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In no more than 50 years Dubai has transformed from a small desert town to a bucket list city bursting with affluence and luxury as well as culture and tradition. Home to the Burj Khalifa, the tallest building in the world, the iconic Atlantis Hotel where luxury is redefined, and the dream destination for every shopaholic, the largest mall in the world. The extravagance is unmatched, from the first-class international food scene and 7* hotels to the Lamborghini police cars and gold infused coffee at brunch. If you are seeking beach, city, and everything in between, visit Dubai.
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Weather in Dubai
Whether you are looking to relax or explore almost anything is possible in Dubai. Due to its exponential growth and vast tourism industry, there are constant new additions to the already-long list of cultural institutions. It may be in the middle of the desert but think again if you thought skiing was out of the question. Visit the Dubai Frame, a 500 feet tall picture frame offering visitors panoramic views of the city. Choose from an abundance of theme and water parks including the Global Village & Aquaventure home to record breaking waterslides and marine wildlife interaction. Kick back on Kite beach or take a trip to Dubai’s teaming spice souk for a taste of Arabic culture. The beauty of Dubai is its versatility, the morning can be spent in the city, shopping, sunbathing & cocktail sipping at brunch whilst the afternoon sends you mountain biking, dune driving and camel-back riding in the surrounding desert. The opportunities are endless and whether it’s an action-packed day trip or a vibrant night out, Dubai has you covered.
Flight Time: UK to Dubai – 7hrs
Emirates Gateway: Dubai International Airport
Time Zone: GMT + 4 hours / BST + 3
Currency: Emirati Dirham. Currency is easily exchanged before travel; however, ATMs are plentiful and credit cards widely accepted.
Weather: Year-round sunshine, temperatures ranging from 20°C - 40°C.
Ramadan: 13th April – 12th May 2021
Languages: Arabic, with English widely spoken
Dialling code: +971
When to Visit
With year-round sunshine a Dubai Holiday guarantees a warm trip, it’s just a matter of how hot you would like the weather to be. Visiting in Summer will see highs of up to 40°C whilst Winter trips are a comfortable 20°C+.
Usually, October to April provides the most pleasant option with just a small chance of wind and rain during January and February, producing temperatures of around 25-28°C. From May, these temperatures really rocket until September, averaging 35°C with common 40°C days. However, Dubai offers plenty of incentives to visit during these hotter months, including shopping festivals in air-conditioned malls, indoor attractions and fantastic value offers.
What to Pack
As mentioned above, a Dubai holiday will be a hot holiday regardless of what time of the year you visit, therefore breathable and light clothing is essential. It is also worth having a cover up item for when you visit the malls or hotels, as all indoor places are fitted with air conditioning.
Dubai is a liberal city and has become a hotspot for holidays, however, it is good to bear in mind that Dubai is a Muslim destination, so respectful dress code outside of the resort/hotel will be necessary. For example, when visiting the malls, women should wear clothing that covers the shoulders and the knees and if visiting any mosques or Islamic sights women must wear a head covering.
Ramadan is a month-long holy fast, whereby Muslims do not consume food or drink during sunlight hours in celebration of prayer and reflection. During Ramadan, from dawn till dusk, Dubai sees an industrial shift that travellers should respect, many businesses reduce their working hours and so checking opening/closing times when visiting during Ramadan is essential.
Daytime Dubai during Ramadan is much quieter than other months, however the city comes to life after dark when Muslims break their fast. Many travellers recommend visiting Dubai during Ramadan due to the abundance of cultural offerings combined with an overwhelming sense of togetherness. Festivities are truly inclusive, and travellers are able to experience Emirati hospitality at its finest.
The sighting of the Moon determines the exact dates of Ramadan; however, it is estimated to start between the 13th of April to the 14th of May in 2021.
What should tourists be aware of during Ramadan?
