Dubai is one of the largest and most popular cities of UAE but despite the cosmopolitan almost secular air of Dubai, UAE is a Muslim country. Hence, a large number of day-to-day activities change as a result of cultural differences. Although Dubai is more liberal when compared to other destinations in the Middle East, you should still follow some points.
There are certain tips which can help you to spend an amazing time in Dubai.
1. Dubai metro
The first thing which needs to be mentioned in this Dubai Travel Guide is Dubai Metro. The Red and Green lines cover most of the places. And you have connecting buses from metro stations for nearby areas. Dubai metro operates between 5:30 am and 11:15 pm usually, extended timings during public holidays in ramadan, bakrid and national holidays.
You can get a silver NOL card for AED 20/- with 14/- AED as balance which you can use for the metro and for RTA buses. Short distance trips are charged 1.80 to 2.30 AED and long distance (between different zones) are charged 4.10 to 5.80 AEDThere is an RTA mobile app called ‘WOJATI’ where you can find the exact times for the metro and buses.
2. Book everything in advance for the best deals
When I visited with my family a few years ago, we booked a desert expedition a week in advance. When we got to Dubai and at the expedition place, the person who gave us the tour said that usually people who want to do tours like these don’t book in advance and as a result: 1. pay higher prices and 2. may not even be able to get a spot on the tour they want.
3. Alcohol is authorized only at home or in bars
Never drink alcohol outside or be drunk on the streets. It can land you in trouble. There are many independent restaurants in Dubai, but none of them are licensed to serve alcohol. If you’re planning to have a few drinks, make sure you’re going to restaurants and bars that sit within a hotel complex. Again, being an international zone’ means that alcohol is permitted and you’ll find that all of the best restaurants in Dubai are all found within Dubai’s hotels. You don’t need to be staying at the hotel to eat at their restaurants.
4. Public display of affection is not appreciated in Dubai
If you are travelling with your spouse, you should avoid too much affection. You can hold hands in public but kissing on lips or anything beyond that is a strict NO. It is not just Dubai but all over the UAE.
5. Book restaurants in advance
If you’re going out for dinner, pick a restaurant in advance and make a reservation. Unlike many other bustling cities, it’s not so easy to just rock up somewhere and get a table, especially to the more upmarket eateries.
Taking photographs of certain government buildings and military installations isn’t allowed. Never take a photograph with a person not in your traveling party in it without asking for permission first. Unless you are in a tourist area where photography is expressly permitted
Related: 7 Sightseeing Places in Abu Dhabi for Free
The UAE is a Muslim country, so it’s especially important to think about bringing clothes that will allow you to dress modestly in certain areas. When it comes to dressing appropriately in Dubai, the first thing is to distinguish the difference between public and hotel spaces.
In public areas (e.g. malls, cafes, the airport, public transport), women and men are expected to dress modestly. You should try covering your shoulders and legs. Women should also not reveal too much boob or bum as it is not considered a good look. Nobody is going to call the police if you’re showing too much skin but it’s better to respect the local culture.
Hotels are seen as international zones where standard holiday / beach / hot weather attire is perfectly acceptable. I wouldn’t advise you wander around the hotel lobby in your bikini and shorts, but all of that is absolutely fine by the pool and beach. There are also plenty of day beach clubs where you can lounge in your beachwear and bikinis all day.
It is a very hot place all year round. So, remember to carry a lot of light colored clothes.(100% cotton clothes are recommended)
8. Shake hands
Shake hands with all the men you are introduced to EVERY TIME you meet them. but don’t make the first offer to shake hands with a woman. If she’s comfortable (and many are) she will make the first offer.
9. Try talking to local people in the cafes
Emiratis are a small minority in their own country and are often thought of as being hard to approach. Nothing could be further from the truth and most are very accommodating and love to talk about their culture and country and help you learn.
Don’t try to mangle Arabic if you don’t speak it. You’ll learn phrases from the wrong dialect and just embarrass yourself. EVERYONE speaks English – many better than you and me.
If you go during Ramadan make sure you don’t eat outside. Food courts will be open in malls and you can eat there. Also you can eat in your cars without being seen though it isn’t advisable.
The most pleasant time to visit Dubai extends from October to March. The weather is great and it’s not too hot.