What to prepare when traveling to Dubai? Where is Dubai located? How to dress in a Muslim culture? If you are planning to travel to Dubai, this post will provide an overview of what you need to know to prepare for your trip thoughtfully. So, what to know before visiting Dubai, what you need to know before going to Dubai and what to know before going to Dubai? Let’s check out our tips Dubai blog with 10 Dubai travel tips, things to know before going to Dubai, things to know before traveling to Dubai, things to know before visiting Dubai, tips for visiting Dubai and things you need to know before going to Dubai as follows!
Dubai is a country? (# things to know before going to dubai)
There are many people who think Dubai is a country, I used to be like that. In fact, Dubai is an emirate belonging to the United Arab Emirates (UAE). The UAE consists of seven emirates and each has its own legislative, executive, and judicial systems.
Another thing is that many people mistakenly think that Dubai is the capital of the UAE, but it is not. Abu Dhabi is the capital of the UAE and the richest emirate in this country. Abu Dhabi’s oil reserves are the largest of the seven states, far exceeding Dubai. Decades ago in the 70s, the rulers of Dubai realized that oil resources would be exhausted, so they were determined to build Dubai into an economic, entertainment, and financial center of the entire Middle East region and the world.
What languages are spoken in Dubai? (# things to know before traveling to dubai)
Dubai belongs to the Arab world, so obviously Arabic is the official language here. However, the domestic Arab population (Emirati) in Dubai is relatively low. Out of a total population of 3.4 million, just over 270,000 are domestic residents (governmental statistics in 2020). The rest are foreigners living in Dubai with more than 165 nationalities.
Immigrants make up 85% of the total population in Dubai. Most of them are Indians, Pakistanis, Bangladeshis, and Filipinos. Therefore, in addition to the official language of Arabic, English is widely spoken in Dubai. You can communicate in English almost in every corner, even in the old markets.
Currency (# things to know before visiting dubai)
The official currency is the Dirham (AED). When coming to Dubai, don’t exchange money at the airport because the exchange rate is very high. You should exchange your money at the currency exchange points in the city or even before going to Dubai.
In addition, since the COVID epidemic, contactless transactions have become very popular, so you can pay by card, Apple Pay, or Samsung Pay. I only used cash once when going to the old market in Dubai or tipped the delivery man a couple of times.
Weather (# what to know before going to dubai)
Dubai has two distinctly different seasons: a hot season (summer) and a cool season (“winter”).
In the hot season, with a tropical desert climate, Dubai experiences a hot and humid climate with an average temperature of 43–45 degrees Celsius. Peaks can reach 50 degrees Celsius. Summer usually lasts from April until the end of October.
From November to the end of March is the time when the weather is cool and pleasant. Daytime temperature is 22–26 degrees, dropping to 20–25 degrees at night. This is also the ideal time to travel to Dubai. Most entertainment activities and tourist attractions are operating at full capacity to welcome visitors during this time. Of course, if you travel at this time, you will have to suffer from crowds and higher prices than during the hot weather of the year.
Due to climate change, the hot season in Dubai now lasts much longer than in the past. My Malay friend who lived in Dubai for four years said that just three years ago, the “winter” in Dubai was much longer and colder than it is now. People have to wear many layers of clothes to stay warm.
Dress culture (# what you need to know before going to dubai)
Domestic or religious people often wear traditional Arabic clothes.
Men wear white long-sleeved and long lap shirts – called kandura. Women usually wear a long, loose black shirt called abaya with a hijab. However, not everyone wears black abaya, it’s just that black is more common than other colors. Wearing traditional clothes helps keep the body cool and is also a cultural pride of domestic or religious people.
Besides the traditional dress, practically everyone in Dubai can dress comfortably.
However, in public places such as government offices or religious mosques, there is a dress code for everyone. Women are often required to wear modest clothing, long sleeves, ankle pants/skirts, and a headscarf if entering religious places such as mosques.
With the diversity of cultures, you can enjoy the cuisine of most places in the world in Dubai: Asia, Europe, Africa, America, Mexico, and Arabia. At the same time, the prices are also very diverse, from affordable sidewalk restaurants to luxurious five-star restaurants. Dubai can offer you whatever you want.
However, one thing to note is that Dubai is a Muslim state, so restaurants do not serve pork unless licensed by the authority. If you want to consume alcoholic beverages, you must go to licensed stores to purchase them. These stores are called off-license and you must be 21 years of age or older.
Dubai has a modern and hygienic public transport system including:
- Metro (2 lines green and red)
- Tram (only in the Jumeirah & Marina area)
- There are also taxis, which you can easily book on Careem or Uber.
