Welcome to Dubai!
Dubai has received a lot of recent press over the last decade or so. The little Emirati city is certainly the crown jewel in the heart of the United Arab Emirates (UAE). Dubai can be an amazing place to visit if you get to know the customs and how to get around town, making you a worldwide local in no time. Check out this guide to help you navigate this amazing place.
Located on the southeast coast of the Persian Gulf, Dubai is the capital of the UAE. What was once only a small village soon began gaining more and more importance in the area. Pearl fishing, gold trading, and international trade brought a level of prosperity to Dubai. The area, however, was still pretty remote until 1966 when they struck oil. Since then, the city and country modernized, rapidly becoming the international powerhouse it is today.
Dubai is culturally intriguing; it’s a cosmopolitan city with diverse cultures and people who interact on a daily basis. Like most countries in the UAE, Islamic and Arab traditions still permeate the landscape. It is strongly advised that visitors don’t criticize the government or talk politics, and it is unadvised to display public acts of affection (especially for homosexuals). That being said, Dubai is otherwise pretty liberal, making bikinis and swimsuits acceptable on Dubai beaches. The only caveat is to be sure not to wear anything too revealing, especially not in the lobby of any of the fancy Dubai hotels.
Worldwide Local Tip: Dubai has some beautiful beaches that should not be missed. Men and women are advised to pack something light, that is easily accessible, to cover up with when they are going to and from the beach. These beaches are fantastic places to go to enjoy a respite from the hot Dubai weather.
Shopping, Shopping, and More Shopping
Dubai is one of the premier shopping capitals of the world, with designer brands and goods available in just about every mall. Located next to the iconic Burj Khalifa is one of the most intriguing things to do in Dubai, the Dubai Mall. Calling it a mall, however, might be a bit of a misnomer, as this place is huge. Boasting over 1,200 stores and 150 restaurants, you can spend an entire day here without seeing everything. In addition, the Dubai Mall is home to an amusement park, an ice rink, a huge indoor waterfall, and the Dubai Aquarium.
Worldwide Local Tip: Experience the main tank of the Dubai Aquarium for free by viewing it from the outside, on the mall floor.
Dubai from the Sky
Dubai’s gift to the world of engineering is the Burj Khalifa. This is the tallest building in Dubai--and the tallest building in the world--standing over 2,722 feet. Since its opening in 2010, people from all over the world have come here to marvel at its dominance over the Dubai skyline. The building is used for various activities, but it does hold a hotel owned by luxury brand Armani. Check out the observation decks on the 124th and 125th floor to capture a view unlike anywhere else in the world. Guests take a high-speed elevator to the observation floor(s) where they are greeted by a multimedia experience showcasing the history of Dubai and the Burj Khalifa.
Worldwide Local Tip: For a unique view from the Burj Khalifa, visit at night to experience the view of the sun as it’s setting. An equally unique view is during the early morning while the sun is just rising.
Sand, Sand, and More Sand
Become a worldwide local and head out just 20-minutes outside the city to the original Dubai tourist attraction--the Arabian Desert. Explore the desert by the use of a modern style quad bike, an off-road vehicle, or in the traditional style with a camel. The desert offers many great things to do, like sandboarding and off-roading. Participate in traditional customs like bedouin barbecuing, camel rides, and henna. Otherwise, simply drive out and explore the natural wonders on your own.
Worldwide Local Tip: Pack a tent and some gear to go camping in the desert for a night. The view of the stars is unmatched anywhere else in the world.
Enjoy Your Visit!
Dubai is full of fantastic wonders, from marvelous buildings to the natural beauty of the desert. Worldwide locals go home with views they will never forget.