Dubai is still expanding to become one of the most diligently structured cities in the world, is the home to the tallest skyscraper in the world, the Burj Khalifa and the Burj Al Arab. Not just this, it is known for its rich cultural diversity and its popular fiestas.
But there is a difference, that you must consider while planning a trip to Dubai. Dubai is one of the major cities of UAE (United Arab Emirates). And the UAE is a Muslim country which follows Islamic law. UAE acts as a bridge between different cultures and traditions. One of the valuable things to learn on travel is diversity and each country has different culture and history. Learning about other cultures is a token of love and respect.
Dubai’s tourism shows no sign of slowing. After all, Dubai has so much more to it, rather than just its sky touching superstructures and lavishing malls. Although the rules are slightly less strict in Dubai as compared to other emirates, but it is important to know about few things before travelling. So that you’ll not break up any law and end up in prison.
Don’t get scared! Planning a trip for the first time to this beautiful Middle Eastern Emirate and a bit anxious? Not to worry! We got you covered.
Here are a few tips to ensure that your visit to the Gulf city is one which you can cherish forever.
Dubai has only two climates – the hot and the hotter. Although, the best time to visit Dubai is from November to March. The weather is really comfortable, while the temperature ranges from 12° C to 30° C. The months between Nov to April is known as the winter seasons. And brings the blue skies and perfect beach weather. The exquisite Dubai Shopping Festival is held during December every year. In this festival, you can get every product from different across the world.
It is better to avoid visiting in February due to its torrential downpour. You should strictly avoid travelling Dubai in the month of April – October. It would be an uninformed decision due to its scorching heat and humid weather. When it’s hot, its extreme hot. The summer is very ludicrous and with exposure to sun with temperature over 55° C+, you would be a pure dripping sweaty mess.
When to book for a flight?
Dubai is such a popular vacation spot. And flight tickets are exclusively cheap during summer. Practically, should you choose that season to visit Dubai, you would boil up badly.
International airlines release their cheapest price before six months, prior to their departure dates. So, look for flights six months ahead. That doesn’t necessarily mean that, you need to buy tickets far ahead of the time. But do start looking and comparing prices. At the latest, book your ticket one month in advance.
What to Pack?
Having trouble with bag packing? What to take and what to not while visiting Dubai? Then, no worries. For your luggage, pack whatever you want, but don’t forget to pack a large bottle of sunscreen. Dubai’s hot weather is quite unforgiving. Hence, it is highly recommended to use a sunscreen with the highest SPF formula. Carry strong deodorants, sunglasses, water bottle, hats or caps and body and face wipes for refreshment.
How to get a good hotel without hassles?
Dubai has something to offer to every traveller. October through April is the prime for the tourists to visit Dubai. Do not jump into booking an expensive due to no availability of cheap hotel rooms. Before staying in, do a deep research about your stay option, while keeping your budget in mind. If you want to stay in a nice hotel with affordable price, then make your Dubai hotel reservation a good two to three months in advance.
What essential Documents to take?
Now comes the most crucial part. Before leaving, remember to double check your important documents and triple check your Passports and Visas. Make photocopies for each of your documents and carry the important the Xerox copies with you all the times while keeping the original documents safe locked back in your room. Visas are prone to quick changes, so make sure to check with your local embassy before travelling.
What are the Common Financial Hassles?
Money is a very tricky thing. There is always a risk behind carrying money. However, money is pretty safe to carry around in the United Arab Emirates. Due to its strict legislation and law implementation, stealing is hardly an issue in this country.
The official currency of the country is United Arab Emirates Dirham pr AED, commonly known as DH. International credit and debit card are widely accepted and used. I mean, who wants to carry bunch of cash and move around? Still, you can exchange your currency from many local stores wit a better exchange rate.
What is the Dress Code?
Dubai is a Muslim oriented city, that doesn’t mean that you’ve to wear a full burqa during your trip. The city is quite fashionable so dress up but be modest. Dubai is a tourist place, and you need not dress in a traditional way, wearing an abaya or a kandura. But revealing too much skin in public places is generally frowned upon. It is better to cover your shoulder and dress length should be up to knees. Anyways, you need to cover up your skin to get protection from the harmful UV rays, which might damage your skin cell.
Certain shopping malls will have dress code needed to follow. Other than that, women should dress modestly. Swimwear is acceptable only in private beaches and private swimming pools. And while visiting a religious place, you should cover your head. Men shouldn’t walk shirtless accept in the beach. Cross dressing is frowned and wearing short dresses or t-shirts are suitable only in certain places and strictly prohibited in the older parts of the city. Blend in with the city, instead of offending someone’s sentiments. Dress according to the place you are visiting.
What about Electricity and Emergency?
The UAE accommodates 220V of electricity. Thus, carry a universal adapter and travel charger for more conveniency.
