Dubai Travel Guide

Explore Dubai

Even the most hardened traveler can’t help but be impressed by Dubai. A city of superlative proportions, Dubai is home to the world’s tallest building, the world’s fastest roller coaster, one of the biggest and most unique reclaimed island in the world, and many other state-of-the-art architectural designs in the pipeline.

Coming here almost feels like a trip to the future, where modern advancements stand alongside Islamic culture in an diverse, open society. This is also one of the most international cities in the world where Emirates live in harmony with expats from around the globe. This diversity expresses itself in the culinary landscape, fashion, music and performance.


Top Things to Do

Burj Khalifa

At 829.8m high, this is the tallest structure in the world, and inevitably the biggest attraction in Dubai. There are two observation decks in the building: At the Top on the 124th floor, and SKY on the 148th building, also known as the world’s highest outdoor observation deck. Surrounding the building is a 27-acre park featuring water fountains, gardens, palm lined walkways and beautiful flowering trees.

Palm Jumeirah

Another attraction that has put Dubai on the world map is this artificial palm-shaped archipelago that has been created using land reclamation. The Palm Jumeirah is the smallest and the original of three Palm Islands that extends into the Persian Gulf. This island plays host to a series of hotels, resorts and luxury residences.

Dubai Museum

The main museum in Dubai is located within the Al Fahidi Fort that dates back to 1787 and is the oldest existing building in Dubai. The museum was opened with the aim of presenting the traditional way of life in the Emirate of Dubai. The museum has an excellent display of local antiquities, artifacts from African and Asian countries that traded with Dubai, as well as several dioramas showing life in the emirate before the advent of oil.

Desert Safari

To escape from the urban sprawl, many travellers head out to the desert surrounding Dubai for some dune bashing on a four-wheel drive. Some tour operators also include camel rides, belly dancing and fancy dinners in their itinerary. You can even stay overnight in a luxury tent and then take to the skies at sunrise on a hot air balloon.

Where to Eat and Drink

If you’ve got a global tastebud that’s constantly in search of new, exotic flavours from around the world, then you’ll love Dubai. There’s no shortage of international cuisines here, from Chinese to Italian, Arabic to Indian. Halal diners will also keep their stomachs full as there’s a whole plethora of halal-certified restaurants to choose from.


RECOMMENDED PLACES TO EAT

Al Mahara

Ever dined in an aquarium surrounded by sharks and manta rays? Dining here is an extraordinary experience, not just for the unique setting, but also for the exquisite food prepared by critically acclaimed seafood connoisseur and Michelin-star winner, Nathan Outlaw.

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Al Hadheerah

Amidst the desert dunes of Bab Al Shams Resort, you’ll be transported in time to ancient Arabia at this restaurant cum entertainment area. Dine on traditional Arabian cuisine served straight from wood-fired ovens and spit roasts in a fitting atmosphere, and watch exotic dances, falconry displays, camel caravans and horse shows under the starlit skies.

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Noodle Bowl

Famed for its authentic South East Asian cuisine, this Chinese Malaysian restaurant prides itself on using 100% Halal ingredients and serving a long menu of 200 dishes. Since 2006, Noodle Bowl has gained the respect and patronage of esteemed residents and residents looking for authentic “Strait Food” that includes Chinese dim sum, nasi lemak (coconut rice with fried fish) and fish head curry.

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Aryaas

If you’re craving cheap, no-frills Indian food, then don’t miss this simple but modern canteen-style diner in Bur Dubai. One dish you can’t miss here is the southern Indian vegetarian thali, a set meal that comes with five different pots of curry, including a brilliant dahl and a sweet tamarind concoction.

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Recommended Places to Stay

Burj Al Arab Jumeirah

Repeatedly voted the world’s most luxurious hotel, this magnificent destination offers glitzy duplex suites fit for royalty, terraced pools with the best view in town, and nine world class restaurants

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Waldorf Astoria Dubai Palm

Situated on the Palm Jumeirah island, all the rooms at this high-end resort overlook the Arabian Sea and the Burj Al Arab. The massive property sprawls across a 200-meter private soft-sanded beach.

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Hilton Garden Inn Dubai Mall

Conveniently located just meters from one of the largest shopping malls in the world, this new and contemporary hotel has plush and luxurious hotels that are surprisingly affordable.

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XVA Art Hotel

This midrange boutique hotel is minimalistic, small and intimate, enticing those curious about old-world Arab with its riad-style decor. The hotel is located in the heart of the Al Fahidi Historical Neighborhood.

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Best Time to Go

With a desert climate, Dubai is hot, dry and windy year round. There are only two seasons in the year: hot and hotter. During the winter months from November to March, the city sees blue skies and minimal rain, and average temperatures around 25°C. However, this is also peak tourist season, so prepare for crowds.

The summer months are from May to September, with average daily temperatures of around 37°C. The hottest months of the year are usually July and August where daily high temperatures can reach over 40°C. You can escape the crowds if you visit during the summer months, but be prepared for extreme temperatures and high humidity levels.


Getting There

Many airlines fly from Saudi Arabia to Dubai, including Emirates, Etihad Airways, flydubai and Qatar Airways. Direct flights to Dubai are easily available from many cities in Saudi Arabia, and flights from Riyadh are just under two hours.

Getting from Airport to City
  • By Train

    The cheapest and most convenient way to get from the Dubai International Airport to downtown Dubai is by metro. Trains run roughly every 10 minutes from Terminals 1 and 3. A single fare costs between 2.50 and 6.50 AED.

  • By Bus

    The airport is linked to the city by buses from the Roads and Transport Authority (RTA). Bus F55 travels between the airport and the Ibn Battuta Metro Station every hour during the metro operational hours. Note that you need to buy a Nol card in advance at the metro station.

  • By Taxi

    Taxis in Dubai are efficient, metered and reasonably-priced. There’s an official taxi rank at each terminal and there are taxis waiting 24/7. A single fare on a taxi to the city center costs around 40 to 60 AED.



Extra tips
  • In Dubai and the rest of the United Arab Emirates, Arabic is the official language. However, in Dubai, English is the most commonly spoken language.

  • The currency in Dubai is the United Arab Emirates Dirham (AED). The current exchange rate is 1 SAR to 0.98 AED.

  • United Arab Emirates uses 220-240 voltage.

  • United Arab Emirates uses the three pin British plugs with square prongs.