This glitzy and glamorous city, found in the middle of the Arabic Desert, is kicking goals with world records for all sorts of things. From the tallest structure in the world, to an elaborate project to make a world map out of islands in the ocean, Dubai is an incredibly unique and interesting city. It is also home to some of the most amazing luxury resorts in the world, including several 6 star hotels!
Location: United Arab Emirates
Time Zone: Gulf Time Zone UTC +4
Getting There: Dubai is located in the United Arab Emirates and is an easy stop over on long haul flights for people flying between Europe and Australia or Asia with Emirates airlines. Dubai International Airport (DXB) is located just 5 miles out of the city centre, and is a very easy and cheap taxi ride away from either Downtown Dubai or The Palm.
Climate: Dubai has a tropical desert climate, with extremely hot and humid summers (with an average temperature of 41℃) as well as warm winters (with an average temperature of 25℃).
Getting Around: Where your hotel is located in Dubai will depend on how you can best get around. The hop on hop off bus for Dubai can get you around to most places you would like to go, and also run quite regularly across a few different routes. They also have a route that comes out to the Atlantis at The Palm, which makes it easier to get back to your other hotels around The Palm. Otherwise, if you’re staying on The Palm the easiest way to get into and out of Downtown Dubai is by taxi or hotel shuttle bus if it is offered by your hotel. Getting around Dubai’s city itself is super easy on the Dubai Metro – with stops at most major attractions and shopping centres and regular trains throughout the day.
The Money Sitch: Currency is the Emirati Dirham (AED or Dhs). Credit and debit cards are accepted at most places, and ATMs are generally easily accessible. However, keep in mind that things are BIG in Dubai, and sometimes ATMs might not be in the most convenient location. For example, when we needed to get some cash for a taxi that had a broken eftpos machine we had to walk 15 minutes into the Dubai Mall before we found the first ATM.
Internet Access: Great high-speed internet in most hotels, however we found that not many restaurants and cafes offered internet access. Most of the hop on hop off buses did offer free wifi though, which was helpful to look things up while we were on the move during the day.
The Main Streets: Dubai is a giant city and doesn’t really have main streets as such. The main areas to visit though would be The Palm, The Dubai Mall and around the Gold and Silver Souks in Diera.
Best Time To Go: Due to it’s location in the desert, Dubai only really has two seasons – hot and hotter. The best time to go is between November and March, which would technically be their “winter”, however winter in Dubai looks a lot like blue skies and perfect beach weather, without the humidity of the summer months.
+ The best experience in Dubai (in my opinion) is definitely dune bashing and dinner in the Arabian desert – it was such a magical evening
+ Spend an afternoon exploring the GIGANTIC Dubai Mall – which has over 1200 stores, 120 restaurants, an Aquarium AND an Underwater Zoo
+ Check out the epic views from the Burj Khalifa
+ Haggle for gold at the Gold and Silver Souks in Diera
+ Take an Arabian Dhow Cruise down the Dubai Creek
Good To Know: While many luxury resorts, including the infamous Atlantis Resort, are located on The Palm, it is actually a bit of a pain to get to if you decide to stay out there. While taxis aren’t that expensive, it can take about 20 to 25 minutes to get out to The Palm, and public transport options are very limited, with trains and public buses not reaching out that far.
Additionally, if you are visiting anywhere in the UAE, including Dubai, during Ramadan you will need to be aware of the religious practices and rules in place throughout the country. Something as simple as drinking water in public can be trouble during Ramadan. Make sure you read this article before you travel during this time: Visiting The UAE During Ramadan: Everything You Need To Know.