Things to know about Dubai before travelling: The many wonders of Dubai are well documented, but when it comes to the basics, such as public transportation, weather, culture and business, everything you need is in this essential guide. Then, with your air tickets and the hotel reserved, read on to discover everything you need to know before visiting emirate.
Weather in Dubai:
Given our location in the Arabian desert, Dubai enjoys warm weather throughout the year. The winter months, from October to May, are the warmest, with average temperatures ranging between 20 degrees Celsius and half of the 30s. During the summer months from June to September, the weather warms up, with averages from 30 to 40 years. This is when the large number of attractions and interior facilities in Dubai stand out, making Dubai a year-round destination.
It is difficult not to admire Dubai for its indefatigable enthusiasm, ambition and ability to dream and carry out projects that in other places would never leave the drawing board. This is a society of superlative craving that has resulted in boldly tall buildings and palm-shaped islands. Science fiction concepts such as flying taxis, an ultrafast Hyperloop train and an army of robocops are all reflections of a mentality that embraces the future without fear. With many larger projects in preparation for the 2020 World Expo, it is clear that Dubai is a city firmly in charge of writing its own narrative.
Dubai is one of the main retail stores that houses not one but two large annual shopping festivals. Shopping is a leisure activity here, and shopping centers are much more than just store collections. Some look like an Italian palace or a Persian palace and attract visitors with surreal attractions such as an indoor ski slope, a giant aquarium or an outdoor botanical garden. Traditional souks are also hives of activity that buzz with timeless jokes. Meanwhile, a new crop of urban-style outdoor shopping centers has broadened the shopping spectrum once again.
At dusk, Dubai sometimes looks like a city full of lotus eaters, always looking for a good time. Its party spectrum changes shape for almost all tastes, budgets and age groups. From eye-catching dance temples, elegant rooftop terraces and sparkling beach clubs to elegant cocktail caverns, shisha lounges and concerts under the stars, Dubai offers staggered odyssey. Most of the nightlife focuses on the luxury hotels, but there is also no shortage of healthier amusements, such as community theater, live music venues and the world-class Dubai Opera.
Dubai, the first city in the Middle East on the list of creative design cities of Unesco, is a bustling microcosm shared peacefully by cultures from all corners of the world. This diversity is expressed in the culinary landscape, fashion, music and performance.
Top Experiences in Dubai:
Burj Khalifa: The Burj Khalifa is an impressive feat of architecture and engineering, with two observation platforms on floors 124 and 148 and a restaurant bar on 122. The tallest building in the world crosses the sky at 828 m and was inaugurated in January 2010, six years after the excavations began. To avoid waiting times or expensive quick tickets, book tickets online up to 30 days in advance. Keep in mind that high humidity often covers Dubai in a dense fog, which makes the views less than impressive. If you have purchased tickets for the first observation platform (called At the Top), you will go through multimedia exhibits that narrate the construction of the Burj before getting into an elevator that takes you to the 124th floor (452m) at a speed of 10m per second. To intensify the viewing experience, you can place some dirhams on a high-power telescope, which not only focuses on modern Dubai, but also simulates the same view at night and in the 1980s.
However, the highest observation platform in the world is called At the Top Sky and is 555 m away on the 148th floor. You will feel like a VIP when you are greeted by a guest ambassador and enjoy refreshments, coffee and appointments at a elegant lounge. In addition to the views, the highlight on this floor is an interactive screen where you ‘fly’ to different landmarks of the city by running your hands over high-tech sensors. This is followed by a trip to the 125th floor where another virtual reality experience awaits: A Falcon’s Eye View, which allows you to see Dubai from the perspective of a bird.
Keep in mind that prices go up during the hours of greatest audience (around sunset) and that closing times may vary according to demand and season.
You can also expect some changes in the Burj from the summer of 2019, when renovations will be made as part of an ambitious US $ 1.7 billion Marsa Al Arab project that involves the construction of two new artificial islands on each side of the hotel.
Dubai Mall: With around 1300 stores, this is not simply the largest shopping center in the world: it is a small city, with a giant ice rink and an aquarium, a dinosaur skeleton, covered theme parks and 150 food outlets. There is a strong European label presence, along with branches of the French Galeries Lafayette department store, Hamley’s British toy store and the first Bloomingdale’s outside the United States.
