Dubai is one of the seven emirates of the United Arab Emirates and one of the hottest destinations in the world. This travel spot has been called The Playground of the Middle East, a place specifically designed to entice visitors from all around the globe. It is also a growing business hub so it’s popular with business travelers as well as pleasure seekers. Popularity has declined a little bit since the economic recession but this can be a good thing for visitors who are looking for a bit of a deal on a vacation here.
When to go
Dubai has a hot and dry desert climate. Average winter temperatures are in the mid-seventies and average summer temperatures are over one hundred degrees. People who don’t enjoy hot temperatures will therefore prefer to travel here during the winter months although notably many of the activities people enjoy here are indoors where it’s air conditioned anyway. Also worth noting is that the rainy season is winter so that may be a deterrent to some people. As expected, the peak travel season here is between October and May so prices may be higher during these months.
Where to stay
Dubai is a great destination for people who are interested in spending a lot of money on luxury travel. In fact, it is the home of the only seven star hotel in the world. It’s called the Burj al-Arab hotel and it makes for a great place to stay! Be aware that you usually have to make your reservations at least a month in advance to stay here.
Other options for Dubai visitors include:
- Dubai youth hostel. There is a youth hostel option for budget travelers.
- Al Uraba Hotel. This is considered to be a decent hotel for budget travelers.
- Hotels around Dubai’s malls. These convenient hotels vary in features and prices.
- Atlantis the Palm. This is a great luxury hotel for people who for some reason don’t want to stay at Burj al-Arab.
- Name brand hotels including Hiltons, Hyatts and Sheratons
- Resorts. There are a number of resorts in this area.
Some of the different districts to be aware of as a Dubai traveler include:
- Arabian Ranches. This is a residential area that people love to see because of the great homes constructed here.
- Bastakiya District. This is a historic area where people enjoy seeing the old architecture. It’s also a good place to enjoy cafes and art galleries.
- Bur Dubai. This is a historic district popular for its famous creek as well as the floating restaurants located on it.
- Deira. This is both a commercial and residential district in Dubai.
- Emirates Hills. This is a residential district similar to Arabian Ranches.
- International City. This is a residential area that people visit because of its interesting architecture. It is also rapidly becoming known as the Chinatown of Dubai.
- Karama. This is one of the city’s “Little India” and “Little Manila” hot spots so people go here for dining and shopping.
- Mirdif. This is a relatively new commercial and residential district that offers shopping and dining options.
- Satwa. This is a top destination for people interested in shopping for gold and textiles.
- Shindagha District. This is a popular place to go to see the open museums of the Heritage Village. Also check out the former home of Sheikh Rashid Al-Maktoum while you’re here.
Must-See Dubai Attractions
Some of the best things that you should see in Dubai include:
- Al Ahmadiya School. This was the first school in Dubai and so is an interesting landmark. It’s located in the district of Deira.
- Burj Khalifa. This is the tallest building in the world so it’s definitely something that you should take a look at while you’re in Dubai. In fact, you won’t be able to miss it!
- Dubai Creek. Take a boat ride or dinner cruise on this great part of Dubai.
- Dubai Fountain. This is the world’s largest dancing fountain. The fountain show happens every hour at Burj Dubai Lake.
- Dubai Marina. This is a beach area that has boardwalks, malls and a great open market. Many people enjoy spending time here during a Dubai vacation.
- Dubai Museum. Explore the history of this area with an educational tour through the Dubai Museum.
- Gold Souk. This is a historic market that most people want to visit when they see Dubai. Another historic market that interests people is the Spice Souk.
- Indoor Ski Center. This is the only indoor ski destination in the entire world so take advantage of the opportunity to enjoy it while you’re in Dubai.
- Palm Islands. These artificial islands are the largest manmade islands in the world and are highly popular for people who are interested in the terrific beach activities of this desert destination. Enjoy boating, swimming and other water sports while you’re here.
- Wild Wadi. This water park is a popular attraction for families.
Guided tours of Dubai
Some of the best tour attractions and guided tours in Dubai include:
- Desert Safari Tours. These take you out into the amazing sand dunes of Dubai.
- Hot Air Balloon Rides. What a great way to see the area’s sand dunes!
- Seawings Dubai. This is a tour guide that does aerial tours as well as land and sea tours.
Miscellaneous Dubai Travel Info
- Most people arrive here through Dubai International Airport, the only airport actually in Dubai. However you can also get in via Abu Dhabi International Airport or Sharjah International Airport.
- Dubai is one of the most popular destinations in the world for people interested in shopping. Check out the annual shopping festival that happens in January and February each year. There’s another smaller shopping festival in the summer called Dubai Summer Surprises. Dubai also has some of the largest malls in the world.
- Be aware that there are different cultural customs in Dubai than in many Western countries. It’s fairly relaxed compared to other Middle Eastern destinations but it’s important to still be respectful.
Transportation in Dubai
Public transportation in Dubai is considered safe and efficient. In particular visitors will want to use the metro line, which goes almost everywhere except the historic city center of the town. The bus is also a good option. Another public transportation option is the waterbus which travels on the creek. Taxis are safe although it is recommended that you get one at a stand outside of a hotel rather than waving one down on the street. Alternatively you can book one ahead of time by calling the taxi company. It is possible to rent a car in Dubai although it’s not highly recommended. Traffic tends to be bad in this city and driving is often difficult and confusing for visitors.