dubai hotels        Dubai City Guide                                                                                     

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Lying on the calm, blue waters of the southern Gulf and flanked by majestic desert, Dubai offers year-round sunshine and five-star luxury along with the adventure of a unique Arabian experience.

Dubai is the second largest of the emirates comprising the United Arab Emirates. It was established in the late 1950's to serve a tiny coastal settlement. Today, Dubai is a modern metropolis with a population of over 700,000. It offers its citizens the finest in modern comforts. It is known internationally as a premier tourist destination.

Dubai is really two towns separated by Dubai Creek (Khor Dubai), an inlet of the Gulf. Deira lies to the north and Bur Dubai to the south. Both districts are packed with traditional architecture and bustling souqs, but the city center is in Deira. Glittering new office buildings along Shaikh Zayed Rd in Bur Dubai form the core of another burgeoning city center.

Twenty nine years ago the southern coast of the lower Gulf was a barren, under-populated land comprised of several autonomous states. Today, as the United Arab Emirates, it has become a dynamic, modern society with the infrastructure of contemporary twenty-first century life. Geographically, the region which is now the UAE stretches from the Indian Ocean in the east to the ends of the Empty Quarter in the west and from the mountains of the Sultanate of Oman in the south to the temperate waters of the Arabian Gulf in the north.

In the sixties the oil boom began the process of change, and in 1971 the Federation of the United Arab Emirates was formed, uniting seven Emirates, namely: Abu Dhabi (the capital and has the bulk of oil reserves), Dubai (the commercial center), Sharjah, Ras Al Khaimah, Umm Al Quwain, Fujairah and Ajman. The Federation replaced the old association of the Trucial States which had been under British mandate and set out immediately to bring the benefits of the new world to people throughout the land. A new political structure was introduced, bringing closer together the individual Emirates which until then had each lived separate and independent life under the rule of their own Sheikhs.

The great wealth derived from the UAE's oil and gas production has given the country one of the highest per capita incomes in the world. This wealth from oil and gas has been spent over the past twenty years on construction and development which has proceeded at an amazing rate. All of the original settlements have become dynamic urban centers and Dubai has grown into a large, cosmopolitan center. Rural villages have been reconstructed; many nationals (natives of the UAE) have new homes which feature modern conveniences of typical major urban lifestyles. A network of multi-lane highways link the main centers. The more remote regions are accessible by all-terrain vehicles and both the desert and the mountains are popular destinations for leisure and recreational activities.

Where ever you are in Dubai, you will not be far from a supermarket which offers most of what can be found in North America, Australia and Europe. In fact you are likely to find more variety as goods are imported to suit the needs of many different nationalities. Prices are comparable to most western countries

Known in the region as 'the city of merchants', Dubai has welcomed seafarers and traders to its shores for generations. Today, this tradition of courtesy and hospitality lives on. Dubai's streets are clean and safe, and travelers are sure to be charmed by the city's warmth and friendliness.

Dubai has something for everyone, from holidaymakers seeking a relaxing break away from the pressures of work, to active tourists looking for a new, exciting experience. The emirate is also rapidly emerging as an international conference, exhibition and leisure travel destination.

Dubai has a seemingly endless variety of unique vacation opportunities! Some of the highlights are desert safaris, dune driving; exploring wadis (dry river beds) in four-wheel-drive vehicles; sand-skiing; moonlit Arabian desert barbecues, complete with traditional entertainment; camel racing, horse racing and falconry; cruises in traditional wooden dhow on Dubai Creek or into the Gulf; exploration of the old city souks (markets) and creekside dhow quays. Photographic possibilities include traditional architecture; majestic mosques, magnificent palaces, brightly dressed children, camel and goat herds, ancient windtowers, dusty Bedouin villages, lush oases and palm groves, and dramatic sunsets.

Dubai has facilities for swimming, sailing, fishing, windsurfing, water-skiing, jet-skiing, scuba-diving and snorkeling. There is golf on five championship-standard grass courses. Other sports include squash and tennis; horse back riding; trekking, paragliding, cycling, ice-skating, shooting, archery and bowling.

Families will enjoy the incomparable child- friendly parks and playgrounds. Driving in the desert, mountains or river beds (wadis) is a favorite weekend pastime for many people in the Emirates. There are numerous well known places for camping and picnicking. Shopping attractive traditional Middle Eastern gifts is easy and enjoyable. Offerings include rugs, silverware, jewelry, brass, inlaid rosewood furniture and much more.

Dubai is a modern city without any of the negative aspects often associated with city life, such as air pollution, traffic jams, poverty or crime. It is truly a vacation paradise.

Population:
757,000 (estimated)

Country:
United Arab Emirates (UAE)                                                          

Main language:
Arabic; English is also widely spoken.

