Your Ultimate Guide to Dubai – How to Get There, What to Do, Where to Live

Dubai is undoubtedly one of the most important cities in the Middle East. It is both a travel destination as well as a hub for business and commerce. Because of its central location, many airways also use the city as a layover port before moving on to their destination. Anyway, if you find yourself in Dubai this summer and are wondering what to do next, we have it all figured out for you. Read on to find out all the exciting things you can do in this desert haven.

Dubai’s busy seasons

The best time to visit Dubai is, of course, during the winters since it is comfortably cool during this season. The nights can get pretty cold though. Dubai is an ideal destination for tourists during the months of November to March. The summers can get really hot with mercury hitting the 50-degree Celsius mark – not a good sign, especially for people from the north. January and February are undoubtedly the busiest months for the city with people from around the world flocking to the various shopping festivals in the city.

If you can, avoid visiting the city during the summers. Although the city’s brilliant infrastructure allows people to stay indoors and enjoy the malls and shopping districts, it is just uncomfortable if you are going out. The winters are great for exploring this amazing city with different festivals strewn across the

Travelling to Dubai during COVID

As always, it is recommended to check out the travel guidelines to Dubai and what the UAE’s stance is regarding the pandemic. It is better to update yourself about the situation before booking a ticket to Dubai. Apart from that, make sure that you also fulfil your country’s guidelines.

Customs are one of the important steps that you have to cross before international travel. Ensure that you do not violate any custom rules. Check out what the official rulebook says about various items such as expirable food products, medicines, etc.

Planning the trip

Dubai is one of the most accessible cities in the world. This business and tourist has opened its doors to people from all countries. The majority of the working people belong to South East Asia with quite a few from South American countries as well. The tourist crowd is mixed and you will see a lot of Europeans out shopping on a cool Dubai evening.

If you are planning to make a trip to Dubai, make sure that you have the following ready:

  • It is important to complete your documentation and apply for a visa in advance.
  • Most of the big cities in the world such as New York, London, Moscow, Beijing, Melbourne, etc. have a direct flight to Dubai.
  • Do your research online and find out the best places to stay in Dubai. If you are on a budget, arrange your lodgings beforehand because the city might be a little too expensive when it comes to hotels.
  • Dubai is full of activities and places that you can explore and enjoy. Make an itinerary or speak with a travel agent who can do it for you. Do your research online as well.

Where to stay in Dubai

Downtime Dubai is definitely the place where you should stay during your visit. If you are visiting for the first time, we recommend that you book a hotel or a dorm in Downtown Dubai in advance.

Some of the best hotels in Dubai include the DoubleTree, LEVA hotel, JW Marriot, Sofitel, FIVE Palm, Rove, and the Grand Hyatt. The actual list is quite large though since there are hundreds of hotels sprawled across the city.

The hotels mentioned above are quite expensive for a budget traveller though. Dorms in Dubai can cost 80 AED per night which is quite affordable as per the city standards. The city also has budget hotels that start from around 250 AED during the busy seasons. The prices drop during the summers though with some two-star hotels charging as less as 80 AED.

Most of these hotels have free Wi-Fi but complimentary breakfast is not usually available.

Dubai, a shopping hotspot

Dubai is known for its malls and shopping centres. People from all around the world come to this city to enjoy their time off and to blow off steam by shopping and exploring the markets. There are around 70 malls in the main city and they are like none other! Dubai’s malls are some of the best you can find in the entire world.

The Dubai Mall is one of the world’s largest malls – a wonderful experience for families and newly married couples. There is just so much to do here. The biggest brands of the world call this place their home with names like Dior and Bloomingdale’s amongst the 1200 retail outlets here. Footwear brands in the Dubai mall are also a treat for the eyes and for your feet! Italian designers and premium custom shoemakers have also set up shop here. You can bring your kids to the Dubai mall and let them enjoy the ice-skating rink or the nightly fountain shows.

Luxury enthusiasts can hit the Mall of the Emirates with brands like Apple and Marks & Spencer available here. The Fashion Dome is a hub for world-class designers and shopping lovers can enjoy a walk here anytime during the year. Dubai’s world-famous dumplings are also available here. Your kids can enjoy the Magic Planet or skate at the indoor ice rink.

The third mall that we would recommend is the Ibn Battuta Mall. This is the world’s largest themed mall and you can explore it for days and never get tired. Fashion, lifestyle, and sport enthusiasts would love it here at the Ibn Battuta Mall.

Other shopping malls include the Mercato Mall, City Walk, and the WAFI Mall. The Dubai Shopping Festival is set to start in the month of December, 2022 in the Dubai Festival City.

