Celebrating New Year in Dubai, is there nightlife in a Muslim country? How not to get caught in the trick of local residents and not get stuck in the desert?
Just 40 years ago, there was nothing on the site of Dubai, that is, there was a solid desert. And now it is a modern, super-tech and expensive city. All this happened thanks to the oil that was found here in the 60s of the last century. Now oil production in the city’s economy takes only 5% and every year this percentage is decreasing. But the income from tourism is 20% and this figure is only growing.
Dubai is a Muslim country with many prohibitions. You cannot consume and transport alcohol, photograph government buildings and even some landmarks, as well as local women, you cannot throw garbage on the streets and hitchhike. Women and men travel separately in transport. They have different subway cars, sections on buses and even taxis. You can’t walk by the hand and kiss in the city.
In Dubai, you cannot shoot without permission, you also need a special permit, insurance and a pilot’s license in order to shoot from a drone.
Attractions and entertainment
Burj Khalifa is the tallest building in the world, 828 meters high, the skyscraper can be seen from almost anywhere in Dubai. Burj Khalifa has two observation decks. The first is called At the Top, it is located on the 124th and 125th floors, the ticket price is about $ 27. The second, located on the 148th floor at an altitude of 555 meters, boasts the status of the highest in the world. In the pre-New Year period, we bought a special offer with a visit to the At.mosphere restaurant for $ 180, the price included a glass of wine or champagne, several snacks and a beautiful view of the city. Honestly, we were expecting an unrealistic luxury evening. But it turned out to be an ordinary divorce for tourists. The restaurant is very small, there are not many seating areas and generally not so good. You can safely take a ticket for the minimum money and not overpay, like we do. The best time to visit is, of course, at sunset. Tickets must be booked in advance online (burjkhalifa.ae) or at the Dubai Mall ticket office.
Dubai Mall – the largest mall in the world, adjacent to the world’s tallest building Burj Khalifa. Its area is over a million square meters. This is the ideal shopping destination with over 70 brand boutiques, 1,200 stores, two legendary department stores and hundreds of restaurants and cafes. There is also a Dubai aquarium with the world’s largest acrylic glass, 33 meters wide. The aquarium with a volume of 10 million liters is home to more than 33 thousand sea creatures. You can walk through the 48 meters long tunnel and feel like a part of the mysterious underwater world, ride a boat with a glass bottom, dive to the bottom in a special cage, and even swim with sand tiger sharks for diving enthusiasts. The aquarium opens at 10 am and is best visited in the morning or before closing at 23 pm when there are no large crowds of tourists. It’s easier to order your tickets online (thedubaiaquarium.com) to avoid the line at the box office. The price of a simple ticket is $ 32.
The Dubai Fountain is the tallest singing fountain in the world, located in an artificial lake of over 12 hectares next to the Burj Khalifa in the center of Dubai. The large-scale, must-see performance is shown to the audience free of charge every half hour, from 6 pm to 11 pm. The best view of the fountains and Burj Khalifa at night is at Third Avenue Boutique . It is better to book a table in advance.
Dubai Frame Viewpoint is a picturesque panorama of the past, present and future of Dubai.
From here you can see the city from a dizzying height of 150 meters. From the south side you can see Old Dubai, and from the north – the modern panorama of the metropolis. From entertainment on the observation deck, you can walk along the 50-meter glass bridge. The entrance is paid – $ 14.
Burj Al Arab is the most famous hotel and one of the symbols of Dubai, better known as the Sail. This is the world’s only seven-star hotel. Its height is 321 meters, 1800 square meters of 24-carat gold leaf was spent on the interior of the hotel. One of the gems of the hotel is the underwater aquarium restaurant and a terrace with swimming pools.Not guests can get there, but for a fee. But to rent a hotel room, you will have to pay at least $ 1,000 per night.
