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experience

Dubai

The dynamic city of Dubai, has transformed itself from a humble trading post into a glittering metropolis where striking skyscrapers and man-made islands rise out of the Arabian Desert.

With its large expat community, the city offers a level of cultural interaction that is unseen anywhere else in the world, as it is a travel hub to the entire world.

Dubai is renowned for its architectural marvels like the Burj Khalifa, and the sail-shaped Burj Al Arab, a symbol of extravagance. The city’s skyline is a testament to human ambition, with futuristic skyscrapers juxtaposed against the timeless beauty of the Arabian Gulf, where you are never far from an amazing view.

Beyond the skyline, Dubai offers a diverse array of activities to suit every traveller’s taste. Indulge in retail therapy at world-class shopping destinations like the Dubai Mall, explore the vibrant souks, or experience the thrill of desert adventures on a safari where you can ride camels, surf on dunes, and stargaze under the Arabian night sky.

Dubai’s commitment to luxury extends to its hospitality, with a vast choice of luxurious hotels, each providing an unparalleled experience. Culinary enthusiasts can savour an array of international cuisines, from Michelin-starred restaurants to authentic street food.

Whether you seek adventure, relaxation, or a taste of extravagance, Dubai is a holiday haven where the past meets the future, offering an unforgettable blend of tradition and innovation that defines the essence of this cosmopolitan gem.

Time zone: UTC + 4

Currency: The currency in Dubai is the dirham (AED). ATMs are readily available to withdraw Dirhams, which are useful for small purchases. However, credit cards are most widely used in daily life, like at malls, major restaurants, hotels, etc.

Language: The official language in Dubai is Arabic; however, English is widely spoken. All street signs, restaurant menus and so on are in Arabic and English, and some popular tourist areas have signage in more languages.

Transportation: Navigating Dubai is a breeze. A range of Dubai taxi services are readily available and affordable, and you can access them from almost anywhere in the city.

The Dubai Metro is also an efficient way to travel around the city and is a great option for avoiding traffic, especially during rush hour. It’s the world’s largest driverless train, is affordable and is air-conditioned. The Dubai Metro’s Red and Green lines run from Dubai International Airport (DXB) and through the busiest areas of the city.

Cuisine: Dubai’s cuisine is as diverse as the city’s multicultural population. You’ll find a wide range of international cuisines side by side with popular Emirati dishes like Al Harees, Al Majboos, and Luqaimat and traditional Arabic dishes like Shawarma, Falafel, and Hummus.

Safety: Dubai is a safe tourist destination and is heavily monitored, so violent crime is rare.

Tipping: It is customary to tip between 10-15% for appreciation of good service. Some restaurants include a service charge, so check the bill before tipping.

Social: The local population is predominately Muslim, and visitors are expected to abide by the Arabic rules and customs. Due to the high expatriate population in Dubai, Dubai is an open-minded and tolerant society. Tourists may drink in licensed restaurants, hotels and bars. Still, there is zero tolerance for drunken behaviour, and it is unacceptable and punishable to drink or smoke in public places, including beaches. Public displays of affection are also not acceptable.

What to See
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Dubai is known for its impressive architecture, luxury shopping, vibrant culture, and unique attractions. The most popular must-see attractions include the world’s tallest building, Burj Khalifa, which offers amazing views of the city.

Most visitors include a shopping trip in their plans, and the place to go for this is Dubai Mall. It offers an incredible array of shops and fun attractions like the Dubai Aquarium for those who need a break from shopping.

The Dubai Fountain is a must-see. It’s the world’s largest choreographed fountain system that is a captivating dance of lights and music.

Of course, no visit is complete without visiting the man-made Palm Jumeirah or the stunning Dubai Miracle Botanical Garden, with its display of over 150 million flowers.

For the more adventurous, a trip to the desert for dune bashing, riding a camel, or enjoying dinner and stargazing is the perfect way to top off a trip to Dubai.

What to Taste & Smell
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Dubai’s distinctive atmosphere bombards the senses with a variety of smells and tastes that reflect the city’s diverse culture. The air is infused with traditional Middle Eastern scents such as bakhoor and incense. At the bustling souks, the fragrance is punctuated by the rich aroma of spices and traditional Arabic perfumes fragrances of oud, rose, and amber.

Arabic hospitality usually starts with a cup of aromatic Arabic coffee (Gahwa) accompanied by sweet dates – a delightful introduction to the opposing local flavours.

Dubai’s diverse culinary scene features a fusion of Arabic, Persian, Indian, and international influences. Don’t miss out on vibrant local dishes like shawarma, kebabs and falafel, and of course, who can resist finishing off a meal with a decadent dessert such as baklava, knafeh, or halva.

What to Hear
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The sounds of Dubai blend tradition and modernity in a captivating way. The call to prayer cuts through the sounds of revving engines and honking horns across the city daily. The bustling city life and sounds of construction, people chattering, and shopping background music create a lively atmosphere compared to the relaxing sounds of waves lapping against the shores and where holidaymakers relax on the beaches.

Mix with this the multitude of languages spoken, the sounds of festivals, entertainment, and cultural celebrations that contribute to the city’s rich tapestry, and you will hear the multicultural nature of Dubai.

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Dubai
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