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Dubai is the second-largest of the seven emirates that together constitute the United Arab Emirates. This is one of the fastest growing areas anywhere in the world with buildings being erected at an enormous speed. Plans are even more ambitious with hundreds of high rise buildings to be added (including the highest building in the world) and thousands of islands in the form of the world or palms which are for the rich and famous only. Unfortunately, much of the old and original Dubai is hidden away in between, but can still be found in the old quarter of the city.
Dubai is expanding so rapidly that you can not really speak of neighbourhoods, but you would rather divide the city in the old town, that spreads along the Dubai Creek, and the new parts that spread out along the coast line. For travellers purposes, there is a handy division in districts:
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The Burj al Arab (the tower of Arabs) has become a landmark of Dubai, and one of the most famous buildings virtualy overnight after being finished in 1999. The very recognisable building that is shaped to resemble the sail of a Dhow, a local fishing boat. The structure is 321 metres tall, and stands on an artificial island 280 metres away from the beach. It is connected to the mainland by a bridge.
The building serves as a luxery hotel with 202 rooms. A hotel room is not cheap, the cheapest room costs about a thousand US$ a night, the Royal suits sets you back around US$ 28,000. If you want to arrive in style from the airport you can be picked up by a Rolls Royce or a helicopter.
Officially opened on 4 January 2010, Burj Khalifa (Arabic: برج خليفة "Khalifa Tower"), formerly known as Burj Dubai, took six years to complete. The tower is named after Khalifa bin Zayed, the current President of the United Arab Emirates and ruler of Abu Dhabi. With a height of 828 metres (2716 feet), Burj Khalif is the tallest man-made structure in the world, topping the previous recordholder (Taipei 101) by a staggering 319 metres. It also is nicknamed "the Needle" and "The Tower of Bable". It has 168 floors, with the upper 30 to 40 floors being so small that they are useless, apart from storage room. Counting all the floors and the podium, it has 465,000 m² of surface space. In the skyscraper you will find 1,044 luxury appartments, 49 floors of offices and the 7-star Armani Hotel, with 160 rooms that are designed by Armani. An observation deck, named At The Top, is located on Level 142 of the tower. Tickets for At The Top are available online and also from the reception at the lower ground level of The Dubai Mall, located within the building.
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Jumeirah Beach is the famous beach resort area about 15 kilometres south of the centre of Dubai. The Burj al Arab is located here, as well as the Jumeirah Beach hotel and the waterpark 'Wild Wadi'. There is also the Jumeirah Mosque, one of only a few mosques which is open for non-Islamic tourists, which has regular morning tours. In 2009, the FIFA Beach Soccer World Cup was held here as well.
If you want to learn about Emirati Culture a visit to the Jumeirah Mosque is a place where you can get some insights. The Sheikh Mohammed Centre for Cultural Understanding (SMCCU) hosts visits of the Grand Jumeirah Mosque 6 days a week Saturday through Thursday at 10:00am. A reservation is not needed to attend, but you must arrive at the main entrance to the Jumeirah Mosque by approximately 9.45am. Each tour lasts approximately 75 minutes. 10AED per person, children under 12 free. Parties of 10 or more should contact the SMCCU prior to your visit. Modest dress is preferred, however traditional attire can be borrowed from the Mosque. SMCCU offers more cultural activities you can attend during your stay in Dubai.
Shopping is a major activity for Dubai visitors. Ibn Battuta mall, Mall of the Emirates, Bur Juman, Magrudy's shopping mall are some of the numerous malls that have sprouted around the city in the past decade.
In January, the Dubai Marathon takes center stage. There are 1.8 mile (three km), 6.2 mile (10 km), and 31 mile (50 km) races, with the winners receiving large sums of money. Thousands of participants come to the UAE to join, with an increasing number of runners every year.
Shopaholics need to remember to breathe because the Dubai Shopping Festival is a month-long event. Every mall in the city reduces its prices during January and February, attracting thousands from around the globe. There are concerts and entertainment as a backdrop.
