Dubai, UAE | Cruise port of call | CruiseBe
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Dubai, UAE

Dubai is a cosmopolitan metropolis and global city on the Arabian Peninsula. One of the ten most popular tourist destinations in the world, it is developing rapidly in tourism and trade. It calls itself one of the more modern and progressive cities in the Middle East, but it has been severely criticized for the mistreatment of workers, especially those whose home countries are on the Subcontinent. Critics investigating the labor situation, including professor Andrew Ross, of New York University, which opened a campus in the UAE in 2014, have been barred from entry by the local authorities. Dubai is sometimes mistakenly thought of as a country, though it is part of the United Arab Emirates.
Dubai is a commercial and cultural hub of the Middle East, it's a global transport hub, and has attracted world attention through many large innovative construction projects and sports events. The city is symbolized by its skyscrapers,... Read more

Dubai, UAE

Destination:
Dubai is a cosmopolitan metropolis and global city on the Arabian Peninsula. One of the ten most popular tourist destinations in the world, it is developing rapidly in tourism and trade. It calls itself one of the more modern and progressive cities in the Middle East, but it has been severely criticized for the mistreatment of workers, especially those whose home countries are on the Subcontinent. Critics investigating the labor situation, including professor Andrew Ross, of New York University, which opened a campus in the UAE in 2014, have been barred from entry by the local authorities. Dubai is sometimes mistakenly thought of as a country, though it is part of the United Arab Emirates.
Dubai is a commercial and cultural hub of the Middle East, it's a global transport hub, and has attracted world attention through many large innovative construction projects and sports events. The city is symbolized by its skyscrapers, including the world's tallest building,

Burj Khalifa

, in addition to ambitious development projects including man-made islands, world class luxury hotels, and some of the largest and extraordinarily modern shopping malls in the world.

It's essentially a desert city with superb infrastructure and liberal policies (by Islamic standards) that became popular for its excellent tourist amenities. Dubai makes a great short break for shopping, partying, sunbathing, fine dining, sporting events, and even a few sinful pleasures. Homosexuality is a crime in Dubai, and gay persons may be arrested for public displays of affection of any kind. There is not a single independent media outlet in the UAE. The country is not a democracy, and while there are laws in Dubai, they apply more to some than to others. This being said, Dubai is noticeably less draconian than many of its neighboring countries. Dubai has one of the largest per capita immigrant populations in the world, and the ethnic cuisine on display is superlative by international standards. Personal safety is not an issue in Dubai, and both women and men can walk freely at all hours of the day and night.
Despite the fact that Arabic is the official language, due to the fact that foreigners outnumber Emiratis by almost 4 to 1 in Dubai, it is safe to say that most of the population does not speak it. English serves as the lingua franca, and most Emiratis speak English to be able to communicate with the migrant workers who work for them. In fact, most shops are staffed by Indian or Filipino migrant workers rather than Emiratis.
The weekly day off is Friday. Since September 2006, a harmonized weekend of Friday and Saturday has been adopted for the public sector and schools. Government departments, multinational companies, and most schools and universities take Friday and Saturday off (after years of a mixed bag of Friday/Saturday and Thursday/Friday weekends). Some local companies still work half a day on Thursday with a full day on Saturday, but larger companies tend to permit time off work for their employees on Friday and Saturday.

Climate

The city of Dubai is situated on a coastal strip bordered by desert and gets very hot. It is dry on the hottest days and humid during the cooler days in the summer. Cooler, more pleasant weather lasts from the end of September to the beginning of May (although pleasant is relative, with daily temperatures from October to January and March to May still being 20°C-25°C (68°F-77°F), but be prepared for cold night temperatures. In winter the temperature at night is usually from 10°C-16°C (50°F-60°F). From May to September, the sun is intense and in August temperatures can touch 54°C (129°F) in the city and even higher in the desert. The heat, coupled with a humidity of 60%-70% near the coast, effectively precludes most activity outdoors for the daylight hours during summer.
December to April generally produces the highest precipitation, though little of it, at 10 cm (5 in). Some years yield no more than a few minutes of shower.


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Dubai, UAE: Port Information


Your cruise liner will dock in the beautiful and modern cruise terminal at Port Rashid.
There are 3 cruise terminals in this port close to each other.
Taxis and buses are available.
The cruise port is located close to the center; for example, it's just a 10-minutes ride to the Dubai Mall. Ask a taxi driver to switch on the meter.
Hop on/off buses are also available near your cruise terminal.
Besides, you can find free shuttle buses provided by the mall (to transfer you to that particular mall).

Get around Dubai, UAE


Dubai's public transport system is probably the best in the Middle East, especially after the launch of the metro, but it's still a very car-oriented city and most visitors end up taking taxis quite often.

By metro

Dubai's 52km long Red Line, opened in September 2009, is the second metro in the Arab world after Cairo. While the line does not serve the old city center, it's handy for zipping along Dubai's long coastline and includes stops at the airport, Burj Khalifa and the Mall of the Emirates. The Green Line, which burrows through the city core, opened in September 2011. You can transfer between the two lines at Union Square and Khalid Bin Al Waleed (BurJuman). There are also Blue and Purple lines under construction with opening dates in the next few years.
Trains run every 3–5 minutes from 05:50 to midnight every day except Thursday and Friday, when services are extended to 05:50-01:00 limited to 13:00-23:59, respectively. All stations are air-conditioned and there's a large network of feeder buses. If you plan to travel late in the evening, check station working hours as the last train may depart earlier that the official system operating hours.