Type of government:
Federation of emirates

Government leader:
Sheikh Zaid bin Sultan al Nahayan, President

Political subdivisions:
7 emirates

Economy:
Oil contributes just 20 per cent of economic production. Trading, manufacturing and services - including tourism - now dominate the economy.

Health requirements:
No health certificates are required for entry to Dubai, but it is always wise to check before departure, as health restrictions may vary depending upon the situation at the time.

Life expectancy:
Women, 74; Men, 70

Currency:
The monetary unit is the dirham (Dh) which is divided into 100 fils. The dirham is linked to the Special Drawing Right of the International Monetary Fund. It has been held constant against the US dollar since the end of 1980 at a mid-rate of approximately US$1= Dh3.67.

Banks:
Both the local banks and the many international banks represented by branches in Dubai provide the usual commercial banking services. Transfers can be made without difficulty as there is no exchange control and the dirham is freely convertible.

Bank:
Opening hours are 8.00am to 1.00pm, from Saturday to Wednesday, although some also open from 4.30-6.30pm. On Thursdays, banks operate only from 8.00am to noon.

Exchange houses:
Are open from 8.30am-1.00pm and 4.30-8.30pm.

Business Hours:
In many Muslim countries, labor laws stress that Muslims may be required to work a maximum of six hours daily. Offices, shops, and other places of employment adjust to the reduced working hours. Restaurants close and food may not be consumed openly during the day by non-Muslims or Muslims who are not fasting. Night turns into day with prayer and family life being the focus of activities. In the UAE, shopping centers are open late into the night, the streets are crowded with people, and television offers special late night viewing for the entire family. Allowances should be made for a marked slowing down of daily life and it may take longer than normal to transact business. More care should be taken in traffic as the level of concentration might slump due to fasting and lack of sleep. When making appointments, allow for more flexibility than would normally be required.

Time zone:
GMT + 4 hours (When it is noon in NY City by Eastern Standard Time; it is 8pm in Dubai) Daylight saving time is not observed.

Climate:
The climate is hot and dry. The mean January temperature is 65°F. and the mean temperature in July is 92°F. The average annual rainfall is 6in.

Location:
The second largest of the seven emirates which make up the United Arab Emirates, Dubai is located on the southern shore of the Arabian Gulf. It has an area of some 3,900 square kilometres. Outside the city itself, the emirate is sparsely inhabited and characterized by desert vegetation.

Visas:
Citizens of GCC countries (Gulf Cooperation Council: Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Bahrain, Qatar and the Sultanate of Oman) and British nationals with the right of abode in the UK do not need visas to enter the UAE. GCC nationals can stay more or less as long as they like. Britons can stay for a month and can then apply for a visa for a further two months.

For others, the easiest and most common way to enter the UAE is on a hotel-sponsored visa. This means either a 15-day transit visit or a 30-day visit visa. The difference is that the transit visas cannot be extended. The visit visa can be extended for another 30 days by the hotel that initially acted as sponsor.

Religion:
Islam is the official religion of the UAE and there are a large number of mosques throughout the city. Other religions are respected and Dubai has two Christian churches, St Mary's (Roman Catholic) and Holy Trinity (Inter-denominational).

Alcohol:
Alcohol is available in hotel and club restaurants and bars. However, restaurants outside the hotels are not permitted to serve alcoholic beverages. Alcohol is prohibited for Muslims, yet the UAE is lenient to foreigners in this regard. Alcoholic drinks are available in private clubs, hotels, and restaurants in hotels. In addition, non-Muslim expatriates can get liquor permits for purchase and consumption of alcohol in their homes; however, as permit holders, they may not sell, serve or give liquor to Muslims.

Photography:
Normal tourist photography is acceptable but it is considered offensive to photograph Muslim women. It is also courteous to ask permission before photographing men. In general, photographs of government buildings or military installations should not be taken.

Telephone:
To call the UAE from abroad, the country code is 971 followed by the city code and the local number.

Business District:
The main business district is barely 1 sq km (0.4 sq mi), bounded by Shaikh Khalifa bin Zayed and Istiglal Sts to the north, Zayed the Second St to the south, Khalid bin al-Walid St to the west and As Salam St to the east.

Average Temperatures (In Fahrenheit):                                     
High Low
January - March 80F 54F
April - June 97F 65F
July - September 103F 77F
October - December 92F 58F


The best time of the year to visit Dubai is between November and April, when the weather is coolest. The rest of the year you're more likely to be running from one air-conditioned environment to the next instead of getting out and exploring. Ramadan, which takes place at a different time each year on the western calendar, is the Muslim month of fasting and is strictly adhered to throughout the UAE. That means that it's illegal, not to mention rude, to eat, drink or smoke in public from sunrise to sunset during your stay. (In the year 2001, Ramadan falls between November 16 and December 14). The good news is that during that time hotel rates drop up to 70%.