Every year, the best golfers from around the world make their way to Dubai, where the Desert Classic takes place. The prize money allures the best of the best and spectators if they can get a hold of the highly coveted tickets. The tournament is held at the Emirates Golf Club in March.
The Emirates World Series of Horse Racing concludes in Dubai, where the world’s richest race takes place. Held in April, the Dubai World Cup Horse Race welcomes thousands of spectators, along with the best jockeys, trainers, and horses from the world over. The event is run from the Nad Al Sheba Racecourse, which provides memorable entertainment and a social atmosphere in the UAE.
At the end of Ramadan, the cities of the UAE celebrate with parties and feasts. Both visitors and locals can share in the spoils as Dubai and Abu Dhabi throw social events for several days to mark the end of the Islamic fasting period in September.
The Dubai film festival takes place in November and attracts not only thousands of cinema enthusiasts from across the Middle East and Europe, but famous producers and Hollywood stars for screenings all over the city.
Commemorating the formation of the UAE and the independence of the region from Britain, National Day is celebrated across the country in December with performances and events in Dubai and Abu Dhabi. Accommodations are hard to come by at this time, so book well in advance.
Weather in Dubai generally is warm to hot and dry. The hottest months are between June and September when temperatures can rise up to 45 °C or even more. Humidity can be high as well, although this mainly applies to the coastal areas. Still, the best times to visit are from October to April with warm and dry conditions, although some rainshowers are possible during the wintermonths.
|Avg Max||24 °C||24.6 °C||27.9 °C||32.4 °C||36.8 °C||38.8 °C||40.6 °C||40.4 °C||38.7 °C||35.1 °C||30.5 °C||26.2 °C|
|Avg Min||13.7 °C||14.5 °C||17 °C||20.1 °C||23.5 °C||26.1 °C||28.9 °C||29.3 °C||26.3 °C||22.7 °C||18.3 °C||15.4 °C|
Dubai International Airport (DXB) is a major airport just 4,6 kilometres southeast of Dubai centre. Dozens of airlines serve hundreds of destinations. Emirates Airlines has its base in Dubai, and is responsible for around 64% of all flights in and out of DXB. It has flights to over 142 cities in about 78 countries, making it one of the biggest airlines in the world. Dubai International Airport handled over 70 million passengers in 2014, resulting in the 6th busiest airport in the world. In 2014 there was an average of over 6,800 weekly flights operated by nearly 130 airlines to over 220 destinations across all six continents.
To/from the airport
The new Al Maktoum International Airport (DWC) will start passenger operations from March 2011 onwards and will be one of the largest airports in the world and a major hub for flights between most continents.
Some of the main destinations from Dubai International Airport are Moscow, London, Amsterdam, Paris, Frankfurt, Nairobi, Delhi, Mumbai, Beijing, Singapore, Kuala Lumpur, Johannesburg, Rome, Hong Kong, Auckland, Cairo, Cape Town, Casablanca, Shanghai, New York, Sydney, Tokyo, Toronto, Perth, Seoul, Washington, D.C., Istanbul and Bangkok.
A great alternative for some low-cost airlines is the nearby Sharjah International Airport (SHJ) which is just about half an hour from downtown Dubai. It has flights to most major cities in the Middle East and also to various cities in India and other countries in southern Asia and eastern Africa. It is the main hub for budget carrier Air Arabia, which has the bulk of flights.
It's easy to get to/from Dubai, though the traffic during rush hours can be dramatic. Once you are outside the city, traffic is relatively light though, except on the route to Sharjah. There are dozens of international and local car rental companies that offer cars from small sedans to luxury 4wd vehicles. Be sure to have zero excess Insurance and ask for policies regarding crossing borders to Oman.
The Government of Dubai operates a network of buses linking Dubai city with the capitals of the other six emirates of the UAE. The buses run under the name Emirates Express and operate from various bus terminals in Dubai.
