10 things you must know about Dubai before your first trip
With its skyline of modern skyscrapers, large shopping malls, luxury hotels, and entertainment options, Dubai has become one of the preferred international destinations for tourists, particularly Indians. The number of Indians visiting Dubai has only grown in the last few years. And even for Filipinos because there are a lot of our kababayans or fellow Filipinos who are now living there. In fact, I am seriously considering going to Dubai next year, if not the year after, as I have a cousin who has been inviting me to visit Dubai.
Travelling to Dubai
All major airlines in India have frequent and cheap flights to Dubai. You can book a cheap flight from Hyderabad to Dubai for a return fare as low as 20,000 INR. All major cities like Delhi, Mumbai, Bengaluru will also approximately cost the same or even a better rate from Kochi and Trivandrum.
Before you plan your first vacation in Dubai, it is always handy to know a few tourist-related facts about this beautiful city, which will help you during the stay. Listed below are a few of the must-know information:
Remember that Sunday is a working day.
That’s right. The weekends in Dubai falls on each Friday and Saturday. Hence, Sunday, not Monday, is the first day of the week.
Hot and Very hot are the only 2 seasons in Dubai.
If you are coming from a place with the conventional 4 seasons, Dubai is very different, with no major variations in its climate throughout the year. While the so-called winter season between November and March is preferred for travel, it is also the peak season when lots of tourists travel to Dubai. In the other months, temperatures are very hot, with peak summer in May.
Over 90% of Dubai’s population are expatriates.
You are in for a disappointment if you were expecting to see a lot of local Arab residents in Dubai, dressed in their traditional Arab costume. This is because just 10% of the city’s residents are UAE citizens and have an Emirati passport. The rest are all expatriates from the rest of the world.
Treat yourself to some excellent brunches every Friday.
Every Friday, luxury hotels in Dubai can treat you to some food in their brunches, which basically comprise of unlimited food and drinks.
Public display of affection (PDA) is not just forbidden, it is illegal.
Keep this in mind, particularly if you are travelling with your soulmate. Despite its modernism, Dubai is essentially part of a conservative Muslim society. Even acts such as hugging or holding hands in public can get you arrested.
Practically everyone in Dubai speaks English.
Being an international city, everyone in Dubai speaks English. Even the street signs in and around the city are in English. You can pretty much travel around Dubai without knowing a word of the Arabic language.
Avoid travelling during the Ramadhan festival.
Dubai is quite a different city during this traditional Muslim festival, as most of the shopping malls, restaurants, and clubs would be closed during the day. Even smoking in public is prohibited during the day.
Follow a conservative dress code.
While Indian or western clothing is fine, avoid wearing body-revealing clothes in public, as it is against Dubai’s local culture. Swimwear is perfectly fine to wear in your local resort and private swimming pools. If you are planning a visit to any of the mosques, women must cover themselves completely from head to toe.
Alcohol consumption is allowed.
Just in case, you are wondering if consumption of alcohol is allowed in Dubai, being in an Islamic country? Yes, consumption of alcohol is permitted, but only in designated restaurants, bars, and tourist hotels. Alcohol drinking is prohibited in public places.
Dubai international airport is a very busy airport.
One of the busiest in the world with, be prepared to encounter long passenger lines and flow even in the middle of the night. Ensure that you do reach the airport for your return flight 3 hours before your flight departure, to get through the formalities on time.
Hope this guide helps you in planning your Dubai trip better, and you have a wonderful vacation. Travel off-season or book in advance for best deals on flights to Dubai.
*This is a contributed post and I customized the first part with my own additions.