Dubai is the dazzling gem of the United Arab Emirates. It’s a city that seamlessly blends rich traditions with modern marvels. From its magnificent skyscrapers to superb beaches and great shopping malls, Dubai offers a unique travel experience like no other. But before you start your adventure to this amazing city. It’s advisable to be well-prepared and informed.
In this article we share 21 things to know before traveling to Dubai. From visa requirements and dress codes to cultural customs and must-visit attractions, this guide will ensure you have an unforgettable and hassle-free journey.
So, get ready to discover the wonders of Dubai as we delve into the essential knowledge every traveler should have before setting foot in this mesmerizing destination.
Ensure you check the visa requirements for your country of residence before traveling to Dubai. Most nationalities can obtain a tourist visa upon arrival at the airport or apply for an e-visa in advance. It’s essential to have the necessary documentation ready to avoid any entry issues.
Best Time to Visit:
Dubai experiences scorching summers, with temperatures reaching extreme highs. It’s ideal to visit between November and April when the weather is more pleasant and enjoyable. During this period, you can experience comfortable temperatures and participate in outdoor activities without the scorching heat.
While Dubai is a cosmopolitan city, it follows conservative dress standards rooted in its Islamic culture. When in public places, both men and women should dress modestly, with shoulders and knees covered. It’s respectful to adhere to these guidelines, especially when visiting religious sites or government buildings.
Arabic language is the official language. However, English is widely spoken and understood throughout the city. You’ll have no trouble communicating in English. So it’s commonly used in businesses, hotels, and tourist areas. However, learning a few Arabic phrases can be appreciated by the locals and enhance your cultural experience.
The currency in Dubai is the UAE Dirham (AED). It’s advisable to carry some cash for small expenses, although credit cards are widely accepted in hotels, restaurants, and shops. ATMs are also readily available throughout the city, allowing you to withdraw cash in local currency as needed.
Local Customs and Culture:
Dubai is an Islamic city, and it’s important to respect local customs and traditions. Familiarize yourself with the local customs. For example avoiding public displays of affection and refraining from consuming alcohol in public places. It’s also customary to greet others with a warm “As-salamu alaykum” (peace be upon you). Then respond with “Wa alaykum as-salam” (and upon you be peace).
Friday is the Holy Day:
Friday is the Islamic holy day. It’s the equivalent of Sunday in the Western world. Many businesses and attractions may have altered opening hours or be closed during this time. Plan your itinerary accordingly to ensure you can visit your desired attractions and make necessary arrangements in advance.
Public Displays of Affection:
Public displays of affection, including hugging and kissing, are considered disrespectful in public places in Dubai. It’s important to exercise cultural sensitivity and keep displays of affection for private areas. Respect for local customs will help ensure a harmonious experience during your visit.
If you visit during the holy month of Ramadan. Be respectful for those who are fasting. It’s important to refrain from eating, drinking, or smoking in public areas during daylight hours. Instead, try to find designated areas for non-Muslims to dine, which can be found in many restaurants and cafes.
These designated areas are usually screened off to provide privacy for those who are fasting. It’s a good idea to pack some food and water while exploring the city during Ramadan. Some dining places may be closed until sunset, when Muslims break their fast.
By having some snacks or a bottle of water with you, you can ensure that you can maintain your energy levels throughout the day.
Tipping generally is not mandatory in Dubai. However, it’s customary to leave a small gratuity for good service, for example 10-15% of the bill. Some high-end establishments may already include a service charge, so it’s important to check your bill before tipping. Appreciation for excellent service is always welcomed and can make a positive impact on your overall experience.
Dubai has an extensive and efficient transportation system. The Dubai Metro, buses, and taxis are the primary modes of public transportation. The Dubai Metro offers a convenient way to navigate the city, with air-conditioned trains connecting key locations. Taxis are also readily available and operated by licensed drivers. Alternatively, car rentals are readily available for exploring the city at your own pace. Ensure you have a valid international driving permit if you plan to rent a car.
Friday Brunch Tradition:
Friday brunch is a popular Dubai tradition and an indulgent affair not to be missed. Many hotels and restaurants offer lavish buffet spreads with an array of international cuisines and unlimited food and drinks. It’s advisable to make reservations in advance to secure your spot and savor the culinary delights that Dubai has to offer.
Souks and Markets:
Explore the vibrant traditional markets, known as souks, where you can immerse yourself in the rich tapestry of Dubai’s heritage. The Gold Souk in Deira is a dazzling treasure trove of jewelry, while the Spice Souk entices with aromatic spices and herbs. The Textile Souk offers a vibrant selection of fabrics, clothing, and traditional textiles. Bargaining is common in these markets. So be prepared to negotiate for the best price. Enjoy the immersive shopping experience.
