Top Things You Need to Know for Your First Visit to Dubai
Traveling to Dubai for first time but don’t know where to start or how to create a perfect travel program. The following comprehensive UAE travel guide will make it easier for you.
First Of All, Have These Following Things In Place
- Apply for an appropriate Dubai visa if you’re not qualified for any visa exemption like visa-free travel or visa on arrival. Subject to the purpose and duration of your Dubai trip, you can opt for transit visa, single entry tourist visa or multiple-entry Dubai visa.
- Pre-book your airline tickets and hotel accommodation, preferably four to five months before.
- Get your sightseeing tours and entry tickets to iconic Dubai landmarks all reserved in advance. A valuable tip to save your money in this category is to go for a combo pass which offers two or more tours / attractions for a single low rate.
- In this current situation, the most important thing is to meet all COVID-19 criteria set by the UAE Government.
- Install COVID-19 DXB app in your device and include all your relevant info in it.
- Complete and duly sign the health declaration form which ensures that you‘ll take care of all your COVID-19 treatment and quarantine related expenses.
- Carry a valid international health insurance which offers coverage for COVID-19 treatment.
- Once you land at Dubai International Airport, submit the result of PCR test which you’ve undergone within 96 hours of your Dubai travel.
- If you’ve any symptom, you’ll have to self-quarantine and even undergo a test. You can step out if the test result comes negative.
Know When To Visit Dubai
No matter when you plan to visit Dubai, there will be something to keep you engrossed all through the year. That said, if you’re confused on when to travel here, these points may come handy for your Dubai travel preparation.
- There is no better to visit Dubai than during winter months, especially if you’re more inclined to outdoor activities or looking forward to the region’s legendary festivities and winter-exclusive attractions such as Dubai Shopping Festival (DSF), Christmas and New Year’s Eve festivities, Dubai Miracle Garden, Global Village etc. The winter months are from November to April, with peak season being December to February. The whole setting is cool and pleasant during these months.
- Whether you want to discover Dubai with fewer crowds or looking for a highly cost-effective Dubai holiday, it’s highly recommended to visit here in summer when the place is almost empty. The bonus is that you’ll be able to grab accommodation, airline tickets, and sightseeing excursions all for a rate that you never imagined. But let’s warn you that outdoors will be blistering; but on a positive note, you can easily forego this unbearable heat with some of the coolest of its kind attractions such as Ski Dubai, Dubai Ice Rink, Chillout Lounge etc.
This section covers some of the essentials that you should pack for your Dubai holiday.
Be sure to pack modest, non-revealing clothing, being Dubai an Islamic destination. It’s ideal to have:
- Loose-fitting, comfy tops that shield your shoulders and arms
- Pants, shorts, skirts etc that cover your knees
- Lightweight jacket; this comes to your rescue for both winter and summer Dubai trips due to intensely air-conditioned malls and other indoor attractions.
- Shawl; this comes handy when you visit conservative places of interest such as mosques, cultural landmarks etc.
- A classy outfit; bring it only if you plan for a swanky night out or dine in a posh venue.
- Sunscreen cream / lotion (due to strong sunlight throughout the year)
- Universal power adapter
- A comfy pair of walking shoes
- Reusable water bottle (yes, keep yourself hydrated)
Accommodation In Dubai
There is accommodation ideal for every traveler in Dubai. This ranges from the super extravagant Burj Al Arab and Atlantis, The Pam to the five-star and four-star choices across Dubai Marina, Al Barsha regions etc to the decent budget accommodation in Bur Dubai and Deira regions. But, as this is your first time in Dubai, it’s advisable to pick a centrally-located hotel or accommodation, preferably in Jumeirah, Downtown Dubai, Barsha or Bur Dubai / Deira areas. Alternatively, make sure that your desired accommodation or hotel offers easy accessibility to the attractions and excursions that encompass your Dubai travel program. Moreover, whenever you plan to visit, make sure that you pre-book your Dubai hotel stay, at best three to four months before your travel date.
To get around in the city, you can rely on Dubai’s public transport system which is not only one of the world’s best but also super affordable. It’s convenient too as you can use one NOL card to use all of Dubai RTA’s (Road and Transport Authority) public transport system across, road, rail and water. This lets you go cashless and top up the card on the go. There are cabs, ferries, public buses and metro. Among these, Dubai Metro is more than a transport means; it’s an attraction in its own right. With two lines (red and green), it’s completely automated, driverless and also the swiftest way to commute from one point to other anywhere in Dubai.
Now if you don’t want to use public transport, you can hire a private transfer with or without driver to get around in the city. However, you’ll need an international driving license if you’ve plans to get behind the wheels.
