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    Dubai For One

    Jabal Ali-Dubai

    Traveling alone can be an exciting experience. It can be enriching for the solo traveler, creating opportunities to gain lifelong friendships, learn important life lessons, and gain a fresh perspective on the world that awaits the solo traveler.

    From the Croatian coast to the Banana Pancake Trail of Southeast Asia, there are many life-changing adventures out there awaiting solo travelers. Unfortunately, when it comes to the Middle East, there are prevailing misconceptions. Often, the Gulf coast is perceived as an unsafe and dangerous area for tourists, particularly the solo traveler.

    But destinations like Dubai and the rest of the United Arab Emirates (UAE) is so progressive that it can be the ideal place for a solo traveler. If you’re looking for your next adventure, why not make it Dubai?

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    Still not convinced? Here are some tips to make your solo trip to Dubai one to remember.

    1. Try the local flavor

    As a glitz playground for the ultra rich, Dubai and the UAE are home to some of the best and most exclusive high-end restaurants in the world such as Koi, an authentic Japanese restaurant and Boa, one of the world’s best steakhouses.

    Luckily for solo travelers, Dubai has a diverse culinary landscape, offering some great under-the-radar dining options any budget. The city boasts plenty of intriguing cuisines, but no trip to this wonderful Emirate would be complete without trying some authentic Emirati cuisine.

    From contemporary cooking at Aseelah to camel milk treats at The Majlis, there are many places throughout Dubai for solo travelers to get their fill.

    2. Find the best places to stay

    Whether you’re a seasoned or novice solo traveler, where you choose to stay can make or break your trip. The best hotels in Dubai are in neighborhoods and areas where one can easily access a wide range of restaurants, entertainment options and noteworthy cultural activities.

    For instance, there are Dubai hotels with beach access if you love catching waves, as well as hotels with stunning ocean views that let you marvel at Dubai’s splendor from the comforts of your room.  It’s important to take into consideration your hotel’s proximity to nearby transport as Dubai isn’t known to be a pedestrian city, especially during the summer, when it can be near impossible to navigate the city on foot. For solo travelers, consider staying in neighborhoods like Downtown Dubai, Dubai Marina or Jumeirah Beach.These districts are bustling neighborhoods, catering to locals and travelers alike with their vast array of tourist attractions.

    3. Get a dose of local culture

    While the shopping experiences in Dubai often make the headlines, there’s more to this cosmopolitan city than shopping.

    This corner of the world is packed with unique, one-of-a-kind experiences that cannot be imitated elsewhere. Solo travelers are spoiled for choice when it comes to the variety of ways to get to know the city better.

    There are daredevil adventures awaiting in the sand dunes for thrill seekers, sun loungers for that all-essential “me time,” and tourist attractions that offer a unique, high vantage point.

    Dubai Desert

    But to really understand Dubai, visitors are encouraged to immerse themselves in local culture. Mosques, museums, authentic souks, and art galleries all provide cultural experiences that help travelers better understand local culture and customs. Dubai’s historic districts offer an enlightening glimpse into the city’s humble beginnings.

    4. Enjoy yourself

    As one of the safest countries for tourists, Dubai is a city where solo travelers can truly relax and enjoy themselves. There’s no shortage of fun to be had in the City of Gold, so travelers can simply let their hair down and fearlessly embrace what the city has to offer.

    Whether your preference is for some nocturnal action or more wholesome diversions, Dubai is more than happy to indulge you.

    What are you waiting for?

    Traveling alone allows you to truly discover a destination. The complete freedom solo travel provides is an experience unlike any other. And in a city like Dubai, with its unique attractions and enriching culture, do yourself a favor and explore.

    AUTHOR BIO
    Thomas Grundner is the Vice President of Sales and Marketing for JA Resorts & Hotels. He has more than 20 years of expertise in the hospitality and leisure industry – across international markets including Germany, Egypt and Spain. Grundner oversees all sales, marketing and revenue efforts as the company continues to build on its key growth and development strategies and further cultivates its unique blend of “Heartfelt Hospitality” and “Casual Luxury.”

