The first time traveler to Dubai is surely super excited. Dubai, which is known as the city of gold, has numerous attractions, some of which cannot be seen anywhere else in the world. The amazing modern architecture, the uber-luxurious hotels and resorts, the really cool theme parks, the fine dining scene, the interesting culture and the myriad shopping avenues have allured people to the city for decades. However, it is normal to have several apprehensions too as Dubai is an Islamic country and we hear a lot about their strict rules. If you are travelling to Dubai for the first time and find yourself between excitement and apprehension, we are here to answer all your questions.
BEST PLACES TO VISIT IN DUBAI
When you think of taking a holiday to a new place, you want to know what attractions await you there. Dubai, being home to numerous architectural marvels, is a paradise for travelers. Here is a gist of the most popular places that you must visit in Dubai.
Being the tallest building in the world, the Burj Khalifa is surely a must-see place in Dubai. Visit the Observation Deck (on 124th and 48th floor) for a mind-blowing view of the city.
Know about the history of Dubai by visiting the Bur Dubai area of the city. The Dubai Museum, the Bastakiya Quarter and the Dubai Creek would take you back to the bygone era.
The Dubai Mall is not just for shopping, although you have around 1200 stores to shop at. You can also visit the Dubai Aquarium, ice rink and multiplex theatre at this enormous mall, which is considered to be the largest in the world.
The Dubai Frame is a time capsule that captures the past, present and future of the city. Shaped in the form of a picture frame, it is the best place to see the entire city as well as know about the past and learn about its future plans at one place.
Dubai Miracle Garden
The Dubai Miracle Garden is a true oasis in the desert. Home to more than 109 million flowers, the flower arrangements at this unique garden would leave you awe-struck.
BEST THINGS TO DO IN DUBAI
Your visit to Dubai need not be just sightseeing. On the other hand, there are lots of things to do in the city which would excite anyone, irrespective of their age or gender.
Take a break from the city and drive to the vast deserts of Dubai for an exciting desert safari experience. From regular safari to a luxurious one, you can choose your experience as per your interest and budget.
Do you want to see the Palm Jumeirah (the palm shaped island) from a bird’s eye view? If yes, sky diving is one of the best things to do in Dubai.
Dubai is all about the food scene. Right from a budget eatery to a fine dining restaurant by a celebrity chef, you would be spoilt for choices. Moreover, you would get almost every cuisine in the world in this city.
If you want to have a unique dining experience, Dubai offers you many. However, nothing can be compared to the Dubai dhow cruise. Cruise around the Dubai Creek or Dubai Marina in a luxurious dhow (turned restaurant) while enjoying the spectacular views of the city, a delicious international dinner and some entertaining activities.
If you love shopping, you would go crazy here. The malls of Dubai house almost every international brand known to you. Plus, there are traditional markets or souks where you can buy everything from spices and textiles to gold.
Sheikh Mohammed Cultural Centre of Understanding
Those who want to know more about the culture and traditions of Dubai or UAE must visit the Sheikh Mohammed Cultural Centre of Understanding. This organization arranges heritage tours, visits to mosques and group discussions that give you an insight into the religion, culture, history and lifestyle of the Emiratis.
Burj Al Arab
The afternoon or high tea at Burj Al Arab is one of the best things to do in the city. The range of scones, cakes, pastries, sandwiches, teas and coffees is a dream-come-true for all foodies. Plus, it is a great chance to see the only seven star hotel in the world.
Dubai is also a great place for those interested in water sports. Right from jet skiing and banana boat rides to snorkeling and scuba diving, there is something for everyone here.
IMPORTANT THINGS TO KNOW ABOUT DUBAI
While you may now know about the important places to visit and things to do, your knowledge is not complete. There are some crucial things that you need to know to ensure that you have a successful holiday in this Emirate city.
Best Time to Visit Dubai:
The best time to visit Dubai is between the months of November and March when the temperature is cooler. You get to enjoy the New Year parties as well as the Dubai Shopping Festival during this time (if you schedule your visit accordingly). The months from April to September are extremely hot with the temperature going up to 50 degrees. So, if you do not want to get fried, stay away during these months.
Also, it is best to avoid visiting Dubai during the month of Ramadan as eating and drinking in public is strictly restricted during the holy month. Yes, even for tourists!
If you are worried about commuting in Dubai, you can relax. One of the best ways to travel in Dubai is by taxis. They are easily available and do not cost much. However, travelling by taxi during peak hours can be frustrating. In such cases, the Dubai metro is a great way to travel from one place to another. The Dubai metro is convenient and efficient too. It connects almost all the important places of the city. Plus, you get to sightsee while travelling.
It would not be a surprise to know that Dubai has some of the best and most opulent hotels and resorts in the world. While Hotel Atlantis the Palm and Burj Al Arab are epitome of ultimate luxury, the Palace Downtown and Armani Hotel are great places to stay if you are looking for something swanky. If you are interested in a beach resort, you would find several at Dubai Marina, Palm Jumeirah, Jumeirah Beach Residence, etc. For those looking for unique resorts, there are Bab Al Shams and Al Maha are great options as they are desert resorts. These hotels provide all kinds of comforts and luxuries known to mankind but can be expensive too. However, this does not mean that there is no room for budget travelers. You would easily find modest, mid-range hotels in Bur Dubai and Deira areas on booking.com. You can also check out AirBnB for other accommodation options.
Dubai encourages tourism and hence getting a tourist visa for Dubai is not too difficult. Once you apply for your visa, you get it in 3-4 working days. However, you need to know whether or not you get a visa. Some countries like the ones belonging to GCC, USA, UK, etc. do not need a visa to fly to Dubai. They can get one stamped at the Dubai airport on arrival, for free of cost. Others can apply for a Dubai visa online easily.
RULES OF ETIQUETTE
Dubai may look like any city in the western country. But deep down, the city still holds to its religion and culture. The citizens of Dubai follow the Islamic and Sharia law and the expats as well as tourists are also bound to follow them. Here are some of the things that you have to keep in mind so that you do not offend the locals.
1. While there is no fixed dress code to follow in Dubai, make sure that you cover your arms, cleavage and knees in public. Men must also wear a t-shirt or shirt at all times (except at pool areas). Swimwear is acceptable at beach and pool areas.
2. Public display of affection should be restricted to holding hands. Cuddling, kissing and hugging in public are illegal and could lead to jail time or deportation.
3. While you can consume alcohol at pubs, nightclubs and restaurants (if you are 21 years of age), you must never drink and drive. Also, drinking in public places is illegal too.
4. Avoid swearing in Dubai. It is best to avoid swearing online while in the city, and this includes WhatsApp messages too.
5. Carrying firearms, drugs and erotic and pornographic materials are illegal in Dubai. If you have to carry a drug for medical reasons, always carry a prescription along with you.
Now that you know so much about travelling Dubai, you can rest your worries aside and get really excited about your holiday in the city. As Dubai offers so many amazing experiences, there is no doubt that you would have a memorable vacation in this part of the United Arab Emirates.
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