Food and Beverages

Just like its fine shopping districts, Dubai can also be thought of as a destination for food lovers. The ethnic foods include the world-famous shawarma, hummus and pita bread, and grilled kebabs. Food and drinks come from all around the world though and you can easily get your hands on an American grilled cheese burger or a plate of sushi right here in Dubai.

The average cost of a meal in Dubai comes up to around 60 AED. If you are planning to live in Dubai, you can expect to pay around 500 AED per week for basic groceries.

The street food in Dubai is also a big attraction. The fusion of Middle East and Asian cultures make this place a great attraction to food lovers.

Culinary experiences in Dubai extend way beyond food and drinks though – you can enjoy a lunch with leopards or have a beautiful dinner with your spouse under the stars in the desert. All the malls mentioned above are also great spots for having a meal outside.

Beverages in Dubai are really expensive and you can simply avoid it if you are on a budget. There is a lot to do in Dubai besides drink anyway.

The food scene in Dubai is not complete without the mention of the Souk Madinat Jumeirah – a traditional place filled with restaurants. There is a beautiful courtyard here as well. The best restaurants include Al Makan, Anar, and The Noodle House.

Public transportation and getting to places

Dubai has a wide network of metro trains. With more than 50 stations in the city, you can quickly get from one place to another in an affordable manner. You can board these trains as early as 5:30 AM and can ride them as late into the night as 1AM. The metro trains start operating at 10 AM on Fridays.

A Nol card is required to hop on the metro trains. It costs around 3 AED to move around in one zone and the cost increases with the number of zones you travel to or across.

There are also three marinas where you can catch the ferry. It is quite popular amongst tourists though so make sure that you book in advance.

The cab/taxi service in the city starts from 12 AED and charges are around 3 AED per kilometre. Uber and Careem are the two most popular taxi services in Dubai.

Things to do besides visiting the malls

It may seem like Dubai is all about its high rises and the shopping centres. However, the desert city has been around for years. The development work on the new areas started during the 70s. You can do so much more besides shopping. Exploring the city is free and getting around is pretty cheap if you plan your visit properly.

The Grand Mosque

The Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque is located in Abu Dhabi, just a few kilometres away from the city but it is worth a visit. This beautiful architectural brilliance is testimony to the fact that the UAE recognises its culture whilst adopting the modern ways of the West. The trip to Abu Dhabi is a short 90-minute drive. Admission to this mosque is free. Around 40,000 Muslims offer the Eid prayers here in the Grand Mosque.

Old Dubai

Explore and visit the city of Dubai before the malls and the corporate buzz hit it. Picture a small and scenic market from the Arabian Nights. You can take a traditional wooden boat from the main city to Old Dubai and enjoy the traditional food stalls and the art district. Other attractions in Old Dubai include the spice market, the gold market, and the Dubai Frame.

Jumeirah Mosque

Built in 1979, this mosque is open to the public and you can explore it with a guide except on Fridays. The tour gives a deep insight into the culture of the Arab world and how Islam affects the city. If you are curious about demographics and love learning more about new cultures, a visit to the Jumeirah Mosque is a must.

Jumeirah Beach

Jumeirah Beach is a white sand beach and a wonderful place to relax and get a tan. It is located in the southern part of the city and is quite an experience if you are visiting with your family. You can also have a barbeque in a dedicated spot on the beach. There are a lot of activities to keep your children busy and happy.

Are you planning to move to Dubai?

Dubai is not only a tourist spot but thousands and thousands of expat live here and make a living. It is a corporate hub and industries such as hospitality, international trade, ecommerce, logistics, operations management, advertising and marketing, etc. are prevalent here.

If you are already living in Dubai or are planning to move to Dubai, it is better to consider the following points:

  • Look for reliable movers and packers in Dubai before you even begin your search for a new house. The demand for good movers in the city is always high and the best ones are booked well in advance.
  • Make sure that you have your budget figured out. The real estate scene in Dubai is quite dynamic and the prices fluctuate a lot. Services like movers and packers in Dubai can give you a clear indication of the current market scenario.
  • Ensure that you have a backup plan and you have all the preliminary steps taken care of. Make a plan before taking any actions.
  • Movers and packers in Dubai, real estate consultant, as well as cleaning services are also more expensive when we speak in relative terms. Do your research online before you hire anyone.

Welcome to Dubai

What’s more to say other than that we wish you a happy stay in one of the best cities in the world. We hope you enjoy and have an amazing time in this desert delight!