By monorail

A 5 km monorail system shuttles passengers across the

Palm Jumeirah

to the

Atlantis hotel

. It connects with the Dubai Tram. This is not a part of the rest of Transport, and therefore, need to buy a separate ticket.

By tram

The latest of Dubai's modern transportation system is the Dubai Tram, which opened on November 12, 2014. It provides commuters a comfortable transit service around the prime business and leisure districts of Dubai. The Dubai Tram operates for 19 hours daily running for 14.5 kilometers along Al Sufouh Road. It passes around the vibrant Dubai Marina where passengers are treated to breathtaking sights of towering skyscrapers and luxury yachts and then travels down Jumeirah passing by the iconic Burj Al Arab.
The Dubai Tram connects with the Dubai Metro at the Jumeirah Lakes Towers and DAMAC stations, and links with the monorail of Palm Jumeirah. Outside of Europe, the Dubai Tram is the first tram system that uses the state-of-the-art ground cable system which eliminates the unsightly and dangerous overhead cables.

By bus

Dubai Public transport is a cheaper means of traveling within the several districts of Dubai. A map of the bus system can be found online, as well as detailed route maps and timetables. Public buses are clean and cheap, but unfortunately not very comprehensive and (on some routes) quite infrequent. The bus system is most useful for getting between different areas of central Dubai, or between the various suburbs, rather than general transport. Taxis or a fair amount of walking will also be required if you visit Dubai without a car of your own.
You will require a Nol card or ticket for fare payment. Cards can be purchased from most bus stations, metro stations, and sometimes from the bus driver.
The main bus stations are Gold Souq Market (in Deira) and Al Ghubaiba bus station (in Bur Dubai). Clear route maps and timetables are placed inside a few bus stands. Ramadan timings differ. The front seats are reserved for women.
Probably the single most useful service for the casual tourist is Line 8, which starts at the Gold Souq, takes the tunnel under the Creek to Heritage Village, and then sets off down Jumeirah Rd (just behind the beach) and all its hotels and malls, up to Burj al-Arab and Wild Wadi. It terminates near the Internet City, while its 8A variant goes down a little further and also serves the Mall of the Emirates.

By Hop-on Hop-off bus

For a good, hop-on/hop-off tour try Big Bus Tours. It runs two routes: the blue route through Jumeirah and the recently constructed areas, and the red route centered on the older parts of Dubai. The hub for both routes is Wafi City Mall.

By taxi

Taxis ply the streets of Dubai and are relatively easy to spot with their cream bodies and colored roofs. The easiest place to find them is at the taxi queue at one of the malls or outside a hotel. Waving down a taxi on the road is possible, but can be difficult during rush hours. At peak times (7-9 AM & 4-7 PM workdays, and Friday evenings) demand exceeds supply, and not only are taxis hard to find, but those who deign to pick you up may demand crazy off-meter fares or refuse short rides in congested areas entirely. If you accept an off-meter quote, ensure that the driver clearly says 'Dirhams' as occasionally the word metamorphoses into 'Dollars' when you reach your destination. Also, the drivers of Dubai Taxi Corporation go through their shift change between 4-6 PM daily and it can be more difficult to find taxis during this time. The standard of driving in Dubai ranges from poor to wild - taxis are some of the worst on the roads. Taxi drivers are pretty good at knowing where the main shopping malls and hotels are, however, less well-known places will mean the driver calling his brother-in-law to get directions, whilst he drives around in circles on your time - hence it is a good idea to have a rough idea of where you are heading or what a nearby landmark is.
The rates of all taxi companies — Dubai Transport, National, Cars, Metro, and Arabian — are identical, so just take the first one that comes along. Taxis are exempt from the Salik road toll charges.
Beware of unmarked hotel taxis and limousines though: while some of these are metered, they are not tied to the official rates and can be much more expensive. One way to spot whether a taxi is official or not is to look for a meter: no meter, don't get in.
If you can't find one otherwise, you can attempt to call Dubai Taxi on 04-2080808 (each franchise has its own booking number but one central system). The booking system was notorious for its unreliability but with a significantly increased taxi fleet, many taxis now deliberately wait in unofficial holding areas waiting for bookings. As a result, on a good day, it can be possible to book a taxi and have it arrive within less than five minutes.
Women should travel in the back of the taxi as some drivers see it as a sexual invitation if you get in the front.
Taxi drivers are usually friendly but may have different ideas on hygiene.

By car

There are a countless number of Rent-A-Cars that will provide a mode of transportation for very cheap rates and very little paperwork. An International Driving Permit is not necessarily required, but hire companies may not rent a car without one.
Some agencies will hire out cars complete with drivers. Visitors taking advantage of this option will need to make certain that their driver knows his way around as many do not.
When driving on the main roads, such as Sheikh Zayed road, the junction numbers are not in logical order. Junction 13 is just after Junction 18 and are rarely as shown on the maps. Road names can also be very confusing with slight differences in spelling (due to different transliterations from Arabic) being very important. The construction work that is taking place throughout and around Dubai can make finding your destination a challenge. Temporary road layouts change with alarming regularity and temporary signs can be misleading or nonexistent. As GPS maps are not up to date (and usually not anyway available to rent with hire cars), you will be very well off with a printed map (you can get an excellent one in Virgin stores, for example. There is a Virgin Megastore on the top floor of City Center).
Driving during morning and afternoon peak hours is not recommended, as traffic slows to a standstill and even a simple trip across a bridge can take up to 45 minutes. There is also a scarcity of parking spaces in many parts of the city.
With such a mixture of nationalities residing in the city, driving styles are mixed, to say the least. Both dangerous and experienced driving will be witnessed or experienced frequently, and bear in mind that Dubai has one of the highest per capita road death rates in the world. There is zero tolerance for alcohol and driving with stiff penalties meted out including jail and deportation.

