About Dubai

Dubai is the largest and most populous city in the United Arab Emirates (UAE). It is located on the southeast coast of the Persian Gulf and is the capital of the Emirate of Dubai, one of the seven emirates that make up the country. Abu Dhabi and Dubai are the only two emirates to have veto power over critical matters of national importance in the country's Federal Supreme Council. The city of Dubai is located on the emirate's northern coastline and heads the Dubai-Sharjah-Ajman metropolitan area. Dubai will host World Expo 2020.

Dubai emerged as a global city and business hub of the Middle East. It is also a major transport hub for passengers and cargo. By the 1960s, Dubai's economy was based on revenues from trade and, to a smaller extent, oil exploration concessions, but oil was not discovered until 1966. Oil revenue first started to flow in 1969. Dubai's oil revenue helped accelerate the early development of the city, but its reserves are limited and production levels are low: today, less than 5% of the emirate's revenue comes from oil.

The Emirate's Western-style model of business drives its economy with the main revenues now coming from tourism, aviation, real estate, and financial services. Dubai was recently named the best destination for Muslim travelers by Salam Standard. Dubai has recently attracted world attention through many innovative large construction projects and sports events. The city has become iconic for its skyscrapers and high-rise buildings, in particular the world's tallest building, the Burj Khalifa. Dubai has been criticized for human rights violations concerning the city's largely South Asian and Filipino workforce. Dubai's property market experienced a major deterioration in 2008–09 following the financial crisis of 2007–08, but the emirate's economy has made a return to growth, with a projected 2015 budget surplus.

Country United Arab Emirates
Official language and national language Arabic, English
Area 4,114 km2 (1,588 sq mi)
Population 2,788,929
Currency AED
Time zone UAE Standard Time (UTC+4)
Country Code +971

The Do’s and Don’ts of Traveling to Dubai

Several days ago, a huge story exploded in the news about a couple who was jailed in Abu Dhabi for having premarital sex. The woman went to the doctor because she was ill and it turned out that she was pregnant. Soon thereafter, she and her fiancé were arrested and have been detained without charge. Stories like these have been permeating the news cycle lately. It’s creating fear among travelers and making people worry about visiting Dubai. Although I can’t speak for countries such as Iraq and Syria (I’m going to take a wild guess and say that they’re pretty dangerous), I can speak for the United Arab Emirates and I believe that Dubai is very safe. That being said, there are still some important dos and don’ts of visiting Dubai.

DO’s

Take Taxis
Dubai is not a pedestrian-friendly city and it can get so hot that you probably don’t want to be walking around. I tried to walk around once and became lost. Don’t be like me. Take a taxi. The taxis are fairly cheap and lots of the drivers speak English. Women and children can ride in a special taxi that is only for women. If you feel like spending a little bit more, you can take a luxury taxi. The cheapest taxis are still very nice and there’s really no reason to shell out the big bucks on a luxury ride.

Ride the Metro
If you want to get around like a local, do ride the Dubai Metro. The Metro is so impeccably clean and well maintained that riding it is an attraction on its own. For those of you who are traveling into the city from the airport, the Metro goes directly to the terminals. Choosing which train car to ride in can be confusing. There is a women and children car that only women and children can use. If a man is in it, all of the women will glare at him and bore their souls into him. On the contrary, women can ride in the ‘general public’ car without an issue. I personally prefer to ride in the women’s car because it’s usually less crowded.

Wear Light and Loose Clothes
it can get really hot in Dubai. Like so hot that virtually everywhere is air-conditioned. That being said – be prepared for warm temperatures, even in the winter. The stark contrast in temperatures can lead some people to wonder what to wear in Dubai. Well thankfully, you don’t need to stress out too much about your clothing. If you wear looser clothes, it will help the air to move around your body and won’t make you as hot. Additionally, looser clothes won’t show off your womanly shape, which is frowned upon in Dubai.

Be Prepared to Dress Modestly
Here’s the thing. Dubai is very westernized. The United Arab Emirates, especially Dubai, has an enormous amount of ex-pats. I saw plenty of women walking around without their legs or shoulders covered. That being said, I advise dressing modestly. There’s a reason that the saying “when in Rome, do as the Romans do” is so famous. That is exactly how you should travel and it is applicable to every spectrum of the traveling world. When in the Emirates, do as the Emiratis do. And if you’re a woman, I recommend covering wearing conservative clothes. I found some websites like this one to be very helpful in deciding what to wear and how I was going to style my clothing. However, there are some things you should know if you’re a woman going to Dubai.

