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Dubai

4.4 /5 84 votes

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Best Time: November - April Read More

Ideal duration: 3 days

Nearest Airport: Dubai International Airport Check Flights

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Dubai Tourism

A megacity that never stops growing, Dubai is one of the most popular tourist destinations around the globe. Home to the tallest tower in the world, the Burj Khalifa, this global city is mainly known for its lavish architecture, incredible skylines and a plethora of tourist attractions that break records to be the tallest, longest and biggest. Dubai is also known for its adventure opportunities when it comes to Desert Safari, Sky-diving, Reef and wreck diving, kite surfing, wakeboarding, etc.

Flaunting its glittering infrastructure amid the extensive sand dunes, the city of Dubai was once known to be barren land, today this man-made miracle is filled with shimmering skyscrapers, fancy hotels, shopping malls and restaurants. Burj Khalifa - the tallest manmade building, Dubai Fountain with jets and lights choreographed to music, Atlantis, the Palm and an aquarium resort are among the top tourist destinations in Dubai. With the biggest population of all the seven emirates and the second largest in size, Dubai will overwhelm you with its amalgamation of futuristic marvel and ancient Arabian traditions.

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Shopping in Dubai

Dubai has a great reputation as the shopper's paradise with its plethora of lively souks and huge air-conditioned malls. There are several souks, each one specializing in a particular product type. Gold Souks, Textile Souks and Spice Souks feature the highest quality gold and diamond jewellery, beautiful fabric in various hues and a wide range of aromatic herbs and spices.

While in Dubai, make sure you practice your bargaining skills, which come very handy during shopping. Most of the shops in the malls accept credit and debit cards; however, cash is needed at local souks.There are some recently created modern souks built in ancient Arabian style namely:
  • Souk Al Bahar in Downtown Burj Khalifa
  • Souk Madinat Jumeirah
  • Khan Murjan at Wafi.
Shopping malls of Dubai are incomparable with respect to their size, style and facilities. 

Best Malls in Dubai:

1. Dubai Mall
, the largest mall in the world offers top brands of clothing, jewellery and other products, an array of entertainment options like an aquarium where one can swim with sharks, an ice rink and an amusement park with thrilling rides.

2. Mall of the Emirates is another major name in the list of malls, which features the largest indoor ski slope of the world. There are several options for souvenirs including traditional jewellery, Oudh (a fragranced piece of wood burned to perfume clothes and homes), wood carving products, Persian carpets, traditional headscarves and small boxes crafted from camel bone. 

Read more about Shopping in Dubai

Nightlife in Dubai

Dubai offers amazing nightlife with lots of innovative drinks and excellent music. There are numerous bars and nightclubs to pick from; although, most of the licensed bars are parts of hotels with some exceptions.

However, all the nightclubs close down by 3:00 am. The minimum official age for purchasing alcohol is 21 but few clubs may refuse entry to those under 25.

Few places for nightlife in Dubai:
  • Apartment Lounge + Club (Jumeirah Beach Hotel)
  • Barasti Bar (Le Meridian Mina Seyahi Beach Resort and Marina)
  • Boudoir Nightclub (Dubai Marine Beach Resort and Spa)
  • Carter's (Wafi City)
Read more about Dubai Nightlife

Currency in Dubai

The name of the currency in Dubai is the United Arab Emirates Dirham, more commonly known as Emirati Dirham. It is used throughout the UAE. The currency – when abbreviated – is known as the "AED" (officially) or the "DHs" (unofficially). Currency notes come in the Denominations of 5, 10, 20, 50, 100, 200, 500 and 1,000, each with an alluring yet similar colour, which can also get confusing at times. 100 Fils (A subdivision of Dirham) makes up 1 Dirham.

As on 12th April 2019:
1 USD = AED 3.67
INR 18.91 = 1 AED
EUR 0.24 = 1 AED

To know more about the currency in Dubai, click here.

Exchanging Money in Dubai

The currency exchange in Dubai is pretty easy and can be done at the airport, banks or at several money exchanges (head to the nearest shopping mall for one) spread across the city in large numbers. However, the exchange rate at the airport and banks are less competitive than money exchanges. Also, ATMs are available in abundance at shopping malls, hotels, metro stations and other public areas which you can use to withdraw money.

