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Traveller tips for Dubai

Modern skyscrapers rise over the traditional houses in the unique melting pot that is Dubai
Image courtesy: jeff vergara

Want to keep your cool and your cash in Dubai? This glorious megatropolis of mind-boggling architecture is perched on the edge of a hostile desert, so you’ll be tempted to live it up at the resorts, arcades and water parks – but it still pays to venture beyond the hotel pool. Here are some of our top tips for visiting Dubai:

  • The best time to visit is between November and April when the weather is pleasant (temperatures in the low 30s) and the city is full of life. During the summer months Dubai turns into an absolute sauna with temperatures soaring up to 48°C.
  • Accommodation in Dubai is incredibly expensive so plan well ahead. If you are willing to sweat it out, room rates do drop significantly in the heat of July and August but be warned – you won’t want to go anywhere that isn’t air-conditioned.
  • Travelling during Ramadan is a fascinating time to visit if you’re interested in Islam, but if you are planning to indulge in Dubai’s restaurants and bars, the conservative laws imposed during this time will seriously curb your options. Check the exact dates of Ramzan as they vary from year to year.
  • Dubai hosts some major world sporting events such as the Dubai Tennis Championships, Desert Classic and Rugby Sevens. If you want to catch one of these, it’s essential to book well in advance. Check out Time Out Tickets and Box Office Middle East for tickets to most major events.
  • A handy way to save some cash is to look out for a copy of The Entertainer, a book containing hundreds of two-for-one meal vouchers and other discounts. Some bars also host ladies’ nights (usually on Tuesdays), where women get free drinks just for showing up.

This article was written by Emma Gilmour and first appeared in in June 2009. It was refreshed and updated in November 2012. For more information and tips on Dubai, check out our Dubai travel guide.