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30 Dubai Travel Tips: For First Time Visitors

Dubai has become one of the most popular travel destinations in the world and with good reason. Everything about this emirate seems straight out of a fairytale, that’s how unbelievable it is. The tallest building in the world, the largest choreographed fountain in the world, and many other record-breakers fill the city. Here are some tips on how to get the best out of Dubai and make your trip truly memorable.

Best Tips to Enjoy Dubai For Free

  • Instead of paying the entry fee for the Dubai Aquarium and Underwater Zoo, just enjoy the aquarium from the entrance of the Dubai Mall, where sharks and manta rays swim behind an entire humungous glass wall.
  • Explore the gold, spice and perfume souks at Bur Dubai. There’s no charge for roaming the streets of old Dubai. The quaint old streets of the Al Fahidi Historical District with the Al Fahidi Museum are a real treat. Cross the Dubai Creek paying just 1 AED for the abra ride and explore the souqs of Deira. You can spend an entire afternoon enjoying plenty of free sights and attractions. 
  • The new City Walk area is glamorous and filled with retail outlets and British accents like an authentic red post box. From the City Walk, you can get fantastic glimpses of Burj Khalifa without paying sky-rocketing ticket prices. Located between Downtown Dubai and Jumeirah Beach the City Walk is a shopping paradise that’s a mix of Europe and the Middle East.
  • Visit the world’s hippest waterside neighbourhood, the Jumeirah Beach Residence, or JBR, located at the Dubai Marina. You can swim, parasail or enjoy the beach, and enjoy mind-blowing views of the Burj Al Arab just opposite on the Palm Islands.

Best Tip to Enjoy Discounted Dubai Attractions

  • Save up to 55% on any number of Dubai attractions by using the Go-Dubai Card. It’s easy to obtain the card – just get it loaded on your smartphone and print it out and show it at any of the listed attractions when you visit.

Best Tips for Foodies in Dubai

  • Head to Al Diyafah Street for some of the tastiest, cheapest eats in Dubai. You’ll get to eat a number of cuisines here – Lebanese, Thai, Chinese, Indian and multi-culture fusion cuisine.  Dip into the shawarmas and falafels and salads that are better here than anywhere else.
  • One not to miss dish is Machboos, a fragrant Emirati dish which is made of chicken or beef simmered with rice. Try this dish at Al Fanar in Festival City. It is cheap and filling and hearty.
  • Check out Manvaar in Karama in old Dubai – you can enjoy a veritable North Indian feast here for cheap.
  • If you’re into French food, La Petite Maison in DIFC is a crowd favourite and easy on the wallet too.
  • Head to the Japanese bakery Yakitate in Deira for incredible sweet buns.
  • Sreeraj Lassi in Meena Bazaar is the place to head to for cheap and fantastic Indian sweets.

Tips for a Quick Getaway in Dubai

  • Head to the immersive vertical manmade rainforest in Dubai, the Green Planet and explore over 3000 species of rainforest flora and fauna. Enjoy watching porcupines, spiders, sloths and snakes that live within the confines of the Green Planet.
  • The best getaway from it all while in Dubai is to get to Ski Dubai, a huge indoor ski resort located within the Mall of Emirates. There are ski slopes to test every level of skill, plus a 400 meter black diamond run. There are penguins, a toboggan run and a snow playground for kids as well.
  • If you want a quick getaway from Dubai for a day, grab a bus or taxi and head to Abu Dhabi, Sharjah or Fujairah for a day trip. Everything’s connected by bus route and highways, so you can zip away and be back in a day.
  • Sign up with a reputed tour operator such as Rayna Tours and enjoy various escapes while in Dubai. You can enjoy a scintillating desert safari, a dhow cruise, a helicopter ride, a hot air balloon ride and much, much more.

Tips for Getting Around Dubai

  • The best way of getting around Dubai is via the Metro, both the Red and the Green lines. The Metro gets you everywhere except across the Dubai Creek and to the Palm Islands, which has its own monorail connected to the mainland.
  • Be sure to get yourself a NOL card and you can use it to travel the Metro, taxis and local buses without paying a fare. You can recharge your discounted NOL card at any Metro station.

Tips to Make Your Dubai Visit Safe and Respectful

  • Be sure to always dress modestly while you’re in Dubai. Keep your shoulders and knees covered, and when you’re visiting mosques and holy places, keep your head covered as well.
  • Women are required to wear the long abaya dress and a scarf when visiting mosques.
  • Dubai frowns heavily on any public displays of affection, even if it is with your own spouse.
  • You can wear bathing suits at beaches, but not while on the way to beaches or while returning to your hotel.
  • Men are not to wander without their shirt in any public place.
  • It’s considered inappropriate to wear spaghetti strap tops, Bermuda shorts, short skirts and other revealing clothing.
  • Dubai is a hot city, so there’s the risk of sunburn and dehydration. Keep a water bottle with you, and use plenty of sunscreen. Use a hat and sunglasses to protect yourself.
  • Drinking when minors are around and underage drinking are both illegal in Dubai.
  • Drinking in public is an offence and offenders can be fined or imprisoned.
  • Read up on Sharia law and regulations before you visit Dubai. Ignorance or lack of awareness can cause mistakes that can lead to fines or even imprisonment.
  • Be sure not to carry any Non-Muslim religious artefact into the city. Also be sure not to come across as though you’re preaching or promoting any religion other than the city is not allowed.
  • Also, preaching and promoting any other religion than Muslim is strictly prohibited.
  • Do not carry or be found reading any pornographic content, online or otherwise while in Dubai.
  • Don’t carry any drugs, even mildly recreational ones while in Dubai. Also, if you need to carry prescription drugs, be sure to carry your doctor’s prescription and letter with regard to your medical condition.

Conclusion

To make your visit truly memorable, visit Dubai during the grandest shopping extravaganza in January. You can buy discounted designer clothing, leather goods, electronic products, food items and a whole plethora of consumer products. You can also take part in organized movie showcases, apart from cultural and entertainment events, stunning fireworks and more. If you’re more of a foodie person, visit Dubai during the Dubai Food Festival which occurs between February and March every year.

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