In recent years there is a huge growth of Indian tourist visiting overseas for vacation and among all countries UAE is among the top .Due to proximity from India ,easy to get visa and excellent air connectivity UAE is favourite among Indian tourist .I had choose the topic “Dubai tourist Guide” as still for many Indians Dubai is a country ,less people know the name United Arab Emirate.
What i understand that majority of tourist visit UAE through travel agents and among them mostly on group tours .They just visit any travel agents or OTA offering group package and book it, they don’t even bothered to check what all places are include in or not even check the hotels they are offering .
One misconception about Dubai is that it’s very expensive and its easy and economical to do through agents which is wrong .Now a days when tons of information available online and can easily book hotels and flight online ,anyone can plan a Dubai trip by self .It may not be as economical as the group tours but certainly won’t be expensive too and also would be more value for money ,you can choose flight and hotels .You want to stay close to beaches or happening places or near Burj Khalifa but the group tour hotel is situated at Old Bur Dubai .Same is for attractions ,you can visit attractions as per your interest ,suppose you want to visit any amusement park but the group tour didn’t have that in the itinerary or only an hour to visit .
IMHO anyone can visit UAE by self if he do little homework .In this blog I would share some tourist related information for UAE as per my personal experience that may be useful for future tourists .The information shared are as per current COVID 19 situation and update it regularly as per change .I may not be sharing any new information ,all information shared you can find online but here I am trying to share all information relevant to Indian tourist in a single blog.
- When to Visit
- Travel Requirements
- Flight Ticket
- Hotel and Location
- Card or Cash
- After arriving at Dubai airport
- Transport to Hotel
- Transport within the Dubai
- Where to Eat
- Do’s and Dont’s
1>When to visit
In normal words Dubai have only two weather, winter and summer .Now a days I had seen tourist visit Dubai throughout the year still you should decide as per your comfort.
In general November to February is considered best time to visit.
It’s winter season in and temperature is moderate and pleasant, anything between 10 C to 30 C. This is the best time to do outdoor activity .If someone planning to do maximum of sightseeing and outdoor activities then should plan for these months .Dubai Shopping Festival held annually in December-January so good time for shopaholic also.
But as its most perfect time to visit weather wise it’s also the most busy months of the years specially mid December to mid January ,rates of hotels would be on higher side and also will experience crowd at tourist sides.
March April and September October is time for mid season in Dubai. Not exactly winter and not exactly summer. In March temperature start to rise but still little above pleasant with relatively cooler evening .Most of the outdoor activities like Global village and Miracle garden remains operational till April but after mid April it start to get hotter .Hotel rates starts to get down and relatively less crowd.
After the summer temperature starts to goes down from September and in October its more pleasant,also outdoor activities like Global Village and Miracle garden start operating in October. Hotel rates would be still in lower to middle threshold .IMHO March and October are 2 best months for those who wants to explore maximum activity and also wants to keep budget little low.
May to August is summer time in Dubai and also low season .Best time for those who wants to visit in lowest budget possible. Low flight price, hotel rates in lowest also discounts at few attractions like amusement park .Temperature can reach as high as 45 to 50 and on top of it humidity so not an ideal time for outdoor activity specially during day .During day indoor activities should be preferred and outdoor at evening. Dubai have excellent infrastructure and will find air conditioning everywhere, metro to bus to taxi, even most of the bus stops are AC.
When planning to visit any country 1st thing we have to check in Visa requirement.For an Indian to travel to UAE a pre travel visa is needed and its easy to obtain ,no complicated documentation like income proof or income tax return ,just your photo and passport ,no visit to embassy or sending passport. Currently 2 type of tourist visa are available for Indians ,30 days and 90 days .
In normal condition UAE visa is issued within 4-5 days after applying and
It’s an E Visa but can’t get by self. Option you have
If travelling through an UAE airlines (Emirates, Etihad* ,Fly Dubai ,Air Arabia) for return journey from India you can get Visa through them.
*Currently Abu Dhabi is closed for tourist so not possible with them also not to travel with them.
Only UAE based travel agents are authorized to issue visa but most of the Indian travel agents can obtain through them.
2.3>Online Travel Agents
Many online travel agents now a day’s also offers UAE Visa, you may check their reliability and processed through them.
When you receive Visa you are ready to explore the City of Gold, Dubai.
1>Fully vaccinated with any WHO approved vaccine minimum 14 days before travel.
2>Passport with expiry not less than 6 months.
5>COVID19 negative report taken upto 48 hr before departure (RT PCR) in hard copy (English),must be from any ICMR approved lab and should have QR code on the result.*
5>Rapid PCR maximum 6 hr before the departure of flight.
