Dubai is the world’s fourth most visited destination, but among students in the US it’s still relatively unknown. Why? Well, it may not be as popular as London or Paris, but that definitely needs to change. From stunning skylines and record-breaking architecture, amazing beaches, endless shopping and more, Dubai pretty much has it all. Dubai is an amazing spot for travelers, and we’ve got 8 reasons to add it to your bucket list.
1. There’s a boatload of experiences to be had
Dubai is one of the most modern, exciting and diverse cities in the world. Whether you want to spend a few days exploring modern luxury, try your hand at some extreme sports, or experience history and culture, there’s so much to do and experience in Dubai. Go skydiving or hop on the XLine Dubai Marina (the world’s longest urban zipline) for a new view on the city –or get out of the city altogether with a desert safari or sandboarding experience. Hot air ballooning, dune buggy riding and mountain biking are also all options that’ll let you experience the best of Dubai’s adventurous side.
2. It’s one of the safest cities in the WORLD
Screenshot this part and send it to your mom before you go: Dubai consistently ranks among the safest cities in the world. In fact, the United Arab Emirates (UAE) as a whole has recently been named the safest country in the world. From extremely low crime rates to safer roads and traffic conditions and more, Dubai ranks higher in personal security than any US city (according to the Safe Cities Index 2019). 96% of people in Dubai said they felt safe walking around the city after dark. Rest assured when you visit Dubai that you’ll be welcomed into a safe community.
3. Beach days (for days)
With average temps in the 80s-100s nearly year-round, Dubai has the perfect climate for endless beach days. Whether you just want to take a break on the beach to cool off and enjoy some beach views or try out some water sports, there’s no shortage of shoreline in Dubai. Sunset Beach is one of the most famous beaches in Dubai, with the best views of the quintessential Burj Al Arab Jumeirah – one of the city’s best hotels. It’s also a beautiful beach in its own right, with some good surf spots and board rentals if you want to hit the waves. For more adventures, like kite surfing, kayaking or a beachside skatepark, visit Kite Beach. Or just chill out on The Beach or at La Mer, where there’s plenty of shops, cafes and more.
4. Indulge your taste buds in some amazing food (and nightlife)
While Dubai is a hugely international city with lots of food options, you’ll definitely want to try some local Emirati options while you’re there! Start the day with some luqaimat, similar to donuts and found at most cafes and bakeries. Later, you can fill up on samboosa, pastry pockets stuffed with cheese, veggies or meat; khubz, a local bread usually served with hummus; or ghuzi (sometimes called khuzi), essentially lamb on kebab skewers with vegetables and nuts served with rice.
Feeling adventurous? Try a camel burger or even some camel milk ice cream! Of course, don’t miss out on the classic Arabic coffee, too.
5. Shop ‘til you drop
To call Dubai a shopping paradise is a bit of an understatement. The Dubai Mall is a MASSIVE mall home to over 1,200 shops, 150 restaurants, an indoor theme park and indoor waterfall, an ice rink and much more. Spend a day here and you’ll be able to literally shop ‘til you drop. If malls aren’t your speed, pick up some souvenirs at some of Dubai’s traditional souks. Here you can experience some of Dubai’s traditional culture, from the Gold Souk or Perfume Souk for a taste of luxury, or the Spice Souk to sample some new flavors. From spices and herbs to dried fruits and local teas, your taste buds will thank you for making a stop here.
6. Soak in the stunning modern architecture
Dubai is an architectural oasis, with both traditional and modern, award-winning architecture and everything in-between. Make time to see some of the world-famous architecture in the city, like the Burj Khalifa, the tallest building in the world, the twisting Cayan Tower, and the Burj Al Arab Jumeirah, a luxury hotel along Dubai’s shorelines are three of the most stunning skyscrapers in the city. Palm Jumeirah and the World Islands are also quite the architectural feat: these islands off of Dubai’s beaches are completely man-made. No matter where you go in Dubai, you’re sure to be stunned by the opulent and creative architecture.
7. Experience an incredible amount of cultural diversity and history
Dubai is home to an incredible amount of cultural diversity, so it’s an amazing place to experience the world in one city. In fact, 85% of Dubai’s population are expats, so you can find people and cultures from just about anywhere around the globe here. Compare this to other large cities like London or New York, where the expat population is about 35% and you’ll see how diverse Dubai really is. Dubai is also a great place to uncover ancient culture and history: just head into the Al Fahidi Historical Neighbourhood and other districts in Old Dubai to experience traditional markets and cultural experiences.
8. It’s actually an easy place to travel to
Despite what you may imagine, Dubai is a pretty easy place to travel to, regardless of where you’re coming from. In fact, Emirates offers nonstop flights to Dubai from many major cities across the US, including Los Angeles, New York, Boston, Chicago, Seattle and more. In addition, while you’re visiting, Dubai is an easy city to get around. Although the official language is Arabic, English is the most spoken language. The world-class metro and bus system will have you zipping around the city effortlessly. And despite its reputation for a city of luxury, there’s plenty to do in Dubai when you’re on a budget. AND the best part: most tourists (including residents of the US, UK, Canada and China) don’t need to apply for a visa in advance. Grab your tickets and go!
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