Great weather, luxurious surroundings and a vibrant atmosphere make Dubai one of the world’s number one holiday destinations. The vast expansion of the city has seen new hotels, restaurants, shopping centres and theme parks developed at an incredible rate.
And with new, exciting opportunities being established every day – it’s the perfect time for travellers to visit.
Attractions and Things to do in Dubai
Whether you’re looking for a relaxing beach holiday, a cultural visit or a little adventure – Dubai has something for you.
There’s never a dull moment in this city. And there’s so much choice too, you probably won’t fit everything into one trip.
So we’ve picked out five things you absolutely have to do during your stay.
Head to the Burj Khalifa
To not visit the tallest building in the world would be a huge wasted opportunity. The Burj Khalifa has an observation deck on the 124th floor (there are 163 in total), for you to witness some of the most stunning views you’re ever likely to see.
Price: 100 AED ($27, £19) for adults, 75 AED ($20, £14) for children
Opening Times: Sunday-Wednesday 10am-10pm, Thursday-Saturday 10am-midnight
Dubai is home to one of the most extravagant aquariums on Earth. It features an enormous, 10 million-litre tank that houses over 33,000 different animals. Guests can walk through the 48-metre long tunnel, take a tour on a glass-bottom boat and even swim with sharks – if they’re brave enough!
Price: Starts at 100 AED ($27, £19) – See official site for more details
Opening Times: Sunday-Wednesday 10am-11pm, Thursday-Saturday 10am-midnight
Visit the Man-Made Islands
One of the most fascinating of projects undertaken by the city of Dubai is the establishment of luxurious, man-made islands just offshore in the Persian Gulf. A number of hotels and resorts are present on Palm Jumeirah, while you can take boat tours around the in-development ‘The World’.
Price: 445 AED ($121, £84) – see here for more details
Opening Times: 8am-8pm every day, all year round
Take a Trip to the Desert
If you’re looking to indulge your adventurous side, or just get out of the city for a while, then a safari through the desert dunes could be just what you need. The ride will be incredibly bumpy, and you’ll likely be surrounded by other tourisms, but its great fun all the same.
Price: 180 AED ($49, £34) – see here for more details
Opening Times: 4:30pm every day (lasts six hours)
For those looking for something a little more cultural, the Jumeirah Mosque is a fantastic experience. Its magnificent architecture is so well renowned, and even non-Muslims are welcome to explore. Free tours are offered – just remember to dress modestly (long sleeves and trousers, women should cover their heads with a scarf).
Opening Times: Tours take place every Saturday, Sunday, Tuesday and Thursday at 10am.
Eating Out in Dubai
There are plenty of restaurants and places to eat in Dubai.
At any time during the day, you can sit down for a world class dish at one of several thousand eateries. Whether it’s a local, independent restaurant, or the Al Mahara inside the sensationally luxurious Burj Al Arab hotel – there’s something for every budget.
Different Types of Food in Dubai
Whatever your taste, you’re sure to be left satisfied by an amazing meal during your stay in Dubai. There are typically foods popular in the Arab world, but also menus to attract a more global audience.
Throughout the city, you’ll find Italian, French, American and Japanese restaurants of the highest quality.
There are also standard chain establishments, such as Nando’s and P.F. Chang’s, if you’re looking for something more familiar.
Name: La Petite Maison
If you’re willing to spend a fair amount of money, and are ok with waiting a month for a reservation, then it doesn’t get any better than the La Petite Maison. Celebrities and the cities high-rollers frequent this restaurant for the incredible French/Mediterranean dishes.
Nothing beats dining on a classic Italian meal while sitting beside the beach. The pizzas are particularly amazing, but there are also pasta based options too, and all is enjoyed with an amazing sea view in sight.
For the budget eaters – the Mexican restaurant Loca is a fine option. It has all the typical dishes you would expect in such a place – burritos, ribs, and even made-at-the-table guacamole. Loca also happens to have a large selection of world bees available.
It might also interest you to know that celebrity chefs, such as Jamie Oliver and Gary Rhodes, also have their own restaurants in Dubai.
A few things to be aware of…
· Most restaurants offer Halal food – contact them directly before visiting to find out
· Brunch, particularly on a Friday afternoon, is incredibly popular
· During Ramadan, most restaurants will close during sunlight hours, and eating/drinking in public is prohibited
Hotels in Dubai
Hotels such as the Burj Al Arab need no introduction. At 1,053 feet, this five star, ultra-luxurious establishment is third tallest hotel in the world.
It will also cost you a small fortune to stay in, even just for one night.
Here, we take a look at some of the more affordable options – those with an emphasis on providing high-quality accommodation.