*Do check about latest status before the journey as now a day’s rules can be changed any time. The negative report is required to board the flight, after arriving at Dubai you will need to go through test again (free of cost) and have to wait at your hotel for the result (SMS/Mail) and only after you get the negative result you are free to explore the city. Normally results comes within 8-12 hr so if arriving in evening you will get result before next day morning.
**It was required even before COVID19 also but no one check that time , now its compulsory, may not be even allowed to board without that.
***It was also a requirement before COVID but no one asked for that, even now a days for a genuine tourist they rarely ask but its mainly for job seekers who arrived here on tourist visa ,after the pandemic they are little strict on them ,they don’t want someone arrives under current situation without having any proper accommodation ,still for tourists too it is always advised to book your accommodation in advance.
****Again this is a grey area, didn’t heard about asking of fund from a tourists but after COVID19 it has been asked to the bachelor job seekers, if you are a genuine tourists then you must be travelling with some foreign currency ,that’s ok.
Overall I found Immigration in UAE among my most pleasant experience on immigration and hope you will find that too.
Before COVID19 Flight to UAE had more than any country from India and even now it’s better connected from India than any other country .Before pandemic most of the international airport have at least 1 flight to UAE .There was a flight ban from India from 24th April to 30th August ,now its open for vaccinated tourist Under current situation choose flight to Dubai only. All Indian airline and UAE airlines are flying between, you can choose as per your city of departure. My personal choice is always Emirates or Air India due to better leg space and comfort. Emirates operates only Boeing 777 and from bigger cities Air India operates Boeing 787 dream liner so better and comfort option.Etihad operates mix fleets so depends on route, rest all airlines operates narrow body A 320 or Boeing 737.Try to book ticket a month in advance to get better deals.
5>Hotel and Location
After Visa and Flight booking next important thing is Hotel as it would be your home away from home. There are hundreds of hotels in Dubai of every budget and different location. Due to COVID19 pandemic and huge gap in supply and demand the hotel rates in Dubai are currently among lowest, it’s a win win situation for tourists. Certainly you may find service and other facilities little below as it may be before COVID still its more value for money. especially for Indian tourist who are mostly budget travellers and visit mostly for 4-5 nights and try to do maximum in those days, hotels are mostly for spending nights.
If you do little homework then can easily get good hotel in good location in good price .Now what is good location .As we know good is a subjective word and depends upon multiple factor’s ,so good location also depends upon multiple factor’s. Let’s go through some different locations in Dubai and their pros and cons so that it would be easy for anyone to choose his “Good Location”
Dubai city is very much inhabited parallel to sea coast from north to south, all attractions are scattered throughout the city so there isn’t any one place which is “near to most attractions”, you have to choose the area as per your interest and preference .
5.1>Bur Dubai/Old Dubai
Bur Dubai is oldest part of Dubai and also heart of Dubai, it is like what Chandani Chowk is in Delhi .It has narrow lanes, markets, crowded, souqs, old architectures and buildings, real soul of Dubai.
This area is mostly inhabited by Indians and you won’t feel that you are out of India .If someone priority of choosing area is based on price then certainly this is the best option .Lots of economical option and also many economical authentic Indian* restaurants and street food options .The restaurants are also among the most economical in Dubai .There are many travel agents here from whom you can book dessert safari and other tour. Bur Dubai also have the only Hindu Temple complex and also a Sikh Gurudwara so for few this may also be a reason to stay.
As most of the area Bur Dubai is also near to Metro so even if staying there you won’t get difficulties travelling to most of the area.
If someone wants to stay in a area with Dubai extravagant life style, illuminated skyline or fancy restaurants then this is not his area.
Though Bur Dubai is the between creek and Bank street but I using it in a little broad sense and included newly developed surrounding areas too.
Few hotels of Bur Dubai is famous for some different type of activities so better to avoid then specially when travelling with family.
IMHO avoid hotels situated in core Bur Dubai (Meena Bazar) and stay little away .Check for area like Al Raffa ,Mankool ,Al Hamriya , Al Karama and Al Seef.You will get better hotels in better location.
There are multiple metro stations in this area so wherever you would be staying won’t be too far from metro, hardly 10-15 min walk.
Dubai Museum, Cloth Souk, Al Seef water front, Bastakia Quarters, Dubai Garden Glow
Burjaman ,Shindagha City Centre
Al Gubaiba, Sadaf DG, Burjuman, ADCB
This is also part of Old Dubai but in opposite side of creak and also relatively new, mostly developed in 70s and 80s when Dubai economy started to boom .It has Souks, bigger malls, normal markets, small shops ,government building and also airport, it has mix of everything and still some soul ,it is also mostly inhabited by Indians so won’t find difficulties finding Indian restaurant.
