Dubai is the most popular destination for Indian travellers outside of India, so chances are you will be making the trip soon! As one of the leading lights in the world economy and the playground of the rich; it’s not hard to see why Dubai continues to grow in its tourism appeal. Due to its speedy growth in recent years, the city feels extremely contemporary, and wherever you are you can’t help but feel flanked by luxury.
It’s never easy to know where to start when you plan a trip anywhere, so use this guide to give you a grasp of the basics of spending your time in Dubai. Whatever the purpose of your trip; be it relaxation or adventure, we have the building blocks for your ideal Dubai getaway contained in this guide!
Scroll through at your leisure, click through to your preferred section or download the full pdf version of this guide.
Sampling the food available in another city is always an adventure, especially if that city is located in another country. Dubai is no exception to this rule; there is much culinary fusion to be found in this cosmopolitan community and to help you plan what food to try we have compiled the following essential foods and restaurants to try.
Due perhaps to the many Indian ex-patriots residing in Dubai, or simply because Indian food is just so delicious; there is no shortage of great Indian food to be sampled in Dubai. So to prevent you from growing weary of the available options, we suggest that you try these 3 Indian restaurants.
This restaurant’s décor is rustic and bohemian, leaving you feeling very comfortable in these plush surroundings. The service is great and really adds to the homely feeling that characterises the restaurant. We suggest the Murgh Tikka which is invariably cooked to perfection and will impress no matter where you hail from. Ashiana is also fairly cheap, which enables you to add some well-deserved drinks to the bill without feeling too guilty!
The surroundings to which you eat here are fantastic and the decoration is very well thought out. Often a live band playing traditional Indian music will accompany the diners enjoying their food. The service is impeccable and the staff are thoroughly attentive to your needs throughout your dining experience. Food-wise, you can’t go wrong with anything on this menu, but we suggest their zesty Machli Amri Masala.
Arguably the best Indian restaurant in Dubai and definitely amongst the best restaurants in general, Asha’s is where you go when you want the perfect curry. Presentation of food is immaculate here, you can be sure to impress guests here should that be your wish. Wherever you eat, the environment around you is important; Asha’s combines traditional elements of Indian and Pakistani styles with a clear contemporary streak. The food is exceptional, but we particularly recommend the Mirch Baingan Ka Salan.
Like everything in Dubai, food is a commodity and you can choose to partake in the typical Arabic offerings or any worldwide dish that you can imagine. But it would be a shame to settle for the normal when Dubai has dishes to excite your senses! For a flavour of the typical food that is consumed throughout Dubai, we now take a look at specific meals and what you can expect to eat for each.
For breakfast, bread is a popular choice with eggs generally being the accompaniment; cheese and date syrup are other popular breakfast treats. We heartily recommend that you try Shakshuka, a warming dish featuring poached eggs in a rich spicy tomato sauce.
For a tasty snack look no further than the shawarma. These delicious treats are akin to a Turkish kebab and can have any kind of meat within them, along with a generous helping of salad, sauces and pickled vegetables. No trip here would be complete without trying shawarma at least once.
Fish is the most common staple of main meals in Dubai, so expect expertly cooked fish dishes combining the perfect ingredients. Every type of fish based meal can be eaten here and the choice is overwhelming. But Bu Qtair is the place to go for fish, choose curried fish and allow your senses to be overloaded.
As you are probably aware, alcoholic beverages are only permitted in specific areas such as hotel’s and golf clubs. But tasty non-alcoholic drinks are available all over this enchanting city. Tea and coffee is regularly consumed and both are available in abundance throughout Dubai. They can be flavoured with cardamom, saffron, and mint to make them even more memorable and delicious!
“To truly experience the amalgamation of cultures in Dubai, one must indulge in a fare of eats stretching from the heart of old Dubai that encompasses historic areas catering unpretentious but soul-feeding kitchens fueled by immigrant cultures along with the offerings towards the glitz and glamorous side, famously labeled as Downtown Dubai that essentially serves an array of fine dining cuisines inculcating culinary gastronomic creations for one and all to savour.”
Jasmine Pereira, Food and Travel Blogger: http://peartreediaries.com/
The Burj Khalifa is one of the most famous buildings in the world, not only is it the tallest in the world it is also home to the world’s highest swimming pool, restaurant and nightclub! So there really is something for everything in this goliath structure. A visit to the Burj Khalifa must include a ride to the (world’s highest) observation deck where unbeatable views of Dubai can be seen. You must also spend time enjoying the Dubai Fountain, a spectacular design that has to be seen to be believed.
Located in the impressive Mall of the Emirates; Ski Dubai is a huge indoor skiing area. A wide range of fun activities are on offer here including using the ski slopes, bobsleighing and ski-aerobics! There is a huge 400 metre long run for the snow-confident. As if this desert ski slope could be any more impressive; penguins live inside and are allowed to roam the area several times a day!