Visiting in high summer (July and August) can be very uncomfortable. From May to September, daytime temperatures are in the low to 104-113 °F range. In the winter months, temperatures average in the low to 68-77 °F range. It can get very windy during these months.

Packing:
Dubai has a sub-tropical, arid climate. Sunny, blue skies can be expected most of the year. Rainfall is infrequent and irregular, falling mainly in winter. Lightweight summer clothing is suitable for most of the year, but sweaters or jackets may be needed for the winter months, especially in the evenings.

Compared with certain parts of the Middle East, Dubai has a very relaxed dress code. However, care should be taken not to give offence by wearing clothing which may be considered revealing. At the pool or on the beaches, trunks, swim-suits and bikinis are quite acceptable.

Good quality sunglasses are advised, and photo- chromatic lenses for those who wear spectacles. Hats or some protection for the head are advisable when in direct sunlight.

Water:
Tap water is quite safe to drink but visitors usually prefer locally-bottled mineral water and this is generally served in hotels and restaurants.

Hijra Calendar and Method of Determining Holidays:
The Hijra (Islamic) calendar is lunar; each month begins and ends with the sighting of the new moon. There are twelve months in the Hijra calendar: Muharram, Safar, Rabi' al-Awwal, Rabi' al-Akhir, Jumada' al-Ula, Jumada' al-Akhirah, Rajab, Sha'baan, Ramadhan, Shawwal, Dhul-Qi'dah, Dhul-Hijjah. Each month is 29-30 days long, making the Hijra year shorter than the Gregorian year. Unlike the Gregorian day, which is from midnight to midnight, the Muslim day starts and ends at sunset. The Hijra calendar began with Prophet Mohammed's migration from Mecca to Medina. The first year corresponds to 622 ad in the Gregorian calendar.

It is important for newcomers to the Middle East to understand that Islamic dates are not fixed, rather they depend on the sighting of the new moon each month. For example, Eid Al Fitr is only known the evening before, thus everyone must watch the evening news or read the morning paper to know whether the next day will be a working day or Eid. This can be a source of anxiety for newcomers as in many parts of the world holidays are known way in advance and plans can be made for traveling, etc. It is one of the differences of living in the UAE and you are encouraged to be flexible, adaptable and accept that there is nothing that can be done to change this practice. The quicker you accept this, the less anxiety you will experience!

Holidays:
Subject to change according to the sighting of the moon                            
Hijra New Year: Year 1421 began 5 April 2000
Prophet's Birthday: A significant day for many Muslims
Israa' Wal Miraaj: The Prophet's miraculous night journey to Heaven
UAE National Day: The official establishment of the United Arab Emirates
Eid Al Fitr: Feast of Fast Breaking at the end of the month of fasting
Eid Al Adha: Feast of Sacrifice; occurs during the pilgrimage to Mecca, commemorating the example set by Prophet Abraham
Accession Day: The day Shaikh Zayed Al Nahayan become ruler of the UAE

Getting There:
The airport is on the mainland, about 18.6mi north-east of the city centre. Dubai International Airport (DXB) has recently undergone a US$540 million expansion. New facilities include a spa, business and conference rooms, a five-star hotel and, of course, an expanded duty-free store, enlarging what was already one of the biggest in the world. The airport has a long-standing reputation as the Gulf's travel hub.

The national carrier is Emirates, which flies to some 45 destinations in the Middle East, Europe, Australia, Africa and the Indian Subcontinent.. There is no departure tax leaving Dubai International Airport, although there may be in the future.

Dubai's location at the cross-roads of Europe, Asia and Africa makes for easy accessibility. London is seven hours away, Frankfurt six, Hong Kong eight and Nairobi four.

Most European capitals and other major cities have direct flights to Dubai, many with a choice of operator.

Buses run throughout the region to other parts of the UAE and surrounding countries. Within the UAE, the only intercity bus route you're likely to use runs to Hatta from the Deira bus station. To get to most other cities in the Emirates, take a Dubai Transport minibus. There are two buses a day to Muscat, Oman. Balawi Bus Service runs to Jordan twice weekly and Egypt on Wednesdays. To arrange buses to Saudi Arabia, Lebanon and Syria, you'll need to go to Abu Dhabi.

Long-distance taxis can take you to any other emirate on a shared or 'engaged' basis (which means you'll either have to fill all five seats or pay for them). Settle the price before you leave. There is a tax as you cross the UAE border by land.

Passenger ferries make the 12-hour trip between Sharjah (a twenty-minute drive from Dubai) and the port of Bandaré Abbas in Iran daily. A passenger and car ferry runs from Jebel Ali (30 minutes south of the city center) and Umm Qasr Port in Iraq every Saturday. If you leave the UAE by boat, there's a Dh20 port tax.

Getting Around:

Buses run between Dubai International Airport and Deira bus station every half hour, and metered, beige-colored Dubai Transport taxis take new arrivals to any point in the Deira or Bur Dubai city centers. Although they can't serve the airport, there are scores of private taxis in all shapes and colors. As these aren't metered, you may need to haggle a bit about fares.

