If you ask yourself where the largest, most luxurious, impressive, and famous buildings and attractions are, then the answer is Dubai.
It seems that the sheiks will never stop to amaze the world community with fabulously expensive and majestic construction projects.
Here you can find the world’s tallest skyscraper, Burj Khalifa, the incredible artificial archipelago of the Isle of Palms, the largest shopping center in the world, and so on — the list is endless. And Dubai definitely aims to surprise tourists with the scale of luxury, because there is no other place on earth that can match its number of expensive cars, villas-palaces, and “seven-star” hotels.
The rapid development of the city began after the discovery of oil fields in the region. Revenues from oil production began to flow in 1969, the developing industry required new workers. As a result, in just six years, the population of Dubai quadrupled.
Today, the city does not rely solely on oil reserves. Now the backbone of Dubai’s economy is tourism, aviation, real estate, and financial services.
When you visit the city for the first time, some things can be drastically different from what you are used to, especially the culture and local laws, so it is very important to be prepared for this in advance. Here are our four tips that will make the process easier.
The city is served by two airports: the Dubai International Airport and the Dubai World Central or the Al Maktoum International. The former is located just 10 km from the Dubai Mall, so choose it if you plan on starting your trip in the center of Dubai. The World Central is about 37 km from the mainland. To get to the city from the airport, you can use a taxi, bus, or rented car.
The transport system is well developed, but the city isn’t used to pedestrians. Dubai has some of the lowest public transport fares in the world. According to World Atlas, the average fare for a bus, tram, or metro in Dubai is just $1.10 ($1.80 in Tel Aviv; $2.80 in New York; $2.80 in Zurich $3.80; and $4.00 in London). There are special reduced rates for students and seniors.
The Dubai Metro is technologically advanced. There are no drivers: the movement is fully automated. The metro consists of two branches: red and green. The red one runs through the entire emirate, the green one outlines a small semicircle in the Old City area. Dubai’s public transport network also includes water transport.
Dubai has five areas suited for tourist living:
- Jumeirah. This elite area occupies almost half of the entire coast of the emirate of Dubai. Real estate prices and hotel rooms in Jumeirah are second only to Downtown. One of the symbols of Dubai — the Burj Al Arab hotel — is located here.
- Downtown. In the Downtown area, the main attractions of Dubai are concentrated. This is the very heart of the city with the most expensive square meter. Unfortunately, the same applies to hotel rooms.
- Deira. The area of inexpensive hotels, famous markets, and huge shopping centers. Some tourists go to Dubai only to visit Deira.
- Bur Dubai. This is a historic city center of Dubai. Bur Dubai has many inexpensive hotels, restaurants, cafes, and shops. There are several interesting sights and the large Burjaman shopping center.
- Dubai Marina. The new area of Dubai city is built around a man-made marina. It is popular among tourists because here you can find an inexpensive hotel to walk to the beach within 15 minutes.
As you know, living in the seven-star Burj Al Arab is somewhat costly. The average price for one night will cost you around $5,000. Therefore Metropolitan real estate can offer you numerous options to stay on a budget in Deira or Bur Dubai or any other location you want.
A tourist in Dubai should definitely visit Burj Khalifa — the tallest building in the world with 163 floors and 830 meters in height. Its construction began in 2004 and lasted 5 years. The cost of the construction was 1.5 billion dollars. At the highest levels of the building, there are platforms that offer amazing views of the whole of Dubai and its surroundings. This destination will cost you $38.
Next, go to the nearby largest shopping center Dubai Mall. There, you can try ice skating and visit a huge aquarium ($20-30).
Another must-visit place for you is Palm Jumeirah. This is a complex of three largest artificial islands in the world. The islands are called Palm Jumeirah, Palm Jebel Ali, Deira Islands, and The World islands. Here you can see exclusive houses, shops, galleries, and office buildings. The entrance to the islands is free.
The high cost of food in the UAE greatly affects the prices in local restaurants and cafes. For example, the cost of lunch in an inexpensive establishment can range from about $50 to $200 per person.
Food in hotels will be quite expensive, especially if it is not included in the price of your stay. And even with the all-inclusive option, you can only count on very small portions.
The most popular places to eat in Dubai are:
- Al Karama Market;
- Meena Bazaar;
- Al Ustad Special Kabab;
- Sultan Dubai Falafel;
- Maiz Tacos Food Truck;
- The Gray coffee shop;
- RAW Coffee Company;
Also, Dubai is famous for hosting the most popular chefs. So, for example, you can visit CZN Burak (Boulevard Point – Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Blvd – Downtown Dubai) and Nusr-Et Steakhouse (Jumeirah Beach Road Restaurant Village Four Seasons Resort) to enjoy exquisite food.
Fancy sampling some street snacks? The Deira and Bur Dubai districts are your best bet.