First-Timer’s Dubai Travel Guide – Gem of UAE
Last Updated on by Admin
A vibrant cosmopolitan city located in the United Arab Emirates of the Middle East, Dubai is a magnificent destination that combines a rich cultural heritage with modern luxury living.
In this comprehensive Dubai Travel Guide, we’ll walk you through everything you need to know as a first-time visitor to Dubai, including the best times to visit, weather conditions, transport options, top activities to try, the most stunning hotels to stay, delicious food experiences and important airport information.
Let’s embark on an unforgettable journey to the fascinating city of Dubai.
1. Best time to visit
Dubai features a desert climate with hot summers and warm winters. The ideal time for a visit is during the winter months, from November to March, when the weather is pleasantly mild, making it perfect for outdoor activities and exploration.
However, bear in mind that this period is also the peak tourist season, so expect larger crowds and higher prices. If you are looking for an affordable trip, consider visiting during the shoulder season from April to May or September to October.
Dubai’s weather varies throughout the year. Summers are hot, the temperature range goes above 40°C (104°F), while winters are mild, with temperatures remaining between 15-25°C (59-77°F). Regardless of the season, it is important to dress appropriately and respect local customs. Lightweight and breathable clothing made from natural fabrics is recommended.
It is also advisable to carry sunscreen to prevent sunburn, regardless of the time of year you visit. However, women are advised to avoid wearing revealing clothing as a matter of respect for local customs.
3. Arrival at destination
Dubai has two airports: Dubai International Airport (DXB) and Al Maktoum International Airport (DWC). The two airports have different main operations in Dubai, with Dubai International Airport being the busiest airport in the world, providing excellent connections to major international destinations.
Al Maktoum International Airport handles mainly low-cost airlines and cargo. However, both airports offer easy transport links to the city center via taxis, private transfers, or public transport such as the metro, and buses.
The United Arab Emirates Dirham is the currency. Make sure you exchange your home currency to Dirham at the Airport itself.
4. Intra-Dubai transport
Dubai has a well-connected and efficient transport system that offers a variety of options for getting around the city
The Dubai Metro is a reliable and economical way to travel around the city. It connects the main attractions, shopping centers, and residential areas.
Taxis are readily available in Dubai and provide a convenient means of transport. They are metered and relatively inexpensive, and you can also choose a taxi app like Uber to call a taxi.
Dubai’s bus network is extensive and covers most of the city. This is an economical option for exploring Dubai’s neighborhoods when time is not a priority.
The Dubai Tram runs along the city’s coastline, connecting popular areas such as Dubai Marina and Jumeirah Beach Residences, allowing you to move around several popular attractions relatively quickly by boarding a tram.
If you want more flexibility, car hire in Dubai can be booked from a number of shops as well as websites. However, be careful to avoid rush hour traffic jams and to obey the local traffic rules.
A road trip along the longest road in UAE – the Sheikh Zayed Road which passes through landmarks such as Burj Kalifa, Dubai Mall, and Dubai World Trade Center and ends in Jebel Ali (near the Abu Dhabi border) is a must.
5. Top activities and attractions
Dubai is known for its iconic landmarks, extravagant shopping malls, and the tallest Burj Khalifa – each place giving you thrilling experiences. Here are some must-see attractions for first-time visitors:
At 828 metres, Burj Khalifa is the world’s tallest building and rightly rules the Dubai skyline. It is located in the Downtown Dubai area of the city. It is the pride of not just the UAE but the entire Middle East.
On a clear day, the incredible views from the observation deck on the 124th floor are absolutely stunning, while the views from the luxurious Sky Lounge on the 148th floor are even better.
For a relaxing meal in the clouds, the Ambiance Lounge on the 122nd floor of Burj Khalifa is the place to be!
The Dubai Mall
Apart from being a world-class shopping mall, the Dubai Mall offers a wide range of luxury brands and entertainment options. The famous Dubai Aquarium and the Underwater Zoo are also located here, making it a preferred option for relaxation during your shopping breaks. Apart from varied marine species, the aquarium and the zoo also have 16 resident penguins.
In the land of the desert, the Dubai Mall offers you an opportunity to feel the winter snow experience at the indoor skiing resort called “Ski Dubai“. Visiting the mall with the whole family can be a wholesome experience – one of the many Dubai Summer surprises!
Did you know Dubai Mall is the world’s largest mall in respect to its land area? Fascinating right?