You will be very far from your home. So, make sure to have a list of emergency contact from your own country and another emergency phone number list of Dubai. This little thing will help you a lot in emergency.
What are the Observe and Local Etiquette?
Dubai, being the one of the largest Emirate and heavily tourist place, is quite modern as compared to the neighbouring tourist place Sharjah. However, there are few basic rules you need to keep in mind, if you don’t want to take a tour to the prison. Any sort of obscene hand gestures will land you in serious trouble.
Speaking bad languages or showing disrespect to its religion and leaders is absolutely forbidden. You should never use left hand as mode of gestures. Left hand is considered unhygienic and unclean, due to some old traditions in Muslim culture. And you definitely shouldn’t use for eating. Try not to point your finger to show something. Instead used the whole hand while gesturing or pointing.
What about PDAs?
PDA means public displays of affection. Holding hands is the tolerated only for married couple. PDA is a big no-no in Dubai. Many youngsters, even elder tourist get arrested due to merely kissing in public. Sharia Law is observed in all the emirates of the UAE. So, unmarried couples area advised to book different accommodation. Swearing in public is also not allowed. Avoid smooching in public, including nightclubs, beach, malls, and even in the back of the taxis. Even a simple peck and put you in so much trouble. Try to be safe!
Is there any rule for Photography?
Going to one of the most hyped cities in the world and not clicking the picture is almost a sinful act! For all the photographers out there- yes, it is impossible to surpass your excitement. But it is also very vital to remember about few tips. Photography should do with real caution. You need to ask first before taking any pictures of a national resident of the UAE, especially the subject is women. Never take any picture of any local resident of the city. Also, avoid capturing pictures of industrial installations, government buildings, military, airports and docks.
What is the relationship acceptance?
The UAE is a conservative country. The entire country of UAE including Dubai follows a strict Sharia Law. Only married couples are permitted to live inside a private room together. Living in relationship is a big no there. It is okay for married couples to hold hand and light peck over the cheek. But the deep kissing isn’t allowed in public places.
Cohabitation, sex out of marriage, adultery, having a baby out of wedlock and homosexuality are consider crime there. Yes! Homosexuality and gay relationship haven’t been legalized yet. Since, any sexual relationship other than one of heterosexual marriage can result in serious punishment or deportation for a non-citizen. Display of affection may lend you into unpredictable consequences.
Although there are many licenced bars and pubs where you can go have your drink. Speaking of alcohol, many restaurants and pubs will provide you the widest range of drinks, starting from cheapest bear to the spirits of the champagne. But drinking in public place isn’t allowed at any cost. If you do, you may get in trouble with some undercover agents.
The minimum age limit is 21 years while few bars don’t allow people to drink if they are below 25 years. Wanna drink? Then, you need a liquor license to buy one. You can also buy alcohol from the airport shop which is duty free with certain rules. Hardly any restaurants will provide you alcohol in the holy month of Ramadan, even if you are a non-Muslim or tourist.
Take it easy folks. Being drunk in public and behaving disorderly is a serious issue and unacceptable in Dubai. While catching taxi or walking home, make sure you are not stumbling. Drunk driving will lend you directly in the prison.
What are the rules on Drugs and Medicine?
Drugs is a serious illegal thing to do in Dubai. The government shows zero tolerance policy towards the consumers. Although there is some sort of relaxation but try not to get involved in the illegal smuggling case. If you have urgent need of some medicine, carry your prescription with you. Also, remember that poppy seeds are banned in UAE because as it is a source of opium (harmful drug).
Ramadan and Dubai
Ramadan is one of the most important festivals of Dubai. If you travel during Ramadan, be on your best behavior. Be respectful and humble. During Ramadan, non-residents and visitors are expected to follow some attributes. Eating, drinking, drug consumption and smoking in public will be strictly forbidden during these days. You know well what happens next!
What to do in an Invitations request?
If you got an invitation to masjids or any religious place, remove your shoe at the entrance and then enter the place. Male and females must be escorted in different section. If you are invited for a meal, first accept the food and refreshment then move to the matter of any business. It is customary to accept food and drink with your right hand and should eat with right hand too.
How to interact with local?
While greeting any Muslim member, never offer the handshake first, unless they extend first. Mostly avoid shaking hand, if the member is a woman, cause due to religious reasons. It is considered respectful for standing up for guests (both new and older generation) or any high-ranking people. Men are must stand when a woman enters the room. Try to avoid showing the soles of your feet or pointing feet. Never cross your legs while sitting in front of an important guest. Never offer your Muslim guests’ alcoholic beverages or meat.
Islam is a religion based on respect and love. If you act in a humble and respectful manner, you’ll receive the love and great hospitability of the people there. If you insult Islam in any way, that’s the worst thing you will do in an Islamic country. Keep your opinion on the Islamic religion up to you. Do not say it aloud as it might deemed as highly disrespectful. Blasphemy carries serious consequences, so keep your personal opinion up to yourself.
