Dubai

77°
73° - January
74° - February
80° - March
88° - April
97° - May
100° - June
103° - July
103° - August
100° - September
93° - October
86° - November
77° - December
Dec avg
$216
Avg Hotel
$1,125
Est. Airfare

Best Known For

Description

Perhaps nowhere in the world does the old world mix with the new in such a fascinating way as in Dubai. After all, in how many cities in the world can you watch camel races, swim at a beautiful beach, and shop for fine clothing all in the same day? Called "the shopping capital of the Middle East, Dubai does have a number of modern shopping malls, but the real fun is in the souk districts, where bargaining for unique one-of-a-kind items is a way of life. While shopping is the number one attraction in Dubai, the culture and history cannot be ignored. Monuments and museums and even villages dating back thousands of years are scattered throughout the city. And though you can't kiss or dance in public in Dubai, the dance clubs are still renowned for allowing you to let loose.
Photo Credit: Amazing Things in the World
Photo Credit: Dubai Dept of Tourism and Commerce Marketing
Photo Credit: Dubai Dept of Tourism and Commerce Marketing
Photo Credit: Dubai Dept of Tourism and Commerce Marketing
Photo Credit: Bab Al Shams Resort
Photo Credit: Ski Dubai
Photo Credit: Dubai Dept of Tourism and Commerce Marketing
Photo Credit: Dubai Dept of Tourism and Commerce Marketing
Photo Credit: Dubai Dept of Tourism and Commerce Marketing
Photo Credit: Dubai Dept of Tourism and Commerce Marketing
Photo Credit: Dubai Dept of Tourism and Commerce Marketing
Photo Credit: Dubai Dept of Tourism and Commerce Marketing
Photo Credit: Dubai Dept of Tourism and Commerce Marketing
Photo Credit: Dubai Dept of Tourism and Commerce Marketing
Photo Credit: Dubai Dept of Tourism and Commerce Marketing
Photo Credit: Dubai Dept of Tourism and Commerce Marketing

Appealing for some, but not the globetrekker seeking that unique experience

09/30/13
QUICK TIP: Escape the tourist traps and charter a traditional water taxi along Dubai Creek, to experience old Dubai for a bargain price.


This summer I made my first trip to the Middle East, stopping off briefly in Kuwait, before travelling to Dubai, in the UAE. I was eager to experience Dubai; somewhere which has gone from a relatively unknown quantity thirty years ago, to a must-see destination, which has almost exclusivly put the Middle East on many traditional holiday-makers' radar.

Some pre-departure research revealed a lot of hype surrounding Dubai, particularly from those who enjoy the more lavish side of life; however I wanted to approach it as any other destination – with an open mind. Summer isn’t the most ideal time of year to visit the Middle East, as temperatures regularly exceed forty degrees Celsius, however like most tourists I was constrained by occupational holidays. Nevertheless, the sweltering heat is something Dubai’s tourist industry is well prepared for.

My hotel was situated in the Al Barsha district, in close proximity to the renowned Palm Jumeira manmade islands. This was located around eleven miles south of downtown Dubai, meaning we relied a lot of taxis and public transport. There’s a monorail system in operation which is reasonably priced and quite frequent. However, if you are not located within very close proximity to one of its stations then the sweltering temperatures can mean walking to your nearest station can become very exhausting or near impossible. As for other public transport, the buses aren’t great and generally only used by the workers. Taxis are the common mode of transport for tourists. Despite the cheap prices of fuel in the UAE these taxis are often not cheap, with some taxis even charging extra to apply the cab’s air-conditioning.

If retail therapy is what you desire, Dubai really is the place for you. It boasts the largest shopping mall on the planet, the Dubai Mall, as well as the world’s first ‘shopping resort’, the Emirates Mall. Aside from the shops and dining facilities, between them these malls have; ski slopes, an ice rink, deep sea aquarium, and indoor theme parks, to name just a few attractions. You really could spend days in these malls, which is actually what many of the tourists do. However, in my opinion there is only so much shopping you can do before you become weary or, more likely, run out of money.

One thing I was keen to tick of the list when visiting Dubai was to go to the top of the tallest building in the world, the Burj Khalifa. Tickets to visit its observation deck, named At The Top, are purchased and accessed through inside the Dubai Mall. The tower’s statistics written on the walls leading to the tower’s elevator, reminding you of the huge heights and magnificent feats of engineering, get expectations soaring. However, upon reaching the observation platform I have to say I was left feeling rather disenchanted. The observation platform is disappointingly only around half way up the tower which, despite being on the tallest building in the world, makes the observation deck actually only feature third on the list of the world’s highest observation decks. Furthermore, if you visit in summer like I did, the heat haze makes visibility dreadful. I think even having this knowledge prior I would still want to venture up, ultimately just to be able to say I’ve been up the world’s tallest building, however I just ask you don’t go expecting awe-inspiring views. On the other hand, one thing which truly is impressive is the regular synchronised fountain displays at the base of the tower; they are definitely worth a watch.

