Sometimes called the "Vegas of the East" because of its many over-the-top fantasy hotels and malls, this commercial hub in the United Arab Emirates has been the source of much curiosity since its first massive skyscrapers started getting photographed. Dubai once had an economy based on oil. Now, not so much finance and tourism are much bigger businesses. The former can be credited to Dubai's practice of establishing "free zones" where businesses can almost completely avoid taxes.Spectacles here include the unmistakable Burj Al Arab which sits on its own manmade island just offshore the indoor ski resort Ski Dubai, the Palm Islands, and Dubai Mall, the world's largest shopping mall. Approximately 70 malls and shopping centers are in the city, not to mention the traditional souks.
Once a mud-walled fishing village, Dubai’s historic core consists of traditional markets scented by saffron and frankincense and traders haggling in the Gold Souk. But historic Dubai isn’t why you come here. One of the United Arab Emirates, with miles of Persian Gulf beachfront, Dubai is an ultra-modern metropolis, golf resort and luxury playground where the West’s celebrities and super rich mingle with billionaire sheiks and princes. Today’s Dubai is a creation of unrestrained fantasy, with flotillas of man-made islands designed for luxury homes, the world’s tallest building (the Burj Khalifa, rising 2,717 feet), the world’s first seven-star hotel and a shopping mall with indoor ski slopes.