The best time to visit Dubai is November to March, when temperatures are around 30°C.
If you’re visiting in summer, keep cool at indoor theme park IMG Worlds of Adventure or hit the slopes at Ski Dubai.
Buy a prepaid local SIM card with a data package so you can use maps and websites when you’re out and about. Mobile providers Etisalat and Du have stores at the airport and most malls.
Pre-book tickets for the Burj Khalifa online, and you’ll pay less than half the price of an immediate entry ticket during non-peak times (and save yourself a third during peak hours).
Sign up for a cultural meal at the Sheikh Mohammed Centre of Cultural Understanding, which involves an Emirati feast followed by a frank discussion about local culture and religion.
Don’t worry if your budget won’t stretch to a beach resort – free public beaches such as Kite Beach and JBR Beach have sun loungers, showers and cafes.
Downtown Dubai at Night – The Perfect Finale
After a long day getting lost in city, there is no better way to unwind than visiting the Level 43 Sky Lounge on top of the Sheraton Four Points. From up here you soak in glimmering downtown Dubai by night while enjoying one of the many extraordinary drinks and snacks served at the bar. This is an unbeatable view and the perfect way to end an unforgettable vacation in Dubai.
Old Dubai: Gold Souk in Deira
The Dubai Gold Souk is a traditional market in the heart of old Dubai by the creek. This market mainly sells gold, silver and precious stones. You’ll find the odd seller of handbags here and there, but this is the best place to buy gold in the UAE. The souk is home to over 300 retailers. Some have been there for over 40 years, while others have just set up shops a few years ago. It is a must visit for tourists who want to see more than just the glitz and glamour of the UAE.
Location: Al Ras Deira Cost Free entry Timings 10am to 10pm, some stores are closed between 1pm to 4pm
Explore the historical neighborhood of Al Bastakiya, shop in the the Dubai souks, and discovery the history of the Dubai Creek that divided the city between tribes and dynasties. Immerse yourself in traditional arabic culture by visiting one of Old Dubai’s tea houses, or pick up some traditional garments at the textile souk as a souvenir. For foodies, don’t forget to stop by one of the amazing spice and herb souks.
The Dubai Frame
Dubai Frame is Dubai's latest landmark that overlooks the entire city. The unique architecture of the building allows you to enjoy 360 degrees views of both old and new Dubai.
Location: Zabeel Park Cost Dh50 per Adult, Dh20 per child between 3 to 12 years old, Free for children under three, Entry for the elderly and people of determination and two accompanying persons will also be free of charge Timings Open daily from 10am to 7pm
Budget hotel prices in Dubai Budget hotels start between 200-250 AED per night for a basic twin or double room. Free WiFi is standard, and many budget hotels also include extras like free airport shuttles or swimming pools. Mid-range hotels start around 250 AED per night, but if you’re looking for something more luxurious, the sky is the limit here! Airbnb is also an option here. A shared room on Airbnb starts around 100 AED per night, while an entire home or apartment will be closer to 400 AED.
Average cost of food in Dubai. You can find cheap meals in Dubai for around 30 AED, while fast food will cost a bit less (around 25 AED). The best meals are usually shared by the table and consist of hummus, pita, falafel, foul, fattoush, tahini salad, and grilled halloumi cheese. Operation Falafel is a great cheap restaurant chain with 7 locations around Dubai. If you want a meal at a mid-range restaurant, expect to pay closer to 100 AED. For an all-day brunch extravaganza, expect to pay at least 375 AED per person. If you plan on cooking your own meals, groceries will cost between 175-225 AED per week. Debonairs in the Dubai Mall has a lunch special for 15 AED ($4 USD). It’s one of the best bargains. Be sure to head into Old Dubai for cheap eats. Meals at restaurants in this area generally cost 20-30 AED ($5-8 USD).
Transportation costs in Dubai. The metro is efficient and well-maintained and the public buses can take you anywhere. A single fare will cost between 4-8.50 AED (prices are based on how far you are going) and a day-pass is 20 AED. Taxis are on the cheap side. Uber also has service here. The prices between the two are comparable, so stick with whatever is most convenient. A bus to Abu Dhabi will cost around 40 AED (you can also take a taxi there for 290 AED each way).
