Discover Dubai City
13 March 2023
Where is Dubai located?
The city is divided into two regions by Dubai Creek, an inlet of the Persian Gulf. Deira is the region north of the creek and Bur Dubai is south of the creek. There are multiple sandy beaches in the west, a mangrove on the eastern side of Dubai Creek, and deserts within the city and to the west.
Dubai time zone
Dubai population and culture: How big is Dubai?
How big is Dubai?
Dubai history: How old is Dubai?
The Bani Yas tribe took power and settled in Abu Dhabi in 1793, with Dubai under their control. In 1819, the British launched a naval attack and established the Trucial States, which Dubai joined in 1835 after maritime truces between Britain and the local ruling party. The Trucial States originally consisted of 6 sheikhdoms: Abu Dhabi, Ajman, Dubai, Ras al-Khaima, Sharjah, and Umm al-Quwain. Due to its favorable location, Dubai was becoming an increasingly important port during the 1800s.
The Al Maktoum dynasty, which currently still rules Dubai, was established after Maktoum Bin Butti took power and settled in Dubai in 1833. Pearl farming was still at its peak during this time, helping to solidify Dubai as the main port on the Gulf Coast in the 1870s. Local and international trade flourished and created some of the largest souks (traditional Arabic markets) in the region by the early 1900s. Around this time, Dubai became a free port with no taxation on imports or exports. The economy continued to rely on fishing, pearl diving, and trading.
Thanks to its rich history, Dubai has been referred to as the “Pearl of the Gulf” and the “Jewel of the World”.
Dubai economy and oil: When was Dubai built?
After the announcement to recall British troops in 1968, the Trucial States were dissolved and the UAE was formed in 1971. Rapid economic growth continued, with the opening of Jebel Ali port and the Dubai World Trade Centre in 1979, and the beginning of high-rise construction projects.
The early 2000s saw a real-estate boom, significant business growth with economic zones for foreign investors, and the start of Dubai’s man-made island projects. The Palm Jumeirah was the first of the artificial islands completed in 2006. Soon after, the 2008 global financial crisis brought many large construction projects to a halt and significantly decreased real estate values. Luckily, thanks to state-directed economic growth among other factors, Dubai was able to recover relatively quickly.
The economy is now much more diversified with less than 1% of Dubai’s GDP coming from oil. Some of the major sectors today include hospitality, trade, tourism, real estate, finance, business, information technology (IT), and logistics.
Visit Dubai: What is Dubai known for?
To stay in the UAE for a longer time than is permitted with an entry visa, foreigners must apply for a residency visa.
The main types of residency visas are:
- Employment visa
- Student visa
- Investor visa
- Property owner visa
- Dependent visa
- Retirement visa
- Remote work visa
Best time to visit Dubai
You should also keep in mind the dates of Ramadan when planning a trip to Dubai. Ramadan is an Islamic ritual held during the 9th month of their calendar. The dates of Ramadan change every year based on moon cycles but it is consistently 29-30 days of the year. This is a special time full of culture and tradition but it’s important to remember that it could affect your plans if you’re visiting Dubai during this time. To pay respect to Muslims who fast during Ramadan, there is no eating, drinking, or smoking allowed in public during daylight. Some businesses may close during the day, but many restaurants remain open for expats and tourists. In 2023, Ramadan is from March 22nd until April 21st. Don’t forget to check the dates of Ramadan when you are planning a visit to Dubai.
Some of the most popular attractions in Dubai include:
- Burj Khalifa - the tallest building in the world featuring an observation deck (At the Top), completed in 2010.
- Dubai Frame - a photo op spot in Zabeel Park with galleries inside, completed in 2018.
- Dubai Fountain - a series of fountains on Burj Khalifa Lake, including music, lights, and projections, opened in 2009.
- Dubai Miracle Garden - the world’s largest natural flower garden, opened in 2013.
- Atlantis Aquaventure Waterpark - the world’s largest water park, located at the edge of Palm Jumeirah.
- Dubai Aquarium & Underwater Zoo - located in Dubai Mall, includes hand-feeding exhibits.
- Dubai Creek - views of the city from the water via a dhow, cruise boat, or Abra. The Al Seef district on the creek has a promenade, markets, and restaurants.
- Al Fahidi Quarter - a preserved neighborhood with Arabic architecture and galleries like the Majlis Gallery and Al Serkal Cultural Foundation.
- Global Village - an entertainment park open October-April, including international dining, carnival rides, and shopping.
- Jumeirah Beach - the most popular Dubai beach with sun loungers, swimming areas, water sports, and restaurants.
- Dubai Opera - concert venue hosting musicians, opera, ballet, classical music, and other productions, completed in 2016.
Additional man-made island projects, like The World and The Universe, are set to be future attractions, as well as further expand Dubai’s urban area.
- Burj Al Arab - a hotel resembling the sail of a ship, and one of the tallest hotels in the world.
- Armani Hotel - a contemporary hotel inside the Burj Khalifa.
- Palace Downtown Dubai - a hotel combining Arabic and contemporary designs in Downtown Dubai.
- Waldorf Astoria - a hotel resort on Palm Jumeirah.
- Park Hyatt Dubai - features an Arabesque spa and a golf course, and overlooks the Dubai Creek marina.
