Picnic in the desert
Local people in Dubai seem to be extremely nice and friendly. And I really mean that! We were taken by their hospitality and authentic interest in our country, religion, customs, etc… Our hosts were also very keen on sharing the knowledge about their country with us.
We were lucky to be invited to the desert picnic with locals. We eat lamb in the tent (using nothing but our hands) and had coffee and deserts under the night sky full of stars. It was one of those moments that I’ll never forget.
Fans are a must!
Carrying a decent tote is always worthwhile when visiting souks or malls, to avoid having so many bags. The Carrefours shopping bag for 2DH is a cheap souvenir and useful, too. Pack an extra, collapsible suitcase for purchases! We were there in summer: needed more sandals, more capris (as a woman I was just uncomfortable wearing shorts, tho' others did) and more packable coverups for malls with AC on full blast! I had only taken 1/1 pair of each. Covering up is not required except for mosque, but even short sleeves and capris got some stares... Keep some toilet paper in your tote if you are going to "heritage" sites or shops off the beaten track, as it may not be provided. Batteries were plentiful tho' expensive. Must wear sandals on beach or risk burning bottoms of feet (summer!) Portable battery-powered fans (Walgreens, Brookstone, Sharper Image, etc.) were invaluable for desert dining and day to day, as were cheap folding Chinese fans. Max SPF sunscreen a must. Hang-gliding and boating available. Floppy hat was useful. Wet washcloth in small plastic bag was comforting. As a Western woman with light hair, I immediately realized I would not fit in! Stares but no comments, and it seemed most who worked in shops, hotels, restaurants, etc., were not from Dubai. Can ski at Ski Dubai (gear for rent) Lots of spas. Zoo a major disappointment. Some history/museums. No art museums, no theatre.
S*uce @ the Village Mall
for the wild crazy woman in you.
S*uce is quircky, weird, and fascinating. It has a lot of strange pieces by international and local designers who are based in Dubai
Bags, dresses, jeans, shirts, cute gift items, etc. Designers include:
Orca bags (london based)
pink sushi bags (dubai based)
Art & Design (various)
Accessories (Various) Kind of on the expensive side (Dhms 200+)...but go if just to check things out
Most things are unique limited number stuff.
In the heat of summer, the "cool" nights around 40º Celsius, are the best time to peep outside. The show is prepared, and the photogenic elements illuminated for your delight. Burj al Arab is a must, of course, but even beach and pool seem cooler.
Over the past five years or so, Dubai has totally revamped the taxi system, ridding the emirate of virtually all the old ones and demanding that each taxi on the road be equipped with a meter. Costs are very reasonable: a 20 minute ride rarely costs more than about $3 or $4. With upwards of 14,000 of them, you'll almost never have to wait more than 5 minutes for one to come by. It's worth noting, too, that they're all equipped with GPS systems, so the company knows exactly where each cab is at any given time. This virtually guarantees that you won't be ripped off.
Beware the illegal moonlighters, though: You'll often be approached at the entrances to shopping malls and ushered toward a private car. You'll be in no danger, but you may have an argument at the other end if you don't agree to a price beforehand!