One day, this will be a rich and luxury place to live, but that wasn't what I found.
Be careful when booking your hotel, because you risk to get installed in the middle of a noisy and dusty construction site.
It must be a lively place, nowadays, but,,, distances are still the same, isn't it?
- Arts and Culture
Don't go there with a professional camera. I'm not a proffesional filmer but I have a professional camera because it is my hobby. Everywhere you go with a camera like that you will have problems. On many places I have to ask my money back because when they saw my camera I have to stop filming. It was not allowed to film the aquarium in the Dubai Mall, just stupid. And when I explaned that I'm only a privat person with a hobby they still refuse. The only thing they can say is "this is policy".
They are so proud that they have the biggest building in the world, the biggest aquarium, the biggest this and the biggest that, but when YOU have a big camera then ..... and then........ they are the biggest idiots there.
Also, how more stars a hotel have the more artificial the staff will be.
With money you can buy concrete and stones but you can not create a city. If you know what I meen. I can't believe that modern western people want to live there.
Unique Suggestions: Bring a small camera, spend money, do what the divine emperor say's, lock yourself in a holiday factory, like Atlantis, and you will be fine.
Fun Alternatives: From Dubai I went to Thailand. Thailand is not so clean and don't have the same high buildings but oohhhhhhhh what a relief.
- Family Travel
- Business Travel
- Budget Travel
Select your company
The right event demands the right people in the right place. The same program may become boring or unforgettable, according to the behaviour of the clients.
The dinner cruise is an opportunity that depends on the costumers.
Fernanda was in the mood, but... alone. The singer tried her best, pulled the people, but the other clients seemed to have a funeral (or work) the next day.
Unique Suggestions: Choose your company and... have fun.
- Arts and Culture
Expensive Souvenir Photos at Burj Khalifa Tower
Before going at the elevator to the observation deck of the burj khalifa, they will take a picture of you and your group so that if you line up before going down the observation deck, you will see you pictures shown at the large led tv's and you can pick any motif you want, like the tom cruise pose when he was climbing the burj khalifa at mission impossible 4 and on a construction steel bar at the burj khalifa and more. This is a tourist trap as the pictures alone will cost AED 150 with a plastic frame and AED 250 if with a plastic frame and an embossed picture in a coffee mug. these are sky high prices!
Unique Suggestions: Don't buy the souvenirs, if you want, just take a picture of the giant LED screen with your face on the frame and then edit it when you go back home! that is free!
Opens: 10:00 am to 1:00 am everyday
Address: Dubai Mall Entrance, Doha Street, Downtown Dubai
Directions: Dubai Mall Entrance, Doha Street, Downtown Dubai, Dubai, UAE. Nearest Metro Station is the Burj Khalifa Station
Phone: +9714 8888124
Fun Alternatives: the alternative is not to buy it or take a picture of the screen hehehe and edit it at home, that is free!
- Theme Park Trips
Be Ready to Haggle at Gold Souk
The Gold Souks Glitters as it is one of the Main destination in Dubai, specially for tourists who want to buy gold ornaments and gold ornaments stodded with precious stones. No Problem with that but you MUST REMEMBER to HAGGLE on the prices of the gold ornaments that you will be buying as prices here at the Gold Souk in Deira is not fixed. My local expatriate friend told me that prices here are marked up to 50% so be ready to haggle. Many of the Golk Souk Stalls offer similarly design gold bracelets, earrings, necklaces and more so if you are to buying these luxe items, be ready to go to a few stores and do a canvassing of prices of similar items and then if you wind the shop with the cheapest item that you want, then get ready to haggle at least 30% off the price.
Unique Suggestions: Again, Buying your most wanted gold jewelry here is good but HAGGLING for it is better.
Fun Alternatives: if you are not good in haggling, then if you have a local emirati friend or a long time expatriate friend living in dubai, then I would suggest you bring them with you to help you haggle.
