Things to know about Dubai for first-time travelers

It’s no surprise that with glitz, charm and a whole lot of luxury, Dubai never fails to mesmerize visitors. However, there are certainly few things to know about Dubai if it’s your first time to this dream destination.

Dubai is truly a super exciting city housing unique architectures, exciting places to visit and numerous beaches, shopping as well as the finest hotels to stay.

Though, to make a trip memorable one, you require to learn about the place you’re traveling to. So, before booking tickets for Dubai, make sure you don’t miss out on some essential Dubai travel tips.

For anyone who is planning a trip and anxious, Freaky Thoughts has listed the useful things to know about Dubai to avoid any faux-pas and get most out of your holidays:

Best time to visit

The best time you can choose to visit Dubai is between November to March. These are the winter months and the weather remains reasonably comfortable for all-day sightseeing.

However, during summer, the city gets horribly hot and temperature might go to unbearable 50°C, making it impossible for you even step out of the room.

Though, the peak season is mostly from December to February as people come here to join New Year Celebrations and several shopping or food festivals.

So, to escape the crowd and enjoy Dubai delights, make sure you check the dates and weather to enjoy the fullest.

Documents and currency

Dubai currency
Credit: tripsavvy

Well, this is the most important thing when traveling to other countries. To get the visa for Dubai, it’s better you check with local embassies or travel agents.

Although receiving a Dubai visa is stress-free, especially for Indians, and takes about a week, it’s advisable to start the process at least a month ago to block last-minute panic.

Also, bring your travel insurance and other important documents such as an international driving license in case you think to rent a car.

The currency in Dubai is AED (Arab Emirate Dirham), normally called “Dirhams”. For comfort, you can take a few dirhams with you for airport transport and expenses.

Later on, better you exchange money at the Dubai Airport or preferably the malls which sometimes have better rates. Don’t forget to carry your international credit/debit cards too.

You can visit this website for an online application.

Dress modestly

Dress modestly

Remember, no matter how modern or progressive Dubai is, it’s an Islamic country and you should respect their culture and values.

Of course, you can wear jeans, shirts, dresses, anything you would like to, but a little modesty is still expected, especially in public places.

Unlike other Muslim countries, UAE is not that much conservative but, It’s still a good manner to cover your knees and shoulders to honor the local’s sentiments.

Too much revealing or tight clothes in public places such as mosques, malls or cafes are generally disliked.

Sure, shorts and sleeveless clothes are acceptable at dunes as well as some of the tourist attractions while swimwear you can fit in around beaches and hotel pools.

Though, it’s never hurtful to be cautious about your dressing.

Social etiquettes

Social etiquettes

One of the most vital things to know about Dubai is, be aware of their local insensitivities and you’re good to go.

You must take off your shoes before entering a mosque or house. Also, during Ramadan, be respectful to their rules. It’s considered rude to eat, drink or smoke publically during this holy month.

Moreover, know that the city strictly follows Sharia Law. So, any public displays of affection like holding hands or kissing in public are addressed offensive and may put you in trouble.

If you’re unmarried and traveling together, booking separate accommodations is acceptable. Women should wait until a hand is offered to you for a handshake.

Furthermore, never take a picture of Muslim women without permission and also not the photos of government buildings, airports, docks or military or industrial installations.

After all, it’s not a bad idea to err on the side of caution.

Food & Nightlife

Dubai food & nightlife

Dubai has everything vibrant and lively with great choices of food, bars & clubs that you never lack taste and enjoyment.

From expensive fancy restaurants to money-saver street delights, you’ll find endless choices for traditional and international dishes to tantalize your taste buds. Don’t worry about hygiene as its clean and healthy.

Besides this, the minimum age to buy alcohol is 21 and a license is required to buy and even sell alcohol. Some bars and clubs also refuse entry if you aren’t 25 years. Mostly all the nightclubs close at 3 AM.

Also, you cannot drink and drive in public or leave being overdrunk. While, drugs are strictly prohibited here, except if you’re taking prescribed medicines with you.

