From the world’s richest horse race to a city-wide food festival, this is a great time to visit Dubai
There’s always something happening in Dubai. And we don’t just mean big ticket events like the recent shopping festival, the ongoing International Horse Fair or the upcoming Dubai World Cup. The city that boasts beaches, brands, skyscrapers and souks thrives on being different, innovative and, above all else, big. Like the Mall of the World—touted to be the largest temperature-controlled shopping and entertainment complex in the world (eight million square feet) housing theme parks, hotels, and shopping, theatre and wellness districts; or Dubaiworld, the 1.5 million square feet entertainment hub housing a DreamWorks park and a Six Flag theme park. While both attractions are expected to open before 2020, there are plenty of other highlights—coupled with a great place to stay—that should make this city your next holiday destination.
Day at the races
The Dubai World Cup is fast approaching (March 28). But before D-Day—when nine high-class races will culminate in the winner lifting the $10 million cup—a series of highly-competitive races, the Dubai World Cup Carnival, are under way. Spend a day at the spectacular Meydan Racecourse, located about 5 km south-west of Sheikh Zayed Road. Its futuristic stadium—with a grandstand that is bigger than most airport terminals—has a solar- and titanium- panelled roof, can accommodate up to 60,000 spectators, and integrates a five-star hotel, the Sky Bubble 360° vista restaurant and an IMAX theatre. There’s a free-admission area where dress is casual. Details: dubaiworldcup.com
Grab your smartphone and head to one of Burj Khalifa’s two observation decks (tickets from $34) to click a panoramic selfie. After all, the hotel, and the world’s tallest building, came third on travel site, Attraction Tix’s, list of top 10 selfie spots around the world.
On the food trail
Till the end of the month, the Dubai Food Festival promotes the diversity and multi-culturalness of the city’s culinary offerings. Showcasing food-related activities, promotions and appearances by food celebrities (like Yousef Khumayes and Sanjeev Kapoor), look out for the Mystery Dining Tours. Our pick: the High Flying Dinner Tour, which starts with a limo pickup, a lavish meal at a flagship hotel, a helicopter flight to a second hotel, where you wrap up the tour with more food. Details: dubaifoodfestival.com
There’s a lot going for the city’s latest addition, the Dubai Tram—like the fact that there is one plying every six minutes, it can accomodate up to 405 people in the stylish carriages, it’s open from 6.30 am till 1.30 am, and it will get you from the marina to Al Sufouh in 42 minutes. While phase one (10.6-kilometres) was launched in November 2014, phase two (till Burj Al Arab) is expected to be done by the end of the year. Fare: AED 3 (Rs 50). Details: dubaitram.rta.ae
Framing it right
Shaped like a giant window frame, the Dubai Frame project is a 150 x 93 metre structure that will straddle the line between old and new Dubai, at Zabeel Park.
With a glass viewing gallery on top, a museum showcasing objects representing the city’s past and present, and multimedia presentations telling the story of Dubai, it is expected to attract 2,000,000 visitors a year, when it opens in the second half of 2015.
Surya Praphulla Kumar and Jackie Pinto