Dubai

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Best time to visit: November, December, January, February, March

Average high: 32˚C

Average low: 22˚C

Price of meals: 3/5

Holiday type: Adventure / Beach / Family

Jumeirah

Dubai is an independent city-state which offers visitors an interesting mesh of cultures; blending Western capitalism with regional traditions.

Despite inhabitants occupying the desert for thousands of years, the city didn’t begin its rapid expansion until finding oil in the 1960s. Since then, this wealthy city-state has become one of the fastest growing economies in the world, welcoming businesses, skilled workers and tourists from all over the world.

Dubai’s biggest attraction is its numerous shopping centres (including the Dubai Mall; the largest in the world). The city is called “The City of Gold” not only for its wealth but for the 250 gold retail stores in its famous Gold Souk market.

Natural and cultural sites are limited because of Dubai’s young history and desert location, but visitors can still enjoy camel and buggy rides across the dunes. There are also numerous tourist parks, aquariums, shows and attractions to enjoy, including Ski Dubai, the world’s largest indoor skiing and snowboarding facility.

Dubai is probably best known for its unique and ambitious skyline, attracting architects from all over the world to build some of the most distinct structures, including the Burj Khalifa, the world’s tallest
building. The view from the top is unmissable; just remember to book ahead during busy periods.

Of course, with such warm weather throughout the year, Dubai is a haven for sand-and-sea lovers and visitors have a huge choice of luxury beaches, including those on the man-made islands. While Dubai is relatively liberal for the region, locals expect you to honour some of their Muslim laws. Rude gestures, public displays of affection, homosexuality, consuming alcohol in public and eating in public during Rammadan are all illegal. Women should avoid any revealing clothing and men should not wear any shorts which expose their knees. Some hotels may not let a man and a woman share a room unless you are married, so you should check before travelling.

Climate:

Dubai is hot throughout the year. In fact, in the summertime, it normally exceeds 40˚C and locals take their holidays to “cooler” parts of the world. Fortunately, Dubai has heavily invested in air conditioning in most hotels, malls and public transportation, and has even built interconnecting buildings so you can avoid going outside where possible.

However, for some, 40-degree heat is too much and even night time is hot and humid. Thus, the best time to visit is in the winter and early spring. Temperatures still average 30˚C, but the weather
is less stifling and the cooler evenings offer some relief.

Meals:

On average, meal prices in Dubai are almost 40% lower than London; although, prices vary considerably. There are plenty of low and mid-range restaurants to choose from (an inexpensive meal for one averages just £5), especially in the shopping centres. A mid-range, three-course meal for two costs 80-250AED (£16-52). Of course, you should expect to pay substantially more in Dubai’s finer hotels and eateries.

A cup of coffee costs around £3, but water is cheap at about 25p for a small bottle. The UAE is a dry country, so alcohol is quite expensive and can only be consumed in designated spots, like licensed hotels. It is illegal to drink (or to be drunk) in any public space and the legal drinking age is 21. Beer averages £7.25 per bottle.

Most popular attractions:

  • Burj Khalifa
  • Dubai Mall
  • Bastakia (Old Dubai)
  • Dubai Creek
  • Jumeirah Beach
  • Gold Souk
  • Aquaventure Waterpark
  • Dubai Aquarium
  • Mall of the Emirates and Ski Dubai

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