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Dubai

Visa Requirements:

Visa on Arrival

Languages Spoken:

English, Arab

General Information

Dubai is the largest and most populous city in the United Arab Emirates (UAE). It is located on the southeast coast of the Persian Gulf and is the capital of the Emirate of Dubai, one of the seven emirates that make up the country.

Dubai emerged as a global city and business hub of the Middle East. It is also a major transport hub for passengers and cargo. By the 1960s, Dubai's economy was based on revenues from trade and, to a smaller extent, oil exploration concessions, but oil was not discovered until 1966.

The Emirate's Western-style model of business drives its economy with the main revenues now coming from tourism, aviation, real estate, and financial services.Dubai was recently named the best destination for Muslim travelers by Salam Standard.Dubai has recently attracted world attention through many innovative large construction projects and sports events. The city has become iconic for its skyscrapers and high-rise buildings, in particular the world's tallest building, the Burj Khalifa.

As of 2012, Dubai was the 22nd most expensive city in the world and the most expensive city in the Middle East. In 2014, Dubai's hotel rooms were rated as the second most expensive in the world, after Geneva. In 2013, U.S. global consulting firm Mercer rated Dubai the best place to live in the Middle East.

Dubai

Places To Go

Dubai is the city of One Thousand and One Arabian Lights; it is an excellent place for a vacation where culture and history, adventure, first-class shops, and entertainment make a perfect combination.

Burj Al Arab

Opulent hotel featuring ornate suites, plus a free breakfast buffet, 9 restaurants, 4 pools & a spa.

Wild Wadi Water Park

Aquatic roller coasters & surfing wave machine in outdoor water park with pools, slides & tunnels.

Burj Khalifa

Spired 828-meter skyscraper with a viewing deck, restaurant, hotel and offices and 11-hectare park.

Dubai Creek

Dubai Creek is a saltwater creek located in Dubai, United Arab Emirates.

Al Ahmadiya School

Al Ahmadiya School is a semi-formal private school in Dubai, and is today owned and managed by Dubai Culture and Arts Authority.

Heritage and Diving Villages

Cultural area showing traditional craftsmen & -women in action, plus demonstrations of pearl diving.

Textile Souk

Market with an array of small shops selling fabrics, clothing, slippers, souvenirs & more.

Dubai Museum

18th-century fort housing a museum with multimedia exhibits on local history & cultural heritage.

Ski Dubai

Indoor ski center with a mountain motif & snow for year-round skiing & snowboarding.

Dubai Aquarium & Underwater Zoo

Underwater tunnel under a huge shark- & ray-filled tank, plus a creepy crawly zone with snakes.

Jumeira Mosque

Landmark mosque with guided tours offered to non-Muslims to promote cultural understanding.

Majlis Ghorfat Um-Al Sheif

Famous preserved home of Sheikh Rashid bin Saeed Al Maktoum amid gardens, palm trees & waterways.

Wild Wadi Water Park

Aquatic roller coasters & surfing wave machine in outdoor water park with pools, slides & tunnels.

Madinat Jumeira

Upmarket resort complex with 5 hotels, a modern souk, restaurants & bars, plus a private beach

Dubai Gold Souk

Marked by a wooden arch, this bustling bazaar features many stores selling dazzling gold jewelry.

Deira Perfume Souk

Strip of stores specializing in popular scents & mix-your-own fragrances in tiny glass containers.

Abu Dhabi

Take a trip to Abu Dhabi to discover a modern metropolis built on a strip of land jutting out into the Persian Gulf. The city grew rapidly after the 1960s oil discovery, transforming itself into a technological, commercial, and cultural center of the region. Admire the colossal architecture, shop in huge malls, or head to one of the city's many theme and water parks for a family-friendly Abu Dhabi vacation. Heritage sites offer a look at the region's lifestyle before oil, and internationally renowned museums display artifacts from across the Islamic world. Our United Arab Emirates attractions planner allows you to schedule your trip to Abu Dhabi, learn about its attractions, and find out about where else to go during your holiday.

Al Ain

If you need a break from the U.A.E's two mega-cities, take a trip to Al Ain, a refreshing oasis of green amid the harsh desert. In fact, the city is literally constructed on oases--seven of them--designed using the ancient "falaj" irrigation method that makes use of water from boreholes. Constantly inhabited for more than 4,000 years, the city brims with a rich history and striking Middle Eastern architecture. Many visitors also come to escape the oppressive humidity of the coastal cities. Located inland on the border with Oman and less that two hours' drive from both Dubai and Abu Dhabi, Al Ain serves as an easily accessible window into authentic Arabic culture. Add Al Ain and other United Arab Emirates destinations to your travel plans using our United Arab Emirates road trip app.