Local buses run from the Deira bus station, near the gold souq, and the Bur Dubai Station on Al-Ghubaiba Rd. Monthly bus passes, known as taufeer, get you unlimited travel on either side of Dubai Creek or throughout the city

Driving in the city of Dubai is considered an extreme sport. If you must rent a car, bring your credit card and a copy of your passport. Drinking and driving earns jail time on top of a stiff fine. Note that all accidents, no matter how small, must be reported to the police. The older parts of Dubai, with their souqs, fascinating architecture and museums, are best seen on foot. Abras criss-cross Dubai Creek from early morning until around midnight, and are a great, inexpensive way to see the city.

Driving in the UAE is on the right-hand side.

Roads and highways: Over the past two decades, Dubai has built an impressive network of first-class roads connecting all parts of the city and surrounding areas. There are two bridges and a tunnel linking the two main districts of Dubai and Deira on either side of the Creek. Roads to all major towns and villages are excellent and a multi-lane highway heads southwards from the city to Abu Dhabi.

Water taxis: An interesting way to travel between Dubai and Deira is by water taxi across the Creek.
                                                                       



The Dubai Museum
353-1862
8:30am-8:30pm Sat-Thurs. 3-9 Friday
Admission charged.
Bus 19
English and Arabic descriptions on all displays.
Al-Fahidi Fort, built in 1800, is home to the Dubai Museum, and is thought to be Dubai's oldest building. In the past the fort was used to defend the town from warlike neighboring tribes. The walls of the fort are built from coral and shell rubble from the sea, and are cemented together with lime. Wooden poles called handel support the upper floor, and the ceiling is made of palm fronds, mud and plaster. Inside, a large section is devoted to musical instruments, with displays of drums, flutes, lyres, bagpipes made of goatskin and other locally-made instruments used in performances on festive occasions. There is also a re-creation of a typical home and school of the 1950's. Additionally, there is an interactive display of the flora and fauna of the UAE, and findings from the archeological sites (950-550 BC).

Narish Khyma
Situated close to the Museum, is a typical Arab summer-house, with an interesting collection of local boats. These include a replica of the famous abra -- the ferry boats used for transporting passengers across Dubai's river creek.

Dubai Creek:
Dubai's waterfront epitomizes the city's personality. The best way to see the trading port is from the water. You can book a cruise or hire an abra (small boat); ask the captain to take you to Al-Maktoum bridge and back. Also take time to walk around the dhow wharfage on the Deira side of Dubai Creek, to the west of the abra dock. Dhows bound for ports from Kuwait to Bombay dock there to unload .

Grand Mosque:
The Grand Mosque in Bur Dubai is home to the city's tallest minaret. It was built in the 1990s in the style of the Grand Mosque, which dated from 1900 but was demolished to make way for another mosque in 1960. The new Grand Mosque's sand-colored walls and wooden shutters blend perfectly with the surrounding old quarter of Bur Dubai. Jumeira Mosque, is known for its size and elaborate design. The best time to see it is at night, when it is spectacularly lit up.

The stunning Iranian Mosque has incredibly detailed blue mosaic work typical of Persian building design. Non-Muslims are not allowed to enter mosques in the UAE. Next door, the Heritage and Diving Villages have displays on pearl diving and dhow building, two of old Dubai's economic mainstays. Another area re-creates traditional Bedouin and coastal village life, complete with barasti (Persian) homes, a traditional coffeehouse and a small souq where you can buy freshly made dosa (a flat, grilled bread). A museum with items from nearby archaeological sites is also interesting.

Jumeira Archaeological Site:
The largest and perhaps most significant archaeological site in the UAE, Jumeira dates to the 6th century AD. The settlement is particularly interesting because it straddles the pre-Islamic and Islamic eras. Today surrounded by shopping centers plying the spoils of modern-day Dubai's trade, this settlement was once a caravan station along a trade route linking Iraq to northern Oman. Excavations have unearthed a series of stone walls that surrounded a seven-shop souq and a storage facility. Several homes, what is believed to be a governor's palace and several other structures that keep the archaeologists guessing can be viewed from behind a fence. If someone is working, you may be able to talk your way in. Relics, including glazed pottery, copper and iron items, glassware and coins, are on display at the museum for the Heritage and Diving Villages.

Jumeira Beach Park:
This lovely park fronts Jumeira Beach and a walk on the grass, irrigated at great public expense, is a real treat. There is a children's play area, barbecue pits, picnic tables, walkways and kiosks. The long stretch of beach is clean and lined with shady palm trees. Lifeguards are on duty here. The park is usually open to all, but Saturday and Monday are reserved for women and children only. This is a good option for women who are hoping for a vacation tan, but don't want to pay a small fortune at a hotel beach club or put up with the male attention they might get at a public beach.

