Note: This blog has a detailed travel guide for visiting Dubai, also it lists all the details about Covid-19 travel guidelines for Dubai
Dubai is a travel hotspot that is on every traveler’s wish list. If you’re gearing up for the first-ever visit to this city of wonders, this Comprehensive Dubai Travel Guide will help you to plan your perfect Dubai trip. It has everything from its location, top attractions, and must experience to the information on the latest COVID-19 safety directives (implemented by the UAE government).
Dubai may be the UAE’s second-largest city, but it outstrips Abu Dhabi, the country’s capital as well as the largest city when it comes to its blend of awe-inspiring architectural landmarks, shopping opportunities, and leisure and entertainment options. Add to this zero crime rates, most advanced infrastructure, multicultural environment, friendly people, and warm traditional hospitality. All these and beyond are some of the top reasons that attract over 16 million tourists per year to this land of mind-blowing contrasts.
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Dubai is a desert city that is placed along the southeastern coast of Persian Gulf, in the eastern region of the Arabian Peninsula. This strategic location makes it the center of business activities in Western Asia. It’s also as a major transportation hub, and serves as a major stopover spot, being four hours behind destinations like Australia.
Best Time To Visit Dubai
While the most recommended time to visit Dubai is during winter months, Dubai in reality is a year-round destination and when visiting Dubai largely depends on your personal preferences. So here we’ve a few options for you to make the right decision on this topic.
Summer months (especially July to mid- August) is the time when Dubai’s main attractions, shopping malls, etc will be almost empty. This is because most ex-pats travel back to their home countries due to the summer school holidays. Apart from this, Dubai sees a decline in tourists due to off-season. All these make this period-perfect for those who want to explore the less packed version of Dubai.
With the right planning, budget Dubai travel is possible during any part of the year. But, if you want to enjoy some jaw-dropping price cut on accommodation, airline services, etc, visit here during summer months from June to September. It may be blistering hot, but the city’s many remarkably air-conditioned indoor attractions ensure that there will never be a low moment in Dubai.
Festivals, Events & Seasonal Attractions
From the iconic Dubai Shopping Festival to the sprightly Christmas and New Year’s Eve festivities, Dubai is a hub of marvelous events and festivals which all come alive in the winter months (November to March). It’s also the time when some of the top seasonal attractions open, particularly Dubai Miracle Garden, Dubai Garden Glow etc.
Agreed, Dubai gets 365 days of sunlight, but that doesn’t make it a year-round haven for outdoor activities. For this, you’ll have to visit here in the winter months when the climate is cool, pleasant however with adequate sunlight.
This is the most important section when you finally make up your mind to travel to Dubai, and this mainly includes the visa information and other travel formalities plus what to pack.
This is one of the most vital travel documents that you’ll need for your Dubai entry. But, if you’re qualified for some visa exemptions like visa-free entry or visa on arrival, then you don’t need to obtain a visa in advance for your Dubai visit. For all others, it’s mandatory to obtain a Dubai visa for their Dubai visit. Subject to the purpose and duration of your Dubai visit, you can apply for a Dubai tourist visa; this is usually issued for 30 days or 90 days and lets you choose from a single entry visa and multiple-entry visa.
Ok to Board
It’s a travel procedure that should mandatorily be abided by those traveling to Dubai or UAE from the Asian subcontinents, mainly from countries like India. This simply indicates a verification process conducted by your airline service provider to ensure the authenticity of your travel documents including Dubai visa, passport, etc. Apparently, you’ll be allowed to board your Dubai flight only after your documents are verified and your PNR is updated as ‘Ok to Board.’
What to pack?
- Dubai is a conservative city, so be sure to pack comfortable, loose clothing.
- Be it any season, carry a lightweight jacket and shawl; these would come as handy when you visit religious places of interest, intensely air-conditioned malls etc.
- Sunscreen lotion, sunglasses, hats, etc (these are must-haves in Dubai due to year-round strong sunlight).
- A good quality walking shoes
- Universal power adapter
Know Before Visiting Dubai
- Plan your Dubai visit at least two to three months before your intended travel date. This would secure you the best rates for your accommodation, airline tickets, sightseeing, and tour and activities.
- Dubai is an Islamic city; so dress modestly and respect its local customs and traditions.
- Avoid eating or drinking in public during the Islamic holy month of Ramadan.
- Smoking and alcohol consumption in public may require you to pay a hefty fine.
- Take prior permission for taking pictures of important government structures and locals, particularly Emirati women.
- Don’t forget to bring your driving license if you’re planning to drive your own in Dubai.
Covid-19 Safety Guidelines for entering Dubai
As the UAE reopens its international borders from July 7, 2020, the government confirmed that the safety and well-being of all traveling to Dubai and other emirates are of paramount importance. Accordingly, they entail the visitors to strictly adhere to some COVID-19 preventive guidelines which assure them of a safe, quality Dubai visit.
- Before the Dubai visit, visitors have to download the COVID-19 DXB app and register all relevant details.
- Accurately fill in a health declaration form
- Bring a valid International Health Insurance
- Carry the original PCR (Polymerase Chain Reaction) test result and this should be shown at the airport as soon as you land in Dubai. But, make sure that you’ve undergone this PCR test four days before your travel date.
- If you don’t have PCR test results, you’ll be asked to get it checked here.
- In case the test result is positive or visitors show any symptoms following thermal screenings, they will be asked to self-isolate for 14 days in a government arranged facility.
- Now once you come clear of all tests and formalities, you should adhere to the following measures throughout your Dubai trip.
- Wear a mask at all times in public places.
