Night life and rules
Dubai's nightlife scene has come along in leaps and bounds since the mid 90s. Although Dubai is not quite Ibiza, Berlin, New York, etc, it certainly has enough noise and laser beams in the various watering holes to keep most boys and girls looking for a party satisfied now.
Most, if not all, of the clubs listed are open until 3 am. At which point the music stops and the lights come on. Abruptly. There are apparently large fines levied on the establishment if music continues even seconds after the gong. During Ramadan check to see if they are open. Many will be closed, and the ones that are open will be very subdued - no live music or dancing is allowed then.
The rest of the year, many Dubai nightclubs have a lively atmosphere with some world class DJs appearing on a regular basis in recent years. For example Hed Kandi and Groove Armada (at Trilogy), Paul van Dyke, DJ Tiesto (at Madinat Arena - not a nightclub), DJ Krafty Kuts (at IBO), Eric Morillo (at Trilogy), Ferry Corsten and Schiller at Peppermint Club, and more.
From December 2007 to February 2008, outdoor venues were ordered by the DTCM (Dubai Department of Tourism, Commerce, Marketing) to turn the music down, to a level where you'd look like a bit of a muppet if you were dancing. Which seemed to confirm the rumour that the DTCM is not actually an organisation that wants to promote tourism in Dubai. Nevertheless, as of mid-February 2008 this restriction seemed to have been lifted - check with club first. The fish in the vicinity of 360 will just have to stop their whining and go and sleep somewhere else.
Cover Charges to enter nightclubs in Dubai
Until the early 2000s, it was rare to have to pay a cover charge for a bar or nightclub in Dubai. But with more people, more sophisticated clubs and more well-known DJs playing more regularly, the number of places trying to squeeze a few extra dirhams out of the punters is on the rise. Expect to pay 50-100 dhs for normal entry which sometimes includes a drink or two. And 100-200 dhs for top DJs. It's not all bad though, many places still have free entry, especially on weeknights. Sometimes women will get in free and men have to pay. Market forces overrule equality of the sexes ...
Thursday is the biggest night with Fridays not far behind. Friday nights may become more popular since the Dubai weekend changed from Thu/Fri to Fri/Sat in September 2006, but there are still large numbers of people who work on Saturdays so Thursday night is expected to remain popular.
Door Policies at Dubai nightclubs
Like most countries, women and couples will have an easier time getting in to a night club in Dubai than men (solo or in groups). If you're a bloke or a couple of blokes on your own, you may be able to persuade some friendly females in the nightclub queue that you head in together as "couples".
A few clubs in Dubai will have big angry looking chaps looking important with wires in their ears and clipboards to which they'll refer and then say you're not on the list if you don't look right. There may well genuinely be a list - you could always try booking ahead and getting your name on it. In some of the swankier Dubai night clubs you may have to book a table and a bottle (allow a few hundred dirhams for the bottle).
Some clubs in Dubai don't bother with the clipboard and just permit or deny entry in accordance with random, erm, house rules. Officially, there's no racism and several press articles have investigated accusations of racist door policies at Dubai nightclubs. Reports of different entry fees for different nationalities are of course denied. Unofficially? Um, no comment.
Men wearing local dress (dishdashas, kandooras) will usually be denied entry. Not because of nationality but because it is apparently against the law to wear local dress in bars and nightclubs in Dubai. Presumably the same applies to women in abayas.
During Ramadan you may be asked what religion you are. Muslims will be requested not to enter Dubai nightclubs and bars.
List of nightclubs in Dubai (and Lounge Bars)
360° - rooftop of the building at the end of the groyne jutting out from Jumeirah Beach Hotel. Very chilled or cool (in more than one sense of those words in mid-winter). Fishing rods not allowed.
400 Club - Fairmont Hotel, scheduled opening was December 2005. If you stood in the queue then, you'd have waited a year before the doors opened. UK club music, french decor. Worth the wait? Probably. Exclusive/expensive, tel +971-4-3324900
Abaya Nightclub - Dubai Park Hotel, SZR (Tel +971-4-3992222). Curiously named Arabic nightclub (the Abaya is what Emirati women wear). Live music and belly dancers.