Enjoy a leisurely stroll along the stunning Dubai Marina promenade, lined with stylish restaurants, cafes, and luxury yachts.
The Palm Jumeirah
One of the largest man-made islands in the world, The Palm Jumeirah is a man-made island in the shape of a palm tree – a feat of human ingenuity that locals have come to call ‘unique to Dubai’.
There are countless high-end hotels on the island to choose from along with the famous Burj Al Arab. The hotels are also easily accessible by monorail, which runs from top to bottom along the ‘trunk’ and connects to the mainland. The Seven Star Hotel – Burj Al Arab looks stunning on the Gulf, a sail-shaped building against the background of blue waters and the sky.
Embark on thrilling desert safaris and try adventure activities including dune boarding, camel rides, sandboarding, and an enchanting Arabian dinner under the stars. A desert safari in Dubai is a must during your trip.
Take a traditional water taxi ride across the historic Dubai Creek, learn about old Dubai, and explore the vibrant gold souk, spice souk, and other souks of Deira and Dubai’s suburbs. A Dubai Creek Dinner Cruise is an amazing experience watching the shining lights of the city and the starry sky.
6. Fine dining
Dubai’s dining scene is a melting pot of flavors, with a wide variety of international cuisine as well as traditional Emirati fare. Don’t miss out on these culinary experiences
Try local specialities such as Machbous (spiced rice with meat or seafood), Al Harees (slow-cooked wheat and meat dishes), and Luqaimat (sweet dumplings).
Explore the lively streets for delicious Arabic Shawarmas, Falafels and Manakish (Arabic-style pizzas).
Dubai is a food lover’s paradise, with a wide range of Michelin-starred restaurants offering innovative and indulgent menus.
Global Food Culture
As a metropolis with a global reputation, you can basically find restaurants from every country in the world here, so enjoy these cuisines from different countries.
7. Cultural rituals and customs
Dubai is a city deeply rooted in Islamic traditions. It is important to respect local customs and observe certain etiquette
Dress appropriately and cover your shoulders and knees when visiting religious sites or public places.
Public displays of affection
Avoid showing or displaying public affection as this may be considered inappropriate.
During the holy month of Ramadan, non-Muslims should take care to avoid eating, drinking or smoking in public during the day.
Respect for culture
Embrace the local culture and be aware of local customs and traditions.
8. Carrying luggage/medications etc.
The UAE has strict controls on psychotropic substances and caution should be exercised in bringing medicines into the country with original prescriptions.
The UAE Customs has an agreement with the Ministry of Health and Prevention (MOHAP) to allow passengers to carry medication that is more than 3 months old on prescription. Passengers should have a prescription issued by an official hospital or doctor clearly stating the medicine and the health condition of the passenger.
Medicines should be kept in their original container and production with an expiry date on them. The UAE takes the protection of intellectual property rights seriously and it is important not to bring pirated CDs with you when entering the country.
9. Photography and video precautions
Mobile phones or regular cameras are allowed in various tourist places in Dubai, including museums, with the exception of some religious sites where photography is strictly prohibited.
Please ensure that you are accompanied by a person with a local filming permit when conducting media interviews or using professional photographic or video equipment.
Do not take photographs of Muslim women without their prior consent as this may cause unnecessary problems.
10. Food and drink that are not permitted
Pork is not eaten in the region and should not be brought into the country.
Alcoholic beverages are not permitted in public places and are only allowed to be sold in restaurants or bars in hotels with a liquor license.
Dubai has been voted the “safest place in the world” with almost zero crime and the city is completely safe at all times of the day and night. It is also considered a safe city for solo female travelers. If you need emergency help in a particular situation.
Local police number: 999
Emergency assistance: 998
Dubai offers a unique blend of traditional charm and modern luxury, making it an exceptional destination for a first visit. From awe-inspiring architecture such as Burj Khalifa to luxurious shopping experiences in Dubai Mall and tantalizing cuisine, luxury hotels like Burj Al Arab – Dubai, a popular city in the Middle East, promise an unforgettable journey.
By following this Dubai Travel Guide, you will be fully prepared to embark on an unforgettable adventure and immerse yourself in the vibrant spirit of this extraordinary city.
So pack your bags for the trip, embrace the abundance, and let Dubai captivate you with its undeniable allure. After Dubai or on your next visit, don’t forget to head to the capital of UAE – Abu Dhabi.