- Business Travel
- Luxury Travel
- Road Trip
Taxi or not?
Only use a taxi with a meter! They're the ones with the usual taxi sign on the roof and the meter is there inside.
We used taxis a lot whilst in Dubai.
After lunch one day, at the Atlantis, we asked for a taxi and the doorman (?) ushered us over to a black Merc with no markings. The driver told us that it would be 40 dh to travel about 6 minutes to the other entrance to the palm. We climbed out with a polite 'no thank you' and found a real cab. 8 dh later we were there!
check your steaks
We went to a well-known steak house for an evening meal. My nephew and I had a porterhouse cut, on my recommendation.
Now, I cruise on American ships quite a bit and I expect a porterhouse to be lean, with reasonable flavour and off the bone ---that's what I've always had on the ships.
At 'W14' the cut was just gristle, fat and bone ----very little meat.
Perhaps I got it wrong! Maybe the cruise ships had it wrong!
My suggestion is that you talk to your waiting staff so that you know what you're going to get.
Did we complain? £350 for 4 main courses and two bottles of wine... no because we had tickets for an event and we just couldn't be late.
Unique Suggestions: CHeck the cuts with the staff before you order.
Shopping Paradise? Or Retail Rip-off?
Dubai is a playground for the rich, synonymous with shopping, 5-star beach hotels & sprawling duty-free shopping malls. Every high-end brand is on offer.
Even though we have some of the world's largest & most beautiful malls with hundreds of stores, I find that the motto seems to be "Quantity, not quality".
Many friends that have visited me over the years were at first impressed with the sheer size of the malls & selection of clothes, shoes, bags, etc. But look a little closer and you'll notice that the selection is not so varied at all: sometimes 20-30 different shops will have pretty much the same stuff on their hangers. The selection is quite limited & you'll see many people (especially women's wear) walking around Dubai with the same outfit.
One of the most untrue things people say about Dubai is that it's "good" for shopping: designer gear and also High Street brands generally tend to be more expensive than in Europe and a lot of the times high-end stores are actually selling last year's collections. Each shopping mall has a mixture of expensive and cheaper clothes, but quality is definitely not consistent.
Some well-known international brands such a Mango, ZARA, NEXT, etc. are quite clever about sending their season's rejects to Dubai... "somebody will buy it, just make the label nice & pretty and say it's on sale." But beware, don't be blinded by the sparkling facades and lured by the fancy decor & those magic 4 letters "SALE": some branded items are more expensive than elsewhere. I've bought clothes from Western stores that were of good quality, and in the same store I've bought clothes that require "hand-washing" and promptly fell apart in my hands as soon as they touched the luke-warm water. There's no guarantee what you may end up with, even if you by from a well-known store.
--> Click here for a 2012 new article on Dubai's rip off prices: http://www.thenational.ae/thenationalconversation/industry-insights/retail/fashion-brands-charge-shoppers-more-in-uae
Unique Suggestions: In the traditional souks prices can drop dramatically and bargaining is expected, but increasingly major outlets in shopping malls quote "fixed prices" and bargaining is not possible. Nevertheless, it is still worth asking for the "best price" or "last price", as some outlets will offer discount without hesitation - keep in mind: "Don't ask, don't get."
Comparing prices often shows how much profit the distributors of certain brands in the UAE actually make and consequently, how much more you're paying. For example: IKEA is generally 30% more expensive than in countries such as Germany, UK, France, etc.
Most malls seem to be in "SALE" season for the entire year. The most famous sales-seaon is the Dubai Shopping Festival. But beware: many retailers will increase their prices by around 40-50% a month or so before the festival begins, simply to then proudly proclaim a "30-40% Sale!" during the shopping festival. Simple math tells us that you'll actually be spending at least 10% more during this time-period.... sneaky, I know!
