Dubai is a city and an emirate of the United Arab Emirates (UAE). It is a popular shopping and luxury tourism destination.

It is a very modern city, built on the edge of the desert. It has some Arabian charms but is mostly known for its year-round warm weather, English speaking residents and Western-style malls.

1. The Beaches

Dubai’s beaches are the perfect destination for a relaxing getaway. With miles of pristine shoreline, you’ll find plenty of options for soaking up the sun and taking a dip in the crystal-clear waters.

While some of Dubai’s beaches are dotted with luxe resorts and beach clubs, you’ll still be able to take a dip for free at many others. Most come with showers, toilets and changing rooms, as well as sunloungers, sports facilities and jogging tracks.

The beach is a great spot to hang out with friends and family, with watersports options available and places to rent a variety of beach toys. There are also boat tours to choose from, with some of them offering spectacular views of the city.

2. The Souks

Dubai may be known for its glittering malls and stylish arcades, but behind the ultra-modern stores are traditional souks that still preserve the city’s authentic heritage. The ancient marketplaces have been part of the trade routes for goods arriving from India, Africa and Asia for centuries.

The shops, lined up in squares on narrow streets, entice you with tempting displays of spices, perfumes and textiles. And the best thing about a souk visit is that you can haggle and find good bargains.

The most famous souk is the Gold Souk, which has hundreds of stalls selling 18K to 24K jewelry and accessories. But there are also other more interesting souks to check out, including the Perfume Souk and Spice Souk.

3. The Burj Khalifa

One of Dubai’s most iconic landmarks is the Burj Khalifa, an imposing tower that has become the tallest building in the world. It’s a must-see while you’re in the UAE.

This 828-meter high tower was designed by Adrian Smith of Skidmore, Owings & Merrill (SOM) and was built by Emaar Properties. They enlisted Hyder Consulting and NORR Group Consultants International Ltd to be the supervising engineers and architects of record for the project.

The tower’s Y-shaped tripartite floor geometry was influenced by the Great Mosque of Samarra, a mosque in Saudi Arabia that is said to be the inspiration for the design. It’s designed to inflate the space for hotels and residences while retaining a central core that houses all vertical transportation except egress stairs within each of the wings.

4. The Desert

The desert of Dubai is a stunning place to explore, and one of the most popular experiences here is a safari. You can go on a morning or evening trip, but some also offer overnight stays under the stars for an additional fee.

Getting out into the desert is a great way to experience its wild side, and you can enjoy activities like sandboarding, dune bashing and camel riding as part of your adventure. Many of these tours are available to book online.

The Arabian camel is the iconic inhabitant of the desert, and they’re adapted perfectly to living in arid conditions. They’ve long eyelashes and ear tufts to keep out sand particles, plus a third eyelid that helps protect their eyes from the sun.

5. The Nightlife

Dubai is famous for its vibrant nightlife, with many restaurants and bars open well into the twilight hours.

The city is also home to some of the world’s best clubs. Whether you’re looking for DJs, live acts or spectacular shows there is a club to suit your needs.

WHITE brings out the big guns month after month, featuring some of the world’s biggest stars on its stage. It’s also one of the most impressive clubs in the city, boasting 360deg panoramic views and a stunning light show.

Cavalli is an institution on the Dubai nightlife scene, known for its glitzy parties and daring shows. Its opulent decor, bold fuchsia pinks and a swanky party crowd are what make this venue a must-visit.