exterior shots.

Cayan Tower

The official name for this building is Cayan Tower. However, you’ll still find people referring to it by its previous name, Infinity Tower, or by its colloquial name, Twisting Tower. No matter what you call it, the fact remains that this is one of the most architecturally unique skyscrapers in Dubai. The building was designed to twist at a 90 degree angle, so the entire structure resembles a helix.  You’ll often see tourists looking to take a photo with the building – it’s that striking. Another interesting fact is that the building is also environmentally sustainable – the architects carefully placed the rooms in the structure in order to prevent overheating. It’s a great example of sustainability and style.

Princess Tower

Princess Tower is the second tallest skyscraper in Dubai and the 24th tallest building in the world. What is more, up until 2015, it additionally held the distinction of being the tallest residential building in the world as well. The tower is named ‘Princess’ because the roof resembles a crown placed atop the building. It’s located in the same area as Cayan Tower, so if you’re doing an architectural tour, you can easily fit both into your itinerary.

Cayan Tower and Princess Tower are two stops on our self-guided tour of JBR/Dubai Marina.

 Atlantis

If you’ve ever enjoyed the Little Mermaid, you’ll adore this luxury hotel resort. For one, it is located on the Palm, a man-made island shaped like a palm tree. That’s pretty interesting on its own. However, when you reach the hotel itself, you’ll truly feel that you’ve stepped into an oceanic paradise. The hotel itself resembles a palace, with turrets and sweeping arches. Inside, you’ll find a combination of Moorish architecture with a distinctly nautical twist – think twisting spires embossed with a fish-scale pattern. The hotel is definitely worth a visit to see the cross between of whimsy and tradition.

 Burj Al Arab

The hotel is world-famous for a good reason. It’s resembles a majestic sail rising up from the beautiful blue water. Inside the hotel, you’ll witness the height of luxury, from the luxurious dancing fountain to the rainbow atrium. However, entrance to the hotel is restricted. We’ve written a guide to how to get inside the Burj Al Arab here, but if you don’t want to go that route, you can still take gorgeous photographs of the hotel exterior. For the best photos, we recommend heading out to Kite Beach, where you can get sun, sand and structure in one shot.

 JW Marriott Marquis

This hotel in Dubai boasts a unique architectural feature. The shapes of the twin towers were inspired by that of the date palm. Consequently, the building has ‘fronds’ that ‘grow’ out of the structure, creating an interesting textural look against the Dubai skyline.

Burj Khalifa

This is one of the most famous skyscrapers in both Dubai and the world.  At a staggering 830 meters in height, the Burj Khalifa is, quite simply, the tallest building in the world. In fact, it’s a bit of a challenge to get a photograph that encapsulates the entire thing! The spiraling design of the building is inspired by Islamic architecture, especially the Great Mosque of Samarra. The Mosque is an ancient Iraqi monument that was built in the 9th century. If you’re hoping to check out the view from the top, our guide to visiting the Burj Khalifa will tell you everything you need to know.

The Address Hotel

This is a luxury hotel situated in Downtown Dubai, just minutes away from the Burj Khalifa. The skyscraper is about 300m tall. It follows the Art Deco style architecture and includes many luxury amenities. However, the hotel is probably most famous for being the site of a 2015 blaze on New Year’s Eve. The Downtown Dubai area is the site of an annual fireworks show, every New Year’s Eve. The pyrotechnics are extraordinarily impressive, and usually millions of people watch the show live or on television. In this case, however, an electrical short caused the building to catch fire, meaning that viewers were left to see the broadcast of the blazing building with the bursting of fireworks behind it. Thankfully, there were no fatalities from the incident, so the incident can simply be taken as an interesting bit of Dubai’s modern history.

Emirates Tower Hotels

The Emirates Towers Hotel is sometimes called Emirates Tower Two – because the hotel is in fact made up of two buildings. The glass-and-steel buildings resemble a triangular prism, with the two buildings mirroring each other. Thanks to their location in Dubai’s Financial District, the atrium of this building is a popular place to do business. In terms of Dubai skyscrapers, this is actually one of the older ones on the list- the towers were completed in 2000. This just goes to show how far back Dubai’s commitment to fine architectural design goes.

