Dubai is the quintessential home of sand, sun and shopping. A century ago, it was a tranquil town whose coral-and-gypsum huts housed Bedouin traders and pearl divers. Today the merchants have gone international and science-fiction skyscrapers stand alongside the mosques and wind towers of Old Dubai.
The audacity of the city's rulers is breathtaking. Running out of coastline to build hotels? Build vast artificial islands with 120km (74.5mi) of new beachfront. Need better connections with the world? Build up an award-winning international airline in 15 years.
There are two sides of Dubai to explore - the sleek, futuristic world of mirrored skylines, chilled-air malls and James Bond-style artificial islands; and old Dubai, perhaps most clearly represented by its ancient mosques and countless souks, all of which sell a different speciality.
The rich cultural mix of Dubai's population is echoed in the myriad choices of restaurants and coffee shops across the city. From the simplest Indo-Pakistani workers cafe in Karama to the gastronomic delights and decor of eateries at the swanky five-star hotels, Dubai offers a huge range of dining experiences.
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