African Star - Marco Polo Hotel, Deira (Tel +971-4-2720000). African nightclub.
Al Zumorrod - Carlton Tower Hotel, Deira. Iranian nightclub. You probably won't see the Ayatollah there though.
Alpha Club - Meridian Village / Le Meridien Dubai Hotel, opened 22 May 2008, prides itself on a massive sound system. Go on, go and give your ears an acoustic enema. Open 2100-0300, from 2000 on Thursdays, and 1600 on Fridays. Tel +971-4-7022640.
Amnesia - next to Hard Rock Cafe on SZ Rd. Used to be popular when it was called the Atlantis (back in the days that the only other choices were The Lodge and The Diamond Club). Closed June 2007?
Apartment, The - in Jumeirah Beach Hotel, getting a good reputation.
Arbat Club, The - Carlton Tower Hotel, Bur Dubai. Russian nightclub.
Bang nightclub Dubai - open end October 2008 in Old Town Burj Dubai, run by Boudoir so expect a fussy entrance policy. Tel +971-4-4397444 to get on the entry list (or expect to be bounced). Modelled on the Crystal Club in London? Website www.clubbang.ae (not available). Update: maybe ClubBang were too fussy. Opened with a bang (lots of loud press releases), closed in early 2009 with a fizzle. Last update on Club Bang Facebook page was December 2008.
Bar Zar - Madinat Jumeirah, used to be a very pleasant relaxed bar with a large outdoor area overlooking the water, not really a night club but open late with good music. The "Come As You Are" slogan literally meant that, until they got fussy with dress code in 2008, attempting to move into the more pretentious prestigious league of bars in Dubai. Go to Barasti instead if you're looking for somewhere casual.
Barasti Bar downstairs - indoor/outdoor sort of lounge club. Excellent venue, relaxed dress code.
Beach Club - Palm Beach Hotel in Bur Dubai, nowhere near a beach. African band, small, different, tel +971-4-3931999.
Billabong - Holiday Inn, Deira. Australian nightclub (if you can have such a thing).
Blush - club night rather than a club, no longer operating?
Bollywood - Regency Palace Hotel, Bur Dubai (Tel +971-4-3556633). Indian nightclub with live music and dancers.
Boudoir - they like to make a big thing of their bouncers with clipboards (you don't get in if you're not on the list). Has a snobby reputation.
Buddha Bar - Grosvenor House Hotel, Dubai Marina (+971-4-3998888), more of a lounge bar. Chilled, worth a visit. The first time you visit, make sure you walk up the staircase shortly after you enter, before going anywhere else. It will be one of those "Oh wow!" moments.
C-Bar - Al Murooj Rotana, Defense roundabout, opposite The Dubai Mall and Downtown Burj Dubai.
Chi @ The Lodge - revamped version of The Lodge at the Al Nasr Leisureland complex, opened early 2007. Genuine and authentic Thai decor. No really, that's what they said. Huge dancefloor outside. Tel +971-4-3379470.
Club Alpha - see Alpha Club
Club Envy, Ibis Hotel Sheikh Zayed Road. A "Face Club". Try and get past the bouncers to see if you're hot or not.
Cyclone - the late night version of the Dubai Financial Market (except it's not shares that are traded). Bit of an institution since opening what seems like a couple of centuries ago in 1994. Closed in June 2007?
Club Quantum - see Quantum Club.
Diamond Club, The - like The Lodge, a great place in its heyday but has not reopened since being shut down in 2001 after promoting a "Miss MoneyPennys" night. Shame.
Double Deckers - similar to JD and RB. Bouncers have a reputation for being a bit heavy-handed.
Downtown Africa - President Hotel, Bur Dubai (Tel +971-4-3346565). African nightclub where the soft drinks are more expensive than the beers. Different.
Elegante - Royal Ascot Hotel
Envy - see Club Envy
Escoba - Al Khaleej Palace Hotel, Deira (Tel +971-4-2231000). Loud Arabic nightclub with belly dancers.
