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8 Tips For Dubai Visitors [Your Ultimate Guide in Dubai]

Updated on April 16, 2017

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I’m sure you have heard of Dubai, a city of superlatives, luxury, thrill, and heritage, all at the same time. As someone who was born, raised and worked there, I have noticed that Dubai is attracting tourists and job seekers from all over the world, and for many reasons: the high salaries and the extraordinary quality of life, the absence of income tax, the very safe environment (a crimes rate of almost zero) and much, much more.

The government of Dubai works diligently to support the national economy and the businesses (local and foreign), continuously providing the best possible environment for creativity and innovation. There are free zones for international companies.

Although UAE (United Arab Emirates) is part of the Middle East, it is different from its neighbors in that the Ministry of Happiness, the Ministry of Tolerance, and the Ministry of Youth are all led by highly educated women. The ministry of youth is managed by a 22-year-old woman (the youngest minister in the world), who has a master’s degree from Oxford.

While the view of the skyscrapers may be reminiscent of western cultures, there are some things to keep in mind during your visit to Dubai:

Falconers from the United Arab Emirates and wearing the traditional dress of UAE
Falconers from the United Arab Emirates and wearing the traditional dress of UAE | Source

1 - Dress modestly

You may see many foreigners in the city, as almost 85% of the population are foreigners, but don't forget that you are in an Arabic and Muslim country. Things like displaying affection or showing too much skin in public places are culturally unacceptable. Never forget that these things are against law, and violations are subject to punishments and fines in UAE.

On some private beaches, however, you can show more skin. Even so, you may want to bring a burkini, just in case. You may also need it if you visit beaches and water parks in other emirates (which are generally more conservative than Dubai).

2 - Alcohol is permitted only in private places, hotels, and bars

The consumption of alcohol is permitted for non-Muslims in hotels and bars. However, getting drunk in public is prohibited. And obviously, drinking and driving is banned under the penalty of permanent license revocation and a substantial fine.

Dubai Bus
Dubai Bus

3 - Use metro, buses, and taxis for transportation:

Dubai RTA (Roads and Transportation Authority) has developed an outstanding transportation infrastructure and system.

Choose the metro for its high speed and nice view. It is inexpensive, ranging from $1 to almost $3. It is best when use outside of peak hours (7-9 am and 2-4 pm are peak hours), and it is great for avoiding traffic. Currently, there are only two metro lines with a third line under construction at the time of this writing.

Since the metro doesn't cover the entire city, you will need to use a combination of bus and metro to reach your destination. Bus fares range from $1 to $3, and there are at least 100 routes covering all Dubai’s districts.

However, don't forget to scan your Noll Card (RTA payment card) when you get on and when you get off, because scanning only once will cause your card to be charged until empty. Buy the bronze Noll Card, so you can register it with your name and get a replacement if you lose it.

By the way, you can call RTA (the Roads and Transportation Authority) any time at a toll-free number (800 9090) to ask about how to get somewhere, and inquire about the time and cost to reach your destination.

There are also taxis in Dubai, and although they charge 15 AED as soon as you enter, the overall cost is affordable.

Calculate your taxi fare here

Dubai Metro
Dubai Metro

4- Be smart - do and request things online:

Dubai was one of the first cities to adopt a smart government system, which means that you can complete almost any process through Dubai government apps you install on your phone.

You can do anything from paying for parking and utilities to reporting suspicious activities to the Dubai police via these apps.

For example, Sallety is a website and app developed by the Department of Economy and Development of UAE. It provides real-time comparisons of product prices across UAE supermarkets.Compare products prices here I'm sure it will help alot.

Dubai Calendar App: you can search for events and buy tickets online.
Dubai Calendar App: you can search for events and buy tickets online. | Source
Dubai Addressing System: A simlpe Dubai map that will help while discovering Dubai
Dubai Addressing System: A simlpe Dubai map that will help while discovering Dubai | Source

5 - Buy an Etisalat visitor sim card for communication and the internet.

In the UAE, we have two telecommunications companies: Etisalat, which is older and has been in business for over 30 years, and Du, which is the newer one, having been established in 2006 to add competency to the market. I would recommend buying a visitor card from Etisalat because they provide the best signal all over the UAE. Fortunately, it has superb offers for visitor cards with free international and local calling and SMS, in addition to some data allotment.

Find more details here:

They also have some other offers to help you budget

Abara to cross Dubai Creek with 2 dirhams
Abara to cross Dubai Creek with 2 dirhams

6 - Double the entertainment while saving money:

I know, I know, this seems too good to be true. But I will show you how. One day, a salesman knocked my door. He offered me a booklet from the tourism company where he works containing lots of coupons, about 55 coupons in fact, and each coupon was a “buy one get one free” offer. This booklet costs around 50 AED. I was skeptical at the first, but after asking to see his official Emirates ID card, his residence, and his phone number, I finally bought a voucher book from him. This saved me a lot of money when I decided to go to Dreamland water park for some fun. I even made a little extra money by selling some tickets there (a good idea for generating some money). I think it is called Blue bird company or something like that.

Many websites and apps can save you a bunch of cash when you buy a product or want to attend an event, or even when you want to go to a hotel or restaurant.

is another site devoted to events in Dubai and Abu Dhabi.

Is a site from Dubai government to keep you updated about events in Dubai.

Is a worldwide events site that has interest groups. You can even find free events here.

Jumeirah Mosque
Jumeirah Mosque

7- Visit the desert and the cultural places:

It is not all about modernism. Yes, you heard me right. Try to go on desert safaris and to camps. Enjoy the quietness of the desert and listen to the deep voice of nature.

Visit the Saroog Al Hadeed museum, which was recently established after the discovery of a remote desert site that was a center for the metalworking industry some three thousand years ago.

Go to the Hatta heritage village and to the Al Fahidi historical neighborhood, which are also important archaeological and historical sites in Dubai. Visit the Jumeira mosque and the Mohamed bin Rashid Cultural Understanding Center. Those are just examples – the list goes on and on.

Ibn Battuta Mall Doom
Ibn Battuta Mall Doom

8 - Book in advance:

In a city as vibrant and as crowded as Dubai, you need to book almost everything in advance. Reserve a table up to a month or at least 3 days before going to a restaurant.

Book your flight and apply for the visa at least a month beforehand. You can see if people from your country of origin need a Visitor’s Visa from here.

Dubai was originally built in the hot desert, so the best time to visit is from November to March when the weather is usually best (winter time), and there is always an influx of tourism around this time of year. You may go during other months and find many discount offers, but be prepared for +100˚F and a humidity that averages over 90%.

So, what you are waiting for?!

Now Book your flight and hotel stay from here:

pack your things, and have a fabulous vacation!

Do you have any questions about Dubai? ask me below, and I will get back to you with an answer right away

If you liked this article: Comment and share with a friend

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Mohamed Osman

Ah and don’t forget to bring a white umbrella (It’s much too sunny over here)


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