Near the hotel there is a beach Jumeirah Beach , it is difficult for non-guests of neighboring hotels to get there, but it is possible. The Madinat Jumeirah Mall leads to the waterfront restaurants and discreetly on the beach.
The public beach Umm Suqeim Beach is located nearby, it is beautiful in itself, as it has fine white sand, crystal clear water and a beautiful view of the hotel.
The Palm Jumeirah is the largest artificial island in the world. The Palm Islands in Dubai are called the eighth wonder of the world. This is the second human-built structure visible from space. The first, as you know, is the Great Wall of China.
The visiting card is the Atlantis The Palm Hotel – a unique architecture multi-storey building that occupies the central place of the “crescent” of the Palm Jumeirah. For $ 30 per person, you can get into the hotel’s aquarium. With tickets, the guards let you into the area where the largest observation glass of the aquarium is located. It is better to come early in the morning, when there are still few tourists and the stingrays are being fed. The best view of Atlantis opens from a new point – The Point . This is a new hangout place: the beach, the shopping center and soon fountains will open here, higher and steeper than those that are now located near the Dubai Mall.
Nearby is the fashionable Marina area, here is one of the coolest marinas in the world and will soon be the largest. The feeling that you are in Dubai absolutely disappears here. Absolutely American comfort, a long promenade with jogging tracks and various restaurants, a great place for an evening stroll. From entertainment there are:
– The 500 meter XLine Dubai Marina zipline – appeared in Dubai in 2017 and instantly became one of the most popular extreme attractions. The length is one kilometer, the speed is 80 kilometers per hour, the height above ground level is 170 meters. The attraction is very popular, so it is better to take care of purchasing tickets in advance (xline.xdubai.com) , as there may not be free seats, the price is from $ 100;
– also here you can bend down with a parachute. One of the world leaders in skydiving, Skydive Dubai (skydivedubai.ae) will give you a bird’s eye view of the beauty of Dubai. To fly over the legendary Palm Jumeirah island or over the Arabian Desert in a tandem jump will cost from $ 460.
Also in Dubai is the “most-most” wind tunnel in the world iFly Dubai (iflyme.com) . It concerns the fact that it is the first and only double vertical wind tunnel so far! Moreover, this is the first wind tunnel “hidden” under the roof.
The best views of Dubai are from the sea, but this does not necessarily require a yacht. It is better to observe skyscrapers from Pearl Jumeirah Island . A similar view opens from the new La Mer beach.
Fun in the desert
Don’t forget that Dubai is in the desert. Just half an hour’s drive from the city center, thrilling adventures await you in the golden sands: jeep safari, camel ride, sandboarding – boarding on sand dunes, quad biking and even hot air ballooning. And at the end of it all, you can simply enjoy an unforgettable sunset in the desert or even stay overnight to feel the full immersion in the atmosphere. Many different offers can be found in hotels, travel agencies, on the streets, or simply order online.
Abandoned road in the desert
The place is very popular on social networks. It turns out that a new district of the city was supposed to be built here, but for some reason the construction stopped, but the roads remained. Nobody cleans the roads, with the help of the wind they fill them with sand, creating unrealistically beautiful patterns.
It was here that we decided to travel a little in the desert and almost immediately “sat on the belly.” But fortunately, just a few minutes later a car with local guys stopped and pulled us out of the sand with the help of a rope. For which many thanks to them.
An abandoned road location – goo.gl/maps/UWmETvQYAcmLVm5W9
The best beaches and beach clubs in Dubai
This beach offers the best view of one of the main symbols of Dubai – the Burj Al Arab sail hotel. Also known as Umm Suqeim Beach, this beach is considered one of the most beautiful in the emirate and offers many types of relaxation. At Surf House Dubai, you can rent a board and learn all the nuances of the waves over a cup of coffee. Check it out during the peak surfing season, which runs from October to April. The best skiing conditions are from December to February: warm water and high obedient waves.
