Dubai Warnings Or Dangers Tips by JessH Top 5 Page for this destination
Dubai Warnings and Dangers: 87 reviews and 105 photos
Rough seas during storm, Dubai
Whilst swimming at the beaches of Dubai, you usually don't have much to worry about: sharks, poisonous fish, etc. can only really be found on the East Coast of the UAE (Indian Ocean). Do, however, be aware of the strong currents, which cause many people to drown in even the shallowest of waters every year, jelly fish & sea snakes.
Snorkling/Diving is not possible along the Dubai coast, due to little or no plant-life, whirled-up sand & offshore construction.
All hotel beaches & beach parks have lifeguards (they may not be Pamela Anderson, but they do a good job anyway guys!), many equipped with jet skis to reach swimmers in trouble within seconds. If the red flag is up, do not enter the water. This indicates that the waves & currents are too dangerous.
If stung by a jelly fish, rub the area with sand immediately (this acts as a natural "peeling/scrub", popping the tiny poison-blisters created by the sting and getting the painful poison out of your skin.) For larger skin areas/attacks, visit a doctor or pharmacy.
Dubai is home to at least 7 species of sea snakes, abundant in the warm, shallow Arabian Gulf. Some are the Arabian Gulf Sea Snake, Yellow-Bellied Sea Snake, Short Sea Snake & an unidentified species of the genus Hydrophis. They are generally not aggressive, but will attack if provoked. Most bites occur when beachgoers accidentally step on a snake in shallow waters or on beached snakes. But don't worry too much - "encounters of the slithering kind" are pretty rare!
Difficulty Breathing & Swallowing / Aching Muscles or Numbness / Intense Pain / Swelling of the Affected Limb.
Apply ice to the site. Do not try to suck the venom out of the wound! Do not make any cuts. Some types of venom can enter the blood stream through the gums & tongue. Remain as still as possible & limit victims movement. Call for an ambulance immediately.
Be safe & sensible, and the only grim reminder of your day at the beach may be a sunburn.
UPDATE October 2008: Another occasional hazzard at Dubai's beaches is the contamination of the water by untreated sewage (yuck!!) being pumped into the ocean... many beaches have been closed in the past due to this stinky situation. Full Story HERE: http://archive.gulfnews.com/articles/08/10/05/10249875.html.
Other Contact: Ambulance: 997 or 998
Phone: Police: 999
Horrific 60-car crash on March 11th 2008
Driving in the UAE is a daily adrenalin-rush: fearing for your life. This is no laughing matter - the UAE has the highest death rate on the roads per capita in the world. On average there is an accident every 2 minutes, and 1 person perishes in a road-related accident every day.
Residents' lives are ruled by the city's roads where huge volumes of traffic & poor driving etiquette can make a 20min journey into a 3 hour grid-lock nightmare.
In 10 years I've managed to "only" be involved in 2 accidents in rush-hour, when both times it was an Arab, and both times they rammed into the back of me...
The ratio of vehicles per person is 5.4 (compared to 2.1 in the UK & 1.3 in the USA) & fatalities per 100,000 vehicles are 10 times higher than in the UK, 6 times higher than in the US & 4 times higher than in Qatar.
Basically, lane-ettiquette doesn't exist: as soon as you indicate to change lanes the person behind you will make sure to close the gap so you cannot "get in his way".
The worst time is on Thursday afternoons & evenings, when many Arab & Expat youngsters fly into Dubai for a weekend of partying, racing their buddies on the way. They zig-zag inbetween cars on the highway at top-speeds. When you see them coming, it's best to just stay in your lane & keep the speed your driving at. Any attempt to get out of their way may prove fatal.
Bad fog & idiotic speeding caused a massive 6-car pile up in March 2008 with over 350 people injured!
And remember: during Ramadan people may get a bit ratty towards the end of the day due low blood sugar level or desparate for a cigarette! I NEVER drive 30min before and 30min after Iftar, because people are in a mad rush to reach home to break their fast. Every year in Ramadhan, the accident rate in Dubai shoots-up by 200%! So it's best to stay off the roads around sun set...
There's the added problem of gardeners/delivery-boys cycling without any lights on the wrong side of the road, and desparate suicidal labourers running onto the highways trying to get killed on purpose (!) so their families in Asia can benefit from the "Blood Money" that has to be paid by the driver.
Add to this many overloaded, speeding trucks loosing everything from cardboard boxes to wooden beams to blown-out truck tires - a true obstacle course!
