One of the seven emirates that make up the United Arab Emirates. Glitzy, glam, over-the-top and a little overexposed, Dubai lives for attention. It is certainly beyond ones imagination what Dubai can offer. From enjoying a desert safari and a camel-ride on the sand dunes, adventure thrills on magnificent beaches to exploring the architectural heritage of Dubai and indulging in diverse shopping extravaganza. Take a sightseeing tour of Dubai city and explore the one of their luxurious malls with unimaginable architecture, visit best and highest prized horse-races and experience the rich cultural heritage showcased in many ancient forts and royal palaces of Arab Sheiks and some of their treasures well preserved in city museums. You can also unravel the mystic Arabian cuisine, Lebanese and Iranian food delicacies besides enjoying all the other international food chains.
Arabic food is very popular and is available everywhere in the city, from the small shawarma diners in Deira and Al Karama to the restaurants in Dubai’s hotels. Fast food, South Asian, and Chinese cuisines are also very popular and are widely available. The sale and consumption of pork, though not illegal, is regulated and is sold only to non-Muslims, in designated areas of supermarkets and airports. Similarly, the sale of alcoholic beverages is regulated. A liquor permit is required to purchase alcohol; however, alcohol is available in bars and restaurants within hotels. Shisha and qahwa boutiques are also popular in Dubai. Dubai is known for its nightlife. Clubs and bars are found mostly in hotels due to the liquor laws.
Dubai city has ample treasure attractions in its store to offer its visitors. Where else can you spend a vacation that combines sand dunes and Middle East culture with breathtaking high rise hotels commanding sparkling beaches and the warm turquoise waters of the Arabian Gulf. Dubai is a shopper’s paradise. It is a duty-free zone and during its March Shopping Festival, two million visitors arrive looking for discounts on gold, electronics, clothing, and Persian carpets. The city of Dubai have numerous architectural mosques, museums and heritage attractions. On the fun side, the Wild Wadi Water Park is well worth a visit and Dubai land, when it opens, will add a whole new dimension to the city. Desert Safaris in Dubai are an amazingly refreshing experience and it is time to relish the desert feast. The tourists are served with traditional Arabian barbeque under the star-lit night on the camps that offers an unforgettable experience for a lifetime.
When it comes to nightlife, there are plenty of things to do in Dubai! If your primary desire is a place to nurse a drink and enjoy some friendly conversation, take advantage of the city’s many bars, like Scarlett’s. As the night wears on, consider catching a few sets of live music to get a feel for Dubai’s local talent. Biggles is one of the best places to do that, and you can always count on an array of terrific performances. Really want to let loose? Nothing beats dancing to high-energy rhythms, and you’ll find those regularly at Rock Bottom Cafe. Dubai’s nightlife scene has come along in leaps and bounds, most, if not all, of the clubs are open until 3 am. At which point the music stops and the lights come on, abruptly. There are apparently large fines levied on the establishment if music continues even seconds after the gong. During Ramadan check to see if they are open. Many will be closed, and the ones that are open will be very subdued – no live music or dancing is allowed then. Men wearing local dress (dishdashas, kandooras) will usually be denied entry. Not because of nationality but because it is apparently against the law to wear local dress in bars and nightclubs in Dubai. Presumably the same applies to women in abayas. During Ramadan you may be asked what religion you are. Muslims will be requested not to enter Dubai nightclubs and bars during Ramadan. Like most countries, women and couples will have an easier time getting in to a night club in Dubai than men (solo or in groups).
The main currency of United Arab Emirates is United Arab Emirates dirham, which translate to handful in Latin. Fils are a subdivision of currency used in many Arab countries and is part of the early medieval Arab coins. In the early ages, fils coins were used with different ranking of bronze, cupro-nickel, etc. based on their denominations. Notes come in denominations of 1, 5, 10, 50, and 100 dirhams.
Customs & Languages
The official language for United Arab Emirates is Arabic. However, there are different variations. The Modern Standard Arabic is used for official documents, books, magazines, etc. The Gulf Arabic is spoken usually in places such as Qatar, Kuwait, Bahrain, and Saudi Arabia. Since they were occupied by the British colony until 1971, English is a second language that is heavily spoken by others. Other influences include Islamic, Persian, and Arabian culture incorporated into their different lifestyles such as music, architecture, and cuisine. Some things to note when visiting UAE is to stay conservative for clothing styles. They tend to be more conservative and rather you wear clothes that are not too revealing. Although it’s a desert, there is still traffic during rush hours and weekends!
Here are some helpful words/phrases:
- Thank you — Shukraan lakum
- Please — Raja’
- Hello — Marhabaan
- Excuse me — Efu
- How much? — Kam althamana?
- Where is the restroom? — ‘Ayn alhamam?
Go to Dubai!
Dubai is a fascinating experiment and a city-state that’s like no other. Dubai has always lived up to its reputation of being the best and most visited city in the world with its eye on new exploration and a unique experience that it can offer to its visitors.