Stop, Shop & Drop In Dubai

20 October 2015

Stopover, or stay a while – Dubai has plenty to make everyone smile. Here's why it’s worth extending your stay in this stylish Middle East emirate.

Ideally positioned between Australia and Europe, just like a desert oasis the emirate of Dubai provides respite for the long-haul traveller. The Middle East hub is more than just a quick layover location though, with plenty of Europe and UK-bound visitors plotting a Dubai stay to take advantage of all that this modern and progressive city state has to offer.

 A view of Dubai from a sky-high tower. (Image: Shutterstock)

Picture Dubai, and you immediately think of all the superlatives – the tallest skyscraper in Burj Khalifa, the largest shopping mall in The Dubai Mall, and those astounding man-made feats of engineering such as Palm Jumeirah island created in the shape of a desert palm.

 Balloons over Madinat Jumeirah resort in Dubai (Image: iStock)

When it comes to iconic landmarks in Dubai, the instantly recognisable exterior of the Burj Al-Arab, with its facade mimicking a billowing dhow sail, is not only the world’s tallest all-suite hotel, the 5-star Luxe-rated hotel may also be the most opulent. While known for its luxurious stays, Dubai also boasts a wide range of affordable accommodation options from budget to boutique as well as the world-famous iconic resorts.

 Exquisite detailing of the minarets of Grand Jumeirah Mosque. (Image: Shutterstock)

With sunny days and warm weather guaranteed (Dubai experiences more than 300 days of sunshine annually), there’s plenty to entice travellers of all types to enjoy the many outdoor activities, as well as indoor attractions – perfect for the hotter summer months. Families will love the wide variety of water parks and theme parks, animal encounters and wildlife safaris plus beachside watersports including snorkelling and diving. You can even go skiing at Ski Dubai, an indoor alpine wonderland in the Mall of the Emirates.


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 Dubai Fountain at night. (Image: Fotolia)

Dubai is ideal for cultural pursuits too, whether you want to tempt your taste buds with the diverse culinary offerings at over 5,400 restaurants, experience Emirati culture in grand mosques and with local hospitality or enjoy one of the many annual international events, such as the Dubai Motor Festival and Dubai World Cup. One must-do experience for visitors to Dubai for an unique insight into the nomadic Bedouin traditions is camping in the desert under the stars and going on a four-wheel drive through wadis (dry desert beds).

 Go on a dune safari in the desert. (Image: Fotolia)

The emirate is also considered one of the world’s top retail destinations, with more than 90 retail venues from traditional souks to mega malls. Hosting the annual Dubai Shopping Festival every January, The Dubai Mall is the largest shopping, leisure and entertainment destination globally. It boasts over 1,200 shops, including department stores such as Galeries Lafayette, Bloomingdale’s and Hamley’s, however The Dubai Mall is not just a retail therapy destination, hosting a range of attractions to keep kids entertained for hours such as the Dubai Ice Rink, Dubai Aquarium and Underwater Zoo and SEGA Republic.

 A desert oasis in the emirate of Dubai. (Image: Fotolia)

If you’re keen to explore the culture and world-class attractions of a truly cosmopolitan city, Qantas and Emirates Airways fly from Australia to the United Kingdom and Europe with a stop in Dubai, offering convenience and comfort for all travellers.

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Visit your local Flight Centre store or call 131 600 for more advice and the latest deals on travelling to Dubai.

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Cassandra Laffey

Consumed with unrequited wanderlust, I get my fix in 24/7 cities and hippie retreats. I'm still looking for the ultimate combo of secluded beach and major metropolis, and my happy place is a 5-star hotel room all to myself - sigh.