There are daily connections between Dubai and Muscat, the capital of Oman, taking around 4 to 5 hours.
Several ferries and fast catamarans travel between Iran and Dubai. Connections include Bandar Lengeh to Dubai, and Bandar Abbas to Dubai. Check the Iran Traveling Center for more details about schedules and prices.
Many people get around by car but the roads get extremely congested, especially during rush hours. Travellers wanting to drive themselves better keep it to a minimum.
A day pass valid for unlimited rides on the metro, tram and buses costs Dh22, while the Nol Silver stored-value card costs Dh20 (including AED14 worth of balance) and gives a 10% discount on both metro and bus fares. Both are available at metro stations and major bus stations. The Silver card is useful for public transport users who stay in Dubai for more than a day. Check out at the end of your trip (this includes buses).
Taxis are the most common means of public transport. However, it is also one of the most frustrating ones as it is very difficult to get one during peak hours or in front of shopping malls. One would have to walk a long distance to get away from the crowds waiting to catch a cab to have a better chance of getting one.
More buses now ply the city than in the 90's but information on the bus routes is not easily available to the new visitor and bystanders on the road do not help with queries.
On the 9th of September 2009, the Dubai Metro started operations. It is a fully automatic system, the waiting platforms are airconditioned and there are special VIP areas as well. The first line to be opened was the Red Line, the Green Line is still under construction and there are a few more lines planned as well. The Green Line will start operations in June 2010 if all goes well. After this completion, it will be the longest fully automatic metro network in the world (current is in Vancouver). The Red Line runs from Jebel Ali Port, the American University in Dubai, through the city centre to Al Rashidiya. The Green Line will run from Festival City, through the city centre, Dubai International Airport Terminal 2 and the Airport Free Zone. The Purple and Blue Line will form a major transport connection between the current airport and the new Al Maktoum International Airport, expected to be in operation from June 2010 onwards. Both lines will be in operation from 2012 onwards and a Yellow Line was announced in 2008, but has no deadline of operation yet. For an overview, see the Dubai Metro Map.
The latest of Dubai's modern transportation system is the Dubai Tram, which opened on November 12, 2014. It provides commuters a comfortable transit service around the prime business and leisure districts of Dubai. The Dubai Tram operates for 19 hours daily running for 14.5 kilometers along Al Sufouh Road. It passes around the vibrant Dubai Marina where passengers are treated to breathtaking sights of towering skyscrapers and luxury yachts, and then travels down Jumeirah passing by the iconic Burj Al Arab.
The Dubai Tram connects with the Dubai Metro at the Jumeirah Lakes Towers and DAMAC stations, and links with the monorail of Palm Jumeirah. Outside of Europe, the Dubai Tram is the first tram system that uses the state-of-the-art ground cable system which eliminates the unsightly and dangerous overhead cables.
An easier way of crossing the Dubai Creek is by abra, essentially a small ferry. Abra stations are located along the Creek on both the Bur Dubai and Deira sides, and the system of filling the boats is remarkably efficient. The cross-river trip costs 1 AED per passenger, payable to the driver after the boat has left the station, and affords a very picturesque view of the city. Abras set off very regularly, and the service is available round-the-clock. The Waterbus is another option for tousists who want to go by boat but avoid the abra crowd (or the heat). It is a part of Dubai's public transport system. The waterbus also features a 'tourist route' round trip. While this is convenient, it can get quite expensive (AED 50 for an adult, AED 25 for a child).
Some areas are easily navigated on foot, but mind the heat in summer, when it's better to stick to short distances and use public transport and taxis as well.
Shawarma is the most available food item on almost all streets (and cheap) in Dubai. It is the Arabic equivalent of the burger. It is meat that has been cooked on a skewer and then cut into thin strips and placed into a kuhbus (pita) bread with vegetables and dressing. It costs about 5 AED for either the plain-jane variety or the more exotic Lebanese and Iranian varieties. The shawarma sold by Indian restaurants are arguably the cheapest.