Fridge, The - not really a night club but a concert venue with a wide range of music performances from classical to jazz. Location on 26th Street between Sheikh Zayed Rd and Al Khail Rd opposite Gulf Arena around the corner from Grand Mall in Al Quoz. Contact email email@example.com, tel +971-4-3477793, website www.thefridgedubai.com.
Geri Halliwell nightclub Dubai (rumoured) - the "Ginger Spice" chick reportedly wants to open a superclub (what's a "superclub"?) in Dubai after a visit in December 2008
Mall of the Emirates car park charges
Mall of the Emirates car park charges
MOTE announced that weekend parking would be free after the Dubai Metro starts, irrespective of number of hours. Details below need updating.
As MOTE has a Dubai Metro station connected to it, many commuters will be tempted to use the MOTE car park. To avoid that, MOTE car parking fees start after the Dubai Metro launch date (09 September 2009). Car parking fees were first mentioned in June 2009 as possibly applying to customers who stay more than 4 hours in the shopping mall (Dubai Eye radio interview June 2009). Car park charges announced on 22 July 2009 are:
free for first 3 (or maybe 4) hours on weekdays, first 4 hours all day on weekends (Friday and Saturdays) and public holidays
additional hour free for those attending the cinema (keep your ticket)
car parking charges are 20 dhs per additional hour on weekdays, 40 dhs or 60 dhs per hour on weekends, rising to 100-150 dhs for 6-8 hours
information in table below based on MOTE information and Gulf News report 30 August 2009, not confirmed.
a lost or damaged ticket will cost AED 150 (unknown how lost ticket claims will be dealt with if customer parked for time period worth in excess of AED 150).
0-3 hours 3rd-4th hour 4th-6th hour 6th-7th hour 7th-8th hour overnight
Weekdays (Sunday-Thursday) free AED20 AED20 per hr AED100 AED150 AED350
Weekends (Friday-Saturday) free free AED40-60 free AED100 free AED150 free AED350 free
Public holidays free free AED40-60 free AED100 free AED150 free AED350 free
Fun Alternatives: http://www.dubaifaqs.com/mall-of-the-emirates.php more info
Sorry to say, but if I read ll hese comments I would rather spend my vacation in Syria than in Dubai. I mean the comments are really mentioning everthing that is actually commen sense and everyone should take of whether you are in Dubai or LA. Dubai is one of the safest destinations in the world. The review about the road safety is wrong too. The most dangerous place to drive a car is Kuwait.
Unlike other gigantic cities like Shanghai, Istanbul or Beijing or Bangkok, this city's polished look shall not let your guards down for the taxi meter: the cab drivers will try to rip you off.
Unique Suggestions: At least try to ask people beforehand, on how much aprx the cab will charge you from A to B.
Fun Alternatives: Buses work fine and the subway is very good.
- Work Abroad
- Family Travel
- Budget Travel
Visa Issues for Cruise Travellers ..Dubai and UAE
OK..the issue is not for being Canadian or that sort...Its because of the Time period.
A visit Visa / Traveller Visa if issued today would have the following conditions:
Visitor has to enter the country within a certain period ( 2 months in the case of UAE) and can stay for a certain period ( 1 month for Short Term Visit visa)
This seems pretty logical as a country cannot issue a visa with no time frame isn it ?
I dont guesss Canada will issue a Visa to anyone valid til 2050 ...will it.
Sadly Visa on Arrival has been withdrawn for Canadians since Jan 2011 for reasons quite well known to many.
Presently UAE discourages cruise tourists
Unique Suggestions: Check details here
Fun Alternatives: Apply within a period of 2 months of intended visit dates.
- Sailing and Boating
- Adventure Travel
The most modern , amazing , automatic , complete but.............it hides a terrible trap for tourists.
If you , in an inadvertized way enter at a VIP vagon (that is not identified , but in my case was the last one of the composition) you will BE FORCED to pay a tax of U$50! I entered , then when I was almost arriving at my destination , a woman in scarf appeared and asked me to exit and follow her. Then she tried to explain this absurd , that I couldnt believe! So , she called policemen , said that all the cameras were watching us. I became furious , had no choice and payed that by credit card. Watch out!! She showed me a list full of other acts that have punishments....
