Dubai Travel Guide: Things To Do & See, Food, Stay & Tips
Magnificent skyline, rich culture, ultra-modern architecture, exotic food and a dynamic vibe defines Dubai. It is definitely a city that must be seen to be believed and if you are excited to know more about this self-motivated city, here is our exclusive Dubai travel guide to assist you.
Dubai Travel Guide
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Best Time To Visit Dubai
Dubai, the most popular city in the Middle East has two major seasons- hot and hotter. But there is nothing to fret as almost everything in the city from malls, buses, cabs and even cab stops are air-conditioned. While the city can be visited anytime of the year, the best time to visit Dubai is between November to March when the temperature is fairly manageable and tourists can venture outdoors. That being said, let’s take a closer look at the weather of Dubai on the basis of months.
November to March: This is the best time to visit Dubai. The city observes clear blue skies and a pleasant weather. It is the peak season with quite a festive vibe as the city celebrates festivals like Christmas and New Year with utmost zeal and zest. Expect plenty of tourists from all over the world during this time and see the streets, malls and Jumeirah Beach bustling with people. The Dubai Shopping Festival, held during January and February makes the peak season even more lively and dynamic. This is also the best time to enjoy desert safaris. Hotel tariffs and air fares shoot up considerably and everything appears a bit out of reach. So, it is advisable to book your flight tickets and accommodations in advance.
April to October: This period is characterised by extremely hot temperatures and high humidity. In fact, both day and night temperatures are quite intolerable. It is certainly not a very popular time to visit Dubai as outdoor activities as well as beaches are absolutely unbearable. In addition to this, the holy month of Ramadan falls between May and June. During this time all malls and stores remain closed from sunset to sunrise, business hours are shorter and nightlife scenes are much quieter in comparison to the other months. However, this is a good time for travellers on a budget as accommodation and flight rates are really cheap. Tourists can enjoy festivals like Dubai food Festival and Dubai Summer Surprises.
Dubai Travel Guide Tip: If you happen to go to Dubai during this time, be sure to carry sunscreen and keep yourself hydrated.
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Travelling Documents For Dubai
Travellers need the following documents for their Dubai trip:
- All passports should be valid for a minimum period of six months from the date of entry to Dubai.
- Make sure you scan your passport in JPEG format.
- All Indian nationals can apply online for an iVisa.
- A confirmed return air ticket is a must.
- Carrying adequate funds to support your stay is a must.
- Travel insurance for safe travel is important.
Where To Stay In Dubai
Wondering where to stay in Dubai? Well, Dubai is famous for its lavish hotels and luxurious beach resorts. But there is also a good selection of budget hotels and apartments to suit all budgets. The city is divided into two parts; Old Dubai in the north surrounding the districts of Deira and Bur Dubai around Dubai Creek; and New Dubai, on the way to the south including the modern skyscrapers of Downtown Dubai, DIFC and Dubai Marina.
- If you are looking to stay in the heart of Dubai and want to be near the centre of the action with an easy on foot access to close by attractions, consider staying in Dubai’s Downtown area. This area is full of luxury high-end hotels, the incredible Burj Khalifa, Dubai Fountain, countless nightclubs and superb restaurants. Dubai Mall, the world’s largest shopping centre and Souk Al Bahar, an open-air commercial area with loads of restaurants are also located in this area. Renaissance Downtown Hotel, The Address Hotel, Palace Downtown and Ramada Downtown Dubai are some of the best hotels in Dubai
- If a beach holiday with ample beach activities and a vibrant nightlife is what you are looking for, then staying in Jumeirah Beach area is the best option. Enjoy a whole array of water sports like water surfing, water skiing and many more. At night, take a stroll at the numerous restaurants, beach clubs and chic bars. Jumeirah Beach Hotel, Burj Al Arab Jumeirah and Four Seasons Resort Dubai are the best options here.
