Dubai: Live Life, The Sultan Way
Dubai is one of the most popular seven emirates that makes the famous United Arab Emirates. The country is favorite of many because of its man-made islands, shopping malls and sky-rise buildings such as the Burj Khalifa and Mall of Emirates. Recognised as one of the most expensive city in the world and the most expensive city in the Middle East. Traveling to Dubai will definitely hit you hard money-wise.
Looking on the bright side I had a huge list of many things to do in Dubai, on the top of the list there was- dune bashing and camel riding to shopping and of course relishing the delicious Middle Eastern cuisine.
TOP THINGS I DID IN DUBAI:
- Explore the city. By bus, metro or taxi you can get around the city in 2-3 hours depending on traffic. Some of the popular places are the Jumeirah mosque and the old part of town. If you are a budget traveller like me, always and always use public transport. They are not only cost friendly but also very comforting.
- Though I had a tight budget for this trip I simply paid a Visit to Burj Al Arab instead of staying in. Designed like the shape of a ship and being the world’s fourth largest hotel, this is great sight – seen from the outside. It made my inner tourist cry like a baby- only if I could have stayed here. It costs a whopping $7,000 and $18,000 per night which is like 4.5-11.5 lacs in Indian currency.
- How could I had given a miss to Al Khalifa, the largest building in the world at 829,8 meters. With a camera in my hand and eyes searching the end of this huge building’s tip, I was all conquered by this spectacular beauty of architecture.
- The Mall of the Emirates are one of the biggest malls worldwide, and it features an indoor ski resort at 22,500 square meters. As a hard core Desi tourist for me it was a living the dream moment to come here, but as the prices here are as high as Dubai’s high-rise buildings, I preferred window shopping instead of real buying. However, I fulfilled my shopping dreams at the local souks.
- I am always in the favour of covering the neighbourhood, as you never know when you get a chance to come back. So, I spent a good part of my holidays discovering the other Emirates. Since none of the Emirates are large in compass, it was easy to make a trip to one of the others.
- Went for dune bashing. This is an adrenaline pumping experience where you drive through the desert landscape at a high, very high speed, causing the car to slide over the sand dunes. It will cost you anywhere between 100 Dirhams up to 400 Dirhams for a 6-7-hour trip.
BEST TIME TO GO
Dubai is best visited between February and April, which is the mild season with temperatures in the twenties. This, however, is also the most expensive and crowded period, so visiting outside this time will give you some bonuses. Just be prepared for scorching hot days.
Also, do look out for the timing of Ramadan while you’re planning. It usually lasts for about 30 days and during this time everything shuts down. All non-Muslims are prohibited to eat, drink or smoke in public during daylight hours and most of the cafes or restaurants remain close during the day.
At arrival, you will get a visa free of charge, this will last for 30-days. If you wish to stay longer, you can get 30 days more at an additional charge. Many nationalities don’t need a visa, but some do. You can check the same beforehand to plan better.
Although it might seem very westernized and modern, Never even in your dreams forget that Dubai is still a Muslim country and it is run by Sharia Law. After all I witnessed a 24-year old Norwegian woman being raped and sent to jail for reporting the crime. Unfortunately, this is not an isolated case, so better be careful.
Here’s what not to do in Dubai:
- Avoid drinking alcohol or being drunk in public. It is not tolerated and can lead to jail time. However, as a non-drinker I was not much affected by this law.
- If you’re a smoker, I would advise not smoking in public as it can lead to fines.
- Kissing, holding hands or being cosy with your partner can lead to arrest and imprisonment.
- Sex outside marriage. Having sex with someone you’re not married to can lead to severe criminal sanctions.
- Here, in Dubai, homosexuality is illegal.
- Swearing and the such can lead to punishment. Here, we Indian’s need to pay special attention :p
- Keep that bikini body covered till your next trip to western countries. Don’t wear swimwear outside the beach, and in general you should keep it modest.
Dubai is expensive, so prepare to pay! However, if you’re not looking to spend a fortune on your Arabian adventure, you can find cheaper hotels and restaurants, just like I did. Budget to mid-range travellers can get stays for $50 to $100 per day.
How to save money in Dubai:
- Take local transportation. A day pass for the Metro will only cost you 14 Dirham for all zones. You can hop on and off wherever you want to. Buses are quite cheap, too.
- Eat locally. On my entire trip, I was on local food, it is equally delicious and cost friendly too. A shawarma costs only 4 Dirhams!
- This is something that we boys will feel led down for, but If you’re a lady, go out on Mondays. In Dubai, Monday is Ladies Night, and all bars offer at least 2 free drinks or free drinks all night.
- Buy your stuffs at Kamara and souks instead of those pricy malls. I found some real good deals at fair prices.