Introduction to Dubai

Of the 7 emirates that comprise the United Arab Emirates, Dubai is considered the most modern and progressive with established tourism and trade. Shrugging off its status as a long-haul stopover to become a must-visit destination in its own right, Dubai is the future – a city of superlatives where the tallest, biggest, fastest and newest is eclipsed annually by engineering feats of pure imagination and innovation.

Looking at the nascent skyline of Dubai, it’s hard to believe what has been achieved in just 40 years of independence as part of the UAE. From humble days as a pearling village to the luxe locale of today, the emirate that built its wealth on oil is still on the up and up, despite the global financial crisis of recent years that saw ambitious building projects stall and property prices plummet. Now in recovery mode, Dubai is rated as of the best places to live in the Middle East with an enviable lifestyle on offer.

While it enjoys a reputation as the most relaxed city-state of the UAE, Dubai is still a Muslim country where the outré lifestyle excesses are countered by Islamic culture and religious laws. Tourists are expected to dress respectfully and observe local laws – PDAs are a no-no while minis and bikinis are allowed only in upmarket clubs and beaches respectively.

Emiratis make up only 17 percent of the permanent Dubai population of over 2 million people, with an extra 1 million workers from overseas countries in 2012 alone. With expats from India, Pakistan, Philippines, Bangladesh, UK, Canada and Russia, just to name the main countries, all calling Dubai home, it really is a multicultural city with the cuisine, shopping and nightlife to prove it. So, for a unique holiday in a rapidly growing modern metropolis, prepare to be wowed by Dubai.

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