Dubai Travel Guide
Estimated reading time: 10 minutes
Dubai is the most visited city not only in the UAE but also in the whole of the Middle East. Rightly so, there is an endless amount of things to see and do here. It can apparently, be intimidating for beginners and first-timers to draw up a perfect Dubai holiday. So, before you compile your Dubai checklist or travel program, be sure to check out this Dubai travel guide! It has some resourceful tips as well as info on the city’s latest attractions and experiences.
Best Time To Go To Dubai
There is always something happening in Dubai. Travelling to Dubai in the summer months (June to September) is great for those looking for a budget holiday. Despite the scorching heat, you can make the most of the region’s attractions like Ski Dubai, Chillout Lounge, Dubai Ice Rink etc.
Now if you are an outdoorsy person and don’t want to see yourself tolerating extreme heat, the best time to visit here is undoubtedly the months f November to March. It is also the time when the city is rife with exciting events such as Global Village, Dubai Miracle Garden, and Dubai Glow Garden.
Moreover, this year, winter in Dubai is extra special as Dubai hosts the world’s greatest-ever World Expo (Dubai Expo 2020) from October 2021 to March 2022. Continue reading this Dubai travel guide to plan your holiday better!
Must-Haves For Smooth Dubai Travel
Apart from airline tickets, you will need a few significant travel documents in order to make a hassle-free entry into Dubai or the UAE, such as:
Visa: For most nationalities travelling to Dubai, it is a must to have a pre-approved Dubai visa. But, this is not applicable to those who are not entitled to visa exemptions like visa on arrival or visa-free visit. So check with your embassy regarding the visa formalities before you travel to Dubai. You can pick a visa package dependent on the duration and purpose of your visit, such as 30 days or 90 days single entry / multiple entry visas.
Negative PCR Test Certificates: As soon as you land at Dubai’s airport, you must submit the negative PCR test result taken within 48 hours or 72 hours before your Dubai travel. It should be in a printed format and must also possess a valid QR code. Additionally, you must be prepared to undergo another test upon your arrival in Dubai.
Medical Insurance: Make sure that you bring internationally accepted insurance with coverage for COVID-19 treatment expenses.
OTB: This simply indicates Ok to Board; it is nothing but a minor procedure conducted by your airline service provider to verify the authenticity of your travel documents including a Dubai visa. Be sure to get this process done, as, without an OTB, your airlines have the complete authority to stop you from flying to Dubai.
Pro Tips To Maximize Your Dubai Holiday
- Without proper planning, a Dubai holiday can get pricey, particularly in the peak winter season. So don’t skip this part; pre-book every aspect of your Dubai travel including accommodation, sightseeing tours, activities, airline tickets etc at least three to four months before.
- With so much to explore, consider packing comfortable dresses for your Dubai holiday. Furthermore, choose modest wear and avoid non-revealing dresses, being Dubai is an Islamic city. Always keep a shawl or light jacket handy as you will need it in public places as well as on your visit to religious and cultural points of interest.
- Be aware of the local rules and etiquette; this not only allows you to dodge several embarrassing moments but also saves you from paying hefty fines.
- Say no to PDAs and don’t smoke and consume alcohol in public. Moreover, it is advisable to get prior consent before you take pictures of important government structures and locals mainly Emirati women.
How To Get Around In Dubai?
Dubai Metro is one of the most affordable and efficient ways to get around in Dubai. This public transport is extensive, well-connected and most of all, the world’s longest fully automated metro system. Public buses are equally convenient; they are spacious, spotless and come with ample legroom. You can also rely on ferries and cabs, which you will find almost everywhere in Dubai. You can use a single smart NOL card to make payment for all these transport means.
Now if you are looking for an exclusive option to explore Dubai, you can opt for private transfers with the services of an experienced driver. It is also possible for you to get behind the wheels of your favourite vehicle in Dubai, but it is mandatory that you should possess an international driving license for this.
Where To Stay In Dubai?
Accommodation options available in Dubai are simply out of the world. From the majestic Burj Al Arab and Atlantis, The Palm Resort to Waldorf Astoria Dubai and Palazzo Versace Dubai, it is a dream-come-true destination for luxury seekers. But, if you don’t want to shell out a fortune for your Dubai stay, there are several mid-range options available across Dubai’s Dubai Marina and Jumeirah areas which also make a great choice for water sports enthusiasts. Now if you are looking for cheaper accommodation in the city’s central parts, there are ample choices in Bur Dubai and Deira areas. Wherever you pick your stay, the foremost thing to ensure is that it is accessible and in proximity to a metro or bus station.