- If you fancy staying in skyscrapers to enjoy fascinating views, staying in the Dubai’s Marina area is a nice choice. Staying here means you are walking distance away from swimming, sun-bathing and relaxing at the various beach restaurants. Rove Dubai Marina, La Verda Suits and Villas and Wyndham Dubai Marina are the best Dubai hotels You can enjoy night strolls or visit Dubai Marina Walk, an al fresco venue with a number of restaurants and bars.
- If you want to stay away from the hustle bustle of the city, staying at The Palm is the finest option. It is one of the most excellent places to stay for incredible sea views. St.Regis, Antara The Palm Dubai Resort and Atlantis The Palm are the best luxury hotels in Dubai.
- If old traditional architecture, old buildings, museums and religious sites attract you, stay in Bur Dubai. Bur Dubai is a great place to shop for handicrafts and eat at the local eateries. Movenpick Hotel And Apartments Bur Dubai, Grand Hyatt Dubai and Raffles Dubai are among the best Dubai accommodations.
- Travellers on a budget should consider staying around Dubai Creek. Royal Creek Hotel, Best Western Plus Pearl Creek and Al Bandar Arjaan by Rotana are the best budget hotels here.
So options are many, you just need to choose your style and get going!
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Travelling Within Dubai
Dubai has loads of transport options to help tourists get around without any hassle.
- Taxi: Taxis are one of the most efficient, fastest and comfortable ways to get around the city. They are metered, air-conditioned, inexpensive and can be easily hailed almost everywhere at about any time, day or night. Mobile app taxis such as Uber and Careem have also become quite popular.
Dubai Travel Guide Tip: Look for taxis with a yellow light on as red light means that the taxi is occupied.
- Metro: Dubai Metro is an outstanding, fully-automated and driverless railway system. Most of the metro rides above the ground providing picturesque views of the city. The metro network has two lines; a red line and a green line. Both the lines together service about 50 stations, including the airport. Metro tickets can be purchased at the station in the form of NoI card, which can also be used to pay for bus, tram and taxi fare.
Dubai Travel Guide Tip: Metros start operating around 5 AM in the morning till about mid-night. On Fridays, metro trains do not start operating until 10 AM.
- Tram: Dubai Tram is also a very popular mode of public transport. Currently, the track is 10.6km long and serves 11 stations with two lines including the Marina Mall, The Beach at JBR and The Walk at JBR. It also connects with the Damac and DMCC metro stations. It operates from 6 AM to 1 Am from Saturday to Thursday and from 9 AM to 1 AM on Fridays.
- Bus: Buses prove to be a great budget option for getting around the city. The Roads and Transport Authority (RTA) operates more than 100 routes in Dubai. The buses are modern, clean, air-conditioned and safe. Travel in a city bus or in an open-top hop-on, hop-off bus to visit various sightseeing spots like Madinat Jumeirah and Gold Souk.
- Abra or Water Taxi: Abras are traditional wooden boats linking Bur Dubai and Deira across the Creek. Tourists get a chance to enjoy a scenic boat ride while commuting. There are plenty of abras lining the creek in the Downtown area.
Dubai Travel Guide Tip: Be sure to carry cash as the drivers do not accept cards.
- Car: Dubai has well maintained roads that are clearly labelled. Tourists can easily rent a car at the airport or in the city. To hire a car, international driver’s licence, passport and a credit card are a must.
Places To Visit In Dubai
1. Burj Khalifa
Burj Khalifa is the most striking attraction and certainly one of the best places to visit in Dubai. It is a 160 storey skyscraper with an observation deck on the 124th floor which is named, The Top. The view it offers is absolutely stupefying and staggering. With 57 elevators and 8 escalators, a dazzling fountain illuminated by 6600 lights and beautiful Islamic architecture, Burj Khalifa is a must visit place.
Dubai Travel Guide Tip: Be sure to book your tickets in advance to avoid last minute hassle.