Sharjah

Located along the northern coast of the Persian Gulf, Sharjah was named the Middle East's top cultural city by UNESCO in 1998. Recognized for its historical, walkable downtown, Sharjah boasts a number of popular attractions. The natural history museum, an impressive square, and the sheikh's palace top many itineraries in Sharjah. The city also has two white sand beaches, plus the oldest marketplace in the United Arab Emirates. Another famous souq holds over 600 shops selling local goods. Put Sharjah at the heart of your travel plans by using our United Arab Emirates trip itinerary maker site.

Ajman

The smallest of the seven Emirates of the UAE, Ajman is a popular choice for tourists thanks to its shopping, beach, and cultural activities, not to mention its proximity to Dubai and the nation's airports. This region, growing rapidly and recovering well from the 2008 financial crisis, seems to be adding new attractions every year, so there are plenty of designer outlets, white sandy beaches, and cultural museums to add to your Ajman itinerary.

Ras Al Khaimah

Nicknamed "the Rising Emirate," Ras Al Khaimah may be an unfamiliar name to many tourists, but has been tipped as the next Dubai thanks to its steady development (along with the rest of the U.A.E.) of luxury resorts, retail districts, and shopping malls. This chic destination now attracts a glut of rich business expats and tourists. Outdoor enthusiasts on holiday in Ras Al Khaimah will also find the vast oases, jagged mountain range, and white sandy beaches a pleasure.

Dubai

Climate

Dubai has a hot desert climate. Summers in Dubai are extremely hot, windy, and humid, with an average high around 41 °C (106 °F) and overnight lows around 30 °C (86 °F) in the hottest month, August. Most days are sunny throughout the year. Winters are warm with an average high of 24 °C (75 °F) and overnight lows of 14 °C (57 °F) in January, the coldest month. Precipitation, however, has been increasing in the last few decades, with accumulated rain reaching 94.3 mm (3.71 in) per year.[58] Dubai summers are also known for the very high humidity level, which can make it very uncomfortable for many with exceptionally high dewpoints in summer. The highest recorded temperature in the UAE is 52.1 °C (126 °F), reached in July 2002.

Dubai

Safety Tips

Dubai is generally a very safe place. However, especially western travelers need to be aware that Dubai, despite of its western appearance, applies Sharia law (Islamic law) which includes the following criminal offenses:

Juveniles

Under UAE Law, a juvenile is an individual aged 18 or below. Capital punishment, imprisonment, or fines cannot be imposed as sentences against juveniles who commit criminal offences. The Juveniles law follows a Restorative Justice model focusing on the needs of the young offender. Judges can issue a variety of non-punitive sentences including reprimand, putting young offenders under the supervision of a guardian, or rehabilitation.

In 2015, 40% of all cases examined by prosecutors were related to offences committed by juveniles.

Islamic Law

The competence of Sharia Courts has been limited by presence of Civil and Criminal Courts. In some Emirates, particularly Abu Dhabi, however, Sharia law came to apply to all types of civil and commercial disputes, capital criminal offences and matters of personal status. Each of the seven federal Emirates maintains a parallel system of Sharia Courts proper to it.

Flogging is a punishment for certain criminal offences (such as adultery, and alcohol consumption by Muslims) and it is applicable to both genders. Between 2007 and 2014, many people in the UAE were sentenced to 100 lashes.

Stoning is a legal punishment under Sharia. Between 2009 and 2013, several people were sentenced to death by stoning.

Verbal abuse

Verbal abuse pertaining to a person's sexual honor is illegal and punishable by 80 lashes. In January 2014, a man in Abu Dhabi was sentenced to 10 years imprisonment and 80 lashes for alcohol consumption and raping a toddler.

Alcohol

Alcohol consumption for Muslims is illegal and punishable by 80 lashes, many Muslims have been sentenced to 80 lashes for alcohol consumption.80lashes is the standard amount for anyone sentenced to flogging in some emirates. Sometimes 40 lashes are given. Non Muslims are required to have Alcohol Licenses to be allowed to consume spirits and alcohol. If a license was not obtained, the punishment will be 1–6 months detention and/or a fine not exceeding 2000 Dirhams (approximately 544 US Dollars). Non Muslims cannot be punished by flogging under Sharia Principles for consuming alcohol and this has been confirmed by UAE Federal Law No.52 of year 2006. Drunk-driving is strictly illegal.

Abortion

Abortion is illegal and carries a sentence of one to five years in prison and/or a fine (around 2722 US Dollars).

False allegations crimes

Many western associations state that many women who reported rape but were convicted for false allegations are still victims of rape. This is what they call criminalization of rape victims. The Emirates Center for Human Rights expressed concern over Dubai's criminalization of rape victims.

