Thinking of travelling to Dubai? Fabulous, what a great choice of destination. The culture and glamorous hotels along with magnificant skyscraper buildings, Dubai is the place to be amazed. It has become surprisingly more relaxed when it comes to attire since the last time I visited, the laws are still strict which means crime rate is minimal but in terms of clothing though there are areas where you can dress where you would in the west, other areas in Dubai though bikinis and revealing clothes are prohibited so please be mindful and respectful of this when you travel in certain places.
All in all you will have a fantastic time so here are some of my top tips and places to visit whilst on your holiday.
Do your research prior to your visit
I do things most of the time spontaneously which can often be costly for me and can eat up a lot of time due to lack of preperation. Pre book attractions way in advance and ensure you have all tickets and passes to hand. There is so much to do and see in Dubai that if you want to cram as much in as you can, get planning. There are things that you may decide to do “off the cuff”, that’s pretty much what I did, therefore you won’t need to do much planning however, due to the popularity of certain tourist hotspots I would recommend you do your research and pay in advance for cheaper tickets.
Be prepared for a lengthy flight
From London to Dubai its about a 7 hour flight so I would strongly recommend you pick extra leg room or upgrade completely from economy. I was by the exit so I had ample room to stretch my legs as there are no passengers in front just the air hostess chair. Flight socks are a must and water. Pick a window seat too if you can the views coming into Dubai are stunning. Take magazines or watch a film using the onboard entertainment. I didn’t even watch a film I just made my own entertainment I can do that with ease. I did sleep a little but no more than an hour or so. You can access wifi in the sky for a fee if you wanted to communicate so you shouldn’t be bored. Make a point of walking around too.
You won’t need as much as you think. I spent a few times at Dubai Mall so if you like shopping then you’ll love it there. You could buy everything you need at the Mall. Pack your essentials like bikini’s, light airy day/evening wear and a few pairs of shoes and sandals and that’s it. Also take a kaftan, some tops, shorts and a few dresses and you’ll be sorted. I did pack 6 pairs of shoes but I only wore 3 so a couple of pairs of sandals and a pair of heels is plenty. Be respectful when heading to places like the mall and downtown Dubai and cover up more so here with airy tops and linen trousers. Check out my twitter page for some amazing last minute purchases. You can find me using the handle @Melita_latham
Don’t Underestimate the Power of the Sun
Dubai is hot, ridiculously hot. In the summer season temperatures soar up to 40 degrees. I am not one for sunbathing. I couldn’t think of anything more mundane than falling asleep in the sun getting burnt to a crisp or frazzled as I say. I like to be busy, check out all the things to do and make memories. Take plenty of suncream! Not factor 10 please no, minimum factor 30. If you do like to spend hours in the sun, keep topping up on your sunscreen regularly and have breaks in the shade.
Regardless of whether you are in the sun or in the shade drink plenty of water. The air is hot so the best way to cool down is obviously to drink plenty of water or head to the swimming pool. Most hotel’s in Dubai will have a swimming pool so you will be fine for a swim if that’s also something you like to do. Take aftersun too.
Visit the Tallest Building in the World
The Burj Khalifa is the tallest building in the world and you can go right to the top. Afraid of heights? Don’t worry you’ll be surprised, it’s not as bad as you would think. I would recommend buying fast track tickets to avoid all the queues. You are personally escorted from the Burj Khalifa Sky lounge at ground level to a dedicated elevator which takes you to floor 125 then you’ll head to your next elevator until you reach the 148th floor 555 metres heigh. A must do and I promise at the top it is not as bad as you might think. The views are breathtaking and most definitely worth the extra expense for fast track tickets. This photo below was taken from my iPhone from 125th floor!
Downtown Dubai – The Dubai Fountains
The Dubai fountain is the worlds largest choreographed fountain system. The same company designed the Bellagio fountains in Las Vegas so you can fully appreciate how spectacular it is to watch. The fountain performance is from 6pm daily every 30 minutes, they are accompanied by music which is played through speakers so you’ll never miss the fun. I would recommend seeing them after dark though as the lake has surrounding lights and it looks beautiful. Fabulous restaurants are positioned around the man made lake so, not only can you watch the performances whilst having your dinner but, you can see the fountains when walking over the bridge if you fancied late night shopping at the Dubai Mall. The mall doesn’t close until midnight so there is always time to shop.