Something you also may want to remember in order to avoid "Changing Room Panic" when buying clothes is that there are no standard sizes - they can be UK, European, USA or Italian. Many stores also produce their wares in Asian countries, so a nice European size 10/38-40 may suddenly feel like an extra-small & leave you feeling like a hippopotamus with water retention.
And beware: Dubai is no longer the "electronics nirvana" that it used to be. It seems that most electronics are now actually MORE expensive in Dubai than in the UK and other Western countries! So don't buy blindly... really compare prices & check whether your purchase is covered by a service/warranty at all.
Fun Alternatives: Don't come to Dubai with your life's savings in your pocket, expecting to spend a fraction of what you're used to at home and walk away with suitcases full of goodies.
--> Be realistic, compare prices, compare quality, and most importantly: convert the prices into your local currency as accurately as you can! A decimal point of even 0.3 can make a big difference for some items when converting from UAE Dirhams.
--> Instead of looking for bargains in the large shopping malls, purchase souvenirs, traditional items, fake designer goods, etc. away from retail-hell and visit the Karama shopping street, Satwa high street and the tradition Gold Souk, Textile Souk & Perfume Souk.
- Budget Travel
- Family Travel
- Women's Travel
Dubai - not a paradise for animals
Dubai is modern, shiny, clean, and "oh-so-perfect", or so it seems. It is definitely not the place for animal lovers or people with common sense on respecting animals.
The UAE still lacks a national agency for the protection of animals to provide a much-needed boost for animal rights. No clear laws, regulations, etc. are in place!
Dubai Zoo is one example of this: tiny cages, no escape from the stifling heat, no mental enrichment, untrained staff, and all of this since the 1970's.
The present zoo in Jumeirah is cramped, with about 1,000 species sharing just 17,500 square metres (including offices/visitor centre). This works out to less than 9 square metres for each animal! (see photos)
Residents agree: "This place where the animals are kept cannot be described as a zoo." In a newspaper poll 84% voted in favour of a new zoo. Apparently, a new zoo is in the process of being built, and the municipality has assured us that it will be much better... let's hope so.
--> UPDATE 2012: Finally! Could it be true? Will the poor long-suffering animals of the Dubai zoo get a new, more spacious and modern home? Click here: http://gulfnews.com/news/gulf/uae/general/dubai-safari-to-cover-400-hectares-1.1022592
Also, Dubai also has a "Dolphinarium". There has been a huge public outcry against this as keeping dolphins in small tanks, forcing them to do tricks is cruel and completely outdated "entertainment". Dubai claims that this is in the interest of 'conservation & educating children'. This is not true and is already being condemned by PETA and other animal rights organisations (I wrote to PETA and informed them of the planned project). Show your support on www.nodolphinshow.com!
No-one wants cruelty in their holidays...
Unique Suggestions: Voice your opinion to the Dubai Deparment of Tourism, and let them know that in order for Dubai to become (and remain) a prime destination for tourists, the animals at Dubai Zoo must be given better quality of life and better care & surroundings!
Also, see if you would like to support the work of 2 of the UAE's volunteer-run animal rescue organisations:
K9 Friends http://www.k9friends.com
rescues dogs that need help
Read a recent article on the plight of a neglected dog & the insufficient laws here...
Feline Friends http://www.felinefriendsuae.com
rescues street cats, abused cats, etc. (we adopted our cat Kazimir at one of their open days :-)
Fun Alternatives: But it's a vicious circle: I don't want to tell people not to visit Dubai Zoo, because then it will loose money on entrance fees, etc. But I do believe that you have the right, as a visitor & as a parent, to know the truth and to be aware of what to expect...
Do you want to take your kids to see tigers walking up and down and up and down along their concrete walls with a dazed look on their faces? Or great apes pulling their fur out because of boredom?
It's up to you, but we are all trying to find a way to improve the lives of these unfortunate creatures... without being deported for speaking our minds...
AUGUST 2008 NEWS: Searing heat beats Dubai Zoo animals into submission
What your travel agent isn't telling you...