Walk around: Dubai is full of places that are free to enter and stunning to walk around. Spend the day at any mall or shopping area: Mall of the Emirates, The Dubai Mall, Ibn Battuta Mall, City Center Mirdif, Souk Madinat Jumeirah, Sunset Mall, Souk al Bahar, etc. There’s plenty to see and if you leave Dubai without going to a mall – you did it wrong!
Eat hummus: Lots of restaurants have hummus and “tapas” style food available. Have a filling meal by ordering 2-3 instead of ordering a main meal. This is especially good if you’re eating with others so you can split the bill too!
Skip the Burj Khalifa at sunset: If you’re going up the Burj Khalifa (not my favorite activity), tickets during the sunset hours are much more expensive. Since the sunset view really isn’t that much better, skip it. You’ll pay around 30% less!
Talk to the locals: The people here are incredibly hospitable and sweet, making them a wonderful resource for the intrepid traveler. Don’t hesitate to ask the locals for suggestions on places to eat, things to do, etc. Not only will you get to interact with the population but you’ll definitely get some great, local insight!
Pick your accommodation wisely: Stay within walking distance of a subway stop. The subway is really cheap, so if you can walk to a stop, you’re able to get to so many places without much money or effort.
DIY desert safari: Don’t rent a car. If you know anyone who lives in Dubai, ask if they have a friend who will take you to the desert. This isn’t a big deal as locals go to the desert very often in the cooler months. You might even get lucky and find someone who wants to camp out there.
Use Groupon: Groupon is very popular in Dubai. Use it to find discounts on restaurants, activities, and attractions. If there is something you want to do, check here first. Chances are you can find a discount!
Take a desert safari: If you want to get a taste of the desert, head out on a day-long safari with Arabian Adventure. You’ll be able to ride a camel, hold a falcon, explore the desert, and eat some traditional food. A day-long excursion will cost around 315 AED. (Note: there are other desert safaris that may be cheaper, but this is the full experience).
Visit Global Village: This is a massive entertainment extravaganza, with shopping, dining, and live performances all coming together to create an incredible cultural experience. This is like Epcot Center at Disney World, except it showcases the different cultures of the Middle East. There are dance and sword shows, as well as plenty of local foods to try. Admission is only 15 AED!
Dubai Miracle Garden: This quirky and colorful garden is worth spending some time seeing. The garden was opened in 2013 and is spread over 72,000 square meters, making it the world’s largest natural flower garden featuring over 109 million flowers planted. Do not forget your camera for this. Admission is only 40 AED. (Note: it’s best seen in the daytime).
Visit Kite Beach: If you’re into kite surfer or water sports, this is a great place to catch some waves. The winds pick up in the afternoon, making it a good time to hit the water or just sit back and watch others do it. If watersports aren’t your thing, just come here to catch some rays and relax. My favorite, more “local” restaurant is called Tent Jumeriah, and it’s on the walkway between Kite Beach and the Burj Dubai Hotel.
The Marina: The marina area is surrounded by tall buildings and contains a beautiful boardwalk. You can see the fancy boats and get some stunning photographs of the harbor and skyline. Be sure to check out Pier 7, which is seven floors of restaurants and bars on the water. I liked Asia Asia, with its gaudy Asian theme (it has 2-for-1 specials in The Entertainer too!).
Souk Madinat Jumeirah: This souk (market) is a modern building designed to look like something out of Aladdin, but it’s home to some incredible restaurants, like Agency, a modern wine bar with a huge selection of wines and yummy meat and cheese plates. There’s a beautiful inner courtyard pond in this complex, too.
Dubai Museum: A small museum in Old Dubai with not a lot of information but some really cool displays. It teaches you the history and culture of Dubai and life in the desert. At $1 USD admission, you can’t go wrong.
Visit Old Dubai: This is Dubai as it used to be. Markets (like the famous gold market) pepper the area, small shops line the streets, and you can get lost in a maze of alleyways. Take a boat across the river, wander aimlessly, visit the Dubai Museum, eat at some of the traditional restaurants, explore the art district, and see Dubai as it is away from the glitz of the malls and high-rises.
Hit the mall: Malls in Dubai are not like malls anywhere else in the world. Between the Dubai Mall and Mall of the Emirates, you’ll find a ton of amazing things to see and do. Beyond shopping, you can watch the nightly fountain show (think Vegas) or visit the aquarium at the Dubai Mall, or go indoor skiing at the Mall of the Emirates. Just be sure to dress appropriately (avoid tank tops and mini skirts).