In Dubai, a woman who engages in consensual extramarital relations and press false allegations of rape can be sentenced to over a year of time in prison.

The Emirates Center for Human Rights states that "Until laws are reformed, victims of sexual violence in the UAE will continue to suffer" referring to a case in July 2013 in which a 24 year old Norwegian woman, Matre Dalelv reported an alleged rape to the police and received a prison sentence for "perjury, illicit [consensual extramarital] sex and alcohol consumption" and false allegations after she admitted lying about the rape.

Apostasy

Apostasy is a crime punishable by death in the UAE. Blasphemy is illegal, expats involved in insulting Islam are punished by deportation. UAE incorporates hudud crimes of Sharia into its Penal Code - apostasy being one of them. Article 1 and Article 66 of UAE's Penal Code requires hudud crimes to be punished with the death penalty,therefore apostasy is punishable by death in the UAE.

Dress code violation

The UAE has a modest dress code. The dress code is part of Dubai's criminal law. Most malls in the UAE have a dress code displayed at entrances. At Dubai's malls, females should cover their shoulders and knees, therefore sleeveless tops and short shorts are not permitted. However, the dress code is not strictly enforced in public places and it is very common to see people wearing all kinds of outfits at those places, especially in Dubai.

Homosexuality, display of public affection

Homosexuality is illegal: homosexuality is a capital offense in the UAE. In 2014, an Emirati man was on trial for being accused of a "gay handshake".

Kissing

Kissing in public is illegal and can result in deportation. Expats in Dubai have been deported for kissing in public. In Abu Dhabi, two residents of Arab nationalities have been sentenced to 80 lashes for kissing in public.

Other offenses

Article 1 of the Federal Penal Code states that "provisions of the Islamic Law shall apply to the crimes of doctrinal punishment, punitive punishment and blood money." The Federal Penal Code repealed only those provisions within the penal codes of individual emirates which are contradictory to the Federal Penal Code. Hence, both are enforceable simultaneously.

A new federal law in the UAE prohibits swearing in WhatsApp and penalizes swearing by a $68,061 fine and imprisonment, expats are penalized by deportation. In July 2015, an Australian expat was deported for swearing in Facebook

Ramadan

During Ramadan, it is illegal to publicly eat, drink, or smoke between sunrise and sunset. Exceptions are made for pregnant women and children. The law applies to both Muslims and non-Muslims, and failure to comply results in arrest.

Personal status law

Sharia law dictates the personal status law, which regulate matters such as marriage, divorce and child custody. The Sharia-based personal status law is applied to Muslims and sometimes non-Muslims. Non-Muslims can be liable to Sharia rulings on marriage, divorce and child custody. However, the burden is on the Non Muslim party to request that foreign family laws are applied on a particular case. Judges would entertain such requests in line with Article 1 of the Personal Status Law.

In 2015, non-Muslims owning assets in the Emirate of Dubai were given the option to register their wills with the DIFC Wills & Probate Registry. Previously, the Sharia Law could still apply to the real estate assets owned by the non-Muslims. This welcome change has brought certainty in this area of law. The wills can now be prepared by wills draftsman duly registered with the Registry.

Risk Ratings

OVERALL RISK: LOW
Dubai is an overall safe city. It is highly ranked 20th out of 113 on the ranking of the safest and most dangerous cities.

PICKPOCKETS RISK: MEDIUM
There are some areas with high density of pickpockets, especially Jumeira Beach which is well known as the main pickpockets spot. Do not leave your belongings unattended and be vigilant both while getting on the public transport or enjoying the sunshine on the beach.

MUGGING RISK: LOW
Mugging and kidnapping are very rare.

SCAMS RISK: LOW
Dubai is full of visitors thus numerous people try to take advantage of it. In shopping centers, scammers will try to get you to answer questions to win a prize; however, this is a kind of scam to sell a travel package to you. In the fast car rental services, you can be charged for getting speeding tickets. Sometimes, taxi drivers overcharge their clients.

TRANSPORT AND TAXIS RISK: MEDIUM
Generally, public transport is safe and reliable. If you are considering renting a car, be aware of unpredictable driving behaviors.

NATURAL DISASTERS RISK: LOW
The United Arab Emirates experiences extremely high temperatures, which can exceed 50C. Sandstorms occur on a regular basis. Sometimes, a severe thunderstorm may occur in the UAE. Information on natural disasters can be obtained from the Global Disaster Alert and Coordination System.

TERRORISM RISK: MEDIUM
A number of terrorist attacks occurred in the Gulf region in recent years. The probability of new attacks is high.

WOMEN TRAVELERS RISK: LOW
Overall, female travelers risk in UAE seems to be on par with main European countries, Australia, Canada or USA. We recommend taking normal safety precautious and trying to avoid visiting remote neighborhoods late at night.