Dubai in the United Arab Emirates, is to the Middle East region what London is to Europe, a capitalist economy with so much activity. Most visitors to the Gulf region stop by for at least two days to browse the shops, eat in the restaurants and soak up the atmosphere of a city oozing wealth and a general air of self-satisfied confidence.
Dubai is split into two by a long creek, and a water taxi is an ideal starting point for orientation purposes and an opportunity to admire the modern architecture of Dubai, the hallmark of a successful Arab state. There isn’t much here that isn’t new. Even the traditional souks that attract thousands of visitors each day are packed with up to the minute gadgets and the latest designer wear from the streets of Paris, London or Milan.
Table of Contents
Transportation in Dubai
As well as Dubai International Airport, there are other methods of transportation into Dubai. The road network in Dubai is inconsistent but is reasonable to drive into the Dubai city center. A rail system is also available.
Getting Around in Dubai
For getting around in Dubai there is a fairly a good bus service, as well as mini vans and taxis. Most people who are staying for some time make sure they have access to a vehicle, as there isn’t a reliable public transport system beyond Dubai. Car hire is not too expensive, the roads are in good condition but the rules of the road are not always carefuly observed. Be very careful until you are used to it and be aware that roundabouts are particularly hazardous, as are wandering camels.
When to Visit Dubai
Dubai’s Muslim festivals, held annually on varying dates and include the holy month of Ramadan, which is a four weeks long religious fast and that always ends in the festival of Eid al-Fitr. The Islamic New Year and the Prophet’s Birthday are the two main celebrations, celebrated in Dubai and all other emirates of the U.A.E.
Dining in Dubai
Dubai cuisine consists of the staples ‘fuul’ made from fava beans flavored with lemon juice, garlic and spices, ‘felaffel’ which is fried chick pea paste and lamb or chicken served in pita bread and sold as ‘shwarma’. Houmos is a widely available local specialty in Dubai and tastes delightfully different from the westernized mayonnaise emulsion version.
Of course it is very easy to find all the old favorites in this cosmopolitan city of Dubai from pizzas, pasta, steak, salads, shellfish platters, Indian cuisine and fast-food burger bars, but Dubai’s traditional dishes are well worth trying. Fresh produce stalls in the souks contain an extraordinary variety of highly exotic colorful fruits begging to be eaten. Alcohol is only available in restaurants and the more expensive hotels in Dubai such as the Crowne Plaza Hotel Dubai.
Dubai Tipping Advice
Tipping is not a widely established practice in the UAE, as restaurants prefer to include a service charge. Given the low salary of many waiters however, tips are greatly appreciated as the service charge is not passed on to the workers.
Dubai Dress Code
Clothing should be conservative in Dubai. To enjoy your trip to Dubai, Females should not wear revealing clothes, especially in the rural areas of Dubai, and go for loose clothing such as loose-cut trousers and long dresses.
Greeting Someone in Dubai
The usual practice in Dubai is the use of “Sayed” (Mr) or “Sayeda” (Mrs) followed by the first name. The first name should always be prefixed with the honorific title, especially in business situations.
Business and Banking hours in Dubai
The business community of Dubai works Saturday to Thursday from 08:00 to 13:00 and 16:00 to 20:00. The banking hours in Dubai are from 08:00 to 13:00 from Saturday until Wednesday, although some also open from 16:30 to 18:30 pm. On Thursdays, banks are open half-day between 08:00 and 12:00.
Smoking in public places in Dubai
The Attitudes of smoking in Dubai are almost the same as in many countries and in most cases it is obvious where not to smoke. Visitors to Dubai should remember that during the holy month of Ramadan, it is illegal to eat, drink and smoke in public places.
Archaeological sites in Dubai
The archaeological site of Al-Qusais is a suburb of Dubai but in antiquity it was the site of an important settlement and associated cemetery. Excavations there in the 1970s and 1980s revealed the existence of a settlement dating back to the second and first millennium BC. Graves were dug straight into the sabkha, of similar date, yielded large numbers of copper or bronze vessels and weaponry, as well as many soft-stone vessels. Much of the material from the al-Qusais archaeological site can be seen at the Dubai Museum.
Al-Sufouh has recently been given to a suburb south of Dubai. In the early 1990s a tomb of an Umm al-Nar-type was found here and subsequently excavated, along with parts of an adjacent settlement, by an Australian team in conjunction with the Municipality of Dubai.