By boat

An easy way of crossing Dubai Creek is by abra, a small ferry. Abra stations are located along the Creek on both the Bur Dubai and Deira sides, and the system of filling the boats is remarkably efficient. The cross-river trip costs 1 dirham, payable to the driver after the boat has left the station, and affords a very picturesque view of the city. Abras set off very regularly, and the service is available round-the-clock.
Air-conditioned water buses are a way to avoid the abra crowd and the heat. They are part of the public transport system, so a Red Nol ticket or a Nol card is required. Tickets can be purchased at the water bus station. The water bus also features a 'tourist route' round trip – while it is convenient, it can get quite expensive).
The Creek is also the home of many boats offering more comfortable (and correspondingly more expensive) tours, often in boats designed to resemble dhows. Prices tend to be higher, particularly for dinner cruises with onboard entertainment.

What to see in Dubai, UAE


Old Dubai

  • Al Ahmadiya School, Deira. Built in 1912, this was Dubai's first school and has now been nicely restored. It would be a stretch to call the exhibits of old reed pens and diplomas fascinating, but they've tried pretty hard, and if nothing else, the air-con and clean toilets may come in handy. Free entry.
  • Bastakiya District. One of the last remaining pockets of Old Dubai, home to many reconstructed buildings in the traditional style. While information on the structures is slim here (see the museum in preference), the atmosphere is very evocative and there are plenty of delightful art galleries and cafes to explore.
  • Dubai Museum, Al Ibn Abi Talib Road, ph: +971 (4) 353-1862. A must-see for anyone interested in the social history of the Emirate (and indeed the country). A visit starts at the al-Fahidi Fort, which has a few examples of the traditional reed houses and other artifacts but isn't much to look at. The more interesting part is the modern extension built underneath the fort, showcasing Dubai's history using the latest technology and culminating in a reconstructed souq from the pearling days, complete with authentic sights and sounds. It is quite fascinating to see the speed at which the transition from poor pearling village to modern metropolis occurred. 
  • Jumeirah Mosque, Jumeirah Road, Jumeirah 1 (opposite Palm Strip Mall). Is the largest in the city, and a wonderful example of Islamic architecture. Built in the medieval Fatimid tradition with the interior decorated with elaborate Arabic calligraphy. It is one of few mosques in the city open for visits by non-Muslims, the Sheikh Mohammed Centre for Cultural Understanding conducts special tours for non-Muslims to help promote understanding of Islam. Guided tours are available on Tuesday, Thursday, and Sunday beginning at 10 AM, followed by a question-and-answer session. Located on Jumeirah Road, the mosque is an especially great place to visit in the evening when it's dramatically illuminated by floodlights.
  • Shindagha District — Home to the open museums of the Heritage Village, and has the home of former Sheikh Rashid Al-Maktoum.
  • Souks — There are a number of nice souks, or markets, on both sides of the creek that are worth exploring. The spice souk is a good place to discover local ingredients, while souk Madinat Jumeirah is known for its traditional architecture Souks tends to specialize in a certain niche. Depending on which one you visit they sell everything from spices to crafts to very inexpensive tourist t-shirts.