Dubai Miracle Garden
“The world’s largest natural flower garden.” That is not a sentence you would have linked with Dubai, which is in the middle of a harsh desert! The absolutely stunning gardens are home to 45 million flowers all vying for your attention as you wander around the complex which is jaw dropping. The incredible displays scattered all around the garden are created in the fashion of many unexpected and excellent objects. A cheap way to spend the day; the gardens are best visited during wintertime.
The Palm Jumeirah
Another one of Dubai’s more famous attractions; The Palm Jumeirah is a man-made island in the shape of a palm tree. The fronds of which contain luxury hotels and apartments, this is one of the most exclusive areas of the city. It is also home to one of the very best hotels in Dubai; Atlantis the Palm. Atlantis’s complex includes Aquaventure Waterpark, which contains an underwater flume where you are surrounded by sharks and other sea creatures.
Wild Wadi Waterpark
This waterpark is the most famous in Dubai and for good reason; it features over 30 rides which take users all over the site. This is certainly a place to take the kids as you are able to spend the whole day here, such is the nature of this inspiring attraction. Not only is it a whole lot of fun, but a trip here keeps your cool in a place where overheating is commonplace!
“In a city surrounded by sky scrapers everywhere, a break to the undulating sand dunes is a refresher. A desert safari is an absolutely exhilarating experience, as the vehicle manoeuvres itself across the vast unending sand dunes. It is a roller coaster drive to the oasis, where an eclectic night awaits with dancers and delicious Arabic cuisine.”
Niranjan Das, Travel Blogger: http://www.talesofanomad.com/
You may be surprised to learn that Dubai has a vibrant and celebrated nightlife; the fact that the city is under strict Sharia law has not had a negative impact on partying here it seems! It is worth bearing in mind the following rules whilst you stay here:
- It is illegal to drink alcohol in public places
- You can only buy alcohol from licensed premises such as hotels
- Only a few places are allowed to sell alcohol for use at home. Supermarkets only sell alcohol-free beer
- No one under the age of 21 is able to enter a bar or club
- You can be arrested and deported for being disruptive whilst drunk
One of the premier bars in Dubai is Neos, its modern design inside and out helps to create a very stylish destination that has managed to remain in favour in this ever-changing city. Located high up in The Address, the sixth highest hotel in the world, the views on offer here are spectacular. An evening drink here is hard to beat for ambiance and is a great way to start your night.
Where better top go for a refreshing cocktail than the world’s only 7 star hotel? Skybar offers you the chance to experience this utterly unique experience. The view from this spectacular bar is equally matched with the quality of the drink (and food) on offer and the stylish interior. You would be right to expect nothing but elegance from any room within the Burj Al Arab, and the Skybar does not disappoint. The drinks are fantastic and anyone could happily spend the day soaking up this fabulous atmosphere.
Spring to autumn is the best time to visit Dubai, the temperatures are mild enough to be bearable and warm enough to be enjoyable. You are able to find cheaper holidays in the summer time but be warned that the temperatures can top 40 degrees Celsius!
Whatever time of year you decide to visit Dubai; there are always plenty of places to cool down, from water parks to hotel pools and Jacuzzis. Also bear in mind that everyone else knows that spring and autumn are the best times to experience Dubai, so you will certainly have a lot of company if you decide to visit during these months.
If you want to stay in luxury during your trip to Dubai then there is only one choice for you to make; what view from the Burj Al Arab do you want? This hotel is known as the only 7 star hotel in the world and a stay here is an unparalleled experience. The majestic building (4th highest in the world) contains 4 swimming pools, 9 renowned restaurants and a well- respected spa. The rooms really are the height of luxury and no matter your background you will be impressed with the surroundings in which you find yourself.
The Jumeriah Hilton maintains the perfect balance of luxury and value; you will have all the amenities you could wish for at your disposal whilst not breaking the bank! Featuring 9 restaurants and a private beach, you will never need to leave the complex. For some extra relaxation after a hard day of exploring, try out the sauna and steam rooms!
This is one of the best budget options you can get for a hotel stay in Dubai; located close to the city centre and more comfortable than you would expect for the price. Featuring a spectacular rooftop pool and fully stocked gym; the Rose Garden proves that even budget options in Dubai maintain a certain amount of luxury.
The government of Dubai has all the transport information you will need to plan the routes to any place conveniently stored on their website. In general, travel around the city is easy, and Dubai’s city transport infrastructure is considered the best in the Middle East.
The Nol Card is a must-have when staying in Dubai; it is a prepaid debit card that is used on all forms of public transport that is provided by the government.
Dubai has 75km of metro line which includes stops at the airport and follows the coast where most of your daily attractions will be found. There is also a tram line, although not as widespread as the metro it is still useful to help you get around. The bus routes available in Dubai are comprehensive and serve all areas of the city. There are also monorail and boat services available.