..Friday (bank holiday).
..the Nol card. You put money in it and use the metro or buses (issue cost 1.5€).
..red tops. Those are the government taxis and there is no way they are going to overcharge you or circle around.
..in a bag, because they might change it without you realizing it. Ask for a bag so that you can put it inside yourselves.
..Spicy Souk in much lower prices.
Dubai is a city that generates so many questions, such as what am I allowed to wear, where can I drink alcohol, how am I going to pay and what should I be careful about. It is best to know everything before you arrive, in order to avoid lines, move around easily and comfortably and save money and time. The most useful Tips for Dubai are here!
- Notice: The official day of worship is Friday (bank holiday).
- It is a warm city, with an average temperature of 38°C in the summer and 26°C in winter.
- During the summer months, temperature might get as high as 50ºC!
- In the city rain falls just 10 times a year!
- The blur of the landscape is created by the floating sand! The atmosphere is clear only on windless days.
- The city blocks and distances in general are MASSIVE, which results in the city not being friendly to those who want to explore it on foot!
- SOS: Draw money only from ATMs & mainly from the ones of the ADCB bank. The exchange rate is almost the same as the normal price and, of course, they do not charge for commission!
- Do not exchange money inside the hotels. The difference might be up to +30%.
- In shopping centers, the metro and other indoor spaces it is not a good idea to hold hands with your partners, nor kiss.
- All indoor spaces, as well as taxis, metro trains, buses, are air-conditioned, so when you go outside the change of temperature can be felt intensely. Protect yourselves by wearing a light jacket.
- At Spicy Souk you will find all souvenirs at half price, compared to all other Souk stores in the city.
- It is forbidden to walk around drunk or enter a taxi while you are drunk. There is danger of imprisonment!
- SOS: High Season is from November 1st to March 31st. During that period, everything is open and all activities take place.
- Dubai is one of the safest cities in the world! You can walk around at any hour, in all streets with no fear of anything…Even if you are a woman.
- Pay right away via credit/debit card. It is the safest and most cost-effective way (in terms of exchange rates.
- Most hotels have European and English electrical outlets. If they do not, ask at the reception desk to provide you with outlet adapters!
- Inside Malls it is necessary to carry a jacket. The cold in some areas is not pleasant!
- You can walk around dressed however you want, in shorts, short skirts and tank tops (except for the places where it is prohibited.
- It is not mandatory to have your hair and shoulders covered. Only if you want to get inside a religious space.
- Shirts with offensive messages are prohibited.
- It is allowed to hold hands with your partner in public areas, but kissing is not allowed.
- There is no need to be provocative with your attitude or way of talking. Respect the country and its customs.
- SOS: Do not take taxis during rush hours (07:00-09:00 and 15:00-17:00). Traffic in the streets is indescribable.
- Car rentals in Dubai are cheap, as well as the gas. The problem is with parking, as you can park only in indoor facilities (upon charge) or in open lots away from points of interest (Free).
- The ideal option for transportation is the Nol card. You put money in it and use the metro or buses (issue cost 1.5€). With this card charges are 30% cheaper, while if there is money left in it you can return it and take back your money (with a small charge).
- You must validate your ticket (or the Nol card) upon entering, as well as when exiting the metro.
- Buy tickets from the automatic vendors and not from the booths, as they are usually full of people.
- The schedules for the means of public transport change during the month of the Ramadan.
- Buses run from 05:30 to 01:00.
- By metro: Red line, trip duration 24 minutes, 4 AED+ (depending on the zone).
- By bus: trip duration 1 hour and 15 minutes, around 5 AED.
- By taxi: trip duration 15 minutes (depending on the traffic), around 53 AED.
- Always wear your seatbelt when getting a taxi! Speeds are high and accidents are many..
- The minimum tariff is 12 AED!
- Before the beginning of any taxi trip, load the route on the Taxi Fare Finder website to find out the cost (4-7 AED deviation, due to traffic). If you are asked for more money than the price on the website, you should know that the driver must have circled around. Do not accept to pay for it!
