Book Review of the Week: Frommer's Dubai

Dr. Jessie Voigts's picture

As a Special Bonus, Frommer's has graciously donated a copy of Dubai, 1st Edition, to be awarded to a randomly drawn commenter on this article. Post your comments - you might win!  


There are many exciting places around the world, of course. However, one of the busiest, and fastest-growing, is Dubai.  It is such a burgeoning place that Frommer's has come out with their first editon of a travel guide to Dubai! It is chock-full of great suggestions, activities, detailed visitor information, restaurants, hotels, cool experiences, and more. We were lucky enough to sit down and chat with Shane Christensen, the author of Frommer's Dubai. Here's what he had to say...



WE: Please tell us about your new book, Frommer's Dubai...

SC: This is Frommer’s first travel book on this exciting destination, which has just come on the map for many Western travelers.  I believe it’s the most comprehensive Dubai guide available . I’ve designed it to help the reader navigate the city’s key tourist attractions and less well-known finds, and I also provide a window into Dubai’s demography, history, architecture, and religion.  The book also brings to life the UAE’s other best travel spots, including Abu Dhabi, Sharjah, and Al Ain. All entries in the guide have been selected on their merits, with important consideration given to their originality and value.



WE: What is your travel background? How did you come to be an expert in Dubai?

SC: I have worked as a freelance travel writer since 1996, writing about destinations in North America, Latin America, the Caribbean, Europe, and now the Middle East.  I am the author of Frommer’s Grand Canyon book, the original co-author of Frommer’s Chile & Argentina, and one of the authors of our Mexico guide.  My expertise on Dubai comes from having lived there for two years, and I have had the chance to visit just about every reputable hotel, restaurant, nightlife venue, sports facility, and entertainment destination that has opened.



WE: Dubai seems like an incredible, growing city. Are you constantly surprised by new things?

SC: Absolutely.  As I describe in the book, Dubai is a marvel for the senses, a city that surprises just as it impresses.  Within just a few short decades, it has gone from being a relative backwater to the world’s fastest growing modern city.  I doubt many people would even recognize it from just a few years ago.  Every week some ambitious new project is announced, backed by resources that few other places could even dream of.  Increasingly sophisticated people from all corners of the globe have accompanied Dubai’s phenomenal growth, making this a truly international city.  While I imagine the international financial crisis may slow some of Dubai’s boldest long-term projects, I also believe this will remain one of the world’s fastest growing cities for some time to come.



WE: Your book is so very detailed - was it fun to do the research?

SC: It was a blast.  Dubai’s proliferation of luxury beach resorts, high-end shopping centers, world-class sports facilities, and fabulous nightlife makes this an enticing destination for even the most discriminating travelers.  However, for me what made living in and writing about Dubai most exciting was not the incredible tourist infrastructure, but rather exposure to a remarkable diversity of ethnic and national groups that have congregated here to be part of a great urban experiment.  With so many nationalities living and working in Dubai, I had the great fortune to come into day-to-day contact with people from places I knew relatively little about, and to learn from and share perspectives with them.



WE: Dubai seems like a city that is very expensive and metropolitan. What do you suggest for slow, down-time days?

SC: It’s true that Dubai is expensive and increasingly fast-paced.  I strongly suggest getting exposure to more of the UAE.  The side trips I’ve included in the book—Abu Dhabi, Sharjah, and Al Ain—are all destinations that retain the slower, traditional Emirati way of life.  And with the exception of luxury resorts in Abu Dhabi, these places are a good bit less expensive than Dubai.  Another way to slow down is to spend some time in the desert, going on a day trip for example to the Arabian village of Hatta or checking into one of the desert resorts like Al Maha or Bab Al Shams that I’ve written about (although these too can be expensive depending on the season).  Even in Dubai, you can slow down the pace by focusing on the quieter historic area, which offers many activities that are free.



WE:  Are there ways to give back, while travelers visit there?

SC: Dubai’s great asset is that 150 nationalities live peacefully together, and the local population has welcomed people of all backgrounds to participate in the emirate’s development.  This is one of the most open places in the entire region.  With such diversity comes an incredible opportunity.  I think we can act as ambassadors of our own cultures when we travel abroad, building bridges of understanding with those we meet by listening to them with open minds and sharing our own perspectives in a manner that is respectful of our differences.   I would suggest that visitors become familiar with the fundamental tenets of Islam, since this is the religion of the UAE.  One way to do this, besides looking at the section in my book on religion or reading about Islam in greater detail, is to visit the Sheikh Mohammed Center for Cultural Understanding in Dubai’s historic neighborhood and perhaps participating in one of its programs.


WE: Thanks so much, Shane! You've written a very enticing guidebook. We can't wait to head there!


Interested in purchasing Frommer's Dubai, 1st Ed.? 

Click here and save 20% on your entire online order at Frommer's.

Use the coupon code AFF20 in the Promotion Code field when prompted during checkout and click the Apply Discount button.



Please leave a comment on this book review to be entered into a random
drawing for a copy of Dubai, courtesy of Frommer's. Comments left until 11:59pm Monday, December 8th, will be accepted.

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a comment, and reside in the U.S. to be eligible for this drawing.



Comments (3)

  • Glinda

    14 years 12 months ago

    Thanks for sharing the information about Dubai. From what I had heard through the media, I thought it would be too expensive a destination to even consider...but now, I think with the information in this guide, it would be a fascinating place to visit, especially  taking in the side trips mentioned. thanks again Wandering Educators for giving us the latest travel information!

  • Ava Marie

    14 years 9 months ago

    I've always wondered why a lot of people flock to Dubai for work or for leisure. I also want to know what's the strong force behind its progress. This is the right chance for me. 

  • medvath

    14 years 7 months ago

    I'm glad to have found this site, and be given a chance to win this book!

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