Price: 220 AED ($60, £42) per night
A small, boutique hotel that has earned rave reviews from travellers all over the globe. Great location, warm, friendly staff and spacious rooms make this excellent value for money.
Price: 405 AED ($110, £76) per night
A more luxurious offering, but still with reasonable prices. There aren’t many five star hotels that will offer rooms from 405 AED per night. In a slightly quieter location, but still near enough to Dubai’s main attractions that you won’t have to travel far.
Price: 257 AED ($70, £48) per night
The self-described ‘World Leading Sports Resort’ is relatively new, and includes an amazing five star hotel. Many rooms offer a spectacular view of the on-sight racecourse, while there are a number of restaurants, bars and activities to keep you entertained during your stay.
Each of these hotels is guaranteed to ensure a pleasant stay in Dubai. For the best deal, book your accommodation today by clicking here.
The Weather in Dubai
Naturally, the weather in a Middle Eastern city is typically hot all year-round.
But it’s significantly warmer in the summer months – May through to September. The humidity is also notoriously high in the UAE! If you don’t mind these extreme temperatures, which are typically upwards of 30 degrees centigrade, then you can visit Dubai at any time. But if it’s a little too much for you, then the October – April months are a little cooler, but still warm enough for you to enjoy a pleasant stay.
Events in Dubai
There’s always something going on in Dubai. Here are a few things you might be interested in attending this year.
Name: Dubai Desert Classic
The biggest golfing event in the UAE welcomes a number of the world’s top professionals, all competing for a generous prize. It is held at the highly-esteemed Emirates Golf Club.
Name: Dubai Tennis Championships
Tennis lovers will want to ensure they don’t miss out on this opportunity. The tournament, which has been dominated by Novak Djokovic and Roger Federer in recent years, has built up a solid reputation since its establishment in 1993.
Name: Dubai Rugby Sevens
This particular event is very popular with UK expats, but locals and tourists love to get involved too. 16 teams from all over the world come to the UAE to compete in the first round of the IRB Sevens Series.
Music and Film
Name: Dubai International Jazz Festival
Dubai Media City plays host to this acclaimed Jazz fest every year, and has attracted a lot of positive attention due to its welcoming atmosphere. Names such as Toto, Jamie Callum and Stanley Jordan have been present in recent years.
Name: Dubai International Film Festival
Dubai’s film industry likes to encourage filmmakers from all over the world to showcase their talents at its International Film Festival. While there is a primary focus on independent and art house cinema, high-profile guests in recent years have included Morgan Freeman and George Clooney.
Name: Festival of Taste
Food lovers won’t want to miss this spectacle. For one week, Dubai Media City hosts a series of events based on the subject of cooking. World-renowned chefs are on hand to offer their advice on how to improve your skills.
Name: National Day Festival
Date: December 2nd
Every year, the country celebrates the date it gained independence from Great Britain. The National Day Festival sees a number of events take place throughout Dubai, and ends with a spectacle of fireworks in the evening.
Aside from driving yourself, there are essentially three ways to get around Dubai – taxi, bus and metro.
Taxi rides are relatively inexpensive in Dubai, making them an ideal mode of transportation. They’re quicker than public transport, and have a reputation for being safe, modern and plentiful.
There is a large bus system available in Dubai, capable of taking you to practically any area. Prices start at just 4 AED, and run all day.
The Metro is incredibly modern, providing users with the opportunity to travel around Dubai in a timely manner. It’s efficient, clean and relatively inexpensive.
As the United Arab Emirates is primarily a Muslim country, it is important to be aware of the effect this has on the culture in Dubai.
For example, prayer takes place 5 times a day. You will hear the sound of the call to prayer throughout the whole city!
There are also a number of Islamic national holidays, including Muharram (Islamic New Year, October 2nd 2016), Ramadan (June 7th-July 5th 2016) and Eid al-Adha (Festival of Sacrifice, September 11th 2016).
1 AED (United Arab Emirates Dirham) is approximately equal to $0.27 and £0.19.
According to this source, the cost of living in Dubai is around 29% lower than in New York City, and 24% lower than in London.
It is important to remember that weekends in Dubai, and the rest of the UAE, begin on Friday and end of Saturday. Sunday is considered a working day.
Tipping is recommended, as local service staff are not paid particularly well. Check to see if there is an automatic service charge beforehand.
Although Dubai is typically hot all year round, the liberal use of air conditioners means it can actually get a little cold when indoors. Pack some long-sleeves just in case.
Drinking alcohol is legal, but be wary of displaying your drunkenness in public. You can get arrested if you’re not careful.
Eating and drinking in public is prohibited during Ramadan.