    Categories: Travel, World Travel

    Dubai-Burj Khalifa

    Burj Khalifa — The Tallest Building in the World

    Former names Burj Dubai

    Burj Khalifa (“Khalifa Tower”), known as Burj Dubai prior to its inauguration, is a skyscraper in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, and is currently the tallest structure ever built, at 828 m (2,717 ft). Construction began on 21 September 2004, with the exterior of the structure completed on 1 October 2009. The building officially opened on 4 January 2010, and is part of the new 2 km2 (490-acre) flagship development called Downtown Dubai at the ‘First Interchange’ along Sheikh Zayed Road, near Dubai’s main business district.

    The tower’s architecture and engineering were performed by Skidmore, Owings and Merrill of Chicago, with Adrian Smith as chief architect, and Bill Baker as chief structural engineer. The primary contractor was Samsung C&T of South Korea.

    The total cost for the project was about US$ $1.5 billion; and for the entire “Downtown Dubai” development, US $20 billion.[ In March 2009, Mohamed Ali Alabbar, chairman of the project’s developer, Emaar Properties, said office space pricing at Burj Khalifa reached US $4,000 per sq ft (over US $43,000 per m²) and the Armani Residences, also in Burj Khalifa, sold for US $3,500 per sq ft (over US $37,500 per m²).

    The project’s completion coincided with the global financial crisis of 2007–2010, and with vast overbuilding in the country, led to high vacancies and foreclosures. With Dubai mired in debt from its huge ambitions, the government was forced to seek multibillion dollar bailouts from its oil rich neighbor Abu Dhabi. Subsequently, in a surprise move at its opening ceremony, the tower was renamed Burj Khalifa, said to honour the UAE President Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan for his crucial support.

    Due to the slumping demand in Dubai’s property market, the rents in the Burj Khalifa plummeted 40% some ten months after its opening. Out of 900 apartments in the tower around 825 were still empty at that time.

    Burj Khalifa lifts the world’s head proudly skywards, surpassing limits and expectations. Rising gracefully from the desert and honouring Dubai with a new glow. Burj Khalifa is at the heart of Dubai and its people; the centre for the world’s finest shopping, dining and entertainment and home for the world’s elite.

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    Dubai

    36 hours in Abu-Dhabi

    Dubai

    Dubai is one of the seven emirates of the United Arab Emirates (UAE). It is located south of the Persian Gulf on the Arabian Peninsula and has the largest population with the second-largest land territory by area of all the emirates, after Abu Dhabi.  Dubai and Abu Dhabi are the only two emirates to have veto power over critical matters of national importance in the country’s legislature.

    The earliest recorded mention of Dubai is in 1095, and the earliest settlement known as Dubai town dates from 1799. Dubai was formally established in the early 19th century by the Al Abu Falasa clan of Bani Yas, and it remained under clan control when the United Kingdom assumed the protection of Dubai in 1892. Its geographical location made it an important trading hub and by the beginning of the 20th century, it was an important port. In 1966, the year oil was discovered, Dubai and the emirate of Qatar set up a new monetary unit to replace the Gulf Rupee. The oil economy led to a massive influx of foreign workers, quickly expanding the city by 300% and bringing in international oil interests. The modern emirate of Dubai was created after the UK left the area in 1971. At this time Dubai, together with Abu Dhabi and four other emirates, formed the United Arab Emirates. The following year Ras al Khaimah joined the federation while Qatar and Bahrain chose to remain independent nations. In 1973, the monetary union with Qatar was dissolved and the UAE Dirham introduced throughout the UAE. A free trade zone was built around the Jebel Ali port in 1979, allowing foreign companies unrestricted import of labour and export capital. The Gulf War of 1990 had a negative financial effect on the city, as depositors withdrew their money and traders withdrew their trade, but subsequently the city recovered in a changing political climate and thrived.