Dubai , Dubai , I give ZERO TO YOUR METRO!
Avoid paying FOUR times as much!
Burj Khalifa is currently the tallest man-made structure on earth, so of course many of you would want to see it, preferably from inside, right?
Interestingly, located amongst several high-rises, it still doesn't feel quite so tall! Why not, you may wonder? Well, unlike other 'chunky' skyscrapers like Empire State Building or Sears Towers, it has a very slender form. Besides the tapered shape draws your eye to the shorter staggered sections, creating the perception of it being shorter than in reality!
Also, it may seem close by the metro station, but it's size creates that illusion! In fact it is a good 10 minute walk away!!
Here's the weird part: a ticket purchased online in advance costs only 105 AED (including the 5 AED fee) instead of the on-the-spot charge of 400 AED! A four-fold difference!!
Unique Suggestions: The views from above are fabulous, as you get to see all star attractions and buildings, including the vast coastline along the west.
Also, try to time your visit such that you get to see the fountains (turned on at 1800 hours daily) in action from up above before going downstairs to enjoy the spectacle from the outdoor courtyard and steps at ground level. Note the colours & design and outline of the fountain structure from the top, and when on, notice the lovely concentric circles forming. Then hear the sounds of the big blasts of water from the open-air observatory. It is quite loud, amazingly!
Downstairs, you can notice the dancing fountains laterally, moving to the rhythm of the music, which alternates each session between Arabic & Western. Each show lasts 10 minutes, then there is a 20 minute interval before the next show.
Fun Alternatives: Buy your tickets in advance via the website: www.atthetop.ae / www.burjkhalifa.ae/observation-deck/ticket-information.aspx
If you don't want to spend this amount without even getting a drink, there are other nice vantage points in the city, eg Hyatt Regency revolving restaurant in Deira (north of the Creek), Emirates Towers' Vu bar, the rooftop Uptown bar at Jumeirah Beach hotel, or the rooftop bar at Burj Al Arab!
- Historical Travel
Exhorbitantly over-priced supermarkets
This tip is not just for "Visitors" but really more relevant for Residents. However it will benefit those visitors who use hotel apartments instead of a regular hotel, and want to do their own cooking.
Following our trip to Dubai at Christmas 2010, mainly for food shopping other daily necessities, we shopped at the well-known "Spinneys" supermarket since it was near our hotel. However, we were absolutely shocked to find the exact same items being sold at over 20% less at the French supermarket chain "Carrefour" ! In fact, every single item that we bought from Spinneys had been more expensive by Dhs 5 to 7, which is a lot when you consider that the average price of each item we had bought was only Dhs. 20. e.g. Dhs 20 at Carrefour vs Dhs 27 at Spinneys.
Needless to say all our remaining shopping was done only at Carrefour, except for the things like KerryGold butter and cheese etc. which were not available there. These we were pleasantly surprised to find at greatly lower prices in the Union Co-Operative supermarket in Jumeirah.
Subsequent price checks at Spinney's and Choitram revealed that both these supermarkets are significantly more expensive than Carrefour and Union-Co-Operative. I would recommend that shoppers avoid both Spinney's AND Choitram's, unless they are the only supermarket which has what you want (which is doubtful) or you live next door to it and absolutely need something immediately, or for some reason you are unable to do your regular shopping at Carrefour.
Unique Suggestions: If you absolutely have no choice but to shop at Spinneys, keep your purchases to a minimum and go to Carrefour (several all around Dubai, and even found one in Sharjah) or go to Union Co-Operative for your main shopping.
Fun Alternatives: In my opinion, Carrefour is the best alternative. I did not check Union Co-Op prices against Carrefour, but they were definitely lower than Spinney's and Choitram, so would use them as a good alternative if Carrefour does not have what you need. As I said before, we found KerryGold butter at Union Co-Op though we hadn't expected to be able to find it anywhere except Spinney's.
- Work Abroad
- Budget Travel
- Family Travel
The 7 Star rip-off...
