Acquaintance with the Emirates
The most memorable gift for my birthday was a trip to the UAE. Probably, like most tourists before a trip to the UAE, we have long and carefully chosen the place of our "deployment": Dubai or Sharjah, a city hotel or a beach? But since only a week was planned for vacation, we decided to choose Dubai and the hotel "Ibis Al Barsha", located in one of the developing areas of Al-Barsha, which optimally combined both the location relative to the metro and the city center , and Jumeirah Beach, as well as two more important factors for a practical tourist: price-quality!
Of course, having visited the UAE, we realized that the choice between Dubai and Sharjah was just the tip of the iceberg, a huge part of which are no less wonderful and interesting emirates: Abu Dhabi, Ras Al Khaimah, Ajman, Fujairah and Um Al Quwain ... Nevertheless, I believe that in order to "discover" the UAE for oneself, first of all it is necessary to visit Dubai.
Dubai is the undisputed leader among all of the 7 emirates! The first and most developed tourist emirate, which every year is ready to surprise its guests with more and more sights, chic hotels and nightclubs, a variety of restaurants and shopping centers, various sporting events and many ordinary, at first glance, things that, nevertheless , in Dubai become unique!
I hope that some of my personal observations and advice will be useful to tourists who are planning their holidays in Dubai.
1. What is the best time to relax in Dubai and why.
I think the best months for a vacation in the UAE are two periods: from late September to early December and from mid-March to late May. At this time, in my opinion, the most comfortable air temperature is + 30 ... + 33C and water temperature + 24 ... + 28C. Shopping lovers definitely need to visit Dubai in January, when the famous Dubai Shopping Festival is taking place, and sports lovers will be interested in Dubai in December-February, when many sports competitions are held, such as: tennis, golf, rugby tournaments, running competitions, etc. etc.
2. Customs in Dubai.
When buying a tour through tour operators, visa processing usually takes 3-5 working days, and the cost of processing it will be $ 70-75. The visa is electronic, but a printed copy of it is issued to you with the main package of documents for the tour.
Upon arrival in Dubai, first of all, you need to undergo a retinal scan, and then only go through passport control and receive your luggage. It is also necessary to remember that the so-called "dry law" operates in the UAE and the import of alcoholic beverages is strictly controlled upon entry. You can import no more than 2 liters of spirits and 2 liters of wine.
3. Areas of Dubai.
In which area of Dubai to stay and where is the best hotel to stay? This question, I think, always remains and will remain open. Dubai is constantly "growing and building", but the main areas that are always heard and where the main attractions and hotels are located are called: Deira, Bar Dubai, Jumeirah, Downtown and the new Dubai Marina and Al Barsha. All these districts have their own "calling card":
- Deira: one of the first districts in Dubai, famous for the Spice Souk and the Gold Souk;
- Bur Dubai: loved by tourists for the beautiful views from the many cafes to the Dubai Creek, the textile market and the old fort museum;
- Jumeirah: the most exclusive area of Dubai, with the famous Jumeirah Beach and the famous Palm Jumeirah - an artificial artificial island in the form of a palm tree;
- Downtown: the area famous primarily for the tallest building in the world "Burj Khalifa" and the incomparable light and music fountain near it, as well as the most famous shopping center in Dubai - "Dubai Mall";
- Dubai Marina: The area, which takes its name from the surrounding Marina, an artificial shipping canal, is also famous for its The Walk and yacht clubs;
- Al Barsha: a new, under construction area practically in the center of Dubai, famous for the Mall of Emirates, which houses the artificial ski complex Ski Dubai.
4. Hotels in Dubai.
All areas of Dubai, in addition to their attractions, are also known for the hotels that are located in them. All hotels of the highest level and hotels of famous world chains are located in the Jumeirah and Palm Jumeirah areas, the most famous of them are: Atlantis the Palm, Burj Al Arab, Jumeirah Beach Hotel, Hilton Dubai Jumeirah, Le Royal Meridien Beach Resort & SPA, One & Only hotel chain, complex Madinat Jumeirah. All these hotels have their own beaches and are located on the first line.
In the districts of Dubai Marina and Al Barsha, you can find hotels of various levels, from 5 * to 2 * hotels, and 3 * and 2 * hotels will be able to offer you comfortable accommodation and excellent service, and a convenient transport interchange and metro stations are within walking distance. accessibility - easily get to any part of the city and the beaches of Dubai: Marina Byblos hotel, Marina View hotel, Ibis Mall of the Emirates, Five Continents Cassells Al Barsha Hotel, Auris Plaza Hotel Al Barsha.