- Taxis are countless and you will find them on every street, outside of hotels, malls and, generally, everywhere!
- Prefer the taxis with the red tops. Those are the government taxis and there is no way they are going to overcharge you or circle around. They lose the taxi, in case of such complaints.
- You can pay for the taxi ride with a credit card (2 AED extra charge), as well as with the Nol card (1 AED extra charge).
- Taxis even stop on street corners to take customers…!
- Operating hours: Saturday-Sunday 05:30-00:00, Monday-Thursday 05:30-01:00, Friday 10:00-01:00.
- Average waiting time: 4 minutes.
- It is prohibited to chew gum inside the metro (there is a fine)!
- The metro has wagons for women and mixed. Women are allowed on the mixed wagons, but NOT the opposite! Caution…there is a fine!
- The fountains at the Dubai Mall “dance” every 30 minutes, for the duration of the song playing. First dance 18:00 – Last dance 23:00.
- The best time for a ride on the Abra boats in the fountains of the Dubai Mall is at 17:45 in the winter and at 19:45 in the summer.
- The best spot to take photos of you with the Burj Khalifa is behind the Souk al Bahar bridge.
- The visit to the Dubai Mall is best to happen in the morning, as it gets packed after 18:30. (It closes at 10-12 at night!)
- At the JBR beach, many happenings, events, concerts, water-sports and more are being held –almost- daily.
Spices and Gold Markets (Spice Souk & Gold Souk):
- Haggle until you drop. You might get an item with the initial value of 100AED for 20AED! Get ready for some serious haggling…the sellers are ruthless and very experienced!
- It is really useful to know (more or less) the selling prices of spices, so that you don’t get fooled.
- The sellers are very experienced and can price the product of your interest on the spot. The price depends on your appearance, the level of your interest as well as on the way you approach them.
- SOS: If you like something you see outside the store, DO NOT go inside. Haggle for it and take that exact product. If you go inside, they will sell you the same product but in lower quality.
- Very important: Do not let them put the product in a bag, because they might change it without you realizing it. Ask for a bag so that you can put it inside yourselves.
- Calculate the cost of the amount that you would be willing to pay for something you like and haggle for it. If the store owner does not agree with the price, go to the next one (everyone has the same products). Chances are that you will find it in the price you want somewhere!
- For spices, visit the 3rd store on the left. The owner is Iranian and very knowledgeable, while his spices are of great quality.
- You might be in one of the safest cities in the world, but here you should have your eyes wide open. Cases of theft are numerous (there are no cameras)!
- Book at least two days before visiting it so that you find available tickets.
- It is best to book your tickets online in order to be sure that you will find the day and time that best suits your schedule.
- SOS: Even if you have purchased an online ticket, you must visit the ticket booths of the Burj Khalifa to get the printed one. Only with this you can enter right away at the day and time that you have picked (without waiting).
- Even if you have booked (online) a specific visit time, it is okay if you go a little earlier or a little later!
- Many people make the mistake of not going up to the 125th floor. The space offers beautiful images away from the crowd.
- The best pictures are taken from the 2nd window (as you step on the balcony).
Dubai Miracle Garden
- Visit it before the sunset! The colors of the sky blend with the colors of the flowers, offering a fantastic scenery.
- You can reach it only by taxi.
- It needs a lot of patience, as many people (including you) want to take wonderful-flowery photographs!
Fountain abra boat
- You can take a ride only with an online booking. To find available seats, make reservations at least two days in advance.
- Caution: With the online ticket, you must visit the ticket booths of the Burj Khalifa to get the printed ticket and be able to take the ride.
- The seats on the front-left side offer the best view.
- Avoid the ride with food and dancing. It is expensive and pointless.
- Prefer a ride with a water taxi to get inside the daily life of the locals, if only for a little bit. (It might shake a bit until it reaches the other side but it is worth the trouble.)
