Dubai Favorite Tips by colin_bramso Top 5 Page for this destination
Dubai Favorites: 86 reviews and 161 photos
Favorite thing: Rules and laws change all the time in Dubai, and the UAE in general. They also have different interpretations from individual people in government departments.
On July 24, 2008, new visa rules were announced, with 24 different visas and costs. Health insurance prior to arrival is required and a refundable deposit of AED1,000 will apply to all visa applications.
The visit visa is no longer renewable by the 'visa run' to a neighbouring country and immediate return to the UAE. A thirty day period outside the UAE is now required.
To give you an idea of how confused such things can be, even the 33 nationalities previously given a free on-arrival 60 day visa were reportedly facing a change. At first it was announced that they will now get a 30 day visa at a cost of AED100 and can extend it for another 30 days at a cost of AED600. Later it was clarified that the first 30 day visa is free of charge, but no further announcement has so far been made about the extension cost. These passports are excempt from the deposit and health insurance requirements. As it stands, at January 2010, there are now 36 passports which qualify for an automatic free visa on arrival. They are:
Andorra, Australia, Austria, Belgium, Brunei, Canada, Cyprus, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hong Kong, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Liechtenstein, Luxembourg,
Malta, Malaysia, Monaco, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Paraguay, Portugal,
San Marino, Singapore, South Korea, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, United Kingdom,
United States, Vatican City.
The full information is on the department's website at www.dnrd.gov.ae
Dubai Creek from Deira-side.
Favorite thing: Al Khor, The Creek, is the heart of Dubai and the place to start your exploration.
Ultra-modern buildings, parks, traditional trading dhows, cargo, bustle, the sights, sounds and smells that say "This is Dubai".
Fondest memory: I love the atmosphere, the friendliness, the hot sunshine, the exotic sights and smells.
Dirhams, or AED.
Favorite thing: Dubai's currency is the UAE dirham, also known as AED, which are easily obtainable in the many currency exchange bureaux all over the city. They will convert just about any currency in the world into dirhams.
One side of the notes is printed in Arabic, the other side is in English, so you'll have no trouble knowing exactly what each note is worth.
There are 100 fils to one dirham. There are one dirham coins plus 50fils, 25fils, 20fils, 10fils and 5fils coins.
Hilton Jumeirah in foreground
Favorite thing: People often ask in the Forum whether their hotel will be affected by the massive construction in Dubai. Much of the construction is now finished and since the global financial crisis much less new construction is happening.
Construction behind the string of hotels along Jumeirah Beach - including Sheraton, Hilton, Le Meridien Mina Seyahi, Royal Meridien, One & Only Royal Mirage and others - has largely been finished and there's now a hugely popular promenade of shops and restaurants.
The photo of the Sheraton Jumeirah Beach shows the Jumeirah Beach Residence development towering over the hotel. The other photos show Le Meridien Mina Seyahi an Hilton Jumeirah. As you can see, the construction work is just about finished.
Inside an e-library
Favorite thing: A much better option than internet cafes - unless you want to use MSN Messenger for video link-ups - are the public libraries, or e-libraries. If there's one in the area you're staying in, check it out. They're modern, clean, quiet, reliable and cheap. One hour is Dh3 and two hours is Dh5. (Dh5 is US$1.35).
I've used the libraries in Al Wasl Road next to Safa Park and on Jumeirah (Beach) Road in Umm Suqeim, and both have excellent facilities.
Best exchange rates.
Favorite thing: Every time we've needed to change money we've found Al Musabbeh offers the best rate.
It's located near the creek in Bur Dubai. From the abra station, walk a few metres back to the main entrance to the souk. About 100 metres into the souk, on the right, you'll find the small shop. There are several other exchange shops in the same lane, so you can check the rate in a few so that you can choose the one offering the best rate for your currency.
Just be careful with the notes when you shop - the fifty dirham notes are easily mistaken for five dirham. People are usually honest and will point out your mistake, but just check before you hand them over.
Favorite thing: The holy month of Ramadan is a time when Muslims fast between sunrise and sunset.
Non-Muslims must respect the fast and also are not permitted to eat, drink or smoke in public during daylight hours. It is also even more important than usual to wear appropriate non-revealing clothing.
Hotels have a restaurant open for their guests and some coffee shops and restaurants are open, screened or curtained off from public view.
Supermarkets and food stores are open and take-away food is available - but it must not be consumed in public.
Some shops don't open until after evening prayers, others open normally throughout the day, some open all day but close during prayer times.
The evening is when everything is up and running, with shops and restaurants often open until the early morning hours.
Favorite thing: This really shouldn't need saying, but unfortunately it is because of the behaviour of not only tourists but also some expatriate residents.
Because people have abused the relaxed, liberal attitude of the authorities by behaving and dressing inappropriately, there is now an official campaign to enforce the rules and laws.
Police are out in force along Dubai's public beaches to enforce the laws, after a British couple were found drunk and having sex in public on a beach. (Behaviour which would not be accepted in any country!)
Bikinis are OK on the beaches but females must not sunbathe topless. You must cover up when leaving the beach.
Dress rules are beginning to be enforced in public areas too. Revealing clothing is OK on the beaches and in hotels, but should not be worn in public streets, restaurants and shopping malls. Females should wear clothing that covers the shoulders and knees. Although you will see women wandering around malls in hotpants and revealing skimpy tops, please do not copy them!
This is not Saudi Arabia and the rules are still very liberal. You will see people wearing the clothing they wear in their own country, a huge mixture of styles and fashions. Basically, if you wear decent clothing back home you can wear exactly the same here. Women do not have to wear abayas, do not have to cover their hair.
I've added some photos I've taken in the streets and restaurants, not taken to specifically show the clothing but they do give an idea of the mixture of clothing that's acceptable.
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