For extravagant entertainment and dining, culture-rich sites and cool beaches, a holiday in Dubai should be high on anyone’s destination list. Adventure-seekers such as myself, families, couples and foodies gather in this UAE city to experience a massive mixture of places and activities for different tastes. Be it strolling beneath the awe-inspiring and dazzling skyscrapers, shopping in designer boutiques or simply savouring the city’s year-round sunshine on its pristine beaches, Dubai is one thriving metropolis just waiting to be discovered. I have been here for a little over a week now, and even though jet lag still has me by the balls, read on to discover what I have discovered. Hereunder is some advice and tips which will hopefully answer some questions for anyone thinking of travelling to Dubai, who has never been here before.
The malls are fun
While they may not be “culturally-enriching”, the malls in Dubai are destinations in themselves. There’s an underwater zoo in one (a fancy name for a fancy aquarium), a ski slope and resort in another, ice rinks and the most fabulous cinemas – it is easy to lose a day in any one of these glittering temples of capitalism. Dubai Mall is the most epic and offers an unparalleled retail variety combined with world-class dining, entertainment and leisure attractions. It has an entire ‘district’ (district!) devoted to shoes and welcomes more than 80 million visitors annually.
Golf in Dubai is spectacular
The Emirates Golf Club is the best place for a game of golf in Dubai and one of the best in the world. I was simply star-struck by this golf course. This isn’t just for the enthusiasts and professionals, beginners are welcome here too. The magnificent Majlis course at the Emirates Golf Club in Dubai is the Grande Dame of golf in the UAE. Everything is presented in an immaculate condition and the staff are incredibly helpful with everything. There is a fabulous restaurant and bar that has all your food and refreshments needs covered and the team takes great efforts to follow Covid-19 preventive measures, so I highly recommend.
Beautiful public beaches
Jumeirah Beach is conveniently located to all modes of transport and is definitely a must see in Dubai. The clear blue warm water and the sea colour are beautiful and rather inviting and perfect for a dip, although the sea water is super extra salty. That’s because the Persian Gulf region and the Red Sea are where evaporation is very high and there is little fresh water inflow. The water is bloody salty. Nonetheless, it is one of the most visited public beaches in Dubai, and is popular with residents and tourists alike. This is also one of the Dubai public beaches that offers an assortment of water sports, camel rides and has a slew of upmarket restaurants. The JBR beach is perfect for people and families with diverse tastes to get together for a fun day out.
Consuming alcohol in Dubai
The alcohol in Dubai is plentiful and expensive. The sale of alcohol, however, is limited to hotel restaurants, bars and clubs, which might sound odd but in reality it’s not. From pubs with great live music to high-end Champagne bars, there’s a watering hole to suit every occasion but don’t dare to drink in public, you’ll get arrested quickly. Even when catching a taxi, taking the metro or walking home, make sure you’re not staggeringly drunk. It is severely frowned upon and can lead to scary police intervention. Keep it classy.
With a smartphone or camera in your hand, it’s only natural to want to click away and fill your Instagram feed with stunning photos showing the city’s magnificence and architecture. Before you take the plunge, it is very important to know that there are certain rules about public photography in the UAE that you need to follow. Never take pictures of or with a stranger without their permission, unless you’re taking a scenic shot in a major touristy area. But never ever take a picture of a Muslim woman without her permission, and don’t take photos of any government buildings, airports or military sites – they’ll shoot you. Kidding! It’s prohibited (unless you have a special permit) and you’ll probably get arrested but you won’t get shot.
Stay away from public displays of affection
PDA are highly offensive in the UAE. Many visitors to Dubai have been arrested and imprisoned for showing PDA. To be on the safe side and depending on which part of the city you’re in, refrain from holding hands or kissing your significant other while in public.
Deciding on a holiday is often a complicated affair, compounded by dodgy hotel reviews, weather forecasts and an endless choice of locations and things to do. Even with some strict laws, you shouldn’t hesitate to visit Dubai if you get the chance. It’s an incredibly unique destination, and one completely worth seeing by yourself, with your significant other or with your entire family.