respect all faiths and cultures.
good question. I think one should be careful about displaying alchohol openly in public in ALL muslim countries. The home office also advises on things like this and showing respect for the muslim faith by dressing appropriately.
I say, this is something that should be applied to all faiths and cultures across the globe.
The number is times i've seen tourists in Goa walk through the town centre in practically a bikini is amazing! Or tourist men walking around with no top on. If the locals don't do it, You don't do it.
As far as i'm aware, you can buy alcohol at the tourist hotels.
Although a major attraction in Dubai, the desert safari is far from a tourist trap. It is a most enjoyable experience that is better than any roller coaster ride! I utilised Alpha Tours, which was excellent. A jeep will pick you and other passengers in Dubai (4-6 per car) and will drive about 45 minutes into the desert until you reach the real breathtaking sand dune desert. As soon as all the cars have assembled (and some photos taken), the jeeps will start trecking on the dunes... AMAZING! ... The evening will end at a camp located in the middle of the desert, with an Arabic dinner, camel rides and yes, a belly dancer. Alpha Tours is one of numerous tour operators in Dubai. All tour operators offer choices of half day, overnight, and multi-day safaris. I found the 5-6 hour one quite sufficient (from 3:30pm until 9pm). For additional photos, check out the travelogue Desert Safari
Traditional shopping "off the beaten path"
Away from the shiny giants called shopping malls, mostly untouched by Dubai's megalomaniac drive towards modernisation, full of grubby charm & old memories of the heavy Indian influence on the region, lies one of the city's best-kept secrets: Satwa.
Pop into any shop to see the numerous massive rolls of textiles, crammed against every wall & into every tiny space in the shop. The salesmen are very knowledgeable and will climb up ladders or crawl under piles of merchandise to find exactly what you're looking for.
The best known and most frequented shops are REGAL and DEEPAK'S.
Both stores will recommend nearby tailors to turn your fabrics into perfectly fitting garments.
There's a store on the same road (opposite Satwa clinic & next to Deepak's) called FIDA: here you will find loads of "the small stuff that holds the world together": zippers, buttons, hair clips, lace, thread, tassels, beads, velcro strips, knitting wool & needles, etc. Very useful for finding little add-ons for your textiles before taking them to the tailor. This is the perfect place to uncover hidden textile treasures.
The entire narrow street is lined with small, run-down stalls as well as fancy, large textile merchants. You will find everything: from white fluff for your Santa outfit, cotton for bed sheets, intricate designs for curtains, high-quality cloth for men's suits, to stunning hand-woven, beaded & painted silks for gorgeous evening gowns. You can also find Pashmina Shawls here --> (see my Tourist Trap Tip on Pashminas!)
On Al Hudaiba Street ("Plant Street") you can find many shops selling gardening tools, pots & plants and unfortunately also many run-down and grotty pet stores.
--> For an even large selection of textiles, you'll love visiting the historic Textile Souk (see my seperate tip under "Things to do.")
Opening Hours of most shops:
09:00am-01:30pm & 04:30pm-10:00pm.
(closed on Friday mornings)
NOTE: Please note that these parking areas cost 1 Dirham for 1 hour and 5 Dirhams for 2 hours. Parking is free on Fridays & public holidays, as well as from 1pm–4pm in the afternoon & from 9pm at night until 8am in the morning. Prices are extremely low, charged by the yard & haggling is expected; so bargain to your heart's content!
Some of my recommended stores / tailors:
> REGAL Tel: +971-4-344 2696
> Deepak's Tel: +9714-344 3182 / 344 8836
> FIDA Trading Tel: +971-4-344 4008
> MONTEXA (British tailor) Tel: +971-4-349 4037
Chillin' out at the looongest bar...
This is the venue with the longest bar in the Middle East, with an authentic dark wood, creaky floor, British bar-look. Long's is a casual venue for a nice dinner with friends before heading-out into town. I like meeting some of the girls for dinner & cocktails there, laughing at the guys ogling at the young & the beautiful that come here for the warm-up :-)
The menu features dishes from the Far East, Mediterranean & a wide variety of traditional pub-grub: Fish 'n' Chips, Steaks, Burgers, etc. Long's goes with the principle "stick to what you know" and does well with it.
There's a small dance floor at the back, just large enough to get your boogie on to the collection of 70s rock & 80s pop. If your legs won't carry you to the ultra-modern, huge nightclubs around town, this is a practical alternative for some carefree weekend fun. Mostly Long's is busy in the early evening; frequented by party-crowds that pop in for an early drink, some nibbles & then head out to the clubs at around midnight.
Tuesdays - 80s & 90s Night, 2 free drinks for ladies between 9pm-midnight.
Fridays - Dubai's longest happy hour: 12pm - 12am & Brunch Buffet.
Saturdays - "the big chill". Beanbags, funky music & special Finlandia Shooters. Smart-Casual.
M E N: Jeans are fine (no shorts), Shirts with collar, proper shoes (no sneakers, no sandals)
L A D I E S: Pretty much anything goes (apart from beach-wear!)
Opening Hours: 12:00noon - 03:00am.
TIP: For some unknown reason, this bar becomes *the* place to be during the Holy Month of Ramadhan, when all other bars are quieting-down and taking it easy... what fun we had!
Drop into Madinat Jumeriah where you can eat seafood, steaks, japanese, indian, italian, thai and more..... enjoy a drink before or after in one of the many bars and watch where the beautiful people hang out at the weekends. Reservations are a must and the under dressed will feel out of place. Be careful some of the restuarants do not have a license. Japengo is to be avoided the sushi is not fresh and pretty tasteless. The Meat Company is great but get your name on the list for a table early and head for a drink in one of the bars, they will call your mobile when your table is ready. Madinat is not really a family place at the weekend with many of the bars spilling out on to the terraces with large and loud groups. This is one of the must hang out places when in Dubai. After dinner get your dancing shoes on and head for Trilogy if you are up for it.