If you wanted to stay in a budget then this is good alternative to Bur Dubai also close to airport. Lots of budget place to stay and different type of restaurants, budget to fine dine.
As Deira is situated in Northern side of Dubai its away from most attraction but metro is there to travel.
Gold Souk, Spice Souk
Diera City Centre,Al Guhrair centre
Deira City Centre,Al Rigga,Gold Souk,Baniyas,Union
Al Barsha is a neighbourhood close to Mall Of Emirates and easily connected with JBR/Marina and Downtown using metro.It has many good budget friendly hotels and also restaurants,shops and supermarkets.
Only con of Al Barsha is that there is nothing to do in the area except visiting Mall of The Emirates.
For someone who doesn’t wants to spend much on hotel and also don’t want any lively area to stay then it’s a good choice
Ski Dubai inside Mall of The Emirates
Mall of the Emirates
Mall of The Emirates,Mashreq
It is one of the newest neighbourhoods in Dubai and developed considering tourist and tourism in mind .Both are close to each other.
JBR is Jumeirah Beach Residency which is the area on the beach side. After that there is Marina developed across the canal having tall skyscrapers, on the ground both area are inter connected so not much difference other than sea view or canal view.
With respect to Bur Dubai/Deira/Al Barsha the hotels are expensive here.Again wrt JBR hotels in Marina are relatively cheaper,a simple formula the more you go away from beach, less you spend.
This area is full with tourist related activities,beach,water sports, cafes, restaurant and bar, evening cruise on canal and even Yatch hire.
If budget is not an issue then this is the area I prefer. This area is very much westernise so won’t get Indian food as easily as in other parts ,also have to pay more.
Also keep in mind that this is situated at southern most side of Dubai so travel to Down Town and Bur Dubai have to take a long metro ride.
JBR Beach, Dubai Marina
Damac Properies, DMCC
The area around Burj Khalifa/Dubai Mall is called Down Town. This is the area where you feel you are in Dubai,it has everything for which Dubai is famous.Burj Khalifa and other tall skyscrapers, luxurious showrooms, fancy boulevards, high end restaurants and clubs,super cars on road, whatever you think of Dubai.
If budget is not an issue and wants to stay close to Burj Khalifa then this is the place, Bur Dubai is also not too far. If wants to visit any beach nearby during your stay then La Mer is only a short taxi ride.
If you go little further both side on Sheikh Zayyed Road from Dubai Mall metro station towards WTC and Business Bay you would find relatively economical option.
.Due to high rental it’s difficult to find budget eateries.
Burj Khalifa, Dubai Mall ,Dubai Aquarium , Dubai Fountain , City Walk
Dubai Mall/Burj Khalifa
Palm Jumeirah is a manmade island in the shape of Palm tree and connected to main Dubai and its one of the most sought after landmark for tourist.
The outer peripheral is having some of the most luxurious hotels having private beaches including the Atlantis Palm situated at last end of Palm, the same hotel which was shown in Bollywood movie “Happy New Year”.
There is no budget hotels in the island and also no stand alone restaurant, only option to have meal is either in house restaurant of the hotel staying or nearby hotel.
Nearest place to have stand alone restaurants are Nakheel Mall and Pointe but a taxi ride.
Atlantis Palm have biggest water park in Dubai and also The Lost Chamber Aquarium .Pointe promenade have world highest dancing fountain. These are two major attractions at palm Jumeirah.
There is no public transport in Palm Jumeirah, no bus, no metro. Nearest Metro station is Dubai Internet City then a taxi ride. There is Palm Jumeirah tram station at starting of the island.
Palm Jumeirah have a mono rail which starts from Palm Jumeirah station and goes up to Atlantis Palm, its not cheap, if you are 2 or more then will cost you more than a taxi ride for the same distance.
Aqua venture water park, The Lost Chamber Aquarium, The Pointe
Dubai Internet City
Ready to Go
Now when visa, Ticket and Hotel accommodation done you are ready to go.
6>Card or Cash
I am not an expert in forex,just sharing some basic. In Dubai card is accepted at most of the places, including taxi and even many of small restaurants and shops. So depending upon your card terms and conditions, charges you can easily use card here. Also wrt many other tourist destination chances of cloning of cards and other scam are very less in Dubai.
Forex cards are another option, you may check few and get as per your requirements.