LITTLE-KNOWN FACTS ABOUT BURJ AL ARAB
All around the world, it is known as the landmark of Dubai.
Here is Dubai, it's known as our very own "leaning Tower of the UAE"... the island wasn't constructed well enough, and with the settling sand the hotel needs to be propped-up every once in a while...
The service is totally overdone & exaggerated: My fiance went to the men's room & whilst relieving himself an attendant stood 2 inches behind him, waiting to hand him a towel... Privacy, please!
Your own, private butler for your suite is available 24-hours just for you... Great, but could he please stop knocking on the door every 30min, asking if we need anything? Just buzz off.
And the entire cleaning staff manages to make you feel positively filthy: I sat on one of the grand sofa, then stood up to greet someone, and within seconds he was busy hovering the spot I'd sat on... I then lit a cigarette, and every time I flicked ash into the ashtray a waiter exchanged it... oh gimme a break!
The restaurant at the top is called Al Muntaha. It has been voted Dubai's worst restaurant for 2 consecutive years! The quality & taste of the food is atrocious. I'm not picky, but the mashed potatoes were re-heated & dry, the spinach was bitter & unseasoned, the fish was half raw and cold inside, and of course it's totally overpriced.
Unique Suggestions: The Architect messed up big-time!
The UAE prides itself on being "tolerant towards all religions", but I guess there's a limit to everything: The restaurant that swoops around the back & top of the hotel creates a sort of... well... Christian symbol. That's why you will NEVER see official photos of the Burj Al Arab from the sea / rear side: because it looks like a giant cross. (I managed to find a photo though... click on the main picture to see it)
--> To enter the hotel as a non-guest, you ued to have have to pay an entrance fee (what is this, a museum?) Nowadays, you need to have a LUNCH OR DINNER RESERVATION in order to enter the hotel. There is also a min. charge on the reservation, to avoid people making a booking & then not eating there.
If you really think you cannot carry on living your life without seeing the Burj Al Arab, then go ahead. Go as part of a guided Dubai city tour... but don't say you haven't been warned.
Fun Alternatives: For neutral details on the hotel, click here...
If you have the cash and absolutely want to stay there for 1 night in your life, go ahead. But please be aware that a stay at the Burj Al Arab is NOT experiencing Dubai. All you are experiencing is the hotel fantasy-world.
For beautiful Arabian & Oriental Luxury, I would suggest the Mina A'Salam or the Al Maha Resort.
- Luxury Travel
bur dubai - WHATS THAT SMELL!
bur dubai can be unpleasantly smelly particularly in the backstreets around the al-fahidi area north of bank street (Khalid Ibn Al Waleed st) strickly speaking it wasnt too bad as you are approaching the areas closer to Sheikh Zayed road. the back streets smelt of curry from the ventilators so bad that it lingered on my t-shirt, there was curry at the side of some of the walls, when i walked towards the al-bastakia area near the roundabout near the souq it had a very distinctive foul smell. also, some of those backstreets smelt like foul milk and worst of all when i walked towards the KFC in al-mina bazaar a bloke was working with a hose there was an incredibly strong smell of sick as i walked past so bad that i was actually nearly sick when i was walking. if you want to stay in Dubai, stay in Jumeriah area instead its FAR cleaner!
Unique Suggestions: .
Zabeel Sheikh’s Palace
Dubai has been ruled by the Al Maktoum dynasty since 1833. Dubai's current ruler, Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, is also the Prime Minister and Vice President of the UAE.
It was announced by our guide that we would go to the Sheikh’s Palace and I was going to see the Palace and its park. Unfortunately we could watch neither the palace nor the park because it was strictly forbidden to make a stop at the gate and take a single photo. That’s why we could enjoy the views of Sheikh’s peacocks along the way leading to the Palace.
You can watch my 46 sec HD Video Dubai Peacocks of the Sheikh out of my Youtube channel with Mad Heid – Ana Rohek.
You can watch my high resolution photo of Dubai on the Google Earth according to the following coordinates 25° 13' 25.27" N 55° 17' 30.85" E or on my Google Earth Panoramio Zabeel Sheikh’s Palace.
