Dubai has quickly become a traveler’s paradise for many reasons. With a dynamic infrastructure, its growing commercial hub and the stark contrast between the serene desert and rising skyscrapers, Dubai is a destination not to be missed! Over the past two decades, Dubai has transformed its landscape from vast desert land to a vibrant metropolis. The diverse district of Jumeirah, the hip and trendy lifestyle along the Dubai Marina to the architectural design of downtown, Dubai is one of very few cities to offer such an impressive transformation. Amid the plethora of activities to choose from, amazing late night fun, great shopping and an unmatched hospitality sector, Dubai succeeds as the “spot” for both holiday and leisure travel!
This guide will be updated on a continuous basis as I now live here!
Weather: Dubai experiences two seasons, winter and summer. During the winter season (peak), October through April, you can expect blue skies and cooler weather. The winter season attracts a large tourist crowd due to desirable beach conditions. During the summer months, May through September, the humidity increases and temperatures in the triple digits are quite the norm. Many outdoor activities, particularly the beach, can become unbearable for some.
Currency: Dirham (Dh or AED).
Visa: Visa requirements for entry into Dubai varies greatly depending on your nationality. For more information on visa requirements, please click here.
Time Zone: Gulf Standard Time (GST)
Language: English & Arabic
Transportation: The Dubai Metro operates from 5:30am to Midnight, Saturday to Wednesday, 5:30am to 1am on Thursdays and from 10am to 1am on Fridays. During Ramadan and holidays, train times will vary.
Getting from DXB airport to certain areas within the city by metro is very straightforward as the metro connects to both terminals 1 & 3. DXB to Burj Khalifa/Business Bay (Downtown) – approx.. 30 mins; to Mall of the Emirates approx. 40 mins; to JLT/Dubai Marina/JBR (JBR requires 1-2 additional stops on the tram) approx. 60 mins.
Dubai taxis are relatively cheap. Taxis are meter-operated, with a minimum fare of 12 AED. During the day, meters start at 5 AED. After 10PM, 5.50 AED. From Dubai International airport, meters start at 25 AED.
Uber and Careem (local version of Uber) are both available and priced slightly higher than Dubai taxis.
Local Airlines: Emirates Airlines (Dubai) and Etihad Airlines (Abu Dhabi) are the main carriers of the United Arab Emirates (UAE). Give the UAE’s location, traveling to neighboring countries or destinations within a 3-4 hours distance is relatively easy and accessible by Fly Dubai (low cost carrier of Dubai), Oman Air, Sri Lankan Airlines, Middle Eastern Airlines, and Kenya Airways to name a few.
Religion: Official religion is Islam. However, Dubai is known for its tolerance for all religion.
Ramadan: Yes there are some restrictions, however, traveling to Dubai during this time is not as bad as most make it seem.
Advantages: Low season, less crowds, lower airfares, and amazing hotel deals.
Disadvantages: High temperatures, some restaurants may not open until after sunset (some restaurants will remain open and in full operation, especially within hotels), and many nightclubs will be closed.
Areas to stay in: Downtown (DIFC/Dubai Mall/Business Bay), Dubai Marina, Jumeirah Beach Residence (JBR), Jumeirah Lake Towers (JLT), The Palm or Madinat Jumeirah
The Myths of Dubai:
- Dubai is very strict: Like every country on earth, there are rules. Don’t do something here that you wouldn’t do at home. Simple.
- Alcohol: You can’t consume alcohol in Dubai – Lies.
- Dubai is very expensive: It can be, but so is New York City, Los Angeles, London, and even the coffee in Switzerland.
- Women Tourist: Yes, you need to cover up in certain places. Would wear something extremely revealing to your Church back home or walk through the mall in your bikini (I hope not)? Aside from that, dress as you please.
- Dubai is the same as Las Vegas/Miami: Yes some similarities, however, if you’ve been to Dubai and only made an effort to explore the club scene, refrain from making such statements.
- Dubai has no culture: Were you looking for culture or did you solely travel here to party? Are you aware that Dubai is 1 of 7 Emirates available for exploring? Have you been to Deira or Bur Dubai?
Enjoy Dubai and cheers to the Vagabonding Life!