Introducing the city

£1.00 | د.إ.‏ 4.68

GBP | AED

Gasoline £0.39 | د.إ.‏ 1.82

One-way ticket £1.07 | د.إ.‏ 5.00

Beer £8.55 | د.إ.‏ 40.00

Main Course £6.42 | د.إ.‏ 30.00

About Dubai

Glitzy, opulent and a shopping lover's paradise, the UAE's most popular city Dubai is a playground for the rich and famous.

If you've got more money than Richard Branson after a bingo win then you'll feel right at home in Dubai. Boasting year-round sunshine and upscale resorts, the UAE's capital has become a playground for the rich and famous. Hardly surprising given that police officers drive around in Ferraris and ATMs dispense gold bars (yes really).

Inevitably then, one of Dubai's biggest draws is its shopping; from the glittering Gold Souk to luxurious Dubai Mall. Home to 1,200 shops, the mall also has its own aquarium with 33,000 species of marine life. Above lies the towering Burj Khalifa, the world's tallest building, complete with 148th floor observation deck and 122nd floor restaurant. Activity-wise, head to the Sheikh Mohammed Centre for Cultural Understanding (SMCCU) which organizes guided tours of Jumeirah Mosque, head out into the desert for a sand-dune trek or to one of the beaches - both private and public ones are available.

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Weather

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When should you visit?

April, before the temperature and humidity gets too unbearable.

Dubai has a tropical desert climate with plenty of sunshine and high sea temperatures all-year-round. The summer months (May to October) see extreme heat and humidity; during these months it's often impossible to go outside for extended periods of time. The hottest month is August with an average temperature of 43 degrees Celsius and the coolest is January with an average temperature of 24 degrees Celsius. The wettest month is February. If you are visiting during the summer months, you'll need to take adequate sun protection and be very cautious when you go outside.

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Travioor top tips

Scenic Ferry
CITY CARD
Luxe for Less

Insider Info

  • Catch an abra (a small ferry) if you want to cross Dubai Creek - it offers good value for money and scenic views.
  • Get a Dubai city card from Viator for up to fifty percent off the city's main attractions and sights.
  • Pay for a beach club day pass at one of the swanky hotels; you can use all the facilities (pool, bar, loungers) without having to shell out for a room at the property.

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Food and drink

Main Course £6.42 | د.إ.‏ 30.00

3-Course Meal £32.08 | د.إ.‏ 150.00

Cappuccino £3.57 | د.إ.‏ 16.68

Beer £8.55 | د.إ.‏ 40.00

The Scene

Known for its abundance of luxurious restaurants, Dubai's restaurant scene doesn't disappoint. Fast becoming a firm favourite on the global culinary map, the city has plenty of celebrity eateries including Jamie Oliver's Italian and Gary Rhodes' Twenty 10. For budget-friendly Arabic snacks, like falafel and tabbouleh or sweet treats like pistachio baklava, try Al Baba Sweets or XVA Café in the historic Al Fahidi area. The annual Dubai Food Festival in Spring hosts a range of activities from cookery masterclasses to desert picnics; most events are bookable online.

Alcohol is only permitted in certain areas (like hotel bars or licensed restaurants) - drinking it in a public place could land you in jail or with a hefty fine. Drinking and driving also has serious consequences. As a Muslim country, pork is not sold in local restaurants although you can find it in western eateries and supermarkets.

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History

Dubai's Story

Originally a mangrove swamp (dating back around 7000 BC), the site on which Dubai now sits was originally made up of a small group of settlements. Pre-Islamic ceramics have been found during excavations - the earliest is attributed to the 3rd century. Before Islam arrived, the local people - the Sassanians - worshiped a deity known as Bajir. After the Umayyad Caliph invaded the UAE, the country converted to Islam and over the centuries Dubai grew into a prosperous fishing town.

By the 1930s, Dubai was known for its pearl industry and had become a crucial hub for travelling traders en route to Iran and beyond. By this point the UAE had had border disputes with its neighbours for several years and when oil was discovered in Abu Dhabi, the UAE increased their exploration attempts; oil was eventually found in the waters off the coast of Dubai in 1966. Since then, with the development of a world-famous airport, city-wide infrastructure and high-end shopping centres Dubai has become one of the world's richest destinations.

Language

Marhaban | Hello
Shukran | Thank you

Arabic

Arabic is the official language of Dubai, although English is also widely spoken. Tourist attractions, signs and public transport information are often translated into English and you should have no problem in communicating while there. If you do feel like picking up some basics though, the following may be useful:

Goodbye: La al’likaa'

Excuse me: Min faḍlak/ik

Please: Mīn fāḍlīkā

Do you speak English? Hal tatakallam al ingliziya?

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Need to know

+971 Dialling Code
999 Emergency Services

Get The Low-Down

  • Dubai is part of the UAE which is an Islamic country - respect this by dressing modestly and avoid public displays of affection. 
  • It is illegal to drink in public places and alcohol is only easily available in hotel bars or licensed premises. 
  • Traffic can be horrendous during morning and mid-afternoon (rush hour); avoid roads at this time. 
  • Dubai operates on a slightly different working week, with Fridays and Saturdays considered the weekend. 
  • Drug laws are very strict - the death penalty can still be applied if you are caught. 

 

VISA INFORMATION

Find out about the visa requirements for the UAE here.

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Travioor Recommends

1. HIT THE MALL

Dubai is probably one of the most famous shopping destinations in the world. Hit the huge Dubai Mall for a once-in-a-lifetime (tax-free) shopping experience.

2. PANORAMIC VIEWS

Take in Dubai's iconic and opulent skyline from the observation deck at the top of Burj Khalifa skyscraper which is the tallest structure in the world.

3. Afternoon Tea

If you can't afford a room at the luxurious Burj Al Arab Hotel then opt for their world famous afternoon tea at the Skyview Bar for a truly decadent treat.

4. WATER PARK

Aquaventure Water Park at Atlantis the Palm is one of a kind; it features some of the world's biggest water slides, a shark safari, a zip line and a private beach.

5. DUBAI FOUNTAINS

Majestic, colourful, spectacular and other-worldly, Dubai's synchronized fountains are well-worth a visit and are great for the perfect holiday snap.


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