Although most restaurants remain open during daylight hours, out of respect it is customary to refrain from eating, drinking, or smoking in public. Family is highly prioritised during Ramadan and although schools and businesses reduce their hours to accommodate for this, the community atmosphere from social festivities at markets, malls, beaches, and parks make for unforgettable ‘night-life’ experiences. Ramadan is a memorable month in Dubai whether you are Muslim or not, as a traveller remain respectful but embrace the cultural celebration, wishing those around you “Ramadan Mubarak” - a blessed Ramadan.
2. Dubai Highlights
Whether you are looking to relax or explore almost anything is possible in Dubai. Due to its exponential growth and vast tourism industry, there are constant new additions to the already-long list of cultural institutions. It may be in the middle of the desert but think again if you thought skiing was out of the question. Visit the Dubai Frame, a 500 feet tall picture frame offering visitors panoramic views of the city. Choose from an abundance of theme and water parks including the Global Village & Aqua-venture home to record breaking waterslides and marine wildlife interaction. Kick back on Kite beach or take a trip to Dubai’s teaming spice souk for a taste of Arabic culture. The beauty of Dubai is its versatility, the morning can be spent in the city, shopping, sunbathing & cocktail sipping at brunch whilst the afternoon sends you mountain biking, dune driving and camel-back riding in the surrounding desert. The opportunities are endless and whether it’s an action-packed day trip or a vibrant night out, Dubai has you covered.
3. Things to Do
Standing just over 828m high, the Burj Khalifa is the tallest building in the world, and one of Dubai's must-visit attractions. This distinguished building is located in the heart of the city surrounded by shops, malls and restaurants. The magnitude and scale of the structure when looking from the ground up is magnificent, but the views from the observation deck are indescribable. Along with jaw-dropping views of the city, visitors can enjoy a memorable meal from the highest dining setting in the world: Atmosphere. For morning coffee in the clouds or a sunset cocktail session, visitors can indulge at the Sky Lounge, providing 360-degree views of Dubai.
The Dubai Fountain
Located at the base of the Burj Khalifa, is the world's largest choreographed fountain display, where powerful jet streams soar as high as 150m in the air and dance in time to musical numbers. Stop by in the evening when displays begin at sunset and take place every 30 minutes, until the final song plays at 11pm. The Dubai Mall and Souk Al Bahar restaurants overlook the fountain arena, serving the ultimate dinner with a view, a Dubai must!
The largest man-made islands in the world and a triumph of human ingenuity. One of the first attractions that put Dubai on the map. Both Locals and tourists alike are drawn to The Palm's vast cluster of high-end hotels, including Waldorf Astoria, Fairmont, One&Only, Jumeirah Zabeel Saray and, perhaps most notably, Atlantis, The Palm.
Getting to the Palm Jumeirah is simple, thanks to the monorail running down the 'trunk', which connects to the mainland's tram system. Grab a bite to eat from food trucks lining the Palm Boardwalk, or take in the seaside sunset whilst dining at The Pointe.
The Dubai Desert
A must visit on a Dubai holiday is The Dubai Desert, an oasis less than a 20-minute drive away from the modern streets of Downtown Dubai leading you into the sand ocean where it is clean, white, and fine, consisting of crushed shell and coral. For the adventurers of the group a desert safari should be firmly on the agenda, packed with adrenaline inducing activities such as quad biking and sandboarding. For those seeking a luxury desert adventure, Heritage Dinner Safari takes guests dune driving in a vintage 4x4, whilst offering more tame activities including henna painting and camel riding.
You may end up liking the vibe in the desert and want to stay a little longer, so treat yourself to an unforgettable night amid the dunes at Al Maha Desert Resort & Spa or Bab Al Shams Desert Resort & Spa.
The Dubai Mall
The Dubai Mall is another record-breaking feature Dubai has to offer, branded as the world’s largest shopping centre inclusive of entertainment and leisure facilities, over 1,200 retail stores, iconic department stores and an array of food and beverage offerings, spread across more than 1 million sqm. To take advantage of everything the Mall has to offer, even the shopaholics would need more than a day in this luxury shopping sanctuary.