This is the sportiest beach in Dubai and the meeting point for all kitesurfers. Here you can also play beach volleyball, try your hand at paddleboarding or kayaking. In addition to water activities, near the beach there is a well-equipped skate park, trampolines and a playground for kids.
District La Mer
A new, modern beach, in some places it looks like Miami, then Los Angeles. Lots of shops, restaurants, a water park, that is, everything you need for a comfortable “beaching”.
For those who like to go to a beach party or spend the whole day relaxing by the pool, there are many offers: Summersalt Beach Club – the symbol of Dubai, Nikki Beach Club, Azure, Zero Gravity, Drift and WHITE Beach – overlooking the legendary Atlantis The Palm.
The futuristic UAE city has a lot to offer in terms of nightlife, with trendy rooftop bars, beach clubs and mega discos. This all put the city in the top ten places for nightlife in the world!
Most of the bars and nightclubs in Dubai are located in hotel complexes, the only structures that can sell alcohol. In Dubai, alcohol is allowed from 21 years of age and in clubs this rule is often followed. Some clubs only allow people over the age of 25 to enter, so it’s best to bring your passport. By law, all clubs are open until 3 am. In the Emirates, there is zero tolerance for blood alcohol content for driving a car and with this it is very strict here, therefore it is better to take a taxi.
While many bars are quite open about dress codes, the most exclusive nightclubs in Dubai tend to have a strict dress code. And to enter the most popular nightclubs in the city, you have to be on the guest list, especially if there is a special event: often you can register directly from the website or facebook club.
One of the largest and most popular clubs is White Dubai , with an incredible view of the city. But there is an opinion that the best view of Dubai at night is from the terrace of the Level 43 Sky Lounge of the Four Points by Sheraton .
How long to fly and how to get there
The fastest direct flight from Kiev or Moscow to Dubai is about 5 hours. The average cost of a roundtrip ticket is about $ 300.
Best hotels to stay
Dubai hotels are considered the second most expensive in the world, after Geneva. The city has many luxury hotels with the prefix “most”. Burj Al Arab is the world’s only seven-star hotel. The tallest hotel in the world is Gevora Hotel (365 meters). Another exclusive hotel is the Armani Hotel Dubai , which is located in Burj Khalifa. Designed by Giorgio Armani personally, there are only two such hotels in the world, one in Dubai and the second in Milan.
Atlantis The Palm is a five-star hotel on the artificial island of The Palm.
For a tourist, the main thing is to decide on the area of Dubai where you want to stay and what sights to admire. Downtown Burj is the city center, with many hotels overlooking the Burj Khalifa. Dubai Marina is one of the most prestigious parts of the city. It got its name from a large artificial canal, in which residents of new skyscrapers on the banks moor yachts. Saffron sandy beaches are located near the residential area. Some of them belong to well-known hotels where anyone can stay. No less attention deserves the Marina Promenade Boulevard, which stretches along the entire coast and attracts tourists with spa salons, cafes, shops and other establishments. There is also a yacht club of the same name, where you can take a boat for a boat trip. Palm Jumeirah is also nearby.
Dubai Jumeirah District – fashionable beaches, pedestrian walkway, located in close proximity to the sea and overlooking Burj Al Arab. An ideal place for lovers of a seaside vacation.
How to get around the city
For me, renting a car is always the best way to travel. In Dubai, it is still profitable due to the availability of very cheap gasoline (about 50 cents per liter). Car rental prices are basically the same as in most European countries, with one exception. There are many elite car rental companies where you can rent your dream car: Ferrari, Lamborghini, McLaren, etc. The price of sports cars from $ 800 per day, and for example Mercedes G63 AMG 2019 – $ 400 / day.