Check this link for the danger of camel-related accidents: http://members.virtualtourist.com/m/tp/16cfbc
Construction near Jebel Ali, Dubai (April 2007)
If you are visiting Dubai as a tourist, inform yourself about the location of your hotel: otherwise you could find that your dream-holiday in Dubai is spoilt by 24hour construction noise, turning your stay dream holiday into a nightmare.
Dubai is built around the whole "touristy thing" idea:
We have an indoor ski slope, soon the tallest building in the world, the highest this, the longest that, the biggest cake, the heaviest tree, the deepest cup, etc, etc, etc.
Dubai is geared-up and ready to furnish tourists with everything in their wildest dreams... so the entire city has turned into one massive & endless construction site.
There are currently substantial building works going on in the Jumeirah area, and 24-hour construction noise & severe traffic conjestion will affect any visitors staying in some of these resorts:
> The Sheraton Jumeirah Beach
> The Hilton Hotel
> The Oasis Beach Hotel
> Le Royal Meridien,
> The Ritz Carlton
> Le Meridien Mina Seyahi
These hotels are all affected by the developments and the marina project on the land-side and therefore travellers are advised to upgrade to sea view rooms.
Sea view rooms are not too badly affected by the building works.
From the sea, further hotels are affected:
> The Jumeirah Beach Hotel
> The Burj Al Arab
> The Mina A'Salam / Madinat Jumeirah
> The Royal Mirage
The Palm Island works are visible from most hotels in Jumeirah.
Quiet often, a day at the beach can be spoilt by grey chemical foam or floating debris being washed-up from the offshore construction sites.
Plan ahead for your holidays!
City's breaking down on a camel's back,
They just have to go 'cause they don't know wack,
And all I wanna hear is the message beep,
My dreams, they've got to kissin', because I don't get sleep, no...
- GORILLAZ, Feel Good
Phone: Complaints: +971-4-223 2323
Decent Dress in the UAE (from GulfNews.com)
In July 2008 the story of a young British expatriate was plastered all over the local and international news: she had been drinking alcohol, then proceeded to have sex on a public beach (unmarried sex is illegal, but that isn't of importance in this case), and then assaulted a police officer by swearing at him and hitting him with her shoe.
Especially the Western media has been criticizing the approach of Dubai's "big-boys-in-charge" as excessive, and have been saying that this woman doesn't deserve a huge punishment and that she is being used as an example towards all other non-Muslims living or visiting the UAE.
Could you have sex in a public place and assault a police officer without any consequences in the United Kingdom, or in Germany, or in the USA?
No, you couldn't.
The woman in question had been living in Dubai for the past 3 years. If after all that time she doesn't know the law, then she doesn't deserve any better. She's currently facing up to 6 years in jail (I highly doubt that the Dubai courts will push for the maximum sentence) and will definitely be deported after her jail time.
So please, before we start pointing fingers at the "backward-thinking Middle East", please remember where you are and how to behave.
FULL STORY HERE: http://www.gulfnews.com/nation/Police_and_The_Courts/10227570.html
And here is the story in the British media: http://www.thesun.co.uk/sol/homepage/news/article1398204.ece
And in case of any confusion, here is the official law:
Article 358 of the Punitive Law No. 52 of 2006 regarding "obscene public acts and violations of public decency" stipulates no less than a 6-month jail term would be handed to violators.
At least a year's jail term and fine of Dh10,000 will be imposed if the act is committed with a person below the age of 15, male or female, even if done in private.
Harassment results in one year and/or Dh10,000 in fines, followed by deportation for expatriates.
Article 360 says anything that provokes promiscuity could result in a year's prison term and/or a Dh5,000 fine. If done with a child of under 15, the jail term would be two years.
And here is a useful slide show on what's allowed and what's not:
With all the glitz and glamour of 5-star hotels, luxurious shopping malls, the beaches and the nightlife of Dubai, it's easy to forget that you are indeed still in a MUSLIM COUNTRY: This also means to adapt to the regional culture and religion by showing respect in the clothes you wear, and also note that SWEARING is absolutely unacceptable and punishable by law. There is also a zero-tolerance on driving under the influence, and exceptions are NOT made. You are also not allowed to drink alcohol in public (in a park, the beach, etc.) unless it's a licensed establishment.
Here is a final recap of all regulations in Dubai and the other emirates:
--> UPDATE Aug. 2009: Dubai's shopping malls now have signs and leaflets requesting shoppers to please dress 'decently.' FULL STORY: http://www.gulfnews.com/nation/Society/10338386.html
Never-ending construction: Dubai, UAE
If you are planning to move to Dubai, make sure that you have all details like salary, housing allowance, medical insurance, etc. in place with your employer. Otherwise, you could find yourself scraping for cash & not being able to live the "city of gold life style" at all.