Dhow Ship Building Yard:
On Dubai Creek waterfront about 1km south of Al-Gharhoud Bridge in the Jaddaf district, there's a marina where monstrous dhows are built in the traditional style. This means that the planks are curved and placed one on top of the other, and then the frame was fitted on the inside (in the West, this is generally done the other way around). They're built by hand using basic tools and resilient teak and shesham woods, and are incredibly sturdy. One concession to modern shipbuilding is adding an engine in addition to (or instead of) traditional sails.

Hatta Rock Pools:
Hatta, an enclave of Dubai nestled in the Hajar Mountains, is a great weekend getaway. The main attractions are its relatively cool, dry climate, the mountain scenery, and the magnificent Hatta rock pools. It's an amazing experience to swim through the narrow rock corridors of this miniature canyon, roaring year-round with plunging waterfalls.

Dubai Zoo:
Summer: 10:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.
Winter:10:00 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.
Tuesdays: Closed.
Located in Jumeirah opposite Jumeirah beach. It is surrounded by lush green trees and is the greenest spot in the suburb. The entrance is from the Jumeirah road. Ample car parking is available both in the front and rear side of the Zoo. It covers a total area of 1.75 hectares providing spacious habitats for its occupants. Mammals: There are nearly 248 different mammals. Gorilla, Foxes, Hyenas, Pumas, Lions, Jaguars, Chimpanzees, Baboons, Monkeys, Deer, Bears, Porcupines, Giraffes and Sheep are some of the mammals in the Zoo. Birds: These feathered friends range from tiny budgerigars to tall ostriches, golden eagles to parrots. Reptiles: almost 403 reptilian specimens are exhibited for the visitors. Endangered Species: the Zoo also protects and conserves endangered animals including Barbary-Sheep, Waterbucks, Siberian and Bengal Tigers, Arabian Wolves and Wild Cats

Creek Park:
Weekdays: 8:00 a.m. to 9:30 p.m.
Thursdays, Fridays and Holidays: 8:00 a.m. to 10:30 p.m.
Wednesdays: Ladies and Children only.
This modern and beautiful green park is situated on the west shore of Dubai's historical focal point, Dubai Creek. This park extends for 2.6 km between Al Maktoum and Al Garhoud bridges covering a total area of 96 hectares. A variety of facilities for children and adults are available. The highlights are a complete golf course, children's games area. The park also has 14 picnic areas and a large amphitheater that can accommodate 5000 people providing great joy to visitors.

Safa Park:
Weekdays: 8:00 a.m. to 9:30 p.m.
Thursdays, Fridays and Holidays: 8:00 a.m. to 10:30 p.m.
Tuesdays: Ladies and Children only
On the Dubai-Abu Dhabi highway near the second interchange, this park is one of the premier recreational spots of Dubai. Rectangular in shape and easily accessible, this park covers a total area of 64 hectares. The park has an air-conditioned hall containing electronic games. There are restaurants and a playground for children. The park also has many other outdoor sports activities like football, volleyball, basketball, tennis and a modern track for running or jogging. Ladies and children can enjoy exclusive privacy in a special garden reserved for them. Children love the maze and the games provided. The 21 covered barbecue sites and benches makes the setting complete with fun, games and food.

Jumeirah Beach Park:
Weekdays: 8:00 a.m. to 11:00 p.m.
Thursdays and Public Holidays: 8:00 a.m. to 11:30 p.m.
Saturdays and Sundays: Ladies and Children only.
Located in Jumeirah, along the sea shore bordering the Indian Ocean. The park extends over a total area of 13 hectares. The park attracts all ages because of its ideal location and variety of recreational activities, particularly during the summer. There are special areas designated for picnics, and the beautiful surroundings provide for relaxing and enjoyable meals. The park also has an Amphitheater which offers dramatic and musical entertainment. The Children's Playground is ideal for children of all ages. There are also volleyball courts.

Al Mamzar Beach Park:
Weekdays: 8:00 a.m. to 11:00 p.m.
Thursdays and Holidays: 8:00 a.m. to 11:30 p.m.
Wednesdays: Ladies and Children only.
Situated on the north-west coast of Dubai, to the north of Al Hamriya port, the park extends over an area of 99 hectares making it one of the largest parks in Dubai. The beach has modern lifeguard stations, changing rooms and beach chalets. There are swimming pools and a children's playground. There are also numerous picnic areas with grills, chairs and umbrellas. The large Amphitheater hosts evening programs. An observation tower offers a scenic view of the whole park.

