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As you've no doubt hear, the most famous of the United Arab Emirates is a city that must be seen to be believed. Record-breaking architecture stands alongside traditional quarters, while huge man-made islands jut out of the coastline. There is a delicate balance of old and new here, resulting in a smorgasbord of things to do. You can spend your mornings sprawled out along Jumeirah Beach and your afternoons shredding powder at Ski Dubai. Or you can start your day haggling at the traditional gold and spice souks before exercising your credit card at the contemporary Dubai Mall. But first thing's first: Get to know the city. Head straight to the top of the Burj Khalifa (the world's tallest building) where you'll find incredible views stretching into the Persian Gulf. And if you're interested in a more traditional perspective, take an abra (water taxi) ride along Dubai Creek. So much to see and do, but here's what not to miss:
Standing 828 metres high, the world's tallest tower is hard to miss. On a clear day, the view from the observation deck on level 124 is absolutely stunning, topped only by the view from the luxurious At The Top Sky Lounge on the 148th floor. And for those who would like to linger for a meal in the clouds, At.mosphere on level 122 is the place to be.
The Dubai Mall
With around 1,300 shops, this isn't merely the world's largest shopping mall – it’s a small city, with a giant ice rink and aquarium, a dinosaur skeleton, indoor theme parks and 150 food outlets.
Built in the first decade of the 21st century and connected to the mainland via monorail, from the air this artificial archipelago resembles a stylized palm tree within a circle. It's home to luxury residences for tens of thousands, along with shopping malls (of course), theme parks, and more than two dozen palatial hotels.
Less than a 20-minute drive from the modern streets of downtown you can experience the marvels of the Arabian desert - Dubai's original tourist attraction. Take a desert safari Dubai-style with off-roading, quad biking and sandboarding, followed by traditional barbeques, henna painting and camel rides. Or just drive out and experience the wonder of the desert on an adventure of your own.
The Dubai Fountain
With 6,600 lights, 25 color projectors, and a variety of music to match, this is unquestionably the world’s most spectacular choreographed fountain.