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Dubai, United Arab Emirates

Epitomizing an oil-rich sheikhdom isn’t a bad life, but what Dubai really wants is to entertain visitors.

Dubai’s tourism appeal includes big-time horse races and sporting events, a monthlong shopping festival and a skyline that commands the attention of visitors—not to mention such fascinating hotels as Dubai’s own Burj Al Arab and the world’s tallest building, the frighteningly towering Burj Khalifa. For jaded, been-there-done-that tourists, this metropolis on the Persian Gulf can throw in camel racing, sandboarding, sand skiing, ice-skating, snow skiing and unique cultural activities.

The towering Burj Khalifa and surrounding downtown area, complete with the record-breaking Dubai Fountain; traditional buildings in the Al Fahidi District (formerly the Bastakiya Quarter); striking architecture in the Madinat Jumeirah; the Gold Souk; the Jumeirah Mosque lit up at night; the desert on a four-wheel-drive tour (desert safari); Burj Al Arab.

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