Original Pirated Goods!
When you go shopping to places like Karama or Gold Souq, someone will ask you if you like to buy an 'original-pirated' goods. Yes, they are like everywhere in the world. Dubai is also a place for pirated Louis Vetton and Nyke goods, or probably a Calbin Klien perfume.
Unique Suggestions: Just ignore them....
Fun Alternatives: Ignore and go to 'authorise' dealers which you can find in malls (especially Burjuman Centre).
The Skyview Bar "Minimum" Charge
We booked our reservations at the Burj al Arab's Skyview Bar and were told during the booking process that the minimum charge per person for the reservations was $250 AED. Since there were two of us, we were really concerned that we would have trouble meeting the minimum $500 AED ($136 US) just by ordering cocktails. Our bartender, Simon, was awesome and told us that he'd never heard of a minimum charge at the bar. We expressed our concern that we would be sloshed before we hit the 500 minimum and he told us not to worry, after 3 drinks each, we'd already surpassed that mark! Our total charge for six drinks and tip came out to $200 U.S.
While I'm glad we went to check it out, I'm guessing that you can make your reservation online, go to the bar and order a glass of water or one drink and get out of there without any regrets! We did enjoy our time there and the drinks were fabulous and "custom-made" for our tastes; however, I don't know if we really got our money's worth. I don't think we'll be back!
Unique Suggestions: Don't fall into the "minimum" drink order rhetoric!
Remember that old saying? "If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is..."
One of the main items that visitors to Dubai buy for themselves or as gifts are Pashmina Shawls. Numerous styles and colours are available in the Textile Souk in Bur Dubai, Karama Shopping Street or Satwa High Street.
If you resemble something like a tourist (don't we all...) when walking in these areas, hundreds of shop attendants will be flocking towards you, eagerly asking "Pashmina? Sir? Madam? Best Quality! Best Price! Pashmina Shawl!"
Unique Suggestions: You need to be aware of the fact that there are many different kinds of quality when it comes to buying Pashmina Shawls. Ask yourself: do you want a shawl that you can just cover yourself up with? Or one that looks pretty with an evening gown? Or as a simple souvenir for someone at the office? Or a proper Pashmina that will keep you warm?
Prices start at 10 Dirhams (3 US Dollars) but don't be fooled: these flimsy bits of unidentifiable material will not look nice for long, and they will definitely not keep you warm! Many store owners will try and convince you that "I only sell best quality in my shop... all other shops here sell fake, but mine is real..." Yeah, yeah... Do I have "stupid" tattoed on my forehead? (I took a picture of this sign in the Textile Souk in Feb. 2007)
Fun Alternatives: --> A nice Pashmina Shawl that is of medium quality is usually made of Viscose mixed with some cotton and wool. These will look nice & shiny and even keep you a little bit warm. Prices for such Pashminas should not exceed between 60 - 100 Dirhams (16 - 27 US Dollars).
--> REAL Pashminas made of 100% Cashmere are available, and they are indeed cheaper than in Europe, the UK or the USA... but they still don't come cheap! A real cashmere Pashmina will cost (depending on stitching, colouring, and of course your haggling skills!) anywhere from 800 Dirhams upwards. (220 US Dollars).
So, the moral of the story is: Many items are a lot cheaper in the Souks of Dubai than they are at home. But you still have to pay for quality :-)
PROBLEMS? Since August 2007 there is a new department within Dubai Police, especially for tourists: Tourists may call on toll-free number 8004438 (24 hours) or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Budget Travel
- Women's Travel
Heritage and Diving Village
I'm definitely not impressed by this attraction, which I believe that has been recreated to look like Dubai in the past... it is located in the Shindagha area near the creek mouth, with the aim of providing a glimpse of Dubai’s traditional culture and lifestyle - in particular peal diving.
Unique Suggestions: Enjoy the wonderful creekside location, and have tea and shisha at the bars right beside it.
Fun Alternatives: If you are interested in Dubai's past (or the Emirates' past), nothing is better than the Dubai museum... Less crowded, more interesting, and no so much "sales" oriented.