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Know Before You Go
- PDA (public displays of affection) are against the law in Dubai. This includes holding hands and kissing in public.
- During the month of Ramadan, all restaurants are closed during the day as no eating, smoking or drinking is allowed in public spaces including hotel lobbies.
- While there isn't a law enforced dress code in Dubai, it is recommended to respect the local culture and dress conservatively.
- Tipping is not expected nor is it compulsory in Dubai. Tip 10-15% of your total bill at a restaurant and your bellboy or valet-parking assistant AED 5 to 10.
- Swearing in public is against the law. The "f" word and references to religious entities can lead to a three-month jail sentence if you are overheard.
- You need a liquor license to buy alcohol in Dubai, and public consumption of alcohol is not allowed. However, some restaurants and hotels do sell alcohol, and you can find them in the international areas.
Getting Around Dubai
Dubai has transportation options for any budget, making it easy and affordable to get around the city.
- If you plan on hiring a car to visit places like Hatta, don't forget your international driver's licence, passport, credit card and third-party insurance. You can also use a car rental app like UDrive or turn heads by renting a luxury vehicle for the duration of your stay.
- For a unique way to see the city, hire a bicycle. It's becoming a popular way to see the city as well as nearby sites. But this is only advisable during the cooler months to avoid heat stroke.
- Dubai's metro system can take you straight to famous landmarks like the Dubai Marina and the Gold Souk. You will need to buy a Nol card to get on board and trips cost as little as AED 3.
- One of Dubai's oldest forms of transportation is by boat. You can choose from a traditional dhow or Abra, water taxis and even luxurious yacht rentals.
- Other options include using the city's extensive bus network or a metered taxis to get to your destination.
When is The Best Time to Visit Dubai?
The best time to visit Dubai is during its winter months between October and April. The daily highs are a bit cooler making it the perfect time to visit the Persian Gulf's famous beaches.
But it is also Dubai's peak season, with travellers flocking from around the world to take advantage of the cooler weather. If you plan on visiting during this time, make your hotel reservations months in advance to avoid disappointment.
January to March is also Dubai's rainy season. However, showers are short-lived and won't affect your travel plans.
You can escape the crowds by visiting Dubai during the summer, but expect high humidity levels and temperatures. The heat can make outdoor activities unbearable, so make sure you stay hydrated, wear sunscreen and don't spend too much time outside. On the plus side, hotel prices are lower, and you won't struggle to find an empty room.
If you are travelling to Dubai during Ramadan, expect to see a much quieter city with little to do during the day. But it is a good time to visit if you are on a budget with hotels slashing their prices by 70% to make up for the lack of bookings.
Airports in Dubai
Dubai International Airport
Dubai International (DXB) is the primary airport for Dubai and is the world's busiest international airport. As a result, you can expect long lines at immigration 24/7 and passport control.
The airport is a hub for Emirates and is a luxurious experience within itself. It is filled with fine dining options, high-end retail shops, a business centre and a variety of sleeping options to get through those long stopovers in comfort.
Dubai World Central
Built in the fast-growing area of "new Dubai", DWC will be the largest airport in the world once completed. In 2013, it opened its doors to commercial flights, and currently, only a handful of airlines operate out of the airport to international and domestic destinations.
Getting to and from Dubai International and Dubai World Central
Buses are a low-cost option to and from the airports as well as around the city. At Dubai International, you can buy a Nol card and hop on a bus departing from Terminal 1, 2 or 3. For passengers going to DWC, the airport is linked to the city by bus no. F55 and FF5A which leave every hour.
The Dubai metro system is one of the easiest ways to get around. Trains run every 10 minutes from Terminals 1 and 3 at Dubai International. However, the nearest metro station to DWC is Ibn Battuta Mall and can only be reached by either bus or taxi.
If you need to hire a taxi, there is an official rank outside each terminal at both airports operating 24/7. While it is an efficient way to get around the city, there is an AED25 charge from the airport on top of the AED1.96 per kilometre rate.
Private shuttles and transfer can also be arranged in advance with select hotels and private companies.