If going for cash there is always a debate about which currency to take and where to exchange, in India or Dubai.UAE Dirham is the currency in UAE and no other currency is accepted.1st thing should know that officially no one is allowed to take more than 25k INR out of India also rates you will get of INR won’t be good in Dubai. You have mainly 2 options, either take directly UAE Dirham (AED) in India or get US Dollar and then convert it in Dubai to Dirham as per requirement. At any point of time you when going for currency should check rates of dirham and USD locally (certainly rates are very much variable but can give you an idea) and same time check rates of USD to Dirham in UAE (you can check website of UAE based money changers like Al Ansari exchange or Lulu Exchange,this way you can get idea which option would be better.
7>After Arriving at Dubai Airport
Due to covid restrictions at Dubai airport after arrivals passengers need to go some extra process now days. After arrival 1st need to show Covid19 negative test report and verify it, then have to go for another Covid19 test and then to immigration and custom.
The Covid19 test report will be send at mobile number shared, any Indian number can also be given if it working in Dubai and can receive SMS.They will stick a QR code on individual passport and if didn’t get report on SMS by any chance can scan that and get the report
As per rule the passenger needs to be in quarantine at his hotel room until the report comes, No one will stop you going out but passenger have to follow the rules and also its his social responsibility, by any chance any one found breaking the quarantine rules by authority then there is heavy fine.
Immigration at Dubai is one of the coolest I had ever experienced; hardly any question asked if documents are ok.
8>Transport to Hotel
Dubai has good public transport system with bus and metro. Dubai have 2 airports, Dubai International(DXB) and Al Makhdoom International (DWC).As no flight from India operates from Al Makhdoom so discussing only about Dubai International. If arriving during metro operating hours ( 6 AM to 11 AM ) then it would be economical option to use metro to reach your accommodation. All tourist areas are covered by metro, may have to just walk little bit from metro to hotel .Metro is available only from T1 and T3,if arriving at T2 then metro is not a viable option.
To use metro (or Bus) you need to have Nol card which can be bought at Metro station (and some major bus station/Stop).Nol silver card cost AED 25 with AED 19 balance and 6 AED card charge (NR).Single journey card also available but would cost little more, if going to use metro/bus frequently then better to get a silver card. Ride cost is minimum AED 3 and maximum 7 AED. Just as Delhi metro one coach (at the end) is reserved for ladies. There is another Nol card which is Gold card, which cost little above double of silver card but there is exclusive coach for gold card holders, less crowded so if under current circumstances someone wants to travel in public transport but in less crowded then it’s an option.
Taxi are the easiest and hassle free mode to reach your accommodation from airport. All taxi in Dubai are metered, just follow the sign for taxi and you will reach the taxi rank and get one, most taxi drivers speaks English and as majority of drivers are from Pakistan, India and Bangladesh so understand Hindi too.
You will see two types of taxi,1st 2 or 3 lines would be cream coloured innova and the Black ones, you have to take those Innovate black one are luxury taxis and would be around 3 times expensive than the normal one. Randomly the men managing the taxi rank will guide you towards black one but just avoid it and take cream one unless you are interested to start your Dubai tour in Dubai style.
All taxi from airports are dedicated airport taxi and there is 25 AED starting charge (which is not applicable on city taxi) but there is no way to get the city taxi from Terminal 1 and 3,from Terminal 2 you may walk to main road bus stop outside the terminal and get one.
Hotel Pick up
Hotels also provide pick up from airport but certainly at premium price, in a city like Dubai i don’t find any reason to use that when at airport taxi are easily available.
9>Transport within Dubai
Dubai have good network or Metro and Bus and also taxi so depending upon your comfort zone and where to go you can choose your transport accordingly .For long distance travel Metro is best and for last mile connectivity can use taxi (if needed).Minimum fare for metro is 3 AED and maximum 7 AED and same for bus, Nol card need to have at least 7 AED to be used in public transport. There is no ticket collector on bus, its passengers obligation to tap the card when boarding and de boarding, there are regular check by RTA authorities so always keep in mind to tap the card otherwise have to pay a fine.
City taxi are cream coloured one and you will find them everywhere ,they run on metre ,flag down rate is 12 AED and after 1st 2 Km its approx 3 AED per Km.Currently due to covid 19 regulation only 2 passengers (and a kid up to 13 yr) are allowed in a taxi. Airport taxi can have four passengers. There are hardly any scam with tourist by taxi drivers, at least i didn’t heard any till now, in case you feel so or have any problem there are helpline number of RTA (and Police) displayed in every taxi and they are very fast to respond.
