Known for its sandy beaches, 5-star luxury, shopping nirvana status and sunshine, it’s easy to see why so many people are increasingly opting for luxurious Dubai as their dream holiday destination. No longer overlooked, the jewel in the Middle East’s crown is going from strength to strength right now.
Indeed, it seems that Dubai’s tourism sector is stronger than ever, with reports from Reuters revealing “that Dubai hosted 3.97 million overnight international visitors in the first quarter of 2022, up 214% from the same period last year”
However, with such an unfamiliar culture and climate, it pays to know exactly what you’re getting yourself in for before you visit the so-called Gulf Tiger. We’re here to help with that; here are 7 things you should know before your trip to Dubai.
You Can Enjoy Both Breathtaking Structures & Scenery
Want to boast to your friends that you’ve visited the tallest man-made structure on earth, the Burj Khalifa? Well, after your trip to Dubai you’ll be able to do just that. And you don’t even have to be an architecture aficionado to enjoy the incredible skyline scenery this city has to offer.
Many of the skyscrapers offer tourists the chance to visit the top, so you can take in the breathtaking views before and below you. Also, thanks to the great weather in the city, a clear, crisp view is all but guaranteed – that’s as long as there’s not a dust storm obscuring the vista.
That said, and contrary to popular opinion, Dubai isn’t only about record-breaking structures and ostentatious displays of man-made wealth. In fact, the surrounding UAE countryside, defined by striking sand dunes, is equally as stunning.
As the team at UAEDriving tell us, you’ll need to rent a car to appreciate the dunes up close and personal; the huge Big Red sand dune is around a 45 minute drive out of the city centre. They also remind us to remind you that in Dubai, you drive on the right.
Do also be aware that UAE law has a zero limit for intoxication when driving. Do not get behind the wheel even after a single beer. You will be jailed.
The Cuisine, Both Local & International, Is Fantastic
Okay, so mention you’re heading to Dubai, and food probably isn’t the first thing that springs to mind, but as us Londoners know, with a great mix of nationalities comes a diverse and exciting culinary scene.
Emirati food makes great use of lamb, mutton and goat, often cooked on a spit over flames – and we’re getting hungry just thinking about it. Traditional, local dishes are heavy on the spices, and redolent of aromats like cardamom, cumin, cinnamon and cloves. Basically, if it begins with a C, it goes in the pot. This all adds up to a heady, intoxicating cuisine. Don’t miss their version of pizza, a stretched dough flatbread called manousheh, which is common eaten at breakfast.
International food also reaches the dizzy heights one associates with an area of such bountiful luxury. In fact, the world’s tallest restaurant is housed within the Burj Khalifa.
Sitting (or should that be standing?) on the 122nd floor of this world famous skyscraper, At.Mosphere boasts floor to ceiling glass windows, all designed to allow you to truly luxuriate in the spectacle of dining in the sky. That’s if you can take your eyes off the food, that is; here, the ingredients are a roll call of the most indulgent available anywhere on the planet, with 12+ Japanese Wagyu rubbing shoulders with foie gras and yellowfin tuna on a menu of the heaviest of hitters.
Naturally, you’ll pay for the privilege; the tasting menu at At.Mosphere is currently priced at AED 780 for six courses (that’s around £160). And that’s before you consider the fizz…
There’s Plenty Of Sun, Sea & Sand To Go Around
Dubai boasts crystal-clear waters and miles of pure white, sandy beaches. Popular spots include Sunset, JBR and Kite beach, which each have their own unique appeal. Spoilt for choice would be an understatement here, but a good idea is to visit Jumeirah Beach at least once, the famous stretch of sand offering an amazing view of the Burj Al Arab. This is one of Dubai’s most iconic landmarks, and is definitely worth a visit.
Water sports of all kinds are big news in Dubai and as the weather here stays consistent all year round, and as such, it’s possible to be out on the jetski in December, kite surfing in May and banana boatin’ in October. The heat can get pretty sweltering in the summer months though, so it’s best to do your research before booking.
Action Packed Activities Aplenty
There is an endless list of activities you can get stuck into when in Dubai. No matter if you are travelling solo, with friends, or as a family, there is something to suit everybody. Taking a camel ride, though cliched, can actually be a whole lot of fun, allowing you to traverse the desert in true, traditional style. To keep the children entertained, there is the Dubai Aquarium or Wild Wadi Water Park.
Culture & Diversity
When in Dubai, you’ll be able to engage with people from across the whole world. And that’s the true meaning of travel, after all. The city is home to over 200 different nationalities who all come together and make Dubai one of the most vibrant and diverse cities in the world. With its cosmopolitan atmosphere, tourists can witness all the cultural traditions that the city has to offer, ensuring there is something to see no matter where you are in the city.
One of the most important things to remember when traveling to Dubai is that it is a Muslim country. This means that there are certain customs and laws that you will need to be aware of before you travel. It is important to dress modestly, as well as to refrain from drinking alcohol in public. The good news is that there are plenty of bars and clubs in Dubai that cater to tourists, so you will still be able to enjoy a night out in the town. Generally speaking, if you are respectful of the local customs, you will have no problem enjoying your time in Dubai.
One of the best things about Dubai is that it is home to some of the most luxurious hotels in the world. No matter the size of your purse, Dubai provides hotels and apartments to suit everyone’s needs. If you are looking for a touch of luxury, then quite simply put, you’re looking in the right place. This doesn’t mean 5 star is only thing on offer, with plenty of budget and family friendly options also available.
Award Winning Airlines
If you’ve never flown with one of the country’s world renowned charters, then you’re in for a particular treat. Last year, Dubai’s airline Emirates, alongside Qatar Airways, made up nearly half of the winner’s list at the World Airline Awards, meaning you can enjoy a real sense that your holiday has started the moment you board your flight to the Gulf Tiger.
And with that, we wish you Bon Voyage! Or, as they say in Dubai, ‘’رحلة سعيدة!’’