Modern Dubai

Don't miss Dubai's overwhelming shopping malls, listed under Buy.
  • Burj Khalifa. Until recently called Burj Dubai, at 828 meters and 160 floors this is the world's tallest structure by a long shot, over 300m taller than the previous contender in Taipei. The observation deck at the 124th floor is the 2nd highest in the world after the Shanghai World Financial center. Already dominating the Dubai skyline, the newly opened tower houses nine hotels and a Las Vegas-inspired fountain system. The visitors' entrance is located at the lower ground floor of Dubai Mall. Although the tour is called At the Top be aware that it isn't! Although the observation deck is the highest open deck in the world, at 452m it's just over halfway up the tower itself. Console yourself with the knowledge that most of the rest of the tower consists of service areas and the view below looks suitably ant-like. Tickets can sell out several days in advance, and it is advisable to book them online ahead of your visit.
  • The Dubai Fountain. At 270m (900ft) in length and sporting a jet that shoots water up to 150m (500 ft), the Dubai Fountain is indeed the world's largest dancing fountain and one with a very enticing display - a definite must see. The show starts every evening at the Burj Dubai Lake. An easy way to approach it is via the Dubai Mall. Shows are every 30 minutes from 6 pm to 10 pm on weekdays and from 6 pm to 11 pm on weekends. It's the world’s largest dancing fountain with classical, Arabic and world music. About 1.5 million lumens of projected light and the spray heights of up to 150m/500 ft (22,000 gallons of airborne water).
  • Burj al-Arab hotel. For a real glimpse into "how the other half lives", (self-proclaimed as the only 7-star hotel in the world), afternoon tea, or cocktails, may be an interesting experience. Entry to the hotel requires a reservation which will be confirmed at the entry gate, although residents of adjacent Jumeirah hotels may be able to visit by arrangement. Other tourists may occasionally be able to book tours of the hotel itself, however, these will not run when the hotel is full. A "very smart casual" dress code applies. Reservations are usually required about a month in advance for a room, but a few days will generally suffice for a meal.
  • Dubai Marina. One of the newer and more popular areas of Modern Dubai, both with residents and tourists. It offers numerous features such as a phenomenal skyline, world-class hotels, a fabulous beach, a mall, and 2 different walkways (The Walk and Marina Walk) with coffee shops, restaurants, and shops. Marina Walk is right on the "Marina water", and there are many yachts there. You can rent a yacht for a cruise around the area or you can simply dine on a dhow cruise. The Walk has a nice open market run from October till May, every Fridays and Saturdays at daylight.
  • Dubai Water Canal Dubai water canal is a new tourist attraction unveiled in Dubai on November 9th November 2016, which is another golden feather in the cap of Dubai's history. The 3.2-kilometer-long canal serves as the final segment of the Dubai Creek extension, terminating in the Arabian Gulf via Al Safa, Al Wasl and Jumeirah 2. The opening of the canal opens up new possibilities in marine transport, connecting the historic areas of Deira and Bur Dubai through the extended waterway of Dubai Creek, Business Bay, and Dubai Water Canal. There are 3 pedestrian bridges created across different areas of the canal in order for the public to watch the beauty of the canal and its artificial waterfall with its full essence. The waterfalls automatically stop and give way to marine transport when it passes across it. Dubai water canal is now one of the favorite sailing areas in the city. You can experience cruising through this canal by booking a rental service or by using an RTA water taxi.
  • Palm Islands. The three largest artificial islands in the world are located just off the coast of Dubai; a major urban development to add a significant amount of upscale beachfront property to the area. Each of the islands is shaped like a palm leaf, with a trunk connected to the mainland, fronds extending from the trunk, and a crescent (a breakwater encircling the trunk and fronds). Of the three planned, the Palm Jumeirah, at 5km square and near Dubai Marina, is the only one yet open, connected to the mainland by a freeway bridge and a monorail and sporting marinas, luxury resorts, and upscale shopping areas.

