Radisson Blu Hotel Trade Centre District, Dubai

between the Dubai Centre Tower and the Emirates Towers on Street 312, Zabeel Area, Dubai, United Ara
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Forum Posts

Marhaba Services - Airport Exit Speed?

by chrischarles2002

Hi everyone.

I'll be traveling from NYC-JFK on Emirates to Asia, with a layover in Dubai. On my return trip home from Asia, I have arranged to do a 24 hour layover in Dubai to try and take in the city for a first visit.

I've been reading a lot of conflicting stories about transit passengers and / or getting in & out of Dubai International Airport. Some people mention that it's always a breeze and never have an issue, other say that customs can take up to 2 hours at times. Some people have mentioned that Marhaba Services seem to be the best way to get in & out quickly. Time of flight arrivals seem to also be another factor.

Well, my flight arrives in Dubai from Asia at about 5 am on a Thursday morning.
My flight back to JFK leaves the following morning (Friday) at 2 am.

So what I'm trying to do is get through the terminal & customs ASAP (I guess I will also have to get a Visa), drop my bags somewhere (either in the airport, or maybe with a concierge at a hotel in the city), and head for breakfast at some local establishment.

Is it possible that there are also pre-paid services (such as Marhaba) that offer you to get your Visa expedited, either by putting you in some kind of fast track line, or doing the paperwork before you arrive?

Could anyone help us out with the best way to maximize our time in this (from what we've heard) great place, and minimize our time in airport & customs queues?

Thanks in advance for the advice.

Re: Marhaba Services - Airport Exit Speed?

by colin_bramso

Hi, welcome to VT.

If you travel on a US passport you get an automatic visa on arrival, it's just a quick stamp in your passport.

I've never had a problem getting in and out, the longest I've ever had to queue was getting in at a particularly busy time and that took 30 minutes.

For ideas of what to see and do in the short time you have, first check out our Dubai pages here on VT. Click on our names and follow the links or use the search panel up there on the right.

Briefly, you'll be out of the airport by about 6am which is a bit early for most places to be open. Breakfast in a hotel might be the answer because by the time you're finished things will be starting to open. If you do that, I suggest maybe somewhere in the centre of town by the Creek, say the Radisson SAS or Sheraton Dubai Creek. I'd say the two things to do are to walk around that area, where the dhows load and unload their cargo and the traditional souks are located. There's also the historic Shindagah district, museums etc. Then a BigBus hop-on hop-off tour around New Dubai to see some of the new developments, the beaches, Palm Jumeirah etc.

Re: Marhaba Services - Airport Exit Speed?

by 37SingleMaleInDubai1

Hi there,
If you may require visa to enter Dubai then Marhaba Service would be a good choice. Also if you use Marhaba you are placed in a Lounge where you dont need to move to a hotel and probably they would take care of your luggage before your onward flight!! Their web site is as following:


Safe trip and good luck.

Travel Tips for Dubai


by Siddha3th

You might be a little apprehensive of Dubai. "It's in the Middle East", "the place reeks of money", "umm... isn't it a part of Iraq?" Put your mind at rest, and dive heart and soul into a modern, buzzing city with a surprisingly human (albeit hidden) soul. Don't worry about politically correct issues like what to do, what to say, what to wear.. in Dubai, anything and everything goes, with just a sprinkling of common sense. Being part of the United Arab Emirates, a politically neutral country, the city is far removed from images which CNN usually likes to associate this part of the world with. So really the only baggage you need to be coming here with is that camera pouch :) When I first got here, I simply hated it! Where's the night life, where's that happenin' street spirit, where's that buzz which was my life-blood back in India?! The overt glitz and gaudiness suffocated me. That was before I stopped complaining... and started exploring. Started walking through its crowded streets. Started heading off into the desert on full-moon safaris. Started pub-crawling through the heady mix of bars & clubs that dot the horizon. Just to be able to tell you now, that it's not all filthy dirhams and flashy buildings (well, maybe it is). But I guess it's up to you to explore beneath the surface... to catch the million smiles, with dreams to match. Dubai can be a jewel of Arabia, resting peacefully beside a soft shore. It can be what you want it to be.

