Dubai’s many wonders are well documented, but when it comes down to the basics - like public transport, weather, culture and business – all you need is in this essential guide. So, with your plane tickets and hotel booked, read on to discover all you need to know before visiting our emirate.
In recent years, Dubai’s public transport system has quickly become a super-efficient network of technologically advanced transport links. From your arrival into Dubai International Airport, you’re connected to every major neighbourhood in the city.
While the buses in Dubai have existed for years and are still popular transport options, the Dubai Metro has revolutionised travel around the city. After undergoing a number of expansion phases (and the introduction of the Metro Museums), the Metro now runs from Dubai Airport all the way to Jebel Ali, which is right at the other end of town. Comprising 75 kilometres of track, the Dubai Metro was officially recognised by The Guinness Book of World Records in 2011 as the longest fully automated metro network in the world.
Most of Dubai’s main attractions, including The Dubai Mall, Burj Khalifa, Dubai World Trade Centre and Dubai Marina can be reached directly via the Metro.
For others that can’t – such as JBR (Jumeirah Beach Residence) and Palm Jumeirah – the Dubai Tram, completed at the end of 2014, can take you directly to those seaside attractions.
Given its location in the Arabian Desert, Dubai enjoys a warm climate year-round. The winter months from October through to April are the mildest, with average temperatures ranging from around 20 degrees centigrade to the mid 30s. During the summer months of May through September, the weather heats up significantly, with averages from high 30s to mid 40s. It has even been known to soar up to 50 degrees centigrade on rare occasions. Luckily, Dubai offers plenty of ways to keep cool and have fun during the summer.
Dubai is renowned for being very welcoming of tourists from all around the world, showcasing Arabian hospitality in a cosmopolitan hub. The United Arab Emirates is a Muslim country, and therefore the culture of the country should always be respected. That means wearing modest clothing in public places such as malls, and refraining from public displays of affection. A great way to gain a greater appreciation of the rich Islamic culture is with a visit to Jumeirah Mosque, which operates regular tours and Q&A sessions for non-Muslims. The Sheikh Mohammed Centre for Cultural Understanding also offers education sessions over a traditional Emirati breakfast or lunch.
Dubai is one of the world's biggest business hubs, with its central global location playing a vital role in its importance within global business. Similar to the cultural point, for men doing business with Muslim women, it's advisable to withhold a handshake until she offers her hand so as not to embarrass the woman if she's uncomfortable with touching a man’s hand.
Also, Muslims are required to pray five times per day as part of their Islamic faith, so it's important to be aware of prayer times and factor them in when scheduling meetings with Muslim business associates.