It boasts the world’s tallest building, the world’s largest indoor theme park, and the world’s biggest shopping mall… plus, seven-star hotels and palm-shaped islands. Dubai has become synonymous for its outsized ambition and breathtaking audacity. Rising from an ancient desert of conservative traditions, this new metropolis bursts through pre-conceived ideas of what a middle eastern city should be and shakes visitors to their core with its stunning assault of glamour, daring, and just plain outrageousness.

Dubai doesn’t just build tall buildings, it envisions monuments. Take a drive to the seven-star Burj Al Arab hotel, shaped like the sail of a 1000 ft. high dhow, its gold-plated lobby large enough to house the Statue of Liberty. But it’s not even the tallest building in Dubai, that distinction belongs to the Burj Khalifa, an awesome tower stretching up 2,722 ft. with its 148 floors. Step out onto the observation deck of the world’s tallest building and take in the sprawl of this fast-growing and fearless city.

Shopping in Dubai also vies for the spectacular. In the massive arenas here you’ll find indoor ski slopes, aquariums, Italian palazzos, and Persian palaces. The Dubai Mall offers 1300 shops, theme parks, a dinosaur skeleton, and about 150 eateries. But you can also explore the city’s traditional Arab markets or souqs. Different markets specialize in a limitless choice of gold, perfume, spice, textiles, crafts, and souvenirs.

As you would expect in such a cutting-edge metropolis, Dubai doesn’t skimp on its nightlife. From beach clubs to hotel terraces to ultra-lux lounges, there’s a scene for every taste, style, budget, and generation.

But tradition still holds a place in this Muslim Emirate. The Jumeirah Mosque stands out as bold, intricate and an invitation to an evolving cultural reality. It is only one of a few mosques that is open to non-Muslims, to experience and learn about Islam. There are guided tours six days a week and you’ll be introduced to Islam’s holidays, rituals, cuisines and more in this welcoming and friendly environment.

For more tradition… and thrills, leave the city for a camel ride or an extreme dune buggy spree in the surrounding desert. You’ll also find quaint oasis towns like Dahid and the emirate of Fujairah known for its beaches and a reconstructed 17th-century citadel, Fujairah Fort.

Dubai – as ancient or futuristic, dynamic or peaceful, playful or pious as your mood.