Birdwatching Tour Agencies in Dxb & UAE

by 37SingleMaleInDubai1

Birdwatching Tour Agencies and Environmental Group

The Birdwatcher’s Paradise:
Khor Dubai
Mushrif Park
Emirates Golf Club
Jebel Ali
Al Habab
Qarn Nazwa
Specialities site-by-site guide

Khor Dubai:
Western Reef Heron
Greater Flamingo
Spotted Eagle
Lesser Sand Plover
Broad-billed sandpiper
Terek Sandpiper
Mushrif Park:
Bruce’s Scops Owl Yellow-throated Sparrow
Emirates Golf Club:
Red-wattled Lapwing Pacific Golden Plover
Pintail Snipe
Chest nut –bellied
Isabelline Shrike
Jebel Ali Area:
Socotra Cormorant
Grey Francolin
Black-crowned Finch Lark
Hoopoe Lark
White-cheeked Bullbul
Purple Sunbird
Al Habab:
Cream-coloured Courser
Blue-cheeked Bee-eater
Hoopoe Lark
Black-crowned Finch Lark
Lappet-faced Vulture
Bonelli’s Eagle
Sand Partridge
Desert Lark
Pale Crag Martin
Hume’s Wheatear
Scrub Warbler
Desert Lesser
Plain Leaf Warbler
Pale Rock Sparrow
House Bunting
Little Green Bee-eater

Birdwatching Tour Agencies and Environmental GroupHobby,
P.O. Box 50394,
Dubai, United Arab Emirates
Tel/Fax: 9714-8820655
Mobile: 050 - 6503398
E-mail: colinr@emirates.net.ae
Birdwatching tours organized by Colin Richardson.

Dubai Emirates Environmental Group,
P.O.Box 7013
Tel: 3318100
Fax: 3328500

Emirates Bird Records Committee,
P.O.Box 50394,
Tel: 3472277
Fax: 3472276

Emirates Natural History Group,
P.O.Box 2380,
Abu Dhabi
Tel: 02-6654057
Fax: 02-6654057 Miscellaneous Equipment

You should bring the following binoculars, shoulder bag / small rucksack, lens cleaning tissues, sun glasses, field guide/s, notebook and pencil, personal medication.

Optional: telescope & tripod, camera lenses and film, spare binoculars and spare spectacles ( in case of loss or damage ).


The climate and light is ideal for wildlife photography in the UAE.

There are few security restrictions, except around government or military installations.

Print film is cheaper than in many other countries, although it is best to bring a supply of slide film.

Dust and humidity are a problem and you should pack camera equipment in dust-proof bags for protection.

The 2 minute guide to mall mad Dubai

by kuwait_david

So in brief:

For Designer kit including the latest D&G, Chanel, Louis Vitton etc head for the Burjuman centre but best to go in the afternoon when the traffic is not so bad.

For everything go to Mall of the Emirates the biggest mall in Dubai and home to Harvey Nicholls, Debenhams and of course Ski Dubai. Also check out the gold class cinema at Mall of the Emirates the true luxury way to watch the movies.

Deira City Centre is now one of the older malls in Dubai but it a handy of you want to stay on the Deira side of the creek and if you are shopping for well priced electrical goods. There are also a couple of interesting shops selling antiques and carpets.

Festival City is the newest mall in town with IKEA, Marks and Spencers, the massive Plug In Electronics and a host of other shops and restuarants.

Mercato is small and have a few funky shops on Jumeirah Beach Road and is worth stopping off at en route to or from Madinat.

Madinat is the replica souk in the shadow of Burj Al Arab hotel and a great place to shop and eat. The very cool art shops and antique shops as well as a host of boutique shops are great.

Last but not least is the expanding Wafi City with its own unique set of shops including Dubai's best camera shop. This is a favourite amongst local residents of Dubai.

There are many many more malls but this is a quick overview of the big ones.


by Siddha3th about CARTER'S

One of Dubai's livelier restaurants/ bars, Carter's undergoes a stunning transformation daily - changing from elegant restaurant to a hot, throbbing bar from 11 onwards.

Falling in love with this place is not all that hard, especially on Sunday nights (when all-night cocktails cost just 10 bucks!) and Tuesdays (Happy Hour night, with beers costing around 12 bucks!).

They've got a resident DJ, and spice things up regularly by holding theme nights and getting in the odd live act. Simply, Carter's is a pretty nice place to feel alive and become one with Dubai's night.

A giant piece of cake and tasteful coffee

by ursa9 about Mug & Bean

UPDATED INFO: Mug & Bean is closed! :-( We wanted to go there again this time, but we just didn't find it listed among other restaurants and cafes. A friend who lives in Dubai told us then that it was shut down. :o(

We went there a couple of times when strolling inside the Deira City Center. It is a really nice and private place, a bit hidden perhaps. I personally don't like crowded places but prefer quieter, cosy cafes where people can talk.

This cafe really offers good coffee, nice desserts and it also has some other things on the menu such as sandwiches, omelettes etc. My friends were very happy with their meals, not to mention a giant piece of cake! We first thought that this piece of cake was meant for one person because of the price. :-)) I felt like a mouse in a cartoon with a giant piece of cheese! :-)) Chocolate cake :-)

Be careful: I don't recommend the sandwich with beef! - I was sick the entire day because of it, too strong for my stomack... :-(


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