- Discover Dubai
Burj Al Arab | Palm Islands | Ski Dubai | The Dubai Fountain | Burj Khalifa | Dubai Marina | Bur Dubai | Dune Bashing | The World Islands | Jumeirah Stretch | Shopping | Hot Air Balloon | Diving | Shooting | Brunch | Ladies Night | Skydiving | Seaplane | More Info
The world’s only 7 star hotel. Have high tea in their skyview restaurant, with fantastic views over Dubai’s coastline. Costs around €80 per person for 7 courses. It’s a bit expensive but worth it if you can spare the money. Get the metro to the Mall of the Emirates and then a taxi to the Burj.
Man made Islands stretching out from the coastline. Visit the Atlantis hotel, spectacular hotel which also has a water park where you can swim with dolphins.
Ski Dubai is a ski resort inside the Mall of the Emirates, one of the largest malls in the world. This has to be seen to be believed, you could be on a ski resort in Europe. Take a lesson if you haven’t skied before. And buy some gloves at one of the shops there, as it is very cold inside.
The fountain show is on every hour during the day and every half an hour at night, this is truly spectacular at anytime but you should really see it at night.
The world’s tallest building and one of incredible beauty. Standing at 2717 feet tall the Burj dominates the downtown Dubai Skyline. Home to upper class hotels and residencies the Burj was also seen in Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol. It costs 100 Dirham (€20) per person to go to the viewing platform and outdoor observation deck on the 124th floor. Book in advance for the best times ie between 5 and 7.30 to catch the sunset and after dark the skyscrapers will light up. The famous fountain show is on every half an hour and this is a great place to see it from, it’s like fireworks in reverse.
Dubai Marina is a man made canal city for luxury residencies. The Dubai Marina Walk runs along the waterfront and is lined with restauants. Pier 7 Dubai Marina is a multi storey tower dedicated to diverse cuisine. Get the metro to Dubai Marina station, Zone 2 on the red line.
Bur Dubai is the old section of Dubai, where they have the Sooks, or markets. There’s a textile Sook, a spice Sook, a Gold Sook, etc. Take a walk around and take it all in. It’s a different world to downtown Dubai. Get the Metro to Al Ras. Get a water taxi across the bay to the old National Museum.
This is driving through the desert in 4x4s, this is a thrilling adrenaline ride and well worth it. You can get a desert safari for around. This will also include food, and a show which includes belly dancing.
Man made islands resembling the world from above. Only three or so have actually been completed at this time due to the recession.
Most of the beaches in Dubai are on private property but there is a public beach beside the Burj Al Arab and another open beach at the end of the stretch out towards Deira. The best place to go to the beach however is Jumeirah Beach Park. You pay 5 Dirhams (1 euro) to get in. There’s cafes and you can rent out chairs and Parasols, which are essential in the sometimes extreme Dubai heat. You should get a chair and Parasol for around 20 Dirhams (4 euro). The warm waters of the Gulf are heaven.
The shopping possibilities in Dubai are first class. Downtown beside the Burj Khalifa there is Dubai Mall which also has the aquarium and ice rink and there is also the Mall of the Emirates. Both are fantastic.
You can take a ride over the desert in a hot air balloon. You’ll have to travel to Al Ain for this, about an hour and a half from Dubai.
Diving is excellent along the Indian Ocean.
Try your hand at shooting at the Sharjah shooting club in Sharjah, half an hour from Dubai. Costs roughly 400D each for 25 shots on a Berretta or a similar gun. It’s a great experience and will give you a new found respect for these lethal weapons. Make sure you bring your passport.
Brunch is Dubai is where you pay around 200 Dirham (€20) for an all you can eat (and drink) buffet. This is excellent value for money and many hotels around the city provide this. This would start around 7pm and continue on until around 11.30.
On Monday and Tuesday nights many establishments provide free food and drink to women in order to entice women out as Mondays and Tuesdays are the quietest nights of the week.
Skydive Dubai lets you out over Jumeriah Palm Island 14000ft up. The views are spectacular and the buzz like nothing else.
You can take a seaplane tour over Dubai from around 1325 Dirham (€265) with a company called Seawings. The plane leaves from Jebel Ali Golf Resort. Take a metro to Ibn Battuta and get a taxi from there. It’s a great way of seeing the whole city and an experience in itself being on a seaplane.
If you are going to be in Dubai for a while and taking part in lots of activities and eating out a lot, it would definitely be worth purchasing “the entertainer”, a two part coupon book that has hundreds of two for one deals in restaurants and activities. You could save a whole lot of money, especially if there was a large group travelling together. The book costs 350D each. There is one for dining and one for activities
Dubai International Airport is the main airport in Dubai. You can also arrive into Abu Dhabi International Airport in nearby Abu Dhabi or Sharjah International Airport in Sharjah. Etihad and Emirates are the main airlines servicing Dubai.