Al Fahidi Historic District: Traffic fades into a quiet buzz in the labyrinthine lanes of this restored heritage area formerly known as the Bastakiya Neighborhood. Its narrow streets are flanked by sand-colored houses with wind towers, which provide natural air conditioning. Today there are about 50 buildings that contain museums, craft shops, cultural exhibitions, cafés with patio, art galleries and two boutique hotels. The neighborhood was built in the early 1900s by merchants from the Persian city of Bastak, who settled in Dubai to take advantage of the tax exemptions granted by the sheikh. However, in the 1970s, the buildings had fallen into disrepair and residents began moving to newer and more comfortable neighborhoods. Dedicated premises, expatriates and even Prince Charles of the United Kingdom prevented the demolition of the area in the 1980s. Hidden within the restored labyrinth, which is easily explored on a wandering walk, there is a small section of the old city wall since 1800. For a deeper experience, join a guided tour with the Sheikh Mohammed Cultural Understanding Center.
Gold Souq: All that glitters is gold (and occasionally silver) along this covered gallery where dozens of stores overflow with all kinds of imaginable jewelry, from delicate pearl earrings to luxurious gold wedding necklaces. Simply seeing the events is a delight. Sit on a bench and enjoy the lively street theater of working Afghan men who drag heavy goods carts, African women in colorful caftans and local women on a shopping spree. It is more lively at night. In 2018, the souk was scheduled for a renovation, which included the improvement of facades and signage and the introduction of a random sampling and weighing system to thwart any possible fraud and ensure the highest quality in accordance with government standards.
Burj Al Arab:
The elegant silhouette of the Burj, intended to evoke the sail of a dhow (a traditional wooden cargo ship), is for Dubai what the Eiffel Tower is for Paris. Completed in 1999, this iconic landmark is located on an artificial island and comes with its own helipad and a fleet of Rolls Royce limousines with driver. Beyond the striking lobby, with its opulence of gold leaf and a fountain that attracts attention, there are 202 suites with more ornaments than a Christmas turkey. It is worth visiting just to look at an interior that is as striking as the exterior is beautiful. The atmosphere is set in the 180m high lobby, which is decorated in a red, blue and green color scheme and accented with pillars covered with gold leaf. The atrium of the lobby is tall enough to fit inside the Statue of Liberty.
If you are not staying at the hotel, you need a restaurant reservation to pass the security of the lobby. Don’t expect bargains: there is a minimum expense of Dhs370 for cocktails at the Skyview Bar, while afternoon tea will cost you Dhs590. Visit the website for more details and to make a reservation (mandatory).
The main historical museum of the city shows the turbo evolution of Dubai, from the fishing village and perleros to the global center of commerce, finance and tourism. It has an atmospheric environment in the Al Fahidi compact fort, built around 1800 and considered the oldest remaining structure in Dubai. A simulated souk exhibits Bedouin life in the desert and a room that highlights the importance of the sea illustrates the days before the discovery of oil. The last room shows archaeological finds from nearby excavation sites. Fortified by three towers, Al Fahidi Fort served as the residence of local rulers until 1896 and went through a season as a prison and garrison before becoming a museum in 1971. A sturdy teak door adorned with bronze spikes gives way to the courtyard dotted with Bronze cannons, traditional boats and an areesha (a palm-leafed hut that was the type of summer house in which most locals lived until the mid-twentieth century). Flanking the courtyard are rooms with modest displays of instruments and weapons.
The main exhibition is underground and is accessed through a spiral ramp. A video and a timeline use historical impressions and footage to illustrate how far Dubai has come since the 1960s. From here, cross the deck of a dhow (traditional cargo ship) to enter a simulated souk (market) with Life-size dioramas representing merchants and artisans at work, enhanced by light and sound effects and granulated documentary films.
Opened in 2017, this eye-catching modern museum appeals in an attractive way the birth of the United Arab Emirates in 1971, stimulated by the discovery of oil in the 1950s and the withdrawal of the British in 1968. Documentary films, photographs, artifacts, Interactive schedules and exhibits focus on historical milestones in the years before and immediately after this momentous occasion and pay homage to the seven founding fathers of the country. There are free tours of the adjacent circular Union House, where the agreement was signed. The museum building is an elegant design of the Canadian architecture studio Moriyama & Teshima. Its parabolic roof represents the sheet of paper on which the statement was written, while the seven golden columns in the entrance hall symbolize the pens with which it was signed. A large white travertine square links the building with the historic Union House round house and the recreated guest house where the founding fathers stayed while negotiations were under way. The flagpole of the original flag where the rulers gathered after the agreement hangs over a reflective pond.
