If you’ve been considering a big trip abroad, you may want to consider skipping the traditional go-to’s like London and Paris — Dubai is the internationally trending hotspot of the moment, and it’s definitely worth adding to your bucket list. Just 25 years ago, Dubai was barely on the map, virtually untouched and completely undeveloped. But the government’s investment in the tourism industry has completely transformed the landscape, and Dubai is now the fourth most visited city in the world, as reported by Statista.
The thriving city sprouted up practically overnight, which means that almost all the incredible things to do in Dubai are brand-new and state-of-the-art. Everything from the attractions to the infrastructure is among the most innovative and unique in the world, which helps to explain the city’s unprecedented growth and appeal. Here are just a few of the best reasons you should visit Dubai in 2018.
- It’s safe. Although the middle east has a reputation for safety concerns, Dubai’s “government actively promotes the safety and security of Dubai, as it is a major tourist destination and economic center for the region,” according to the United States Department of State Bureau of Diplomatic Security. Not only does the city pride itself on its low violent crime rates, it also has strict community regulation, so you don’t have to stress about food or water safety, either. Dubai also has English-speaking resources widely available should you experience a medical or another type of emergency.Tourists should be watchful of petty crime like pickpocketing, theft, public intoxication, and fighting, and should be mindful of the region’s Islamic culture. While Dubai is much more relaxed about Islamic law than other Muslim countries, travelers should still be respectful during their stay, especially if it aligns with religious holidays such as Ramadan.
- Unique beaches. If you’re interested in a truly unique seaside experience, Dubai has a lot to offer. The Jumeirah Palm is one of three entirely man-made Palm Islands in Dubai; the artificial island is home to residential buildings and tourist developments and stretches out across the ocean in the shape of a massive palm tree (if you get the chance to see them from above in a helicopter tour, take it!). The Dubai climate is favorable to relaxing on the beach year-round, so you can always catch a few rays regardless of when you schedule your visit.
- Thriving nightlife. Despite adherence to Islamic law, there is a thriving nightlife culture in Dubai. The legal drinking age is the same as the United States, 21 years of age, and Living in Dubai suggests that clubs and bars enforce these laws strictly. You can also legally smoke or use electronic devices such as Juul in Dubai, but “The UAE has absolutely no tolerance for drinking and driving and police are very vigilant; getting caught will guarantee jail time,” the website explains. As long as travelers are respectful of the laws of the country, though, they are guaranteed to have an incredible night at one of the dozens of world-class clubs with oceans views and exclusive features and amenities.
- Award-winning waterparks. Thrill-seekers have to put the award-winning waterpark Aquaventure Dubai on their to-do list because you can’t find water rides like these anywhere else in the world. The park has heart-racing attractions like a 90-foot drop into a shark lagoon and a double-loop waterslide, but it also has family and kid-friendly experiences and access to private beaches for guests.
- Multicultural hotspot. Approximately 200 different nationalities call Dubai home, with 90 percent of the residents being first-generation expatriates of other countries. This means that unlike cities like New York, Dubai’s immigrant population hasn’t been in the country for decades and they are still closely connected to their native cultural traditions. Dubai’s cultural landscape is enriched by diverse food, shopping, and entertainment experiences brought to the city by immigrants, making it another true melting pot.
- The greatest skyline in the world. Dubai boasts plenty of stunning architecture, but one of the most notable attractions is the Burj Khalifa, the tallest building in the world at 163 floors. Visitors can travel 800 meters into the sky to view the entire Dubai cityscape from the top of the building, and there are multiple restaurants and hotels inside. The skyline features unique skyscrapers designed by many of the best architects in the world, and the views of (and from) the buildings are truly unparalleled.
Dubai’s leadership has focused on developing a thriving and appealing tourist industry, and the city boasts countless opportunities to thrill and impress any traveler. Whether you’re stopping in the city for just a few short days on business, enjoying your honeymoon, or planning a big family vacation, this city has something special to offer.
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