The city of Dubai has started as a desert and became the shopping center of the Middle East in less than 50 years. At the moment, Dubai is still under construction so the street scene changes every 6 months. There is a lot going on because of the Expo 2020 that will take place in Dubai. They are building new skyscrapers, metro lines and shopping malls every day.
Before you go to the city of skyscrapers, here is a short overview with some useful information about Dubai!
Where to stay?
The Creek, which is a narrow bay of the Persian Gulf, divides Dubai into two sections Deira and Bur Dubai. Bur Dubai can be seen as the historical part. Here you will find places like Old Souk with the gold and spices souk, the Bastakia Quarter and Al Fahidi historical neighbouhood.
More south of the creek are all the well known tourist attractions like the Burj Khalifa, Dubai Mall, Miracle Garden, Burj Al Arab, Dubai Marina with the JBR walk, Mall of the Emirates, The Palm, …
What area to stay in Dubai?
If you want to stay in a place with lots of activities and places to eat, I would recommend staying at Dubai Marina (zone 2). This is a bustling, energetic and beautiful place at the marina. It’s a really nice place, especially in the evening, to have dinner or go for a walk. Another option is the area at the Dubai Mall and the Burj Khalifa (zone 6), which is right in the center. So you already have 2 highlights of the city within walking distance. In the evening, you can enjoy the largest and most expensive fountain show which takes place every day and is next to the Burj Khalifa!
We stayed nearby the Burjaman metro station (zone 6), which was on the intersection with the green metro line. This is closer to the historical part and a bit further from the main tourist attractions. It was 20 minutes away from the metro stop of Burj Khalifa. The big disadvantage here is that there is not much to do in the neighborhood. If we would go again to Dubai, we would chose a hotel close to Dubai Marina or Burj Khalifa!
Getting around Dubai
- Taxi : taxis are generally not that expensive in Dubai. You can recognize them by their cream color and colored roof. In many taxis you can pay with card (Visa/MasterCard). Keep in mind that the prices of the taxis at the hotels can be slightly higher. The standard starting rate is 6 AED (1.32 euro) and 1.60 AED per kilometer (0.35 euro). These are the official rates, but our experience shows that your ride is always slightly more expensive. To give an example: we paid 9.84 euros for a 12 km ride.
- Metro : There are 2 active metro lines, the red- and green line. The red line is the main line, which stops at almost all tourist attractions. From Rashidaya to UAE Exchange. A day pass for metro and bus costs about 5 euros. There are not many options in terms of metro lines if you want to go to the coast or inland. Only at the Dubai Marina you can take the tram towards the beach and the JBR walk.
Generally, you can pay almost everywhere with MasterCard or Visa!
Understanding rules in Dubai, what not to do as a tourist
There is always a lot to do about what you should not do as a tourist. Everyone knows the stories of Western tourists getting in jail because of public drunkenness. Dubai consists 80% of expats, whether business people or immigrants from Europe, Africa, Asia and America. The original population, Emerati, are only 20% of the population and are mainly Islamic.
What to wear?
If you walk in the streets of Dubai, you will mostly see men and tourists. You’ll see Islamic covered women, but not everywhere. Out of respect, I have left mini shorts and skirts in Belgium. There are tourists that wear skirts and shorts, especially in the tourist areas, but then you will have the attention of men passing by. I thought this is unnecessary and would rather avoid this. Do not get me wrong, you do not have to walk around completely covered. My outfits consisted mainly of tops or t-shirts but not with a deep décoltee or naked belly.
How to behave in public?
As a couple
As a couple you can walk hand in hand at tourist locations or in the shopping malls. You can show a little affection by giving a hug, but we avoid public kissing.
We are no drinkers at all, so we have no experience with this. Now it seems logical to me that public drunkeness is not accepted.
Difference between mens and women
There is still a difference between men and women. First of all, you see mostly men in the street scene. Furthermore, men and women (and children) are separated in the first part of the metro. We were not aware of this, so we both were in the 1st ‘women’s car’. Yannick got some angry looks.
In this blog you will find everything about the highlights of Dubai!