A must-visit for those of all ages with a fascination for the wonders of the world - Global Village is an unbelievable cultural experience, highlighting the array of beautiful traditions and heritages from every corner of the Earth. Global Creek Dubai provides visitors with the opportunity to experience cuisine and crafts from over seventy-eight cultures, guaranteeing a once-in-a-lifetime explosion of flavours and traditions from all over the planet, all in one place.
The Global Village park unites these cultures as visitors discover different parts of the world in just a few hours. With pavilions designed using inspiration from iconic landmarks and architectural design, visitors can explore the world’s most sought-after destinations in the middle of the city. Cheat the system and take selfies against the romantic backdrop of the Taj Mahal or travel back in time to Ancient Egypt - upping your Instagram game tenfold and making all your loved ones back home jealous. Not to mention, this year, Russia, Cambodia and Vietnam exclusively join in with the showcase, providing an unparalleled, rounded experience.
With the kids in mind, there is even more fun to be had with countless games and thrilling rides at the region’s largest funfair. Make sure your little ones keep an eye out for Global Village’s mascot, Globo, and follow him and his friends on his adventures. Visit Global Village this season to see all the open-air fun you and your family can have from October 25th.
Dubai is known as the capital of glamour, but many visitors are amazed and surprised by the rich culture the city has to offer. Modern developments have added a contemporary touch to old areas, with one of those including the stunning Dubai Creek. Offering the best of both worlds, Dubai Creek is a great spot to visit with your family or partner, for a stunning walk through the Old Souks to check out the awe-inspiring gold markets.
Hit the Beach JBR
Looking for that classic relaxing beach vibe? Look no further. Easily accessible from anywhere in Dubai, visitors can enjoy the beach, sample the award-winning array of restaurants and experience the range of supercars on show, providing you with an experience of the ideal beachside lifestyle.
Dubai’s beaches will provide you with guaranteed sunshine, warm seas, and long stretches of hot, white sand. The luxury doesn’t stop there, with optional additions including four-poster cabanas and waiter service. Not to mention, the top-end hotels often have a private beach club, which non-guests can use along with their swimming pools and bars for a fee ifyou’d like to experience some of Dubai’s world-renowned seven-star luxury for the day.
Otherwise, Kite Beach is a public beach known best in the city for kitesurfing, while the Beach JBR is fit for both trendsetters and family groups alike, as there is even an inflatable assault course to keep your little ones occupied. There are also lots of nearby restaurants and a market nearby, making this the perfect day-trip location. Dubai’s beaches have something for everyone, making this the perfect holiday destination for all ages and interests.
Jebel Ali can only be described as an underrated hidden gem, found only by those who really want to seek the complete Dubai holiday experience. It is known as a thriving commercial port area of Dubai, around 35km southwest from the city. Given Jebel Ali’s historic establishment, this attraction also boasts the world’s largest experience resort, where an industrial landscape transforms into a stage for dynamic sports and beachside bliss.
One of the most long standing and largest resorts in the emirate – the JA Jebel Ali Beach Resort has a lovely private beach, golf course and a myriad of other leisure attractions. Jebel Ali is also the new home of a dazzling new attraction - Dubai Parks and Resorts, which is the first integrated resort destination in the region. Opening in late 2016, Dubai Parks and Resorts is home to a wealth of resorts and attractions, including LEGOLAND® resort and waterpark, the Motiongate™ Dubai resort and renowned Bollywood Parks™, as well as Riverland, for all your shopping and restaurant needs - so you’re sure to have a jam-packed itinerary planned for your trip.
For those that are less into thrill-seeking rollercoaster experiences, you will also be able to visit an Equestrian centre for riders of all abilities, without forgetting the state-of-the-art shooting range, amongst a huge range of other activities and facilities. We promise you; you will never be bored here.
4. Nightlife in Dubai
Dubai nightclubs and party life attracts internationally successful DJs, performers and musicians, Dubai more than earns its reputation as an upmarket party destination. Dubai's working week finishes on a Thursday, with Friday and Saturday their weekend. Usually, mid-week Ladies Nights offer free entry and free drinks to female visitors, and you party out past midnight – clubs don’t close until 03:00.