Uber also runs in Dubai but they cost more than city taxi.
If you in a big group then can engage any bigger van through local travel agents for sightseeing.
There is also a tram system in Dubai but its network is very small. Only around Dubai marina. Tram is connected with Dubai metro at Damac Properties and DMCC.The tram is relatively expensive than Bus and Metro, minimum fare 5 AED and practically not much of use, can use one time for experience, nothing more. If going JBR/Walk then can use to reach from metro station.
There is also a Palm Jumeirah monorail which runs between starting of Palm Jumeirah on land side and Atlantis palm hotel at extreme end of palm jumeirah,2 station between. This is a privately owned system so Nol card is not used in it. Need to buy ticket at station. Just as tram this is also not practically usefull.One can take taxi and reach faster than this without hassle and also if 2 or more person travelling then taxi would be cheaper too ( currently only 2 pax on a taxi otherwise when 3 or 4 were allowed taxi was way cheaper) .But for a tourist point of view a ride is worth, get good view of Atlantis Palm hotel .
10>Where to Eat
Dubai has one of the highest restaurant density in world so you will find eateries everywhere and as any place in the world price varies as per the standard of restaurant and also the location. Indian (and Pakistani) restaurants are everywhere, you will find them on streets, malls, even many of the high end hotels have in house, rates will vary as per location. In Simpler form the far you go from Bur Dubai more you will pay for Indian food. When in Dubai do try Middle Eastern food specially Lebanese.Shwarma and Falafel are available everywhere, at every street and are cheap too. Good way to keep your budget down for food. You will also find fast food chains like MacD,Burger King, Dominos everywhere but in Dubai my preference would be always Sawarma and Falafel from local shops.
If you are a foodie and budget is not an issue then you have hundreds of options to try of different world cuisine. One cuisine which I recommend you should certainly try is Turkish. Dubai has some extremely good Turkish restaurants.
One way to keep food budget low is Super Market. You can buy fruits,, breads,sandwich,bakery items, bottled juice from super market which are reasonably priced. Many super markets have own bakery and you will get fresh supplies from there. Some bigger super (Hyper) markets like Carrefour and Lulu sells cooked food too, you can buy there also and have at your hotel room.
If you love tea then again Dubai is not going to disappoint you. Here tea is called Kadak and is a part of Emirati culture, which is a thick creamy tea, very similar to our Chai and available everywhere. You can get Kadak even at 1 Aed on roadsides small shops.
List of attractions and other information are widely available online and also many of the attractions have their own website, just sharing some of my favourite place .
Certainly no 1 attraction of Dubai, in every tourist itinerary. Do keep in mind that the entrance of observation desk is from Dubai mall. Also from Burj Khalifa/Dubai Mall metro station the entry gate of observation deck is easily 20/25 min walk so plan accordingly. Do book tickets in advance, before booking do check rates at different booking site like Klook,you may get better deals than the official site. Also on official site and also on third party site you would also get combo ticket with other attractions like Dubai aquarium, you can check them also.
Dubai mall, world largest mall (in total land area) is itself an attraction. Other than Burj Khalifa observation deck, other attractions are Dubai Aquarium, Dubai Fountain show and Water fall. Dubai fountain show happens every half hour from 6 pm to mid night, must see things. If budget permits then dinner at any fountain view restaurant is recommended.
Dubai Mall/Burj Khalifa metro station is easily 15 min walk through an AC pathway (with travelator ,there are few buses which drop more close to Dubai mall so you may check about those ,depending upon location you are starting you may get.
If visiting Dubai between October to April then it’s a must visit place. It’s an explosion of colours in the middle of desert. I don’t think there is any garden in India which can compete with Miracle garden, it’s really a miracle. It remains open from 9 to 9 so can be visited anytime as per comfort but IMHO it’s better to visit in evening so that get glimpse of garden during sun and also after sunset when lights are on, both have different vibes, anyone can easily spend 3-4 hr here, lots of instaworthy photo opportunity .
Its away from any metro station, nearest is Mall of The Emirates, then either a short taxi ride or a bus ride. Bus no 105 runs between MoE metro and Miracle garden.
If visiting Dubai between October to April then this is also a place where you should visit. It combines the culture of more than 80 countries, you can get a glimpse of food and culture of different countries in a single place also souvenirs, handicraft, spices, honey, food stuff, clothing and numerous items from different countries. Ticket price just 15 AED it’s totally worth. Anyone can easily spend an entire evening there. It opens at 4 pm so you can club it with other attractions and visit in evening.