Shaikh Saeed Al-Maktoum House:
On Al-Shindagha road in Bur Dubai.
7:30am-9:30pm Sat-Thurs. 3-9:30pm Friday.
Admission charged.
This imposing building distinguished by its four-elegant wind-towers, stands along the famous Creek of Bur Dubai. It was built in 1896 and was the residence of the grandfather of the present ruler. Shaikh Saeed house is built around a large courtyard in the style of residences of the olden days, in phases, over a number of years. It is partly single, and partly two-storied, comprising a large number of rooms, verandas and bathrooms, divided into independent family units.. The building is now illuminated in the night with floodlights, and stands as a reminder of Dubai's rich architectural heritage and culture. The house has been converted into a museum of Historical Photographs and documents of the Emirate of Dubai.

Al Bastakia Area:
Bus 19
Al Bastakia Area in Bur Dubai dates back to the early 1900s, and occupies the eastern section of the old town along the Creek, extending in a southerly direction. These houses were once the homes of wealthy Persian merchants. Most came from te Bastak District in southern Iran. The area has always fascinated visitors to Dubai and artists, who are impressed by the elegant wind-towers, gypsum decorations and woodwork, and the lanes that meander through the district. The wind towers provided relief from the desert sun and high humidity.

Al Ahmadiya School:
Take the bus to the Public Library and walk the short distance to the museum.
Al Ahmadiya School was established by the late Shaikh Ahmed bin Dalmouk, for whom the school was named, in 1912. It was the earliest regular school in the Emirate of Dubai where instruction was given by some of the leading teachers of the day, and many distinguished scholars and dignitaries received their education. The school is located in the center of the residential Al Rass area of Deira, which was a convenient location for the children of the elite, and traders, who resided there. The school has been restored to its original structure and has been converted to a Museum of Education. It opened on March 7, 2000.

Shopping:

Souqs of Deira
Souqs, Arabic open-air markets, have long been part of Dubai society. They open for business in the early morning and between 5 and 8pm. The Deira Covered Souq offers textiles, spices, kitchen wares, clothes and henna (used by Arab women to mark the hands and feet with painted patterns). The Spice Souq, also known as the Deira Old Souq sells trinkets, clothing, rugs and glassware. The overflowing bags of seasonings are concentrated at the eastern end, closest to Dubai Creek. Gold Souq, with its intricate wooden lattice archway and windows filled with glittering gold, attracts buyers from throughout the world. Any type of gold jewelry, in any color can be yours for a price. The Perfume Souq, with European designer fragrances and strong, spicy Arabic scents. The Electronics Souq sells discounted electronic items. The Dubai Souq, in Bur Dubai, has been beautifully rebuilt to appeal to tourists, but sells mostly items appreciated by the Indo-Pakistani expatriate community.

The Shopping Malls In Dubai                                        

Bur Juman Centre
Close to the Trade Centre Road and Bank Street.
Weekdays- 10 am - 10pm; Friday - 1pm to 10 pm
Three shopping levels of boutiques and shops offering a handsome choice of designer products. Even better is the elegant Food Court on the top level, where you can rest your tired feet after hours of shopping. Go for the fast food or an elaborate meal or if you'd like to stop at coffee or an ice cream cone, they are available too.

Lamcy Plaza
Opposite American Hospital
Saturday to Wednesday- 10 am to 10 pm;
Thursday & Friday- 10 am to 10.30 pm;
Food Court and Food Hall open until midnight.
Big stuffed birds move around to amuse children. There's an electronic clown who goes up and down a pole and Spider man climbing up a wall. Designer clothes, women's wear, jewelry, gifts, books, music, etc.The Food Court on the ground level serves delicacies from 17 countries around the world. Movie theater also.

Wafi Shopping Mall
Off Oud Metha Road, near Dubai Electricity and Water Authority building.
10 am to 10 pm
Wafi in Arabic literally means "to satisfy everything you want." For a more upmarket clientele, this extended mall has a comprehensive range of Europeans brand names at its boutiques and shops. The immense entertainment arcades keep everyone enthralled.

Al Ghurair Retail City
Location : Al Riqqa Street
10 am to midnight; Friday mornings closed.
One of the oldest malls in Dubai, this large complex has been totally renovated and revamped and renamed as the Al Ghurair Retail City. You will find more than 100 upmarket stores including supermarkets, audio and video entertainment, perfumes, electronics, appliances, books, stationery, clothing and luggage stores. Fast Food outlets and ice cream parlours are spread throughout the mall. A multi-level car park building is next to the Retail City.

Deira City Centre:
Opposite the Creek Golf and Yacht Club on Beniyas Road.
Weekdays- 10 am to midnight; Friday - 2 pm to midnight.
At the Deira City Centre, the crowds are there every day of the week. It's main attraction is Carrefour (formerly Continent), the mall's hypermarket and IKEA, the comprehensive furniture store. At Carrefour, there is always a sale.

The mall also houses leading names in fashion. Spread over two shopping floors, it offers covered parking for 2,000 cars. Cavernous anchor stores stock a vast range of furniture, furnishings, clothing, cosmetics, perfumes and shoes. A number of specialty stores deal in DIY, mobile phones, watches, sports gear and gifts. A vast entertainment complex offers the latest video games, mini golf, and even a train ride.