Travel agencies, hotels and airlines all have 1 thing in common when it come to inquiries about Dubai: They lie to you.
So here is the TRUTH about the REAL SUMMER TEMPERATURES
& the truth about REAL LIFE during RAMADHAN:
--> Trust me, I've lived here for 14 years and the city is on the edge of a desert after all... it gets HOT!!
If you are planning to spend lots of time perfecting your tan, dune-bashing in the desert & seeing the city, then summer is definitely NOT the time to visit.
Hotels & airlines will try to "lure" tourists with cheap flights & hotel packages, but that doesn't mean that you will enjoy your holiday.
From June onwards, daytime temperatures are always around 40 degrees Celsius = 104 F, and July is the hottest month with temperatures hovering around 45 C = 113 F, even reaching 50 C = 122 F!!! Average humidity is between 70 - 90% during the day, with September being a slightly cooler but the most humid month, with a regular 100% humidity. Because of the high humidity some people (especially the elderly) may experience difficulty breathing.
2. RAMADHAN (in Year 2012, approx. July 20th - Aug. 18th)
(again, cheap hotel offers lure tourists)
During the Islamic Holy Month, Muslims fast during sunlight hours (no food, water, smoking, chewinggum and also no sexual intercourse). At sunset they break the fast ('Iftar') & usually stay up very late & nap during the day.
Note: During the day, cafes/restaurants are closed (but supermarkets are open). Hotels will keep at least 1 indoor restaurant open for guests. Shopping malls/Souks open later in the day, but still serve no food/drink until after sunset. The Museum is also closed. No eating-drinking allowed in public (hotel beaches are usually ok though). No alcohol is served anywhere during the day. At night, pubs are open serving alcohol but no live music & no dancing. And remember that people may get a bit grumpy towards the end of the day, low blood sugar level or desperate for a cigarette!
So if you want to really experience Dubai during your holiday, Ramadhan is not the time for you.
Unique Suggestions: 1. SUMMER - You can survive a summer holiday up to your chin in a cold pool or at Wild Wadi Waterpark (the water is usually very cold there), but otherwise all you can do is sit in air-conditioned shopping malls. It's far too hot and uncomfortable to really enjoy a holiday in full.
Around town, there are many nice & pretty Ramadhan tents where you can eat typical Arabic dishes, smoke Sheesha and relax. It's a very traditional atmosphere and nice to experience.
TIP: If you want both action & tradition, why not visit Dubai just before or just after Ramadhan? That way, you have a few days of quite, cultural days and a few days of night-life & action!
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
In terms of seasons/temperatures, to really enjoy the beaches and desert
the best time to visit Dubai is from October to May.
June to September is really very, very uncomfortable, hot and humid.
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Note that in December & January, it can get quite chilly in the evening and you may need a cardigan/light jacket. Also, Dubai is most likely to experience RAIN in January. For the past for example (2005-2008) we had many straight weeks of rain in December & January... you can imagine that the tourists were not impressed... ;-)
- Adventure Travel
- Budget Travel
- Family Travel
Dubai- IS THE tourist trap
Dubai ITSELF is the tourist trap of the century. All the hype of must go to Dubai... must see dubai.......it is the most overated destination I have been to. It is a colourless drab concrete jungle. Yes, there are lots of new buildings being constructed. Yes there is some interesting architecture,but there is more to a destination than looking at a lousy building. Firstly.....there is NO public transport, no trains, no buses.Thats right...no public transport. Just taxis with drivers intent on taking you the long way to increase the fare. And the queues for the taxis are so long you can't see the front pick up point. CARS?....cars,thousands of them.... 4 and 5 lane roads all full of cars at a standstill, gridlock. If it takes 15 mins to walk somewhere, it will take you an hour by taxi. The streets, the sidewalks, the blocks of land.... It's all under construction. It's a full on construction zone without anyone doing anything. There are holes, trenches,demolition, scaffolds,,dirt, etc etc etc, everywhere ......but no-one working at it. Where are they all????????? Why not get the job finished?All this means.....SMOG. Thats right....mixed with the fine sand blown off the desert is SMOG from the cars and building dust, which makes the whole area and horizon look like a smoke filled room. Shopping....what a load of rubbish. I compared catalogues from Sydney and can buy cheaper electronic goods in Sydney. The gold souk......again I bought gold cheaper in Europe and better quality diamonds in Europe. There are lots of yellowish tinged diamonds at the souk originating from India. Then theres the fake rolex watch salesmen....etc etc. Its not what it seems. BE VERY CAREFUL what you buy.Then there's the weather. Landed at 11:30 at night to a 36 degree temperature. There is one nice thing........there is one palm tree in the city , but it looks a bit thirsty. And they do have running water and electricity.