- Maintain a social distance of two meters
- Disinfect your hands frequently by washing it for at least 20 seconds with soap and water. You can also an alcohol-based sanitizer for the purpose.
- Don’t touch the surfaces in public places.
- Avoid sitting in the front seat during taxi ride.
Must-Sees And Do’s In Dubai
Set in the heart of Downtown Dubai, an ascend to Burj Khalifa’s observation deck on the 124th level or 148th level promises you the ultimate vantage point of the city skyline and beyond. Don’t miss this; right from its entry from the Dubai Mall and multimedia presentation to the breathtaking elevator ride that transports you to the observatory deck in less than a minute, everything about your Burj Khalifa trip is extraordinary.
-The Dubai Mall & The Dubai Fountain
The Dubai Mall is so vast that it hosts over 1200 retail outlets plus a sweeping array of leisure, dining and amusement attractions ideal for every age group. See Dubai Aquarium and Underwater Zoo, take a spin around Dubai Ice Rink, enjoy some thrilling rides and games at VR Park, and let your kids spend a whole day at KidZania, among others. And don’t leave Dubai Mall or Downtown Dubai without admiring the spectacularly choreographed Dubai Fountain Show which is a free attraction.
-Al Bastakiya Quarter & Dubai Museum
Al Bastakiya is where Dubai’s artistic past and cultural heritage are beautifully preserved. Discover its many ancient sand-colored structure complete with wooden wind towers and top off your exploration of old Dubai with a visit to Dubai Museum; it’s housed inside the region’s oldest of its kind Al Fahidi Fort.
This colossal picture-frame-like structure is where you’ll get the best views over both old and new Dubai. Apart from its marvelous sky deck, you’ll be able to check out its past and future galleries.
-Burj Al Arab
This is one of the ultimate spots that give you a glimpse of Dubai’s luxurious side. The sail-shaped structure is hailed as the world’s only seven-star hotel. Even if you’re not able to afford a stay or dine in this hotel, a selfie against its backdrop is a must.
Take any picture of Dubai – there will be this palm-tree-shaped island topped by a crescent. So how could you leave this iconic sight? To see it in its true splendor, the most recommended way is to watch it from the top on a helicopter ride or a sky diving adventure.
If you’re looking for an immersive cultural experience with the perfect bout of adventure and fun, this is precisely a must-experience during your Dubai trip. Whether you prefer to go for a morning, evening, or an overnight safari, each of them offers unforgettable moments with 4X4 dune bash and cultural experiences like camel ride, Shisha smoking, henna tattooing, etc. BBQ dinner and traditional shows (like Tanura and belly dance) are some of the exclusive highlights of evening desert safari.
-Dubai Creek Park & Dubai Dolphinarium
This is hands-down one of Dubaiites’ favorite hangout places. This beautifully manicured lush park is complete with barbeque spots, cable car ride, dedicated kids’ play area, and of course, many family-based attractions like Dubai Dolphinarium and Bird Park.
A dinner cruise onboard a traditional Arabian dhow is definitely one of the awesome things to do in Dubai. For this dreamy experience, you can select from three splendid cruise routes: the historic Dubai Creek, the classy Dubai Marina, and the relatively new Dubai Canal.
It doesn’t matter you’re visiting Dubai in summer or winter months. Located inside the Mall of the Emirates, this uber cool theme park is filled with real snow all through the year. In fact, there is a unique thrill and chill in hitting its snow slopes when Dubai’s outside temperature is over 50 degrees Celsius.
Dubai is called the shopaholic’s paradise for a reason. Be it high-end designer boutiques or super inexpensive merchandise or everything in between, you’ll find all and beyond in its over 70 massive shopping malls and traditional Arabian souks or bazaars, particularly Gold Souk, Textile, Perfume Souk and Spice Souk.
Dubai Parks and Resorts
Theme park fanatics are in for a treat at Dubai Parks and Resorts. This is the region’s first integrated resort where you can choose to stay in one of its resort and spend a day, two or more in its three unique theme parks and a water park, including Motiongate Dubai, Bollywood Parks Dubai, LEGO-LAND Dubai, and LEGO-LAND Water Park.
Where To Sleep And Dine In Dubai?
From the most luxurious and extravagant to the decent three-star and four-star hotels and resorts, you’ll find all types of accommodations in Dubai. Foremost of the tips is to pick an accommodation that provides easy accessibility to all attractions covered in your travel program. As for dining, almost all hotels across the city offer multiple dining venues. If this isn’t enough, there are tons of cafes, restaurants, and expansive food courts (within shopping malls) – all ready to satisfy your taste buds with the most diverse food menu.
The city’s well-connected transport network makes it super convenient to get around in Dubai. You can hire a vehicle with or without driver for utmost flexibility and comfortability. But, if you’ve come with a hard-pressed budget, Dubai’s public transport is both affordable and hassle-free.
Take metro ride to easily get from one point to another; it’s not only super cheap but also incredibly swifter (being fully automated) and hence an unmissable Dubai attraction. Buses, taxis and ferry rides are other transport means in Dubai. The best thing is that you can use a single NOL card to make payment all of Dubai’s public transport, seamlessly maintained by its Road and Transport Authority (RTA).
Dubai is probably the only Middle Eastern destination that knows everyone’s desires. While you’re sure to find your perfect satiation and get it in spade too, its many attractions and experiences, along with the travel and visa procedures can easily overwhelm you. But, this Dubai guide is the ultimate resource that would help you to put together a faultless holiday.
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ABOUT NEHA :
An avid trekker, explorer, and a true foodie; Neha finds happiness in small endeavors of life and loves to pen them down as a cherished memory. A firm believer that “we have just one life to live and so much to do”, Neha lives every moment to the fullest.
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