You’ve never been to Dubai? Oh, what a treat is in store for you! However, before you book your tickets, here are a few things you should know – a Dubai travel guide for first-timers. You’ve probably read stories of celebrities who were jailed for carrying recreational drugs. You’ve probably read horror stories relating to alcohol. What you need to know is that this city isn’t as strict as the stories might tell you. As long as you follow certain guidelines, you can have the most relaxing trip in this touristy paradise of the modern world.
Dubai for the First Time Travellers
When to Travel to Dubai: Dubai burns at high temperatures (highest is 55 °C) between May to October. Best time to travel would be between November to April, when its cooler. In summer, all indoor spaces including bus stops are air conditioned. Swimming pools are kept cold. While travelling to this city, you can completely avoid the heat altogether even in summer. If you are here before the full moon then join the Desert drumming event with camel rides and African drums under the full moon.
Check the social calendar for performances by international music artists, the Dubai World Racing Cup, Dubai Desert Classic (golf), Emirates Airline Festival of Literature, Dubai Food Festival, Art Dubai and Dubai Rugby 7s. Dubai’s Shopping Festival in January is a great time to visit the city as well.
Getting Around in Dubai
Obtain a map of the city from a tour bus company, not the official Dubai City Map. Thereafter plan sightseeing activities to explore the city in a traditional way. But if a guided tour with the best of sightseeing and enjoyment is what you seek, try a hop-on hop-off bus Dubai tour. Dubai’s development is architecturally staggering, but if there’s one thing they forgot – footpaths. Best avoid walking to places!
Taxis are quite cheap but be sure that the driver engages the meter. Also, be sure he understands where you want to go before you set off. The red line metro connects famous sights to the airport. The green line metro connects the old town and the souks with the red line. Buy the Red Nol Card and load it up at any Metro station. If you’re a woman, take advantage of the women-only compartments.
Know about the most populous city of UAE
The work week is from Sunday to Thursday; Friday and Saturday are the weekends in the UAE. Friday is the holy day of the week. Arabic is the main language, however most people speak English. Speak slowly and minimise your accent to be understood better. Shopping in this country is very expensive, but the malls themselves are magnificent.
The Dubai Mall with its underwater aquarium and the Mall of Emirates with the indoor ski slopes are a major delight. If you want to shop, best not to travel during the holy month of Ramadan, as most shops and businesses are closed during the day. Tipping is not expected, but it is customary. Don’t feel inclined to tip for bad service.
When in Dubai, do as Dubai Does
The first thing you should understand is that the UAE is a Sheikhdom, not a democracy. The laws and freedoms you’ve experienced in other democracies do not apply here. When you’re in Dubai, abide by the local laws. Several additional rules apply to the holy month of Ramadan as well. The UAE follows the law of the Sharia, which is the Muslim law. Wearing revealing clothing is against the law. Women should keep shoulders and knees covered while in public. Women can wear bikinis on beaches and in swimming pools. However, it’s against the law to go topless or to wear a thong bikini bottom. Men need to cover their chest unless at a pool or the beach.
No intimacy in public, such as kissing, holding hands and cuddling. Such acts could warrant jail time. Do not eat, drink, smoke or chew gum in public during the holy month of Ramadan. It is also considered unlawful to play loud music in public.