Offering a tip isn’t really expected here, though, it’s appreciated a little tipping for the people served you in any manner. Trust me, it will give them a big smile.

Getting around and local transport

Dubai local transport

Just like any other city, Dubai has plenty of transportation options available. There is a number of taxis, metros and buses for you to get around the city.

Metros are very clean, cheaper and easier way to beat the traffic of the city and reach your destination. However, on weekend days it gets crowded.

Public buses are a little bit pricier than metros but have better connectivity to some landmarks. And, if you really want a comfortable ride, taxies are there for you.

However, check if the meter is there in a taxi and ask about the fare. With this, bear in mind not all drivers know every corner of the city. So, you must carry a city map and the address of your destination.

Taking a car on rent would require you to have an international driving license and need to drive in their speed limits.


Dubai accommodations

Accommodations are highly pricey so be sure to read and research for your stay and plan and book your hotel in advance. Because the rates become higher during peak seasons.

This enormous city surely has hotels in Dubai for every traveler. If you’re on a budget, there are a bunch of stylish yet affordable hotels in Dubai.

For those looking for a lovely serene and private escape can take their feet to the most excellent Dubai resorts. Want to feel the touch of luxury, head to the finest top luxury hotels of Dubai.

Not only these accommodations offer the best comfort of your life, but they also allow you to stay based on your interest to reach top attractions, superb shopping, dining and enjoyments experiences.

Places to visit in Dubai

Places to visit in dubai

Feel the calming breeze of beaches, visit rich history and culture, admire the architectural wonders and stand in the tallest building of world – Burj Khalifa.

Whether you’re with family, friends or solo, the modern city promises to take care of your enjoyment by giving fabulous places to visit in Dubai.

Head to the inside skiing facility of Mall of the Emirates or be a witness of the ancient history and heritage at the Dubai Museum.

There’s also the largest aquarium placed in Dubai Mall which is also a never-ending shopping hub for shopaholics.

Palm Jumeirah, Dubai Marina Desert Safari, Dubai Creek and Gold and Spice Souks are some of the sites you simply can’t miss.

Weekend starts on Fridays

Knowing when weekends start is among the super needy things to know about Dubai to enjoy its liveliness.

While the rest of the countries’ weekend takes place from Friday night, Dubai has its weekends on Friday and Saturday.

People in UAE go out on Thursday nights while Sunday is actually a working day for them. On weekends, malls and eateries remain open till late at night and you can see the lively nightlife during this time.

So if you have any plan to go out for sparkling life, choose to go on these weekend days.

Safety & Security

Dubai police

You can roam around Dubai being relaxed of safety as the crime rates are almost non-existence here. Therefore, you can enjoy the sights without worrying.

For basic precautions, leave your original documents into the hotel’s locker itself and carry photocopies of it with you everywhere.

Also, it is a very safe destination for solo plus women travelers. They are given permission to drive, work and lead a liberal lifestyle.

Additionally, women are given priority and attended first at banks, post offices and police stations, while there is a separate queue at government offices.

Furthermore, you’ll notice a few restrictions on the items to bring and take out of the country. Though, Dubai is liberal on a few duty-free allowances.

Some of the Dubai Police Hotline numbers are, Ambulance−998, Fire−997, Police− 999. These are emergency numbers. For any non-emergency queries, you can call on toll-free number 901.

And, some common phrases

As you’re in Dubai, why not to learn some common phrases of Dubai to wander just like a local? Here it goes:

  • Hello: Marhaba
  • Good Morning: Sabah el khair
  • Excuse Me: MaAzera
  • Sorry: Asef
  • Please: Min Fadlak
  • Thank You: Shukran
  • Yes/No: na’am / la
  • How Much: kam althaman

Now that you have some basic idea of Dubai, no one can stop you to make the most out of your vacation.

I hope you find this list of things to know about Dubai helpful, especially if you’re flying to Dubai for the first time. Good luck with your outing!