Citizens of most industrial countries will get a 30 day visa on arrival at the airport. This is free of charge.
Israeli passport holders are not welcome, however despite what some people think if you have a stamp on your passport from a previous visit to Israel this should not be a problem, although you may get questioned.
Flight times to Dubai
Dublin 7.5 hours | London 7 hours | Hong Kong 7.5 hours | New York 13.5 hours | San Diego 16.5 hours | Sydney 14.5 hours
There are two lines on the Dubai metro system, the Red Line and the Green Line, with more planned for the future. The Red Line covers the area between Rashidiya and Jabel Ali. The Green Line covers the area between Etisalat station and Creek Station. The metro is fully automated and is driverless. It covers a great deal of the city. All the stations and trains are air conditioned. There is a carriage at the back for women and children. It might be a good idea for western women to go in these carriages if you get uncomfortable with strangers staring. Women with fair skin and who are not covered up may receive some unwanted looks in their direction; however you won’t receive any harassment. The RTA (Roads and Transport Authority) runs all the public transport in Dubai. You can buy a 16 Dirham day pass, where you can use it as many times as you like. A single would cost roughly 7 Dirham and a return 12 Dirham.
The RTA runs an extensive and affordable bus service in Dubai. There are single and double Decker buses as well as an exclusive service for women. There are also many hop on, hop off bus tours throughout the city. Fares start around AED 2.00.
You will probably use taxis quite often when you are in Dubai as they remain the best way to get around the city. Taxis are run by the RTA and are regulated so are quite safe and you won’t likely be ripped off. Taxis with pink roofs are meant only for women, children and families. The minimum fare is AED 10.00 and from the airport to anywhere in Dubai starts at AED 20.00.
Avis, Budget, Europcar, Hertz and most of the larger car rental firms can be found at Dubai Airport. There are also many smaller local firms available. If you are driving, go into a local automobile association and translate your standard license into an international licence. If you are going to stay in Dubai for a longer period you should get a Dubai driver’s license.
Be sure to have health insurance as it can be quite an expensive country to get sick in.
There is quite a high standard of healthcare in UAE, with 40 public hospitals. Public and private hospitals in Dubai are operated by the Dubai Health Authority.
The risk of malaria is quite low but some doctors may recommend immunisations for diphtheria, Hepatitis A, or Tetanus.
It is recommended to drink bottled water as although the water in the taps should be safe, it depends if the water tanks have been regularly cleaned.
999 is the emergency number for Ambulance and Police.
997 for fire.
2080808 for taxis.
Dubai is generally very safe for tourists. There is not much crime, bar the odd theft, recorded on tourists. However there have been reports of sexual assaults on women so as always, stick together. Western women may find the constant staring from men unnerving.
There have been many cases where a woman has been sexually assaulted or raped and finds herself being charged with sex outside marriage. If you are a victim of sexual assault contact your Embassy as quickly as possible for advice.
Be careful when taking photos. Dubai is a very popular tourist destination; however, don’t take photos of government buildings or military installations. Never take a picture of a Muslim woman without permission.
Clothing should be moderate, keep your top half covered and don’t wear anything above the knee. Also don’t have tee shirts with offensive slogans.
No public displays of affection. People have ended up in jail for kissing in public. A recent trial saw an Irish man and a British woman receive jail sentences for having sex in the back of a taxi, despite DNA tests proving that they did not in fact have intercourse.
You’re not officially allowed to share a hotel room with your girlfriend or boyfriend. You need to be married or related. The larger hotels generally won’t ask this, but if they do, say you are married.
No topless bathing. You can wear a bikini on most beaches but cover up when you leave the beach area.
Drunken behaviour that you might get away with back home will not be tolerated here. So don’t get heavily drunk and cause trouble.
Be aware of strict drug laws, for example codeine is illegal in Dubai despite it being a common enough painkiller in the Western World. Keep prescriptions for all drugs you carry.
Do not carry or use any hard drugs whilst in the UAE. The punishments are very harsh.
If you are in the UAE in Ramadan do not eat, drink or smoke in front of Muslims between sunrise and sunset.
Dubai may be strict but if you respect the local people’s customs and laws you are sure to have a fantastic time, as Dubai can offer such luxury and fun.
The best time to visit is between October and April. May to September can get up to 50 degrees Celsius.
Dubai is part of the United Arab Emirates in the Middle East and has a population of 500,000, 80% of whom are expatriates. It’s situated on the Persian Gulf and is considered the connection between East and West. .
Get your currency exchanged in an official exchange such as a bank or a hotel, never on the street.
Most locals will know at least basic English.
Hotels can be expensive but the standards are generally very high. Pay for as many nights as you can on a booking site and you should be able to get a better deal, especially in the off season.
The country code is 971