- One&Only The Palm - a secluded beachfront hotel with villas on Palm Jumeirah.
- Palazzo Versace Dubai - Italian-inspired hotel on Dubai Creek.
- Four Seasons Resort Dubai - a hotel with penthouses, villas, and multiple restaurants on Jumeirah Beach.
- Anantara The Palm - a Thai-inspired hotel with a spa on Palm Jumeirah.
There are plenty of other world-class hotels in Dubai, as well as more affordable options for visitors that aren’t looking to break the budget. You can choose from a multitude of hotels, hotel apartments, resorts, hostels, Airbnbs, and more.
Multiple restaurants were recognized in 2022, receiving at least one Michelin star. The best restaurants in Dubai include:
- STAY by Yannick Alléno - French cuisine in One&Only The Palm.
- II Ristorante - Niko Romito - modern Italian cuisine in Jumeirah.
- 11 Woodfire - international cuisine in Jumeirah.
- Al Muntaha - French and Mediterranean cuisine atop Burj al Arab.
- Armani Ristorante - Italian cuisine in the Burj Khalifa.
- Hakkasan - Chinese cuisine at Atlantis on The Palm.
- Höseki - Japanese cuisine in Bulgari Hotel.
- Ossiano - European cuisine in Atlantis Hotel.
- Tasca by José Avillez - Portuguese cuisine in the Mandarin Oriental Hotel.
- Torno Subito - Italian cuisine in W Hotel on The Palm.
- Trèsind Studio - Indian cuisine on the Nakheel Mall rooftop.
For award-winning Middle Eastern cooking, you should consider Bait Maryam and Al Khayma. These restaurants both received a Bib Gourmand, meaning they provide good value for less money (on average AED 250 for a 3-course meal).
Here are some of the top malls in Dubai:
- Dubai Mall - Dubai’s premier mall with an ice-skating rink, gaming zone, and cinema, hosts a famous annual Dubai Shopping Festival.
- Nakheel Mall - a new mall on Palm Jumeirah.
- Mall of the Emirates - has an indoor ski slope, cinema, and world cuisine.
- Mercato Mall - an Italian-inspired mall.
- City Walk - a street shopping mall with open squares.
- Ibn Battuta Mall - boasts elaborate interior design.
- Dubai Outlet Mall - has year-round sales and bargains on designer labels.
- Dubai Festival Plaza - a new mall in Jebel Ali.
For a more traditional experience, you can visit some of the traditional Arabic markets in Dubai, known as souks or souqs. These are typically open-air markets full of small vendors selling souvenirs, gold jewelry, spices, fabric, perfume, and more.
Some of the top souks in Dubai include:
- Deira Gold Souk - the largest gold bazaar in the world.
- Deira Spice Souk - spices, herbs, rice, and fruits.
- Deira Perfume Souk - incense, oils, perfumes.
- Bur Dubai Textile Souk - silk, cotton, weaves, sari fabric.
- Souk Madinat Jumeirah - boutique souk without haggling.
- Souk Al Bahar - modern souk near the Burj Khalifa with a variety of items.
- Souk Al Marfa - indoor and air-conditioned wholesale souk in Deira.
Dubai transportation and public transport
Although Dubai is sprawled along the coast, it’s still very possible to get around without a car thanks to their modern public transport system. This includes buses, metro, trams, and marine services. The bus service network covers 87% of the urban area of Dubai and has over 100 lines across the city with dozens of links to the metro stations. The metro is very modern and has two main lines, the Red line and the Green line. The Red line runs along the length of the city while the Green line operates near Dubai Creek. The Dubai tram connects the metro with the Palm Monorail, which runs along Palm Jumeirah island. There are various options for marine transport such as water taxis, water buses, Abras (traditional Arabic boats), and the Dubai Ferry. These are great options for tourists looking to explore the city from the water. Dubai has an easy-to-use nol card with which you can pay for all of these public transport services.
Moving to Dubai
Dubai real estate market
More than 75% of real estate buyers in Dubai are foreigners. Buyers are drawn to Dubai’s low acquisition cost for property, as many developers offer beneficial post-handover payment plans for off-plan properties. Dubai also has no property taxes or income taxes and offers options for residency through investment with the Dubai Golden Visa. The growing economy and population have been reliably increasing property values and rental demand.
Some of the best areas to buy real estate in Dubai include:
- Business Bay - apartments, villas, and penthouses
- Downtown Dubai - apartments, villas, and penthouses
- Dubai Marina - apartments and penthouses
- Jumeirah Village Circle - apartments, villas, penthouses, and townhouses
- Palm Jumeirah - apartments, villas, penthouses, duplexes, and townhouses
- Arabian Ranches - villas and townhouses
- Jumeirah Lake Towers - apartments, penthouses, and duplexes
- Damac Hills 2 - apartments, villas, and townhouses
- Dubai Hills Estate - apartments, villas, townhouses, and duplexes
Many buyers seek the help of real estate and mortgage brokers, like Kredium, to find a property and the best mortgage loan offer. Buyers can search among thousands of property listings in Dubai, contact us for more information, or register on our website. At Kredium, we can help you finalize a property purchase from start to finish.