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Written by Keshav on June 5, 2020 Share on

Dubai Tourism Guide – The basics you need to know to get started

Dubai is a city that is for most travellers a stopover on their long haul flights and to a lot of others, it’s a city of extreme wealth and opulence that came out of nowhere funded by oil wealth. While both of those things hold true. Dubai is a very interesting city that maintains a balance between being conservatively Muslim and liberal/Modern where it wants and needs to be. If you haven’t visited Dubai I would highly recommend it just to experience the cultural dichotomy that the city runs on. If you are visiting Dubai for the first time and want a better understanding of how it works. Well, let me be your guide. 

Where to Stay in Dubai? 

Dubai is quite a big city and the distance between places is also quite large. So depending on where you stay in the city it could make your life easier or much harder while you are there. Here is a breakdown of all the popular places to stay and what each area offers and works best for.


Deira is the closest to the airport and is a part of old Dubai. In recent times it has been modernized in certain parts and it is one of the more affordable places to stay in Dubai. If you plan on booking shared or seat in coach activities during your stay. Deira is a great place to be as most operators have shuttles that run through Deira. It is also very close to gold and spice souk. So, If you are looking for a value for money option, then Deira is one of your best shots.

Image Credits: Wikimedia Commons

Bur Dubai:

This is where the cultural essence of Dubai lies. It’s very close to Deira and the airport on one side and also has easy access to Downtown Dubai where all the big bois like the Burj Khalifa and Dubai mall are. This is a very historic part of Dubai with narrow streets, historic buildings & street vendors. Bur Dubai is a great place to stay if you wanna immerse yourself in the culture and it is just as affordable if not a bit more affordable at times than Deira. It’s also well connected and shared/seat in coach operators service the area as well. 

Image Credits: Wikimedia Commons

Downtown Dubai:

As I said before, this is where all the big boys are and this is Dubai as seen on television, literally. Downtown Dubai has THE best hotels, cafes, pubs, restaurants. You name it and it probably has the best of it here. All that comes at a cost obviously, Downtown Dubai is going to be expensive to stay in but if you have the money and want to be there, go for it because the area has some of the best that Dubai has to offer.

Image Credits: Google Images

Al Barsha:

Al Barsha is a quiet residential part of town which a lot of people from various countries call their home. It is a bit away from Downtown Dubai but closer to the Dubai Marina area. It’s like any good residential area and has a great selection of retail stores, supermarkets and all other amenities that one needs. The hotels here are also quite affordable and good but if you plan on leveraging seat in coach services be sure to check with the operator if they service Al Barsha as a lot of them don’t. 

Image Credits: Google Images

Dubai Marina:

Dubai Marina is the newer part of town in a sense and is an affluent neighbourhood in Dubai. You have the beautiful artificial canal to one side and the beach on the other. It’s very western and also the area with the least restrictions. This part of town is where a lot of ex-pats prefer to live and it’s not hard to see why. It’s a much calmer part of town compared to the Downtown area but just as if not more luxurious. As you guessed though it is a bit expensive but, new hotels are popping up so be on the lookout and you might get some great deals. It has the best nightlife and just walking in the night across the canal is a treat. However, do note that you will have to travel larger distances from here for most attractions. 

Image Credits: Google Images

Things to Do and See:

Dubai is a city that has been designed with fun for the family in mind. There is lots to do here than meets the eye. Let me go through some of the more popular attractions that Dubai has come to be known for. 

1. The Burj Khalifa:

The tallest building in the world, is there more to say? Well, you’ve probably heard about it a hundred times already so, I don’t want to delve too deep. What I do want to say is, pictures don’t give you the full story. Visit the Burj Khalifa, it’s much more impressive in person. 

Image Credits: Pixabay

2. Dubai Mall:

Dubai Mall is the largest mall in the world and this mall isn’t actually known much for its shopping experience. The Dubai Mall is a huge fun-sized package with lots of things to do and they just keep adding to it all the time. Some of my favourites are the A380 flight simulator, Dubai Dino which is a Dinosaur museum, VR Park and the Dubai fountain where you can see free fountain shows at regular intervals. Quick tip, try to catch the show in the evenings and make sure you find a good spot early on.

Image Credits: Google Images

3. Dubai Aquarium:

The Dubai Aquarium is a part of the Dubai Mall but does deserve its own spot since its the largest aquarium in the world with over 130 species of marine life housed in it. It’s freaking huge and you can do a lot here as well like feeding mantas, live interactions with otters and so on. You can also catch a free glimpse from the centre of the Dubai Mall through the world’s largest acrylic panel.

Image Credits: Google Images

4. Desert Safari:

It’s sometimes easy to forget that Dubai is built on a desert when you are there. The desert safari will, however, remind you about it in the best way possible, dune bashing. You will be taken out to the Arabian desert on a 4×4 and scale the dunes and as the name suggests bash into some. Its bumpy, scary, exhilarating and a lot of fun. You also have the option to take part in a few other activities like camel riding, interacting with falcons and having a bbq dinner in the desert. It’s a good way to spend half a day.

Image Credits: Google Images

5. Miracle Garden:

The miracle garden is a true man-made miracle. Its a 72,000 sqm park that houses over 50 million flowers in the middle of the desert. It’s the world’s largest flower garden and is open from mid-November to late May. It’s breathtakingly beautiful and definitely worth a visit.

Image Credits: Google Images

6. Dhow Cruise:

Dhows are traditional Arabian vessels that were used to transport goods in the olden days. Now in the present, you can take a cruise on one in the Dubai creek or marina along with a nice dinner in the evenings. It’s a beautiful 2-hour cruise that showcases the beauty of Dubai in the night. Quick tip, choose the Dubai Marina Dhow Cruise if you wanna have the best possible experience as the vessels and service are better compared to the ones in the creek. 

Image Credits: Google Images

So those are the essential attractions that a lot of people generally stick to and the ones that you can get started on. You can also visit the capital of the UAE, Abu Dhabi as a day tour as well and combine it with the Ferrari world if you are interested. Also check: Maldives Visa for Indians.

Some things to keep in mind while you’re in Dubai: 

While Dubai is the most liberal place in the middle east, it still has its caveats that you have to keep in mind to stay away from trouble. Some of these pointers are also cultural etiquettes to keep in mind so that you don’t accidentally offend anyone and are respectful of the culture and people of Dubai. 

  • Drinking is permissible as long as you are a non-muslim and have an alcohol license. You don’t want to be caught drinking or intoxicated without the license. Drinking and driving is an even more serious offence that will land you in a load of trouble.
  • Use your right hand to greet people and when you pass things to other people in Dubai. The left hand is considered to be unclean as it is used to clean once you’re done visiting the potty.
  • Do not cuss in public as its illegal to do so. You might be left with a fine or behind bars based on the severity of the offence. 
  • Do not criticize the royal family, government or policies while in Dubai. Free speech isn’t applicable to all nations. 
  • Dress modestly in clothes that cover your shoulders, arms and feet. It’s considered to be provocative and PDAs are to be avoided as well, they are considered to be indecent. 

So those are all the basics you need to know about Dubai. Let us know if you have any questions about the city and we will try our best to help out with the same. If you are looking for more help with planning and booking your trip to Dubai. Well reach out to Pickyourtrail and one of our destination experts will be there to guide and customize your itinerary based on your requirements at the best prices. Visit Pickyourtrail to book your customized itinerary now.

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