7 things to know before visiting Dubai

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Vacations are not simply about walking by the promenades or lying on the sandy beaches. Dubai has much more to offer other than the glittering skyscrapers or the inviting shopping scenes. If you are an adventure seeker by heart, then Dubai will not disappoint you in this part as well. Be it exploring the underwater with the scuba diving or floating in the sky with sky diving or simply competing with the waves with kite surfing or wake boarding, Dubai has it all.

Dubai tourism has come up with many exciting and thrilling ideas and ventures surely to satiate your adventure appetite.

The desert safaris are no more excluded only for camel riding or dune bashing but will test your limits with many more exciting things in the waiting like overnight camping or trekking in the wadis during the day or doing sand boarding which is definitely not a game for the novice.

Talking about the adventures, there can be an endless list that might make your heart beat faster. But we have pick pointed few which definitely let the fear factor explore new zeniths.

1. What to wear

The UAE is a Muslim country, so it’s especially important to think about bringing clothes that will allow you to dress modestly in certain areas. When it comes to dressing appropriately in Dubai, the first thing is to distinguish the difference between public and hotel spaces.

Public Areas

In public areas (e.g. malls, cafes, the airport, public transport), men and women are expected to dress modestly. Shoulders should be covered and too much leg, boob or bum is not a good look. Whilst nobody is going to call the fashion police if you’re showing too much skin, it’s far better to think like a savvy traveller and be respectful of the local culture. Pair a maxi skirt and t-shirt with some glamorous jewellery and sandals for a modest yet stylish look.


Hotels are seen as an international zones where standard holiday / beach / hot weather attire is perfectly acceptable. I wouldn’t advise you wander around the hotel lobby in your bikini and shorts, but all of that is absolutely fine by the pool and beach. There are also plenty of day beach clubs where you can lounge in your beachwear and bikinis all day.


Ladies, keep a pashmina packed in your bag at all times for public areas and bring some kaftans and cover ups for at the hotel.

2. Book restaurants in advance

Dubai isn’t the easiest place to be spontaneous. If you’re going out for dinner, pick a restaurant in advance and make a reservation. Unlike many other bustling cities, it’s not so easy to just rock up somewhere and get a table, especially to the more upmarket eateries.

3. Alcohol

There are plenty of great independent restaurants in Dubai, but none of them are licenced to serve alcohol. If you’re planning to have a few drinks, make sure you’re going to restaurants and bars that sit within a hotel complex. Again, being an an international zone means that alcohol is permitted and you’ll find that all of the most well-known restaurants are all found within Dubai’s hotels. You don’t need to be staying at the hotel to eat at their restaurants.


Don’t be afraid to walk straight in to a hotel lobby and ask for directions to your bar / club / restaurant.

4. Nightlife

Dubai has an overwhelming choice of stylish bars and clubs, so much so that you’ll never get round them all. Similarly to my point about alcohol, the clubs are all located within the hotels, which makes it feel like more of a secret scene. There is no main strip or nightlife hub. If you’re planning a night out, you need to know where you’re going and exactly where it is. Chances are, it’s most likely tucked away through the lobby of a swanky hotel or on the top of a skyscraper.

5. Taxis

Whilst prices in Dubai are similar to London standards, taxis are dirt-cheap. This makes taxis a cheap and incredibly handy way of getting around the city. There are endless taxis on the roads and it never takes more than a few minutes to flag one down. The meter starts at 5 dirhams.


When you get into a taxi, always make sure the driver puts on the meter and confirms he knows where your destination is.

6. The call to prayer

The Islamic Call to Prayer can be heard from pretty much anywhere in the city. All of the mosques are wired up to public speaker systems and the call is heard from the minaret 5 times a day. Depending on how close the nearest mosque is, you may hear calls throughout the night too. Don’t worry, it’s totally normal!

7. Tipping

Tipping is a custom in Dubai, but it’s not expected and is nowhere near as compulsory as the U.S.A. Take in to account the quality of service provided and don’t feel inclined to tip if something was bad. Just take it on a case-by-case basis.

Dubai-based journalist @BellaKay recommends the following as a rough guide to tipping in Dubai:

  • Taxi driver: Round up to the nearest note, if driving was acceptable.
  • Food delivery man: Round up to nearest note, or AED 5 to 10.
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  • Valet-parking assistant: AED 5 to 10.
  • Bellboy: AED 5 to 10.
  • Supermarket bag-packer: A couple of coins, up to AED 5.
  • Hairdresser: 10 per cent.
  • Beauty / spa therapist: AED 5-20, depending on amount spent.