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Dubai is one of the seven United Arab Emirates. In recent years it has grown enormously as a tourist destination, especially for short holidays, to shop, see the modern architecture in Dubai city, ride through the desert, or simply just to relax on the beach.
Dubai has about one and a half million inhabitants. The ratio between men and women is very uneven: approximately 1 million men and half a million women. This is due to the large amount of foreign workers in the country. These are for the most part men from Pakistan, India and Bangladesh, mainly in construction work.
The emirates are located in the east of the Arabic Peninsula on the Persian Gulf. Dubai borders Abu Dhabi and the emirate Sharjah. The exclave Hatta borders Oman. Dubai city lies directly on the Persian Gulf by the mouth of the Khor Dubai, a saltwater creek that runs diagonally through the city. Dubai has an area of more than 4000 km².
Originally, the economy of Dubai was based exclusively on the oil revenues. But because Dubai's oil wealth isn't very large, it steered another course. The construction of skyscrapers and other modern buildings play a major role in the local economy. Furthermore, the emirates live of trade, and is an important center for financial services. Tourism has also increased dramatically: in 2000 the country was visited by 3 million tourists, and in 2010, 10 million tourists are to be expected.
Dubai international airport lies only 4 kilometers from the city center. With a rental car you can reach the airport via the highway D-89 (also called Al Maktoum road, Airport road, or Al Khawaneej road). In 2010 a new airport was opened, Al Maktoum international airport, 35 kilometers southwest of Dubai city. This will be the largest airport in the world and only used by foreign companies. Dubai's national airline, Emirates, continues at Dubai international airport.
Dubai has an excellent network of buses. There is also a night bus network: between the important stops, a bus runs every half hour. There is also a subway line. At the end of 2010, the second subway line is expected to start operating, and a third and fourth are planned. A nice ride is with the abra (a ferry over the creek), even if it's only to see the lovely view of the city.
Although Dubai invested enormous amounts in the construction of (high)ways, the extension of the roads do not keep up in pace with the growth of traffic. It is not recommended to go out during rush hours with your rental car: the traffic on the roads around Dubai city stands still. Furthermore, there are four locations in Dubai that demands a road toll. This happens automatically. When returning your rental car, the toll amount is charged to you.
With the growing importance of tourism, there is a wide range of hotels in Dubai. Some are extravagantly luxurious (the best known and most expensive example being the Burj al-Arab), but you can find cheaper and yet good hotel rooms. Real budget hotels are not found in Dubai.
For more information on Dubai, we recommend Google and the following sources: