Dubai Travel Guide
Dubai is one of the cities in the Middle East that are very open to welcoming tourists. It is one of the safest cities, where visitors will feel safe while exploring the area and it’s famous for the amazing sightseeing attractions such as Burj Khalifa(the world’s tallest building ) and Dubai Mall (the world’s largest shopping mall) and much more. When in Dubai you can spend your day on the beaches and the evening watching the sunset over the vast desert. Dubai has it all! this city offers plenty of fun and entertainment, a little preparation can go a long way when taking a trip to Dubai. According to theordinary-traveler experience, you can plan your trip, here’s our Dubai Travel Guide, everything you need to know about making the most of your Dubai holidays.
When To Plan
As we know Dubai is one of the hottest places, so if you’re not a fan of the heat, I recommend you to avoid visiting during Dubai’s hottest months from April to September where temperature increases up to 49°C and it is not only hot it’s also extremely humid. If the heat doesn’t bother you, you can have some great discounts and also avoid the crowds with a visit during the summer. As per my experience, the best time to visit Dubai is during the winters from the month of November to March.
Currency and Cards
The name of the Currency is Arab Emirates Dirham (AED) or Dirham (Dhs). In Dubai, there it’s pretty uncommon to pay for any services with any currency other than the Dirham. if you are carrying cash you can exchange it, from currency exchange in UAE. But make sure to find an exchange service that offers you fair rates.
In the UAE or Dubai, you can use a valid international master card or visa card. Prior to this please confirm with your bank that for your card international uses are activated or not. if not, please ask them to activate.
ATMs are situated nearly everywhere, and foreign debit cards can usually be used in order to take out cash.
In Dubai, they have two network carriers Du and Etisalat. From Dubai airport, you can get a free sim card of the DU network. if you are not getting a free sim card, as per my experience I would suggest not buying from the airport, it cost 3 times higher than the market price. if you know someone who stays in Dubai better ask them to buy a sim for you or you can buy from shops (in Old Dubai you can check in grocery shops they keep the new sim cards and you can buy on cheap rates) by providing your passport and visa copy.
First thing you need to know how much budget do you have? accordingly, you can plan your trip. As we know Dubai is not cheap it would be as expensive as you want it to be. Metro is very cheap for getting around the city and Taxis will be quite expensive where the hotel’s range will be from cheap to high. so here I can mention some points which will help you to plan your trip in a budget.
If you’re backpacking for Dubai, my suggested budget is AED 300 (Rs.6000) per day. This is assuming you’re staying in a sharing room, eating cheap meals, cooking yours some meals, visiting a few attractions, and using the local transportation. In Dubai, if you like sharing rooms better to book Airbnb which starts around AED 100 -150 per night, here hostels are not that common, and the cheapest hostels cost around AED. 100-200, I would suggest avoiding hostels since it’s not good in the city.
On a mid-range budget of about AED 600 -700(Rs.12000- 14000), you can stay in a nicer private room or budget hotel, eat out at mid-range restaurants, take some guided tours, and visit any attraction you want.
If you want only private rooms in 4-star hotels, take cabs anywhere, eat out every meal, take any tours you want, and spend with nothing in mind, you can expect to spend around AED 1500 -3000 (Rs. 30000 – 60000) per day. If you want the best meals in the city, expect to spend even more! Dubai does luxury well so you can really go luxury here. You’ll need a minimum of AED1500. After that, there is no limitation.
As we all know Dubai have many tourist attraction so I would suggest making a plan for 4-5 days, but if you would like to plan for 2-3 days still you can see the main tourist places. Above mentioned budget is exclusive of Air tickets and visa charges.
Air ticket charges will be around Rs. 16000 -20000 round trip, if you want to go for better like emirates or any other / Business class charges will be high.
Dubai has a great public transport (Metro, Buses, Taxi) facility all over the city, Dubai metro links most of the popular attraction in the city and it is well-maintained but you cannot go everywhere by metro, so you can take public buses which can take you anywhere. Here are some things you need to know about the metro and buses-
- You can expect some crowd during (7-9 am and 5-7 pm), otherwise its really comfortable to travel.
- In Metro there is a separate cabin for Gold Class passengers, you must only use it if you are holding a Gold Nol card .otherwise you might be fined for some amount.
- In the metro and buses, they have a separate cabin for only Females.
- Nol cards should have a minimum balance that you must maintain its 7.5 AED.
- Sometimes authority comes to check so always follow the rules,if you don’t want to get fined.
- Chewing gum, eating, drinking is prohibited in the metro and buses, if you do so you will be fined for that.
NOL Cards- Nol cards are reloadable cards that give you access to Dubai public transport like- metro, buses, trams, and taxies. There are 4 types of cards- Red, Silver, Gold, and Blue
- Let us focus on Red tickets because it’s the most suitable for tourists, so basically the red ticket is a disposable paper ticket that you can top up. Initially, it cost AED 6, can only be used up to 10 single journeys.
- It can be used on one mode of transportation at a time, Metro only or Bus only. You can not use one card for the metro and then for a bus later. if you change the mode of transport you will have to buy separate tickets.
- If you feel like using different modes of transport you might need to consider buying a Pass, so that you can use all public transport an unlimited number of times within the covered period.
- Types of pass – 1 day,7day, 30 days, 90 days where 1-day pass covers all zones and cost around AED 23.
By Taxi- There are thousands of taxis roaming on the street of Dubai Minimum fare of AED 12. Here they have separate taxis for solo female or group of females. Uber operates in Dubai, so using the app you can book Uber cabs if you are more comfortable with it.
Rent a car – In Dubai tourist or visitors can drive a Dubai-registered car in the UAE if you have an international driving license. renting a car is definitely worth it, you can travel all over the UAE with fewer expenses. However, most of the places you will have to pay for parking whether it be cheap or expensive. Some places will have to pay toll charges (Salik).
To visit a popular holiday destination like Dubai, you will require a tourist visa that is valid for a particular duration. The Dubai visa in the form of an electronic authorization (E-Visa) can be obtained by submitting your basic travel documents and information which will be mentioned below.
Indians holding valid US, UK, Schengen, etc visa do not require a separate Dubai (UAE) visa, they can enter inside Dubai (UAE) based on these countries’ visas directly upon landing by filling up a simple form.
If you are applying for a Dubai travel visa, then you may expect to receive it in just 3-4 working days.
Dubai Visa types
There are different types of Dubai visas based on their validity and entry types – 96 hours, 14 days, 30 days and 90 days. The Dubai visa fees will also vary based on the type that you will opt for. Your Dubai visa application process will depend on the purpose and duration of your stay.
|Visa Types||Visa fees|
|Transit visa||Rs 4,500 approx|
|14 days Single entry short-term visa (Tourist visa)||Rs 6,000 approx|
|30 days Single entry / Multi entry visa||Rs 6,500 approx|
|90 days visit visa – Single entry / Multi entry||Rs 17,000 approx|
Documents required for Dubai visa application
- Scanned colour copy of the first and last page of your passport
- Passport should be valid for at least 6 months
- Scanned colour copy of your pan card
- Scanned colour copy of your passport-size photograph.
- Confirmed return air ticket (not mandatory for application but during immigration they ask for a return ticket)
Where to Stay
You will find some of the most expensive hotels in Dubai, but there are many affordable options as well it completely depends on your choice. Here I can mention some of the best areas where you can think of staying in the affordable range. if you would like to stay in New Dubai areas that will be quite expensive but still you may find some hotels in your range too. I have identified some of the main areas in new Dubai which are could potentially be the best place for you to stay in-
- Near Burj Khalifa (Dubai’s Downtown)
- Jumeirah Beach
- Dubai Marina
- The Palm Jumeirah
There are some areas which can be quite cheap for staying still the best if you really wanna save some money during your trip you may look for these areas.
- Al Karama
- Bur Dubai
- Al Barsha
Places to Visit in Dubai
Burj Khalifa, the tallest building in the world and Dubai’s landmark building which is 830 meters and the most famous of the city’s points of interest. For all visitors ‘At The Top’ Burj Khalifa must do while in the city. Here you can take the world’s fastest elevator to the clouds as you visit Dubai’s iconic Burj Khalifa skyscraper.A ride up to the 125th floor is a must if you are in Dubai to tick this off from your bucket list. you can see the sights for miles from the Burj Khalifa top balcony which is a heart-stopping moment not to be forgotten. from the top, you can watch the Dubai Fountain show and can enjoy the view of the city and Sunset over the city.if you would like to watch fountain show and Sunset than the right time to visit after 4 PM, and if you do not want to see the sunset from the top better to go by 3 PM so that you can click nice pictures and day view from the top. If you are a tourist better to visit from Sunday to Thursday where you can get tickets at a cheaper rate and avoid long queues.
Burj Khalifa tickets “At the top” level – floor 124 & 125
Non-prime hours ticket (from 9 am to 3:30 pm and from 6:30 pm until closing):
- Adult (12 years+) – Ticket price: from AED 149
- Child (4-12 years) – Ticket price: from AED 114
- Infant (below 4 years): FREE
Prime hours ticket (from 4 pm to 6 pm):
- Adult (12 years+) – Ticket price: from AED 224
- Child (4-12 years) – Ticket price: from AED 184
- Infant (below 4 years): FREE
Dubai Mall is the world’s largest shopping destination for people like me who love to shop and it provides entry to the Burj Khalifa, as well as the Dubai Aquarium. it has a gaming zone, cinema complex, and many more things to explore and enjoy. Shopping and eating are endless, and in Dubai mall nearly always some special events are happening such as live music and fashion shows within the mall. The most famous of these are the annual Dubai Shopping Festival (DSF) in January.
Dubai Aquarium and Under Water Zoo
The Dubai Aquarium & Underwater Zoo is a large attraction at the center of the Dubai Mall. In its enormous tank with the capacity to hold 10 million liters of water, the aquarium harbors more than 33,000 aquatic animals from over 200 species, such as sharks and rays.
If you are visiting Dubai the first time then I recommend visiting the Aquarium.
The ticket price for Dubai Aquarium and Underwater Zoo is AED 145
Dubai Fountain you can watch free and it can be seen from various locations around Downtown Dubai. Dubai Fountain Lake Ride will offer you to see the fountains up close by taking a traditional Arabic boat / Abra trip on the Burj Khalifa Lake. The Dubai Fountains’ timing is 6 PM to 11 PM every day.
The most popular place to watch the Dubai Fountain Show is from boardwalk just outside Dubai Mall which costs around AED 20.
Note: You can visit Burj Khalifa, Dubai Mall, Fountain, Aquarium & Zoo in one day.
Desert Safari Dubai
Desert safari one of the best places to see with family and its experience is even better. where you can do dune bashing, watch the sunset, experience camel ride, and you can enjoy the traditional Arabian experience like Tanoura Dance, go for this one if you are a lover of all things authentic.
Ticket price – AED 40- 130 depends on your luxury, for more info please click here
Dubai Parks & Resort
- Legoland Dubai
- Bollywood themes
- River Land
for more details please click here
Dubai Miracle Garden
Dubai Miracle Garden is truly a miracle to have a such a beautiful garden with the thousands of flowers blooming in a desert and you have to be here to believe it. This huge garden park is an absolute must for families, and for anyone who wants to see castles, passenger jets, and Disney characters built from fresh flowers. There are so many things for kids and families to enjoy. The natural beauty of the park and design of something one should make part of any visit to Dubai.
you can book your tickets Adult (12+years): AED 55
Children (3 – 12 years): AED 40
Children’s below 3 years: Free of Charge.
A perfect retreat for the people who love to experience and shop different cultural things, the Global Village is one of the most popular tourist attractions in Dubai with family. Its have 40 pavilions they are set up around October to April where there are people from different countries showcasing local products. Apart from that, there is a truly global adventure that kids can explore and enjoy. There are funfair rides, music concerts, magic shows and comedy shows which can be enjoyed by both adults and children. Timings and ticket price mentioned below
- Saturday to Wednesday from 4 pm to midnight.
- Thursday, Friday, and public holidays from 4 pm to 1 am.
- Mondays are for families and ladies.
- Tickets price AED 15, which can be bought on the entrance gate counter
The Dubai Marina area has always been a favorite for the city’s residents and tourists for its towers, luxury apartments, and different amenities. If you are a tourist who is never been to this Dubai attraction than you must go to the Dubai Marina Walk where you can enjoy dining, shopping, and entertainment. Even you can book ride in Yacht or their local cruising style (Dhow Cruise ) these rides can be enjoyed during evening time.