Dubai Frame

The last structure on our list is a bit different. For one, it’s not a skyscraper. It’s a towering structure that resembles a picture frame. For the other, it is not yet complete, although it is due to open to the public before the end of the year. Once complete, visitors will be able to see Old Dubai from one side and New Dubai from the other. And if the view piques your interest – Dubai by Foot offers walking tours of both.

Conclusion

Dubai is home to a variety of gorgeous skyscrapers that push the boundaries of architecture while paying homage to the roots of Islamic architecture. They truly encapsulate the heart of the city. So make sure to try and photograph the skyline when you visit Dubai.

 

 

Shopping in Dubai | Dubai by Foot

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Where to Shop in Dubai, Best Shopping Deals and Amazing Sales | Dubai Shopping Guide

Dubai is a shopper’s paradise. It’s home to one of the largest malls in the world, has multiple shopping complexes and even has its own dedicated shopping festival. With all of these options, it can be hard to know where to even start if you’re looking to do some retail therapy.

Here is a list of the some of the options available to the shoppers of Dubai:

Malls | Dubai Shopping Guide

Dubai Mall

This is the big one – in fact, it’s one of the biggest in the world, and definitely one of the most famous. Beyond the luxury brands and fast fashion, you’ll also find a dinosaur skeleton, a massive aquarium and a beautiful fountain with an evening light show. If you’re visiting for the first time and looking to explore, we recommend our self guided tour of Dubai Mall, which takes you to the various attractions and some of the more unique stores in the mall.

Mall of the Emirates

This is another of Dubai’s most popular malls. It has plenty of excellent stores, but it is perhaps most famous for its indoor ski park, which allows shoppers to take a break by taking to the slopes. Even if you don’t know how to ski, you can still partake in the experience and simply enjoying the indoor snow. Other attractions at this mall include a bowling alley and an arcade.

Burjuman

Located in Bur Dubai, the older part of Dubai, this mall did not always make the list of must-see shopping destinations in Dubai. However, this mall just underwent a massive expansion and makeover. Now it boasts trendy stores on par with those found in Dubai Mall and Mall of the Emirates. If your hotel is by the older part of Dubai, this mall is a great option for your shopping needs. And if you’re taking one of our tours of the historic parts of Dubai, Burjuman Mall is within easy reach, making it a great stop to wind down afterwards.

Dubai Marina Mall

Dubai Marina Mall boasts a prime location in the glamorous Dubai Marina area. It’s a bit smaller compared to the other malls in Dubai, but it is every bit as chic (and a lot more manageable to explore). This mall is particularly child friendly – one of our favorite offerings is a miniature train that goes around the mall. And for the adults, the mall is adjacent to some of the hottest clubs and restaurants in Dubai.

Dragon Mart

Dragon Mart is massive. While it lacks the multiple floors of many other malls, it makes up for it thanks to its high square meter area. This mall in particular is focused on goods brought in from China and other parts of Asia. There are great deals to be had there on everything from clothes to furniture to electronics, all for comparatively lower prices.

The Outlet Village Mall

This mall is a contrast to some of the glitzier offerings in Dubai. It’s definitely luxurious, but with a design scheme that mimics the look of a European village. It has a much more relaxed vibe. The mall is known particularly for its selection of deeply discounted designer goods. There is no better place to get a pair of cheap Jimmy Choo kicks or a Tommy Hilfiger polo. The mall is located a bit away from the main parts of the city – however, it is appealingly located near Dubai Parks and Resorts, making it a great stop after spending the day at the park.