1. Al Ansari Exchange
With over 73 branches spread across the city, Al Ansari Exchange has the most number of currency exchange counters in Dubai. You are likely to find one while touring the city. It offers the most competitive rates and is completely safe. It has also won several awards, including Forbes Middle East’s Top Companies in the Arab World in 2015. They transfer money, exchange currencies, and also accept traveller's cheque. You can either visit one of their branches or transact on their website or mobile app.

Best rates: USD, EUR, INR, JPY

2. Western Union
Western Union is another great option to exchange your currencies. Along with the basic services, they also provide extra benefits and rewards for members. You could also take part in their frequent lucky draws to win large cash prizes. There are plenty of outlets at all major tourist places in the city

Best Rates: USD, INR, EUR

3. Al Rostamani International Exchange
Al Rostamani International Exchange (ARIE) offers services like foreign exchange, retail remittance, and more. With over 16 branches across malls, high streets, and airport terminals in Dubai, ARIE is one of the most reliable foreign exchange providers. Their customer-focused approach has helped them build loyalty and enhance business over the years. It has won over 10 awards since its initiation in 1998.

Best Rates: USD, AUD, INR, NZD, JPY

4. UAE Exchange
UAE Exchange is the biggest money exchange chain in the UAE with 60 branches in Dubai itself (17 at metro stations) and 150 all over the country. In addition, they are also present in 31 other countries. Started in 1980, this company is known for its low exchange fee and focus on customer loyalty. It has also won several Business Excellence awards for its vast network.

Best Rates: CAD, USD, AUD

5. Al Fardan Exchange
Al Fardan Group has a network with over 150 global banks and financial institutions. Started in 1958, the company has gained firm trust and reliability in the market. The services offered here are money transfer, money exchange, prepaid cards, online remittance, payroll services, and more. Although they don't offer the best rates for exchanging INR, this is the ideal place to change your US Dollars, Swiss Francs, and Euros.

Best Rates: USD, CHF, NZD

History of Dubai

Dubai has a long past of being one of the most significant trading centre as well as a business and economic hub in the middle east. The once small trading port with its major earnings from fishing, pearl diving and agriculture, today Dubai stands tall ranking amid the major trading and commerce hub.

The important growth, however, in the economy of the emirate was observed with the discovery of oil in the 1960s. The place is a paradise for shopping lovers, especially with the established trading culture and tax-free open market policy. From air-conditioned malls selling top-notch designer labels to vibrant local souqs featuring handicrafts by local artisans, Dubai has conquered the shopping field with an amazing vision. Today, the emirate is also a world-renowned hub of gold and thus, is often tagged as the City of Gold. To read more into the depth of how Dubai came to being, click here.

Language of Dubai

Being one of the leading tourist destinations, Dubai is a multi-linguistic country. With Arabic being the popular choice among natives, expats converse mainly in English, Hindi, Urdu and even Filipino. Due to its mission of being the world’s most exquisite tourist destination, it attracts many labourers from Asian nations which further adds to the diversity of the spoken languages in Dubai.

To know more about the languages in Dubai and popular Arabic phrases you may want to know, click here.

Religion in Dubai

Islam is the official religion of Dubai; however, other religions are well tolerated and respected. There are multiple churches, temples and gurudwaras in Dubai as well.

Daily Budget for Dubai

Dubai is a place that caters to the interest and budget of all kind of visitors. If you are planning a trip to this desert city, below are the categories one can relate to. The cost mentioned here is approximate per day per head cost excluding the hotel charges and including food, water, local transport, entertainment, communication, tips and handouts, intercity transportation, souvenirs and alcohol cost. 

  • Budget travel: AED 200 approximately
  • Comfortable travel: AED 500 approximately
  • Luxury travel: AED 1500

Restaurants and Local Food in Dubai

Dubai, being a cosmopolitan city has residents from all over the world and boasts of serving world-class global cuisines. Among the local food, Shawarma (minced meat in Pita bread) is the most commonly available food along with Falafel and Hummus. They cost as little as AED 5 for a budget-friendly meal. Indian restaurants serving snacks are even cheaper. International chains like McDonald's, KFC, Chilis, and Starbucks are present all over Dubai and cater to most of the standard taste buds.

