Guide to Visiting Dubai


As per Flagstaff hotel, there are many contrasts in Dubai. The dazzling skyline, made up of skyscrapers that defy belief; the contemporary variety of shops and restaurants, offering every conceivable choice for a traveler; and the opulent hotels, eager to accommodate even the pickiest guest in luxury and excess.

Then there’s the desert, with its rippling sands stamped with oryx and gazelle tracks; souks, which are labyrinths of stalls, bins overflowing with a rainbow of spices, and the smell filling the air; and abra boats transporting passengers across the Dubai Creek.

Over the last several decades, Dubai has grown from a dusty desert port to a vast metropolis with numerous lively neighborhoods, world-record-setting constructions, and over-the-top shopping malls (excavation on the Burj Khalifa didn’t start until January 2004).

Fast and sluggish—just like New York City today, Dubai can be all of that in one day. There’s always something going on when you visit Dubai, whether it’s a beach to grab an avocado toast and relax on the beach, a desert conservation reserve to appreciate, or shopping ’til you drop or partying till dawn.

These contrasts give the metropolis its energy and interest, making it quite an intriguing location to visit.

Best Time to Go

Dubai is quite comfortable all year, although the winter months are one of the most popular times to visit with temperatures generally in the low 70s and high 80’s in December. Early mornings and late afternoons in the desert are typically much cooler, and air conditioning is readily available throughout Dubai.

The Dubai Shopping Festival, which takes place in January each year and offers terrific discounts, live shows, and raffles, is another incentive to visit in the winter.

Things to Know

In many respects, Dubai is a modern metropolis, yet there are standards that everyone—including visitors—should obey. When it comes to dress, discretion is the better part of valor, and while you may see folks wearing anything and everything, it’s good form to cover your shoulders and knees (think a t-shirt and midi skirt or jeans for females). Visitors to the lovely Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque in Abu Dhabi outside of the city will need to dress even more modestly than usual.

In Dubai, certain customs that are typical in the United States are frowned upon or even illegal, such as public displays of affection and being drunk in public (you can drink in specific locations like licensed hotel bars, restaurants, and clubs).

Even for single female travelers, Dubai is a very safe city. There is a special police department set up specifically for tourism in Dubai. Even so, because Dubai is a big city, all visitors should follow the same security precautions as they would at home.

You can get a free portable charger at the Dubai Mall if your phone dies while you’re there, as in the Mall of the Emirates.

How to Get Around

Trains: The Dubai Metro is more stylish than your everyday subway, with automated and sleek vehicles—the Red Line even holds the Guinness World Record for the world’s longest driverless metro line at more than 32 miles long—WiFi, and even separate cars for women and children. There are approximately 30 metro stations, with a significant portion of the track being outside passing by prominent attractions like the Burj Khalifa, making it an excellent method to see the city and go from Point A to B. Single, return, or day passes can be purchased as well as cashless smart cards called Nol.

Buses: Dubai has more than 1,500 buses that travel throughout the city and its surrounding areas, with 35 lines that connect to metro stations.

Taxis: Dubai has a large taxi service that transports passengers throughout the city. Hailing a taxi at popular places such as shopping malls and the beach is simple. The city also offers “Ladies and Families” taxis, which are always driven by women for female customers who feel more comfortable with a female driver.

Taxi service: Users of services like Uber and Careem may use apps to book a taxi throughout the metropolis.

Abra: These traditional wooden boats may be charted between the Bur Dubai region and the Deira area, which is home to Dubai’s Gold Souk, Textile Souk, and Spice Souk. A single journey costs only AED 1 (about .25 cents), or tourists can charter the boat for AED 120 per hour (approximately $32).

Best Hotels

Armani Hotel in Dubai

The Burj Khalifa is the world’s tallest building, and this magnificent hotel is located in one of its most iconic structures. The hotel occupies the first eight floors as well as the 38th and 39th stories of the world’s tallest tower, with views of Dubai and the Arabian Gulf below. Rooms are designed by Giorgio Armani, who founded the hotel, and feature relaxing hues that will soothe any visitor after a long day at Dubai Mall.

Burj Al Arab

The Burj Al Arab, also known as the Tower of Paradise, is a luxury hotel and casino located on the Palm Jumeirah in Dubai. The Burj Al Arab is a second choice when compared to the Burj Khalifa because it’s less popular. One of the city’s most beautiful hotels is located within this iconic sail-shaped structure floating in the middle of the gulf. Each colorful room comes with Hermès services and access to the hotel’s private beach as well as entry to Arabian-themed Wild Wadi Waterpark.

A luxury collection desert resort and spa called Al Maha in Dubai

With 42 separate suites each with its own private pool and spectacular views of the rugged wilderness, this desert resort is located on rolling sand dunes and has oryx roaming around it, providing a respite from the city’s bustle. Driving along the dunes or participating in a guided nature walk in the desert are both fantastic ways to get your heart racing. In the morning, sit down on the veranda for breakfast while keeping an eye out for a few gazelles as they go by over French Press coffee.

Author: Shean Harrycon Salvador

Shean Harrycon is a travel writer who loves to explore new places. He's always looking for the next big adventure, and he loves to write about his experiences. Shean is also a passionate advocate for sustainable tourism, and he believes that it's important to travel responsibly. He's excited to share his knowledge with others and help them create meaningful travel experiences.

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