Dubai is old, but Dubai is new, and yes Dubai is flashy and urbane, yet Dubai is in the middle of a hot desert and steeped in history, so here is your Travel Guide to Visiting Dubai. Dubai is an intriguing city and one that you should definitely experience.
Dubai is an eclectic mix of both the old and the new. With its strategic geographical location, Dubai has become one of the most important trading ports in the Middle East, and it has been this way for centuries. The United Arab Emirates, of which Dubai is a major city, though not the capital which is Abu Dhabi is ranked as the 8th richest country in the world by Business Insider, with Qatar at #1.
The Practicalities before you Visit Dubai
- 0.1 The Practicalities before you Visit Dubai
- 0.2 How to get from Dubai Airport to the city
- 0.3 Getting around Dubai
- 0.4 Weather in Dubai
- 0.5 About Modern Dubai’s Wealth
- 1 Your Travel Guide to Visiting Dubai
- 1.1 The Top 10 Things to do in Modern Dubai
- 1.1.1 1. Burj al Arab
- 1.1.2 2. Burj Khalifa
- 1.1.3 3. Atlantis The Palm Jumeirah
- 1.1.4 4. Visit Dubai Marina
- 1.1.5 5. Explore Infinity Tower
- 1.1.6 6. Shop at Souk at Madinat Jumeriah
- 1.1.7 7. Just wander the Dubai Mall
- 1.1.8 8. Head to the Mall of the Emirates
- 1.1.9 9. You just have to go to Jumeirah Beach Hotel
- 1.1.10 10. Definite … a Desert Safari in Dubai
- 1.2 Visiting Old Dubai – Your Travel Guide to Visiting Dubai
- 1.3 Top 9 Things to Do in Old Dubai, Bur Dubai, and Deira
- 1.3.1 The Best Things to See and Do in Dubai’s Old Quarter
- 1.3.2 1. Gold Souk
- 1.3.3 2. Grand Souk Deira
- 1.3.4 3. Take an abras or dhow on Dubai Creek
- 1.3.5 4. Dubai Heritage Village
- 1.3.6 5. Sheikh Saeed Al Maktoum’s House
- 1.3.7 6. Dubai Old Souk
- 1.3.8 7. Dubai Museum
- 1.3.9 8. Bastakiya Quarter
- 1.3.10 9. What to Eat in Old Dubai
- 1.3.11 Where to stay in Dubai
- 1.1 The Top 10 Things to do in Modern Dubai
Statement from the Dubai government: Dubai is tolerant and cosmopolitan, and all visitors are welcome. However, Islam is a way of life in the city, and therefore, tourists should adopt a certain level of cultural and religious sensitivity for the duration of their stay.
- Keep covered, particularly women. This is where a sarong will be very handy to keep your shoulders covered, and where necessary your head.The sarong – a unisex travel essential. Soft cotton trousers or a longer skirt are also advisable. If you are staying at a resort, you can wear shorts, etc., but it is ill-advised outside of a resort.
- Dubai can get very hot. Regardless, you must be respectful of the country that you have chosen to visit. Cotton is the answer, and so is respect.
- No public displays of affection. Keep your kissing and hand holding to your hotel room.
- For gay travelers, you need to be very careful of any form of PDA.Only drink inside your hotel, or at a restaurant.
- Do not swear…at all. Even on social media. You might like to read about Swearing on WhatsApp in the UAE could carry £45,000 fine or jail
- Don’t even think about drugs.
- If visiting on a Friday, please note that it is a weekend in the UAE, and most museums and retail shops in the Historical District are closed in the morning and open late in the afternoon. Opening hours also change during Islamic holidays and on the Holy Month of Ramadan.Don’t Eat in Public During Ramadan.
- Taxis in Dubai are cheap. Use them. There are ladies and family taxis driven by females These pink taxis are very popular, and couples and families can take them too.
How to get from Dubai Airport to the city
The distance between Dubai Airport and Dubai city centre is just 5 kilometres, but again that will depend on where you are staying in this amazing city. You can get from Dubai Airport to the city centre by underground, bus, or taxi, or Uber or Careem.
It will take approximately 80 minutes, depending upon where you are staying. It costs about$2. Buses to Dubai city centre run even at night.
Taxis are a great alternative. All of the taxis in Dubai are metered. Pay them in cash in the local currency – the UAE dirham. Again, depending on where you are staying will determine the cost. Remember also that there are the pink taxi’s for women and driven by women and introduced to make Muslim women feel safer. Men can also get in these pink taxis, as my husband did with me and with no issue at all.