How tourists are deceived when renting a car in Dubai or money scam in Dubai
Before arrival, we looked at several offers with car rental, but when we checked into the hotel, we saw Car link – rent a car (carlink.ae) in the lobby and decided to take the car to location. At first everything is as usual: smile, laughter, etc. We agreed to take a Mercedes G63 AMG 2019 for the day and go to Abu Dhabi, and on New Year’s Eve to fulfill the dream – to “drive” a Lamborghini Huracan. We paid rent and a mandatory deposit in the amount of $ 1500, which they promised to return within a month.
The next morning the first “surprise” awaited us. It turned out that our car was not ready and asked to wait a little. We had to wait until lunchtime, after hearing their apologies, we decided not to waste time and go quickly, but alas. After driving just a few meters, we noticed that the engine was very hot and went back. It turned out that the coolant ran out, as a result of which we spent another couple of hours. Realizing that the day was already spent, we asked to postpone the car rental the next day, they agreed and gave us a free Range Rover Vogue for the evening. This softened the situation a little, we thought, well, anything can happen. But then something happened that really alerted me. In pursuit, when we were already leaving by car, we were asked to sign a document stating that we would rent a car for free and that would be okay. But I saw that in the amount column it was written FREE, but in pencil. I immediately said what it is ?! They began to “turn on the fool” and reluctantly, but still circled it with a pen. And from that moment we started thinking about our deposit.
The Lamborghini was also not delivered to us on time the next day, but they promised to give us a free ride on the Ferrari for 2 hours. I’ll run ahead and say that feeding with promises every day, we were never given it.
Having given away all the cars, having saved all the checks, we flew home and began to wait for our deposit to return. A month later, of course, nothing happened and we started to contact them. Again promises that everything will be soon lasted for a month. Until we turned to our friend, who lives in Dubai. Only after she called them and threatened to call the police, the money was returned and then not to our card, as promised, but to her in cash.
After that, we googled on the Internet and read a lot of bad reviews about them, and many people wrote that they had been waiting for their money for about six months.
Upon arrival in the Emirates, we had no doubts and worries about car rental. Because we ordered directly at the hotel in which we live, and how would it be Dubai is an ideal city. But thanks to the observance of all important rules, we were able to get our day back.
List of typical tourist divorces when renting a car in another country
– carefully read the rental conditions of the transport you have chosen, all information should be written clearly, in pen;
– take photos of the vehicles that you rent. With a high probability, this will be able to protect you from such a divorce with damage;
– be sure to keep all copies of documents and receipts;
– when booking via the Internet, be attentive to the website on which you make the booking, read reviews. It is better to use only large and trusted international agencies and their official websites.
Like other metropolitan areas in the world, Dubai has a public and many private taxi services that operate around the clock. Officially registered taxis have a matching light cap with the inscription TAXI (dubaitaxi.ae) . Cars can be found at special parking lots located near large shopping centers, train stations, airports, or stopped directly by the road. Their prices are the cheapest, on average about $ 5-10 per trip around the city.
You can also call a taxi by phone or through mobile apps, which are available from many major taxi companies. Uber here is more expensive than a regular taxi, and once charged twice the promised rate from the card, but due to the lack of internet, he noticed this already at the hotel. They separated us here too.
It should also be remembered that taxis parked near hotels and airports tend to have higher fares.
Smoking in cars is strictly prohibited. It is customary for women to sit in the back seat only. On the streets of Dubai, you can also see special taxis only for women, the drivers of which are also the fair sex. Typically, ladies’ taxis are wholly or partly colored pink, and drivers wear pink uniforms.
The longest fully automated subway in the world. Cabins are divided into 3 types: premium class with wide leather seats and panoramic views (Gold Class), for women and children (indicated by pink signs) and shared cars. Premium cabins and women’s cabins are at the start of the train. There is Wi-Fi in the metro. Trains run at intervals of approximately 10 minutes. The metro consists of only two lines and covers the central part of the city, the most important objects and shopping centers. Price within 1 zone – 4 AED; Within two consecutive zones – 6 AED; More than two zones – 8.5 AED; Unlimited for a day (for travel in regular class cars) – 20 AED (about $ 5).
