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Dubai Travel Guide for First Time Travellers

One of the premier tourist destinations in the world, Dubai perfectly balances the ancient values and modern lifestyle.

It has several beautiful attractions to offer its visitors – from architectural marvels to luxurious malls, from deep-rooted history to spotless beaches, every place in Dubai is worth a visit.

Whether you are a first-time visitor or a frequent traveler to this city, here is a travel guide that will be helpful while planning a vacation in this glittering metropolis.

Best time to visit

The best time to visit Dubai is between November to February when the weather is pleasant.

Peak tourist season is from the end of December to mid-February, especially the months of January and February when the famous Dubai Shopping Festival takes place.

Summer months from May to September are very hot in Dubai. Though you will get cheaper hotels and airfares, it is better to avoid traveling during these months.

How to reach?

One of the busiest airports in the world, Dubai International Airport is well-connected with most countries with most of them even having direct flights.

Currency

The local currency of Dubai is dirhams (AED), and it is advisable to carry cash for small purchases.

It is recommended to exchange currencies in the city instead of the airport as you get a better exchange rate. All major international debit and credit cards are widely accepted all over the city.

Transportation

Hiring a taxi is one of the best ways to get around the city. They are quite cost-effective and metered so there is no hassle of bargaining for the fare.

Ride-sharing apps such as Careem and Uber are a great option too. Dubai Metro well-connected and another good choice to commute, especially if you stay close to a metro station.

Local buses are run by Roads and Transports Authority (RTA) and are again connected to most tourist spots. Hop-on-hop-off buses are a wonderful means of transport, especially for sightseeing.

Food and drinks

Dubai is home to many fine dining and Michelin star restaurants which are expensive but worth every penny. However, several eateries serve mouthwatering meals such as Shawarma for reasonable prices.

Karama, Deira, and Bur Dubai have plenty of restaurants that serve Arabian, Indian, and Lebanese food that is light on the pocket and very delicious.

Some famous restaurants are Ravi Restaurant, Delhi Darbar, Cafe Isan, Arz Lebanon, Karachi Darbar, Ayubowan, Sangeetha Vegetarian Restaurant, Al Mallah, and Punjab Sind Restaurant.

International chains such as McDonald’s, Dominos, KFC, and the likes are available everywhere. The legal age to drink is 21 years and alcohol is available in nightclubs and bars.

Accommodation

Dubai is known to be an expensive and glamourous city, but it does have accommodations for different types of budgets. If you book your airfare and hotels in advance, you can get the best prices.

Air bnbs or serviced apartments cater to every kind of traveler and provide clean rooms at very pocket-friendly rates.

Some options for budget hotels are Premier Inn, Rove City Center, Crystal Plaza Hotel, Ramada Chelsea, Fortune Karama Hotel, Ibis, Holiday Inn Express, Zain East Hotel, Savoy Park Hotel Apartments, and Novotel.

If you are in a mood to splurge, you can always consider the five-star hotels or resorts such as Atlantis, The Palm, or Burj Al Arab.

Etiquette and Rules

Dubai values its Islamic roots and traditions a lot. Like any other city, there are some rules and etiquette that you must observe in the city.

Avoid Public Display of Affection (PDA) such as hugging and kissing since it is considered an offense. It is advisable to remove your footwear while entering mosques or someone’s house.

Avoid clicking pictures of locals without their permission as it is considered a sign of disrespect. Also, dressing indecently is frowned upon in Dubai so another great tip is to dress modestly especially while visiting religious places.

This is one of the most important things to follow from the Dubai Travel Guide.

Things to see and do

Dubai has an array of incredible attractions and it is almost impossible to cover everything in one trip. Some of the most popular ones that are unmissable are:

Desert Safari

Dubai is known for its deserts and a desert safari is one of the top things to do when in the city.

Experience the authentic Emirati life in the golden sands of the desert. There are several activities such as quad biking, dune bashing, camel riding, shisha smoking, and henna painting lined up just for you.

A scrumptious buffet dinner and amazing live entertainment conclude your memorable evening.

Burj Khalifa

Visiting the majestic Burj Khalifa is a great excuse to apply for your Dubai Tourist Visa. The view from the observation deck will leave you tongue-tied.

The contrasting landscape of the ocean on one side and desert on the other is stunning.

Al Bastakiya Quarter

A visit to this neighborhood will give you a sneak-peek into Dubai’s fascinating past. You will find plenty of colorful art galleries, cafes, and restaurants here.

A visit to the Dubai Museum is a must to get some interesting information about the Emirati culture. The Arabian Tea House and Dubai Coffee Museum are great places to stop by for a quick break.

Palm Jumeirah

This magnificent palm-shaped island is lined with luxurious resorts, high-end restaurants, opulent villas, and classy apartment complexes.

You can book a Helicopter ride or try Sky Diving to enjoy an aerial view of the island. If not, you can always explore the entire island by road or metro and savor some yummy food from the eateries here.

Dhow cruise

An important part of Dubai’s past, the dhow has been given a makeover replete with all the modern amenities.

Book a dhow cruise and sail on the tranquil waters of Dubai Marina or Dubai Creek. Enjoy the splendid sights of the Dubai skyline, watch captivating cultural performances, and relish a scrumptious buffet dinner.

Dubai Mall

Dubai Mall is a one-stop destination that combines shopping, entertainment, and adventure.

Apart from a plethora of branded and local shops, this place is home to several recreational options such as VR Park, Dubai Aquarium and Underwater Zoo, multiplexes, food courts and restaurants, an ice rink, Kidzania, a human waterfall, and the marvelous Dubai Fountain.

Dubai Marina

Dubai Marina is around a 4-mile-long stretch brimming with skyscrapers and shopping malls.

The waterfront is the best hangout post-sunset with people thronging the bars, restaurants, boutiques, and nightclubs. You can leisurely walk down the stretch and soak in the hustle-bustle and vibrant nightlife of Dubai.

Ski Dubai

Skiing in the sweltering heat of Dubai sounds like fun, doesn’t it? Ski Dubai is an indoor ski resort that has a wide range of snow activities for its visitors.

There are chairlifts, ice caves, mountains, tobogganing, snowboarding, skiing, and many other activities. You can also meet the delightful penguins from Antarctica who put on a great show that will leave you surprised.

Conclusion

Dubai is steadily reinventing itself and adding more and more attractions to its list.

There has been tremendous growth in the tourism industry in Dubai and no wonder the footfalls in this outstanding destination keep increasing year after year. It is time to pack your bags and plan a holiday in this awesome city.

Neha Singh

Neha loves travelling and is an avid trekker and explorer. She did her postgraduate studies in Mass Communications, loves meeting new people and strongly believes in the Gandhian principle - 'Simple living, high thinking'.

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