September 14, 2018
Dubai Travel Guide
Dubai is located on the Eastern coast of the Arabian Peninsula, in the south west corner of the Arabian Gulf. It is extremely well known for its warm hospitality and rich cultural heritage, and the Emirati people are welcoming and generous in their approach to visitors. With year-round sunshine, intriguing deserts, beautiful beaches, luxurious hotels and shopping malls, fascinating heritage attractions and a thriving business community, Millions of leisure and business visit Dubai each year from around the world. Read to find out more in this Dubai travel guide.
The local currency is the dirham, which is pegged at AED 3.67 to 1 US dollar. Dubai is tolerant and cosmopolitan and all visitors are welcome. However, Islam is a way of life in the city, and therefore tourists should adopt a certain level of cultural and religious sensitivity for the duration of their stay.
Some 800 members of the Bani Yas tribe, led by the Maktoum Family, settled at the mouth of the creek in 1833. The creek was a natural harbour and Dubai soon became a center for the fishing, pearling and sea trade.
By the turn of the 20th century Dubai was a successful port. The souk (Arabic for market) on the Deira side of the creek was the largest on the coast with 350 shops and a steady throng of visitors and businessmen. By the 1930s Dubai’s population was nearly 20,000, a quarter of whom were expatriates.
In the 1950s the creek began to silt, a result perhaps of the increasing number of ships that used it. The late Ruler of Dubai, His Highness Sheikh Rashid bin Saeed Al Maktoum, decided to have the waterway dredged. It was an ambitious, costly, and visionary project. The move resulted in increased volumes of cargo handling in Dubai. Ultimately it strengthened Dubai’s position as a major trading and re-export hub.
When oil was discovered in 1966, Sheikh Rashid utilized the oil revenues to spur infrastructure development in Dubai. Schools, hospitals, roads, a modern telecommunications network … the pace of development was frenetic. A new port and terminal building were built at Dubai International Airport. A runway extension that could accommodate any type of aircraft was implemented. The largest man-made harbor in the world was constructed at Jebel Ali, and a free zone was created around the port.
Dubai’s formula for development was becoming evident to everyone – visionary leadership, high-quality infrastructure, an expatriate-friendly environment, zero tax on personal and corporate income and low import duties. The result was that Dubai quickly became a business and tourism hub for a region that stretches from Egypt to the Indian sub-continent and from South Africa to what are now called the CIS countries.
Since the 1960s, Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, then ruler of Abu Dhabi, and Sheikh Rashid bin Saeed Al Maktoum had dreamed of creating a federation of the Emirates in the region. Their dreams were realized in 1971 when Dubai, Abu Dhabi, Sharjah, Ajman, Umm Al Quwain, Fujairah and (in 1972) Ras Al Khaimah, joined to create the United Arab Emirates.
Under the late Sheikh Zayed, the first President of UAE, the UAE has developed into one of the richest countries in the world with a per capita GDP in excess of US$17,000 per annum.
In the 1980s and early 1990s, Dubai took a strategic decision to emerge as a major international-quality tourism destination. Investments in tourism infrastructure have paid off handsomely over the years.
Dubai is now a city that boasts unmatchable hotels, remarkable architecture and world-class entertainment and sporting events. The beautiful Burj Al Arab hotel presiding over the coastline of Jumeira beach is the world’s only hotel with a seven star rating. The Emirates Towers are one of the many structures that remind us of the commercial confidence in a city that expands at a remarkable rate. Standing 350 meters high, the office tower is the tallest building in the Middle East and Europe.
Dubai also hosts major international sporting events. The Dubai Desert Classic is a major stop on the Professional Golf Association tour. The Dubai Open, an ATP tennis tournament, and the Dubai World Cup, the world’s richest horse race, draw thousands every year.
How To Reach by Dubai travel Guide
The Dubai International Airport is the only airport in the metropolis and is the busiest in the UAE. The airlines servicing the airport include Emirates Airlines (Dubai’s official international airline) that connects the city to more than a 100 destinations worldwide, FlyDubai (an LCC) and Etihad. Other ways to enter the city are through the Sharjah International Airport with Air Arabia. A Dh 50 taxi ride will get you to Dubai in no time.
Emirates Express connects Dubai to all other emirates. There are frequent bus services between Dubai, Sharjah, Ajman, Masafi, Abu Dhabi and others.
By ROAD and SELF DRIVE
The only way to enter Dubai is through Oman which won’t require you a permit, only an exit charge of 3000 Omani Rial. On your way back, you’ll need to produce the payment receipt in order to re-enter Oman.