Other popularized icons of Dubai I wanted to check out were the Atlantis hotel on the Palm, and the Burj Al Arab hotel, otherwise known as ‘the one that looks like a sail’. These two impressive pieces of architecture have certain sections open to the public, however again I was left a little disappointed. The Burj Al Arab requires a pre-arranged pass to gain entry for non-residents of the hotel, which is rather inconvenient and consequently restricted me from getting inside. As for the Atlantis, the public can walk around a small indoor mall section of the hotel. However to explore the gardens, pool, and dining areas, again you need reservations or to pay a fee. So if you’re already on a budget then the taxi journey to Atlantis, all the way at the end of the palm, isn’t really worth it unless you plan on paying to use the facilities.

If, like me, you prefer trips where you can lose yourself and soak up the local culture, you can still do that in Dubai although it’s a lot harder to find. After a few days I had grown tired of the having this high-roller lifestyle and excessive high-rise urban landscape thrust upon me, so I sought for the more traditional Dubai, the qualities which used to make it unique. This search led me to the Dubai Creek area.

Along Dubai Creek is where the initial settlement was built along. We went here to check out the Dubai Museum and experience life through a local’s perspective. The museum is cheap and rather interesting. It explains the growth of Dubai as a city, from its nomadic pearl-diving settlers, to the region’s discovery of oil. There are also some charming local souks and mosques around the museum which give a sense of local life. Probably the experience I enjoyed the most in Dubai came on the water taxis. Many of the local workers use these water taxis to commute across the Dubai Creek, sometimes with up to fifty people crammed on these modest boats. If you want to try your bartering skills, you can negotiate a price to rent your own private water taxi and driver, who will navigate you up and the length of the creek. We paid the equivalent of around twenty pounds for a driver to take the three of us up the length of the creek on our own private boat, on what was probably an hour long journey. It was a unique experience passing all the workers commuting along the creek, it certainly didn’t feel like the Dubai portrayed in the media.

The Gold Souk is also a more traditional and remarkable experience, which is far more rewarding than the lavish shopping malls. The local market gives you the chance to browse shoulder-to-shoulder with locals, and even experience the bartering culture that occurs in that part of the world. You may even pick up a few new items you didn’t even realise you wanted, which is all part of the charm. Another great experience that makes the most of Dubai’s natural landscape is dune riding. If you have some time and money to spare, these desert safaris take vehicles off-road giving you a thrilling ride.

Dubai’s strength over the rest of the Middle East is its nightlife. There are plenty of lively bars and clubs offering the opportunity to party the night away. These bars and clubs are all situated within hotels, which is presumably how they are tolerated in this Muslim state, however this means they can be located few and far between each other. The price of a drink, like most things in Dubai, doesn’t come cheap, with a pint of lager averaging around seven or eight British pounds in most bars. Two venues that I would highly recommend if in the vicinity are; firstly, the Belgian Beer Café inside the Millennium Hotel. This quaint little bar offers an array of Belgian beers on taps as well as providing some excellent pub food. Secondly, the famed Irish Village, situated close to the airport and hosts regular live music. Its exterior is in the form of a mock Irish town square and on an evening is often bustling with a friendly party atmosphere, not to mention the delicious British-styled pub food on offer here.

Overall, I think Dubai is one of those places you have to visit at least once just to see it for yourself. It’s unique in the sense of its endless extravagant high-rises rising from the sands, with its desire to be seen as the ultimate deluxe destination. Many people have a lot to say regarding Dubai, so I’m glad I visited so that now I can form my own opinion of the place; however it’s somewhere I doubt I may ever go back. It lacks character and although its still appealing to certain people, for someone like me who prefers more swashbuckling journeys to less-travelled locations, places with lots culture to see and interact with on the surface, Dubai is definitely not the place for me.
Greg

Spoil Me, Dubai!

