DUBAI TRAVEL TIPS
Dubai is one of those cities that I feel you must visit at least once in your life, it has such a unique combination of activities all in one place that it's simply amazing.
Before reading on, let's start with the name - 'Dubai' is pronounced 'du-bye' in English or 'du-bah-e' in Arabic but definitely not 'due-bye'. That's a personal pet peeve and I'm glad we've gotten that out of the way, moving on.
Country: United Arab Emirates (UAE)
Geographical location: Middle East Asia
Currency: UAE Dirham (AED)
Language: Arabic (English is the unofficial second language)
10 THINGS TO DO IN DUBAI
The beauty of Dubai lies in the number of varied activities one can indulge in, there truly is something for everyone.
1. Dubai Mall - As the second largest mall in the world (by total land area), this mall is an experience but be warned, the place is so big that if you don't go there with comfortable footwear, you'll end up buying some to survive the day. Once you arrive you should enquire about the timings for the fountain shows, thank me later. (Cost: Free Entry)
2. Ski - Yup, you read that right. You can ski in the desert land known as Dubai. Just head over to The Mall Of The Emirates and you'll find the indoor ski slopes in Ski Dubai. (Cost: From 190AED)
3. Sky Diving - For my fellow adrenaline junkies, Dubai has a great sky diving company which will allow you to take the plunge with an amazing view of the famous The Palm Jumeirah. That's one for the bucket list for sure. (Cost: 2199AED)
4. Burj Khalifa - The tallest building in the world is definitely a must see if you're in Dubai. Whether you love heights and want to see the world from the 148th floor on the 'Sky' observation deck, only have the stomach for the 'At The Top' observation deck on the 124th floor or would rather just keep your feet firmly planted at ground level, the Burj Khalifa is a sight to behold and a marvel in the world of architecture. (Cost: From 135AED)
5. Desert Safari - Explore the desert while riding quad bikes or dune bashing in an SUV followed by a traditional Emirati meal, camel riding, sand surfing and belly dancing - definitely a day to remember. (Cost: From 200AED)
6. Dubai Miracle Garden - Think of it as an art gallery of flowers. From a life sized floral sculpture of an Emirates Airbus A380 (world's largest flower structure) to giant floral teddy bears, this garden is not only a place for flower lovers but also a wonderful place to take pictures. (Cost: 50AED)
7. Nightlife - Its party scene is one of the things Dubai is most known for and it doesn't disappoint. There are clubs and bars littered all over Dubai so it's just a matter of trying as many out as you can before you leave! And yes, there's alcohol. Please note: In Dubai you must be at least 21 years old to get into any club. (Cost: Varies)
8. Waterparks - Wild Wadi Waterpark and Atlantis Aquaventure are two of the most famous waterparks in Dubai but there are a few more. There are also other theme parks available. If you are planning your trip to Dubai for the month of your birthday you should check out the Wild Wadi Waterpark website because you could be eligible for free entry. (Cost: From 299AED)
9. Beach Clubs - Although most beaches in Dubai are man made, they are still a great way to spend an afternoon. Along Jumeirah Beach Road there are several beach clubs that provide sun beds and serve food and drinks while entertaining you with an in house DJ. Those in the Umm Suqeim 3 (an area on Jumeirah Beach Road) have the best views of the Burj Al Arab, one of the world's most luxurious hotels. (Cost: Varies)
10. Explore Abu Dhabi - Going on a day trip to the capital of the UAE is something I highly recommend as its only an hour and a half drive from Dubai. Home to the magnificent Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque, Abu Dhabi will give you a whole different view of life in the UAE. It is also where the fastest roller coaster in the world is located, Formula Rossa at Ferrari World. (Cost: Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque = Free entry, Ferrari World = 295AED)
These things are not usually recommended but they are my personal favourites.
Taking an abra (a traditional boat that serves as a water taxi) across Dubai Creek which is a part of "old" Dubai. While I lived in Dubai I did this with everyone that came to visit. It is a short ride that costs only 1AED but it is so relaxing and the view from the abra is amazing.
