Everything You Need To Know Before You Head To Dubai!
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The tallest building, the busiest airport, the fastest roller coaster, the biggest indoor park – name it and Dubai already has a record breaker in the category. Skyscrapers, fashion, gold or glamour, there are plenty of reasons why Dubai is every traveller’s dream.
1. Hassle Free Visa
Dubai is the go-to choice for the first International trip for many Indians. It may have something do with it being closer to home but easy Visa procedure also takes credit. Get in touch with travel agencies in India that help with a UAE visa valid for 30 days for a minimal fee. The ‘Short Term Single Entry Visa’ takes a week’s time should cost you around INR 6000-65000. Emirates and Fly Dubai have made the visa procedure convenient and cost-effective for their flyers. They won’t need a local sponsor and can carry out the procedure online.
Dubai might give you the impression that only winning at the game show can make your dreams come true. There’s no denying that a few extra thousands will make your trip extravagant, but it’s also true that you don’t need to be a millionaire. AED is not cheap for Indians, but don’t let that stop you. 1 AED or Dirham is 17.46 Indian Rupees. If you run out of currency, use the gold despensing vending machines! Local commute and a base away from landmarks will help you save some dough.
3. Best Time To Visit
Dubai’s location in the Northern Desert Belt makes its eligible for two kinds of climate: hot and hotter. Here, the summers are sizzling hot and winters come with a pinch of warmth. The best months to visit this city are from November to March.With the temperatures around 20 degrees and many shopping, food and arts festivals – the winters in Dubai are a hit! Though, it also means, you’d be seeing a lot of tourists and hiked prices!
4. Big, Bigger, Biggest
The city of superlatives. Dubai has the biggest, largest, fastest and a lot of ‘ests’ of many things!
The tallest man-made structure in the world – Burj Khalifa; World’s largest indoor theme park – IMG World; World’s Largest Frame that gives you a panoramic view of the skyline; World’s largest mall with an indoor aquarium, an ice rink, world’s largest candy store – Candylicious, a cinema hall, a five-star hotel, 1200 shops, and over a hundred restaurants and cafes – Dubai Mall and the busiest airport in the world with international passengers – Dubai Airport!
You’ll be more than lucky to see so many records under one roof in one trip!
5. Bentley, Rolls Royce, Ferraris, Lambs – What’s Your Ride?
Dubai Police Force uses supercars for their hunts – Bugatti Veyron, Aston Martin, Lambos and Ferraris to name a few. The rich locals use the less extravagant BMWs, Mercs and Porche. Does that imply you have to rent a Limo to get around? As appealing as that thought might be, it’s not a pre-requisite. The Dubai Metro is well connected to vital points like the Airport, Bur Juman, Burj Khalifa/Dubai Mall, Mall of Emirates, Dubai Marina, JLT and Jebel Ali with many stations in between. The livelier neighbourhoods of Palm Jumeirah, Dubai Marina and Atlantis can be accessed by the monorail. Trams will help you commute around Dubai Marina and JLT. Buses and trains are a much cheaper option compared to the cabs!
6. You’re Never Too Old To Sit On A Roller Coaster!
You may not find a Six Flags or Disney World but Dubai’s amusement parks are equally magnanimous and fun!
1. IMG World:World’s biggest indoor theme park is the size of 28 football fields put together! The park brings Marvel Comics and Cartoon Network to life. From The Velociprator (Jurassic Park themed ride) to family attractions in Lazy Town – IMG suits all!
2. Aquaventure Waterpark:Dubai found a substitute for the Bahamas with its very own ‘Atlantis, The Palm Resort’. On the curving edge of the manmade Palm Islands is the tall standing Atlantis resort with its water park. Aquaventure Water Park has hair-raising slides, Dolphin Bay, snorkelling and Aqua Trek activities, a lazy pool and so much more making it suitable for all age groups.
