How to describe Dubai? How to speak of a city so great that makes us feel so little in front of such high buildings?
The truth is, our decision to travel to Dubai was driven by the dreadful winter in England. With months of incessant rain and freezing temperatures, we sought refuge from this harsh climate by finally visiting the city that had been on my bucket list for years.
I confess that I was apprehensive because whether or not, it is a country with a culture completely different from mine. Because it is a Muslim country, the rules are somewhat restricted, especially concerning women.
While Dubai is relatively liberal compared to some other Middle Eastern countries, it’s important to respect local customs and traditions and everything I’ve read about it said that it’s recommended to dress modestly, covering shoulders and knees, couples can’t hold hands and show no signs of affection, that people can go to jail (and it’s true!) because they were wearing shorter clothing, etc, etc …
Well, I can tell you that it was one of the hardest places to pack a bag for and I really did not know what to take with me while on holiday in Dubai.
But apart from what I’ve heard, now I’m going to tell you what my experience was like and what I felt it in there.
To begin with, the issue of clothing is questionable, because at the touristy places, like JBR and areas near the beach, women walk in shorter clothes with no concern. But, I always tried to have my shoulders covered and skirts and dresses that covered the knee, just to be on the safe side of it.
In the early days, my husband and I did not hold hands in public, but we began to realise that several people did it and I even saw a couple of Muslims walking holding hands without any problems.
Dubai hotels are “out of this world”, and I believe that no matter how many stars your hotel has, it will be fantastic.
We stayed at the Atana Hotel which is located in Barsha Heights, Hessa Street.
We’ve chosen it because it was half board at a reasonable price. But to tell you the truth, the food at dinner was not very good, and we barely ate dinner there. However, the room was large, spotless and I can say that it was well located.
You see, Dubai is enormous and I assure that you will need a taxi or rent a car – to rent it, click here. Dubai has public metro but since it is still at very early stages, there are only a few stations, and many of them are far from the tourist attraction that is supposed to be nearby. Usually, you will have to walk about 15-20 minutes from the station to the desired location anyway.
Before we went there, I did the math and realised that it would be cheaper to rent a car than to take a taxi every day. And let me tell you, the fuel, of course, is ridiculously cheap. For you to have an idea, we’ve paid £14 to fill the tank of our small Sedan.
The rent was also not expensive, compared to other cities where we previously rented a car. I think it was one of the cheaper places if I’m not mistaken.
So I suggest you have a look at Discover Cars. They offer you a platform to compare rental options from various providers and choose a vehicle that fits your preferences. They are very reliable and an excellent price. You can click here and have a look.
Now comes the bad news: few places sell alcoholic drinks. Some big chain hotels have the license (and that’s why the nightclubs are inside them), a few bars and almost no restaurant has it. They say that this license is very expensive for hotels and bars to give up and not sell anything with alcohol.
We found a little bar that had beer and cocktails in Souk Madinat Jumeirah, and we fled there after a week of juices and water. But, we paid the price, a pint of beer costs around £11 (about R$60) and a cocktail was £20, but we arrived at “happy hour” and got a 2-4-1 cocktail offer. I was forced to drink both…
Another tip is that weekdays are from Sunday to Thursday. Friday is the holy day and Saturday works like our western Sunday.
On Fridays, the “famous Dubai brunch” rolls in several hotels, where you will have one of the best food feasts. The brunch is a big deal in Dubai but we did not go to any of them.
There seems to be a magazine called Entertainer, which offers discounts and special offers at restaurants, hotels and some activities. While I was there, I just forgot about it and did not even look for it.
I was forgetting to mention that in Dubai the voltage standard is 220V. The socket is three pins, the same as the British standard. Therefore do not forget to take your travel adapter, just in case.
Traveling is exciting, but dealing with foreign currencies and high banking fees can be a hassle. Hence why I suggest you to open a Wise multi-currency account and then order a Wise Card. It changed my “travel life” as I don’t need to add the stress of handling foreign cash.
The Wise card is a physical debit card that you can order and link to your Wise account. This card is designed to allow you to spend money in different currencies without the high fees that traditional banks often charge for currency conversion and automatically convert the payment into the local currency at the real exchange rate. You are able to use this card for purchases, online transactions, and ATM withdrawals. Click here to open your free account.
And the last tip is: I went in February, and the weather was nice with temperatures around 27 degrees during the day.
But the people who live there told us that in the summer you can not stay more than 5 minutes walking on the street or going to the beach, as it is way too hot. They’ve said that it is almost unbearable and that it is not even worth visiting this time of the year.
How to get there?
Flights: The most common and convenient way to reach Dubai is by air. Dubai is served by the Dubai International Airport (DXB), one of the busiest airports in the world. You can book flights from major cities and airports around the globe to DXB or the Al Maktoum International Airport (DWC). You can check and compare available flights here.
Cruise: Dubai is also a popular cruise destination. Some cruise lines offer itineraries that include Dubai as a port of call. This can be a unique way to reach the city while enjoying the amenities of a cruise ship.
Land Travel: If you’re in a neighboring country, you might consider traveling to Dubai by land. However, this option might involve border crossings and various modes of transportation, depending on your starting point.