    Today, Dubai has emerged as a global city and a business hub. Although Dubai’s economy was built on the oil industry, currently the emirate’s model of business, similar to that of Western countries, drives its economy, with the effect that its main revenues are now from tourism, real estate, and financial services. Dubai has recently attracted world attention through many innovative large construction projects and sports events. This increased attention has highlighted labour rights and human rights issues concerning its largely South Asian workforce. Dubai’s property market experienced a major deterioration in 2008 and 2009 as a result of the worldwide economic downturn following the Financial crisis of 2007–2010

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    36 Hours in Abu Dhabi

    Buy a Home in Italy for Just One Dollar


    Ollolai, Italy is a gorgeous little town in the Puglia region and one hour away from Sardinia beaches.
    Ollolai is a small town nestled in the mountains of Sardinia, is selling historic homes for just one Euro and they already have 200 applicants from all over the world.

    Sardinia isn’t just a gorgeous little island off of the Italian coast, It is also where people live statistically longest and it was one of five Blue Zones mentioned in bestselling author Dan Buttner. This where you find best cheese and wine for longevity.

    Ollolai is in the center of the Sardinia and an hour away from the cliffs of Cala Gonone, in the mountain region of Barbagia, famous for hikes, it’s a historic town filled with romantic beautiful alleyways and tiny restaurants with the greatest food on earth.

    Young people left this town to the cities in search of better financial opportunity and left the houses abandoned.The city’s intent is to revive its dying historic district by selling these houses for 1 euro and bring investors to the town with the provision buyer has 3 years to finish renovating them. According to CNN, the village has already sold three houses, and more than 200 application

    The mayor, Efisio Arbau, has proposed a solution similar to the one in Gangi Sicily in 2014, Around 20 houses were on sale for one euro ($1.30), with another 300 or so for up to 15,000 euros in an initiative the village hopes will reverse decades of population decline and boost the local economy even as Italy falls back into recession.
    Australian film director Dominic Allen is one of a crowd of buyers from the United States, Britain, Dubai and Sweden who have rushed to Gangi to take advantage of these bargains and transform living spaces and animal stalls into summer homes. See article written in 2014 by yahoo business about Gangi Sicily
    Mayor Efisio Arbau has proposed to sell the homes for as little as a 1 euro, with the provision that the buyer has three years to refurbish the dwelling, a project that would likely only cost about $25,000.
    This solution will create jobs and make young citizens stay with their loved elderly ones.
    It sounds too good to be true and it is if you don’t have enough money to renovate these old properties and in some cases, they need to demolish them.

    By: A.Dababneh

    36 Hours in Abu Dhabi

    36 Hours in Abu Dhabi

    WHAT would you do with $600 billion in cash? If you’re the capital of the United Arab Emirates, rich in oil, the answer is easy: go shopping. Once aloof from the spendthrift ways of neighboring Dubai, Abu Dhabi — which, so far, has not experience the unrest many Arab countries are facing is now ticking off items on a five-star shopping list. Top-notch museums? New branches of the Louvre and Guggenheim are rising from the sands. High-profile events? The Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, Abu Dhabi Film Festival and Gourmet Abu Dhabi have made their debuts in recent years. Toss in a multibillion-dollar hotel project and a stunning new mosque and you have one of the world’s most ambitious new destinations.

    Friday

    5 p.m.
    1) ON THE CORNICHE

    Come early evening, all of Abu Dhabi — expat professionals from Europe, South Asian laborers, local families in white dishdashas (for the men) and black abayas (for the women) — strolls along the Corniche, a picturesque seaside walkway. It’s the perfect vantage point for taking in the city’s fast-rising thicket of skyscrapers. Finish up at the Heritage Village (Marina Mall breakwater; 971-2-681-4455; free admission), an ersatz old fortress that tries to recreate the Abu Dhabi of yore through camel enclosures, Bedouin tents and traditional artisans. At its beachfront cafe, Al Asalah (971-50-526-5575), sip a watermelon juice (15 dirhams, or $4.15 at 3.60 dirhams to $1) while watching the twinkling city skyline across the bay.