Currency where to exchange money
The national currency in Dubai is the dirham. It is used throughout the United Arab Emirates. The currency is fairly stable and closely tied to the dollar, with a ratio of around AED 4 to $ 1. You can pay in Dubai both in local currency and in dollars. However, in the latter case, the payment will be rounded up. You can also pay in hotels, restaurants, shopping centers and in taxis with bank cards.
It is better to exchange money at exchange offices, supermarkets or banks, in hotels the dollar rate is slightly undervalued, as well as at the airport. You do not need to show your passport.
Prices: food, cafe, fruits
Dubai is a city with above average prices. This rule applies to food and entertainment. Since this is a Muslim country and alcohol is prohibited here for the local population, the prices for it in bars and restaurants are very high. Aperol on the terrace will cost about $ 17, beer in the bar about $ 10. On average, prices for alcoholic beverages in the Emirates are 30-40% higher than we are used to. Therefore, it is better to bring alcohol with you or buy it at Duty Free. You can take with you 2 liters of strong alcoholic drinks or 2 liters of low-alcohol drinks.
Weather, holiday season, when is the best time to go
The season lasts from October to April, the air temperature is + 22-30 ° C, and the sea warms up to + 23 ° C. It is worth thinking about a holiday in the UAE in the summer a hundred times, because the summer in this country is excruciatingly hot. Be prepared for the sea to warm up to 38 ° C this time of year and be as warm as tea. As for the air temperature, it generally warms up to + 50 ° C.
Visa, what to take with you
Ukrainians with biometric passports can stay in the UAE for up to 30 days without thinking about whether they need a visa to the United Arab Emirates. Citizens of the Russian Federation planning tourist trips to the United Arab Emirates do not need to apply for visas in advance. The maximum stay without a visa is up to 90 days.
Be sure to take sun protection with you, an adapter for a euro-outlet will also be useful.
The official language is Arabic, but English is widely used. In addition, the hotel staff speaks many other European languages.
Where to celebrate New Year in Dubai
First you need to decide where you want to admire the fireworks.
There are several popular locations that choose to launch fireworks: Burj Khalifa Tower, Burj Al Arab Hotel and Palm Jumeirah . Usually, all New Year’s events take place in large five- or four-star hotels, in large restaurants, on the terraces of nightclubs or lounge bars, as well as on the beaches of large hotels. Budget tourists can watch fireworks from nearby. In case you decide to celebrate the New Year at the Burj Khalifa, I recommend arriving early. In the evening, the city center is closed off for celebration. Crowds of tourists and traffic jams are guaranteed.
You can spend New Year’s Eve in Bedouin style – get to a Bedouin settlement in the desert, have a barbecue dinner, ride a camel, get a traditional henna tattoo, ride an ATV and end the evening with folk dances and fireworks.
Another unusual way, or rather an original place where you can celebrate the New Year, is a yacht or traditional boat cruise. Cruises are attractive with constantly changing locations, magnificent views and the opportunity to see several fireworks that are launched from different points of the city at once.
Only about two to three hours drive from Dubai is the capital of the United Arab Emirates. It is the richest and at the same time the largest emirate among all the members of the UAE. Most of the wealth went to improving the infrastructure of Abu Dhabi and turning it into a unique comfortable resort. Every square kilometer is filled with luxury: Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque, Louvre Abu Dhabi Museum, Ferrari World Theme Park and much more.
You can get from Dubai to Abu Dhabi by renting a car, as we did, or using public transport. A taxi will cost you about $ 70 one way. However, you can use a cheaper route: from the Bar Dubai bus station, bus 1E departs every 15–20 minutes from 5.30 am. The cost of the trip is $ 7. The station where the bus arrives in Abu Dhabi is Central. Or take a day trip. But as for me, the option with a rented car is the best, the price starts from $ 30 per day.