Going Around Dubai
To hire a car, you need an international driver’s licence, passport, credit card and third-party insurance. Once you’re on the open road, take a drive out to visit Dubai mountain town of Hatta.
Want to get in on the luxury car action? One of Dubai’s favourite past times is cruising down the streets in style in a car that turns heads; opt for a Bentley with Paddock Rent A Car or a Bugatti with Apex Luxury Car Hire.Looking for ultimate flexibility? Try a pay-as-you-go car rental app, like UDrive or ekar.
Hail A Taxi:
Dubai’s taxis are available to hail nearly everywhere at just about any time, day or night. If you prefer to schedule a ride, you can call for a Dubai taxi pick-up at +971 4 208 0808.
While taxis are reasonably priced in Dubai, the price per kilometre does change depending on a few factors, like tolls or the time of day.If you prefer to use an app to book a ride, Uber or Careem are available. Feeling extravagant? Book an Uber chopper for a bird’s-eye commute.
Dubai metro is a world-class, fully-automated, driver-less railway system. Most of the metro rides above ground providing a great view while you travel to landmarks like like the Dubai Mall, Dubai Marina, the Gold Souk and Dubai’s financial district.
Dubai Metro tickets must be purchased in the form of a Nol card – which can also be used to pay for bus, tram and taxi fare – and rides can cost as little as AED3. Discover the city by its metro stations or use the journey planner app, Wojhati, to make the most of your Dubai itinerary.
The Dubai Tram runs from Al Sufouh to Jumeirah Beach Residences in 42 minutes. Running on the Nol card, the tram provides access to destinations like Palm Jumeirah, Dubai Marina, Jumeirah Lakes Towers and more.
The Palm Monorail
The tram connects directly to the Palm’s monorail station, which runs from the trunk of the Palm to the iconic Atlantis, The Palm. Whether you’re having a play day at Aquaventure, making friends a Dolphin Bay, or enjoying the Boardwalk, don’t miss the chance to take in views of the Gulf from the Palm’s crescent.
With nearly 1,500 buses circulating around the city and air conditioned shelters to keep you cool on your way, this is a great budget option for getting around. Travel like a resident on the city bus or book an open-top hop-on, hop-off bus tour to hit the main tourist sites. And most convenient of all, the Nol smart card allows you to pay not only your bus fares, but also your metro fees.
Travel back in time on Dubai’s traditional mode of transportation: an abra ride down Dubai Creek or through Souk Madinat Jumeirah. Enjoy a dinner cruise on the much larger dhow boat, a vessel used traditionally for sailing. For a modern view, travel down the cosmopolitan passages of Dubai Marina or the brand-new Dubai Water Canal.
Ferry and Water Taxi
Another way to take in the sights is aboard the Dubai Ferry. Starting at just AED15, visitors can take a tour across the city’s key water links starting from Business Bay to the Marina via Dubai Canal. Ferries from the Al Jaddaf station depart daily at 10am, 12pm and 5:30pm.
Get around Dubai in style while appreciating our skyline and iconic landmarks from off the coast. Yacht rental options include Dubai’s Xclusive Yachts and CharterClick, an online booking service that allows you to choose, book and pay for your yacht. Discover even more ways to see Dubai from the water.
Bicycling around our beautiful city is becoming increasingly popular, as city paths are popping up all around. You can easily rent a bike at a curbside BYKY station to experience it for yourself.
If you’re seeking a more rigorous cycling adventure, stop by TREK Bikes for your wheels of choice and discover Hatta’s mountainous terrain or cycle through Dubai’s beautiful desert on Al Qudra’s 86km cycling track. Do try when you visit Dubai.
Dubai weather is characterised by a tropical desert climate with hot, sunny conditions created by its proximity to the Tropic of Cancer and the Northern desert belt. Summers are very hot, humid and dry with temperatures climbing to 40 °C and higher and rarely dropping below 30 °C. Winters are still warm however temperatures drop considerably to highs of 23 °C and lows of around 14 °C. Although the weather in Dubai is usually fine, rainfall has slowly been increasing over the last few decades, receiving annual precipitation of up to 150mm in recent years. However, as with most Middle Eastern climates, Dubai’s rainfall is irregular and brief.
Much of Dubai’s annual rainfall occurs between December to March however temperatures remain warm and despite the expected rainfall, the period of December, January, February and March is considered Dubai’s most comfortable period of the year thus best time to visit Dubai, climactically. February is Dubai’s wettest month with an average of 35mm of rainfall while June is considered the driest month with little to no rain. Overall, the months of January, April, July, October and November receive a fairly average rainfall while the months of May, August and September experience much lower levels of rainfall.