The underground galleries of generous proportions are accessed from the monumental entrance hall through a wide white marble staircase. To his right hangs a giant painting by the Emirati artist Abdul Qader Al Rais representing the geography of the UAE. A little further there are gigantic and striking photographs of the rulers of the seven emirates who founded the nation, along with their family tree and personal effects such as the cane and sunglasses of Sheikh Zayed and the passport of Sheikh Rashid. Later, you can watch 3D documentaries about the founding years, the first original page of the Constitution and a digital timeline of ‘road to unification’.
The name, by the way, has nothing to do with the airline: Etihad is simply the Arabic word for “union.”
IMG Worlds of Adventure:
Located in an air-conditioned hangar the size of 28 soccer fields, IMG Worlds of Adventure is the largest indoor theme park in the world. The billion-dollar park is truly impressive, with more than 20 attractions and attractions divided into four themed areas: Marvel, Cartoon Network, Lost Valley Dinosaur Adventure and IMG Boulevard, and 28 restaurants. The food is prepared on site, and the quality is surprisingly high, with some healthy options. The theme park is located next to Global Village on E311.
Aimed at younger children, it has attractions for children based on popular cartoon characters such as the Powerpuff Girls and the Amazing Ride of Gumball, as well as a Ben 10 5D cinema and a LazyTown live show.
Emotion seekers will find a lot to pump hearts and adrenaline. Thor Thunder Spin, a dizzying journey on the upper lap, will scare almost anyone. Thor is also part of the superhero battalion that faces the evil villain Ultra in the dark journey of Avengers Battle of Ultron. Thumbs up also for Hulk Epsilon Base 3D that uses 360-degree projection screens and movement to take it through a fierce battle.
Lost Valley Dinosaur Adventure:
Tailored to IMG, this imaginative design zone is inhabited by 69 last generation animatronic dinosaurs. If you meet one, ask kindly and he will gladly pose with you for your Instagram feed. Much less friendly are his Jurassic friends who chase you on a jungle safari through the Forbidden Territory. For a truly nudist experience, climb the Velociraptor, a short but intense roller coaster in the open air that catapults it from zero to 100 km / h in 2.5 seconds.
White Dubai: The spawn of Dubai from the Beirut original did not take much time to attract people from the local society with high-energy rooftop parties under the stars.
Getting to Dubai:
Dubai is ideally located at the crossroads of Europe, Asia and Africa, which means that one third of the world’s population is within a four-hour flight and two-thirds are within an eight-hour flight.
More than 125 airlines fly to Dubai from destinations around the world, and a network of first-class highways connects Dubai and neighboring CCG countries. Whether traveling by car or bus, a modern network of first-class roads and highways connects the seven emirates of the United Arab Emirates.
Getting around in Dubai:
Connect without problems from the airport to your meeting using the state-of-the-art transportation system in Dubai. You will find a series of public taxis waiting for your arrival and, being a relatively small city, you can expect to be in your hotel or remote office in less than 30 minutes. They accept most major credit cards, and will soon be enabled for Wi-Fi so passengers stay connected while traveling. Alternatively, you can use applications like Uber or local Careem to hire a taxi.
Alternatively, get on the Dubai subway. The Red Line crosses the heart of the city along the Sheikh Zayed Road artery. The stations serve the main business centers, such as the World Trade Center, home to many of the city’s major conventions and exhibitions, and the Dubai International Financial Center (get off at the Financial Center station). The line continues all the way south to Jebel Ali and is being extended to finally serve the 2020 World Expo site.
To get the most out of the public transportation system in Dubai, buy a prepaid NOL card, which can be used for the subway, tram, buses and taxis. NOL cards can be purchased at any of the Dubai metro stations and at selected bus stations.
Business in Dubai:
Dubai is the largest business center in the region, and its central global location plays a vital role in its importance in international trade. Business travelers should not be offended if, when meeting with professionals of the opposite sex, they are not offered a handshake. To avoid any discomfort, the best advice is to wait for a hand.
It is worth remembering that Muslims should pray five times a day as part of their faith. Most of the time this will go unnoticed by business travelers, but it is worth taking into account when planning the schedule of your meeting.
Best Hotels in Dubai:
- Burj Al Arab Jumeirah
- One&Only The Palm Dubai
- Residence & Spa, Dubai at One&Only Royal Mirage
- Bulgari Resort, Dubai
- Aspen Chalets by Kempinski
- Kempinski Hotel & Residences Palm Jumeirah
- Mandarin Oriental Jumeira, Dubai
- Jumeirah Al Naseem
- Jumeirah Dar Al Masyaf
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