Things to do at Dubai Marina:
- Play Area’s for kids
- Yacht and Dhow Cruise
- Dubai Frame is a 150-meter high tower connected with a 93-meter long bridge
- Dubai Frame is located at Zabeel Park which is close to Jafiliya metro station.
- On the ground floor of the Dubai frame, there is a museum that showcases the transformation of Dubai into a metropolis city of the world.
- From the top, you have an amazing, view of the city which showcases the old and the new Dubai from a single frame.
- You can take a stroll at the glass walkway and witness the glowing beauty of Dubai.
- Tickets can be purchased from Gate 4, or you can book online from https://dubaiframe.ae
Tickets Prices: 50 AED for Adults, 20 AED for Children’s, a child under 3, elderly above 60 and special needs are free. Make sure that you have the ID proof, just for verification purposes. In case if you failed to bring, you may not be allowed inside.
- Use Metro and Buses for Travelling.
- Book hotels in Burdubai, Deira, Al Karama, and Al Barsha area.
- If you are fond of hot weather, then you must travel during Summer.
- Use Hop-on and Hop-off Buses for the city tour.
- Try eating foods from old Dubai areas, cheap and best food.
- you can get the best deals from Cobone or Groupon.
- Avoid exchanging too much cash at the airport or your hotel.
- If you know someone with a bank account in Dubai, transfer money ahead of time for even better savings.
What to Eat
In Dubai, you can try different varieties of foods or you can say Dubai is packed with international restaurants.
So when you are in Dubai why cant try some Emirati foods, will mention some foods name which must try when in Dubai.
- Mandi is a traditional dish from Yemen, it is served with rice and accompaniments such as salads, yogurt, and spicy tomato chutneys
- Al Machboos this dish is one of the favorites across the gulf area. Important ingredients are rice, meat, onion and dried lemon (Loomy). Other seasoning includes spices and salt.
- Shawarma is the most eaten food across this country or you can say Arab snack and the signature dish of Dubai. Even it has also become famous in Asian countries as well. It can be made with lamb or chicken.
- Hummus is not actually a dish, rather it is a famous dip made from chickpeas, olive oil, lemon juice, tahini paste, salt, and garlic. It is served with other dishes like Shawarma and pita bread. It is also a perfect appetizer. It is very unique in taste.
Points to Take Care
Dress Code: In Dubai, they don’t ask tourists or resident people to wear something particular you can wear whatever you like but just be sure your clothes are decent enough means it should not see-through or too revealing.
Ramadan: During the day time in Ramadan you are not allowed to eat in Restaurants in order to respect people who are fasting but still you can order, or take away your food, and in the evening city comes to life and its great things to witness and you can enjoy different variety of foods too.
What to Purchase in Dubai
Dubai is the best place to shop for the shopaholic, it has everything for everyone. Here are some of the more traditional and must purchase things I have mentioned below, since I found cheap and best in Dubai.
- Electronic Items.
- Gold and Diamond Jewellery.
- Dates & Dried Fruits.
- Oudh And Bakhoor – Scent of Arabia
- Attar & Perfumes.
- Aladdin lamps & Lanterns.
- Arabian Coffee.
- Jewel Chest.
- Kava Pots & Coffee Sets.
What not to do in Dubai
- Do not dress inappropriately
- Do not eat or drink in public places during the holy months of Ramadan.
- Do not click photographs without permission.
- Do not indulge in PDA (Public display of affection).
- Do not make rude hand gestures while driving.
- Do not cuss in public.
- Do not bring prohibited items.
- Do not drink in public.
- Do not dance in public.
- Do not break any rule of UAE.
Minimum age to order hard drink in Dubai
The legal drinking age is 21. Dubai Emirate allows residents to consume alcohol in that Emirate only if they have an alcohol license. Tourists can buy and drink alcohol in licensed venues such as hotels, restaurants, and clubs. It’s illegal to drink on the streets or in public places, and after drinking you are not allowed to be in public places.
If you have any questions in mind feel free to ask me in the comment, will try to respond to you.
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