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.
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.
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.
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Sadly Visa on Arrival has been withdrawn for Canadians since Jan 2011 for reasons quite well known to many.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.
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!
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!
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.
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.
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: .
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.
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).
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 email@example.com.
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.
Not much tourist traps. But everything is expensive here. Besides souvenirs, I don’t really consider Dubai a place to shop – no matter what they say! The branded items are expensive and most likely out of fashion. I’ll find better deals in Hong Kong or Singapore. Taxis are expensive but the bus system is horrible and the metro system is not running yet. If you intend to shop at bazaars or souqs – be sure to bargain hard. Everything is overpriced in such places.
Do not shop for souvenirs at Souk Madinat Jumeirah – way to expensive. I saw some bottles of sand costing Dh50 in this place but I could get it for Dh15 near the creek. Nice place to walk around but do not shop!
If you really plan to shop in Dubai, come during the Dubai Shopping Festival in January. You may get some good bargain at discount prices.