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Updated by Joanna James on Sep 09, 2019
Headline for 5 Tips for first-time travellers to Dubai – enjoy yourself to the max in this desert city.
Joanna James Joanna James
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5 Tips for first-time travellers to Dubai – enjoy yourself to the max in this desert city.

Renowned as a luxury hotspot, Dubai draws thousands of travellers annually. However, there are a few things that set the city apart from the western world. Here are 5 tips for first-time travellers.


Be mindful of the culture

Because of the city's glittering skyscrapers, glamorous lifestyle and western veneer, it's easy to forget that you're in the Middle East. The United Arab Emirates is clearly more relaxed than its Saudi neighbours, but they still have their own set of cultural norms that should be observed at all times to avoid offending anyone. What might seem like a perfectly normal outfit for a night out might land you in some trouble here, while public displays of affection are generally best toned down outside of your hotel.


Explore the city with public transport

For travellers keen on walking around the city during the day, don't do it! Dubai only has two seasons – hot and hotter! Thanks to the desert heat, walking is not an option. The hottest months are from June to August with temperatures reaching up to 40 degrees Celsius! Luckily, there are plenty of options for public transport from taxis, and buses to ferries. Anyone looking for things to do in Deira Dubai will probably have to cross the Dubai creek on an Abra (traditional boat) or one of the modern ferries. You could also hire a car and drive around yourself or if you're feeling extra luxurious, take to the skies in a helicopter.


Don't miss the weekend

If you're from outside the Middle East, then you are probably accustomed to the weekend falling on a Saturday and Sunday. However, Emiratis work from Sunday to Thursday, so the weekend falls on Friday and Saturday. Friday noon is when Muslims go to the mosque to pray, so you may find several local shops and the souqs temporarily closed till afternoon. If you happen to be staying at a hotel in Deira like Avani Deira Dubai Hotel, for example, you can easily head over once they open or better yet, take an evening stroll when the climate is cooler.


Explore massive malls

This is a city that takes shopping seriously. The malls here are gigantic and have almost everything you could imagine. Whether you're looking for designer threads, souvenirs, food, jewellery, you name it, they have it. Even if you're not interested in shopping, exploring the gold souqs and traditional markets are super fun, and you can always find a bargain there.


Visit the desert

With all the mega malls, luxury resorts and a multitude of entertainment options, it's easy to forget you're just 45-minutes away from the desert. So, don't miss out on the opportunity to leave the city behind and explore the stark beauty of the desert. Thrill-seekers can hit the dunes in a buggy or take a safari and camp around the desert. A balloon ride over the desert is an unforgettable experience – keep an eye out for wild gazelles, camels and lush oases.

  • A true believer that the pen is a mighty weapon, ventures into reaching the minds of every reader with the earnest hope of leaving an indelible stream of thought.

    A travel writer who has a passion for fashion and a deep interest in admiring new and exotic attractions around the world.

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