There is nowhere on the planet like Dubai, and if a visit isn’t on your bucket list, you should stop reading long enough to jot it down. Dubai is the largest city in the United Arab Emirates, and it got loaded with rich, bold architecture and modern style that is unlike anything you’ve seen before. It’s the most accessible city in the Middle East and comes along with ancient traditions that you can take alongside the glamor it offers.
Flash Tips on What to Expect
Like everywhere else, traveling to foreign places could put you in a bind if you don’t know what to expect. Use these quick tips to keep in mind when visiting, or prepping for, Dubai.
- Languages: The majority of people in Dubai speak English because that is the main language used in business. The official language of the UAE is Arabic.
- Money: Dirham is the currency used in Dubai and exchanges at approximately 3.67 Dhs to 1 USD.
- Banking, Debit and Credit Cards: Most businesses do accept credit cards; cash is still the primary method of exchange. Always ensure that you have small change and small amounts of cash.
- Weather: As expected, the temperatures in the summer can reach over 106 degrees and the nights don’t drop below 90. If you travel in the winter, you can expect comfortable temperatures of 60 to 75.
- Good to Know: If you are under the age of 21, it is illegal to drink. There are also areas where photography is illegal, so keep an eye out for signs.
When you make sure that you understand the best methods of transportation when visiting cities as busy as Dubai, you’re thinking like a traveler. There’s a good chance that renting a vehicle is only going to confuse you, and asking for directions could get you in a sticky situation. Here are some suggestions.
- Transport from the Airport: You can Google a Marhaba Bronze “meet you and greet you” service to get you through the airport hassle free.
- Public Transportation: Taking the metro in Dubai is different from public transportation elsewhere, so ensure you’re looking out for signs and following the rules. You’re not allowed to eat or drink on the metro, and that includes gum. You’re also not allowed to sleep, and there are specific cabins reserved for women only and gold class.
- Taxis: The Dubai taxis have a minimum meter of Dhs 12, and they charge a Salik fee if you need to go through a toll.
There are plenty of decently priced apartments and hotels in Dubai, and there are also luxury accommodations, too. It all depends on your budget, how long you’re staying, and what your personal tastes are.
- Rove Downtown & XVA Art Hotel: The Rove Downtown is a budgeted hotel that offers top of the line service well worth the price. The hotel is located in the central city and has a modernized and chic style. XVA is the ideal choice for those of you on a budget. It’s also located in proximity to all amenities and has a charming and historic vibe.
- The St Regis Dubai: The five-star hotel is located in Business Bay and has many features that scream luxury. You receive top-of-the-line service, beautiful facilities, and much more.
- Four Seasons Resort Dubai at Jumeirah Beach: The Four Seasons is another five-star hotel that offers luxury at every corner. It has 237 rooms that ensure a relaxing stay. The hotel also has a day spa, free Wi-Fi, a children’s club and a rooftop terrace.
- Bab Al Shams Desert Resort & Spa: Set amidst the sand dunes on the outskirts of Dubai and not too far from Abu Dhabi, the five-star resort has won the Trip Advisor Certificate of Excellence. It got loaded with luxury, swimming pools, high-end restaurants, yoga areas, and romantic outdoor fire-pits.
Activities in Dubai
Now that you know what to expect and have your transportation and accommodations sorted out, it’s time to take a look at some fun-filled things you can do while in Dubai.
- Burj Khalifa: Visit the world’s tallest skyscraper for an unforgettable view.
- Old Deira: There is much more to Dubai than meets the eye. Research tour guides who can show you the rich history of Dubai in addition to its modern elements.
- Desert Safari: Book a desert safari during the winter when it’s not so hot. You can ride a camel through the sand and get a glimpse of what Dubai used to look like.
- Skydiving: Fall out of an airplane from 12,000 feet to view the city in its entirety.
- Scuba Dive in the Mall Aquarium: The Dubai Mall offers a beautiful aquarium and guess what? You can dive underwater to swim with the fishes and have all the locals see you.
- Snowboard: If you want to get away from the heat, you can enjoy some skiing at an indoor venue. The Dubai Mall provides a lot of activities.
- Dubai Fountains: Ensure you visit the beautiful fountains located at the center of the city. Visit at least twice, so you get both the day and night view.
- Palm Jumeirah: It might be a fake island, but it’s the textbook example of opulence. If you’re visiting Dubai, seeing the Palm Jumeirah is an absolute must.
- Dubai Clubbing: Typically, clubs in Dubai run from 10:00 pm to 3:00 am. However, doormen and bouncers can be picky, so make sure that you dress to impress.
When you think of luxury, it’s natural to think of Dubai. The city provides you with everything that you need to get a glimpse of how the high-living live their life. In addition to everything mentioned, the city also has an endless supply of fine-dining restaurants that can get found on every corner. If you ask around, you might even get to sample the gold cappuccino that is a favorite amongst locals and travelers.
Have you been to Dubai or the Middle East? What other things would you suggest for those visiting for the first time?