Everybody knows that this emirate, as tiny as rich and powerful, has become recently an exciting place to visit for those who want to have fun, for art lovers, for those who love good food and above all for shopaholics. Not everyone knows, however, that Dubai also reserves part of the Arabic tradition and culture of the past, maintaining it as it is and integrating it with modernity that is constantly developing. In this safe city, full of life and energy, you will find whatever you are looking for to spend a relaxing or adventurous vacation. With my Dubai Travel Guide I’d like to give you some advice to better organize your tour in this wonderful city… Let’s start!
The United Arab Emirates are divided into seven emirates and Dubai is the capital of one of these, located in the Arabian Peninsula, at south of the Persian Gulf. Dubai is the most populated city and is the second largest emirate after Abu Dhabi.
The climate is desert, the summer lasts from April to November with temperatures above 30 ° C, July and August are quite unlivable months with temperatures that reach 45 ° C and minimum temperatures normally above 30 ° C. In April, when the hottest season begins, the humidity starts to increase and in the central months is so high that the residents move further inside. The winter season is short, from mid-December to mid-February with temperatures around 24-25 ° C, where the rare but violent annual rainfalls are concentrated. During these months there may be sandstorms caused by the warm wind coming from the Arabian desert.THE COST OF VISITING THE CITY OF DUBAI WAS REALLY WORTH!
HOW MUCH DOES DUBAI COST?
- Everything in Dubai costs except for public transportation and taxis.
- The flight from Italy cost around € 400 upwards, depending on the period in which you purchase the tickets. (I paid € 650, booking about 3 months in advance).
- The hotels / resorts offer a fair value for money. Keep in mind that you will always pay a room and service charge (around 20%) and a tourism tax. Room rates fluctuate a lot depending on the season, holidays and big events. If you are looking for a comfortable and clean place, I recommend taking into consideration only hotels that have 4 stars or more.
- Attractions and excursions cost a lot, while exhibitions and museums are often free.
- Local restaurants are perhaps the most important expense if you are not satisfied with going to a fast-food. You can read my post about some restaurants in Dubai here.
THINGS NOT TO BE MISSED
In addition to the excessive pomp which Dubai is known for, you must know that it also hides many other traditional and solitary sides. The charming “souqs” of Deira and Bur Dubai show you the traditions, which you can also experience at the gold, silk and spices’ market; the most beautiful thing in this area is the historic district of Al Fahidi, a beautiful little neighborhood, made up of narrow streets and creamy-white buildings all in Arab style.
Of course, you must visit the gigantic Burj Khalifa and the luxurious Burj Al Arab which are two authentic symbols of the city. These two attractions cannot be missing from your list of things to see!
One of the things I liked the most was getting lost in the labyrinthine Souk Madinat Jumeirah, surrounded by luxury resorts. Here, everything is super, from food to the cocktails and the views you find at every corner and especially the abra tour (small wooden boat) that let you to discover this place from a different point of view.
COMING SOON: HOW TO ORGANIZE A SAFARI IN THE DESERT!
From Dubai you can start various daily trips, like the Safari in the desert, where you can enjoy the sunset in the dunes, take part to the show of the birds of prey, a tour with camels and try the typical Arabic food in a Bedouin camp. Another option could be to spend a day in Abu Dhabi visiting the splendid Grand Mosque and the Ethiad Tower from which you can enjoy the 360° view of the city from the Observation Deck.
THINGS TO KNOW BEFORE LEAVING
Do you need a visa to enter the United Arab Emirates? For a stay up to 180 days, European citizens get a free visa upon arrival in the country. Check before your departure if there has been any change recently.
How many days does it takes to completely enjoy Dubai? It looks small but it’s very extended in length, about 30 km of developed cities along the coast. There are so many things to see and not just the most famous ones. So, from my experience I would recommend 5-6 days to have the right time for everything, including half a day in the desert and a day for a trip to Abu Dhabi, which is only 2 hours from Dubai.
What is the perfect time to visit Dubai? Provided that Dubai is hot all year long and, in some months even too much, it really depends on the type of vacation you are looking for. From December to February: it is the right time for those who want to visit the city without being too hot, you can visit anything but it is not the right time to swim in the sea. March-April and October-November: during these months, it is hot but not unbearable. You will be able to visit everything, sunbathe and even take a swim in the sea because the temperature is perfect. If you want to relax in a beautiful resort, between the sea and the beach, this is the right time. From June to September: the temperatures start to be too high to enjoy the city, if you choose these months you can only melt under the umbrella of a hotel along the coast.
What should you wear? I have often heard that one should be covered as much as possible, especially women, but walking through the streets of the city I saw people dressed up in any way. Arab women wear their faithful veils, but tourists wore clothes of any kind, from shirts to tank tops, long jeans to skirts. I recommend filling your suitcase with your usual clothes, without too many limits, but trying to choose decorous clothing. Almost all the clubs and restaurants require a “dress code”, even for lunch; they usually accept men with long pants and closed shoes, and women with elegant and sober dresses. I would advise women to choose a dress rather than a short skirt, or a tank top with wide straps rather than a top.
The climate inside and out: if there are more than 30 ° C outside, inside the shopping centers, clubs or especially metro stations, it looks like the north pole. Always bring along a light sweater or simply a small scarf to cover your shoulders. The warmest kids probably won’t need anything but if you’re like me, always bring something!
- The currency of Dubai is the Dirham, € 1 equals approximately 3.97 Dh.
- Dubai is 4 hours ahead of the Greenwich meridian and 3 hours ahead of Italy (2 when there is daylight saving time).
- Arab women can wear 5 types of veils. The Burqa, an integral black veil with only the part at eye level pierced, the Niqab, a variant of the Burqa with a slit to leave the eyes uncovered, the Chador, a black veil covering the head and the front, the Al Almira, a white veil around the face and the hijab, a scarf wrapped like a veil.
- The city is very clean, the green areas are kept perfect and the citizens are very tidy.
- To save a little, take advantage of offers on drinks and snacks during the “happy houre”, special events dedicated to women.
- Don’t miss the famous Friday brunch, a long-established tradition here in Dubai. The restaurants, including those of the 5-star hotels, set up buffets filled with delights of international cuisine, with some freshly cooked foods and whole rooms dedicated to cheese and desserts.
THINGS TO DO BEFORE LEAVING
Book a visit to the Burj Al Arab: you can’t go to Dubai and not enter the beautiful Burj Al Arab, the hotel with more stars in the World. You can enter only with a reservation in one of the many bars or restaurants inside the hotel; of course, only if you’re not already a guest at the Burj Al Arab!
Booking at the Burj Khalifa. At what time you should go? I advise you to book the ticket from home in order to choose the time you prefer. At dawn or at rush hour, when Dubai is perfectly illuminated by the sun, or at sunset … at any time it’s a show. Usually, it’s enough to go there half an hour before the booking time, but if you choose to go at sunset, go there in advance because the queue I found was long and once I arrived at the top, I enjoyed the sunset’s view only for a short time.
SOON I WILL TELL YOU ABOUT MY VISIT TO THE BURJ AL ARAB!
Booking the Desert Tour. I would recommend you book your tour in advance so you will have the opportunity to evaluate which one is the best for you. There are so many options! I booked with Platinum Heritage and everything was perfect.