Dubai has experienced nearly unparalleled economic growth since 2004 - more than 16%. Rents have increased by an average of 55%! Salaries have only increased by 6%...
One of the reasons for this unjust phenomenon is the fact that the UAE government is trying to "push" residents into buying freehold property; but many are sceptical (and rightly so!) due to unclear property & visa laws and extremely poor building quality.
Prices of food, clothes, petrol, water, etc. have also increased substantially: in the summer of 2005 it was been estimated that around 21% of all residents were forced to cancel their annual holidays due to rent increases.
"NO REST FOR THE GREEDY..."
By law, landlords are only allowed to increase the rent by 7% (it was 15% in 2006) per year. But they have quite happily been raising rents by 25, 40 or even 70%! Problem: this law is only applicable to the tenants, not the premises. So if the landlord wishes to "get around" the rent cap he simply evicts the current tenants, increases its price by whatever astronomical figure he sees fit & seeks new tenants.
Currently, Dubai's motto is: "If you can't afford it, get out!"
So all that's left to do is to hope & wait for the "bubble" to burst & for prices to be "corrected"... and we hope it's soon!
Check Gulf News (newspaper classifieds) to get an idea about prices.
Update 2007: The Dirham is pegged to the US Dollar, which is crashing. Now British and European expatriates are loosing even more money. Ouch!
See the below LINK for up-to-date UAE inflation news.
--> Update 2010: Since the beginning of the global economic crisis the UAE's real estate market has CRASHED. This means that rents and freehold prices have dropped by more than 50%! For most residents, this is a hugh sigh of relief as decent housing has now once more become affordable.
Monkey, cooled by a fan in concrete cell, Dubai
Dubai is modern, shiny, clean and "oh-so-perfect" or so it seems. It is definitely a nightmarish place for animal lovers & people that respect wildlife.
Dubai Zoo is one example: tiny cages, no mental enrichment, untrained staff, and all of this since the 1970's. A new zoo is in the process of being built, and the municipality has assured us that it will be much better... let's hope so. The present zoo in Jumeirah is cramped, with about 1,000 species sharing just 17,500 square metres (including offices). This works out to less than 9 square metres for each animal. (see photos)
Also, Dubai now has wild-caught dolphins performing in "shows" at the Atlantic Hotel, as well as their "Dolphinarium" in Dubai Creek Park. There has been a huge public outcry against this, as keeping dolphins in small tanks, forcing them to do tricks is cruel & completely outdated 'entertainment'. Dubai claims that this will be in the interest of 'conservation & educating children'. This is not true & is already being condemned by PETA and other animal rights organisations. After I contacted them in early June 2005, PETA agreed to post an Action Alert for Dubai on their website.
A disturbing new "hobby" (amongst mainly Arab youngsters) is to throw kittens out of car windows on a busy highway & then betting on how long it will survive before being hit...
Although the UAE has signed the CITES Agreement a few years ago (Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species) wealthy locals still purchase smuggled exotic animals such as tiger cubs, chimpanzees, cheetahs, etc. into the country as "pets". They are often found in deplorable conditions, malnourished and chained in the heat once they are no longer "cute" or loose their novelty factor.
Don't support cruelty against animals during your holiday!
You can complain directly to the Dubai Department of Tourism (no matter where you live!)
If you have contacts to WSPA, PETA, RSPCA Int'l, Jane Goodall, Animal Planet TV, the Born Free Foundation, WWF, IFAW, etc. please help individuals like myself to spread the news about Dubai's treatment of animals & large disregard for the CITES agreement they signed years ago!
No longer a "good muslim city" (Dubai)
Dubai prides itself as being "one of the safest cities in the world"... it is relatively safe, true - but it only seems that safe because the government denies the most illegal activites; for example: Prostitution.
I have nothing against prostitution, as long as it's confined to a red-light-district, as in Hamburg, Amsterdam, etc. Men go there with clear intentions.
"How can this be?" you ask. "Isn't this a Muslim country?" Yeah - well... it is, but that doesn't change the fact that this is the world's 3rd most popular sex-tourist destination (after Bangkok & Amsterdam).
"Ordinary" women are not safe on beaches or in malls, because "working girls" are not only to be found in a certain area, but all over the city.
I've lost count of the amount of times I've been approached by Arab or Asian men & asked: How much? You make friendship with me?