Some Places Have Dress Codes
If you choose to not dress conservatively, you won’t be thrown in jail for it or anything like that. Dress code laws do exist but for the most part, they can be fairly lax. Some restaurants may choose to not serve you and you may receive some judgmental stares, but you’re not going to get hauled off. Be aware that the Dubai Mall requires that you cover at least your shoulders and knees, so plan accordingly. However, I chose to be respectful of the Muslim faith and cover myself while in Dubai. It was a completely personal decision because I wanted to be respectful and blend in with the locals. I personally think locals treated me better in public because I made that choice. One driver even said that he thought more highly of Americans because I was willing to show respect for their faith.

You Will Receive Stares if You Aren’t Covered
Remember, the culture of Dubai is very conservative. So even if you don’t get in trouble for what you’re wearing, expect to see some disapproving stares. You’ve been warned.

See the Burj Khalifa
You can’t go to Dubai and miss the Burj. Visible from nearly everywhere in the city, the world’s tallest building commands the skyline. Tickets to the very top can be pricy and on hazy days you can’t see very much. If you go to the top on a clear day he view is outstanding. Regardless of the weather conditions, at least go to the bottom of the Burj and get vertigo by staring at the top of it. If you can, watch the fountain show that takes place in the lake in front of the Burj throughout the day! A bonus is that it is right by the mall, so you can kill two birds with one stone. A Dubai vacation wouldn’t be complete without visiting the Burj Khalifa.

Observe Friday as a Holy Day
Holy days vary in different religions, and in Islam, Friday is considered a holy day. The Metro will not run until later on Friday afternoon, and some things may be closed on Fridays. Since Dubai is such a worldly metropolis, the city does not completely shut down on Fridays but just anticipate that when making your plans.

Leave the City
Dubai is an incredible city with so much to see but you should definitely leave the city at some point during your stay. One of the most common ways to do so is to take a desert safari. There are dozens of different desert safaris ranging in price from moderate to expensive. Most of them are very similar, so don’t feel like you have to over indulge. Desert safaris usually consist of a four-wheeler ride, henna tattoos, holding a falcon, a camel ride, and a festival for dinner. Even though these desert safaris aren’t technically in Dubai, they’re still one of the top things to do in Dubai for tourists. It may be typically geared toward tourists but is still a fun way to experience some authentic culture and see more than just the hustle and bustle of Dubai.

DON’T

Be Affectionate in Public
Another thing that can deter people from visiting the U.A.E. are their strict public affection laws. Homosexuality is illegal, and public displays of affection are considered a strong offense to public decency. Holding hands in public is the furthest that public affection can go, and even then it should only be between married couples. I did see a local couple (presumably married) holding hands while they walked down a street at night, but that was the most PDA I saw the whole time.

Photograph Locals without Permission
This should go without saying, but don’t take a picture of a local without their permission. Nobody wants to have his or her space invaded or have a camera thrust in their face. If you want to take a picture of someone, do it from far away enough that it looks like you’re taking a picture of something else. If you want to take a picture of someone, ask for permission. There’s no guarantee they’ll say yes, but at least you’ll be polite about it.

Take Pictures of Government Buildings
If it looks like a really important and official building, just don’t take a picture of it. For the Emirates, they could consider your photo to be an issue of national security and I really don’t think you want to end up in trouble with the law.

Be Drunk in Public
Some countries don’t care at all if you’re drunk in public, but the U.A.E. is not one of them. In fact, only certain four and five star hotels and restaurants will even sell alcohol. Go there if you’re fancying a drink (or seven) but just be careful of your behavior. Whatever you do, DON’T drive drunk because it can get you thrown in jail, regardless of your BAC.

Spend Time Working
Okay, maybe this one is for me and all of the digital nomads who are constantly working. I spent one entire evening in Dubai on my computer, watching Netflix and doing work. Sadly, while doing cool things, sometimes work interrupts. If you’re doing a lot of online work, access your hosted virtual desktop from anywhere through Cloud Desktop Online and save all your important documents on your your collaboration site through Apps 4 Rent. That’s a way to help you out when you’re on the road. So if you absolutely HAVE to work, it’s okay. But don’t spend all of your time with your nose buried in your computer or phone. After all, you’re in Dubai!

Worry about Your Safety
Maybe I haven’t reiterated this enough, but Dubai is incredibly safe. I only felt uneasy one time and that’s when I was after the sun had set and I wasn’t in a touristy area. My mom and I were the only women around and we didn’t know if we were breaking any rules for women by being out so late. Since we were unsure of the rules, we were uneasy and ended up returning to the Burj. That was the only problem I ever had while visiting Dubai, but I wasn’t even scared, I was just being aware of my surroundings.

