The contrast between old and new Dubai is something which has always fascinated and attracted me to this unique city. The traditional souks with their inexpensive wares and the extravagant malls selling high-end luxury branded goods..... the windtowers and the futuristic skyscrapers.....the Creek and Dubai Marina ...the old wooden abras and the millionaires' yachts......the courtyard cafés and the stylish restaurants in the most beautiful hotels.
So.... let's start with the old.....
Dubai's souks are definitely worth a visit to experience the bustling atmosphere and the traditional way of doing business. The spice souk has a unique aroma with every kind of spice...there's frankinsense and myrhh.......
The souks are on both sides of the Creek and you can cross in less than ten minutes in one of the wooden abras for a ridiculously cheap 50 fils (about ten pence!)
Traditionally, dhows from the Far East,India and Ceylon(now Sri Lanka)and East Africa would have their cargo unloaded at the creek and the goods would be haggled over in the souks next to the dock. Dubai's pearling industry which used to be the main sector of the city's economy was based on expeditions in the creek before the invention of artificial pearls in 1926.
One of my favourite places in Dubai is the Bastakia Quarter, a picturesque heritage site built by Persian merchants in the late 19th century. Many of the restored buildings have windtowers, an early but efficient form of air conditioning.
|Basta Art Café|
and now to new Dubai and our first stop is Dubai Marina...............
I continue to be amazed by the Burj Khalifa, the tallest building in the world....just breathtaking!
The iconic Burj al Arab Hotel designed to mimic the billowing sail of a boat remains for me the symbol of Dubai and I can never resist taking yet another photo of this beautiful structure by day.......
and by night when it changes colour from green to blue to yellow.....red to purple........
One of the latest futuristic buildings I spotted during my last visit, in April, was Infinity Tower with its twisted shape giving the upper floors amazing sea views. When completed, it will be the world's tallest high rise tower with a twist of 90°.
Of course no trip to Dubai would be complete without shopping both old style .......for traditional arabic lamps.........
to new ultra-modern shopping malls with every conceivable international shop.......from high street favourites Zara, M&S, Sephora.... to all the designer brands Armani, Chanel, Mulberry........and department stores including Harvey Nichols, Galeries Lafayette and Bloomingdales (complete with a Magnolia Bakery!)
|Chocolate shops with the most |
So many cafés but I just have to mention a couple of favourites.....Fauchon
....Armani Caffè.......Ladurée, of course.......
The restaurants are so varied with every type of cuisine from the legendary Ravi's
The The Jetty Lounge at the The One and Only Royal Mirage Hotel is the perfect spot to enjoy a cocktail on the beach in very chic surroundings .....
|Giant lanterns at the|
One and Only Hotel,
miss b's reviews of more Dubai restaurants, cafés and bars......
Shakespeare and Co
Hey Sugar (formerly Sugar Daddy's)