Dubai: Know before you go

From clothing and currency to taxis and tipping, here's the lowdown on Dubai.

Arriving

Dubai is now home to two mega airports: Dubai International Airport, where most international flights land, and Dubai World Central - Al Maktoum International Airport. Australians get a 30-day visit visa on arrival where duty-free cigarettes, perfume and drink purchases are allowed (check these when you buy in Australia or Dubai). The easiest way to get into town is by cab, either a standard Dubai Taxi, or a Pink Taxi, driven by women and exclusively for female passengers.

 

Getting around

Pedestrianised areas and footpaths are easy to navigate. If you'd prefer movement via wheels, taxis are plentiful and inexpensive. Flag one down on the street, or book via phone (+971 4 2080808) or the RTA Smart Taxi app (available on iTunes or Google Play; for standard taxis only). You’ll also find luxury cars out the front of most five-star hotels, although these cost more than a standard or ladies’ taxi. Alternatively, you could download the Uber app (uber.com/cities/dubai) and order a car. Dubai has an excellent metro system too, which covers most of the city (including Dubai International Airport), and a tram system that connects Dubai Marina to the Al Sufouh area. You’ll need to buy a Nol smartcard first (available at metro stations), which can be used on the metro, tram and bus network. All three have a separate section or carriage reserved just for women and families.

 

Weather and climate

The Emirate has a sub-tropical desert climate, which means blue skies and beach weather in winter (Dec-Jan) and warm and humid summers (Jun-Sept). The best time to visit is from October to April when temperatures are in the mid-20°Cs to low-30°Cs. July and August are the warmest months as the mercury rarely dips below 40°C, still the city accommodates this with several indoor attractions including aquariums, ski slopes, plenty of family-friendly activities with four new theme-parks and a new Opera House opening in 2016.

 

The language low-down

English is so widely spoken that you won’t get much of a chance to try Arabic.

 

The currency

The local currency is the dirham (Dhs or AED), which is divided into 100 fils.

 

Dress code

Although Dubai is a cosmopolitan destination, it is a Muslim city, so respect the local culture by dressing modestly. Shorts and t-shirts are fine in many places, but short shorts, low-cut dresses and skimpy tops are not appropriate for public places such as the malls. Cover your shoulders and knees in more conservative areas like old Dubai (around Dubai Creek). If in doubt, take a pashmina. Showing a bit more skin in a bar is acceptable and wearing your swimmers on the beach and around the pool is perfectly fine.

 

Safety

Dubai is safe compared with other large cities. Street crime is rare and walking around on your own is very safe.

 

Smartphones and technology

Buy a pre-paid local SIM card with a data package from mobile providers Etisalat or Du (you’ll find stores in the airports and malls).

 

Dining out

Tippping etiquette

Leave 10-15 per cent in a restaurant (some add a service charge to the bill, so check first) and round up a taxi fare to the nearest note.

Drinking etiquette

There are many bars, restaurants and night clubs attached to hotels, where drinking is permitted. However, drinking in public city areas is punishable by law.
The legal age for drinking alcohol is 21 years in Dubai and the Northern Emirates (except Sharjah, where drinking alcohol is illegal).

 

Did you know?

Dubai is one of seven emirates that make up the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and is the second largest with a population of 2.46 million people. The Dubai weekend falls on Friday and Saturday.

 

Latest articles

Arrive by seaplane, check-in at the underwater lobby and take an imported Venetian …

Article

Here are the ten best overseas luxury properties for families, as voted by our readers …

Listicle
Cover story // The Sweet Spot

Travel is a one-way ticket to adventure, inspiration and delight, but it can also …

Article
Crystal Air Cruises

Crystal AirCruises’ ‘Holidays Around the World’ 2017 journey will allow guests to …

 

Weather to go

The emirate has a sub-tropical desert climate, which means blue skies and beach weather in winter (Dec-Jan) and hot and humid summers (Jun-Aug). The best time to visit is from October to April when temperatures are in the mid-20°Cs to low-30°Cs. July and August are the hottest months as the mercury rarely dips below 40°C, still the city accommodates this with indoor attractions and air-conditioned facilities everywhere.

 

Best places to stay

Coming soon...

 
Web design by Komosion | Powered by Komodo Canvas