No trip to Dubai is complete without a visit to the world’s tallest building. Standing at a staggering height of 828 meters.
This architectural marvel offers breathtaking views of the city.
Ascend to the observation deck on the 148th floor for a truly awe-inspiring experience.
It’s advisable to book tickets in advance to secure your preferred time slot and avoid long queues.
Embark on an exhilarating desert safari adventure, where you can experience the beauty of Dubai’s vast desert landscape. Enjoy a thrilling dune bashing ride in a 4×4 vehicle, take a camel ride through the dunes, and witness mesmerizing sunset views. Afterward, immerse yourself in Bedouin hospitality with traditional entertainment, including belly dancing and a delicious Arabian dinner under the starry desert sky.
Discover the historic heart of Dubai by visiting the Dubai Creek. This natural saltwater creek divides the city into two sections: Deira and Bur Dubai. Take an abra (traditional wooden boat) ride across the creek and soak in the mesmerizing views of the city’s skyline. You can explore the traditional souks, visit the Dubai Museum located in Al Fahidi Fort, or simply enjoy the serene atmosphere along the waterfront.
The Jumeirah Mosque is a splendid landmark of Dubai. It’s one of the few mosques open to non-Muslim visitors. This stunning example of Islamic architecture offers guided tours that provide insights into Islamic traditions and the mosque’s significance. It’s important to dress modestly and respectfully when visiting the mosque, as it holds great religious and cultural significance.
Dubai boasts pristine sandy beaches along its coastline, offering a perfect retreat for relaxation and water sports. Jumeirah Beach has a crystal-clear waters and stunning views of the Burj Al Arab. It’s a popular choice. Kite Beach is another favorite spot for water sports enthusiasts, with opportunities for kiteboarding and paddleboarding. Relax on sun loungers, take a dip in the sea. Indulge in beachfront dining at one of the many beach clubs along the coast.
Dubai is famous for its extravagant shopping malls. Where you can find an impressive array of international brands and luxury goods.
Visit the Dubai Mall. It’s the largest shopping mall in the world, where you can shop, dine and explore attractions such as the Dubai Aquarium and Underwater Zoo.
The Mall of the Emirates offers a unique experience with its indoor ski resort, Ski Dubai. Ibn Battuta Mall, inspired by the travels of Ibn Battut. It showcases stunning architecture and a variety of shopping options. Additionally, don’t miss the famous Dubai Shopping Festival held annually, offering incredible deals and discounts.
Explore Dubai’s history at the Dubai Museum. Its located in the Al Fahidi Fort in Bur Dubai. This captivating museum provides insights into the city’s transformation from a small fishing village to a global metropolis. Explore the exhibits showcasing traditional Emirati culture, archaeological findings, and historical artifacts. Gain a deeper understanding of Dubai’s heritage. Also its journey towards becoming a modern hub of innovation.
Safety and Security:
It’s a safe city. But, it’s important to take care of your safety. Take general precautions during your visit. Follow any guidelines or instructions from local authorities. Keep your belongings secure at all times, especially in crowded areas or public transportation. It’s recommended to use a secure bag or pouch to carry your valuables and avoid displaying expensive items openly.
Dubai has a blend of modernity and rich cultural heritage. Its a captivating destination that promises a remarkable travel experience. By acquainting yourself with the 21 essential things to know before traveling to Dubai, you can ensure a seamless and enjoyable journey. From understanding visa requirements and dressing appropriately to exploring iconic attractions like the Burj Khalifa and experiencing the charm of traditional souks, Dubai offers a plethora of delights for every traveler.
Remember to plan your visit during the optimal months when the weather is pleasant and explore the city’s diverse culinary scene. Respect local customs and traditions, such as refraining from public displays of affection and being mindful during the holy month of Ramadan. Embrace the vibrancy of Dubai’s beaches, embark on thrilling desert safaris, and indulge in shopping extravaganzas.
With its commitment to safety and a wide range of tourist-friendly facilities, Dubai ensures a secure and comfortable experience for visitors. Whether you’re captivated by architectural wonders, seeking cultural immersion, or yearning for luxury and adventure, Dubai has it all.
So, pack your bags, enjoy the allure of Dubai. Embark on a journey that promises memories to last a lifetime. You’re ready to make the most of your time with these essential tips in mind in this enchanting city.
For more information, you can explore a comprehensive list of best things to do in Dubai.