First-timer's Guide to Dubai? All the Basic Things to Know

For those who are visiting Dubai for the first time, well, they are sure to come back with some great memories and would already be planning their next visits. After all, there is no other city like Dubai, and there is something for everyone here. With those impressive skyscrapers amidst ancient history and vast deserts, it sure can be an overwhelming experience for the visitors, especially those who are arriving here for the first time.  One needs time and efforts to adjust to this strange mix of modernity with ancient customs. Dubai can be big and brash, as the biggest and the largest and the most expensive of everything on the planet exists here.

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When you arrive in this Middle Eastern metropolis, take a Dubai tour under the guidance of a local expert. After all, it makes sense to explore the city of extremes with a local guide who can show the biggest and the best of attractions the city holds. As a first timer, it can be a bit difficult to plan an itinerary that fits in all. There are fantastic restaurants, giant malls, tallest buildings and crowded backstreets to explore. So where to begin? Read on to get some tips and information that would prove to be useful on your first trip to Dubai.

Dubai Travel Guide for the first timers!

Get your visa and documents in order

If you carry a US passport, there is no need to get a visa to go to Dubai. However, for others, they need to apply for a visa, and the kind of visa needed depends on several factors like the nationality, duration, and purpose of visit.  For some nationalities, they can get a visa on arrival while for others they need to have a visa on beforehand. There are valid sponsors for visa and an online visa application form to be filled.

Photo by  Kevin Fedan

Photo by Kevin Fedan

How to reach Dubai?

Dubai is a popular tourist destination and hence getting there should not be a problem as there. Many major flight carriers that fly directly to Dubai or have a well-planned connection to different cities. Emirates airlines and Etihad Airways fly directly to Dubai from major destinations across the world.

When to go to Dubai?

Dubai can be hot so avoid the hot summer months if you can’t stand summers. The temperatures do cool down a bit for the winter months, and that is from November to March. However, expect more crowd and expenses during the tourist season in Dubai. If you plan to visit Dubai in summers, be wary as the temperatures can soar as high as 105.

Photo by  Kevin Fedan

Photo by Kevin Fedan

Where to stay in Dubai?

When it comes to lodging, there is no shortage of options in Dubai. One can check in at the most luxurious hotels or can stay at budget hotels. Dubai is a long strip, and you would be driving back and forth several times to see the major attractions. It is a good idea to stay at a central location in terms of the best setting so as to be closer to the touristic sites, based on your interests.

What to wear when in Dubai?

For many people traveling to Dubai for the first time, it can be a bit confusing as to what to wear when on a trip to Dubai. Well, there is no need to get confused as you can wear regular clothes. Moreover, when you are at a mosque or religious place, dress conservatively and wear a traditional hijab. While dining in restaurants, dress modestly and avoid showing lots of skin. However, on the etches, you are in for a surprise when you see skimpily dressed beach lovers.

Photo by  Kevin Fedan

Photo by Kevin Fedan

Money, language and culture

Dubai can be expensive, but if you are careful, you can seek budget-friendly ways to enjoy the city. Dirham or AED is the currency sued here and for better exchange rates, go to the malls instead of the airport. If you are looking for private tours, they can be expensive. The street signs and menus are available in both Arabic and English and most people can speak and understand English. Thus, it is a lot easier to navigate the city. Be polite and courteous when interacting with people.

Photo by  Kevin Fedan

Photo by Kevin Fedan

Moving around in the city

Getting around the major city and tourist areas can take time because of the heavy traffic. However, there is lesser on the weekends. Regular taxi cabs are the most popular ways to get from one location to the next. Metro system is another favorite way, but it may be a long walk to the nearest metro station. Hop On/Hop Off buses are another way to see Dubai and are located at the Dubai mall and follow different routes. Those who love to explore a city on foot are going to be disappointed as Dubai is not meant for walking because of the soaring degrees outside.

The not to be missed tourist activities

Every tourist destination has some highlights that are not to be missed. Dubai too has a long list of touristic attractions that draw millions of tourists and travelers from across the world.  For the first timers, there are some tourist activities and sites that should not be missed.

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  • Burj Khalifa- Get to the top of Burj Khalifa form where you can get astonishing views of the city, sea and the deserts.

  • La Mer- The hippest beach destination in Dubai is definitely worth a visit. The lovely vast beach with crystal-clear waters is lined with restaurants and shops.

  • Dubai mosques- You can’t leave Dubai without understanding its religious history, culture, and customs. Appreciate the architecture of the mosques here, and you will love these impressive places of worship.

  • Old Dubai – It is a must to visit this mystical place brimming with ancient history and tales. Explore those mazes of narrow pathways and abandoned streets.

  • Dubai desert- Escape to the tranquility and serenity of the Dubai deserts once you have had enough of the chaotic city life. This is your gateway to a whole new world of Arab culture as you enter the world of untouched natural landscapes.

  • Dubai by night – Unwind in downtown Dubai by night as you enjoy some of the most extraordinary drinks and snacks. This is a great way to end an unforgettable vacation, with some great drinks and unbeatable views.

TRAVELKach HoweComment