2. Desert Safari
Desert Safari Dubai is unquestionably one of the most exclusive Dubai attractions. Exploring the endless desert in a 4*4 Safari Jeep is an adventure you will not want to miss. Feel the adrenaline rush as you plunge from one sand dune to another. Enjoy a camel ride, see the beautiful sunset, sip Arabian coffee or try out an attractive henna design, the choice is yours. Indulge in a delicious barbecue dinner along with shisha and tap your feet while watching an awe-inspiring performance of belly dancing.
Dubai Travel Guide Tip: Desert Safari is not suitable for pregnant women, elderly people and toddlers because of dune bashing.
3. Jumeirah Mosque
Jumeirah Mosque is considered to be the most stunning of Dubai mosques. In fact, it is the only mosque in the city to open its doors to non-Muslims. Made completely out of white stone, Jumeirah Mosque is a fine example of unbelievable Islamic architecture. The intricate design and architecture looks even more gorgeous with effects of glittering lights in the evening. The Sheikh Mohammad Centre for Cultural Understanding (SMCCU) also organises guided tours of the mosque for a better understanding of the Muslim faith. Dubai sightseeing is undeniably incomplete without visiting this incredible structure.
Dubai Travel Guide Tip: Visitors are advised to dress modestly while visiting the mosque.
4. Dubai Aquarium
Ever thought of an underwater zoo? Well, Dubai is a wonder city and it actually has an underwater zoo which is in the form of Dubai Aquarium. Take a walk at the 48 metre long tunnel inside the water to see the one of the world’s largest aquariums. This underwater zoo has more than 140 species of sea animals including sand tiger sharks in their natural habitat. There are different environmental zones like Rocky Shore, Living Ocean and Rainforest. Tourists can indulge in activities like glass bottom tours, cage snorkelling and shark diving.
Dubai Travel Guide Tip: The aquarium opens at 10 AM in the morning until midnight.
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Things To Do In Dubai
Are you seriously thinking what to do in Dubai? If yes, then you should actually think what to miss in Dubai because the city has loads to offer and it is absolutely impossible to cover everything. Nevertheless, to ease you a little, here is a list of some of the best things to do in Dubai.
1. Marvel At The Dubai Frame
The Dubai Frame is the most recent addition to the city’s shimmering skyline and unquestionably the most fun things to do in Dubai. Overlooking the entire city, this outstanding architecture of the frame offers amazing panoramic views of the city from a height of 150 metres. Stepping onto the crystal clear glass gives a feeling of walking out into thin air with the entire world below your feet!
2. Shop At The Dubai Mall
Nestled in Downtown Dubai is the world’s largest mall and a superb entertainment destination, The Dubai Mall. Featuring expensive jewellery shops, accessory outlets, handicrafts stores, movie screens, cafes, restaurants including KidZania, an innovative fun zone for kids and SEGA Republic, the indoor theme park, this mall is certainly the place to be!
3. See The Dubai Fountain
Located at the base of the classic Burj Khalifa, the Dubai Fountain is the world’s largest choreographed fountain system. The dancing fountain gushes as high as 150 metres in absolute synchronisation with amazing music numbers. This remarkable fountain is definitely one of the most favourite things to see in Dubai.
4. Try Ski Dubai
Visit Ski Dubai, the first indoor ski resort in the city and get an opportunity to actually ski in the desert! Enjoy playing in the snow, skiing, snowboarding and also make the most of your time seeing the penguins parade. Ski Dubai is undoubtedly one of the best things to do in Dubai.
5. Witness IMG Worlds Of Adventure
IMG Worlds Of Adventure is an indoor amusement theme park and one of the most popular Dubai tourist attractions. With four classic adventure zones, this park houses international brands like Cartoon Network and Marvel along with IMG Boulevard and Lost Valley Dinosaur Adventure zones. So much fun, isn’t it?