Hotels in Downtown and Bur Dubai are more suitable for shopping, youth recreation and various business trips: Ramada Downtown Dubai Hotel, Al Manzil Hotel, Al Murooj Rotana Hotel & Suites,
Citymax Hotel Bur Dubai, Arabian Park Hotel, Panorama Bur Dubai 2 *.
In Deira, there are mainly 2 * -3 * hotels offering budget accommodation and appropriate service: Comfort Inn, Auris Hotel Apartaments Deira, Sun & Sand, San Marco.
5. The best beaches in Dubai.
Despite the fact that the majority of Dubai hotels are urban-type hotels, beach lovers will not be disappointed. Almost all hotels have a free transfer to specially equipped city beaches: Al Mamzar Beach Park (for hotels in Deira, Bur Dubai, Downtown) and Jumeirah Beach Park (for hotels in Jumeirah, Dubai Marina, Al Barsha), which are located on the coast of the Persian Gulf and delight with their white sand, gentle entrance and warm, transparent water. The entrance to the beaches is paid, the ticket costs 5 dirhams, you will also have to pay separately for renting sun loungers, umbrellas and beach towels, here it is up to you to decide what you need and what not. The beach staff will set you up with a sun lounger, parasol and towels when you show them your tickets. There are cafes, restaurants on the beaches,
In addition to paid beaches, you can choose for yourself and rest on unequipped or minimally equipped free beaches Jumeirah Pablic Beach (for hotels in the Bur Dubai area), Al Mamzar Open Beach (for hotels in the Deira area) and Jumeirah Beach Residents (for hotels in the Dubai area). Marina).
6. Kitchen in Dubai.
About restaurants and food in Dubai, I can say the following: the breakfast included in the tour at the hotel was enough for us not to feel hungry before dinner. At lunchtime, as a rule, we had a snack either on the beach, or somewhere on excursions, or in "fast foods" in shopping malls while shopping. We always dined in the restaurants of the Golden Fork chain, they are located, in my opinion, in all districts of Dubai and are often mentioned in tourist reviews about hotels in Dubai. We also learned about the Golden Fork from our hotel review and were very pleased with their varied menu and delicious food.
Of course, there is a huge selection of different restaurants in Dubai, where all the delights of absolutely all cuisines of the world are presented, and you can find them easily, if you just look on the Internet.
That, with regards to alcoholic beverages, in Dubai you will "find" them only in restaurants and bars at hotels, and in our hotel, for example, the bar was open around the clock, and beer and other alcoholic beverages could be purchased only from 17.00-24.00. It is possible to buy alcohol only in Duty Free upon arrival in Dubai. Beer and wine in shops and public cafes and restaurants is exclusively non-alcoholic.
7. Transport in Dubai.
Moving around Dubai you will not have any problems at all, taxis are on the counter at the hotel and wherever you want, short trips of 10-20 dirhams. Since our hotel was not far from the metro, we traveled exclusively on it. The metro map is very simple and at any of the metro stations you can easily figure out where you need to go and where you need the exit. The cost of the trip depends on the number of stations; you can also buy passes. Tickets are purchased either from special machines or from a cashier.
8. Leisure in Dubai.
What to do in Dubai and how to organize your leisure time in your free time? The most important part in this matter is "free time", namely where to get it ?! Taking into account the overview of the sights of Dubai, as well as all kinds of excursions that you can visit in the neighboring emirates, I think you will have a minimum of free time. You can spend it on whatever your heart desires: various museums, parks, shopping, nightclubs, water parks, Deira markets, walks in various districts and promenades of Dubai and much, much more.
9. Attractions / excursions in Dubai.
I have already mentioned the main sights of Dubai, their general list and my "personal" rating looks like this:
- The light and music fountain near the Dubai Mall - every half hour a new musical composition plays, to which the jets of water literally dance. Sometimes the combination of music and splashes of water, as well as light and fireworks, gives you goosebumps. Very nice!
- The tallest building in the world is the 828-meter Burj Khalifa, with an observation deck on the 124th floor !!! In the evening, the view of the glowing city is just cosmic!
- The aquarium in the Dubai Mall, in the tunnel in the center of the aquarium, you get the full feeling that you are on the seabed.
