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There are plenty of places to visit in the World. Dubai is just one of them. Dubai is a city in the United Arab Emirates, located within the emirate. The emirate of Dubai is located on the southeast coast of the Persian Gulf and is one of the seven emirates that make up the country.

When I visited a few years ago on business, the people were friendly, the Burj Khalifa (world’s tallest building) and the fountain light show outside the Dubai Mall were impressive. But the view from the Burj Khalifa wasn’t as good as that from the World Trade Centre (sadly destroyed), Empire State, Toronto CN Tower or the top of some skyscrapers in Hong Kong or Bangkok. Why? Because there isn’t anything really to see from there; just a few other skyscrapers, roads and desert. The fountain show was about the same as the Bellagio Fountain show in Las Vegas. The Dubai Mall was huge, but I didn’t find things there any better value than the UK or US. One good thing was that I didn’t see any bugs!

There are plenty of Dubai holidays on offer. With a five or so hour flight direct from Europe, it’s tempting to take a holiday there and enjoy the luxury hotels and sunshine. But is it worth the risk?

My trip was largely uneventful. But I did visit an expat Irish Pub (next door to the hotel) and had a beer there. The pub was really busy and there were a lot of attractive Western girls there. One was a bit drunk and was swaying to the music and hugging some guy at the bar – just seemed like a normal pub night to me. Then she started dancing around a little bit and then the next thing some bouncers for the bar arrived and asked her and her companion to leave. After they left, she was breaking the law by being drunk in public. In fact, she was breaking the law already by showing too much affection in public. I’m hoping she got home okay, but if the taxi driver took a dislike to her, he could have driven to the police station. Worse still, if the taxi driver decided to rape her, there wouldn’t be much she could do about it.

Take the case of a 24-year-old Norwegian, Marte Deborah Dalelv. She reported to Dubai police that she was raped by a Sudanese colleague while in Dubai earlier this year. She was arrested and given a 16-month jail sentence for having extramarital sex and drinking alcohol. The Sudanese alleged rapist was charged with the same offences – not rape. She has just been ‘pardoned’ and allowed to return home – but so has the Sudanese.

The Atlantis Hotel in Dubai looks amazing. But there’s a carbon copy of it in the Bahamas. The difference is that an unmarried couple who visit Dubai and stay there in the same room are breaking the law. Most people, say “Oh they don’t bother about that” and I’m guessing that 9/10 times they don’t. But say if that couple have something stolen from their room and report it. The police could easily arrest them. If the same couple exchange a kiss while watching the Dubai Mall fountain show, they could also be arrested.

There are also other cases of extreme arrests:

  • Briton Keith Brown and his wife had been on their way from London to Ethiopia when they were stopped and searched at Dubai airport. At first customs officers found nothing, but then a roll-up cigarette was spotted caught in the tread of his shoe. The 43-year-old, from Middlesex, was charged with possession of 0.003g of cannabis and was sentenced to four years in prison.
  • Briton Tracy Wilkinson was held in custody for eight weeks before customs officers accepted the codeine she was carrying had been prescribed by her doctor for back pains.
  • A Swiss national is serving a four-year jail term after three poppy seeds from a bread roll he ate at Heathrow airport were found on his clothes.

My advice is: Why bother taking the risk? You can have an amazing holiday in other destinations with normal, fairer laws.