There are two islands that make up the impressive Palm projects conceived by Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, the Crown Prince of Dubai. These are The Palm, Jumeirah and The Palm, Jebel Ali. These are being constructed just off the coast of the city of Dubai in the United Arab Emirates, and will become the world's two largest man-made islands.

These islands are similar in shape, with Jebel Ali being 50% larger than Jumeirah, and both sharing roughly the same shape of a palm tree surrounded by a crescent that encircles the central islands and acting to shelter them from the sea. Each island will eventually support 50 luxury hotels, 2,500 exclusive residential beachside villas, up to 2,400 shoreline apartments, two marinas, water theme parks, restaurants, shopping malls, sports facilities, health spas and cinemas. The trunk of Jumeirah measures 2.4 kilometres in length and 450 metres in width, with the crescent measuring 15.5 KM in length.

Jebel Ali, in addition to the central palm shaped island and crescent will have another series of 1060 houses located above the water on stilts, formed into a poem in Arabic written by the Sheikh: "Take wisdom from the wise people; Not everyone who rides is a jockey".

This second island will also be home to the region's first water theme park with dolphins and killer whales and will also host an eighteen-hole golf course.

The construction began in 2001 after years of planning, and comprised of approximately 100 million cubic metres of rock and sand, the first will be completed in 2005, and the second in 2006. In total, they will add 120 km to the Dubai coastline.

As impressed as I am by the sheer scale of this project that’s visible from space, I doubt I’ll ever get to go. Somehow, I don’t think I’ll have the money.

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