Dubai Travel Guide for First-Time Travellers

Dubai is a city like none other in the world. Tagged as a futuristic city, Dubai is one of the most prominent emirates and the most populous one in the UAE. It is also known for its extraordinary allure for tourists from all over the world. The emirate which was once a desert settlement venturing out as a fishing and pearl-trading township took just over two decades to ascend as one of the most contemporary cities in the world. 

 Even though it is located in a desert region, Dubai surprises its guests with sweeping stretches of pristine beaches and an amazing assortment of water parks to beat the heat. You can explore some of the most jaw-dropping landmarks and enjoy a myriad of exciting recreational activities and outdoor attractions on a Dubai holiday. The city is also known for its amazing shopping and dining scene. Dubai’s attractions are easily accessible thanks to its widespread network of metro routes. The city is teeming with a rich assortment of attractions that fuse in modern ambiance with the Emirati culture and one may feel quite overwhelmed with what to see and do on a Dubai holiday. Here’s what you can include on a short Dubai vacation along with some handy Dubai travel tips to make your trip convenient and comfortable. 

1. Dubai Downtown

It is usually a good idea to start the Dubai vacation with a trip to Dubai Downtown. This precinct of Dubai is home to Burj Khalifa, Dubai Fountain, and the Dubai Mall. A travel guide to Dubai will always have a special mention of these three attractions. Burj Khalifa is an iconic modern landmark that offers unparalleled aerial views of Dubai and beyond from its observatory deck – ‘At the Top’- Burj Khalifa. The tallest tower in the world is also a great place to enjoy a scintillating spectacle of sound and light show on occasional days and events when Burj Khalifa illuminates in millions of LED lights and laser shows.  Dubai Fountain adds grace to the ambience with its charming performance and together with Burj Khalifa is a not-to-miss attraction to visit in Dubai. Just a couple of minutes away from these attractions, you can find yourself at a shopping paradise – Dubai Mall. The largest shopping mall in the world has everything you would desire to purchase and also includes some amazing recreational venues such as Dubai Aquarium and Underwater Zoo, Kidzania, and VR Park. Dubai Downtown is one of the iconic highlights of Dubai City Tours. Add a touch of opulence to your trip with a Limousine Dubai Tour which is perfect to take you around the city as well as the Dubai Downtown in style.

2. Old World Charms at Dubai Creek

Dubai’s past is equally enticing to witness as its modern counterpart. The simple lifestyle of Dubai’s olden days is preserved impressively at the shores of Dubai Creek. You can start your second day in Dubai with a tour to this Old Dubai section of the emirate. The contrasting vistas will make you aware of how humble Dubai’s bygone days were. The Al Fahidi Historical Neighbourhood gives you a glimpse of Dubai’s out-of-time township which is monochromatic and without any glitz and glamour. The bustling Dubai Souks and their heady alleys is a shopping experience that is so different from the usual shopping mall experience. A visit to the Gold Souk is certainly going to make you spellbound as there wouldn’t be any other place where you have seen so much gold and semi-precious jewellery. 

3. La Mer Dubai

A recent addition to Dubai’s hot and happening recreational attractions, La Mer Dubai is an upscale beachfront destination located near Jumeirah Public Beach. It is quite famous among family holidaymakers, kids, and group of friends seeking to have a fun and relaxing time in Dubai. One of the best places to visit in Dubai to have a fun adventure and even cool off from the desert city heat is Laguna Water Park. This fascinating water park has a handful of water thrill rides, a beachfront leisure setting, and even a wave simulator that lets you try your skills in surfing. A visit to La Mer is highly recommended as it fuses the best of water excitement, laid-back leisure, and beach vibes in one attraction. 

4. Palm Jumeirah

You can complete your Dubai holiday with a visit to one of the emirate’s most ambitious feat – Palm Jumeirah. Spread on the Persian Gulf, Palm Jumeirah is a man-made island designed in the shape of a Palm Tree. Currently, it is one of the best places to visit in Dubai to get a glimpse of Dubai’s opulent lifestyle. Perched on the Crescent Road is one of the most luxurious resorts in the UAE – Atlantis the Palm Dubai. Those seeking luxury on their Dubai holiday can book a stay at this fantastic resort which will offer complimentary access to the biggest water park in the UAE – Aquaventure water park and an enigmatic underwater experience at The Lost Chambers Aquarium. The Palm Jumeirah is also home to the largest water fountain in the world – Palm Fountain. To witness its ultimate grandeur, a flight experience is recommended to view it from a bird’s eye view or taking a Yacht ride Dubai experience to view the breath-taking coastline to take home unforgettable scenic memories of Palm Jumeirah.

Other places to see in Dubai

Dubai Desert Safari – A Dubai travel guide will never miss out to recommend a trip to the Dubai desert. At a Dubai Desert Safari, you get to witness the gorgeous golden dunes of the vast Arabian desert and even try out desert sports such as dune bashing, quad biking, and sandboarding. The evening sunset, Arabian entertainment, and the traditional BBQ dinner right in the middle of the desert would be moments that you will never forget in your lifetime. 

Ski Dubai –  Nothing is impossible in Dubai even snow-skiing! At the Mall of the Emirates, you can find a wintry wonderland at Ski Dubai – a temperature-controlled indoor snow landscape that offers a collection of winter sports and activities for all age groups to enjoy. It is a great way to get away from the stifling heat of Dubai city. 

Dubai Parks and Resorts – Boasted as the largest integrated amusement park in the region, Dubai Parks and Resorts lets you explore 3 amazing theme parks namely MOTIONGATE Dubai, Bollywood Parks Dubai, and LEGOLAND Dubai and LEGOLAND Water Park.  This is a fun place for all ages as even kids under the age of two can have their share of thrill at dedicated spaces designed for them at LEGOLAND Dubai. 

Essential tips for Dubai visitors

The best way to get around in Dubai in a budget-conscious way is by taking the metro. The metro route is well connected throughout the city and is quite a convenient way to travel in Dubai. Do not try to walk from one point to another as it can get really exhausting in the stifling sunny days of Dubai. 

Dubai has a dry climate and the majority of the year is sunny. The climate is just variations of summer and fluctuates between warm and hot temperatures. Hence it is essential to choose apparels that are light and airy. Being an Islamic emirate, Dubai also has restrictions on what you can wear in public places.  Men should avoid wearing singlets or sleeveless shirts. Some places also do not allow shorts and flip-flops. Women should keep in mind to cover shoulders and knees. So, to be on a safer side, add a layered outfit such as a scarf, stole or cardigan in case you are not sure as to what to wear at a particular attraction. 

Dubai has strict laws and also follows various customs that are abided by the Islamic culture. It would be best to know what is allowed while planning your trip to Dubai. For instance, only Non-muslims can consume alcohol and you would be needing a liquor license for the same. Public display of affection is frowned upon and can attract a hefty fine. Weekends are on Friday and Saturday so don’t be surprised if you find attractions less crowded during Sundays. Also, if you are visiting during the Holy month of Ramadan, then you will have to follow certain customs followed by the locals, and the restaurants and dining venues will be shut for the major part of the day. 


Darsh is a blogger and previous owner of this website.

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