Stroll along Jumeirah Beach: This is a great place to sunbathe and stroll along the boardwalk. There are lots of shops to visit, and there is even an outdoor movie theater. Not only is this a great place to visit, but it’s a great area to stay because you’re surrounded by so many things to do.
Enjoy Ripe Market: This outdoor market has many locations around both Dubai and Abu Dhabi. Browse organic foods and crafts made by people living in Dubai. This is held in a gorgeous park, so grab lunch from the food trucks and sit on the grass to relaxingly eat it.
Go deep sea fishing: It’s quite easy to book a spot on a boat and head out to sea if you want to try your hand at deep sea fishing. Operators like Go Fishing Dubai cater to all ages and levels of experience, and most packages even include lunch. Prices will vary depending on what sort of vessel you book but more luxurious boat packages will cost upwards of 900 AED.
Visit the Jumeirah Mosque: This beautiful mosque is one of two in the city you can actually visit. It consists of one large room and there is a guided tour every day at 10am. It’s 20 AED and comes with a great breakfast spread. If you don’t know much about Islam or the role it plays in the UAE, it’s pretty a interesting tour.
Jumierah Mosque is a popular option for visitors, as it is open to people of all religions and genders who want to step inside. You’ll also find this beautiful mosque adorning the 500 Dirham banknote! Other mosques open to visitors include the Al Farooq Omar Bin Al Khattab Mosque, also called the Blue Mosque as it resembles Istanbul’s Blue Mosque, and the Al Noor Mosque in the neighboring city of Sharjah.
La Mer–The Hippest Beachfront in Dubai
This beach is definitely the hippest beachfront destination in Dubai and, perhaps, in all of the United Arab Emirates. It’s definitely worth a visit. The area has several fancy restaurants, many shops, and a huge beach with a crystal clear water. The beach is divided between the north and south sections with a wharf the middle. At the wharf you will find a waterpark, lots of restaurants, and amazing street art. The combination of old rustic city with wooden barrels and a beat up truck gives this whole area that extra bit of charm.
La Mer is a wonderful place to spend the whole day sunbathing, eating, and relaxing. Once the sun goes down this place transforms into a lively spot for great nightlife.
Dubai Desert – A Place of Tranquility
When you’re ready for an escape from chaotic city life, head to the Dubai desert. It is only about an hour drive away and opens up a whole new world of Arab culture. From huge luxurious skyscrapers, you’ll enter a world of untouched and empty natural landscape. Here is where the bedouins reign and the camels roam, and its a place unlike anything you’ve seen before.
There are many companies that provide tours into the desert and overnight stays in bedouin tents. We booked ours with Arabic Adventures, but for more luxurious trips to the desert, I recommend Platinum Heritage Tours. Most tours will pick you up at the hotel and drive you into the desert where you can see the sunset, dine on amazing Arab cuisine, and experience the silence and vastness of the Dubai desert.
What to Wear in Dubai?
Some places have a more strict dress code, while other areas are rather open-minded.
When visiting mosques or places of worship, women should prepare to completely cover themselves. Sometimes mosques have special robes that are offered to visitors. If not, bring your own scarf to cover your head, and wear a long, loose dress that covers your arms at least till the elbow.
In the Mall, however, the dress code is much less strict. You can wear shorter dresses and sandals.
From extravagant luxury to ancient history, Dubai is one of the most fascinating and unique cities in the world. There is so much to do and see here, from beaches to sand dunes to skyscrapers to historic neighborhoods. You won’t want to miss any of it on your first time visit!
The Dubai parks
This is a spot with three theme parks and a water park. 'The Motiongate' has Hollywood movies and stars as the theme. The Bollywood Park has the theme of Bollywood movies and India. The other attractions in this park include real-time presentation of Bollywood films, the associated rides and theatre complexes.
There is presentation of Indian cultural festival every day. This includes art forms from Kerala. Installations with Lego bricks and the associated adventure rides are liked by children and adults alike. The stamps of Dubai’s identity such as Burj Khaleefa, Burj Al Arab, desert safari etc. are represented here in Lego bricks.
