loader from loading.io

155: Dubai UAE (Revisited)

Tips For Travellers

Release Date: 09/22/2014

7 Worst Cruise Advice Cruisers Are Given All The Time - PODCAST show art 7 Worst Cruise Advice Cruisers Are Given All The Time - PODCAST

Tips For Travellers

l look at the 7 worst pieces of cruise advice that I hear, or see, being given to cruise passengers all the time – and what I you should do instead, and why.

info_outline
Which Premium Cruise Line Is Top Of Their Game Right Now? (Podcast) show art Which Premium Cruise Line Is Top Of Their Game Right Now? (Podcast)

Tips For Travellers

I have revisited the 4 main classic premium cruise lines (Princess Cruises, Holland America, Celebrity Cruises and Cunard Cruise Line) to see how they have changed, what makes them different to each other and who they are now best for. Even if you think you know these lines, you may be surprised at how different they are to before.

info_outline
I Went From 2 To 10 Cruises A Year. Here’s What I Did - PODCAST show art I Went From 2 To 10 Cruises A Year. Here’s What I Did - PODCAST

Tips For Travellers

I looks at how I manage to cruise so often, and although mine is an unusual situation, all the tips and tricks I discovered and use that any cruiser can use to cruise more or get more cruise out of their budget

info_outline
Had Not Expected This When I Went Antarctic Cruising (Podcast) show art Had Not Expected This When I Went Antarctic Cruising (Podcast)

Tips For Travellers

info_outline
4 Cruise Lines Running Rings Around Their Competitors! - PODCAST show art 4 Cruise Lines Running Rings Around Their Competitors! - PODCAST

Tips For Travellers

I look at the best cruise lines in each of the 4 main cruising categories and why they are the best choice right now, and why smart cruisers are choosing them over the other options.

info_outline
Expedition Cruising Was Not What I Expected. Here’s Why (Podcast) show art Expedition Cruising Was Not What I Expected. Here’s Why (Podcast)

Tips For Travellers

info_outline
Don’t Even Think About Packing These For Your Cruise - PODCAST show art Don’t Even Think About Packing These For Your Cruise - PODCAST

Tips For Travellers

The worst packing mistakes that I see cruise passengers make and cruise packing mistakes to avoid as they could get you into trouble, have you disembarked, affect enjoyment of your cruise or items confiscated.

info_outline
3 Big Issues With Holland America (Podcast) show art 3 Big Issues With Holland America (Podcast)

Tips For Travellers

I explore 3 big issues that many cruise passengers have with Holland America

info_outline
Viking Ocean Cruises Is NOT All I Thought It Was - PODCAST show art Viking Ocean Cruises Is NOT All I Thought It Was - PODCAST

Tips For Travellers

Returning to Viking Ocean Cruises, I discovered 4 things I hadn’t appreciated last time, making me rethink and reappraise Viking Ocean cruises. It had a big impact on my thoughts about if I would consider returning to cruise on them, and who I would recommend them to

info_outline
I Cruised On A Non English-Speaking Cruise Line. Here's How It Went (Podcast) show art I Cruised On A Non English-Speaking Cruise Line. Here's How It Went (Podcast)

Tips For Travellers

I booked myself on a 3-week cruise on a foreign cruise line and started worrying about it. As it came closer, I grew increasingly apprehensive having done a few foreign non-English speaking cruises before. Some of which had not gone so well. But finally on this trip, I found out when going on a foreign cruise line cruise does and does not make sense. As you will find out.

info_outline
 
More Episodes

Gary Bembridge of Tips for Travellers shares observations, tips and advice for visitors to Dubai in the United Arab Emirates.

Subscribe free to the show on iTunesStitcher Radio or TuneIn Radio.

This show covers among other topics:

Observations

  • You either love Dubai or you hate it!
    Some say : Surreal, bizarre , draconian, soulless, superficial
    Others say : dynamic, bold, modern and adventurous
  • Mix of conservative and liberal with lots of inconsistencies (e.g. full burka wearing women next to skimply dressed ones and lack of alcohol tolerance but heavy drinking in hotels).
  • Seen as a shoppers paradise although I am not sure prices are that amazing despite being duty free nature.
  • Mix of nationalities in the population of around 2,5 million with less than 20% of the population being UAE nationals.
  • Safe and not lot of petty crime

History
British controlled the area until 1971 when 6 other states formed UAE (Abu Dhabi, Ajman,Fujairah , Ras Al Khaimah, Sharjah and Umm al-Qaiwain). Each has lots of autonomy though is a Supreme Council of Rulers that overseas total UAE

Dubai has biggest population and 2nd in size after Abu Dhabi - oil was discovered in Dubai in 1963 turning a quiet pearl diving, fishing and trade port into wealthy  oil producer - but unlike neighbours like Abu Dhabi it does not very large reserves and as will run out the ruling family (Constitutional Monarchy  ruled by the Al Maktoum family) has invested into creating a major hub for finance, transport, trade and tourism and went on vast ambitious program of infrastructure building. It almost came undone in the 2008 crash but neighbouring Abu Dhabi bailed them out.

