Dubai Travel Guide for First Time Travelers

A holiday in Dubai is undoubtedly exciting but its planning may be extremely daunting, especially if it’s your debut Dubai trip. That’s why ...

A holiday in Dubai is undoubtedly exciting but its planning may be extremely daunting, especially if it’s your debut Dubai trip. That’s why we have come up with this comprehensive Dubai travel guide; it encompasses everything from best time to visit and tips on accommodation and getting around to local etiquettes and top attractions and experiences that you must not miss in Dubai.


Let’s Start With Useful Dubai Information

·         Dubai is the most visited as well as the popular city (emirate) in the UAE. But, it’s the country’s second largest emirate in terms of its area. Abu Dhabi is the UAE’s largest and capital city.

·         HH Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum is the ruler of Dubai.

·         Arabic is the UAE’s official language. That said, English is widely spoken in Dubai and other emirates.

·         Dubai is a super friendly destination but it mandates its visitors to respect its culture and traditions that are ingrained in Islamic beliefs.

·         Carry comfortable, modest clothes for your Dubai travel. This is especially vital when you visit a cultural landmark or a religious point of interest.

·         Make sure that you don’t indulge in any act in Dubai that leads you to make fine payment or jail imprisonment, such as PDAs, smoking or alcohol consumption in public etc.

·         Get prior permission to snap pictures of important government buildings and locals.

·         Avoid eating and drinking in public during your Dubai visit in Ramadan – the Islamic month of fasting.


Best Time To Visit Dubai

Dubai is blessed with ample sunshine throughout the year means it is ideal to visit the city any time. But if you can’t stand unbearable heat, avoid visiting Dubai in summer months, mainly July and August. However, it makes a great time for those who don’t want to blow their budget on Dubai vacation as accommodations, airline tickets, entry tickets to the region’s main attractions etc all come at an exceptionally slashed rate in this season.


Alternatively, winter months (from October to March) in Dubai are salubriously pleasant with a wealth of things to see and experience both indoors and outdoors. But, pre-planning is a must to visit Dubai in these months, particularly if you’re considering a trip here around events and festivities such as Christmas, New Year’s Eve celebrations and Dubai Shopping Festival (DSF).


Travel Procedures & Covid-19 Travel Guidelines

Depending on your nationality, you will need a valid Dubai visa to make an entry into Dubai or UAE. But this applies to only those who are not entitled for a visa on arrival or visa-free travel to Dubai. Ok to Board (OTB) is another travel requirement, but this is mandatory for only those traveling from a South Asian country.


To ensure safe travel in this pandemic time, Dubai has imposed some travel rules and regulations, such as passengers must have completed their vaccination procedures as approved by WHO and the UAE government. All visitors must present a negative PCR test result taken within 48 hours or 72 hours at the Dubai airport. Apart from these, visitors traveling to Dubai from certain countries (such as Bangladesh, India, Indonesia etc) must submit a rapid PCR test report taken within six hours at the departure airport and further come prepared to undergo another PCR test at the airport.


If you are required to undergo a mandatory PCR test result at the airport, you must quarantine till your test result is out. If the test result is positive, make sure that you strictly adhere to the DHA (Dubai Health Authority) quarantine rules. Moreover, upon arrival, you must download the COVID19 – DXB Smart App on your phone or device.



From the uber lavish Burj Al Arab and Atlantis, The Palm to Millennium Plaza and Flora Creek Deluxe Hotel, accommodations in Dubai come in every budget, size and type. So it doesn’t matter if you are looking for an extravagant stay by seaside or an exceptionally budget or mid-range option - you’ll find it all in Dubai. Along with booking your accommodation in advance (regardless of the season), the main thing to ensure is that your chosen hotel offers easy access to all attractions and activities included in your travel program.


Getting Around

Dubai is not really a walkable city, but luckily, its public transport system maintained by RTA (Road and Transport Authority) is quite fabulous and comprehensive. To get from one place to another within Dubai, you can use Dubai Metro which is fully automated and longest of its kind or board the spacious and spotless public buses. You will find more options by ways of convenient cabs and cool ferries.


Now if you want to make the most of your limited time in Dubai, it is ideal to skip public transport and rather rely on a private transfer (that comes with a driver) to discover the city’s main neighborhoods and attractions. You can also choose to drive your own in Dubai, but in this case, it’s essential that you carry your international driving license.



Dubai is acknowledged as the Middle East’s shopping capital for a reason. Almost every neighborhood in Dubai is crammed with amazing shopping choices. This ranges from world-class shopping malls including the largest of its kind Dubai Mall to the traditional Arabian bazaars or souks (like Gold Souk, Textile Souk, and Spice Souk) where you can shop the most charming and unique souvenirs at bargain rates.