Dining & Shopping In Dubai
Dining and Shopping are two inseparable elements of any Dubai holiday. Dubai is a harmonious destination that is a second home to nationalities of over 200 countries. Needless to say, the city is hands-down a foodies’ paradise. Whether you wish to try exotic cuisines or just don’t want to miss your ethnic delights, Dubai caters to every gastronomic desire. Well, it is not all about the diversity of cuisines on offer here as the place is definite to win your heart with its exceptional dining venues. So it really doesn’t matter if you prefer to dine in a waterfront setting or atop the world’s highest-of-its-kind restaurant or even amidst the cloud. You will find it all and beyond here.
Unmissable Dubai Attractions & Experiences
Dubai Expo 2020 Site: After years of wait, Expo 2020 Dubai is finally here, with its exciting theme, ‘connecting minds, creating the future,’ supported by three sub-themes (Opportunity, Mobility and Sustainability). You will be able to be part of this mega event anytime during your visit between 1st October 2021 and 31st March 2022. It is not only the grandest ever version of the Expo event but also the MENASA region’s first World Expo. So don’t miss visiting its colossal and super magnificent site in Dubai South, where you can discover the pavilions of over 190 countries.
- Burj Khalifa: It is unimaginable to put together a Dubai itinerary without adding this high-rise structure. At a height of over 828 meters, it is the world’s tallest building. A trip up to its observation deck (on the 124th level or 148th level) not only lets you glance into its regal interiors but also gives you the once-in-the-lifetime chance to take in the whole of Dubai literally from atop the world.
- The Dubai Mall: If you are travelling to Dubai for the first time, don’t expect to cover the entire grounds of this vast mall (next to Burj Khalifa) in a day. Yes, it is so enormous with the most amazing offerings that you can literally spend your whole vacation in this mall. There are over 1200 shops and some 200 dining choices, besides a string of leisure and entertainment attractions like Dubai Aquarium and Underwater Zoo, Dubai Ice Rink, KidZania Dubai, Ekart Dubai and VR Park Dubai (which is the world’s largest virtual reality park.)
- Ain Dubai: It is known to all that Dubai is the land of record-breaking attractions such as the world’s tallest building, the world’s largest picture frame etc. Adding to this unequalled reputation is the recently unveiled Ain Dubai on Bluewaters Island; it is the world’s highest and largest observation wheel. A spin in one of its 48 high-end cabins allows you to marvel at the iconic Dubai sights from a perspective that you never imagined.
- The View at the Palm: You don’t have to stretch your pocket anymore to marvel at the world’s greatest engineering marvel, the Palm Jumeirah. Yes, you can watch this celebrated palm-tree shape man-made island in its entirety for super less! Simply make your way to the 52nd level of Palm Tower – the observation deck here treats you with the most unparalleled views over the island and its striking surroundings.
- Palm Fountain: While Dubai Fountain (close to Burj Khalifa and the Dubai Mall) in Downtown Dubai is a timeless sight, Palm Fountain at Palm Jumeirah’s Pointe is superlative and attractive. After all, it is the world’s highest fountain where the water twirls and spins in perfect harmony of music and light, making it a sight to behold.
- Dubai Parks and Resorts: It is hard for theme park lovers to miss this attraction while in Dubai. It is the region’s first integrated resort. Besides several accommodation choices and an exclusive retail and dining section, it boasts four exciting parks in its ground, such as Motiongate Dubai, Bollywood Parks Dubai, LEGOLAND Dubai and LEGOLAND Water Park.
- Desert Safari: Don’t overlook this activity as a mere trip out to the desert sands. A desert safari in Dubai is a surprise package with adventure, amusement, culture, traditions and nature all rolled into one trip. Dependent on morning or evening desert safari, you get to cruise through the deep low and high dunes in a powerful 4X4 vehicle, admire the desert sunrise or sunset views, and follow it up with a variety of Bedouin-inspired activities like camel ride, henna tattooing, falconry, Shisha smoking etc. BBQ dining and traditional shows like Belly Dance and Tanura show are included in evening and overnight desert safaris.
- Deep Dive Dubai: If you are an avid swimmer or diver, this is one of Dubai’s ultimate attractions. At an unbelievable depth of 60 meters, it is the deepest pool for diving in the world. It contains over 14 million litres of fresh water and its size equates to six Olympic size pools combined.
- Dhow Cruise: Looking for a cultural experience with a refined twist in Dubai? Take a relaxed sail aboard a traditional wooden vessel (known as a dhow) along Dubai’s water at Dubai Marina or Dubai Creek. This gives you a slice of the region’s bygone era while allowing you to absorb the exquisite city skyline views from the water. The best time to enjoy this cruise is after sunset, with scrumptious dining and entertainment activities onboard.
Dubai is so astonishing and diverse that you should visit here at least once in your lifetime. As Dubai is now open to the world, it has lined up for you the most astonishing experiences to welcome you back. Don’t make any delay to plan your Dubai visit; come take some inspiration from this Dubai travel guide and get the most out of your time in one of the world’s most vibrant cities.