What to do in Dubai, UAE


  • Abra ride. Best done at night in the cool weather and to enjoy the city lights. Abras can be hired for a private tour (for a price negotiable with the driver, but usually very cheap). This is quite a popular activity at sunset on a clear day, particularly if the driver is able to enliven the tour with stories about the structures on either side of the Creek. Just make sure that the purpose of one's abra hire is made clear at the outset – otherwise, you will be in for a very expensive cross-river trip or a crowded private tour. See also the Get around section above.
  • Beaches and sea. There are endless water sport opportunities as Dubai has some of the whitest and sandiest beaches in the world. Ocean temperatures range from 22°C in winter up to 35°C in summer, there are few wave breaks and the strong winds can make swimming difficult. The water is also very salty so many prefer to use their hotel swimming pool. Diving activities have been severely affected by offshore construction work for the Palms and The World; consequently, long boat trips are necessary to reach wreck sites. Alternatively, one can make the 90-minute road journey to the East coast Emirate of Fujairah or the Sharjah enclave, Khor Fakkan, for top class diving on coral reefs supporting extensive marine life.
  • Camel Race Track. One of the more unusual attractions, with races being held on Thursday and Friday in the winter. You can watch the races, and you'll have the opportunity to visit the paddocks. Vendors sell everything from beads to rugs and blankets, so you can purchase souvenirs.
  • Desert safari or dune bashing. Head out to the desert in an SUV with specialist desert drivers. The drivers will take you for a thrilling roller-coaster ride over sand dunes, show you the sunset from a strategic vantage point and then take you to a traditional Arabic Bedouin campsite where you'll be offered lavish barbecue buffet dinner with music and belly dance to complete the atmosphere. The duration of the tour is usually around five hours. You may want to stay clear of the dune bashing if you get carsick easily. A desert safari is one of the best things to do while in Dubai. Another option would be renting/buying a 4x4 and joining the many growing 4x4 clubs in the UAE, but only if you're an extremely experienced driver and hold an international driving license. A majority of them have an online presence like Emarat 4x4 9, Arabian OffRoad Academy, Dubai 4x4 and UAEoffroaders, among others.
  • Natural outdoors. Although at first glance the outdoors may seem dull and uninteresting, and even dangerous due to the desert conditions, there are actually amazing natural destinations in the Emirate of Dubai, which extends into Hatta. There are pristine waterfalls, cliffs lined with fossils, even freshwater lakes.
  • Yacht charter. An easy way to explore the man-made Palm Islands and coastal skyscrapers. Fleets are available for hire from Dubai Marina from many of the yacht charter agencies.
  • Dubai Creek cruise/ride. Dubai Creek is the foundation from which Dubai grew. It originally served as a port for trading vessels plying to and from India, Africa, and the Middle East. Today a bit of the old shipping culture still remains. In and around the Creek one can see some of the original buildings that have served as customs houses and defense structures. You can book a ride (usually four hours) on the Dubai Marina cruise or rent a private boat to take you on an hour-long ride up and down the Creek.
  • Burj Khalifa. Visit the tallest building in the world with the magnificent centerpiece of downtown Dubai, Burj Khalifa is surrounded by hotels, must-visit shopping destinations and a world of entertainment options
  • Golf. It may be a desert, but a lot of money and water is spent on irrigating opulent golf courses. Alternatively, for a more local flavor, try sand golf!
  • Hot Air Balloon Ride. Great fun seeing all the sand dunes and mountains early in the morning or during sunset.
  • Big Bus Company tour. You can take a bus tour, both day time and night time, of many of attractions in Dubai.
  • Parks. Al Safa Park is one of the oldest in Dubai. It's a favorite for sports enthusiasts, and many visitors enjoy playing tennis, volleyball, and soccer. Children love playing games in the video arcade or riding the Ferris wheel and bumper cars. The park even has a maze to wander through. Barbeques and picnic areas are available for those who want to make a day of it.
  • Water Sports. Thrill-seeking water excitement. Banana boat ride and parasailing and many other water sports activities.
  • Fishing. Enjoy deep sea fishing in the middle of the Dubai Sea. Fishing in Dubai allows finding some of the popular fishes including queenfish, snappers, tuna, cobia, emperor, Spanish mackerel and barracuda fishes.
    There are large numbers of companies offering fishing boats like Dubai Dhow. The advanced and modern fishing boats are the most upgraded luxury vessels that have accommodation rooms along with the required things to make the stay comfortable and convenient in the ship. Modern and latest infrastructure with innovative fishing equipment doubles the adventure of fishing from the bottom of the sea.
  • Deep Sea Fishing is also hosted by professional skippers whose services are offered by the boats and charters one hires. These professional skippers guide and help in capturing the desired target in an easy and safe manner. The boats are well equipped with life jackets, flares, first aid facilities and all precautionary measures for the utmost protection of the travelers. Professional fishermen and captains of the boat are assigned to the people to ensure complete safety. Staff is fully trained, ethically aware of the needs of the travelers and available to keep a sharp eye on weather condition and atmosphere for safety measures.
    Dubai is actually a place for water freaks and the people who like to explore nature from the lap of the sea. Bottom fishing and trolling both options can be availed for preying the fish. Bottom fishing is about to attract a variety of fish by using bait like squids by stopping the boat in the middle of the sea. Trolling is done to catch big fish by using trolling lures or plastic fish as bait.
  • Ski. Dubai now has its own snow skiing center. Located in the new Mall of the Emirates (MOE), on the Sheikh Zayed Road, it offers both skiing and snowboarding. The slope is quite large for an indoor area. All equipment is available for hire. Although it is -4°C inside, you don't need to bring a jacket because they supply pretty much everything except gloves and a hat (which you can buy right there). 
  • Hot Air Balloon. Great Fun seeing all the sand Dunes and mountains early in the morning or during sunset.
  • Dubai Zoo, Jumeirah Road. An outdoor zoo near to the beach. Considering the extreme temperatures during the summer months, there are plans to bring the zoo indoors. The zoo is not worth visiting as the number and variety of animals are few, and housing conditions are also appalling. Animals are trapped in cages too small for them to take more than a few steps and are frustrated and bored.
  • Global Village. Happens Annually and is operated by Dubai Land, this usually happens during winter; from Late November to late February. Countries around the world gather and set up a small village in the outskirts of Dubai, each country/region has its own pavilion with a unique replica of their famous landmark(s). This is usually like a flea market where you can get souvenirs from almost every corner of the earth for a bargained price and experience as if you're in that certain country for at least 10 minutes of your life even if you're 10,000km away. Raffles for cars and gold bars also happen. You'd see the hieroglyphics of Egypt, temples of Thailand, Forbidden city of Beijing, the Eiffel tower and many more.
  • Wild Wadi. Wild Wadi Park is the perfect place for the entire family to spend a day as well as being a great way to beat the heat and enjoy the day away from the bustle of the city. Located close to the hotels and resorts of Jumeirah Beach, the park has water rides, slides, and a lagoon that's hidden away. You'll enjoy waterfalls, out of the way swimming holes, and a tidal pool.
  • Desert Motorcycle Tours. Big Red Motorsports specializes in Desert Motorcycle / Dirt Bike and Dune Buggy Tours. Located at the foot of Big Red (Dubai's greatest dune) there is no better location to experience the vast desert of the UAE. Expect thrills and adventure. Dune Buggy is suitable for all. Motorcycle tour requires some skill. 
  • Dubai Aquarium & Underwater Zoo, located on the Ground Level of The Dubai Mall. 10:00-12:00 AM. One of the largest suspended aquariums in the world, It holds 10-million liter tank, hosting thousands of fish and other underwater wildlife for visitors and residents to watch. Tickets are available online. 

What to eat and drink in Dubai, UAE


Eat

Shawarma is the most available food item on almost all streets (and cheap!) in Dubai. It is the Arabic equivalent of the Burger. It is meat that has been cooked on a skewer and then cut into thin strips and placed into a kuhbus (pita) bread with vegetables and dressing. The Shawarma sold by Indian restaurants is arguably the cheapest.

Another local snack is Fala-Fil (Felafel, Falafel) also available at about the same costs as the shawarma.

Most of the American fast food chains have set up shop in Dubai, including KFC, Chillis, TGI Fridays, Starbucks, and McDonald's. The beauty of the food in Dubai is that you will probably find cuisine for every taste.