There are green and red lines for the Dubai Airport metro. To get to city centre, use the red line. The ticket fare depends on the number of zones you go through. It will cost about 5.8 dirham per person. Use XE.comto convert currency. Metro trains are frequent, and the duration of the trip will be approximately 40 minutes. Check out the Dubai Metrowebsite for details.
Uber and/or Careem Go or taxi?
Like Uber, Careem Go offers transfers. Whether they come out ahead of taxis is much debated. As we have only used the taxi service, we have listened to other people’s opinions and are yet to make a call…but ..taxis seem to be winning.
Getting around Dubai
Really the easiest way is by taxi, but then there is the metro and there are buses. Remember Dubai is hot, so a little bot of air-conditioned comfort is never a bad thing. Visit the Dubai Tourism website for more details.
Weather in Dubai
Having been to Dubai more times than we can count, you can expect it to be quite warm….means hot. Summers are extremely hot and humid, with an average high around 41 °C (106 °F) and overnight lows around 31 °C (88 °F). Most days are sunny throughout the year. Winters are warm and short with an average high of 26 °C (79 °F) and overnight lows of 17 °C (63 °F). Source
About Modern Dubai’s Wealth
Dubai has considerable wealth, and yes it is considerable, yet “Oil comprises only seven percent of the total revenue whereas the rest of the income comes from heavy investments in industries and land.” The Richest
Dubai is a cosmopolitan city, and it is a multicultural city with workers from all around the world employed to create the best of the best in Modern Dubai. Modern Dubai has luxury hotels, shopping that bringers buyers from all around the world, food that will enchant you, beach, deserts, and some of the most amazing architecture that will overdose your senses.
The fact that Dubai is a major hub for many international airlines means that many people find themselves in this intriguing United Arab Emirates city. [clickToTweet tweet=”what to do in a Dubai stopover, then exploring both Old and Modern Dubai will have you covered.” quote=”If you are wondering what to do in a Dubai stopover, then exploring both Old and Modern Dubai will have you covered.” theme=”style6″]
Flickr image: Alex Berger
Your Travel Guide to Visiting Dubai
The Top 10 Things to do in Modern Dubai
1. Burj al Arab
This building is synonymous with Dubai and did herald in the fact that Dubai had arrived. It is a luxury hotel officially called, Burj Al Arab Jumeirah, and the only “7-star” hotel in the world. If you want to stay here, check out the latest prices. It is also one of the most photographed buildings in the world because frankly it is stunning. Jumeirah is an Arabic word meaning beautiful, and is a beach side residential area of Dubai. You will find the Jumeirah Resorts & Hotels all over the world, and their signature is luxury and total attention to service.
2. Burj Khalifa
This is the tallest building and manmade structure in the world, with the world’s highest mosque.
3. Atlantis The Palm Jumeirah
This is another easily recognized symbol of Dubai. Atlantis the Palm Jumeirah is situated on the artificial archipelago was created using land reclamation. It is a very popular hotel destination. Latest prices and reviews are here.
4. Visit Dubai Marina
The Dubai Marina is the largest man-made marina in the world. If you are getting a sense that Emiratis intend to be the best and have the best, then you would not be wrong. But then again, if they have the foresight and the ability to do it, then lucky for visitors.
5. Explore Infinity Tower
Infinity Tower is the world’s tallest high-rise building with a twist of 90˚.
Flickr Image LM TP
6. Shop at Souk at Madinat Jumeriah
Souk Madinat Jumeirah is an authentic re-creation of an ancient marketplace with traditional Middle Eastern style. It is located in the heart of Madinat Jumeirah-The Arabian Resort, Dubai.
7. Just wander the Dubai Mall
You arrive at the Dubai Mall to be greeted by the Dubai Fountain with its dancing waters. Dubai Mall is the largest shopping center in the world by area. Dubai is well recognized as a shopping nirvana with every designer label you can imagine on hand. There are also some excellent fakes to be found in Old Dubai. The Dubai Mall has a luxury hotel, the Dubai Aquarium, and Underwater Zoo.
8. Head to the Mall of the Emirates
This is often called MOE, and again has many many designer shops and restaurants. Inside MOE, you can go skiing in Dubai at Ski Dubai, the Middle East’s first indoor ski resort and snow park. The irony is that Dubai is a very hot place, but the skiing in fine.
9. You just have to go to Jumeirah Beach Hotel
Designed to look like a wave breaking the Jumeirah Beach Hotel is amazing. It has restaurants, bars, and a private beach, as well as unlimited access to the famous Wild Wadi Water Park.
