Country: United Arab Emirates
Currency: Dirham (AED)
Peak Season: November-April
Shoulder Season: May-October
Median Temperature: 33.40 C / 92.12 F
Main Languages: Arabic, Hindi, English
Primary Modes of Transportation: Bus, metro, private vehicle, tram, taxi, water bus
Recommended Duration of Stay: 4 days
Recommended Pocket Money: $150.00/day
Tourist Passes: Dubai Travel Pass
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Dubai is arguably one of the most opulent Middle Eastern countries in terms of people and structures. Its oil industry boom in the early 70’s skyrocketed investor interest and workforce population, transforming the British outpost into a country brimming with untapped natural resources. Of course, Dubai has gone through its ups and downs during the interim of its glory years, especially during the Gulf War. Yet however it came tumbling down, it quickly rose up. After the turmoil, Dubai has been the refuge of companies from neighboring cities that sought normalcy of business activities, particularly investors coming from Kuwait and Dubai. Today, Dubai is affiliated with many international powerhouse businesses.

If you’ve been across the Americas or if the European setting doesn’t quite endear you, Dubai is one spectacular place you should dare visit. So many investors (and we’re talking multi-billionnaires) have poured their money on the “Oasis by the Gulf” to make it stand out against the rest of its neighbors, leaving the tourist with nothing but attraction after attraction to visit and splurge. Budget being put to the equation, the lofty attractions aren’t as expensive as you may think. In a nutshell, one can hit a beach resort, shop for good finds, take on the sand dunes and eat graciously— all without breaking the bank. Visiting Dubai is a livening experience and one that will definitely change the way one perceives the Middle East.

Packing List

  • Decent clothing and walking shoes/sandals; “skanky” clothes by Islamic standards are prohibited; bring loose, cottony clothing for the day and sweaters for cold evenings
  • Pashmina, sunglasses, sunscreen, moisturizer, towels, toiletries and swimwear (two-piece bikinis are allowed)
  • Essential medication (narcotics have a different protocol), personal toiletries, although most international brands are conveniently sold throughout the city
  • A decent camera and plenty of memory; batteries are sold almost everywhere; a laptop is great and connectivity is offered on most hotels (though ISP’s have blocked some websites)
  • Credit cards may prove to be indispensable, since almost all establishments honor them to promote tourist spending

Things to Do

  • Visiting the Burj Khalifa, currently the tallest building in the world at 2,717 ft; it emanates Islamic architecture and is leased by many prestigious businesses and aristocrats
  • Plunging at Wild Wadi Water Park, next to the Burj; it currently has the world’s largest water slide and a plethora of exhilirating slides that suit every age
  • Entering anachronistic Ski Dubai, an 2.25-hectare indoor ski resort and the first of its kind in the Middle East; it hosts winter activities like skiing, snowboarding, and toboggan runs
  • Frollicking on Jumeirah Beach Park, an ideal place for barbecue parties, pool dips, and volleyballing; favorable for groups and families, the beach park is safe and affordable
  • Perusing for artifacts at the Dubai Museum at the Al Fahidi Fort; it focuses more on everyday items and armament used by Arabs; dayoramas are aplenty too

DON'T

  • Commit any acts of lasciviousness (kissing in public, displaying privates), else be detained and be banned from the country
  • Contemplate or even attempt about smuggling drugs into the country; lifetime imprisonment and death penalty awaits those who violate drug laws
  • Argue with the locals, especially with authorities—you’ll end up losing anyway; practice courtesy and strong disposition if provoked
  • Get caught being drunk in public nor drive a vehicle in an enibriated state for that matter; alcohol licenses are needed to purchase any form of liquor; 21 is the legal drinking age
  • Splurge on “designer” apparel and accessories sold at eye-popping prices; a lot of phony merchandise is sold there, and expensive “knock-offs” are no exception