United Arab Emirates: Dubai

Dubai is famous for the Burj al Arab, contemporary sightseeing attractions such as the Burj Khalifa (the world's tallest building) and shopping malls that come complete with mammoth aquariums and indoor ski slopes.... When I first travelled via Dubai to South Africa on budget Emirate Airline flights there was one hotel on a deserted beach - how times have changed!!!

THREE things we did not know about Dubai:

  1. Dubai is a very young City: In the early 1700s, Dubai was just a small fishing and pearl-diving village. By the end of the 18th century, about 1,200 people were living there. Fast-forward to today, Dubai has a population of 3.3 million…. this was before the discovery of oil, pearls and gold which are highly sought after trading items. 
  2. Bird-watchers will be thrilled to hear that there are over 320 bird species that migrate between Europe, Asia, and Africa via Dubai. During the spring and fall, birds such as spotted eagles, broad-billed sandpipers, and greater herons pass through the city. They can be seen on a visit to Ras al Khor Wildlife Sanctuary, and a falconry safari is a must for bird-lovers young and old.
  3. The world’s tallest building is named after a flower: The world’s tallest building, at 2,716 feet, the Burj Khalifa needs no introduction. An icon in the Dubai skyline, this building should be on your Dubai bucket listZip to the 148th floor to see the city below, or chill in the lounge with cocktails on the 123rd floor. A fun Dubai fact is that the design of the building is based on a local desert flower, hymenocallis, also known as the spider lily. There are three feet or lobes which form the architectural base of the Burj Khalifa, which echo the shape of this flower.

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