Top Attractions To See And Do In Dubai
- Burj Khalifa
Visiting this legendary attraction is one of the unmissable things to do in Dubai. Towering to a jaw-dropping height of 828 meters, it’s the tallest ever man-made structure. Capture some fantastic pictures against this colossal structure or more ideally hits its observatory deck on 124th or 148th level. You’ll also get enjoy the fastest of its kind elevator ride and watch a multimedia display on Dubai’s inspiring past.
- The Dubai Mall & Dubai Fountain Show
Sitting right next to Burj Khalifa at Downtown Dubai is the Dubai Mall. It’s so massive that it boasts of over 1200 stores, 200 plus dining venues and several amusement and leisure attractions. Yes, it’s where you’ll find the biggest of its kind Dubai Aquarium and Underwater Zoo, the coolest ever Dubai Ice Rink, the kid-specific KidZania, and the thrilling VR Park Dubai, among others.
After all shopping and fun moments at the Dubai Mall, step out to watch the marvelous Dubai Fountain show at Burj Lake; this choreographed water spectacle in seamless harmonization to classic Arabic and international music numbers is a free attraction and definite to blow you away.
- Palm Jumeirah & Burj Al Arab
These two Dubai icons are timeless and make a definite must-experience on your debut Dubai visit. While Palm Jumeirah is celebrated for its one-of-its-kind palm tree shape design, the classic sail-shaped Burj Al Arab is renowned as the world’s only seven-star hotel. Take a guided excursion or opt for an airborne adventure like helicopter ride to catch a glimpse of these astonishing engineering marvels.
- Al Bastakiya Quarter
Experience Dubai’s ancient art and culture scene immaculately preserved at this quaint quarter, also known as Al Fahidi Historical Neighborhood. Stroll through it narrow alleys and take in its age-old sand-colored buildings complete with traditional courtyards and topped by wind towers. This region is also home to many museums and art galleries plus attractions like Sheikh Mohammed Centre for Cultural Understanding (SMCCU) – a great place to gain an authentic insight into Emirati culture and heritage.
- Dubai Frame
Taking after a giant picture frame, this beautiful structure at Zabeel Park is the highest of its kind in the world. Check out its past gallery, before you ascend the elevator and make your way to the sky deck where you can catch up with the sights across both old and new Dubai from a single frame.
- Ski Dubai
Since its launch in 2005, Ski Dubai has treated Dubaiites and visitors with the most magical snow experiences. So be sure to add this attraction to your maiden Dubai trip. It’s the Middle East’s first and the world’s third biggest indoor ski resort. And just as you imagined, it allows you to have the most authentic and unforgettable snow based adventure and fun in the middle of the scorching desert city. It’s open all through the year and found inside Mall of the Emirates.
- Dhow Cruise
This is your ticket to admire Dubai’s skyscraper-laden districts and stylish architecture with a sense of historic touch, being dhow once used for fishing and pearl farming in the pre-oil phase. So don’t miss it; just pick your desired location at Dubai Creek or Dubai Marina and embark on an evening out with stunning views, scrumptious food, and stupendous live entertainment onboard.
- Dubai Parks and Resorts
In recent times, Dubai has earned the reputation of the Middle East’s theme park capital and its credit largely goes to Dubai Parks and Resorts. But it’s not your ordinary theme park; it’s the first integrated resort in the UAE, complete with multiple accommodation choices, loads of dining and retail outlets, and mostly, four theme parks including Motiongate Dubai, Bollywood Parks Dubai, LEGOLAND Dubai, and LEGOLAND Water Park.
- Desert Safari
Need a quick but refreshing respite from Dubai’s glamorous sights? Nothing can beat a desert safari. It not only transports you to a tranquil setting surrounded all over by the golden desert sands, but also promises you the adventure and amusement of a lifetime with 4X4 dune bash, camel ride, BBQ dining, belly dance and cultural experiences like henna tattooing, Shisha smoking etc.
Dubai hosts over 70 malls including the world’s biggest mall (Dubai Mall), holds an entire market / souk dedicated to gold jewelry, and is also the venue for exclusive events such as Dubai Shopping Festival (DSF). So what’s your debut Dubai holiday without a crazy shopping session?
Things To Know Before Your First Time Travel To Dubai
- Be respectful to Emirati culture and traditions.
- Don’t smoke or drink (alcohol) in public.
- Don’t eat in public during the Islamic holy month of Ramadan.
- Wear modest dress in public places and during your visit to conservative landmarks.
- Say a big no to any kind of PDAs.
- Be careful when you take pictures of prominent government structures and locals including Emirati women.
Dubai is compact but it’s invariably diverse with its many distinct attractions and exciting experiences. So come make the most of this travel guide to make your much-awaited Dubai trip as hassle-free and unforgettable as possible.