For Indians (and vegetarians) Dubai has a big selection of budget Indian vegetarian food. Dosa, vada, idlee, samosa, chapaati/roti, with generous servings of sabji (cooked vegetable stew) are available at throwaway prices.
Bur Dubai (particularly Meena Bazaar area) and Karama are the places that abound in these restaurants. Most of them are open from 7 AM till 10 PM or 11 PM throughout the week.

Budget
  • The Evergreen Pure Vegetarian chain of restaurants scattered throughout the city is worth visiting for its vegetarian dishes and famous Thali. The Evergreen Restaurants are located in Dubai, Sharjah and Abu dhabi. The restaurants in Dubai are in Deira, Bur Dubai and Satwa area of Dubai. It also has a range of chaats like PaniPuri, BhelPuri.
  • Karachi Inn Restaurant, 1. At Satwa roundabout, 2. At Bur Dubai near Mussala Tower, ☎ 3315353. It is a Pakistani Restaurant that provides cheap Pakistani & Indian food. Good for anyone with a spicy tooth.
  • The Karachi Darbar chain of restaurants scattered throughout the city.
  • The Jabal Al Noor chain of restaurants. A Middle Eastern take on fast food and its own unique variety of drinks with names such as "Lexus"," Burj al Arab", and "Sitara".
  • The Anjappar Restaurant and Ibrahimi Restaurant are famous for their wonderful delicacies.
  • Pak Liyari Restaurant is famous for excellent biryani.
As mentioned earlier, Dubai is a melting pot for various cultures who have bought their local cuisines over with them. For those who are open to trying new and different foods, Frying Pan Adventures offers food tours that allows visitors to try various regional foods while at the same time exploring less known parts of Dubai.

Mid-range
  • Royal Kebab Restaurant, Royal Kebab Restaurant, Dubai Media City, Zee Tower, Next to BBC, Dubai and soon to open in Dubai Mens College, ☎ +971 4 4508105 (royalkebab@rjs.ae, fax: +971 4 4503679). 11:00 am to 12:00 am. A restaurant by RJS Group. With outdoor seating and a separate shisha area. 
  • Shabu Shabu UAE, 2nd December St, Al Hudaiba, ☎ +97143599224. It is an Asian restaurant that serves a wide range of food from all over Asia, so there is shabu shabu, sushi, and teppanyaki of course. The prices are really reasonable, and they have promotional offers almost every day. 
  • Jedoudna Restaurant, Rimal Sector, The Walk at Jumeirah Beach Residence, Dubai, ☎ +971 4 4230766 (jedoudna@eim.ae, fax: +971 4 4230765). 7:00 am to 1:00 am. A family-run Lebanese restaurant. With outdoor seating and separate shisha area. 
  • Bundoo Khan, inside Clover Creek Hotel Apartments, ☎ +971 4 3709881. Indian. 
  • BBQ Tonight, H.H Hamdan Complex, Jumeirah Road (in front of Union Flag), (toll-free: 800-22727, bbq@bbqtonight.ae).
  • Wafi Gourmet, Wafi Mall, Oud Metha, Dubai, ☎ +971 4 324 4433. Excellent Lebanese cuisine and ambiance. In the cooler months, the outdoor verandah is a pleasure. No alcohol served.
  • The Noodle House, Emirates Towers Shopping Boulevard, Madinat Jumeirah, Jumeirah, ☎ +971 4 366 8888. Asian food.
  • Student Biryani, Kuwait Street Al - Karama, ☎ +971 4 3369992 (fax: +971 4 3666649). Continental.
  • Toscana, Souk Madinat Jumeirah, ☎ +971 4 3666730 (MJrestaurants@jumeirah.com, fax: +971 4 3666649). Italian. 
  • Yakitori House, Century Hotel, Khalid Bin Walid Street, Bur Dubai, ☎ +971 4 205 7333. Japanese cuisine, very popular with the Japanese expat community.
  • Lal Qila Dubai, Jumairah-1, Daiyfah Intersection, 28821 Dubai, ☎ +971 4 325 4778 (info@lalqila.ae). Continental.
  • London Fish & Chips, Tunisia Food Court, Ibn Batutta Mall, Jebel Ali Village, Dubai, ☎ +971 4 366 9939. Fish and chips.
  • Automatic, this is a chain of popular Lebanese restaurants found all over Dubai. Famous for its lamb chops & Friday lunch buffet. No alcohol served.
  • Al Dawaar Revolving Restaurant, Hyatt Regency, Deira, ☎ 04 209 1100. Lunch: 12.30 PM - 3.30 PM, dinner: 7 PM-midnight. Serving an assortment of cuisines, the highlight of this beautiful restaurant is that it revolves, giving a nice tour of the city. 
  • Pars Iranian Kitchen, Shk Zayed Road (Located in the residential area of Diyafah Road next to the Rydges Plaza Hotel), ☎ +971 4 398 4000. This is an open-air Iranian restaurant where one can sit in traditional machans (large bed-like seating) and enjoy a fine Iranian meal. The specialty is the mixed grill which is served with a live coal. After the meal, you may smoke a traditional sheesha pipe. No alcohol served. 
  • Chimes, Al Barsha (Located beneath the Seven Sands Hotel Apartments near the Mall of the Emirates and close to Sharaf DG metro station of the overhead monorail. You can download a location map from the Contact Us section of their website.), ☎ 043234211. The dishes are from Thailand, Singapore, Malaysia, and Indonesia, and the popular house specialty must be the Pepper or Chili Crab. You can eat at the restaurant or order home delivery to most areas of new Dubai. 
  • Yum!, Inter-Continental Hotel, Deira, ☎ +971 4 222 7171. A wonderful noodle bar located at the InterContinental Dubai. Well priced, with excellent food.  
  • 800PIZZA, Sheykh Zayed Road, Barsha, Tamweel building, between Coral Boutique Hotel and Emirates Mall, ☎ 800-PIZZA(74992) (info@800pizza.ae). 11 AM to midnight. Traditional & authentic Italian pizza baked in wood fired Italian stone oven, thin & crispy crust.  edit People living in Dubai usually order food online from sites which provide 24 hour service. One can search the best pizzas, sushi, kebabs, burgers and order any kind of food in Dubai from eateasily. One can place orders for delivery, pickup or table booking from the list of top restaurants in Dubai.
  • Karam Beirut, Sheykh Zayed Road, Al Barsha, 1st floor, Mall of Emirates. Excellent Lebanese food.  
Splurge
  • AT.MOSPHERE, Burj Khalifa, ☎ +9714 8883444. 12 PM until 2 AM. At.mosphere is an exclusive fine dining restaurant, located on Level 122 of Burj Khalifa, the world’s tallest tower. Great option for an Afternoon Tea and sunset views. 
  • Al Fanar Restaurant & Cafe, Festival City Dubai, ☎ +97142329966. The first and the only authentic Emirati Cuisine in UAE. A complete mesmerizing experience of Emirati traditions, authentic Emirati cuisine, and Middle Eastern hospitality, in the ambiance of Dubai, recreated from the 1960s. 
  • Manhattan Grill, Grand Hyatt Dubai. Is a fine dining restaurant, its specialty are steaks. A suitable venue for romantic dinners and family gatherings. 
  • Kiku, Le Meridien Dubai, ☎ +971 4 282 4040. Japanese cuisine. Very high quality and very popular. 
  • Khazana, Al Nasr Leisureland, Karama, ☎ +971 4 336 0061. Run by famed Indian TV chef Sanjeev Kapoor. Drinks Served. Reservations recommended especially on Friday nights. Very costly, but fantastic service. 
  • Options, Jumeirah, ☎ 971 4 329 3293. Also run by famed Indian TV chef Sanjeev Kapoor. Drinks served. Reservations recommended especially on Friday nights. 
  • Asha's, Wafi Centre, Bur Dubai, ☎ +971 4 324 0000. Indian Cuisine run by Asha Bosle. Good food but little expensive 
  • Shang Palace, Shangri-La Hotel, Shk Zayed Road, ☎ +971 4 343 8888. Exceptional Chinese food. 
  • Al Mahara, Burj Al Arab, ☎ +971 4 301 7600. 12.30 PM- 3 PM, 7 PM-midnight. Part of the Burj Al Arab hotel, and as you would expect is also very high quality! Seafood. 

