Dubai is one of the most visited destinations in the world and has a number of record holders, from the tallest tower in the world to the busiest international airport on the planet. However, despite the city’s great prizes, there are still many misconceptions about the attractive Gulf Emirate.
Here are 10 things you should know before you arrive Dubai
1. There is a culture in Dubai
The impression that Dubai has nothing more than shopping and skyscrapers is false. Look beyond the tone, and you will discover a rich cultural heritage that mixes Bedouin, Arab and Islamic traditions.
For a quick lesson in history, visit the Etihad Museum and Dubai Museum, then they head to the Sheikh Mohammed Center for Cultural Understanding to attend an unanswered question-and-answer session on Emirati culture.
Meanwhile, explore the thriving contemporary art scene on Alserkal Street and watch a ship-shaped show.
2. Weekends are Friday and Saturday
Most people have a Friday off work, when Muslims gather to pray in congregation. Dubai Metro services start from 10 am on Friday, and companies are traditionally closed for a few hours in the afternoon, although many of them are still open all day. If you’re looking to party, the busiest nights of the week are Thursday and Friday, while malls are full of shoppers until midnight.
3. The moon rises over a dark square in Dubai, United Arab Emirates
You are safe to do some shopping at night in Dubai. In fact Dubai may be safer than your city. Despite the turmoil in the region, the UAE is the world’s second most secure country, according to the World Economic Forum. Dubai is very safe compared to other big cities around the world, and street crime is rare. It’s safe to take a taxi at night, and getting around alone is good in most areas. The biggest risk is reckless driving and crossing the street, as many motorists ignore pedestrian crossings.
4. You are to visit between October and April
Dubai has only two seasons – hotter and hotter. The months between October and April, known as the winter season, bring a blue sky and perfect beach weather to the city. It’s also the rainy season, but long rain periods usually don’t last, so don’t let this factor affect your travel dates.
5. You are to show respect during Ramadan
If you visit during the holy month of Ramadan, you celebrate during the ninth month of the 12-month Islamic calendar. Respect Muslims and practice fasting. This means that you cannot eat, drink or smoke in front of the audience between sunrise and sunset.
6. You are to dress modestly
While you’re packing your vacation wardrobe, think about conservatives well. Women’s clothing is considered inappropriate if it is too short, tight, or transparent, while men should never wander without a shirt. Wear modest clothing to avoid unwanted attention and respect for Islamic culture.
7. Ask for permission before taking photos
You are to ask permission before taking pictures. Never take a photo of or with a stranger without their permission, unless you take a great shot in a major tourist area. But do not take a picture of a Muslim woman without her permission, and do not take pictures of any government buildings, airports, military installations, etc.
8. You are not to give the taxi driver an address
Taxis are great for getting around the city. There are a lot of them and they’re fairly cheap transportation. However, do not assume your taxi driver knows every street and restaurant in Dubai. They don’t always know the city as you think it should be, so make sure that you end up where you want to be, and give them references to the big city landmarks, as they should know it.
9. You are to be careful where you consume alcohol
Alcohol is legal in Dubai. However, you cannot drink alcoholic beverages in public places as alcoholic beverages, drinking and driving are prohibited. Also, you cannot purchase alcohol for your own use without permission, and you must buy it from an institution that has a license. Buying drinks in the bar or restaurant is not a problem, so don’t try to leave drunk.
10. You are to stay out of the PDA
The general offers of affection are very offensive in the United Arab Emirates. Many visitors to Dubai have been arrested and imprisoned for doing so. To be on the safe side, refrain from holding hands or kissing your lovely ones while in public.
Even with some strict laws in mind, you should not hesitate to visit Dubai if you get the chance. It is a unique destination, and a destination worth seeing by yourself, with your important destination or your entire family.