Hamarain Centre
Abu Baker Al Siddique Road
Weekdays- 10 am to 10 pm
Friday - 4.30 pm to 10 pm
Home to leading brand names in fashion, perfumes, cosmetics, jewelry, eye wear, sports goods and casual wear, the mall has an exclusive ambience. It also has a food court that offers a wide range of delectable Arabic, Chinese, Indian, Lebanese and Thai cuisine.

Al Mulla Plaza
Al Ghusais
Weekdays- 10 am to 10 pm
Friday - 4.30 pm to 10 pm
At the Al Mulla Plaza, there's always a fair that offers clothes and other goodies at amazing discounts. This is where you are likely to discover those interesting odds and ends that you simply cannot find at malls that offer only exclusive leading brand names. At the Al Mulla Plaza, you will also find book shops that sell only Arabic literature. A mall frequented by the local crowd.

Al Bustan Centre
Location- Al Ghusais
Weekdays- 10 am to 10 pm
Friday - 4.30 pm to 10 pm
A favorite among both locals and foreigners, Al Bustan Centre again has several boutiques and shops that sell leading brands. There is, however, one place at the Al Bustan that is never empty and where you'll probably have to queue up. Fantasy Kingdom pampers your child and no parent would pass up an opportunity to take their child to this treat on a Friday evening.

The Oasis Centre
Location- Sheikh Zayed Road
Weekdays- 10 am to 10 pm
Friday - 2 pm to 10 pm
The Oasis Center on Sheikh Zayed Road was launched in April 1999 with a built area of 320,000 sq ft. The Centre is home for popular outlets such as Baby Shop, Home Center, Splash, Shoe Mart, Lifestyle, MFI and a newly opened 25,000 sq ft supermarket. Shopping at the Oasis Center is all about value for money with a wide range of quality products available at reasonable prices. The Oasis Center also caters to the need of The Mall has Fun City; a family entertainment center spread over 10,000 sq ft that offers the latest rides and games. There is a constant effort to ensure that the mall always maintains a very high standard of cleanliness.

Lulu Hyper Market
Location- Al Ghusais
Weekdays- 10 am to 10 pm
Friday - 2 pm to 10 pm
Opened recently, Lulu Hypermarket has become a big hit with shoppers.
 



Dubai Zoo:
Summer: 10:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.
Winter:10:00 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.
Tuesdays: Closed.
Located in Jumeirah opposite Jumeirah beach. It is surrounded by lush green trees and is the greenest spot in the suburb. The entrance is from the Jumeirah road. Ample car parking is available both in the front and rear side of the Zoo. It covers a total area of 1.75 hectares providing spacious habitats for its occupants. Mammals: There are nearly 248 different mammals. Gorilla, Foxes, Hyenas, Pumas, Lions, Jaguars, Chimpanzees, Baboons, Monkeys, Deer, Bears, Porcupines, Giraffes and Sheep are some of the mammals in the Zoo. Birds: These feathered friends range from tiny budgerigars to tall ostriches, golden eagles to parrots. Reptiles: almost 403 reptilian specimens are exhibited for the visitors. Endangered Species: the Zoo also protects and conserves endangered animals including Barbary-Sheep, Waterbucks, Siberian and Bengal Tigers, Arabian Wolves and Wild Cats

Creek Park:
Weekdays: 8:00 a.m. to 9:30 p.m.
Thursdays, Fridays and Holidays: 8:00 a.m. to 10:30 p.m.
Wednesdays: Ladies and Children only.
This modern and beautiful green park is situated on the west shore of Dubai's historical focal point, Dubai Creek. This park extends for 2.6 km between Al Maktoum and Al Garhoud bridges covering a total area of 96 hectares. A variety of facilities for children and adults are available. The highlights are a complete golf course, children's games area. The park also has 14 picnic areas and a large amphitheater that can accommodate 5000 people providing great joy to visitors.

Safa Park:
Weekdays: 8:00 a.m. to 9:30 p.m.
Thursdays, Fridays and Holidays: 8:00 a.m. to 10:30 p.m.
Tuesdays: Ladies and Children only
On the Dubai-Abu Dhabi highway near the second interchange, this park is one of the premier recreational spots of Dubai. Rectangular in shape and easily accessible, this park covers a total area of 64 hectares. The park has an air-conditioned hall containing electronic games. There are restaurants and a playground for children. The park also has many other outdoor sports activities like football, volleyball, basketball, tennis and a modern track for running or jogging. Ladies and children can enjoy exclusive privacy in a special garden reserved for them. Children love the maze and the games provided. The 21 covered barbecue sites and benches makes the setting complete with fun, games and food.

