Dubai is vibrant and completely different in comparison to the expectations of most visitors. The reward of my job is to free first-time visitors to Dubai and the UAE from all misconceptions and hesitations about the Middle East in general and the UAE in particular. Reasons why I have stayed here for the past 20 years are:
• There are 200 nationalities in one country living peacefully side by side.
• Ancient heritage and most advanced life styles exist so close together.
• There are endless business opportunities - the economy is booming.
• My kids could not possibly grow up in a more open-minded place than this.
• You can go wherever you like whenever you like and feel safe - almost no crime.
Here are five things I recommend first-time visitors to Dubai should experience:
1. Visit the old city center of Dubai. Most visitors are not aware that Dubai has a beautiful old city center with traditional souqs, such as the textile market, spice market and gold market. Most visitors are under the impression that Dubai is purely built with oil money over the past 45 years, but actually the history of the settlement of Dubai dates back many centuries and all of the history is nicely documented in the Dubai Museum.
2. Visit Burj Khalifa - the tallest building in the world. The observation deck "At The Top" on the 124th floor gives you a perfect 360 degree view of the entire city and its extensions into the Arabian Gulf, such as the "Palm Islands" and "The World".
3. Go on a Cruise to "The World", which is a group of 200 artificial islands in the shape of the world. Each island represents a country. Currently only two islands are developed and one of them can be visited. Starting from 7th of January 2014, I will be the first guide to arrange day trips to the World Islands for you to spend an afternoon on one of the islands with beach and pool access and buffet dinner while the sun sets over "The World" and sinks into the Arabian Gulf.
4. Use the opportunity and take a day trip into the capital, Abu Dhabi. The list of things to do here is endless, but a must see is the Emirates Palace Hotel, the most expensive Hotel ever built. Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque is one of the largest mosques in the world. It surprises with its light, bright and floral appearance and coveys Sheikh Zayed’s message of world peace and tolerance effortlessly without words. On request I can arrange tours on and around the Formula One racetrack and visits to Ferrari World, which is the most spectacular indoor theme park in the world with a Ferrari roller coaster which runs at a speed of 240 km/h.
5. Take a break from the city and venture into the desert; be sure to sample Arabic cuisine. It's delicious!
Maybe you can tell that I am pretty enthusiastic about what I do; I love being a tour guide and I am licenced to guide in all 7 emirates. I look forward to showing you my Dubai and more.
Thanks for the thoughtful suggestions, Ute! If any of our travelers are headed to Dubai in 2014, consider getting in touch with Ute for a fantastic private tour around or outside of the city.