Tips For The First Trip to Dubai: What You Need to Know
The culture in Dubai can be difficult to understand at times. How should you dress? Do you have to tip the waiters? Can you drink alcohol? Here are some tips for a safe first trip to Dubai.
Tips for the First Trip to Dubai
1. Do a visa needed to go to Dubai?
If you are wondering whether you need a Dubai visa, the answer is ‘yes and no’. In fact, it all depends on your nationality. For the French, Belgians, Swiss, and Canadians, a passport is sufficient to enter the United Arab Emirates. But the passport must be valid for at least 6 months after the date of entry into the territory.
When you arrive in Dubai, you will receive a free stamp, visa, or entry stamp giving a right of residence (depending on your nationality):
- for EU nationals, maximum stay of 90 days, in one or more installments, over a period of 180 days from the date of the stamp;
- for Swiss nationals, 90-day residence permit;
- for Canadian nationals, 30-day residence permit.
2. Travel to Dubai between October and April
Dubai only has two seasons: hot and warmer. The Month from October to April, usually known as the winter season, and brings blue skies and perfect beach weather to the city. It’s also the rainy season, but usually, rain showers don’t last too long, so don’t let this factor affect your travel dates.
3. Look for flights six months in advance
International airlines typically vacate their cheapest seats about six months before departure dates. This doesn’t mean that you necessarily have to buy your tickets so far in advance, but it’s a good idea to start researching and comparing prices. At the latest, I advise you to buy your plane tickets to Dubai for at least one month in advance.
4. Book your hotel as soon as possible
Because Dubai is fast becoming a popular vacation spot, and because October through April is a great time for sightseeing, you owe it to yourself to make sure you have a great place to stay. To do this, make your reservation 2 to 3 months in advance.
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5. Show respect during Ramadan
If you are planning to visit Dubai during the holy month of Ramadan, which is celebrated in the ninth month of the 12-month Islamic calendar, respect Muslims and their practice of fasting. This means that you cannot eat, drink, or smoke in public in front of them between sunrise and sunset.
6. Dress modestly
When planning your vacation wardrobe, think modestly. Women’s clothing is considered indecent if it is too short, too tight, or see-through, and men should never walk around without a shirt. By avoiding dress modestly you could invite unwanted attention and respect the Muslim culture.
7. Ask permission before taking pictures
Never take a photo of a person without their permission, unless you are taking a panoramic photo in a major tourist area. You must never take a photo of a Muslim woman without her permission and also avoid taking photos of government buildings, airports, military installations, etc.
8. Do you have to tip?
Tipping is not really expected in Dubai, but it is common practice. Most of the restaurants will add a tip to your bill. Taxi drivers do not expect any tip, but baggage carriers and supermarket baggers normally receive a small tip for their services.
9. Avoid just giving your taxi driver an address
Taxis are great for getting around the city; there are a lot of them and it is a fairly inexpensive form of transport. But don’t assume that your taxi driver knows every street and every restaurant in Dubai. They don’t always know the city as well as you might think, so be sure to give them references to landmarks in the big city, those they should know.
10. Be careful when consuming alcohol
Alcohol is legal in Dubai; however, you cannot drink in public as public intoxication and drinking and driving are prohibited. Also, you cannot buy alcohol for your own use without a permit, and you must purchase it from a licensed establishment. Buying drinks in a bar or restaurant is fine, but don’t leave drunk.
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11. Avoid public displays of affection
Public displays of affection are serious offenses in the UAE. Many visitors to Dubai have been arrested and jailed for showing too much tenderness in public. To be on the safe side, refrain from holding hands or kissing your partner in public.
Even with some of the strict laws, you shouldn’t hesitate to travel to Dubai and visit its must-see sites. It is a unique destination and definitely worth a visit on your own, with your partner or with your whole family.
5 Essential Things To Do in Dubai That You Cannot Miss
Dubai is a fascinating place, where ultra-modern luxury and extreme luxury blend with ancestral Arab traditions and Islamic culture. Here is a guide to the best places to visit in Dubai, the things you absolutely must not miss during your stay.
After experiencing amazing growth over the past thirty years (the famous Sheikh Zayed Road was just a sparse road with only a few turns in the early 90s) Dubai is today a modern playground for locals, expatriates, and travelers. You can trace its history through the city’s varied neighborhoods and its ultra-multicultural population means there is a huge range of cuisines to be discovered, but also activities and tours.
Each destination has its great strengths and Dubai has no shortage of popular attractions. Here is my list of the five things not to miss on your trip to Dubai …
1. Take to the skies at the Burj Khalifa
The city’s most famous skyscraper, the Burj Khalifa is truly an incredible building. Opened in May 2008, it measures 828 meters and is covered with 26,000 glass panels for a mirror finish. Take one of the fastest elevators in the world to ascend to the 124th floor and marvel at the spaghetti mess of roads and the relatively tiny buildings below. The entrance is expensive, but the views are worth it, especially at sunset.
If you wish, you can even have a meal with an incredible view or sleep in this unique building which has a superb hotel named Armani Amal. You can find out more on the hotel website and make a reservation if you wish!
2. Explore the Dubai Mall
The Dubai Mall is another record, the largest shopping center in the world, with an area of 800,000 m2. It’s not just about shopping here: you’ll find an aquarium, an ice rink, the Sonic the Hedgehog theme park, cinemas, and more.
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3. Go for a walk on the Marina Walk
Dubai Marina Walk is one of the most beautiful places in the city when you feel to walk in the evening. The colored lights of the buildings sparkle on the waters of the artificial canal. A lovely 7 km pedestrian alley lined with luxurious restaurants and shisha cafes allows for a pleasant evening that relaxes your mood.
4. Admire the Burj Al Arab
Skip dinner and expensive drinks at this world’s first 7-star hotel and head to the nearby beach bars; The best view is not in the Burj Al Arab but in front or next to it. Watch the sunset behind its sail-inspired silhouette with a drink in hand – the best way to end a day in Dubai!
5. Go see the Dubai Fountains Dance
It’s one of the city’s best free attractions: every day (afternoon and evening), Dubai’s fountains come alive to the sound of music. Accompanied by choreographed lighting, the water can reach up to 140 meters in height, it’s magnificent.