Dubai was just a small port town thirty years ago. Now, though, things have changed drastically in the city. Over the last few years, the city has grown into an astounding Arabian metropolis. Dubai has been called a city of superlatives, and it is no wonder why when you consider that it is home to the world's tallest building, the largest manmade islands and the most extravagant hotel. Dubai is an independent city-state, and is one of the seven emirates that make up the United Arab Emirates. It is known for being more sophisticated and progressive than its neighbors. The city offers both stunning visual sights and a dynamic atmosphere.

Dubai spent centuries as a small port known only for its pearls. The majority of the residents were fishermen, and all of the city's industries revolved around the sea. During the 1960s, oil was found near the city. This would change the region forever. Immigrants began to flock to the city, and it soon had a bigger immigrant population than any other city in the world. The Royal Dynasty had an innovative vision for the growing city, and an effective plan for how to get there. The city quickly rose to prominence in the finance industry, and became a transport hub for the region. All of the oil reserves are gone, but the city is more popular than ever for business and tourism. Now, Dubai is one of the richest cities in the world. Tourists stay in seven-star hotels, and Rolls Royce and Ferraris fill the streets. Everything, including high tea, is luxurious and extravagant in Dubai.

Dubai offers a limitless number of things to see and do. Cultural, historical and architectural tours are all popular for tourits, as are guided ventures into the desert. Half-day walking tours of downtown are available, and so are multi-day safaris into the desert that include sandboarding and camel rides. Tour types include group tours that are guided or partially guided, private tours and custom tours. No one is ever bored in Dubai. From watching the world's largest dancing fountain to snow skiing at Ski Dubai indoor ski resort, there's always something to do. You can even ride the world's fastest elevator to an observation atop the world's tallest building, Burj Khalifa. There are plenty of natural wonders around Dubai, too. With their white crushed shell sand, the local beaches are spellbounding. Just outside of town, you can visit the Dubai Desert Conservation Reserve. This area is a desert wonderland, as you've only ever seen in movies. Please visit for more information.

Numerous shopping experiences is one of the biggest attractions in Dubai. Traditional outdoor markets known as souks can be found in many parts of the city. The most well-known of these souks are the gold souks. These markets are known for their gold jewelry, and feature gold , silver and items made of other precious metals. These quaint, traditional peddlers are in stark contrast to the Dubai Mall. This mall has more than 1,200 stores, making it one of the largest malls in the world. In addition to stores, the mall has an aquarium, an ice rink and even an indoor theme park.

Of course, there were settlements in the area even before its modern growth. The historic Bastakiya district is one of the most fascinating areas of the city. The district is home to a lot of traditional Arabian architecture, from delightful courtyards and distinctive archways to wind catcher towers. One of the easiest and most interesting ways to visit the district is by taking a unique mode of transportation. Abra boats, which are open-top water taxis, are just one way to reach the area. Getting from the Bur Dubai town center to the Bastakiya or Deira district is a quick and easy boat ride. Deira is the area of Dubai's original settlement. The district today is known for its traditional souks and street vendors.

Modern day Dubai offers something for everyone. The city didn't have a single high rise four decades ago, and today is boasts the world's tallest building. Crews on the International Space Station have spotted its record-breaking, palm-tree shaped manmade islands. No matter if you are looking for opulent luxury or excitement and adventure, Dubai has what you are looking for. Scheduling a tour of Dubai for your next holiday is sure to provide an experience no one in your family will ever forget. Get the facts