Dubai is a foreign place to many people; there is no getting around that. But a person’s ability to adapt to that shows how good of a traveler they are. After my trip to Dubai, my messages were inundated with questions from friends who were shocked that I had traveled to such a foreign country. The questions ranged from, “was it hot?” to “were you mistreated as a female?” I can’t get upset with them for their questions because they’re completely valid. For people who haven’t been to these places, it can seem like a vast unknown.
But Dubai isn’t a place that should be avoided. Dubai is an extremely liberal place when compared to other places in the Middle East but people should still take extreme precaution and follow the laws. That being said, I highly recommend visiting Dubai, or if you’re feeling very ambitious, it’s a good place to live. Even if you are on the fence about visiting, a layover is a good way to see some of the city. Emirates airline offers many layovers because Dubai is a large hub, so a long layover may provide you with just enough time to get a feel of the city. Check out Skyscanner to plan the best route to Dubai!

Demographics

According to the census conducted by the Statistics Centre of Dubai, the population of the emirate was 1,771,000 as of 2009, which included 1,370,000 males and 401,000 females. As of June 2017, the population is 2,789,000. The region covers 1,287.5 square kilometers (497.1 sq mi). The population density is 408.18/km2 – more than eight times that of the entire country. Dubai is the second most expensive city in the region and 20th most expensive city in the world. As of 2013, only about 15% of the population of the emirate was made up of UAE nationals, with the rest comprising expatriates, many of whom either have been in the country for generations or were born in the UAE. Approximately 85% of the expatriate population (and 71% of the emirate's total population) was Asian, chiefly Indian (51%) and Pakistani (16%); other significant Asian groups include Bangladeshis (9%) and Filipinos (3%). There is a sizable community of Somalis numbering around 30,000, as well as other communities of various nationalities. A quarter of the population (local and foreign) reportedly traces their origins to Iran. In addition, 16% of the population (or 288,000 persons) living in collective labor accommodation were not identified by ethnicity or nationality, but were thought to be primarily Asian. There are over 100,000 British expatriates in Dubai, by far the largest group of Western expatriates in the city. The median age in the emirate was about 27 years. In 2014, there were estimated to be 15.54 births and 1.99 deaths per 1,000 people. There are other Arab nationals, including GCC nationals.

Languages

Arabic is the national and official language of the United Arab Emirates. The Gulf dialect of Arabic is spoken natively by the Emirati people. English is used as a second language. Other major languages spoken in Dubai due to immigration are Malayalam, Hindi-Urdu (or Hindustani), Gujarati, Persian, Sindhi, Tamil, Punjabi, Pashto, Bengali, Balochi, Tulu, Kannada, Sinhala, Marathi, Telugu, Tagalog and Chinese, in addition to many other languages.

Religion

UAE's Provisional Constitution declares Islam the official state religion of the UAE. The government subsidies almost 95% of mosques and employs all Imams; approximately 5% of mosques are entirely private, and several large mosques have large private endowments. All mosques in Dubai are managed by the Islamic Affairs and Charitable Activities Department also known as "Awqaf" under the Government of Dubai and all Imams are appointed by the Government. Any person held preaching racism, religious hatred or promoting religious extremism is usually jailed and deported.

Minorities
Non-Muslim groups can own their own houses of worship, where they can practice their religion freely, by requesting a land grant and permission to build a compound. Groups that do not have their own buildings must use the facilities of other religious organizations or worship in private homes. Non-Muslim religious groups are permitted to advertise group functions openly and distribute various religious literature. However, outright proselytizing is strictly prohibited under penalty of criminal prosecution, imprisonment and deportation for engaging in behavior offensive to Islam. Catholics are served pastorally by the Apostolic Vicariate of Southern Arabia. British preacher Reverend Andrew Thompson claimed that the United Arab Emirates is one of the most tolerant places in the world towards Christians, and that it is easier to be a Christian in the UAE, than in the UK.

Culture

The UAE culture mainly revolves around the religion of Islam and traditional Arab culture. The influence of Islamic and Arab culture on its architecture, music, attire, cuisine and lifestyle are very prominent as well. Five times every day, Muslims are called to prayer from the minarets of mosques which are scattered around the country. Since 2006, the weekend has been Friday-Saturday, as a compromise between Friday's holiness to Muslims and the Western weekend of Saturday-Sunday.Prior to 2006, the weekend was Thursday-Friday.

The city's cultural imprint as a small, ethnically homogeneous pearling community was changed with the arrival of other ethnic groups and nationals—first by the Iranians in the early 1900s, and later by Indians and Pakistanis in the 1960s. In 2005, 84% of the population of metropolitan Dubai was foreign-born, about half of them from India.