Shopping in Dubai, UAE


Dubai is practically synonymous with shopping. The huge amounts of cargo passing through its port and the low tariffs ensure that practically anything is available at fairly competitive rates, although the appreciation of the Dirham and the plentiful supply of shoppers means that Dubai is no longer a bargain basement shopping city. You'll also find products in western chain stores, still with the original tags quoting euro or sterling prices, being sold with a 20-30% mark-up once converted to Dirhams.

The best things to buy in Dubai are textiles, electronics, and gold, electronics is believed to be much cheaper while textiles and gold offer a wide range of selection.

Even in the mega-malls, Dubai shops have no storeroom and no stocks in reserve - and for clothes shopping this may mean that you may struggle to find the style you want in the size you want. Shops open as early as 9 AM and stay open to 10 PM and on weekends to 12 AM and some stay to 1 AM.

Remember to haggle in the souks, as discounts are almost always available and even in situations where the item will not become much cheaper, the customer is always expected to "play the game" of haggling. A simple question of "what's your best price?" will often result in a shop-keeper going to extraordinary lengths to sell his stock.

Prices in the malls and other Western shops tend not to be negotiable. Far from being a bad thing, this allows the canny visitor to work out comparative prices for common souvenirs - an invaluable aid when a shop-keeper in a souk is asking for a higher price.

Dubai Shopping Festival has been the biggest shopping event in the middle east since 1996. Almost every shop has a sale, starting in January and ending February. Dubai Shopping Festival is not just about shopping. The festival is itself a complete family entertainer and holds grand events having live concerts and performances performed by international celebrities. There's also a very similar Dubai Summer Surprises trying to pull in punters during the summer low season.

Malls

Dubai is known for its gigantic malls and is a magnet for shoppers. Among the dozens of malls, two stand out due to their size and quality. See the district articles for more detail on malls. Several malls have a large supermarket where you'll find the lowest cost electronics and groceries for self-catering. There are many supermarkets, and international brands such as Carrefour, Géant, and Waitrose have multiple locations as do 'home-grown' brands Choithrams, Spinney's, Union Co-Operative and Lulu, amongst others.

Safety in Dubai, UAE


Dubai is a fast growing city that has its share of problems but nothing that using common sense can't avoid.

Traffic

Driving and pedestrian safety has also been an issue given the different nationalities that share the road. Do not jaywalk or cross where there are no clear pedestrian markings. Speeding is common here, and the odds of you being knocked over are quite high unless you follow the rules. Avoid driving on the extreme left lane of highways to avoid being "flashed" and being forced to move a lane over. Road rage is also starting to become an issue given the increase in traffic jams and poor driving courtesy.

