1. It’s Hot
This might seem obvious, but it’s hot, hot. Burny-tarmac, sweat-down-your-back kind of hot. I’m the kind of person who gets extremely grumpy when in the heat and I was a demon. Just rest assured that there’s air conditioning everywhere, even at the bus stops. Then you can get back to being an ordinary person.
2. The flight is great
Forget no-leg-room Ryanair, scratch cards and overpriced sandwiches. If you fly Emirates they’ll greet you with a warm face cloth, pamper you with free booze and food and entertain you with in-flight films, box-sets and music.
3. It’s expensive
Be prepared to make it rain.
4. Book your tickets before going up the Burj Khalifa
…because there are often big queues. And also because it’s expensive and you won’t feel like forking out once you get there. But it’s totally worth it. Especially if you go around sunset, meaning you see day and nighttime views. Not to mention it IS the tallest building in the world.
5. It’s not easy to find things
(The Burj being one of those things, even though it IS the tallest building in the world.) Walking is probably not an option. Travelling by metro is, as is travelling by taxi, but don’t expect to hop in a taxi, say your venue and show up there. Likelihood is the taxi driver won’t know where it is, and even if you do make it to the exact place the little dot on your iphone map is showing you, chances are you still need to navigate your way into one of the huge buildings in front of you and find your way to where you need to go, which is a whole ‘nuther journey.
6. The open top bus tour is a good introduction to the city
Okay, so I’m a big fan of bus tours, partly because you can do all your exploring while sitting down. But what’s not to love about that. The Big Bus tour has lots of add-ons and extras, but make sure you’re up early, or you spread it over two days because it takes a long time to get around this big city.
7. There’s plenty to do
Make sure to visit: The old town, dubai museum, the souks, the jumeirah palm, the marina, the Atlantis waterpark, the Dubai Mall, the fountain show… the list goes on.
8. Anything goes
When it comes to clothes, you can wear what you want, but you may feel uncomfortable if either your legs or shoulders aren’t covered. Try to copy what other westerners wear, and remember to bring a cardigan for when it gets cold in the air-conditioned indoors. As for alcohol, it is sold in many hotels and bars, you just need to ask if they have an alcohol license. There are even clubs, which are as crazy as clubs are anywhere in the world. But alcohol is not sold in supermarkets and is generally quite expensive.
9. Okay so not ANYTHING…
There’s no pork, for example. And muslims pray five times a day, so get used to hearing the call to prayer and watching people make their way to the nearest mosque. Don’t assume the hotel you’re staying in will have alcohol, it may be a dry hotel, so if you’re hoping for cocktails by the pool, be sure to check before you book.
10. Have fun!
What’s life for if we’re not going to enjoy it.