World-class shopping, dining and entertainment attractions, beautiful beaches, mysterious deserts and culturally-rich heritage sites – Dubai is a must-see holiday destination, with something for everyone. From shopping enthusiasts and adventure-seekers to foodies and families, this bustling city has an eclectic mix of activities and places to suit all tastes. Whether you're looking to embark on a gourmet holiday or a sightseeing trip, explore our action-packed travel itineraries to get the best out of your Dubai visit.
My wife and I have been to Dubai several times while we lived in the Middle East in Doha Qatar for a few years. Considered as the Vegas of the Middle East yet you will not find casinos here. Dubai is the most westernized area of the Middle East which will make you feel very safe and have a tourist feel to it. The people are friendly and getting around using their metro and taxis is easy so there is no need to rent a car here unless you wish to travel to Abu Dhabi which is another great place to visit. English is spoken everywhere and US currency is accepted as well as credit cards however try and use their Riyal currency which is 3.65 to the dollar to make it less confusing.
Getting to Dubai UAE is easy with many direct or non-stop flights to choose from. Although the trip is a long flight from the US which is a 13 hour eastbound or 15 hour westbound flight plus or minus the time change, It is well worth the time and I would recommend using Emirates or Qatar Airlines vs the US carriers which you will appreciate once you try them. I was a US Commercial pilot myself and unless you have built up 1st class mileage points to use on US carriers unfortunately we do not provide the same comfort and amenities.
Arriving into Dubai's International Airport is easy and you will find their terminal building very modern, beautiful and easy to navigate. Dubai Airport is a major hub for transit passengers because of the ease to transfer planes so you will see many transit passengers as well. If you are a US citizen visiting Dubai you will not need to get a visa to enter, your passport will work just fine but make sure you have at least 6 months left on it before it expires. If you are not a US citizen check with your embassy or search online for any visa requirements. Visa Requirements
Although you can use the Metro here to get to your hotel I would recommend a taxi because of your luggage. Taxis are easy to get and just follow the instructions to grab one as they are very organized in which taxi is next inline to assist passengers. Taxi's are reasonably priced and you can ask the driver, who speaks English, the cost prior to departing.
The Dubai Metro is a rapid transit rail network The Red Line and Green Line are operational, with four further lines planned (Blue, Purple, Pink and Gold Lines). These first two lines run underground in the city centre and on elevated platforms. All trains are fully automated and driverless, and, together with stations, are air conditioned with platform edge doors to make this possible. We found these trams to be convenient, clean, smooth and reasonably priced. I would recommend getting a 24 hr, 3 or 5 day pass to save money and are for unlimited use. Great for seeing the sites, eating out or shopping.
Until 2016, the Dubai Metro was the world's longest driverless metro network with a route length of 47 mi, as recognized by Guinness World Records in 2012. However, its total route length have since been surpassed by the fully automated driverless Vancouver SkyTrain and Singapore MRT. Nevertheless, the Red Line, at 32.4 mi, remains the world's longest driverless single metro line.
Burj Khalifa's ‘At the Top,'
Take sightseeing to new heights with an entrance ticket to Burj Khalifa's ‘At the Top,' one of the world’s tallest observation decks, located on the skyscraper’s 124th floor. See the Palm Jumeirah, Dubai Marina, Burj Al Arab and more; it's as if the the city was built to be seen from this vantage point!
You can gain access easily by using the entrance at the Dubai Mall. Ticket cost is around $68 per person and there is a waiting time so it's best to schedule a time either online or get a scheduled time appointment when you first get to the mall which you can then enjoy the mall during your wait. Sunset is the busiest time so keep that in mind. The elevator ride up to the 124th observation floor is amazing. Smooth and will only take one minute. Your ears will pop on the way down and the view from above is worth the money spent. They call it “At the Top” and make sure you pick up your souvenir to remind you of your visit like we did.
Shopping & Entertainment
There is no shortage of what to see and do but make sure to visit their malls and iconic hotels as well as the Palms, Atlantis and beaches.Whether it is water sports, shopping, museums or camel riding, skydiving or eating, you will find Dubai has it all. You can go ice skating or even hit the indoor ski area at the mall.
You will find local souks where you can bargain or luxury shops found around the world and if its gold your into you are in for a treat. Keep in mind the gold here may seem a little pricey but that's because you are buying 18 carrot not the 10 or 14 we see in the US. If you want perfect diamonds or pearls you will find no better.
When it comes time to sit for a meal I recommend that you find a place with a view which are amazing. You can eat under an aquarium or sit with a view of the gulf. We loved eating outside on the backside of the Dubai Mall where you can watch the dancing waters. If you have ever seen the water fountain show in Vegas at the Bellagio you will see where they got their inspiration. When it comes to food choices you will find just about any cuisine you can think of so stay away from the familiar restaurant names and enjoy their local traditions. Make sure you take some time out for coffee and their Hookah experiences.
Culture and Climate
Remember when you visit Dubai you are a visitor and therefore must respect their culture. So do your research beforehand and dress and act according to their culture. As I said they are very westernized but they still believe strongly in their culture, religion and customs. Don't show up to dinner in your bathing suits and flip flops. Dress for warm weather but be classy. They love to party but are very friend and family oriented. Be a tourist but be respectful and you will be just find. It's not like Saudi Arabia where you need to have full body cover so just look around to see what everyone else is doing.
Dubai has a tropical desert climate, because of its location within the Northern desert belt. Summers are extremely hot and humid, with an average high around 106 °F and overnight lows around 88 °F. Most days are sunny throughout the year. Winters are warm and short with an average high of 79 °F and overnight lows of 63 °F. Although precipitation has been increasing in the last few decades with accumulated rain reaching 5.91 in per year it is still considered very low, which is why irrigation systems are everywhere. Most of the rainfall occurs in the December to March period . The weather between December and March remains warm and is considered to be the most comfortable climatic conditions of the year although the winter months evenings from our experience sometimes do remind us to carry a light jacket. It is our recommendation to avoid travel in the summer months unless you are prepared for the hot temperatures and high humidity. Occasionally you will witness a sandstorm which is neat to watch from above coming across the dessert sands but not real pleasant to be in at ground level. This is why you see the locals where head gear for these conditions so go ahead and play Ali Baba during these times to filter what you breathe.
So….. Enjoy your stay and if you have been to Dubai already please leave us your opinion and recommendations. If you have not been here we highly recommend it for you and when you get back be sure to leave us your comments. If you have questions about travels Dubai please connect with us and if you want to belong to a discounted travel club that we have found check this out. Club