There are lots of Chinese and Oriental cuisine restaurants as well. However, the foreign cuisine is dominated by Indian cuisine owing to a large number of Indian migrants. Lebanese, Pakistan, Italian and Mexican cuisines are also quite easily available. Dubai's food, however, is famous mostly for its Kebabs and Middle Eastern delicacies. There are also several cafes to just sit around and relax.

Since UAE is an Islamic country, eating at public places during the holy month of Ramadan is prohibited and travellers should strictly take care of this rule. Unlike other places in the Middle East, alcohol is allowed in Dubai but has its own set of restrictions. Alcohol is available in Dubai at only licensed restaurants and bars which are mostly located in good hotels. However, selling alcohol is prohibited during religious holidays and also during the daytime in the month-long festival of Ramadan. Consuming alcohol is not allowed at public places and there are only a few selected licensed shops which sell alcohol to be consumed at home. The legal age of drinking in Dubai is above 21.
View Top Restaurants in Dubai

Suggested Itinerary

Day 1: Arrive at the Dubai International Airport and drive to one of the hundred beautiful hotels in Dubai. Visit the Burj Khalifa Complex, Dubai Mall and end the day by visiting the beautiful Souq Al Bahar at the Madinat Jumeirah. 

Day 2: Spend an entire day at one of the many theme parks in Dubai. You can visit either Dubailand, Legoland, IMG World or cool off at one of the most exciting water parks in the world, Wild Wadi.

Day 3: Relax a bit today and take a stroll through Al Fahidi Town (Old Town Dubai), Old Souk Dubai and the Sheikh Mohammed Centre for Cultural Understanding, the miracle garden.

Once the sun sets, take a canal cruise on the Abras at the Dubai Canal Cruise. 

Day 4: Spend a day in the beautiful Jumeirah area. Visit the ultra-luxurious Burj Al Arab, the palm islands and the Atlantis hotel and Explore underwater at the Lost Chambers Aquarium. Unwind at Kite Beach for a perfect finish to the day. 

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Holidify's Opinion

What's Great?

What's Not So Great?

For Whom?

The souks and heritage towns make it ideal for families and history buffs. The plethora of malls makes it fit for shopaholics. Skiing, skydiving, scuba diving and other activities is a major magnet that pulls in adventure enthusiasts. 

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Dubai Reviews

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Abdullah Haider 11 months ago
Dubai is a good example of what money and will-power can achieve. I was stunned to see flowers, literally and metaphorically, blooming in a desert. Luxurious lifestyle and tourist attractions almost manage to hide the plight of workers from developing countries. You will not get a citizenship but you'd surely wish to live there.
Rutvi Saxena 11 months ago
The first day I went to Dubai, we stopped at Jumeirah beach- quite a contrast to the arid, desert-like idea I had of the Middle East. Dubai is a melting pot of tradition and technology, and a typical tourist experience echoes it. The Burj Khalifa, tallest building in the world, gives a stunning bird?s eye view of the city, and all the malls of Dubai house the best luxury fashion and lifestyle brands. On the other hand, the Al Fahidi Fort and desert safaris will take you back to the Bedouin lifestyle of Emiratis. Four Seasons Downtown especially caters to Indian travellers, providing delicious (if overpriced) Indian food and live ghazal evenings. Dubai, having catapulted itself to the status of the commerce capital of the UAE, attracts people from all over the world for both business and leisure ; a visit here is a glimpse into various cultures and their collision with modernity.
Anam Shaikh 11 months ago
Beautiful place with something for everyone. Enchanting skyscrapers, tranquil beaches, amusement parks, peaceful gardens, Dubai is a feast for the senses. The view from Burj Khalifa is astounding. Visit during the famed Dubai Shopping Festival for an unmatched shopping experience. Go for a Desert Safari, you will not regret it! Beware of pickpockets and frauds. Wear clothes suited for warm climate but wear modest clothes as it is an Islamically-governed country which takes modesty seriously. If visiting during the month of Ramadan, don’t eat or drink publicly.
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