Jumeirah Beach Park:
Weekdays: 8:00 a.m. to 11:00 p.m.
Thursdays and Public Holidays: 8:00 a.m. to 11:30 p.m.
Saturdays and Sundays: Ladies and Children only.
Located in Jumeirah, along the sea shore bordering the Indian Ocean. The park extends over a total area of 13 hectares. The park attracts all ages because of its ideal location and variety of recreational activities, particularly during the summer. There are special areas designated for picnics, and the beautiful surroundings provide for relaxing and enjoyable meals. The park also has an Amphitheater which offers dramatic and musical entertainment. The Children's Playground is ideal for children of all ages. There are also volleyball courts.

Al Mamzar Beach Park:
Weekdays: 8:00 a.m. to 11:00 p.m.
Thursdays and Holidays: 8:00 a.m. to 11:30 p.m.
Wednesdays: Ladies and Children only.
Situated on the north-west coast of Dubai, to the north of Al Hamriya port, the park extends over an area of 99 hectares making it one of the largest parks in Dubai. The beach has modern lifeguard stations, changing rooms and beach chalets. There are swimming pools and a children's playground. There are also numerous picnic areas with grills, chairs and umbrellas. The large Amphitheater hosts evening programs. An observation tower offers a scenic view of the whole park.
 

These specific event dates apply to the years 2001 and 2002. The main Islamic holidays are Ramadan (November), Eid al-Fitr, which marks the end of Ramadan, Eid al-Adha (February), which marks the pilgrimage to Mecca, and the Prophet's Birthday (May or June).

The UAE Desert Challenge:
The road rally is a dusty, rollicking affair that takes place in November. The race starts and finishes in Dubai, but revs through Abu Dhabi territory as well.

More in the spirit of most visitors is a shopping festival in early March.

Festivals:
Dubai hosts two major tourist-oriented events during the year. The fiercely promoted Dubai Shopping Festival (DSF) runs from late March to late April, when shopping centers bust themselves to bring in the spenders. Entertainment for the kids, fireworks and free raffle tickets with every purchase are just part of the fun. The lower-key Dubai Summer Surprises is designed, along with cheap hotel rates, to attract tourists during the summer slump. Surprises include displays of traditional culture, cooking demonstrations, art shows and more raffle tickets.

Religious holidays:
Religious holidays are tied to the lunar Islamic Hijra calendar, so dates vary from year to year on the western Gregorian version, which runs on solar time. Eid al-Fitr (the end of Ramadan), Eid al-Adha (Pilgrimage), Lailat al-Mi'raj (the Ascension of the Prophet), the Prophet's Birthday and the Islamic New Year are the main celebrations. Secular holidays include New Year's Day (1 January) and National Day (2 December). Keep in mind that Thursday and Friday make up the Dubai weekend.

Ramadan:
The month during which Muslims fast from dawn to dusk, and it is in poor form to eat, drink or smoke in public. If a Muslim friend offers you tea or coffee during the daytime in Ramadan, Ms Manners would suggest that you politely refuse. Alcohol is not served publicly at any time during Ramadan, but those with a liquor license can purchase it for consumption at home. At sundown, the feast begins.

Daily Life During Ramadhan:
Muslims generally eat two meals each day: the first (sahoor) is usually eaten about an hour before dawn and must finish before first light, the second (iftar) immediately follows sunset, which in some places is announced by the firing of a cannon. Once the sun goes down, Muslims usually break their fast following the example of Prophet Mohammed (peace be upon him) by eating a few dates, offering prayers, and sitting down to dinner.

In many Muslim countries, labor laws stress that Muslims may be required to work a maximum of six hours daily. Offices, shops, and other places of employment adjust to the reduced working hours. Restaurants close and food may not be consumed openly during the day by non-Muslims or Muslims who are not fasting.

Night turns into day with prayer and family life being the focus of activities. In the UAE, shopping centers are open late into the night, the streets are crowded with people, and television offers special late night viewing for the entire family.

Allowances should be made for a marked slowing down of daily life and it may take longer than normal to transact business. More care should be taken in traffic as the level of concentration might slump due to fasting and lack of sleep. When making appointments, allow for more flexibility than would normally be required.

Eid Al Fitr:
Ed Al Fitr is the three-day celebration following Ramadhan. It is a festive and happy time during which Muslims do not fast; in fact, it is a time for feasts. The first day of Eid begins before dawn. After eating something (probably dates), showering, and putting on good or new clothes, Muslims gather in large outdoor areas for the first prayer of the day. Returning home from prayer, Muslims spend the day greeting friends and family. Homes are busy with visitors arriving throughout the day. Sweets, fruits, and snacks are offered to all and gifts are often given to children. Eid is a time to be thankful and generous.

The UAE also observes:
New Year's Day, Lailat al-Mi'raj (Ascension of the Prophet) and National Day in (2 December). In Abu Dhabi, August 6th is a holiday marking the accession of Sheikh Zayed.

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