Dubai is a place for all types of visitors! Yes, it is not only for fun and leisure seekers but also for foodies, shoppers and of course families with little ones. But with a sheer spectrum of things to see and do here, it will be quite hard to narrow down the Dubai program, especially if it’s your debut visit here. That’s why we have created this travel guide that comes with a collection of info and tips which make your Dubai visit as easier and smoother as possible.
Best Time To Go
Dubai is an amazing destination which you can visit during any part of the year. The city becomes the busiest in the winter months from November to March, thanks to many events and attractions such as Dubai Shopping Festival (DSF), New Year’s Eve festivities, Global Village, Dubai Miracle Garden, etc. Precisely, there isn’t actually any low or off-season except for its hottest months in July and August. But if you’re willing to forego outdoor fun, this is probably one of the best times to visit for an exceptionally cheap Dubai holiday.
Know Before You Go
You’ll need the following things ready for your Dubai travel.
Dubai Visa: Dependent on your nationality, you will need a visa for your entry to Dubai. You can apply for a visit visa or a multiple entry visa valid for 30 days or 90 days.
Ok to Board (OTB): This is applicable for those traveling from certain Asian countries. It’s primarily a procedure mandated by your airline provider to ensure the authenticity of your travel documents.
- Bring your Negative PCR Test taken within 48 hours or 72 hours (this depends on where you’re traveling.)
- Make sure that you have a printed test report in Arabic or English and also contain a valid QR code.
- Come prepared to undergo a PCR test again as soon as you land at Dubai International Airport.
- Download the COVID-19 DXB App and fill out a health declaration form.
- If the test result comes positive, you will have to compulsorily quarantine yourself for 10 days.
There are multiple options to get around in the city. Public transport operated by RTA is the cheapest; they are well maintained, spotless and swift too, especially Dubai Metro. But if you’ve very minimal time to spend in Dubai, it’s most ideal to opt for a city tour or a private transfer with or without a driver to explore the city. Now if you plan to get behind the wheels, don’t forget to carry your valid international driving license.
From the most affordable and mid-range (three-star and four-star hotels) to the super stylish and most luxurious (such as the sail-shaped Burj Al Arab), you will find Dubai accommodations in every category. Whichever you choose, make sure that it offers easy access to the attractions and activities that are included in your Dubai program. If you’re on a budget or planning to discover the place on your own, consider a hotel that is conveniently located close to a metro station or a bus station. For utmost savings, choose accommodation with a fully equipped kitchenette; this allows you to cook your own food while cutting down on expenses.
Other Important Information
- Dubai’s culture and traditions are drenched in its Islamic roots, so make sure that you respect them.
- Wear comfortable modest clothing in the public.
- Bring sunscreens, hats, sunglasses, etc if you plan to spend more time outdoors.
- Avoid any kind of PDAs
- Beware, photography enthusiasts! Get prior permission when you click pictures of locals and important government offices.
- Don’t smoke and litter the public place. All these would lead to fine payment.
- Finally, plan and book every aspect of your Dubai holiday much in advance, at least three months before. This applies to accommodation, transfers, airline tickets, activities, entry tickets to important Dubai landmarks, etc.
Best Things To See And Do
#1 Burj Khalifa
At a jaw-dropping height of 828 meters, it’s the world’s tallest building. Located in the center of Downtown Dubai, a visit to one or both of its observation decks on 124th and 148th levels is a must for first-timers in Dubai.
#2 The Dubai Mall
One of the world’s biggest malls is right next to Burj Khalifa. It’s a shopaholic’s paradise and foodies’ favorite with 1200 plus stores and over 200 dining options. More than that, it’s a hub of leisure and edutainment experiences, thanks to its attractions such as Dubai Aquarium and Underwater Zoo, KidZania Dubai, Dubai Ice Rink, and Ekaart Zabeel to name a few. Apart from these, make sure that you watch the stunning Dubai Fountain Show that takes place at Burj Lake, outside of the Dubai Mall.
#3 The View at the Palm Jumeirah
Dubai’s palm-shaped man-made island of Palm Jumeirah is so iconic that it’s unimaginable to miss this phenomenal attraction on your first time trip to Dubai. With the recent unveiling of this observation deck at Palm Tower, you will get to catch up with this sight in its exact true splendor without literally shelling out a fortune. Yes, till the launch of The View, the only way to take in this view was on a helicopter ride or a skydive session.
#4 Palm Fountain Show
This is another brand-new attraction that you shouldn’t miss at Palm Jumeirah. It’s the world’s biggest fountain and also the region’s only colored show where the perfect sync of water, light, and music results in a spectacle like no other. You will find this at the Pointe, against the backdrop of the majestic Atlantis, The Palm Resort.
#5 Al Bastakiya Quarter
A visit to Dubai is not complete until you glance into its past and learn about its intriguing culture and traditions. And one of the best places to step back in time is Al Fahidi Historical Neighborhood, also known as Al Bastakiya Quarter. The allure and glory of this 19th century quarter are still retained to its true form. You will get to experience it as you stroll through its narrow lanes and visit its many attractions such as Dubai Museum (inside the region’s oldest of its kind Al Fahidi Fort), Sheikh Mohammed Centre for Cultural Understanding, and Coin Museum.
#6 Desert Safari
When you plan a trip to an Arabian land, one of the first things that probably come into your mind is its seas of golden sands. Fortunately, Dubai has to its credit an astonishing desert landscape which you can experience on an all-inclusive desert safari with 4X4 dune bash, camel ride, quad biking, etc. There is a morning safari for those who wish to see Dubai’s desert by the first rays of sunlight. For a bit of Bedouin culture, nature, adventure, and culinary treats, it’s most ideal to opt for an evening desert safari or overnight desert safari.
#7 Dubai Parks and Resorts
There is no shortage of theme parks in Dubai, but this one is unique! Dubai Parks and Resorts is the first integrated resort in the region; besides several accommodations and a dedicated retail and dining section, it is home to four theme parks (Motiongate Dubai, Bollywood Parks Dubai, and LEGOLAND Dubai) and a water park (LEGOLAND Water Park).
#8 AquaFun Dubai
This is a must-visit for water park lovers. But don’t expect this to be your ordinary water park with regular rides, slides, and games! AquaFun is the world’s largest inflatable water park which is completely set outdoors on JBR Beach, along with the eclectic ambiance of Jumeirah Beach Residence.
#9 Ski Dubai
Opened more than a decade ago, Ski Dubai continues to be one of the coolest and most wondrous attractions in Dubai. It’s the third-largest indoor ski resort in the world and the first of its kind in the Middle East. With tons of snow at any given time, it’s where you can enjoy snow activities such as skiing, snowboarding, tobogganing, and sledding throughout the year including harsh summer months.
#10 Dhow Cruise
Dhows are traditional vessels that were once actively used for pearl farming, fishing, etc in the pre-oil phase. They are now converted into floating restaurants and make a great alternative for those who wish to see the city skyline from a distinct perspective on water. A dhow cruise in Dubai lasts for about two hours across Dubai Marina or Dubai Creek and mostly includes dining and traditional shows like Tanura.
A first-time visit to Dubai can be overwhelming but you’ll be able to make the most of it with a bit of research and proper planning. So go forth and take cues from this extensive travel guide to put together your perfect Dubai checklist and travel itinerary.