Do not be fooled - the party lifestyle isn’t exclusive to the night times. With panoramic views, you can grab a cocktail on the 71st and 72nd floor of the JW Marriott at the breath-taking Vault Bar, or day-drink away at the luxurious midday brunches at pretty much every hotel in the city. For this reason, the Dubai party scene is not to be missed.
Dubai is known for its international food scene, potentially due to the 180 different nationalities residing there. Home to famous TV chefs, exquisite mixologists, and glamorous interiors, Dubai’s restaurants have become a hot spot for celebrities all over the world. With it’s growing Emirati cuisine you can experience traditional Arabian dishes, whilst their street food to their Michelin star restaurants serve up an array of sumptuous delicacies for every cultural craving. The range of culinary experience Dubai offers is one of the most expansive in the world, from foodies to fussy eaters... Bon Appetit!
When thinking of the term “brunch”, your mind may be drawn to your seemingly endless Instagram feed of avocado on toast pictures on a Sunday morning. However, when you’re in Dubai - brunch takes on a whole new meaning. Friday Brunch is an institution that will never go out of style. Friday brunch can only be described as the all-inclusive banquet of your wildest dreams. Yes, really. With a variety of options to choose from across the city, it has become the week's main event that is not to be missed.
With so many options to choose from, it’s not surprising that visitors find it pretty hard to decide on just one place for their Dubai brunch experience. So, whether your brunch goals are to chill by the Jumeirah beaches, to spend your Fridays partying, or maybe even to devour as much food as possible, we assure you there is an experience for all tastes. In a sentence, Dubai brunches are like epic feasts, amazing parties and endless entertainment extravaganzas all rolled together, dipped in chocolate, and served up with fireworks on a massive plate. Almost all hotels and restaurants offer this blow-out meal on Fridays; so, ask your hoteliers for their favourite recommendations, they will be more than happy to advise.
Deep-rooted Islamic traditions are the UAE's lifestyle, and this is definitely the case when it comes to fashion. Men traditionally dress in a long white dress, namely the Dishdasha, or may also wear other clothing items, including a white headdress known as a Ghutra, and an Agla - which is a rope worn around the head to keep the Ghutra in place.
On the other hand, the Emirati women typically wear Abayas, which are traditionally a long black cloak - however these can be embellished and adapted into different styles for fashion purposes. Women also wear Sheyla’s, or more commonly known as a Hijab, wrapped around their head. Whilst these are the traditional forms of dress, with the modernity’s of the city, Dubai has become extremely diverse - so these traditions may vary from place to place, or person to person.
7. Nature and Wildlife
With it’s reputation steeped in glamour, super cars, seven-star luxury and modern architecture, you’d be forgiven for overlooking nature and wildlife when planning your trip to Dubai. From graceful gazelles to stately oryx, the sands of UAE are rich with hundreds of species of wildlife that a city dweller will not be aware of. You can also Immerse yourself in nature when you make your journey to the Al Qudra oasis to take in the sights and sounds of Love Lake Dubai. This popular spot consists of two, large, heart-shaped lakes connected to each other.
We have listed some places for you to explore if you are looking to add some Wildlife and nature vibes to your Dubai holiday. Perfect for Families looking to explore together, or for anyone with interest in nature who is looking to unwind!
1- Love Lake Dubai- Al Qudra
2- Ras al Khor Wildlife Sanctuary
3-The Green Planet - City Walk- Al Was
4- Dubai Desert Conservation Reserve
5-Dubai Butterfly garden
Join our team as they visualise their own experience of different hotels in Dubai, to help you choose the best one for your next holiday!
Take a look at our exclusive range of videos taken and edited by our specialist video team, featuring some of our top-selling hotels and their hospitable staff!
