Dubai travel tips

Thinking of traveling to Dubai? Here’s five tips from us, of varying worth.

1. Getting a taxi from the Dubai airport when you arrive is quite simple. An attendant is there guiding each group in line to the next available taxi. All taxis (tan with red roofs) are metered.

2. In the UAE, pictures of government buildings aren’t allowed. Photographing Arab women is considered offensive (of course, taking a photo of anyone without their permission is rude in my opinion). Also, taking pictures of trucks/drivers/things on the road is also considered rude.

3. There are women-and-children only parts of the metro cars. Pay attention to those, because even though tourists aren’t usually charged fines for that, the fines are pretty heft (around 110 dirhams). Traveling by metro, however, is fairly cheap and very easy to do. There are only two lines and everything is also in English.

4. Two days is enough time to see Dubai. You can do a city bus tour, desert safari, chill on the beach, go to the malls, or do At the Top at the Burj Khalifa. Besides shopping, that’s about all there is to do in Dubai. If you do plan to spend more time in the country, consider a day in Abu Dhabi and/or a day trip to Al Ain, the garden city on the other side of the country, nestled in the Hajar mountains. You can even book a day trip or overnight into Oman (just on the other side of those mountains).

5. Book at least 36-48 hours in advance if you want to go up the tallest building in the world, the Burj Khalifa (burj means “tower” in Arabic). There are two observation platforms, and the higher costs more. It isn’t cheap, either, but perhaps it’s worth it.

Categories: Practical Matters, UAE | Tags: , , , | 5 Comments

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5 thoughts on “Dubai travel tips

  1. Nancy Redding

    Interesting! Segregated metros. How did you and Jordan navigate that? Did it bother you at all? How many other non-Arab countries do you think have a similar system? Keep writing! I love your stories!

    • Well, not many of the men followed the rule at rush hour, but every once and a while an insistent woman would tell the men around her to go away. There was a bright yellow line on the floor and up the sides of the car to mark the boundary. I think I really like it. I’ve learned about these in my urban planning classes. Many countries in Asia are beginning to use them. It only prohibits men from certain areas of the cars. Women can still stand wherever they like. It isn’t a religious thing–it’s a safety thing. Men tend to harass women during very crowded times (think my experience on the bus in Rome), and this is a way to keep the women safe while they travel through the city. In class we talked about it as “gender-aware planning,” I think.

  2. Totally agree on number 4.

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