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What Should You Know Before Your First Trip to Dubai?

Travelers Today       By    Staff Reporter

Updated: Jan 20, 2020 02:18 PM EST

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What Should You Know Before Your First Trip to Dubai?

(Photo: Pixabay)

Dubai, in the United Arab Emirates, is one of the chicest, most interesting travel destinations in the world. Dubai is the most populous city in the UAE, and it's the capital of the Emirate of Dubai. Located on the Arabian Peninsula, Dubai is striving to be not only the most fabulous travel destination but also Western Asia's key business hub. 

While Dubai is modern and cosmopolitan, it is still a predominantly Muslim country, meaning there are some more conservative rules and standards in place than American travelers might be used to, although it is more secular for tourists than you might think. 

One example of something you should be careful with is drinking. For example, if you were to have alcohol on your breath or appear to be drunk in public, you could potentially find yourself in trouble. 

So what exactly should you know about a trip to Dubai?

Reasons to Visit Dubai

It would be tough to list all the reasons to visit Dubai because there are so many.

One big reason is because of the desert. Yes, the city is full of amazing skyscrapers and modern architecture, but it was originally Bedouin villages that made up this area. If you visit Dubai, you shouldn't miss the chance to go on a desert safari.

You can eat a traditional Arabic meal in the desert, ride camels, and watch belly dancers. 

There are a lot of tour options that will pick you up directly from your hotel and drive you to these desert camps. 

The Palm Jumeriah offers you an island vacation right in the middle of the city. The Palm Jumeirah is a set of artificial islands with beaches, hotels, and restaurants. The island is shaped like a palm tree in the ocean, and along with enjoying the beach, taking a helicopter tour over it will give you an amazing view.

The Burj Khalifa is an impressive architectural feat that Dubai is known for. It's the tallest building in the world, and if you dare, make your way to the top, which is 163 floors, you can see everything from the sea to the desert. The Burj Khalifa is also home to hotels and restaurants, and an especially beautiful time to visit is at sunset. 

While Dubai might be conservative in some ways, it's certainly a party city at the same time. This may seem like a juxtaposition, and it is. Some nightclubs stay open until the morning hours every day of the week. 

The Gold Souk offers amazing jewelry, including gold of course but also precious stones and silver. 

It's a traditional market, and if you love jewelry, it's a true paradise. 

Is Dubai Safe?

Some people have concerns about safety in Dubai because of the unrest throughout the Middle East. Currently, however, the UAE is considered one of the safest countries in the world. 

Personal crime isn't a big concern, and there are very rare instances where a tourist is the target of violent crime. Petty crime might happen, such as sexual harassment or pickpocketing, but these instances typically don't involve weapons. 

There is strict law enforcement in the city, but westerners do have to be aware of some of the rules.

For example, displays of public affection are illegal, and this is especially true for same-sex couples and people who aren't married. Drunk behavior, swearing, wearing clothes considered immodest, and making rude gestures are all prohibited. 

You can't have Israeli citizenship, photograph people, without their permission or criticize the UAE government either. 

If you're a woman who's going to travel to Dubai, you should bring modest clothing. You should also make sure you're aware of all the rules because tourists can be and often are arrested for doing something entirely normal where they're from. 

If you're a woman traveling alone, there are some considerations to keep in mind, although the same can be said for other destinations as well.

You should make sure you avoid making eye contact with men and be prepared that you may get harassed. Don't take drinks from strangers and don't leave your drink unattended. If you are going out at night, try and take a cab. There are cabs with pink roofs that are for only female passengers. There's also a women's section in public transportation. 

What Else Should You Know

The following are some things to know in general about visiting Dubai:

  • There is a diverse section of food to choose from. You'll find food that reflects the many cultures that are part of Dubai, so you might find Indian, Egyptian and Iranian food for example. If you really want to taste the flavors of the world and do so inexpensively, head to Deira, which is one of the older and less expensive neighborhoods in Dubai. Of course, there's no shortage of fine-dining either and some of the world's big-name chefs like Gordon Ramsey and Nobu Matsuhisa have opened restaurants here. 

  • Weeks in Dubai start on Fridays, and that's when everyone goes to brunch. It's a good time to enjoy massive hotel buffets. 

  • Dubai's not necessarily very walkable. It's very hot, and everything is pretty far apart, and not designed for pedestrians. 

  • It may be too hot to go to the beach in the summer-many people have to wait until the winter to go to the beach because of the extreme temperatures. 

Finally, the possibilities are limitless in Dubai. You can go skiing when it's sweltering out, thanks to indoor Ski Dubai. You can play golf, you can go boating, you can go to galleries. There really is a plethora of things to do in this city that caters to the world's wealthy but also tourists. If you love shopping, Dubai will likely be your paradise too. The malls are jaw-dropping, to say the least. 

See Now: The U.S. had the highest number of Most Wanted properties, dominating the Hotels.com Loved By Guests Awards 2018

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