Before you visit

Before you visit Dubai

Before visiting Dubai, United Arab Emirates, tourists should be aware of several important factors to ensure a safe, enjoyable, and hassle-free trip. This comprehensive guide will provide details on what to bring, traveling, attractions, and more.

1. Visa and entry requirements

1. Visa and entry requirements

Most nationalities require a visa to enter the UAE, and the process varies depending on the country of origin. Visitors from certain countries (such as the United States, Canada, and European Union nations) receive a free 30-day visa upon arrival, while others need to apply for a tourist visa beforehand. Check the UAE embassy or consulate website in your country for the most up-to-date visa requirements.

2. Weather and best time to visit

2. Weather and best time to visit

Dubai experiences a hot, arid climate. The best time to visit is between November and March when temperatures range from 20°C to 30°C (68°F to 86°F). The months between April and October can be uncomfortably hot, with temperatures often exceeding 40°C (104°F), so outdoor activities may be limited.

3. Dress code and culture

3. Dress code and culture

Dubai is a Muslim city, and visitors are expected to respect local customs and dress modestly. Women should wear clothing that covers their shoulders and knees, especially when visiting mosques or more conservative neighborhoods, while men should avoid sleeveless shirts or shorts. Swimwear is acceptable at hotel pools or beaches but should be covered when in public spaces.

4. Currency and payment methods

4. Currency and payment methods

The currency in Dubai is the UAE dirham (AED). ATMs are widely available, and most establishments and online and legal casinos in Dubai  accept credit cards. However, it is always a good idea to carry some cash, especially for smaller purchases or tips. Additionally, haggling is a common practice in traditional souks (markets), so be prepared to negotiate prices when shopping.

5. Transportation

5. Transportation

Dubai has an extensive public transportation system, which includes buses, taxis, the Dubai Metro, and even water buses. It is recommended to purchase a Nol Card for hassle-free travel, as it can be used across all these transportation methods. Renting a car is also an option, but keep in mind that driving can be quite challenging due to traffic congestion and aggressive driving styles.

6. Must-visit attractions

6. Must-visit attractions

Some of Dubai’s top attractions include the towering Burj Khalifa, the Palm Jumeirah island, the Dubai Mall with its indoor aquarium and underwater zoo, and the Global Village, which offers a cultural experience and entertainment for all ages. For a taste of traditional Dubai, visit the Al Fahidi Historical Neighborhood or the Gold and Spice Souks. Beach lovers should explore Kite Beach or Jumeirah Beach.

7. Cultural and religious considerations

7. Cultural and religious considerations

During the holy month of Ramadan, eating, drinking, and smoking in public are prohibited during daylight hours. Most restaurants and cafes remain open but may have separate designated areas for non-fasting patrons. Also, be aware that alcohol consumption is only allowed in licensed venues, such as hotels and specific bars or clubs.

8. Safety and security

8. Safety and security

Dubai is considered a safe destination for tourists. However, visitors should still take precautionary measures, such as not leaving valuables unattended and being aware of their surroundings, particularly in crowded areas. The local emergency number is 999 for police, 998 for an ambulance, and 997 for the fire department.

9. Travel insurance

9. Travel insurance

It is always advisable to purchase travel insurance for any health issues, lost luggage, or unforeseen circumstances that may arise during your trip.

10. Electrical outlets and adapters

10. Electrical outlets and adapters

Dubai uses a Type G plug with three rectangular prongs (similar to the United Kingdom). The voltage is 220-240V, so visitors from countries with a different voltage may need to bring a voltage converter along with a plug adapter.

By taking these factors into consideration, visitors to Dubai will be well-prepared to make the most of their trip to this thriving, cosmopolitan city.

Frequently Asked Question

What is the best time to visit Dubai?-

The best time to visit Dubai is between November and April, when the weather is relatively cooler and more pleasant.

What is the dress code in Dubai?+

While Dubai is a modern and cosmopolitan city, it still follows conservative Islamic traditions. Visitors are advised to dress modestly and avoid wearing revealing or skimpy clothing, especially in public places.

Is it necessary to tip in Dubai?+

Tipping is not mandatory in Dubai, but it is generally appreciated for good service. A service charge is often included in the bill at restaurants, so it is not necessary to leave an additional tip unless you want to show extra appreciation.

Can I drink alcohol in Dubai?+

Non-Muslims can consume alcohol in Dubai, but it is only permitted in licensed venues such as hotels, bars, and restaurants. It is important to remember that public drunkenness and drinking in public places are strictly prohibited.

Do I need a visa to visit Dubai?+

Visitors from certain countries can enter Dubai without a visa for a specified period, while others may require a visa or a visa-on-arrival. It is advisable to check the visa requirements based on your nationality before traveling to Dubai.

What is the local currency in Dubai?+

The local currency in Dubai is the United Arab Emirates dirham (AED). It is recommended to have some cash in local currency for small purchases, as well as credit cards, which are widely accepted.

Can I use my cell phone in Dubai?+

Most international cell phone providers have roaming agreements in Dubai, so you can use your cell phone. However, it is advisable to check with your service provider regarding international rates to avoid any surprises on your bill.

Is it safe to drink tap water in Dubai?+

The tap water in Dubai is generally considered safe to drink. However, if you prefer, you can also opt for bottled water, which is readily available everywhere.

What is the voltage used in Dubai?+

The voltage used in Dubai is 220-240 volts at 50 Hz. The power plugs and sockets used in Dubai are of type G, which is the British three-pin standard. It is advisable to carry a universal travel adapter if necessary.

What are the cultural customs I should be aware of in Dubai?+

It is important to respect the local culture and customs in Dubai. Avoid public displays of affection, dress modestly, and refrain from disrespectful behavior or speech. Remember to always ask for permission before taking photos of individuals, especially locals, as it is considered polite.