FIVE Palm Jumeirah & FIVE Jumeirah Village
Madinat Jumeirah Al Qasr
Atlantis The Palm Dubai
Events & Festivals
Dubai Rugby Sevens
The Sevens Stadium is just a short drive from the centre of Dubai. It is located on Dubai Al-Ain Road--E66. An easy drive from most emirates, the Stadium is Dubai's premier entertainment and sports facility, as well as the Dubai Rugby Sevens Team's official home. The Rugby Sevens team has won a number of games in the Stadium that bears their name, and the Stadium also hosts a broad range of additional events, such as concerts, cricket matches, international football games and other rugby events. One Direction, Justin Bieber, Rod Stewart and Spandau Ballet have all performed within the Stadium.
In addition, the facility also has two grass cricket ovals that feature floodlights, and four floodlit multi-purpose outside courts. The stadium capacity is 50,000 guests. Therefore, visitors will typically have no trouble obtaining seats for various events.
The Dubai Marathon is a celebrated race that takes place each year in the city of Dubai on Umm Suqeim Road. Anyone can register for the marathon, and spectators have several areas from which to watch the race. This renowned sporting event begins in the shadow of the iconic Burj Al Arab opposite the Madinat Jumeirah. Held on the same day are two other races, a 10km race and a 4km race, both of which begin at the Al Jalila Foundation on Al Wasl Road and finish back on Umm Suqeim Road at the Dubai Police Academy.
Start times for the races are as follows:
Dubai Marathon -- 6:30 am
10km Road Race -- 9:00 am
4km Fun Run -- 11:00 am
Visitors should avoid parking in the immediate areas around the starting and finishing lines. However, there are numerous accessible parking areas along the Al Wasl Road junctions away from the actual race route. Parking is available in the Mall of the Emirates parking lot and the Al Barsha shopping area. The race is held in mid-January each year.
UAE Desert Challenge
The United Arab Emirates Abu Dhabi Desert Challenge is an international five day rally race created in 1991 . Originally for automobiles only, trucks, quads and motorcycles are now allowed in the race. Once called the UAE Desert Challenge because it spanned multiple emirates, the race entered a new era in March of 2010 when its official name was changed to the Abu Dhabi Desert Challenge. This spectacular motor sport is sponsored by the Automobile and Touring Club of the UAE, which has a major organisational role in the event.
Throughout the Challenge, participants face two days of scrutineering and documentation by judges, which is typically scheduled on Thursday and Friday, and then a qualification event referred to as the "Super Special Stage" is held on Saturday to determine the starting order of the racers. On Sunday morning, the competition begins in earnest when the drivers depart from Yas Marina Circuit, where the initial Rally Headquarters are located and begin five days of driving through the Empty Quarter Liwa Desert. The 2017 race is scheduled to start April 1st and commence on April 6th.
Dubai Jazz Festival
Travellers who enjoy music should consider attending the 2017 Emirates Airline Dubai Jazz Festival when on holiday in the area. First launched in 2003, the Festival is now a well-known event that attracts thousands of music lovers each year. The upcoming 15th edition of this event, which is also simply called the "Jazz Fest," will be held February 22nd through February 24th. The goal of its organisers is to create a unique experience for both the artists and the members of the audience.
The theme for the 2017 Jazz Fest is "Much More Than Jazz," and will include urban music, pop tunes, Indie rock, classic rock and of course, Jazz. The Festival is held in the Dubai Media City Amphitheatre and begins each night at 7 PM.
The Dubai Shopping Festival
The Dubai Shopping Festival--DSF--began as a simple and small festival on February 16th, 1996. This event was initially developed to benefit Dubai's retail trade, but grew to become a well loved tourist attraction. It draws visitors from throughout the United Arab Emirates and attracts approximately three million shoppers annually from the UAE as well as other areas of the world. It is a month-long event that usually takes place in January. Throughout the scheduled dates of the festival, Dubai shops offer various products and merchandise at a substantial discount and car raffles take place once a day. Additionally, nightly fireworks displays are offered free of charge and food vendors often set up in specific areas to offer snacks and beverages at discounted prices.
Dubai Summer Surprises
The Dubai Summer Surprises Festival--DSS--is a popular event created to make summertime more enjoyable for both local residents and tourists and 2017 will mark the event's 19th year. The Festival lasts 42 days and offers a vast array of activities for young and old alike. The longest summer extravaganza in the area, it will run from July 9th to August 20 and its theme is "Own the Summer."
