Dubai has a year round sunny climate with rain a very rare
occurance, happening only a few times a year.
The winter months (November to March) are
the most suitable for tourists, with the weather averaging
a pleasant 30C and humidity on the low side. The summer months
can become very hot, with frequent low visibility caused by
sandstorms - with average daytime temperatures rarely dipping
below 40C (and often rising about 45C) and high humidity to
accompany the high temperatures at night.
Local laws: Although you
are allowed to drink in many of Dubai's numerous bars, remember
this is a Muslim country. If you wander around the streets
drunk then there is a good chance you will be arrested.
There is also zero tolerence towards drinking
and driving. That means the legal limit is zero and being
caught will usually end in a prison sentence.
Certain prescripton drugs which are legal
elsewhere in the world are banned in Dubai. If you need to
take these then you must ensure that you take a doctors prescription
A list of which drugs are illegal can be
found at the: US consulate to Dubai's website
Clothing: You will only
need summer clothes when you're here, however it is a good
idea to bring a few light sweaters or cardigans as the air
conditioning in some restaurants and malls can be chilly.
While there is no official ruling about
exactly what you can and can't wear, Westerners will be expected
to dress with more modesty than you would at home in similar
This doesn't mean that women have to cover
up or wear a veil but they should try to wear clothes that
are not too revealing, while men should avoid short shorts
and bare chests. Dubai is a liberal emirate, but it is also
part of an Islamic country. You should also be respectful
of Gulf culture.
Transport: The car is king
in this city, and with wide, fast roads criss crossing the
emirate, it’s the easiest way to get around.
A car can be hired from any of numerous
car-rental companies operating in the city and with such a
competitive market, rates are pretty reasonable. A renter
needs to provide original passport, 2 photographs, and a valid
international driving license or national license.
Compared to Europe and the United States,
taxis are very cheap in Dubai. They are also plentiful and
you won't usually have to wait more than a minute before one
races past. An average 10km journey will set you back around
Dh15 (around $3.50)
The bus service in Dubai is limited but
popular. It tends to run mostly in Deira and Bur Dubai although
there are services running along the Shaikh Zayed Road.
If catching the bus, male tourists should
be wary of sitting next to women they don't know as this is
frowned upon in Muslim culture.
Plans have been approved for a monorail
system to be built in Dubai. It is due to be completed in
2009 and will be one of the longest mass transit systems in
the world - stretching some 40km from one end of the city
to the other.
The final - and most traditional way to get around Dubai is
by abra. The abra has been the best method of crossing the
creek for decades now and despite the presence of bridges
and tunnels, each trip from Deira to Bur Dubai and back is
crammed full of businessmen, workers and tourists.
Shopping: Many people come
to Dubai solely to shop. Tax free Dubai is known as a shopper's
paradise. Most of the major designer brands in the world are
available in the enormous shopping malls which populate every
corner of Dubai.
Annual shopping events include the Dubai
Shopping Festival which usually takes place in February (see
last years time table ) and Dubai Summer Surprises which runs
during the scorching summer months.
Dubai is famous for offering top international
brands at sale prices during these festivals. Independent
shops are generally open from 10am until 1pm and from 4.30pm
Opening hours at shopping malls throughout
the day are roughly from 10am - 10pm although some stay open
until midnight. On Fridays, they open from 2pm - 10pm.