Big in Dubai: 5 awesome things you can do in Dubai right now

This week, Big in Japan is on vacation in the Middle East, and will be bringing you travel news and happenings from this often misunderstood region.

Read the news on any given day, and you’ll mostly likely hear about the biggest, tallest, and most expensive something or other in Dubai, that crazy oil-rich Emirate that makes Las Vegas look about as glamorous as a county fair in Nebraska. Then again, you have to give credit where credit is due. Although the oil tap is predicted to run dry sometime in the next several decades, the rulers of Dubai are on a campaign to make their tiny Persian Gulf state into one of the world’s leading tourist attractions.

Of course, these days Dubai is something of a glorified construction site, especially since the city is rumored to contain something crazy like 15% of all the cranes in the world! And, while it’s still going to be another five to ten years before Dubai can rest on its laurels as the top destination in the Middle East, there are still plenty of mind-blowing attractions that are currently open and eagerly waiting for your tourist dollar.

On that note, I present to you ‘5 awesome things you can do in Dubai right now.’

1) Mall of the Emirates – I hail originally from the great state of New Jersey, so it’s kinda hard to shake my innate desire to be a mallrat regardless of where I am in the world. Then again, this isn’t such a terrible curse to have when you can kick it in the Mall of the Emirates, one of the largest malls in the world, which is home to no less than 6.5 million square feet of commercial space.

2) Ski DubaiWhile you’re at the Mall of the Emirates, take a break from your retail therapy for a little powder action. Although skiing and Middle East climes are an incongruous match (to say the least!), the Mall of the Emirates is home to Ski Dubai, one of the world’s largest indoor ski slopes. The key to this absurdity is an extremely efficient insulation system, which helps maintain a daytime temperature of 30 degrees Fahrenheit.

3) Burj al-Arab – Never underestimate the power of a good night’s sleep, especially when it’s at the world’s only 7-star hotel. Situated on an artificial island floating in the Persian Gulf, the Burj-al Arab is the new pinnacle of luxury in Dubai, especially since the cheapest rooms here cost thousands and thousands of dollars a night. But, can you really put a price on having a gold-rimmed toilet bowl?

4) Bab al Shams Desert Resort – If you can’t afford to bed down at the Burj al-Arab, consider peeling a few Benjamins out of your wallet for a night at Bab al Shams in the middle of the Arabian Desert. Of course, we’re not talking about some dusty old canvas tents and stinky camel hair carpets, but rather a boutique resort hotel that blends 5-star amenities with a stunningly beautiful natural setting.

5) Burj Dubai – Although it’s technically still a work in progress, the Burj Dubai makes the list simply because it’s already the world’s tallest building even though it’s not yet completed! At this point in time, all you can really do here is crane your neck up to the heavens at stare at a super skyscraper reminiscent of the Eye of Sauron, but it’s still bad-ass experience nevertheless.

** Special thanks to my super suave and sophisticated hosts, Alan and Olga, for showing me what it’s like to party with Dubai’s rich and beautiful **