6. Explore The Global Village
The Global Village is a wonderful entertainment project of Dubai tourism. It is a fantastic place with Bedouin style setup where tents are laid down by people from all over the world in a form of a small village. With finger licking delicious global food, best performances from artists and international shopping, Global Village will certainly win your hearts.
7. Visit The Bollywood Park
Bollywood Park is a must visit for diehard Bollywood fans. The park is divided into five zones such as the Rustic Ravine, Royal Plaza Zone, Bollywood Boulevard, Mumbai Chowk and Bollywood Film Studios. It is a great place for people who love romance, comedy, action, drama, mystery, adventure, singing and dancing.
8. Have Fun At The Aquaventure Water Park
Tired of shopping and sightseeing? It is now time to chill out at the biggest water park in Dubai, Aquaventure. Get ready to have some real fun with amazing water rides, series of pools, shoots and fumes. The key features, zip-line and Dolphin pool make it one of the top things to do in Dubai.
What To Eat In Dubai
Dubai is one of the top dining destinations in the world offering an assortment of cuisines like Indian, Italian, Japanese, Mexican, Chinese and Continental. Dubai cuisine, a mix of Iranian, Lebanese and Arabic foods has luscious flavours that will certainly leave you craving for more. Do not leave Dubai without trying Shawarma, Harees, Tabbouleh, Thareed, Manousheh, Iranian Sangak, Fatteh, Falafel, Luqaimat and Knafeh.
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Nightlife In Dubai
- Dubai offers a wide range of bars and nightclubs, but due to strict alcohol laws in the UAE, most of them are located inside hotels and resorts. Club 360, Boudoir, Chi@ The Lodge, Cieque Le Soir, Catwalk, Cavalli Club and White Dubai are some of the best nightclubs in the city.
- Tourists who want to do something different can go for horse riding in a full moon night. With the shimmering moon lighting your way, this horse riding experience will surely mesmerise you.
- How about indulging in the classy game of golf right under the stars? Excited? Well, head straight to Faldo, an 18 hole golf course and get going!
- JBR Walk is one of the hottest hangout places at night. With an array of restaurants, cafes, boutiques, thrilling street plays and music, this place looks vibrant at night.
Communication And Connectivity In Dubai
Worrying about how to stay connected with your family and friends while holidaying in Dubai? Don’t worry because Dubai is all about being happy! In case you are planning to get your own mobile phone, the best option is to set your phone with a basic international calling data plan and modify it according to your requirements. Alternatively, getting a pre-paid local SIM card is a great option. SIM cards are widely available. You just need to make sure that your mobile phone is unlocked. Du and Etisalat are the two most popular telecom service providers in Dubai and both operate on a GSM network.
Money In Dubai
The official currency of Dubai is UAE Dirham (AED). Notes come in the denominations of 1000, 500, 200, 100, 50, 20, 10 and 5. All major credit cards and debit cards like Visa, MasterCard, American Express and many others are broadly accepted. ATMs are widespread and are found all over Dubai. Currencies can be easily exchanged at hotels, banks, shopping malls and bureaux de change.
Dubai Travel Guide – Tips For Your Dubai Tour
- Although Arab is the official language, English is widely spoken.
- Electricity in Dubai is 220-240 Volts and 50 Hertz.
- Smoking, drinking or eating in public during the holy month of Ramadan is against the law.
- Dress modestly to avoid unnecessary attention.
- Refrain from kissing and hugging in public.
- In Dubai, you must drive on the right side of the road.
- Drinking and driving is a punishable offence.
- Tourists are not allowed to photograph local people without their permission.
- Some chemicals and drugs are banned in Dubai. In case you are carrying medicines, it is best to check and ensure that the medicines do not contain the banned substance and always carry the doctor’s prescription.
- In case of an emergency, dial 999.
With so many attention-grabbing and amusing places, you can well imagine how wonderful your Dubai vacation is going to be! So, plan your Dubai trip as soon as possible and do keep our Dubai travel guide handy.
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