A – Arriving in Dubai #AtoZChallenge #BlogchatterA2Z
The first thing I got to hear when I told my relatives that I would be going to Dubai for a year was, “Ohh! You are going to Saudia or Saudi.”
Let me begin with this. It is a general misconception in our part of the world that Dubai is in Saudi Arabia or going to any gulf country is like going to Saudi. The people are a little apprehensive about traveling to the Gulf given the strict nature of their customs and rules.
Well, Dubai is the extreme opposite of that and to be clear it is not a country either. It is an Emirate and a part of the United Arab Emirates. Dubai is most cosmopolitan in nature in the Middle East – about 85-88% of the population is expats. I may be going overboard but Dubai is like the Vegas of the Gulf.
Dubai International Airport
Dubai international airport is the busiest airport in the world for international travel for the past two consecutive years. There are currently three Terminals operational with Terminal 3 being exclusive to the Emirates Airlines. It is also the largest airport terminal in the world. There is an even bigger airport coming up soon known as the Al Maktoum International Airport. You can also choose to fly to Abu Dhabi and Sharjah depending on the flight you select. Each of them is only about 90 mins drive from Dubai.
There is a lot you can do even if you are traveling with a transit visa and only have a few hours to spend at the Dubai International Airport. The airport has a Zen garden, innumerous retail shops, and amazing lounges with spas. There is even a ‘snoozecube’ in terminal 1, where you can take a nap in their soundproof cabins. The airport has a five-star hotel and one can check in without exiting the premises.
Things to keep in mind before arriving in Dubai:
Climate: Apart from its towering skyscrapers Dubai is often associated with hot temperature. Best time to visit is October to March – during summers it can get really hot but it is one of those cities where it is mandatory to keep every place air-conditioned. Even the bus stops on the roads are glass covered and air-conditioned. So if you aren’t an extreme outdoor person – the summers won’t harm you that much.
Medicines: I personally didn’t find much information on this online but telling you from my experience. If you are carrying any medicine please keep a prescription for all the medicines. Not all the medicines are allowed and considered safe which might otherwise be in your country. If you are caught during checking it can cause a lot of trouble.
Respect their culture and views: Dubai being officially an Islamic city has its share of customs and cultures. All I can advice is, please be respectful of that. It is the least conservative of all the places in Gulf. If you traveling during Ramadan, be polite in your habits. Most of the restaurants are either closed or covered during daylight hours. Avoid PDA in public places and don’t take snaps of locals without their permission.
Clothes: Pack according to the weather. It will hardly rain in Dubai but during the winters it can get chilly and windy in the nights. You can swim in bikinis and walk in shorts but do cover up one you are in places where it is clearly mentioned. Dress modestly.
Avoid flouting rules: If a city has to maintain its superlative standards it has to be governed by strict rules. There are strict traffic rules, especially for the expats. You can be severely fined for jaywalking.
Safety: With stern policies and law, comes greater safety. It is among one of the safest places. Even if there is unrest in that part of the world UAE is considered one of the safest countries.
Alcohol and Food: Contrary to the assumption, Dubai is not a dry city. Having said that you need to procure a license if you want to purchase liquor and take home. Though there is no restriction on pubs and bars. The city offers a wide variety of places to dine and drink, offering every possible cuisine in the world, depending on your class and taste.
Travel: The city has a pretty efficient public transport system with metros, taxis, and buses. The metros and buses can be boarded with the same card but taxis are the best way to move around the city. You will find one at any hour of the day. It might seem expensive compared to the other options but it is one of the cheapest if compared globally.
Weekend: Important thing to keep in mind when you are planning your trip to Dubai that the weekend is Friday and Saturday. Sunday to Thursday is their weekdays.
Mecca of Shopping: Dubai is the home to many of the biggest shopping festivals. Do try to visit during any one of them and you surely won’t be disappointed. From January to February it hosts its biggest festival – DSF – Dubai Shopping Festival.
Visa, Flights and Stay: Get your visas done in Advances. For an Indian, a regular visit visa for 30 days would be done in 4-5 business days. Be careful about the visa – if you overstay in any manner then there are hefty penalties. Please book the flights in advance if you are traveling during the festival season or around the New Year. Similarly for the Hotels; if you traveling around the New Year’s Eve you will literally have a lot of difficulty in finding a place to stay. Hence plan in advance.
Though Dubai is home to many of the biggest and largest things in the world, the biggest delusion is one need to be super rich to visit Dubai – it isn’t like that. Everyone can find things depending on your budget.
To be honest, if you aren’t disturbing, troubling or interfering with anyone – Dubai is a fantastic cool fun place to be in. It totally depends on what kind of traveler you are and what all you want to visit and focus on. The best part is Dubai will definitely have something of interest for every kind of traveler.
For all those participating in AtoZ,
For all those who love shopping,
For all those who love travel,
For all those who love Dubai…
It’s not a goodbye,
But it’s a GOOD BYE.
Manas ‘Sameer’ Mukul
This is the first post for the #AtoZChallenge #BlogchatterA2Z. My theme in Travel Category is ‘Dubai – the City of Gold’, where I would be covering everything about the city in the course of 26 posts.
A – Arriving in Dubai
Please do visit tomorrow for the next post with letter ‘B’
I am also taking part in the #AtoZChallenge #BlogchatterA2Z using another theme – ‘IPL – Indian Parliamentary League’. If you are keen on following key issues pertaining to the upcoming General Elections head over to the Politics Theme and share your feedback.