Unique Suggestions: IF you must go............. stop for a day, at the most two. It might be great destination in 4 or 5 years when they build the transport systems and clean and green up the place. But not now. It's a con. Also stay close to what you want to see otherwise you'll be spending most of your day in the traffic jams.
Watch the taxi drivers. Get a map and try and follow the route. They will drive past your hotel and take the long way round to your destinations. They will rip you off. Track your way on a map and dont be shy to say....HEY, turn here.!!!!!
Check gold and diamonds carefully before you buy. The quality in a lot of cases is just not there. Before you leave home bring catalogues to compare the prices of gold, diamonds and electronic and other goods.
Fun Alternatives: Rather than sit in traffic and breathe all the pollution.......Get to Europe and spend extra time there. There is much more to see and do. Much more scenic, more hospitable. Much more colourful and fun. More variety in shopping and better quality and prices.
Marhaba Airport assistance- a tourist rip-off
Marhaba meet and greet is a service provided at Dubai airport . It is part of the Emirates group. Anywhere in the world, airport assistance to those in need is offered willingly and freely , by other airlines and Emirates, but in Dubai, you have to pay for it. Emirates, you should be ashamed of yourselves. I recently asked Emirates for assistance for two passengers who did not speak or read any English, had never flown before, and would need help to get to the transit desk and onward departure gate.. Well, there is no help available unless you pay for it. Emirates staff did say it was only in Dubai, for any other destinations in the world they would help.Disgraceful. And to add insult to it all, the supposed 'meet and greet' means you will be met by someone who doesn't even speak your language. Is that what a 'meet and greet ' is?..... to be met by a stranger in total silence and be led away like a dog on a chain?. Surely if one is paying for this service they can at least provide a choice of languages so the assisted can feel comfortable and ask questions and so on. This service is nothing more than a grab for a quick dirham by the Emirates goup. Emirates prides itself and promotes itself for providing the best services around the world. Marhaba help is the most insulting service I have come across. If a pampering service is the idea behind Marhaba, great, provide it and charge for it. But to charge for genuine help is a disgusting and insulting thing to do.What's next, coin operated CPR services at Dubai if you have a heart attack? Emirates, hang your head in shame.
Unique Suggestions: If you want to be pampered and just feel important, then pay for the meet and greet and enjoy. But if you genuinely need help and assistance, then don't accept that you must pay for it. I found out later there are people at Terminal 3 who are there with signs offering help. There are also Emirates staff, Marhaba staff, cleaners , etc etc. So all you would really need to do is type out and print help requests in english and get the passengers to show these to anyone who has an Emirates uniform or yellow uniform.
Fun Alternatives: Fly a different airline . I won't fly Emirates ever again, I'll go with any other airline and bypass Duabi completely. Or, use Etihad.