Best time to go
Hot pretty much all year  round
Best time Sept to May

Getting there
Possibly best airline hub in the world !
Cruise lines increasingly calling here and the port is close to town

Where to stay
Jumeirah Beach areas - where most resort hotels with beaches are
More business hotels are on Sheikh Zayed road

Getting around

  • Drivers generally are poor!
  • Metro - modern, cheap, air conditioned , easy to work out - smart card tickets - get day pass - ticket machines / signs / on-board voice also in English - some carriages of women and children only at peak times
  • Monorail from base of the Palm Atlantis - not connected to the metro.
  • Taxis are cheap and efficient to use - though traffic can be bad at all times of day and night.
  • Busses  best left to locals.
  • Cross Dubai Creek on small boats called abras (water taxis).
  • Hop-on Hop-off bus operated by Big Bus includes tickets into attractions like Dubai Museum, Al Maktoum's house, Arabian dhow, water bus ride and some walking tours


General tips

  • Remember you are coming to an Islamic country.
  • Wear respectful clothing (avoid shorts, exposed shoulders and ankles ).
  • Topless suntanning not allowed.
  • Avoid public signs of affection like hand holding kissing.
  • Same sex affection real taboo.
  • Illegal to drink or be drunk in public - drink driving will get you in prison.
  • Drugs and pornography laws very draconian and strict - even some prescription drugs are illegal.
  • Restrictions on some publications and affiliations like Jehovah Witness.
  • Take care what photograph - do not photograph women in traditional dress without prior permission.
  • English widely spoken.
  • Western-style toilets are not everywhere - but are in malls

Tips on must do things to see and do

Visit the new iconic buildings
Burj Khalifa
When opened in 2010 became tallest man made structure - viewing platform on 124th floor. Pre booking is much cheaper but need to do well in advance. Fast Track on the day for immediate entry 400 Dhiramas (about £60 or $100).

Burj Arab Hotel
Most luxurious hotel in world - designed to resemble a sail and has heli-pad above 27th floor. Entry only with a reservation - afternoon tea is classic - strict dress code of smart casual.

The Palm and Atlantis
Man made reclaimed land - visible from space - 4000 villas each with own beach front - 5000 apartments - restaurants -sports facilities - cinemas - Marina docking

Atlantis Hotel - based on original Bahamas hotel billed as a "watery world of wonder" - aquarium with 21 water exhibits including lost Chamber and waterpark

Activities

  • Wild Wadi Waterpark - in my view the best in the world!
  • Ski Dubai is  -4 degrees C with a big ski slope, tabogan run and ski lift - entry includes gear except hats and gloves which can be bought.
  • Four-Wheel Drive Sand Dune expeditions - high speed rides which also take you desert camps to do camel rides and dune surfing

Historical
Al Faheidi Fort
Dates from 1800s - oldest surviving building in city - now popular museum opened in 1970 -  tells story of development of UAE life and history with models and exhibitions.

Sheikh Saeed Al Maktoum house - former ruler who died in 1958 lived here - built around central courtyard in 19century around 30 rooms and traditional wind towers (old fashioned air conditioning system )

Grand Mosque - near the museum
(though the Jumeirah mosque is more impressive building


Shopping

  • Explore the famous and traditional Souks - traditional ones all close to each other in Deira area across Dubai Creek (get there by traditional boat, metro or taxi ). Gold (priced by weight with small charge for work done to craft into an item) and Spice are the most impressive. Haggling expected!
  • Malls - lots of them - huge air conditioned and up market. Three of note in my view:
    • Dubai Mall - sometimes referred to as biggest in the world - ice rink and also massive aquarium - go through to get to Burj Khalifa - free wifi - fountain show at night (like Bellagio Las Vegas).
    • Mall of the Emirates - more dated - Dubai Ski based here.
    • Emirates Towers Boulevard - luxury boutiques and reputation for being the most expensive and prestigious.

Other things to do

  • Helicopter or seaplane trips.
  • Arabian Dhow evening cocktail cruises on Dubai creek
  • Catamaran tours along beaches and around The Palm
  • Explore the Dubai Marina area