Travelling to Dubai? Here are my tips…
1. Research when Ramadan is
Ramadan is celebrated during the ninth month of the 12-month Islamic calendar so the dates change next year. I didn’t research this until after I booked my flights and realised Ramadan started 3 days into our 7 day trip. It didn’t affect us though and it was a great experience experiencing Ramadan in Dubai.
However it is important to know that if you do go during Ramadan then there are a few rules you need to abide by. For example you can’t eat, drink or smoke between sun rise and sunset (so we made sure we ate and drank in private in our apartment). There’s also a few places in shopping malls where non-muslims can eat behind a covered area. We went to the old town during Ramadan and it was quite a struggle in the heat without water for about 3 hours! We finally found a McDonalds in a shopping centre which was one of the only places serving before sunset.
2. Watch how you dress
Dubai dress code isn’t as strict as some people may think. It is perfectly fine to wear swim wear on the beach and at the water park. There will be signs around which tell you when you need to cover up.
I made sure I covered up everywhere we went with a shawl (which I took off just for these photos!) but I saw lots of people not covered up and in shorts in hotels, restaurants and at the shopping mall. This is however frowned upon so out of respect I made sure I was dressed appropriately.
3. Airport searches
I’ve never had this happen to me before but as we were leaving the airport we were called over for a security search. This meant my whole suitcase was emptied in the middle of the airport exposing everything inside.
4. Alcohol is expensive
We hardly drank alcohol on this trip as it was just so expensive. Also because the one time I did I found out that a wine head and 40 degree heat does not go well. Alcohol is mainly available at hotels too so it was strange going out for dinner, at The Cheesecake Factory for example, and not being able to order a glass of wine with dinner!
5. Pick the right time to go
They say it is best to go between October and April as it is a lot ‘cooler’ (but still extremely hot!). We went in May and it was scorching but we were told that it was nothing compared to the heat in July and August.
6. No PDA!
Public displays of affection are offensive in the UAE so you should refrain from holding hands or kissing in public (although this didn’t stop a few people in the malls!).
7. Dubai is HUGE
So make sure you leave plenty of time to get from place to place. We took a lot of taxis as the metro stations and bus stops were often a long walk from where we wanted to get to. Also walking in that heat or waiting around for buses to turn up isn’t very comfortable!
8. It’s safe
I felt so safe in Dubai. I didn’t have any fear like I do at home for just – for example – having my mobile out in public or being pick pocketed. Dubai is one of the safest Middle Eastern countries for tourists, it has strict laws so crime is kept to a minimum.
9. Saying that you’re married…
We got worried before we went as we read that you should wear ‘wedding rings’ and say that you are married rather than boyfriend or girlfriend especially if you are sharing a hotel room. We didn’t have any one ask us so we didn’t find this was necessary and we didn’t need to worry!
I read so many articles about Dubai before I went and it sounded so strict, I was scared I would forget all of the rules. But it seemed much more relaxed than what everyone made out and we had no issues at all.
Have you been to Dubai? Have you got any tips to share?
& Here’s what I’m wearing…
Top – Dolls Kill
Trousers – Pretty Little Thing
Shoes – c/o Just Fab
Bag – New Look
Earrings – Forever 21