3. Dubai Parks and Resorts:This theme park has four interconnected theme parks in one. Life-size legos, building activities, 40 rides and more – channel the ‘Bob the Builder’ in you by spending a day at Legoland and Legoland Water Park.Motiongate Park is your answer to Hollywood.With rides and attractions surrounding movies like ‘The Hunger Games’, ‘Hotel Transylvania’, ‘Madagascar’, ‘Shrek’ – this Hollywood park is a blockbuster! For those who can’t get Bollywood out from within, Dubai has launched its first Bollywood Park. 4-D theatres, Ra.One’s Virtual World, Stage performances from the 60’s and 80’s, Bollywood Park in Dubai is one-of-its-kind.
4. Ferrari World: Another one-of-a-kind attraction is the Ferrari World. Take a helicopter ride to see the bold red Ferrari logo up from the sky, fly over the vineyards of Italy in a multi-sensory room or ride in the fastest roller-coaster. A few hours from Dubai, Ferrari World in Abu Dhabi is worth a day’s trip. You can reserve the evening to visit the magnificent Sheikh Zayed Mosque.
Aerial View of Ferrari World. Source: www.lamadubai.com
5. Ski Dubai: Snow in the middle of a desert? In Dubai, it’s possible. Ski Dubai is for those longing for some winter wonderland vibe. Inside the Mall of Emirates is the first ever indoor ski resort.Varying height gradients for different levels of skiers, Penguin interactions, Freestyle Zones and real snow all around you – Ski Dubai is a must.
7. It’s Not Only Robocops & Flying Taxis, There’s Some History Too!
Rooted in its culture and tradition, Dubai is still the most forward-looking city. If you want to take a break from the glitzy skyscrapers you can visit one of these places.
1. Al Fahidi Historic District: One of the last few heritage sites in this sprawling city, Al Fahidi in Bur Dubai is where time stands still.Sandstone buildings, small by lanes, wind towers (air conditions from the days of past), art galleries and museums give you a glimpse of the days without skyscrapers.
2. Souks: A sensory overload – Souks are where constant chatter, colors, vintage items and traditional artefacts surround you. Deceked with with gold necklaces, earrings, bars and anything that shines bright, the ‘Gold Souk’ in is pretty renowned. The Gold Souk is located in the Al Ras area of Deira. Next to the Gold Souk is the spice souk that takes you on an olfactory journey with varieties of spices from different regions. Textile Souk, Perfume Souks, Vegetable & Fruit Souks are some other markets you can visit.
3. Madinat Jumeirah: If you’re curious about what an Arab village looks like, head to Madinat Jumeirah. Although, this one has Dubai’s touch to it. The winding maze-like bazar, palm trees and waterways is set right in the middle of a sprawling hotel complex. Dine in chic restaurants or shop for authentic kaftans and jewellery. Or do neither and let the vibe fill you up with nostalgia!
4. Global Village: Calling Global Village a ‘fair’ would be an understatement. A cultural extravaganza where visitors get to experience cultures of 75 countries! With a dedicated zone each country can showcase their art, food, music and artefacts. Global Village is an entertainment, shopping, art, food, music hub. The 22nd Season of Global Village will run until 7th April 2018.
5. Desert Safari: Is it even Dubai without its desert? Camel rides, sheesha, dune bashing, ATVs in the sand, belly dancing, BBQ, or the vastness of the desert, you have plenty to choose from for your authentic desert experience. There are a number of tours and agents through which you can book your safari. This also is a golden chance to sit in a Hummer!
8. You’ll Always Find Something Exciting To Do
Like its towers, the entire city calls out to you, waiting for you to explore every bit.
1. Burj Khalifa:The tallest man-made tower built to date, Burj Khalifa catches the fancy of many. At 828 meters this tower is impossible to ignore. You can truly be at the top of the world from the observation deck on the 124th floor. 20 floors more, on 148th you get treated like VIP with soft drinks and dates. The floor’s highlight is the VR experience that lets you see Dubai from a bird’s eye view. The only catch? You’ll have to drop in a couple extra dirhams.