Another characteristic of Dubai weather, particularly during summer, are the low pressure systems that develop over the country creating strong north-westerly winds known as Shamal that blow across from Saudi Arabia and become unpredictable and gusty by the time they reach Dubai, often stirring up the desert sands, reducing visibility and occasionally creating sandstorms that can sometimes last for a number of days.
It’s worth noting that Dubai weather and climate varies from region to region, with temperatures and humidity differing between the coastline and desert. During winter, temperatures on the coastline are warmer while those in the desert are much cooler and humidity is higher on the coastline than in the dry desert heat. Even the sea temperatures can reach as high as 37 °C with humidity of more than 90%. Lookout for climate when you visit Dubai.
Things to do in Dubai
(The places mentioned are random and are not according to popularity)
Dubai is a city that must be seen to be believed. Record-breaking architecture stands alongside traditional quarters, while man-made islands jut out of the coastline. Here are the top places to tick off your sightseeing list when you visit Dubai.
01 Visit Dubai Mall
Skirting the Burj Khalifa in downtown Dubai is every shopper’s paradise. The massive Dubai Mall is the largest shopping center in the world and houses a whopping 1,200 stores. Even if you aren’t interested in buying anything, a visit to this immense retail center is a must: The Dubai Mall also contains numerous entertainment facilities, such as an ice rink, a movie theater and several kid-friendly attractions, including an aquarium that houses more than 33,000 underwater creatures. If you happen to be around at night, stop by the Dubai Fountain outside of the mall. Created by those who designed the Bellagio’s famous dancing fountains, the fountain features nightly shows set to a mix of western and eastern music. it is a must go place when you visit Dubai.
Recent travelers said you should pick up a free map before you explore the mall, because you’re really going to need it. Visitors were taken by how much was at the mall – everything you could possibly need can be found inside its bowels. Few visitors were keen to point out that you might not want to shop here after all. Because so much is imported, some visitors found prices to be higher in comparison to what they’ve seen at home. Still, many say that shouldn’t stop you from popping in for a visit.
The best way to get here is to take the metro to Burj Khalifa/Dubai Mall Station. The Dubai Mall (and everything within it) opens its doors from 10 a.m. to midnight daily. You don’t have to pay to wander about, but certain attractions in the mall will charge admission. For more information, visit Dubai Mall website.
02 Visit Dubai Fountain
The Dubai Fountain, located at the base of the iconic Burj Khalifa and just outside the doors of the famous Dubai Mall, features the world’s largest choreographed fountain system. This popular dancing water show jets water streams as high as 150 metres in the air. Each colourful, illuminated jet sways in time to various musical numbers from around the world, producing what has become the one of the most popular shows in Dubai. Two showings occur in the afternoon (1pm and 1:30pm), except on Fridays (1:30pm to 2pm) and evening displays begin at sundown and take place every 30 minutes until the final song plays at 11pm. When you visit Dubai it is also a must go place.
03 Burj Khalifa
Standing 828 meters high, the Burj Khalifa is hard to miss. The world’s tallest tower naturally dominates the Dubai skyline, but the true majesty of the building is best appreciated up close or, even better, from inside. On a clear day, the view from the observation deck on level 124 is absolutely stunning, topped only by the view from the luxurious At The Top Sky Lounge on the 148th floor. And for those who would like to linger for a meal in the clouds, At.mosphere on level 122 is the place to be. A must go place when you visit Dubai.
04 Jumeirah beach
Within walking distance of the Burj Al Arab is arguably Dubai’s best strip of public sand. Sun-seekers come to this lively shoreline to revel in Dubai’s bright rays, while water sports enthusiasts take advantage of the calm, turquoise waters of the Persian Gulf. Jumeirah Beach is also equipped with a children’s playground and plenty of barbecue and picnic areas. Just make sure you come early as the area grows steadily more crowded throughout the day.
Jumeirah Beach can be reached from Jumeirah Road and is open from 7 a.m. to 11 or 11:30 p.m., depending on the day. Admission costs 5 dirhams (roughly $1.25) per person. Before you hit the sand, make sure you’re armed with bottled water and sunscreen. The rays are at their strongest during the middle of the day, so you’ll want to seek shade to avoid dehydration or sun stroke. To learn more about Jumeirah Beach, visit Dubai Tourism Board’s website.
