Dubai is unlike any other place I have been. It is such a special city surrounded by a beautiful sea and breathtaking skylines. It features the world’s tallest building and the world‘s largest mall, by area. It is home to three different palm-shaped man made islands. With endless things to see and do, it is so easy to get lost wandering this incredible city.
What to Expect
Dubai is so diverse that most “local” people are not actually from there. Although Arabic is the official language, the majority of people communicate in English as a universal language. Arriving, you can expect to see so much glitz and glamour around the city. Giant shopping malls, sky high buildings, insane sports cars, and so much more!
Dubai is more liberal than the rest of Emirates, but this does not mean it is liberal by American standards. Islamic Law is still observed, but with tourism being so popular, people will often turn a blind eye to some issues. Unmarried couples are not permitted to stay in a hotel room together. While some hotels will implement this, others will not acknowledge it. I stayed in a hotel with 3 guys who lived in Dubai and I did not experience any issues, but it is best to be aware of these laws. Public displays of affection are not allowed and being gay is still illegal.
For ladies: Dressing conservative is best, but you don't need to be covered head to toe. I wore a loose long sleeve blouse with a skirt that went just above my knee. If you are planning to visit a mosque, make sure you do cover yourself and pack a scarf as well. I never felt uncomfortable or disrespected by showing a little skin, even walking around by myself. I found men were more respectful towards me here than they are in the US.
Swimwear is appropriate on the beach and swimming pools only. Make sure to pack extra clothes or a more conservative swim cover for once you leave the beach or swimming pool.
Emirates is the most popular airline in getting you to Dubai. It is, by far, the nicest airline I have ever flown, even in coach. I cannot imagine what their business class area looks like.
Best Time to Visit
Dubai gets HOT, so in order to avoid brutal summers, try and visit in the fall or spring. You will still have warm weather without melting away. The winter is a nice time to visit too, but it does get colder at night than you would expect so make sure to pack long pants and a warm jacket.
Where to Stay
I couch-surfed during my time in Dubai and this allowed me to save money and spend more time in the city. I also traveled alone and it was an awesome way to meet people since hostels are not so popular here. Hotels can be expensive if you are traveling alone, but if you have the money or a travel buddy, Dubai houses some of the most amazing hotels! You can find beautiful hotels from 100 USD a night. Jumeirah Beach and Dubai Marina are both great areas to stay for awesome restaurants, shopping, and beaches.