Visitors and locals can participate in all the DSS retail promotions, which are run by Dubai's malls, shopping centers and car lots. The chance to win virtually any type of mega prize is available to anyone who wishes to participate. Discounts of up to 75 percent are offered by many of Dubai's retail outlets so finding bargains is quite easy.
In addition to significant shopping discounts, the event is also packed with stage shows, interactive workshops, dining promotions, performances from international stars, and in-mall events that offer unexpected surprises. Because most retailers in the area offer compelling discounts and deals during the DSS, many holidaymakers who enjoy shopping plan their getaway around this event.
Dubai Desert Classic
The Dubai Desert Classic is a stroke play golf tournament that is part of the European Tour schedule. It is played in January or February of each year and the prize fund has now reached $2,650,000.
Also called the Omega Dubai Desert Classic, this pro golf event is renowned for attracting some of the biggest names in the golfing world. For example, Ernie Els has won the tournament three out of the 25 years the event has been held.
It is played on the Emirates Golf Club on the Majlis course, and was the first live professional golf tournament to be broadcast on the Golf Channel. In 2017, it will run from January 30 to February 5th.
Dubai Tennis Championship
The Dubai Tennis Championships is a professional tennis tournament owned and organised by an established nonprofit foundation called Dubai Duty Free. It is held annually on outdoor hardcourts near the centre of the city. The tournament is typically held the last week of February when both men's and women's events are organised. The tournament is held under the patronage of the Vice-President and ruler of the UAE, Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum.
In 2001, the tournament was upgraded to the prestigious 500 level from its former ranking of 250. Now a well-known event that draws tennis fans from throughout the UAE and other areas, those who are interested in the sport will find the Dubai Tennis Championship fun and interesting.
Dubai Film Festival
The Dubai International Film Festival is an influential platform for UAE filmmakers and was a driving force for the cinema movement in Dubai and surrounding regions. As the area's leading film Festival, it attracts thousands of writers, producers, directors, actors and documentary makers.
Each year, industry experts descend on Dubai to experience some of the best films of the world from what is considered by those in the industry a premier location. Held each year during the second week of December, the Dubai International Film Festival showcases approximately 130 documentaries, films, features and world premieres. Each year the Festival presents new productions from throughout the Arab world.
Best Time to Visit
Although Dubai is always a beautiful and interesting holiday destination, those who are not accustomed to excessive heat and humidity must take weather into consideration when planning a trip. Because of the summer months' intensity, winter is the best time to visit Dubai. November through April is perfect for sightseeing and other outdoor activities.
Throughout the month of November, temperatures typically fall somewhere in the mid-20s Celsius and rise approximately 10 degrees by March. Evenings are somewhat cool and windy, but most winter days offer abundant sunshine.
These near-perfect temperatures allow tourists to indulge in many popular Dubai activities, such as beach combing, sightseeing, desert safaris and outdoor shopping. The winter months are considered peak tourist season in Dubai and for this reason, those who are planning to visit the area in winter should make reservations for flights and accommodations well in advance. January and February are Dubai's rainy season, but showers are typically short-lived and do not have a substantial impact on one's holiday.
Summertime is considered May through October, and this is also the area's off-season. This is because temperatures often soar as high as 40 degrees Celsius, with exceptionally high humidity. This makes the outdoors quite uncomfortable throughout the entire region. Therefore, although prices are significantly lower during the summer season, it is difficult to enjoy everything the area has to offer when heat is excessive.
Another important consideration for travellers who are planning a visit to Dubai is the religious holiday of Ramadan. This holiday involves a month of fasting, and activities such as drinking, eating and smoking are prohibited in many shared or public areas. Holidaymakers who are visiting the area at this time are required to observe the rules of Ramadan. Whilst specific Ramadan dates vary from one year to the next based on the Islamic calendar, the holiday is expected to take place between the months of July and September until 2020.