Dubai Creek & Souks
I would recommend going on a boat ride on the creek when perhaps you want some downtime. It’s nice to just sit back and relax and enjoy your surroundings. They are currently they are building new restaurants on the side of the creek. I have no doubt in a few months you’ll be able to hop of and enjoy some lunch after your boat trip whilst admiring the creek. It was especially nice to feel a cool breeze whilst on the boat. The souks are nearby and it is a minefield full of spices, pashminas, gifts, camel milk, rocks and all sorts. Brace yourself though for the persistent sellers of copied goods. I am astonished at the amount of counterfeit ‘designer’ goods they sell. I obviously would not buy any counterfeit items, but they had Gucci, Prada, Dior, pretty much all designer items and I was amazed at how realistic they are. I did chuckle at a man who tried to sell spices, he was the only man that didn’t have a laminated card showing me options of bags, shoes and watches I could buy as part of their selling pitch.
I have mentioned about the Dubai mall quite a bit in this post that’s because it’s not just about shopping here. It has an indoor aquarium and underwater zoo. I am not kidding. You can see the shop Gap in the reflection of the glass whilst you are staring at sting rays and sharks floating around. You can dive in a cage for £30. It’s bonkers but amazing. You can stay at the Armani h0tel, Emmar-Georgia Armani partnership created the Armani Hotels and resorts and it’s a beaut but costly, obviously! There are restaurants inside and out. I throughly enjoyed my Starbucks outside though watching the riches in their flash cars. I mean some of the cars outside the mall are like bond movie cars. This place just oozes money and they are keen to show it off, not my style but as long as they are happy.
The Palace hotel – Address Hotels & Resorts
The food here is absolutely delicious. My last night in Dubai I had a buffet and all national foods were here on offer in one place and it was absolutely mouthwatering. I had everything, chicken, rice, salad, humous, pasta, potatoes, honestly the list was endless. I literally wanted to eat my plate of food three times over. The view was also incredible. The Burj Khalifa in the backdrop all lit up like a Christmas tree, the sound of the downtown fountains and the musician playing outside not too far from the tables. It was awesome. At any point you can request a Shisha, although it’s not great for non-smokers. You’ll be coughing A LOT. Don’t inhale that will make you cough.
The Beaches and Waterpark
Last time I went to Dubai I spent most of the time at the beaches, this time round I was in the centre. I recall having many cocktails and just getting wasted so I can’t honestly remember what the beach looks like now. I would make a point of heading to one of many beaches and enjoy the white sand and perhaps afternoon tea in the Burj hotel. Dubai has a huge waterpark but as you can appreciate it’s the place to go for fun and to mostly cool down so this is definitely one for tourists.
Transport & Money
Dubai is full of taxi’s. You can travel round with no issues at all. The metro is cheap, but for convenience I would hail a cab. They tell you the rate before you get in so you can change your mind if it’s too expensive. Traffic can be a bit chaotic but at least you have air-con. Keep an eye on your spend though as it’s easy to get carried away when using a different currency (Dirhams). It sounds cheap at the time but when you sit down and work it out, you probably have spent a heck of a lot. I would suggest having some cash with you but most places take card. It’s the souks, cabs and tip money hard cash was mostly used for.
If you are thinking about travelling to Dubai or have been before you are incredibly lucky. This is an amazing place to visit and those that I know that have resided in Dubai, I envy you. It’s beautiful. The luxurious building’s, marbled streets and courteous residents all make Dubai a truly remarkable place. I appreciated every inch I laid my eyes on. I wanted to see more, do more and experience more but time prevented me from doing so. Make the most of the time there and indeed any holiday. Dubai is the life of luxury and style. There is no scrimping. The expense invested is phenomenal. You will not be disappointed.
You will make your holiday your own so even if you don’t visit any of these places, I have no doubt you will have a fabulous experience in Dubai.
With Love Mel x