Flickr image David Jones
10. Definite … a Desert Safari in Dubai
There are some tour operators with many different options, but one thing you must do is to see the desert surrounding this over the top and fabulous city, to understand just how unique it is to see a modern state of the art city in the middle of a vast desert. Your opportunities are many, but you should try to see some and then do some serious dune bashing. Riding a camel and belly dancing also add to the Arabian picture that you should have in your head. The night tours will give you your Arabian nights. Recommended: Red Dune Bashing in Dubai Including Desert Camp Experience with BBQ Dinner
Visiting Old Dubai – Your Travel Guide to Visiting Dubai
Often referred to as the heart and soul of Dubai, these are the Top 9 Things to do in Old Dubai, Bur Dubai, and Deira. Visiting these areas will show you a lot more about the Dubai, one of the major cities in the United Arab Emirates, but not the capital city. This honour goes to Abu Dhabi.
Dubai is well known for its magnificent and luxurious high-rise buildings and its state of the art malls, but to discover the real Dubai, and to understand why it has prospered, go to Old Dubai. Historically, Dubai Creek divided the city into two main sections – Deira and Bur Dubai. Bur Dubai, the historic district, is located on the western side of the Dubai Creek and Diera .
Top 9 Things to Do in Old Dubai, Bur Dubai, and Deira
We recommend the Historic Old Dubai and Dubai Souks 2 Hour Walking Tour
The Best Things to See and Do in Dubai’s Old Quarter
Let’s go Exploring Old Dubai.
1. Gold Souk
The Gold Souk is a labyrinth of covered walkways. This traditional Arabian marketplace has over 300 jewelry shops. This is where you can buy jewelry at the cheapest rate and still haggle for a much better price. The current price of gold is advertised all over the souk. Whether you are buying or not, this is a must see Souk in Old Dubai.
2. Grand Souk Deira
Once known as Al Souk al-Kabeer, “The Big Souk” this is once the largest and most important markets in Deira. Many do claim that it’s cleaned up appearance has taken away from its charm, but it is still an amazing place to wander to see and smell all of the Herbs and Spices, and to admire the amazing textile market
3. Take an abras or dhow on Dubai Creek
Dubai Creek is a saltwater creek that was so important in Dubai’s history. The creek served as a fishing area, a pearling site and a gateway for traders before oil was discovered. Now, Dubai Creek is a top tourist attraction in Old Dubai. You must take an abra, the old wooden boat at Deira Old Souk Station. The short boat ride will transport you to the other side of the Creek to Bur Dubai. It is a unique experience.
You should also take a dhow boat ride on Deira Creek and see the Old Dubai at night time while dining on traditional Emirati fare.
4. Dubai Heritage Village
Located in the Al Shindagha district is the well-preserved traditional Arabian village. The Dubai Heritage and Diving Village will show you the history of Dubai as a fishing and pearling nation.
5. Sheikh Saeed Al Maktoum’s House
This is the residence of Sheikh Saeed, the grandfather of current Dubai ruler Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid, from 1912 until his death in 1958. It is now a museum where important documents and photographs are displayed. You can do this tour.
6. Dubai Old Souk
This souq is another fabulous and frenetic Arabian marketplace. The traditionally covered souk houses hundreds of retail shops selling Arabian textile, footwear, trinkets and food. It is fun, touristy, and novel. Haggle because the Emirati enjoy it.
7. Dubai Museum
The Dubai Museum is situated in Al Fahidi Fort, the oldest building in Dubai. This is another opportunity to see Dubai’s rich history and all its antiquities.
8. Bastakiya Quarter
The Bastakiya Quarter is a historical neighborhood that lies along the bank of the Dubai Creek, and a favourite place to visit.. This is where the rich merchants lived, and beautifully preserved traditional Arabian homes with barjeels or wind catchers, are well worth seeing. There are a maze of the narrow alleys in Bastakiya district but a lot of great finds, like unique shops, cafes and art galleries.
9. What to Eat in Old Dubai
– Eat Shawarma – the most eaten food across this country, must be tried with Hummus
– Try a Camel Burger
– Have a pot of tea at Arabian Tea
– Taste Al Harees – a famous dish of UAE with highly exotic taste. It is made up of meat and wheat.
– Al Machboos -a traditional dish of UAE. The main ingredients are rice, meat, onion and dried lemon.
Old Dubai, Bur Dubai, and Deira are a fantastic juxtaposition to the luxury of the most modern Dubai. The fact that they sit comfortably with each other will keep you scratching your head. These Top 9 Things to do in Old Dubai will be a perfect way to get your head around this city.
Where to stay in Dubai
We stayed at the Radisson Blu Hotel on Deira Creek and could not fault it. Here are the latest prices and reviews.
These are the Top 9 Things to do in Old Dubai. Can you add some more?