If, like me, you like a bit of tradition, then the Deira Museum and the various souks are the places to visit. The museum will show you what life was like in Dubai before it became the ultramodern place it is now and the souks will give you a very arabian feel as the aromas of Middle Eastern spices fill your nostrils.
Walking across the Dubai Marina Bridge is one of my favourite things to do, the view is just spectacular! Dubai Marina is also home to some of Dubai's best cafe's and restaurants.
BEST TIME TO TRAVEL
November to May is when I would recommend you travel to Dubai. The weather is hot but nowhere near as smouldering as it is in the months of July to September. Whenever you decide to go, everything from taxis and the metro to your local corner shop is air conditioned so you'll be ok as long as you survive the walk to and from each.
The major downside to going to Dubai when its at maximum temperatures is that you won't enjoy any outdoor activities because you'll be running for air conditioned cover the minute you step out, it's the only way to avoid melting on the spot.
WHERE TO STAY
Of course, if you are looking to indulge in luxury then Dubai is the place to be as it has everything from luxury resorts (Bab Al Shams) to lavish hotels (Armani Hotel) but there's a common misconception that only rich people can go to Dubai or that in order to do so you need to break the bank. Although this assumption was birthed from true events, travelling to Dubai doesn't require you to sell a kidney (which is illegal almost everywhere!), but rather, some smart manoeuvring.
Deira is an area in Dubai that is not as glamorous as other more photographed areas but it has a lot of transport links, has its own mall and would save you a pretty penny on accommodation. As Dubai is a generally safe city, you would not be compromising on security by staying in Deira. Also, Dubai is heavily regulated so even a cheap hotel is going to be clean.
I think that the best place to stay in Dubai overall is pretty much anywhere along Sheikh Zayed Road but more specifically, Dubai Marina, Downtown Dubai or Jumeirah Beach Residence (colloquially known as JBR).
The good thing about Dubai is that it is relatively small so it's very easy to get from one place to the other, no matter where you stay. The 3 main modes of transport are:
Taxi - Probably the most common form of transport for tourists in Dubai, taxis run on a meter and start at 5AED. Taxis from the airport start at 25AED. There are also lady taxis available which are driven by women and only transport women and children. These are identifiable by their pink roofs and have a slightly higher starting meter rate.
Metro - You must buy a metro card for 25AED which comes with 20AED credit. Trip costs vary from 3AED to 7AED depending on distance. You must have a minimum credit amount of 7AED to travel. The metro card can be topped up at any metro station.
Bus - Again, you must have the metro card mentioned above with a minimum credit amount of 7AED to travel. Each trip costs 3 AED and you must tap your card against the reader when getting on the bus and then again when getting off. The card can be topped up at any metro station but also at top up machines that can be found near selected bus stops.
WHAT TO EAT
Dubai is a hub for global dishes so food isn't a problem here. I believe that dining should be an experience so here are my suggestions:
The Farm Restaurant, Al Barari - This ties for first place with Dubai Marina as my favourite place in Dubai. The restaurant serves amazing food throughout the day and has such a beautiful setting! There's simply no competition here.
Urban Bistro, Media City - A great, modern place to eat and work (internet provided) with very friendly staff. I had a seafood pasta dish here that was simply divine! I followed that up with some fluffy pancakes, a meal fit for a queen I tell ya! Lol!
Al Dawaar Revolving Restaurant, Hyatt Regency Dubai - The food is good but you're here for the views. The restaurant provides a unique 360º view of the city as it slowly rotates. The motion isn't enough to make you sick but don't leave any valuables on the window sill!
Needless to say, Dubai really is what you make it and with all the options available you can curate the trip of a lifetime, whatever your budget. You're probably wondering why, with all this awesomeness, Dubai didn't make it into my Top 5 Destinations and the reason is simple, Dubai is good but I've seen better! LOL!
Dubai is a city that is constantly changing so there is always something new to discover on every trip. Is Dubai on your list of places to visit? What was your experience with this city? Comment below! Also, don't forget to share, like and subscribe!
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