Know Before You Go - Dubai
Dubai's attraction lies in the contrast between the ultra modern and the enchantingly traditional, which gives the city a personality like no other. Science-fiction style skyscrapers stand alongside mosques and wind towers of Old Dubai and Dubai Creek.
The creek itself, divides the city centre into two parts: Deira on the northern side and Bur Dubai to the south. Each has its fair share of souks, restaurants, hotels, vast shopping malls and fine mosques. From desert oases and unspoiled beaches, camel races and old wind towers, to top-class shopping opportunities, avant-garde architecture and the finest international cuisine, Dubai has more than enough depth to satisfy even the most jaded of travellers.
The heady exoticism of Arabian culture can be experienced in the bustling souks or a night in a Bedouin tent with belly-dancing under the starlit desert skies, watching the dhow (traditional wooden boat) traffic and the abras weave along Dubai Creek. Walk the streets of the tranquil, restored Bastakia area or take a stroll through multicultural Karama or Satwa. You’ll find this Dubai a million miles removed from modern Dubai.
Sun, sand, shopping, relaxation with a dose of Arabian hospitality.
Decamp to the desert on a 4x4 dune bash safari, followed by a delicious gourmet desert barbecue at a desert camp where the floors are strewn with rugs and the air is alive with Arabian tunes.
Bar 44 – Grosvenor House Hotel (Dubai Marina, Dubai). Superb views 44 floors up. 44 different Champagnes, an array of classic cocktails and drinks served with finesse in an environment high on leather chair comfort.
For the ultimate retail experience, shop at the leviathan Dubai Mall – where some 1200 stores and dozens of eateries will vie for both wallet and stomach. Work off your meal at the centre’s giant ice rink!
The views from the 124th floor of Dubai’s very own ‘Tower of Babel’ – the 828m Burj Khalifa (close to Dubai Mall). Machines on the observation deck dispense souvenir solid gold bars to those wanting to shell-out on the ultimate Burj memento. And, if heights are not your thing? A spot of snow skiing and a steaming hot chocolate on the slopes of Ski Dubai at the gargantuan Mall of the Emirates (Sheikh Zayed Road, Dubai).
Qantas and Emirates fly directly to Dubai from Adelaide with the flying time taking around 13 hours.
ENTERING THE UAE
Australian passport holders are eligible for a free 30-day visa, received at Immigration on arrival in the United Arab Emirates. Visitors may extend the visa at a UAE immigration office for about $175.
Dubai’s airport is just 5kms north-east of the city’s downtown area. Taxis are plentiful in Dubai. The cars are cream-coloured and those driven by a woman have pink trim. Dubai Metro runs every 10 minutes from Terminals 1 and 3, from early morning until midnight (except on Fridays, when the service starts at 1pm).
The UAE is a Muslim country and local laws and practices reflect that.
Between May and September, temperatures can reach the mid-40s to low 50s. Plan your travel for winter when temperatures are in the pleasant 20-30s range.
Modesty is valued (for both men and women) in Dubai so keep your shoulders and knees covered. On the beach, swimmers and shorts are acceptable but cover up if you’re leaving the waterside.
The tap water is fine to drink though may taste different as it comes from desalination plants.
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