Another local snack is fala-fil (felafel, falafel), which is as cheap as shawarma.
Most of the American fast food chains have set up shop, including KFC, Chillis, TGI Fridays, Starbucks, and McDonalds. The beauty of the food in Dubai is that you will probably find cuisine for every taste. All food is halal.
Dubai has a big selection of budget Indian food. Dosa, vada, idlee, samosa, chapaati/roti, with generous servings of sabji (cooked vegetable stew) are available at throwaway prices, typically less than 10 AED per course. The more expensive stuff costs up to USD 5. Bur Dubai (particularly Meena Bazaar area) and Karama are the places that abound in these restaurants. Most of them are open from 7:00am till 10:00pm or 11:00pm throughout the week.
Pork is eaten here mostly by non-Muslim Filipinos and Europeans. Pork sections exclusive for non-Muslims are found in Spinneys (numerous branches, including ones in Jumeirah and Dubai Marina), Al Maya Lal's (generally caters to Filipinos; there's a branch in Satwa) New Westzone Supermarket (has a branch in Satwa that's bigger than nearby rival Al Maya Lal's).
Dubai has several laws regarding alcohol which travelers should be aware of:
|Al Sharq Hotel||Rolla Square SHARJAH Dubai||Hotel||-|
|Arabian Dreams Hotel Apartments||P.O.B: 31993 Bur Dubai - Mankhool||Apartment||-|
|Flora Park Deluxe Hotel Apartments||Near Deira City Centre, Port Saeed Road Deira||Hotel||-|
|Golden Sands Hotel Apartments||Mankhool Street, Bur Dubai Behind Bur Juman Shopping Centre||Hotel||86|
|Nihal Hotel||58 al Makhtoom Street Diera Dubai||Hotel||-|
|Ramee Hotel Apartments||Al Rolla Street||Hotel||86|
|The Country Club Hotel||Behind New Gold Souk||Hotel||83|
|Admiral Plaza Hotel||Al Nahdha Street Po Box 26888||Hotel||-|
|Al Jawhara Gardens Hotel||P.O. Box No.: 121711||Hotel||-|
|Dunes Hotel Apartments Muhaisnah||Al Barsha Behind Mall of Emirates P.O. Box 115557||Apartment||-|
|Ramee International Hotel||Nasser Square PO Box 26941 Deira||Hotel||-|
|Dunes Hotel Apartments Br||Al Muhaisnah 4 Amman street Before lulu village||Apartment||-|
|Mercure Gold Hotel||Al Mina Road||Hotel||-|
|Marco Polo Hotel||Al Muteena St. Deira||Hotel||-|
|Dream Palace Hotel||Al Muraqqabat Rd||Hotel||-|
|Karama Hotel||Kuwaity street Karama Dubai||Hotel||-|
|Orchid Hotel||Al rigga road Dubai United arab emirates||Hotel||-|
|IMPERIAL SUITE HOTEL||Rolla Street Near Al Khaleej Bur Dubai||Hotel||-|
|Al Jawhara Hotel Apartment||Al Jawhara Hotel Apartment Oppsite Deira City Centre Deira Dubai||Apartment||-|
|Al Jawhara Metro hotel||Al Jawhara Metro hotel Near to Union Metro Station Fishroundabout Deira Dubai||Hotel||-|
|Moon Valley Hotel Apartments||Bank Street Opposite Bur Juman Mall Bur Dubai||Apartment||-|
|Dubai Palm Hotel||Al Muteena Street Dubai||Hotel||-|
|Rush Inn Hotel||Khalid Bin Walid Road Bur Dubai||Hotel||-|
|Crystal Living Courts||Al Barsha Near The Greens||Apartment||-|
|Oaks Liwa Heights||Jumeirah Lakes Towers||Apartment||-|
|Topaz Living Courts||Al Barsha Facing Mall of Emirates||Apartment||-|
|Opal Living Courts||Al Barsha Near Mall of The Emirates||Apartment||-|
|Savoy Park||10 b Al Mankhoul Street||Hotel||-|
|Savoy Suites Hotel Apartments||Mankhool Bur Dubai||Apartment||-|