It is situated outside of city and no metro nearby. Either take taxi or bus, regular buses operates from different parts of Dubai like Al Gubaiba,Al Rigga and Mall of Emirates ,choose as per your location.Weekend is mostly crowded so try visit during weekdays. Monday is family days so only ladies and families allowed.
I know beaches are not so important place to visit for Indian tourist but if someone is interested then Dubai have some beautiful beaches. Every beach have their own USP.1st beach which i suggest is Jumeirah Public beach. This beach should be visited for a best view and photo op with iconic Burj Al Arab hotel.
Another beach which I can suggest is La Mer,very close to Bur Dubai and Down town,it has some of the best beach side restaurants, visiting the beach and having meal at any of the beach side restaurant is worth.
its a complete Ski resort situated inside Mall of Emirates, in first sight its unimaginable that we are in a ski slope in the middle of desert .It’s not only for professional but have something for everyone, snow park to play with snow, snow rides, zipline and also Penguin show. For me it should be in bucket list of every tourist visiting Dubai.
For fans of amusement park Dubai have some good options to offer.1st we have to keep in mind that due to harsh weather of Dubai all amusement parks are either complete indoor or have majority of indoor rides but it doesn’t lowers the fun level. Without any doubt the best among all parks in UAE IS in Abu Dhabi, Ferrari World but Dubai too have some good options.
For an Indian or any Bollywood fan no other place than Bollywood Park, it’s the only Bollywood themed park in the world. In the same campus another park worth checking is Motiongate.There is also Lego land in the same campus for the Lego kids. Nearest metro to these parks are UAE exchange then around 20 km taxi ride, other option is bus from IBN Battuta railway station.
If someone is fan of big high speed rollercoaster then IMG world should be preferred over the above, its considered as world’s largest indoor theme park but it has longest and fastest rollercoaster in Dubai .This place is away from metro station and also no bus goes there so only option is to reach by taxi or park shuttle bus which pick passengers from few hotels and malls.
Due to hot weather enjoying in water parks is favourite activity of locals and have some excellent water parks. If someone having spare time then visit to any one is suggested, Atlantis Aquaventure and Wildwadi are my two favourite .Aquaventure is situated at palm island ,just behind Atlantis palm hotel, its little bigger and better than the others but same time little expensive than the other.In any case I don’t think any water park in India is as bis as these two so if budget and time is not an issue then visit to any one is suggested.
Situated in Al Krama area ,this frame like structure is situated exactly between Old and New Dubai and frames old and new Dubai together .From observation deck (approx 75 floor height) we can see old Dubai one side and New Dubai another. It also has an exhibition showing life about Dubai in older days also an exhibition what may be Dubai in future. Views are not so great and ticket priced at 50 AED IMHO it can be skipped if someone is short on time.
There are 2 aquariums in Dubai, Dubai Aquarium and Under Water Zoo at Dubai mall and The Lost Chamber Aquarium at Atlantis Palm. Both are big and good, majority of tourist visit Dubai aquarium but I would suggest visiting the lost chamber, seeing Dubai aquarium from outside during visit to Dubai mall, which is having the world largest acrylic glass. Later someday visit Palm Island taking mono rail, visit The Lost Chamber and Atlantis palm, have some photo outside Atlantis on crescent road then take taxi back.
No public transport goes to Atlantic, may take mono rail one side and return by taxi or taxi both side.
In Middle East Souk means market or Bazar.Earlier when there were no mall and shopping complex souks were the main hub of shopping for Emiratis. Even today Souks are the soul of Emirati culture, if really wants to experience something local then Souks are must visit. All souks are situated in Old Dubai (Bur Dubai and Deira).Best way to enjoy all souks is to do together. May start from Meena Bazar,first visit Dubai musem,its entry ticket is just 5 AED and worth visiting, an introduction of Emirati culture and history, then walk to Cloth Souk ,exit cloth souk from creek side then take Abra to Old Souk on other side of creek. Abra ride is itself an experience, its a small boat with capacity of 20 person and was once the only way to cross the creek when no bridge/tunnel was there between two side. It’s also cheapest mode of transportation ,just 1 AED to cross, you will disembark near Old/Spice souk, cross the road and 1st explore spice souk and then the most famous souk ,the Gold Souk after that you may take taxi or metro to next destination or back by Abra.
Certainly after Burj Khalifa this is the 2nd thing which comes in mind when someone is planning to visit Dubai. Its a half day activity which starts around 2-3 pm pick up from hotel, drive to desert then dune bashing after that you are dropped at Desert camp, can have ATV ride, camel ride and other activities (pay extra) ,then a short show of Belly Dance,Tambura Dance and Fire Dance then Buffett dinner and you will return back around 10 pm from desert camp.