Bear this in mind: I have been here long enough & know what to wear - so basically nothing indecent / "haram" to give the wrong impression. But "ladies of the night" can be found everywhere (many are mostly Russian & blonde) a lot of men now think that every blonde European-looking woman is a prostitute! In certain areas you'll find Asian girls blatantly offering questionable massages on the street, and there are even large & lavish villas owned by Arabs where they keep their "not-so-traditional Harem" all year round. The situation truly is worse than any scene in the movie "Full Metal Jacket" (I love you loooong time...)
click here: http://members.virtualtourist.com/m/tp/12ef50/
Tourists have begun complaining, but so far little is being done about this issue...
So, if you're a lady & a man asks you if you are Russian: this is unfortunately a clear insult with ulterior motive.
(Sorry if you think that this tip isn't politically correct... Reality rarely is.)
Phone: Dubai Police: 999
Tourists arrested for drugs (UAE)
Drugs and the Middle East just don't mix. Penalties are severe and often ludicrous. The United Arab Emirates (UAE) operates a zero-tolerance policy towards drugs.
Take for example the highly publicized case of British tourist Tracy Wilkinson who spent 7 weeks in jail in Dubai in 2006 (originally a sentence of multiple years!) after codeine was found in her blood; not an illegal substance in the UK, but it is in the UAE.
In April 2007 a teenager was convicted to 4 years because he had smoked hashish even *before* coming to the UAE. Full story: http://www.gulfnews.com/nation/Police_and_The_Courts/10120681.html.
February 2008: A British DJ was also convicted to 4 years due to possessing 2.16g of marijuana. Article here: http://www.gulfnews.com/articles/08/02/05/10187383.html.
Sure, everything is available here if you're really looking, but it is NOT WORTH THE RISK.
Don't do it! Don't socialise with anyone doing drugs! Don't joke about it. Check the components of your prescription medication!
LIST of all BANNED MEDICATIONS: http://www.gulfnews.com/uaessentials/residentsguide/legal_issues/10083441.html
The police don't listen to any kinds of excuses or explanations... you WILL go straight to jail, don't pass "Go", don't collect any money or a phone call to your embassy, because they also won't be able to help you. Finally, you will be deported: you will NEVER be allowed to enter the UAE again.
You have been warned. If you want to get high, do it somewhere far away!
EXAMPLES OF DUBAI'S "RECENT IN-JUSTICE":
Attempt murder: 3 months.
Beat up your wife: 6 months.
Molest a child: 1 year.
Drink, drive, kill: 1 year.
Slash 4 women: 2 years.
Torture your maid: 3 years.
Rape a woman: 3 years.
Smoke cannabis outside the UAE: 4 years.
July 2008: PUBLIC DECENCY LAWS in the UAE: http://www.gulfnews.com/gngalleries/galleries/10227399.html
Watch out for crossing camels, UAE
Dubai & the rest of the UAE have developed from a sleepy, picturesque sea-side settlement into an ever-expanding metropolis. Camels (or any type of wildlife) found wandering free is rare.
The "Camels Crossing"-signs look cute, like a perfect touristy souvenir. But they actually indicate a danger that is taken far too lightly.
You'll notice fences on either side, all along the desert highways. Livestock-related road accidents happen rarely. Nevertheless, be very cautious when driving through the desert or thinly populated suburbs, as the wind tends to "move" sand dunes that then cover the fences, allowing camels to simply walk across & onto the road in some places.
If you hit a camel at sufficient speed, the consequences could be fatal.
Visibility is often poor due to sand storms or extreme fog (Sept. & Oct.), so keeping your eyes fixed to the road, especially at night (when camels are mostly active) is vital!
In the late 1970s, my mother in law hit a camel on the dark highway whilst driving back home at night. The camel went up on the car's hood, came into the windscreen with its legs, kicked her friend in the passenger seat unconscious and the weight of its body peeled the roof of their Range Rover back, effectively scalping my mother in law. They were both seriously injured, the car was a complete write-off.
She lived to tell the tale, with only a faint scare on her forehead. During the investigation the owner of the (deceased) camel wanted her & her friend to pay Dhs 200,000 (US Dollar 55,000!) for "killing" his prized breeding camel. Thankfully they won the court case, but this could happen to anyone - escaping with your life and then having to pay for "damages"!
I see my "neighbourhood camels" every morning on my way to work. It brings a smile to my face, but also makes me wary of the danger. Fencing of hundreds of kilometers has reduced the incidence of camel related accidents in UAE, but even though we don't know "why the camel crossed the road", it still does occur...
Phone: Dubai Police: 999
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