05 The Desert Safari
Less than 20 minutes driving from the modernist streets of Downtown Dubai, you can experience the marvels of the Arabian Desert, the original tourist attraction of Dubai. Take a desert safari Dubai-style with off-roading, quad biking and sandboarding followed by traditional barbeques, henna and camel rides. Or just drive out and experience the wonder of the desert on an adventure of your own. Those looking for luxury should indulge in a Heritage Dinner Safari. Can’t get enough in a day? Treat yourself to an unforgettable night amid the dunes at the Al Maha Desert Resort & Spa or Bab Al Shams Desert Resort & Spa. and visit Dubai
06 Spice and Gold Souk
Dubai is and has been a titan of trade for centuries. To get a sense of what commerce was like back in the day, take a stroll through one of the city’s traditional souks, or bazaars. The Gold Souk, located on Dubai Creek’s south bank in the Deira, specializes in glitz and glamour. Featuring glittering displays of necklaces, bracelets and earrings from more than 300 retailers, the Gold Souk is one of the most renowned gold jewelry trading centers in the world. In fact, approximately 20 percent of the world’s gold passes through this market. But if you’re not one for gold, don’t fret. The souk also sells platinum, diamonds and silver. You’re also guaranteed to get what you’re paying for. The government tightly controls what is sold and by who in the souk, so you don’t have to walk away thinking there’s a chance you may be holding something counterfeit. On the other side of the creek lies the pungent Spice Souk, where vendors hawk flavors from across the globe, including cinnamon, ginger and chili. This is also the place to stock up on saffron, as you’ll find this delectable spice at a much lower cost here than you would at home.
Recent visitors strongly suggest bargaining when visiting the souks in Dubai. The price vendors set tends to be high, and tourists found that after a little effort negotiating they were able to get what they wanted for a quarter, and sometimes half of the price. Some also reported that vendors tend to mark down the price if you say you need the cash for other travel necessities, such as transportation costs. Even those who didn’t end up buying anything strongly suggested a trip to the market simply for its cultural value, not to mention it’s a feast for the eyes (and nose). Some tourists, however, found the vendor’s aggressive sale tactics uncomfortable, and not worth the trip. Travelers were keen to note that this is a more traditional area of Dubai, and clothing that would pass as normal around the hotels and more developed areas of the city garners unwelcome looks from locals (such as exposing one’s knees) here.
Most vendors are open for business every day between 9 a.m. and 10 p.m. You don’t have to pay to peruse, but should you be interested in buying, make sure you’re carrying some cash as credit cards aren’t widely accepted. You can reach the souks by hopping off at the Al Ras Metro Station. Some visitors suggested taking an abra across the creek to heighten your cultural experience of the area. To do that, get off at the Al Ghubaiba Metro Station 2; docks with abras servicing the creek are located within walking distance. Do go when you visit Dubai.
07 Ski Dubai
“Surreal” is one way to describe Ski Dubai. Even when the city is enveloped in sizzling triple-digit temperatures, this massive indoor winter wonderland is never without fresh powder. The Middle East’s first indoor ski center, Ski Dubai boasts five ski runs (the longest of which spans more than 1,300 feet with a 197-foot vertical drop), a freestyle snowboard zone, a chairlift, as well as room for toboggan runs and snowball fights. Inside there’s also the world’s first indoor black run, ski lessons for the kiddos, as well as a penguin colony.
Recent travelers loved the idea of skiing in Dubai, but warn that avid snow bunnies may lose interest. As one might expect, those who’ve never skied, or didn’t do it often, were thrilled by the attraction, while those who knew their way around the slopes were quickly bored. Although proper gear is available at the facility, some travelers warned that it is very cold inside, and to bring any extra winter accessories you may have, especially a hat and gloves. Families, in particular, found this attraction to be a hit with the young ones.
Ski Dubai is connected to the Mall of Emirates southwest of the Burj Al Arab and Wild Wadi Waterpark; you can easily reach the slopes from the Mall of the Emirates Metro Station. Ski Dubai is open every day from 9 or 10 a.m. to 11 p.m. or midnight, depending on the day. A day pass will cost 310 dirhams (around $84) for adults and 285 dirhams (roughly $78) for children. The entrance cost covers admission to certain parts of the attraction, access to the chairlift ride and a voucher. You can find more information on Ski Dubai’s website.
These are some paces which I like when visited Dubai some more places to visit worth mentioning are Dubai Creek, Dubai Marina, Kite beach, Dubai Meuseum and many more.
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