The superhero IMG World
The IMG World attracts tourists with a reputation of it being the biggest Indoor Theme Park in the world. This wonderland, spread across 15 lakh square feet is near the Global Village. Dinosaurs, Spiderman, Ironman and numerous cartoon characters will give the visitors an excitingly different experience. You can fly about or rush past obstacles to the accompaniment of light and sound in various rides here. There is also a multiplex with the most advanced technology. The 30 odd food outlets in the food court of IMG World offer a large variety of foods.
‘The Lost Valley Zone’ is a theme ride through the world of humongous, moving dinosaurs which use the most advanced animatronics. Forestlands and tunnels also form a part of this ride.
The Palm Atlantis Waterpark
This water theme park is attached to the Atlantis Hotel. The chief attraction here is the water themed adventure and leisure rides named ‘Aquaventure’, sprawling across 42 acres of land. ‘The Ambassador Lagoon’, the largest aquarium in the Middle-East is in Palm Atlantis. More than 100 varieties of sea creatures can be seen here. Another attraction is the ‘Dolphin Bay’ spread over 11 acres. Besides these, the ‘Wild Wadi Water Park’, ‘Lagoona Water Park’, ‘La Mer’ beach etc. also attract a large number of tourists.
+ Know the Location: Al Barsha, Dubai
+ Electronic Family Book for UAE citizens and residents
+ Al Kifaf Municipality Centre offers services round the clock
+ Pension fund contributions a must for Filipinos
+ How to get UAE citizenship?
+ TAMM service centers in Abu Dhabi
+ Overseas Filipino Workers (OFW) e-Card
+ E-media licence in UAE for social media influencers-NMC
+ Housing Fees in Dubai (How to update residential data in DM site?)
+ Pakistan eases visa policy; e-Visa for 175 countries
+ Mutual consent divorce process in the UAE
+ Daily RTA bus service to Muscat from Dubai
+ A guide to moving to Dubai with children
+ Management Skills Placement Test for Consulting License in Dubai
+ Employer should bear Health Insurance Cost in UAE
+ DHA licence of expats won’t be cancelled on their exit
+ Bahrain Tourist Visa
+ Marriage Solemnization at Indian Consulate
+ Tips to avoid job scams and Fakes Certificates
+ How to settle UAE bank loan from outside the country?
+ Two year 'Visiting Doctor's Licence' in Dubai
+ Qualifications to be a teacher in UAE
+ Good conduct certificate must for teachers in UAE
+ Top 10 Passports in the World, UAE passport ranked the most powerful
+ Driving License formalities in Dubai, UAE
+ Driving License Validation Letter from RTA (Dubai)
+ Driving License attestation from Indian Consulate
+ No need driver's licence test for drivers from these countries
+ Verify your Dubai Visa before travel
+ Verify your Abu Dhabi Visa before travel
+ UAE Alcohol Law
+ Death Cases and formalities at different departments in Dubai
+ Saudi Arabia grants tourism visa for foreign travellers
+ Saudi Arabia reduces visa fee for Pakistanis
+ Death Cases and formalities at different departments in Saudi Arabia (KSA)
+ Duel Citizenship option in European Countries
+ Visa-free European travel destinations from UAE
+ Tourist Destinations in Abu Dhabi
+ Tourist Destinations in Sharjah
+ Dubai Investments Park (DIP)
+ About Dubai & United Arab Emirates
+ Dubai Government Departments and Online Links
+ How to report a food poisoning case in Dubai?
+ Philippines begins issuing 10-year passports
+ What is EXPO 2020 Dubai?
+ Embassies & Consulates, Dubai & Abu Dhabi - UAE
+ UAE Travellers required to fill in electronic form to carry controlled medicines
+ How runaway borrowers can clear names and return to UAE?
+ How to resign from your job without a problem in the UAE?
+ e-Trader License in Dubai
+ Tourist Destinations in Dubai
+ Dubai Frame, an Architectural Landmark
+ Qataris can re-enter UAE with prior permission: Ministry
+ Three UAE free zones are out of VAT scope
+ Know your rights as a consumer in the UAE
+ Jebel Jais; UAE's tallest peak
+ VAT refunds for tourists visiting UAE
+ UK relaxes visa rules for scientists, academics from India
+ Visa-free travel, visa on arrival for Pakistan Passport holders
+ List of GAMCA Clinics in Thiruvananthapuram