There are numerous travel agents who arrange these safari, rates varies as per transport option chosen and also standard of desert camp,these safari are available as cheap as 65 aed per person and even those are not bad, so choose as per your comfort level and budget.
Dubai is also famous for adventure activities, lots of different type of activities are available ,some more famous and worth recommending are
Not for the fainted heart and also not a cheap activity,SkyDive Dubai price starts from above 1k AED but is an experience which is not going out of memory soon, jumping from an aircraft with a parachute above Dubai is an adventure of next level. If someone is adventure seeker and budget is not an issue then no second thought, just go for it.
Wind Tunnel Diving
By any reason not going for Sky Diving then Ifly is a cheap alternative for this, not close to actual sky dive experience but at least can feel the experience, also not heavy on pocket.
Maintaining Dubai culture of superlative, Xline at Dubai marina have world longest urban zipline.It is one of the fastest and steepest zipline around the world with 1km of length and up to 170 m in height. Must to do adventure seekers. .
Currently Abu Dhabi is closed for tourism but later when it is open worth a visit. Abu Dhabi is situated around 150 km from Dubai and can easily be reached in 2 hr.Though its recommended to stay one night at Abu Dhabi but as most Indian tourist visit for a short 4-5 day trip so can go for a day trip from Dubai, all the major attractions can be covered. Sheikh Zayyed grand mosque is something which is not to be missed, also can visit Qasr Al Watan (Royal Ceremonial Palace) should be in the list. There is also Louvre Museum so if someone is interested in art, culture and history then it is a must visit. It was established in Abu Dhabi with collaboration of Louvre Paris. For adventure and amusement park lovers Ferrari world is there at Yas Island and also Warner brother world. Yas island is a entertainment district with many things to see and do, including UAE Formula one circuit, if ready to spend money then can drive race cars also on the track.
If amusement parks are not in the list then 1 day is good for Abu Dhabi but if visiting Ferrari world then it would be hectic. Ferrari world can itself take half day and more and that too when you reach early at opening time, expect queue at the rides.
There are tours available from Dubai for Abu Dhabi but what i feel that they don’t give much time for Ferrari world so if wants to enjoy every ride of Ferrari world and justify the entry fee paid then have to skip group tours. Planning can be done as per group size and also which places wants to visit.
Regarding transport option would update when Abu Dhabi is open for tourism again.
Sharjah is closest neighbouring Emirates and city and easily accessible by taxi or bus (though there are traffic issue during morning and evening peak hours but can be avoided ).Earlier Sharjah was household name when it was organising international cricket tournament ,still now cricket fans have a memory of matches held there during 80s and 90s.
If someone is searching for cultural and history, Sharjah is for them,wrt Dubai and Abu Dhabi Sharjah gives more authentic experience of Arab culture. Heart of Sharjah is the area developed to show culture and history of UAE,Fort al Hisn and Heritage museum is small but worth visit, another place is Museum of Islamic Civilization, all these places are close to each other, walking also very nominal priced ticket. Sharjah aquarium and Maritime museum is also worth checking, not as fancy as the ones at Dubai but worth for the ticket price .
Ras Al Khaimah
Relatively less famous Emirates of UAE , Jabel Jais mountains of R.A.K is having world longest Zip line, adventure enthusiast can check that, also R.A.K. have some beautiful beaches and also less touristy than Dubai.
Due to strict rules and its implementation on the ground Dubai is very much scam free tourist destination but as at any place one should remain vigilant always.
12.1>Herbal medicine scam
This is one act from which is a type of scam and Indian tourist should be beware of.This happens mostly in Bur Dubai, specially around Meena Bazaar and near Al Fahidi metro station, their main target is Indian tourists.
What happens in this scam that you are walking and someone passes you telling something ,either pointing towards your hair or belly. Its obvious that when someone didn’t understand or heard what they told so tourist stops snd ask him again. The scammer would present them self as a normal person and suggesting you some herbal medicine for hair fall or belly fat only as a goodwill gesture, they also tell few names of herbal but so fast that you won’t be able to understand, they may also show their photo how they were earlier and after getting this how it changed. When you ask from where I can get this medicine you will be taken to any fix supermarket and you are going to be billed for few hundreds of Dirhan.Its a scam,just stay away from them,simply say no .