However, Uber in Dubai is much more expensive than elsewhere. I recommend everyone download the Careem app and book Hala Taxi. This is the best option for your wallet.
Besides, cars are widely used in Dubai and this is the most accessible form of transportation. So be prepared that you will have to spend a lot of money on taxis.
Metro only runs along the main road Sheikh Zayed Road (red line) and part of Old Dubai – Deira, Burjuman (green line). If you want to go to all corners and alleys, you can easily get there by car. Buses in Dubai run infrequently and you often have to wait a long time.
Another thing to note is that the metro in Dubai only operates until midnight. Meanwhile, the tram works until 1 am. Compared to other big cities, the operating time is quite short.
For tourists, you can rent a car to drive if using an international driver’s license. Rental cars must be registered with RTA.
Dubai builds its brand as a tourist paradise, so there are dozens of hotels for you to choose from, from economical to super fancy. During the peak tourist season (November to April annually), you should plan early and book your accommodation in advance to get the best price.
In addition, Airbnb is also a good choice. Apartments with eye-catching views are often rented by landlords and the prices are quite competitive compared to hotels.
There is a small note that when you are a tourist staying in Dubai, you have to pay 7% – 10% Municipality fees. Let’s just call it the urban fee. This fee will be charged by almost any hospitality service. In addition, hotels and Airbnb may charge you for the following:
- 10% property service charge
- 6%–10% city tax
- 6% tourism fee, about 7–20 AED/night/room
According to the data compiled by the Global Peace Index in 2021, the whole UAE is ranked 52 out of 163 countries in terms of safety. One thing I find quite interesting is that Vietnam ranks higher than the UAE, at 50th.
In my opinion, Dubai is very safe, you can walk alone at night comfortably. Pickpocketing or robbery are rarely seen. You won’t see homeless people in Dubai anywhere as their government strictly manages these issues to keep Dubai’s image as an attractive destination for tourists.
But keeping yourself safe is never a useless thing to do. A low crime rate doesn’t mean there isn’t one, so always be wary of luggage and personal belongings wherever you go.
Women and children are given priority
According to my experience from the moment I first arrived in Dubai, women and children in Dubai are highly respected and prioritized.
Dubai’s metro and tram have separate cabins for women and children. Also, these cabins have the closest distance to the escalator for women and children to move effortlessly. So when traveling to Dubai and using the metro, you should note this. This cabin has a pink line and a sign clearly stating “For Women and Children,” so it is easy to recognize.
In addition, when doing administrative procedures and you are female, there is a line just for you. When I went to do the residency papers, I also rushed to the common line, but the guys told me to go straight in because women have their own service lines. The process was so much faster than I expected.
Many other female friends I know who have lived in Dubai for nearly a decade also agree that Dubai is safe for women. So even if you’re traveling alone, don’t worry!
I hope this post has helped you understand Dubai better. If you are going to Dubai as a tourist or just simply curious about life here, check out my next posts.
Some best day tours, trips, activities and transfer services, tickets in, from and to Dubai you can refer to
- Dubai Fountain Lake Ride
- Burj Khalifa Observation Deck with Dubai Aquarium & More
- IMG Worlds of Adventure
- Atlantis Aquaventure Water Park
- Wild Wadi Water Park
- Bollywood, Motiongate And Legoland Tickets At Dubai Parks And Resorts
- [Sale] Ski Dubai Admission Ticket
- Dubai Garden Glow Ticket
- [Sale] Dubai Dolphinarium
- [Sale] Dubai Aquarium and Underwater Zoo And Penguin Encounter At Dubai Mall
- Evening Desert Safari Tour with BBQ Dinner
- Shared Transfers between Dubai Hotel and Dubai Attractions
- Private Dubai International Airport (DXB) Transfers for UAE Emirates
- Global Village Ticket in Dubai
- Ain Dubai: World’s Largest Observation Wheel
- VR Park Dubai Ticket
- Dubai Frame Ticket
- Go Dubai Explorer Pass (3, 4, 5, or 7 Attractions)
- Dubai City Sightseeing Bus Pass
- Dubai Big Bus Hop-On Hop-Off Tours (Open-Top)
- Half Day Dubai City Tour
- Half Day City Tour in Dubai with Dubai Frame
- 4G WiFi (DXB Airport Pick Up) for Dubai
- 4G SIM Card (DXB Airport Pick Up) for Dubai
Are you looking for more top things to do in Dubai: Tours, activities, attractions and other things? Let’s check it out here. And My trip to Dubai — The memorable experiences in the mysterious city of Middle East.