What about Women’s equality in Dubai?
Rid your head of the misnomer that ladies are ill-treated in Dubai. As for women, Dubai is the city where women are respected. There are certain unsaid rules you must confine mind while you’re in an unfamiliar environment where there are certain etiquettes. Don’t offer your hand for a shake to a person you’ve got just met. It’s better to nod or smile to point out your respect or acknowledgement. If you’re below 25 years, let someone you recognize accompany you while you move out. Yes, the independence of girls is important, but life and safety are a priority.
What are the modes of transportation?
Public mode of transportation or private taxis, that’s your choice. While lots of internet sites and blogs would suggest you to rent a personal taxi, let’s not forget how cheap your travelling would become with public transport. Instead, you can use that cash on food and shopping.
If you’re on a budget or would love to stay you’re travelling expenses low, why not choose metros and public busses? Most of the important landmarks have a metro station near them and bus stop everywhere. Dubai metro even incorporates a gold compartment which albeit expensive, is worth every penny.
However, if you wish a snug travelling experience and don’t mind spending, choose a taxi but do download Google maps and remember the important landmarks. You can’t expect your driver to understand every nook and corner of this enormous marvel of a city. If you’d prefer to rent a vehicle, you’d need a world license. While the wheels are on the left, vehicles keep to the proper side of the road in Dubai.
What about food over there?
Foodies, Dubai is your Haven! The most effective a part of Dubai but shopping is that the food. The food is solely fantastic. If you’re a vegetarian, your choices could also be limited, but if you’re a non-vegetarian and take great joy in exploring the enormity of cuisines, the streets of Dubai are your house. Be it traditional cuisines from everywhere the globe within the Global Village, or a fashionable and fancy restaurant or the mouth-watering street food, Dubai may be a heaven for foodies.
It ranges from the local delicacies to the simplest Shawarma to the normal food of assorted countries including India, Lebanon etc. To the best-grilled chicken from KFC. Don’t worry about hygiene. The Emiratis, in addition as Expatriates in Dubai, take great pride in creating a healthy and safe environment. And it’s not all about luxury restaurants, either – although there are lots of those. Within the Bur Dubai area, you’ll be able to feast on Iranian, Filipino, Yemeni, Bangladeshi, Indian, Pakistani, and even Afghan food. cooking pan Food Adventures offers some fun foodie tours.
Is it offensive to eat public?
It is considered rude to dine in public places, especially public transportation in Dubai. Although visitors and non-Muslims don’t seem to be prohibited from doing so, it’s considered polite to not drink (even water) or eat public during the holy month of Ramadan.
The Dubai Creek
There’s life beyond the skyscrapers. Dubai features a rich history, and therefore the UAE culture is fascinating if you scratch beneath all that gold. Weren’t expecting that, were you? Head to the souks that flank Dubai Creek, the first heart of the town, where traders from everywhere the center East come to flog their wares. Here you’ll be able to haggle for turquoise trinkets from Iran, silver treasures from Oman, and dates from Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. There’s even a spectacular souk dedicated to gold – worth a glance, whether or not you are not buying.
Tick the Tip?
Although tipping isn’t a custom in Dubai, it’s more of a private choice and customary practice. Restaurants usually tend to feature a tip to your bill while you wish not tip a taxi driver. However, you’ll do so to a carrier or maybe your hotel bellboy for his or her services. it’d earn you a smile.
Avoid Political Gatherings
As a tourist, it’d be a waste to ruin your stay by being dragged into unnecessary trouble. the center East nations are disturbed by terrorism. It is, therefore, best to avoid political gatherings or demonstrations as these areas are more at risk of attack.
How necessary is Arabic?
Well, it’s going to surprise you, but an oversized proportion of the population in Dubai are immigrants from other Asian countries. You wish not speak Arabic in any respect, as English is that the most typically used language within the city. Even Hindi, Urdu, Bengali, Tamil and Malayalam are quite standard because of the influx of Indians to the Gulf nations. Apart from that, Chinese, Persian, Tagalog are among the various languages spoken within the city.
What to do while visiting Mosques?
Dress modestly if you’re visiting a mosque. you’ll be able to choose loose-fitting, full-length clothes. it’s advised to hide your head too, because the traditional Muslim women or men would. this can be also an opportunity for you to flaunt your abaya or a kandora/dishdasha if you have got bought one at the local market. take care to get rid of your shoes, whether or not you’re visiting a neighbourhood household and use your mitt to provide or receive something.
It is very important to remember this thing while travelling to Dubai. If anything goes wrong, be self-prepared. Anyways, Dubai is incredible place to spend your holidays.