12.2>Cheap I Phone Scam
This is another scam which happens mostly in Bur Dubai. Someone approach you and show a box of new I Phone and quote a price too lower than market price, these are scammers and you are not going to get I Phone even after paying the price. Initially they show you a genuine I Phone but after you pay they just change that, that time they create such a chaotic scene that police may arrive, may get caught and when you reach at your hotel come to know that you are scammed.
This is actually not a scam but a type of rip off, tourist should aware of that so that they didn’t have to pay more when not intended to do show.
The official RTA taxi are cream coloured which is economical to use and available most of the places. There is another type of taxi which are called Limo taxi, they are luxury cars mostly Lexus in black or white. They are also authorised but cost too higher than cream one, if someone wants luxury vehicle and budget is not an issue then can go for it otherwise stick to cream one.
Every Malls and attractions have taxi rank where both type of taxi would be parked in separate queue. The cream taxi drivers would be in their cab, just have to reach the boarding point and board the 1st taxi but the limo drivers are out asking passengers whether they need taxi, here those who don’t have idea use them and in the end pay more.
13>Do’s and Dont’s
Like any country U.A.E. has its own cultural and religious value and rules and as a visitors its individual responsibility to follow those just as we expect from any foreigners visiting our country. Without any doubt U.A.E. specially Dubai is very liberal when tourism activity and tourists are concerned but it doesn’t means that any tourists are free to do anything, enjoy your vacation but same time respect local culture and rules.
Dubai (and UAE) is very much a crime free place because of strict implementation of rules and it is applicable to tourist also, avoid breaking any rules even a smaller one like crossing roads from undesignated places and your vacation would be amazing.
13.1>Covid19 Safety Rule
Under current situation of Pandemic these are most important to follow and government is too serious for them, there is heavy fine for someone get caught violating. The 2 rules which is important for tourist to follow are of quarantine after arrivals and face mask. After arriving at Dubai airport everyone have to go Covid19 test and till the result arrives need to be at quarantine at the accommodation booked, results generally arrives in 8 to 24 hr,in any case someone get caught violating the rule will have to pay heavy fine, and there are random checks so avoid violating this. Mask are compulsory almost everywhere outside you accommodation, if get caught there is fine of 3000 AED.
When in Rome do like romans,when in UAE do respect Emirati culture and dressing etiquettes, try to dress modestly in public places just like you wear in India,infact there is very much similarities in Indian and Emirati culture, in India also we try to dress modestly and here its same.
If you use medicine then tryr to have a doctor prescription with yourself, U.A.E. have very strict laws for drugs and medicine so better to have prescription with yourself to avoid any unwanted hassle at airport.
Just as any part of the world ranting, shouting and arguing is not appreciated in U.A.E. and also considered offensive but in U.A.E. you can also be fined for that, so beware. First there are very rare chances that you would be in quarrel with someone but unfortunately if situation arises try to call police then arguing, here police response is very fast and appropriate.
13.5> No PDA(Public Display of Affection)
This should be avoided at any public place otherwise may have to face some serious consequences. It doesn’t mean that you can’t hold your partner or occasionally hug but anything further like kissing shouldn’t be at any case, respect the local culture and enjoy your vacation.
Alcohol is somehow easily available in Dubai but it doesn’t means you are free to drink anywhere. If buying from authorised shop then takes it to hotel room and have, don’t drink at any public place, it’s a serious offence and have to face fine and also legal case if get caught. Also even when drinking at any Bar/Pub avoid creating any scene after drinking, creating public nuisance under influence of alcohol is also a serious offence.
Try to avoid having any local directly in your frame when taking photo. it is considered as rude and disrespectful. Also just as India its prohibited to take photo of Government buildings, Police and Military establishment or Royal places, you would see sign of no photography and follow that.
Just as drivers driving any vehicle pedestrian also need to follow some rules. First and most important is to cross any road only from designated place (Zebra crossing),if its single on 2 lane road then may cross but only when there is no vehicle coming (still better to use zebra crossing) but at any road of 4 or more lane strictly use designated area, there is heavy fine for that and also risk of life. Another one is to follow signal at pedestrian crossings, many time there is situation that the traffic light for pedestrian is red but there is no vehicle seen approaching, in that case many people cross the road, this should be avoided, and there are inspectors to check these offenders. Follow rules and enjoy your vacation.
All views and opinions shared in this blog are as per my personal experience,can easily varies from person to person.Do check from various source before deciding any plan.
Do check different U.A.E. Government website/FB page/Twitter Account to get latest updated and detail information about any official rules/law.
I tried to cover all topics which a tourist need to know, will regularly update this blog as per latest update/changes and also add new information as per feedback .Till then bye and thanks for reading.