Rude hand gestures (the "finger" etc.) and profanity can lead to fines and jail times if reported, so keep your cool if you are cut off or are behind an erratic driver. In general, you will find those gestures and actions that some may find only slightly offensive in your home country, or perhaps not offensive at all, can at times be extremely offensive to the Dubai locals. Therefore, use a degree of common sense of what is right and wrong to help you stay out of trouble.

Islamic laws

The United Arab Emirates might seem to have more relaxed laws than their other Arab counterparts, but the laws are still very different from most Western countries, and their laws are strictly enforced. A simple kiss in a public place, having an alcoholic drink in the wrong place or even losing your temper could land you a month or more in jail. Please exercise caution and common sense when visiting and make sure you are aware of all their laws or expect severe consequences that could seriously ruin your vacation.

Dubai strictly follows Islamic laws which should be respected by all travelers. Islam is the official religion, therefore do not publicly criticize or distribute material against it. Eating in public during the holy month of Ramadan is prohibited from sunrise until sunset and visitors should consume meals in the confines of their hotel or residence.

In conversations about politics and world affairs, avoid criticizing the ruling family of any of the seven Emirates or prominent business families. The United Arab Emirates does not have any formal relations with Israel, and the government publicly supports causes that involves the Palestinian people or Palestinian statehood.

Public display of affection are frowned upon and public sexual acts can lead to jail time followed by deportation. In 2008, a British couple was arrested and faced jail sentences because they had sexual contact on a beach in Dubai. If all tourists remain respectful, decent and ensure that they do not upset the local people, there should be no problems.

Homosexuality, along with all sexual relations outside of marriage, is a criminal offense with possible deportation or months of jail. Public displays of affection or cross-dressing may lead to jail time and/or deportation. They should be avoided completely in public to ensure that no problems arise. In 2013 a Norwegian woman reported she had been raped but then, following bad advice, rescinded it. She was then sentenced to sixteen months in jail for extramarital sex and filing a false police report. After public pressure, she was pardoned and deported.

Women should dress sensibly and avoid wearing revealing outfits. This is especially true when traveling to districts like Karama, Deira and Bur Dubai, where the streets are packed with men, especially on evenings and weekends. While swimsuits and bikinis are a common sight on Dubai beaches, avoid sunbathing topless or wearing microbikinis—even in the private beach of a hotel.

Prostitution is illegal in Dubai but still, it is visible at nightclubs, bars, and other places. Law enforcement ignores partially the solicitation but penalties are high if something is too obvious or others call the police. The biggest problem is that many prostitutes don't have a legit residence permit so human trafficking and forced prostitution is an issue to keep in mind.

Petty crime

While petty crime is hardly reported or mentioned in the news, keep an eye on your wallet or purse when in crowded areas like Naser Square or Deira in general. If withdrawing large amounts of cash from ATMs or banking institutions, either conceal the notes or ask the institution's security to escort you to your vehicle. Cases have occurred where people have been robbed of large amounts of cash when in crowded places just because they were not careful.

Conmen are ever present in Dubai, especially the "Nigeria 419" scammers. Do not arrange meetings or entertain their requests or give any personal details. Should they not comply, individuals who will be happy to listen to their business propositions are the police.

Thanks to Dubai's new property boom and bust, real estate fraudsters are also popping up, so exercise extreme caution if you are interested in buying or renting.

Drug use and distribution are serious criminal offenses, even when in the company of the person consuming the material, and can lead to a prison sentence of several years or even to be in front of the firing squad. Passenger baggage is screened quite thoroughly when entering Dubai. Even prescription drugs (without original prescription note) or ones that you bought over the counter in your country can lead to a prison sentence.

You need to be careful when you are a tourist in Dubai, like many places around the world, people have a keen eye for tourists and can cheat you. For example, taxi drivers can drive a longer way to the destination given that you pay by meter or try to charge you 20 dollars when you are sure you heard them say 20 Dirhams: (they do sound rather similar).

Language spoken in Dubai, UAE


The official language is Arabic, but it is safe to say that the majority of the population doesn't speak it. This is especially true in Dubai, where Iranian, Indian, Asian and Western expatriates - who usually have very limited knowledge of Arabic - are more numerous than Arabs. Generally speaking, Arabic is spoken by government departments and the police; however, in Abu Dhabi and in the Northern Emirates, Arabic is much more widely spoken.

English is the lingua franca; most shops, hotels and commercial businesses conduct their business in English. As the UAE was a British protectorate, most Emiratis have learned English in school and know at least basic English. Most people possess at least a basic command of English, though it is not uncommon to meet people whose English is limited.

Due to immigration from the Indian subcontinent, Hindi and Urdu are widely spoken and understood. Other languages widely spoken in the UAE include Malayalam, Tamil, Farsi (Persian), and Tagalog (Filipino).

LOCAL TIME

12:36 pm
December 7, 2019
Asia/Dubai

CURRENT WEATHER

26.96 °C / 80.528 °F
light rain
Sun

25.08 °C/77 °F
moderate rain
Mon

25.25 °C/77 °F
light rain
Tue

23.83 °C/75 °F
few clouds
Wed

24.66 °C/76 °F
moderate rain

LOCAL CURRENCY

AED

1 USD = 0 AED
1 EUR = 0 AED
1 GBP = 0 AED
1 AUD = 0 AED
1 CAD = 0 AED

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