- The Atlantis Hotel and its Aquaventure water park, the whole day in this water park flies unnoticed, a beautiful green area, a beach, water slides and swimming with dolphins - delight adults even more than children! Be sure to ride along the “river” around the water park, through rapids and waterfalls, as well as on the “Shark Tank” attraction, where you will drive through a transparent tunnel surrounded by sharks and rays.
With regard to excursions in Dubai, here, of course, in the first place is "Jeep Safari". Before that, on a jeep safari, we were in Tunisia, in the Sahara Desert, then it seemed to me that there could not be a more exciting safari…. Until we went on a jeep safari in the Arabian Desert! What do jeep drivers do, words cannot convey, an explosion of emotions and shaking knees when leaving the car! Also great fun - riding a buggy, you can find out more at https://www.bigreddxb.com. Then a completely pacifying spectacle of a sunset in the desert and a funky dance show, combined with dinner in an oriental tent, reclining on huge pillows. A henna tattoo will be a pleasant bonus for everyone, as it will immediately make it clear at the airport who was on a jeep safari in the desert.
Another 2 excursions that we managed to visit during our weekly tour were: an excursion to the Emirate of Abu Dhabi and an excursion "5 Emirates + Indian Ocean". I mention these excursions as additional from what you can see in Dubai, since they already belong to other emirates.
10. Shopping in Dubai.
A shopaholic's paradise - this is the only way to describe shopping in Dubai! All the most famous and not so famous brands, boutiques, world houses of fashion and jewelry, fur salons, audio and video equipment, electronics, dishes, textiles, carpets and whatever you want - you will find all this in numerous shopping centers, outlets or ordinary markets in Deira. The most famous shopping centers: Dubai Mall, Mall of Emirates, Ibn Battuta Shopping Mall, Bur Juman, Deira City Center.
Famous Deira Markets: Spice Souk and Gold Souk.
11. Currency in Dubai.
The currency of the UAE is the dirham (AED - Arab Emirates Dirham). We exchanged dollars for dirhams at exchange offices in shopping centers, as a rule, they are located on the basement floors in all malls. You can also exchange dollars at the hotel, but the rate will be much lower. There is also a good exchange rate at the airport, where you can change dollars immediately upon arrival. Almost everywhere you can pay with Visa, Master Card. We paid for all excursions in dollars.
12. Communication in Dubai.
Regarding telephone communication and the Internet in Dubai, I would like to highlight the following main points. The Internet is almost everywhere and free of charge, in hotels, restaurants, malls. So communication via Skype, Viber will significantly save your money on calls . You can also buy a local SIM card with a UAE number, the only thing you need to show when buying is your passport or a copy of it. The SIM card is valid for one year, so it will be possible to transfer it to friends / acquaintances without any problems.
13. Code of Conduct / Etiquette in Dubai.
The basic rules of conduct and etiquette in Dubai are the same as in all Muslim countries: restraint in the expression of emotions and dress. Of course, Dubai is very, very loyal to the way you are dressed, but everywhere in public places you meet both our fellow citizens and foreigners dressed in shorts, short skirts and T-shirts. On the doors of the Dubai Mall, I saw an unusual sign depicting something like "the police in appearance", but I never heard any comments from the law enforcement officers to tourists. Men are generally allowed to wear whatever they please, while girls must decide for themselves what to wear in order to feel comfortable, but still, if possible, try to respect local customs and rules.
And, of course, I would like to remind you once again that alcohol consumption is prohibited for Muslims. Naturally, this law does not apply to tourists. You can drink in bars and restaurants of hotels, nightclubs, but appear in public places drunk, and even more so drink alcohol, be it even beer you bought in duty free, on beaches or any other public places, can lead to a serious fine and detention.
14. Useful tourist information about Dubai.
In conclusion, I would like to say a few more words about souvenirs that can be brought from Dubai. For me personally, dates were a real find! Dates with and without seeds, stuffed with nuts and candied fruits, big and small sets! There is also a large selection of all kinds of sweets and a huge selection of baklava. Sets of various spices and coffee are all very colorfully packaged and will be an excellent souvenir for relatives, friends and acquaintances. You can delight your loved ones with unusual jewelry, textiles and handmade carpets. As a gift for coffee lovers, you can bring the most beautiful cezves and Turks, but most likely they will hardly be used for their intended purpose, since these are real works of art. The most popular UAE souvenir is "Seven Sands". These are bottles or paintings under glass of sand of different colors, depicting various landscapes, camels, names, etc. The sellers claim that sand from all 7 emirates of the UAE is used to make these souvenirs.