Planning to embark on a visit to the glamorous city of Dubai? While you may know all about the gold-plated cars and towering skyscrapers, there are many things that people probably haven’t told you which can instantly add convenience and value to your trip. Plus, there is always something worth learning about a foreign country which you may not find in the guidebooks. Here are some of the best tips for travelling to Dubai that you may not know.
Get to know the Dubai International Airport
As the primary international airport in Dubai, the Dubai International Airport (DXB) is one of the largest airports in the world by international passenger traffic standards and one of the busiest airports globally, with over 29 million passengers in 2020 alone1. With this in mind, save yourself the disappointment of missing out on a planned trip shortly after your arrival by booking any potential guides or tours from the second day of your trip onward. The DXB may be a lot trickier to navigate than most travellers like to think, and you could be spending more time trying to find your way out than most!
Get to know the work week
Whether you’re visiting Dubai for business, leisure or bleisure (business and leisure, of course), it’s worth noting that Dubai and the rest of the UAE’s work week is different from other countries. While the new UAE labour laws have been adapted to see government entities change their work week from a Sunday-to-Thursday week to what is now a Monday-to-Friday week so that Dubai can align with other economies, many private companies still follow the Sunday-to-Thursday work week as standard. With that being said, it helps to know which times and days may be busier in terms of peak traffic congestion (i.e. work and school drop-off/pick-up traffic), and when certain events that would normally take place on a Friday may now take place on a different day in the Emirate.
Don’t consume alcohol outdoors
As an Arab nation, Dubai follows many Islamic customs and adherences. Drinking is only permitted at licensed facilities such as bars and specific restaurants, and it’s advisable that you don’t become raucous or out of hand in public either. However, rest assured that the city is very welcoming to foreigners and is arguably the most cosmopolitan city in the UAE.
Immerse yourself in local culture
While Dubai is glitzy and glamorous, there is so much more to this vibrant city than skyscrapers and world record-breaking attractions. We recommend visiting the souks—the local marketplaces selling unmatched gold, perfumes, spices and textiles—for a dose of Emirati culture. Another must-visit location oozing with heritage includes the Dubai Creek, the historic saltwater creek where you can catch a traditional boat ride aboard an abra (the traditional motorised boat) for just AED 1.
Discover the nightlife
There is certainly something to be said about Dubai’s nightlife. Luxurious bars, lounges, restaurants and nightclubs bring the city to life as dusk settles in, with world-class DJ performances and a crowd to impress. For a unique encounter, try out a yacht party on the city’s waterways (if your budget allows).
Visit the local malls
Dubai is well-known for its life-size malls, with the Dubai Mall being one of the largest shopping centres in the world. Dubai’s malls are not like the rest of the world; while in most other countries, we visit a mall to do some shopping and potentially enjoy some lunch afterwards, Dubai brings a whole new element to mall visits. The Dubai Mall, for example, has its own Olympic-sized ice rink, a resident “dinosaur,” an underwater aquarium, and major entertainment and gaming centres for families.
Savour the local flavour
It would be an injustice not to indulge in the multicultural cuisine that Dubai has to offer. Most of Dubai’s population is made up of foreigners, which means its restaurant scene is brimming with exciting flavours to tickle your taste buds. Tuck into the Emirati cuisine on offer, then try your hand at other cuisines from the Philippines, Pakistan and India, as just a few examples. Be sure to also try the traditional Arabic coffee and pastries on offer at local hotspots, like the Arabian Teahouse set in beautiful courtyard surrounds in the Al Fahidi Historical Neighbourhood.
About Allianz Travel and Allianz Assistance
Allianz Travel has over 30 years of experience in offering first-class services and products to tourists from around the globe. Our global headquarters are based in Paris, but we also have regional offices in more than 28 countries worldwide. Allianz Travel and Allianz Assistance is the largest travel insurance and assistance company in the world, providing end-to-end travel insurance solutions to those in need.
Planning to visit Dubai from somewhere else within the UAE? Reach out to us today to find out more about our renowned travel insurance service offering.
Disclaimer: some of the content in this blog article has been repurposed from an original article by Journal Enterprise.