Shawarma, falafel, Manakeesh, Al Machboos, Luqaimat and so on – well, that’s a list of the traditional Arabic delicacies you can sample in Dubai. In real, Dubai is a foodies’ haven. This is because Dubai is the second home for nationalities of over 200 countries, which greatly impact its culinary scene. It, therefore, goes without saying that you will get to sample here all your taste buds crave for and beyond – be it Asian, Mediterranean, traditional English, or classic American specialties. As for the dining venues, they cater to every pocket! Whether you wish to dine in an indulgent setting or even in the clouds, it’s possible in Dubai.


Top Things To Do And See In Dubai

1.       Burj Khalifa: This 828 meters high structure is the tallest of its kind in the world. Depending on your budget limit, it is worth ascending to its observation decks on 124th or 148th level (which is the world’s highest observation deck.) You will further get to enjoy one of the fastest elevator rides and even watch a multimedia display on Dubai’s historical aspects.


2.       The Dubai Mall: There are over 70 malls in Dubai, but the Dubai Mall grabs the maximum attention. Rightly so, it’s the world’s biggest mall which has under its roof over 1200 outlets and more than 200 dining choices. Beyond these, a world of leisure and entertainment awaits you here, with Dubai Aquarium and Underwater Zoo, Dubai Ice Rink, VR Park Dubai, and KidZania Dubai. And of course, be sure to watch the Dubai Fountain show at Burj Lake as part of your Dubai Mall visit.


3.       The View at the Palm: This brand-new vantage point in Dubai is a must-visit for anyone looking for a cost-effective alternative to take in the grandeur of the palm-tree shaped Palm Jumeirah. It is located on the 52nd level of Palm Tower.



4.       Palm Fountain: This is another of Dubai’s newest record-breaking attractions. With its regal location at the Pointe on Palm Jumeirah, Palm Fountain holds the title of the world’s largest fountain. For those who don’t know, its main highlight is the choreographed water performance in the jaw-dropping harmony of music and light.



5.       Al Bastakiya Quarter: For those who wish to step back in time, it’s one of the ultimate attractions to visit in Dubai. Also known as Al Fahidi Historical Neighborhood, this well-preserved 19th century quarter remains as an epitome of the modest Emirati past. Apart from a spectrum of art galleries, art cafes, and museums, it also hosts Sheikh Mohammed Centre for Cultural Understanding where you can learn about the region’s history, culture and religious views.



6.       Mushrif Park: You don’t have to take a day trip or drive any long when you need a distraction from the city’s glitzy sights. Just head to one of its green parks; one of our top suggestions in this category is Mushrif Park. It may be the region’s oldest public park but it continues to enthrall visitors. Thanks to its exciting segments and highlights including Aventura Park (where you can engage in adventurous activities amidst nature), Al Thuraya Astronomy Centre, Mushrif Equestrian and Polo Club, and International Village with replica dwellings of different parts of the world.



7.       Desert Safari: A trip to Dubai’s vast and unscathed desert landscape, about 40 minutes away from the city center, is another definite-experience on your debut Dubai visit. Subject to your desert safari pick, it comprises the electrifying ever 4X4 dune bash, camel ride, BBQ dining, and cultural activities like henna tattooing, Shisha smoking, belly dance, Tanura performance etc.



8.       Dubai Parks and Resorts: There are plenty of theme parks in Dubai including the largest of its kind IMG Worlds of Adventure, game-themed Hub Zero etc. But, if you’re a diehard theme park enthusiast, Dubai Parks and Resorts is hard to miss! After all, it is the Middle East’s first integrated resort with four theme parks in its grounds, such as Motiongate Dubai, Bollywood Parks Dubai, LEGOLAND Dubai, and LEGOLAND Water Park.



9.       Dhow Cruise: No Dubai trip is complete without taking a dhow cruise along Dubai’s waters. Most dhow cruises take place after the sunset. It not only lets you admire Dubai’s illuminated skyline from a distinct standpoint, but also treats you with memorable dining and entertainment onboard.



10.    Ski Dubai: Fancy enjoying wintry fun and snow-themed activities in Dubai? Simply make your way to Ski Dubai inside Mall of the Emirates. It’s a true snow haven where you can catch with friendly penguins, throw snow and even try your hand in skiing, snowboarding, and sledging, among others.



Whether you are passionate about culture and history or a hardcore rollercoaster fan or an aficionado of retail therapy, Dubai is a destination for all. And with this all-inclusive post, we hope that it has covered all your doubts on planning an unforgettable holiday in this city of astonishing experiences.

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