|Savoy Crest Hotel Apartments||Off Bank Street 18 Bur Dubai||Apartment||-|
|Avenue Hotel||Al Rigga Road Opposite to ADCB||Hotel||-|
|Orient Guest House||Historic Bastakiya Area Opposite Al Musalla P/office Al Fahidi Street||Guesthouse||-|
|Arabian Courtyard||Al Fahidi Street Bur Dubai||Apartment||-|
|Landmark Hotel||Al Nasser Square Deira,||Hotel||-|
|York International Hotel||Khalid bin walid road Bur Dub||Hotel||-|
|Highland City Hotel||Khaleed Bin Waleed street||Hotel||-|
|Aluruba Hotel||Sikkat Al Khail Street Al Rass United Arab Emirates||Hotel||-|
|Waterfront Hotel Apartments||Khalid Bin Waleed Bank Street||Apartment||-|
|Dolphin Hotel Apartments||Khalid Bin Al Waleed Street Bur Dubai||Apartment||-|
|Jormand Suites||Al Raffa Street United Arab Emirates||Hotel||-|
|Arabian Park Hotel||Al Jadaf area near Al Wasl Hospital behind Dubai Police Club||Hotel||-|
|Al Shams Plaza Hotel & Apartment||Off Mankhool St - Dubai||Apartment||-|
|Semiramis Hotel||Al rigga street Deira||Hotel||-|
|FLORA GRAND||Al Rigga Street Deira||Hotel||-|
|Number One Tower Suites||Sheikh Zayd Road||Apartment||-|
|Ramee Guestline Deira Hotel||Near Clock Tower Al Rigga Street||Hotel||-|
|Ramee Guestline Hotel Apt 2||Behind New Spinney’s Next to Burjuman Shoping Mankhool Street Burdubai||Hotel||-|
|Ramee Royal Hotel||P.O. Box 26816, Khalid Bin Waleed St.||Hotel||-|
|Regent Palace Hotel||Opp. Burjuman Shopping Centre besides Khalid Bin Al Waleed Underground Dubai MetroStation||Hotel||-|
|Regal plaza||Mankhool Road (Bur Dubai) Kalid Bin Waleed Road||Hotel||-|
|Regent Beach Resort||1 Beach Road Open Beach||Hotel||-|
|Ramee Guestline Hotel Dubai||Al Rigga Street Deira||Hotel||-|
|St. George Hotel||Al Ras, Deira Baniyas Road||Hotel||-|
|Mövenpick Hotel Jumeirah Beach||Jumeirah Beach Residence||Hotel||-|
|Cassells Al Barsha Hotel||Al Barsha 1, Shk Zayed Road||Hotel||-|
|Grand Midwest Bur Dubai Hotel Apartments||Bank Street Behinde Bur dubal Shopping Mall||Apartment||-|
|Coral Deira Hotel||Al Muraqqabat Street deira dubai||Hotel||-|
|Corp Executive Al Barsha||Al Barsha 11||Apartment||-|
|Coral Oriental Dubai||Al Naif Road Burj Nahar Roundabout Deira||Apartment||-|
|Coral Boutique Hotel & Spa||Al Barsha Sheikh Zayed Road||Apartment||-|
|Coral Al Khoory Hotel Apartments||Al Barsha Sheikh Zayed Road Dubai||Apartment||-|
|GRAND CENTRAL HOTEL||Al Rigga Road, diera Dubai||Hotel||-|
|Sandras Inn||Al naser Square, Diera||Hotel||-|
|Khalidia Hotel Apartments||Al Maktoum Street||Apartment||-|
|Ascott Park Place Dubai||Sheikh Zayed Road||Hotel||-|
|SUN AND SAND HOTEL||Al rigga Buteen, Near clock tower Deira, dubai||Hotel||-|
|Ramada Hotel Dubai||4 A Street||Hotel||-|
|Dunes Hotel Apartments Oud Metha||Near to American Hospital Oud Metha||Apartment||-|
|Ramee Rose Hotel||Tecom||Hotel||-|
|Marina View Hotel Apartments||Apartment||-|
|Miami Hotel||Naif Road, Deira Near U A E Exchange||Hotel||-|
|Coral Hotel Aden||Khormaksar,Aden Republic of Yemen||Hotel||-|
|Dusit Princess City Centre Dubai||Garhoud Road Deira Adjacent To The Etihad Buildin||Hotel||-|
|Hallmark Hotel||Al Rigga Street||Hotel||-|
|Pacific Hotel||P.O.Box: 21423, Dubai||HOTEL||-|
|Fortune Classic Hotel Apartments||Damascus Street near Airport Free Zone||APARTMENT||77|
|Ramee Rose Hotel||The One Tower, Sheikh Zayed Rd||Hotel||-|
