Dubai, the city within the emirate, is a destination of superlatives. The most progressive of the United Arab Emirates is on a quest to build the largest, fastest, tallest and grandest structures in the world where the only limits are the imagination. The dizzying speed from humble pearling village to luxury locale and Middle Eastern hub is truly spectacular and it seems the best is yet to come.

In Dubai, the world’s tallest structure, Burj Khalifa, vies for attention with the magnificent manmade Palm Jumeirah island created from reclaimed land. The unofficial 7-star Burj Al Arab is considered the world’s most luxurious hotel and its traditional sail shape a modern beacon in Dubai. Within eyesight of Burj Al Arab is Madinat Jumeirah, the reimagining of an ancient Arabian resort with all the opulence of the modern era including an air-conditioned souk, or there’s the mega mall of Dubai Mall in which to spend your dirhams.

However, pockets of Old Dubai and Emirati traditions can still be found in the historic districts of Deira and Bur Dubai, which you can get to by crossing the Dubai Creek by abra. Under the veneer of glamour, you’ll find all that glitters really is gold, at the Gold Souk at least.

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First-time visitors are often surprised to discover that beyond Dubai's atmospheric creekside bazaars and rows of skyscrapers leading up to tallest-of-them-all Burj Khalifa lies yet another dense cluster of ultra-high architecture shimmering like a mirage in the distance.

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