2. Dubai Fountains: The company that created the Bellagio Hotel Fountains in Las Vegas is also responsible for the World’s largest choreographed fountains in Burj Khalifa Lake. The water dances to classical Arabic songs, popular numbers, Bollywood hits and age-old classics. Every 30 minutes between 6 PM to 10 PM, 6,600 lights illuminate the lake and water shoots in varying patterns, mesmerizing every viewer. You can watch the spectacle from the adjoining Dubai Mall or get the view from the 124th floor of the Burj Khalifa!
3. Dubai Marina:Want to be awed by the city’s architectural grandeur? Take a walk on Dubai Marina. The artificial canal city built along the Persian shoreline is a residential complex with plenty of entertainment avenues. Walk along the promenade or take a cruise starting from the Dubai Marina Yacht club. Some cruise tours come with dinner, music and entertainment! If you want to discover the complex on foot, ‘The Walk’ is where you should start. The entire stretch houses some of the best al fresco dining restaurants and has more than 100 retail outlets for you to shop from.
4. The Beach:The sprawling shopping complex called ‘The Beach’ on JBR is where the city parties, shops, eats and comes alive. It’s where style meets the sea. Even if the stores are a little out of your budget, the vibe is enough!
5. Burj Al Arab: The iconic Burj Al Arab shaped like a dhow is a pictorial representation of all things Dubai. The hotel sits on the artificial island off Jumeirah Road. You can see it from a distance from Jumeirah beach or spend Dhs 320-640 to get a glimpse of the inside (i.e for high-tea or cocktails). Once in, you’ll feel no less than royalty – Opulent golden motifs, high ceilings, water fountains and adorned pillars.
9. It’s More Cosmopolitan Than Conservative
Arab countries often come with the ‘conservative’ tag. Burqa-clad women, rules against men and women mingling, strict laws etc. However, Dubai is diverse. Ex-pats make 60% of the population and hence it is a vibrant multi-cultural city. There are rules that you should follow to respect the culture. It is always best to dress modestly in public places. Shoulders and knees covered and keeping PDA limited to holding hands are the basic things you can do. The private hotels and resorts are no barriers zone. Bikini or no bikini, it’s all okay!
10. Sunday Is The New Monday
The weekend is Friday-Saturday and Sunday is when you get back to work. The weekend vibes start hitting you Thursday late afternoon! It’s important to keep this in mind since planning visits during rush hours can get simpler.
11. Shop Till You Literally Drop!
Dubai’s malls are expansive and some quite rightly expensive. The Dubai Mall has an ice-rink and an aquarium inside, the largest candy store and an entire ‘district’ dedicated to luxury brands. Mall of Emirates and Dragon Mall are other malls where you can continue your shopping spree. Don’t get blinded by the displays, you’ll feel like walking in every single store only to realize you’ve spent an entire day in a mall. But if you’ve got the AEDs and plenty of time, retail therapy is bliss!
12. Not All Shawarmas!
Even though it’s one of the must-trys, the city is not only about that. A foodie paradise, Dubai’s culinary scene is as extravagant. Name a country or culture and you’ll find their best offerings in a hole-in-the wall eateries or a luxury restaurant. From popular areas like The Walk, Downtown Dubai and JLT where cafes, luxe restaurants, rooftop bars take precedence, there are many joints hidden in the less popular districts.If nothing on the ground appeals to you, you can chose to dine from the sky at ‘Dinner in Sky’, a unique dining setup that suspends the dining party, host and waiters at 50m up in the sky.
13. Drinking Is Controlled
You can only drink in restaurants and hotels or in your own home with a license. Public inebriation in Dubai is not tolerated. Go easy on the drunches and weekends because it may cost you!
14. Expletives Are Not Only Rude, They’re Illegal
Yes, swearing in public is a punishable offence. So bite your tongue or be ready to pay a heavy fine. Also, it’s best to keep your opinions about the ruling family, businessmen and the law force to yourself. Dubai is not so progressive when it comes to free speech.
15. Photograph Places Not People
The stunning Arab women dressed in abayas and men in white kanduras and ghutras make for an instagrammable moment, but in Dubai clicking pictures of the locals is considered offensive. Take their permission before photographing and do not even attempt to ask women for a picture!