Wasta is a word often heard in Dubai in the UAE. It is Arabic and translates as something like authority, influence, political (or other) power, connections, or a combination of those terms. In practical terms it means that some rules can become more flexible if you have wasta, or know someone who has wasta. Also, a bit of wasta can smooth or speed up business transactions, bureaucratic issues, and other official procedures. At its best (or worst, depending on your point of view), a good dose of wasta could keep you out of jail or save you from other unpleasant consequences of dubious activities
The common English expression "it's not what you know but who you know ... " is a rough equivalent of wasta.
On the wasta scale (not that there is an official one), things that can make a difference in the UAE are your nationality, your profession, who you work for, who you know, your political position in the country, your connections to people in positions of authority. Money and how long you have lived in the UAE don't usually directly affect your wasta level but indirectly they do since longer term residents may have built up a larger network of high-wasta friends, and rich people often associate with other rich people who may be high-wasta individuals.
Many expat residents learn about wasta through a driving experience. In simple terms, the more wasta someone has, the less likely they are to cop a fine and/or be blamed if there's an accident. Wasta can result in some unusual situations for example, green lights were actually red when you went through them because the person who crashed into you had enough wasta to change the color retroactively. Indications of higher levels of wasta on the road are dark tinted or mirror tinted windows (30% maximum is the law so anything more than that means it's likely they have enough wasta to get around this rule), number plates with fewer than 5 digits (but anyone can buy them now if they have enough cash so it's not as good an indication as in the past
Wasta is something that many expats, especially westerners, find difficult to come to terms with but you'll find it easier to enjoy Dubai if you get used to that rather than try to fight it. And of course it helps if you can elevate your own wasta level somehow.
Wasta and Bribes
Don't confuse wasta with bribery. If you try to bribe a government official, for example a police officer who has just pulled you up for driving though somebody's garden, you should expect to be punished fairly harshly for trying to bribe them. And if the owner of the garden that you drove through has some wasta, then you'll probably be even worse off. In the business world, things may operate a little differently. Just as anywhere else in the world, the negotiation of business transactions and contracts is not always done on a level playing field, and bribes ... er gifts ... might be part of your discussions with interested parties
In UAE they censor all websites that are thought to be used by groups who oppose the rulers or website they believe is against ethicals of the country. And it can be very hard to get on to some webpages, gaywebsites all blocked and also porn websites.and even viber apple app and so on and also some unneccesary...I was shocked in the start but well you get use to it.
Metro suitable tickets for you
Nol Red Ticket
For the Occasional Traveller
Nol Red Ticket is a paper-based ticket that can be bought from any ticket vending machine at any time for only AED 2. It can be loaded with up to 10 Single Trips. Currently, this ticket can only be used on one mode of transport at a time (e.g. on Metro only, Bus only).
Low ticket price
Can be bought from any ticket vending machine at any time
Allows you to pay for the exact trip only
Nol Silver Card
The perfect starter card
Nol Silver Card is a smart card with an e-purse that can be loaded with up to AED 500. Enjoy the ease of getting this card immediately from any ticket office for only AED 20 (includes AED 14 e-purse value) and enjoy the convenience of using one card on all modes of transport.
Automatically calculates the cost of your trip and deduct it from your e-purse
Valid on all modes of transport
You can get it for a low price and use it immediately
Valid for 5 years
silver card goldcars bluecard red card
Daily Fare Cap 14.00 14.00 1 14.00 n/a
Short Trip ( 3km) 1.80 3.60 1.80 2.00
Within 1 Zone 2.30 4.60 2.30 2.50
2 Adjacent Zones 4.10 8.20 4.10 4.50
More than 2 Zones 5.80 11.60 5.80 6.50
Student, senior citizen 2,3 N/A N/A 50% N/A
Disabled 4 N/A N/A Free N/A
Children 5 Free Free Free Free
Read more: http://www.virtualtourist.com/travel/Middle_East/United_Arab_Emirates/Dubai/Dubai-1857296/Transportation-Dubai-MISC-BR-1.html#tip=2206305#ixzz1kYaTzLsw
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