New To Dubai? Here’s What You Need To Be Prepared For!

by Vaishnavi Venkataraman
New To Dubai? Here’s What You Need To Be Prepared For!

Dubai is literally an expat paradise. Thousands have made this place their home and have irrevocably fallen in love with it, every day. But if you are someone who has lived abroad and are a newbie in the city, there are some surprises awaiting you. Check out some of the things you experience when you first move into the city. 

1. Summer – All Year

The temperature in Dubai is 25 degrees and up at an average. The heat can tend to drain you out if you’re out all day so you need to be prepared. Make sure you always have your shades, a bottle of water and sunscreen handy at all times.

And yes, Hydrate. Hydrate. Hydrate.

2. Beware Of Fines

Dubai is a big stickler for the rules – there are a lot of things you need to be cautious about from jaywalking, to over speeding, littering and of course, absolutely no eating and drinking on public transport. If you do this, you would need to pay a heavy price for it.


3. No MRP 

Most of the products in Dubai have a different price in different stores so you gotta keep exploring unlike a standard MRP (Maximum Retail Price) on all goods. Most FMCG products have price cuts at retail giants like Carrefour and Dubai also has a series of “Super Sale’s” where you can get your hands on unbelievable steals on your favourite brands.


4. Modest Clothing

Dubai has some guidelines in regard to clothing for both men and women in public places. The code states that residents must abide by the modesty regulations to respect the religious sentiments of the country. To be on the safe side, ensure your clothing covers your knees and shoulders at all times when you’re out in the city.

Image credits – Emirates 24_7 / Facebook


5. Parking Comes With A Price

While most public places have free parking for residents, the other spots have a metered parking system where the charges start from AED 2 an hour (depending on the zone). Some other spots also have a premium charge starting from AED 10. So motorists need to be watchful of paying the parking fees, or be fined/have their car towed if they fail to do so.

Image credits – RTA Dubai / Facebook


6. The Currency Conversion

The UAE dirham is a simple currency system but if you’re new in the city, there is a likely chance you would convert it with your home currency at all times before you get used to handling your finances out here. It’s suggested to get yourself a debit card to have a timely check on your spending without much hassle.

Image credits – 22 words / facebook


7. Sunday Is Not Weekend

Contrary to most international cities, Dubai, like most GCC countries, works on a Sunday. Newbies in town often find it a little overwhelming having being used to their Sunday siestas and long Saturday nights. Dubai weekends start Thursday and end on a Sunday morning. Make sure you don’t miss your alarm.

8. BOTIM To The Rescue

Popular apps like Skype and WhatsApp calls are not permitted for use in the UAE. The only licensed apps for calls is BOTIM by Etisalat and C’me by du that have a monthly package starting at AED 50. These apps are the one-stop solution to stay in touch with your loved ones.

9. Too Much Of A Chill

For the extreme weather the city has, the chiller tends to keep you extremely cold all day. You have to get used to the contrast by often carrying a wrap or socks to keep you warm. There have been reported several cases of orthopaedic issues owing to A/C temperatures. If you feel your office/home resembles the Antarctic at times, you’re not the only one.

10. A Baqala For All Your Needs

If you were to make a run for some ice-cream in the middle of the night, or just a little snack – a baqala comes to your rescue. A small little convenience store/grocery is something you can spot around most residential areas where you can get your hands on most basic necessities and of course, some great snacks. There are also several supermarket chains like Carrefour with outlets that open even late at night.

Image credits – baqala attractions / facebook

This article has been contributed to Curly Tales by Sweta Swaminathan. If you wish to contribute your travel story, please drop an email here