Dubai vs. Hong Kong – HK by 20 Lengths

My wife Pam and I just returned from 10 days in Dubai and the United Arab Emirates. We stayed with our friends the Serillos, who had left Hong Kong in May 2005. I have read that Dubai wants to supplant Hong Kong as the world’s favorite shopping and financial center outside of New York, London and Tokyo. All I have to say is, “Lots of luck, Dubai. You’ll need it.”

While there are some souks or marketplaces in Dubai that are interesting, none of them except the spice souk and parts of the Deira quarter, come even close to having the appeal or the bargains that most side streets in Hong Kong provide. The rest of Dubai’s shopping is in malls full of over-priced designer shops. While Hong Kong has its share of malls, the prices are more reasonable and the selection is greater.

As far as financial center is concerned, while there are many tall buildings full of offices, most of the major world banks have relatively small branches here. The local banks are not ready for Prime Time.

I could go on with this comparison. We were particularly disappointed with the dearth of cultural and historical tourist attractions but that is grist for a different mill. I am writing a travel journal on titled “Dubious Dubai,” which goes into much more detail. Check it out.