Due to the touristic approach of many Dubaites in the entrepreneurial sector and the high standard of living, Dubai's culture has gradually evolved towards one of luxury, opulence and lavishness with a high regard for leisure-related extravagance. Annual entertainment events such as the Dubai Shopping Festival (DSF) and Dubai Summer Surprises (DSS) attract over 4 million visitors from across the region and generate revenues in excess of $2.7 billion. Major holidays in Dubai include Eid al Fitr, which marks the end of Ramadan, and National Day (2 December), which marks the formation of the United Arab Emirates.

The International Festivals and Events Association (IFEA), the world's leading events trade association, has crowned Dubai as IFEA World Festival and Event City, 2012 in the cities category with a population of more than one million. Large shopping malls in the city, such as Deira City Centre, Mirdiff City Centre, BurJuman, Mall of the Emirates, Dubai Mall (the world's largest) and Ibn Battuta Mall as well as traditional Dubai Gold Souk and other souks attract shoppers from the region.

Festivals

A number of festivals are celebrated in Dubai throughout the year. These festivals are organized by Dubai authorities to attract tourists and visitors. These festivals make Dubai one of the liveliest cities in world. Here is a list of some of major festivals of Dubai.

Dubai Marathon
Dubai Marathon is a charitable funding festival that is celebrated each year. To take part in this race, one has to pay small fee. Participants can also have a chance to win heavy cash prize on wining this race. Three types of races are organized during this event so that people of all ages can enjoy. These include “fun run”, “15’s run” and a long distance race for those who are of 18 years or more in age.

Dubai Shopping Festival
This festival is organized during month of January and is considered best for those who love to bargain to buy things. This festival continues for whole month. It has been estimated that more than two million people go to Dubai every year in January to enjoy this festival. This is not only a shopping festival but it also involves concerts, firework displays and other entertaining activities.

Dubai Desert Classic
Dubai Desert Classic is a golfing event. A large number of world’s renowned swingers come here to play golf for attractive prize money. This event is held in Emirates Golf Club and is enjoyed by many tourists every year.

Dubai International Jazz Festival
This is also an annual festival and is held in Dubai Media City. Renowned singers and performers perform here in this festival.

Dubai Art Fair
This festival has been held since 2007. Taking place at The Madinat Jumeirah, this art fair gathers work of best artists in world and encourages them to show their talent.

Dubai Desert Rock
It is a musical event that is held for two days in March. Artists like The Prodigy, Iron Maiden and Megadeth perform here. This festival is especially loved by tourists who love to enjoy music events.

Emirates World Series-Dubai World Cup
This is a horse racing event where you can find best horses and trainers of world. This event takes place at Nad Al Sheba Racecourse. This wonderful arena provides world-class facilities along with an outstanding track for race goers.

Festival of Taste
This festival is for food lovers. It takes place at The Madinat Jumeirah and runs for a week. During this event, top chefs of world come here and prepare mouth-watering foods. They also share tips for great cooking as well as presenting food in a good manner.

Dubai Summer Surprises
Dubai Summer Surprises is actually summer counterpart of Dubai Shopping Festival. This festival runs for 10 weeks during which, many entertainment events take place in shopping malls of Dubai. Purpose of these colorful events is to attract visitors to these shopping malls.

Motexha Textile Show
This is an annual trade fair which attracts both shoppers and exhibitors from all over this region. Main fair, which features 500 exhibitors, is located at Dubai International Exhibition Center. This fair covers every aspect of clothing and textile.

UAE Desert Challenge
It is a rally which lasts for five days. This event is especially awaited by fans of fast bikes and cars.

Dubai International Film Festival
Dubai International Film Festival was launched in 2004. It is held to promote the growth of filmmaking in Arabic region.

National Day Festival
This day is celebrated with special preparations and activities as it commemorates independence of Emirates from Britain. During celebrations of National Day, monuments are opened for public and special events are also held.

Climate

Dubai has a hot desert climate. Summers in Dubai are extremely hot, windy, and humid, with an average high around 41 °C (106 °F) and overnight lows around 30 °C (86 °F) in the hottest month, August. Most days are sunny throughout the year. Winters are warm with an average high of 24 °C (75 °F) and overnight lows of 14 °C (57 °F) in January, the coldest month. Precipitation, however, has been increasing in the last few decades, with accumulated rain reaching 94.3 mm (3.71 in) per year. Dubai summers are also known for the moderate to high humidity level, which can make it uncomfortable for many. The highest recorded temperature in the UAE is 52.1 °C (126 °F), reached in July 2002.

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