|Ewa Hotel Dubai||Al Khaleej Road Near Al Baraha Hospital, Deira||Hotel||-|
|Fortune Boutique Hotel||Burj Nahar, near Naif Intersection, Deira||HOTEL||76|
|Dubai's Jumairah Beach Studios||Althaniya Street Al Manara, Jumairah||GUESTHOUSE||-|
|AlHamra Hotel Dubai||Deira - Abu Baker Al Siddique st. Near Clock Tower||HOTEL||-|
|Coral Boutique Villas||Al Barsha||HOTEL||-|
|Marmara Hotel Apartments||Al Barsha 1 PO Box 63907||HOTEL||-|
|Savoy Central Apartments||Al Rolla Road||Apartment||-|
|CORP Executive Al Khoory Hotel – Al Wasl||4 Al Wasl Road||Hotel||-|
|Fortune Plaza Hotel||Al Qasis Dubai||HOTEL||-|
Internet cafés are fairly common in the larger cities, and web censorship is at times odd, but rarely obtrusive. Free wifi is rolled out over the country, starting with Abu Dhabi en Dubai in 2014 and 2015, and many places like hotels, restaurants, bars and coffee places have free wifi as well.
See also International Telephone Calls
The country code is 971. Emergency numbers include 999 (police), 998 (ambulance) and 997 (fire), though the general 112 number can be used as well.
The mobile phone network uses the GSM technology and use is widespread. The format for dialing is: +971-#-### ####, where the first "#" designates the area code. Key area codes include Dubai (4), Sharjah (6) and Abu Dhabi (2). Calls to mobile phones use the operator's area codes: (50/56) for Etisalat and (55) for Du.
If you bring your own cellphone, be sure to switch off roaming to avoid high costs, or otherwise purchase a local SIM card from Du or Etisalat. You need your passport with valid visa to purchase the SIM card.
Emirates Post provides services in the country. It's fairly affordable and reliable and many post offices keep long hours from Saturday to Thursday, usually from around 7:30am to 8:00pm or even a little later. Most are closed on Fridays, though some are open for a few hours. If you want to send packages internationally, you might want to use companies like DHL, TNT, FedEx or UPS, as they are fast, reliable and competitively priced. A good alternative is the country's own Empost UAE.
We have a comprehensive list of accommodation in Dubai searchable right here on Travellerspoint. You can use our map to quickly compare budget, mid-range or top of the range accommodation in Dubai and areas nearby.
Ask freshmint_sa a question about Dubai
Lived there for 6 years aand 2 of them worked as a professional travel guide.
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Dubai is my second home, been living here for more than 15 years.
It's one of the top tourist destination and an awesome city to live.
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Having recently visited Dubai, I had done a lot of research on different places to visit and things to do. So hoping that my research would help someone else.
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Been there... done that...
As a holiday destination, stopover destination and long layover ...
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having being lived here from 2006 and roamed around most of the emirates, can help any one on hotels, destinations, leisure activities, restaurants, sight seeing etc
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