- Prefer to travel to the other side when the sun is setting.
Burj al Arab
- Dozens of websites promise good prices, while in reality they have high commission. Book your tickets yourselves at the OFFICIAL WEBSITE.
- Make reservations (at the day and time that suits you) at one of the ten restaurants & bars of the hotel, without any extra cost!
- In order to find seats, you must make reservations at least 15 days to one month in advance.
- At the gate you will have to show the barcode of your booking.
- The best options are dining at the AL IWAN restaurant and an evening outing accompanied by cocktails at the Skyview bar.
- The Tea and Snack package is really expensive and offers neither the view, nor the experience of the two aforementioned options.
- SOS: Walks and photographs are not allowed for visitors, except for guests of the hotel! But if you opt for the evening visit at the Skyview bar you will be able to wander around, since after 23:00 things start to loosen up!
- You will find the same souvenirs at Spicy Souk in much lower prices.
- Full access to the hotel, as well as the private beach, costs around 115€ per person (including lunch) and it makes for a wonderful experience. Make reservations HERE.
- Free public entrance is for Souk Μadinat Jumeirah.
- Do not miss the chance to take a ride with the abra boats in its canals. The images are one-of-a-kind.
Swimming in the Persian Gulf
- At the beach there are kiosks from which you can rent towels and slippers. At the same kiosks you can take a shower (extra charge).
- Sunscreen is necessary in all seasons.
- The best beaches with free access are the JBR beach (JBR area) & the JPB beach (next to the Burj al Arab).
- The sea at the JPB beach has lots of waves and is mainly preferred by surfers, while the JBR beach is ideal for swimming. Both are swarmed by people every day.
- A camel ride at the beach costs 100AED per person. There is no standard starting point, they will definitely pass by you.
The Walk At JBR
- The street “The Walk at JBR” is 1.7km long and it is the best one for walking, all times of day and especially at night.
- Walk along the seafront road (below “The Walk”). Over there you will find a lot of kiosks and shops to have some coffee or drink.
- You should trust only established companies.
- Pickup from and return to the hotel are included in the price.
- The camel ride is short and underwhelming!
- Try a ride with a Quad Bike, you are going to love it (20-30 minutes / no license requirement/ downside: The limited space).
- The most complete experience is the Safari with overnight stay and breakfast. It includes a jeep ride to the sand dunes, a camel ride, refreshments-tea-water, photographs in the sunset, buffet food, oriental dance and show, hookah, Henna tattoo, overnight stay in a tent, breakfast and other small surprises! This package offers a wide variety of flavors and images of the East, which will leave no-one unmoved.
- The proper attire is a light dress for women and pants and a shirt for men.
- A headscarf is necessary, as thin sand is always floating in the air.
- At the jeep ride ask for the driver to perform various tricks in the sand! It is an exceptional experience..
- The temperature in the desert falls really low at night, so you should bring a jacket or coat with you (not a sweater). During the day it might be as high as 50 degrees, but at night it really sinks!
- Wear comfortable shoes, the distances are big.
- Do not let over-crowdedness ruin your fun. Visit kiosks with fewer people.
- The wait is worth when it comes to seeing a Hollywood show, at the special theme area.
- Tipping is not mandatory but appreciated! In some cases, of course, it is included in the bill.
- Most restaurants are open 12:00-16:00 & 19:00-23:00.
- All bars – restaurants – clubs are inside hotels so that they can serve alcohol.
- In the city you will find almost all cuisines to dine.
- Visit the Bur Dubai area to find tasty, local and cheap street food.
- Places where you can buy alcohol are scarce in the city, while if you have some with you, you can only consume it in indoor spaces.
- You can drink alcohol only inside hotels and restaurants operating inside hotels (pretty high prices).
- Alcohol consumption in public places bears very serious consequences!
- Alcohol consumption is prohibited for persons under the age of 21.