Most travelers visit Dubai because it is a part of their flight route to other Asian countries. Surprisingly, Dubai is an unusual but exciting city trapped between the old conservative customs while at the same time, a citty where anything goes. I was surprised at how these two methodologies existed in one location.
Dubai’s nickname is the Las Vegas of the Middle East. They have taken the McDonald’s train of thought with “super-size” and applied it to just about everything you can imagine. Expect to see some unusual outdoor activities inside a mall, such as snow skiing. Travel to the top of the world’s tallest building – the Burj Khalifa – stand on the glass platform for an Instagram photo. In Dubai, you will not find anything in moderation. The saying is, “go big or go home!”
ACCOMMODATIONS: Hostels are not standard in Dubai, but a few can exist for about $30- $50 per night, which are dorm-like rooms with a shared bathroom and free Wi-Fi. If you request a private room, expect to pay $70+ a night. Budget hotels with limited amenities can start around $75 – 150 per night. I suggest searching for package deals that include hotel + air, giving the best price on accommodations.
(Visit the Travelzoo website to find these specials.)
FOOD: Chefs worldwide take the helm at many of the city’s glitzy restaurants. Dinner tends to start late, after 8 p.m., and you should book in advance for Thursday – Sunday dining. You can find affordable meals in Dubai at around $9, while fast food is a little bit less. Dishes typically shared with all at the table are the best options such as hummus, falafel, Fattoush, pita, and halloumi cheese. A mid-range restaurant will cost $30 per meal. Head to Old Dubai for cheaper places to eat lunch, which are around $5-$8. One of our unique experience of dining and eating fresh seafood is at Aprons & Hammers.
(Use www.TripAdvisor.com when trying to locate a restaurant within your budget range)
TRANSPORTATION: Public transportation is widely available but does offer different categories of seating like women-only or gold class, so watch for the signs. Eating and drinking in the Metro are prohibited. Taxis are regulated, so you will need to call for one at 04-2080808, which has a minimum of 12 Dhs. The best way to commute from the airport to your hotel is by booking a Marhaba Bronze service. If you want to get in a little exercise, you can rent a bicycle at BYKY at a curbside station. Similar to Uber is Careem, which an app that offers transportation services.
Suggested daily budget – Average daily budget should be approximately $200 per person, including hotel, transportation, meals, and sightseeing. A two-week vacation for two people costs roughly $5,555 staying at mid-range hotels.
Dubai is like no other place in the world. With its striking architecture, strong Arab heritage, and contemporary style all of its own. Discovering the ancient traditions, along with experiencing the leading-edge of futuristic malls, is a vacation like no other you experience. It can become scorching in the summer months, so the best time to visit is between October and April. You may need a light jacket in the fall but still warm enough to see the beaches.
Language: The official language is Arabic, although English is widely spoken.
Currency: Dubai currency is the Dirham (Dhs), and the current exchange rate is $1 = 3.67 Dhs. Major credit cards are accepted.
Plugs: The plugs are G standard voltage of 230 V, and the frequency is 50Hz. I suggest bringing a universal adapter.
Safety: Dubai is a safe country to visit.
Drinking Age: Minimum drinking is 21 years of age.
Photography: Some areas prohibit taking photographs, so pay attention to signs.
Holidays: During Ramadan, the city completely shuts down, so check the calendar.