09/29/13
Is it possible to be too decadent? That depends. Do you find it just a bit too much to have to don flip-flops to walk across hot beach sands? Do you have a personal assistant or own a personal hydration system that regularly mists you with cool water when temperatures soar above, say, 50 degrees Celsius/122 degrees Fahrenheit? Are you impressed when people you have never seen before address you by your surname and seem intent on satisfying your every desire? If you answered yes to any of these, then Dubai is the city for you.
This United Arab Emiratis city on the shores of the Persian Gulf offers an amazing mix of over-the-top opulence, Arab/Islamic culture, cutting-edge technology, shopping, and entertainment. Here you will find beaches with mechanically cooled sands, open air pools with refrigerated waters, and misted sidewalks. Businessmen sport glaringly white and crisp Kanduras (long robe-like over garment) with the Guthra headdress, while many native women still wear Burqas though don’t be surprised to see the latest Manolo Blahniks peeking out from beneath and sleeves rimmed with Swarovski diamonds. A whisper-quiet, light rail whisks you in cool comfort around the city, including a stop at Burj Khalifa, the tallest building in the world at a soaring 163 stories. Take a break from shopping at the humongous Mall of Emirates to hit the slopes at the adjacent indoor ski resort.
Dubai has a lively and Western-friendly nightlife and dance clubs regularly fly in the best DJs worldwide. Alcohol consumption should be done in moderation, however. Officially, a license is required to consume alcohol but the hotel bars, restaurants and nightclubs that serve intoxicants rarely enforce this. Also, it’s wise for women to dress modestly when out and about during the day, but okay to relax a bit on hotel/resort grounds or when heading out to a nightclub.
All in all, Dubai is a smoking hot (literally) city where even the Holiday Inn is worthy of five stars.
Lauren

Glamorous trip

09/25/13
This is just the city that fits everyone's vacation escape.

It's here's where you witness the power of extreme, biggest shopping mall (fits everyones flavour and taste), 1st man made island the palm, fastest roller coaster, highest tower in the world Burj khalifa

visiting such city gives you the chance to live the dream of UAE and believe that everything is possible. this land was once a desert and with its people and their strong belief they were able to transfer their dream to reality and make it the fastest growing city in the world with all its attractions.

The city is very safe and welcomes tourist. It's perfect for family gateway with all it's water parks, shopping malls, family activities, ski dubai. ALso a most visit destination for who enjoys night life and glamorous clubs, from armani, roberto cavali, concerts to mahiki (ladies nights). in this city the night life is active everyday regardless of the weekend so get yourself ready to little sleep in dubai because you dont want to miss a moment.
Quick tip: have to try "zaatar and zeit" restaurant after clubbing or concert at night. It's the continuation of night life in dubai .

If I keep writing wont be able to stop. All what I would suggest, book your ticket and send me back if you need any specific details. Would love to help.
Yasmin

A dream!

09/22/13
Dubai: a place that everything surpasses: the biggest tower, the most quantity of gold in such a little place, the biggest shopping malls, the most beautifull fountains, everything is here "the most".
It was a wonderfull acquaintance with the arabic world! You see that it is the country that links Europe with Asia.
Impressive!
Evi

The Melting Pot of the Middle East

08/31/13
It is hard to imagine in the 21st century that you can to a city and see world built around you that is less than 20 years old...that is Dubai. Instead of stepping back in history to see old world architecture, you walk into a world of modern minds and creativity and see buildings that appear from a space-age movie. It is a world of modern architectural marvels.

World's Tallest Building, Burj Khalifa is situated in the middle of the city and is attached to the best shopping mall in the world. If you wish to go to the top and oversee the city build beneath you, a reservation is a must. Once you go to the top, you can see anything from World Island and Palm Island to the desert that leads you to imagine what once was.

Anything you can get in Dubai. It is the melting pot of the Middle East, filled with ex-pats, you can find foods from all origins of the world. Like any ex-pat city, you will find everyone to be friendly and helpful (if they weren't, people would be alone all the time).

Old Dubai is a place you should venture. Now it is considered to be Little India, but you can get an authentic feel of what the city was long before thoughts of sky scrapers came to this Arab world.

If you want to get a taste of the Arab Culture, it is best that you take a day trip out of the city and do an "off the beaten path" adventure. However, you will find yourself wanting to do what locals do - go to the mall. It is the hang out spot for socializing. Don't be afraid to ask questions to locals if you are curious about something. Even though they might not approach you, they are excited to share their world with curious Westerners.

It is a safe, modern city where as a female traveling alone felt completely safe and welcome. (I have gone 7 times since my first visit I love it so much and plan on going back again in March)
Kimberly

Zagat Dubai City Guide

Yes, there is so much to do in Dubai that Zagat how has its own city guide covering 484 restaurants, 71 nightspots, 527 shops and 37 sites and attractions!
Cost: $13.95

Gold Souk

Ready your bartering skills and head over to the gold market for some good deals on the yellow shiny stuff.
Cost: Free, but you won't be able to resist buying some bargains!
Visit Website

Majlis Golf Course

Ranked as one of the 100 best courses in the world, and the best course in the middle east, this is the place to go in Dubai for world class golf.
Cost: Varies
Visit Website

Burj Al Arab

Technically, this hotel built on reclaimed land 1000 feet off shore and soaring 1000 feet above the water is a 5 star destination, but it is so nice, many claim that it is the worlds only 7 star hotel!
Cost: Varies
Visit Website

Port of Departure

Large cruise lines use this as a "Port of Departure" or beginning of itineraries.

Language

Arabic

Currency

[AED] UAE Dirham

Airports

Dubai Airport [DXB]