City Walk by Meeras

City Walk by Meeras is not technically a shopping mall. Instead, it’s more like an “urban shopping destination.” It consists of a collection of stores connected by European-style streets. The stores here are super trendy, even by Dubai standards. So shopping at City Walk by Meeras is a definitely fun evening out. As you walk, you can enjoy the vista of the Dubai skyline in the background and take a break for some al-fresco dining.  Because of the wide-open space and eye-catching street features, City Walk is a great place for selfies as well. Some of our favorite places at City Walk by Meeras are

The Green Planet:

The green planet is a tropical bio-dome, in a shopping complex, in a desert city. Nevertheless, it authentically recreates the experience of stepping into a jungle. The gorgeous flora and fauna – of which there are over 3000 varieties – provide a great way for visitors to connect with nature, while still enjoying the comforts of an indoor setting

Hub Zero:

Hub Zero is a gaming attraction designed for enthusiasts and first-timers alike. Many of the games have an interactive component. You don’t just shoot lasers at a screen, you play laser tag with friends over a two level battle zone. With the incorporation of 3D and virtual reality technology, and the chance to compete with your friends beside you, Hub Zero is a great spot to bring out your inner adventurer.

Mattel Play! Town:

This attraction is a fun experience for kids aged 2-10. The fun characters are used to build worlds that develop a child’s reasoning and social skills – a perfect mix of education and entertainment.

Farzi Café:

Indian cuisine can often be viewed as ‘street food’ – something delicious but not exactly en-vogue. Farzi Café aims to change that, by combining the techniques of molecular gastronomy with the traditions of Indian cooking, to create a unique dining experience.

Walnut Grove:

Walnut Grove is a South African café and bakery that caters to young and old alike. The family-friendly joint is particularly known for its fresh coffee (with cute coffee art) and delicious cakes  (we recommend their colorful rainbow cake for a treat that tastes as good as it looks).

Sales

Sales in Dubai are a frequent occurrence, as retailers like to encourage people to wander around their stores. If you want to try to time your visit with a major sale, there are several weekends that tend to have discounts across the board. In particular, the first week of December corresponds with the UAE’s National Day, so there tends to be major sales around that date. The timing is perfect for some Christmas shopping.

Other major sales happen around the time of Eid. Eid Al Adha, which takes place near the end of summer, tends to attract massive discounts, as the timing also corresponds with back-to-school season. It’s a great time to pick up a backpack for your little one, or an autumn outfit for yourself.

Festivals | Dubai Shopping Guide

In celebration of Dubai’s shopping spirit, the city also hosts a variety of shopping festivals – special seasons wherein malls and stores across Dubai host special promotions and crazy discounts. The two biggest ones are:

Dubai Shopping Festival

The Dubai Shopping Festival lasts for about one month and usually takes place in January of the year. Every mall participates in the shopping festival. In addition to the promotions happening at the stores, the malls often host special events such as dance shows. Even if you don’t want to shop, you can have a great time just wandering around.

One of the most popular events is a seasonal affair known as Global Village. It does not take place in a mall, but instead consists of a series of outdoor pavilions. Each pavilion is designed to represent a certain country and one can usually find pavilions focusing on India, China, Thailand, Egypt, Russia and a host of foreign countries. Within these pavilions, one will find a selection of small shops selling wares local to each country. If you want a Persian rug or a Japanese anime doll, this is the place to get it. It’s definitely a unique experience and one we recommend to anyone who loves chopping and culture.

Dubai Summer Surprises

Dubai Summer Surprises takes place for six weeks starting in July. Retailers offer mass discounts during this period, while other attractions in Dubai also offer their own discounts. Dubai Summer Surprises is also particular great for children. The event’s mascot is a colorful character called Modesh. There are multiple shows and games aimed at entertaining children during this time.

Dubai is definitely a shopper’s paradise. There are plenty of options for those who want to go shopping in Dubai. Even if you can’t make the festivals, you’ll always find plenty of sales and offers designed to tempt you. Shopping is a huge part of everyday life in Dubai. So when you visit, make sure to take a stroll in one of the malls or shopping destinations. This is one of the best ways to experience a huge aspect of the city’s social scene.

If you want a quick tour of the Dubai Mall or Old Dubai and its souks, do try out our Downtown Dubai Walking Tour and our Old Dubai Walking Tours