    9 p.m.
    2) PALACE INTRIGUE

    Even if you can’t afford to make a withdrawal from the ATM that dispenses bars of gold, the gargantuan and garishly opulent Emirates Palace Hotel (emiratespalace.com) is worth a visit. Built at a cost of $3 billion, the 362-room behemoth is said to be the most expensive hotel ever built and contains some fitting hangouts. Hakkasan restaurant-lounge (971-2-690-7999; hakkasan.com) opened last year with Asian-cool décor and cocktails like the Hakkatini (orange flavored vodka, Campari, Grand Marnier, apple juice; 50 dirhams). For a traditional Emirati dinner, hit Mezlai (971-2-690-7999). Reserve an outdoor tent and sample local specialties like creamy shark velouté, sautéed chicken livers (with garlic, cinnamon and pomegranate sauce) and lamb nachif (slow cooked in zesty garlic-turmeric sauce). A three-course meal for two runs about 450 dirhams, without wine.

    11 p.m.
    3) GLITTERY NIGHTS

    The fastest-growing part of town is the formerly dusty Yas Island (yasisland.ae), now brimming with diversions: a lush 18-hole golf course, a Formula One track, a sprawling indoor theme park (Ferrari World; see below), a marina and a host of five-star hotels. Hugh Grant, Sir Richard Branson and Prince are among the luminaries who have been spotted in the fractal-like white interior of Allure (Yas Island Marina, 971-2-565-0050; nightcluballure.com; cover, 150 dirhams). Opened last year by the Cipriani restaurant group, the glittery nightclub serves three-liter bottles of Cristal Champagne (68,000 dirhams) and Bellini cocktails (65 dirhams) to a BlackBerry-toting international crowd.

    Saturday

    10 a.m.
    4) ISLAMIC GLORIES

    It’s hard not to be awestruck as you stand on what is said to be the world’s largest handmade Persian carpet (about 65,000 square feet), gazing up at a huge, glittering chandelier in the main prayer hall of the enormous Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque (Al Salam Street; 971-2-441-6444; szgmc.ae), which can hold more than 40,000. Opened in 2007, the marble mosque, with its 82 domes and some 1,000 columns, is a mix of Moorish, Ottoman and Mughal styles. Free tours are held on Saturday at 10 and 11 a.m. and 2, 5 and 8 p.m.

    1 p.m.
    5) A BOHEMIAN BREAK

    Funky, bohemian and cheap are not adjectives normally used to describe anything in Abu Dhabi, but Zyara (Madinat Zayed area, next to Hilton Corniche Residence; 971-2-627-5007) is a rare bird indeed. Abstract art and couches upholstered with wild fabrics provide the décor at this cafe-restaurant, where locals and expats noodle on laptops (thanks to free Wi-Fi) and flip through Time Out Abu Dhabi. The menu ranges from French toast (22 dirhams) to savory manakish (warm flatbread rolled in spices and sesame seeds; 10 dirhams) and a dish called foul (mashed beans stewed with tomato, garlic and olive oil; 20 dirhams).

    3 p.m.
    6) NORMAN’S SOUK

    Arabia goes avant-garde at the Souk at Central Market (Khalifa Street; 971-2-810-7810; centralmarket.ae/souk), a soaring new shopping center of geometric wood slats and colored glass that was designed by Norman Foster. Trouble finding a date? Zadina (ground floor; 971-2-658-8637) has them in abundance: plain dates (100 dirhams per kilo), dates stuffed with pistachios (125 dirhams per kilogram, or 2.2 pounds), chocolate truffles made with dates (450 dirhams per kilo), and much besides. For tea glasses (six for 400 dirhams) and other glassware etched and painted with Arabesque patterns, visit Kudu for Arts (ground floor; 971-2-627-8980; kuduforarts.com). Electronics stores, boutiques, waterpipe cafes and henna artists also fill the space.

