Dubai is expected to attract more than 15 million people by 2015.

In an effort to make Dubai more palatable to Western travelers, officials have worked hard to erase the signs of contentious Middle East cultures associated with Iraq and Afghanistan. The city is a modern haven for vacationers, offering shopping malls filled with every popular brand-name store, and entertainment venues full of events that promise unique experiences for even the most seasoned tourist.

Not-to-be-missed Activities

• Indoor Ski Resort

skiAn exhilarating activity and perhaps an odd sight in the desert is an indoor ski resort near the Mall of the Emirates. Ski Dubai is a spectacular indoor ski resort and offers an assortment of cold-weather entertainment. You can enjoy skiing, snowboarding and other winter activities. The dimensions of the track speak for itself; 85 meters high, 80 meters in width and a maximum length of 400 meters. There are five ski paths with different difficulty levels.

Like any ski resort, Ski Dubai offers various courses like snowboarding and tubing throughout the year. Kids can experience one-on-one penguin interaction up close and prices range from $40 up to the ultimate package of $230. Prices fluctuate throughout the year for classes depending on traditional seasons.

• The Burj Khalifa

khalifaJust over half a mile high, at 828 meters, the Burj Khalifa is world’s tallest tower and the central part of a complex development of sustainable Downtown Dubai.

Dubai has come to be known for its majestic engineering and architecture, and the construction of the Burj Khalifa represents brilliant planning. Celebrity designer, Nada Andric of U.S. based Skidmore, Owings and Merrill combined the use of glass, stainless steel, polished stone, stucco walls, and handmade textures to convey the local culture of Dubai. There are 160 habitable floors, 49 used for offices and 61 used for apartments. The124th floor is open to the public and provides a balcony referred to as “At The Top,” with a mesmerizing 360-degree view of the city.

• Global Village

The Global Village is a fairground celebrating diverse cultures, foods and products of more than forty cultures. Mouth-watering international cuisines, live entertainment, and rides, games and cultural exhibitions and festivals are the main attractions here, and well-worth your time. Besides being an international destination with a modern contemporary culture, cheap holidays to Dubai have exponentially grown into a popular vacation hotspot.

You can find treasures such as the high-quality cottons from China, nuts from Syria, honey from Yemen, Iranian carpets, fabrics from India and Morocco furniture, just to name a few.

Especially for Kids

Dubai-Zoo-2012Dubai Zoo: Home to over 230 different animals and many endangered species such as, Bengal & Siberian tigers, Arabian wolves, Barbary sheep and indigenous birds.

Splash Land: Water activities and more than 20 acres of fun. Huge waterslides, inner tubes, bumper boats and a large wave pool are just a few activities for family fun. After a long day in the sun, the family can head over to the Main Street ice cream parlor and gift shop, and then the end their day at Splash Land with a final thrilling ride on the roller coaster.

Al Mamzar Public Beach Park: 100+ acres of beach, swimming pools and green space, playgrounds and a spacious amphitheatre that extends into the Persian Gulf and offers beautiful views and a perfect afternoon with the family.

Excursions

dune-drivingNo Dubai trip would be complete without visiting the desert. Safaris tours offer a view of the real heart of Arabia. You can choose a full or half day trip to visit isolated villages and goat farms and experience the majesty of the sand dunes. Highlights of the safari desert tours include:

Dune Driving: driving in the sand is an adventure in itself. The challenge of driving on varied terrain and remaining mobile, combined with the excitement of a rollercoaster ride is a once-in-a-lifetime adventure.

Camel Riding: nothing says Arabia like a camel ride, and it’s a major tourist attraction. Camel rides are available in the desert or along the beach, and can be combined into packages that include Arabic buffet dinners and entertainment. All the hotels arrange the camel tours but you can also make arrangements directly. Cost average approximately $85 during prime seasons.