    5 p.m.
    7) PEDAL TO THE METAL

    Speed freaks, thrill jockeys, car buffs and lead-footed drivers will get their kicks at the futuristic Ferrari World (Yas Island; 971-2-496-8001; ferrariworldabudhabi.com), an amusement park that pays tribute to the most popular red product to come out of Italy since tomato sauce. The curvaceous complex houses pulse-quickening rides, from Formula One simulators to one of the world’s fastest roller coasters. Between thrills, check out the car exhibitions and the acrobatic musical show. Admission: 165 to 225 dirhams.

    8 p.m.
    8) SULTANIC CHIC

    If the designer Terrance Conran had read “1,001 Nights” too many times, the result would be something like Pearls & Caviar (Qaryat Al Beri; 971-2-509-8777; pearlsandcaviar.com), a sultry den near the Shangri-La hotel with chain-mail curtains, a mosaic floor and a D.J.-spun soundtrack. The menu also melds Occident and Orient to original effect. Especially good are the tuna carpaccio (with pomegranate seeds and crispy thin bread) and tender strips of beef drizzled with hummus. The zucchini fries in a chickpea batter that are topped with a spicy tomato and red-pepper chutney are also excellent. A three-course dinner for two costs around 400 dirhams.

    11 p.m.
    9) DRINKS IN THE SOUK

    Any lingering myths that there is no alcohol in the Islamic world will be put to rest at Souk Qaryat Al Beri (971-2-558-1670; soukqaryatalberi.com), a sprawling bazaar filled with canals, boutiques, restaurants and ample booze-soaked nightspots. Left Bank (971-2-558-1680) is a den of slick black surfaces and red banquettes where a young crowd drinks Left Bank Iced Teas (vanilla vodka, rum, cachaça, Bombay Sapphire, sour mix and ginger beer; 40 dirhams) and other creative cocktails. Everything goes white and bright at Sho Cho (971-2-558-1117; sho-cho.com), a sushi lounge whose drink list includes concoctions like the Sho Cho Infusion(Bacardi, ginger, lime, brown sugar, ginger beer; 43 dirhams).

    Sunday

    10 a.m.
    10) HIT THE BEACH

    Started in 2008 and still expanding, the new (and free) Corniche Beach is endowed with powdery sand, translucent sea and abundant water sports, including waterskiing and parasailing (971-50-781-2312; empros.ae). There are even a few private family beaches — outfitted with sun beds and umbrellas — that can be rented for 10 dirhams.

    Noon
    11) A BOUTIQUE BRUNCH

    Café Arabia (15th Street between Karam Street and Airport Road; 971-2-643-9698), a stylish new cafe and boutique, showcases creations from numerous Arabic-speaking nations. Ensconce yourself on the rooftop terrace or airy ground-level salon and feast on Lebanese fattoush (a salad of lettuce, tomatoes, red pepper, whole-wheat bread chips, powdered sumac and pomegranate syrup), Syrian fatteh (warm yogurt with croutons, chickpeas, garlic and mint), Moroccan-style mint tea and more. Afterward, shop for Palestinian ceramics (55 dirhams) and Egyptian mirrors (from 175 dirhams). Or score a chocolate bar made from camel’s milk. A high-end blend of East and West, it encapsulates the flavor of the new Abu Dhabi.

    IF YOU GO

    A sprawling low hotel complex with 128 rooms, One to One – The Village (Al Salam Street; 971-2-495-2000; onetoonehotels.com) has an impressive gym, a pool, a beer and shisha garden and several restaurants. Doubles from about 465 dirhams, or $130.

    The towering Aloft hotel (Abu Dhabi National Exhibition Center; 971-2-654-5000; aloftabudhabi.com) has 408 rooms done in a sleek and angular style and contains the popular rooftop bar Relax@12, among others. Doubles from 405 dirhams.

    Picturesque waterways run past the luxurious Shangri-La (Qaryat Al Beri; 971-2-509-8888; shangri-la.com), affording lovely views of the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque on an opposite bank. Amenities include a private beachfront, the Asian-inspired Chi spa and the opulent Pearls and Caviar restaurant and lounge. Doubles from 960 dirhams.
    By SETH SHERWOOD

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