A City In the Midst of the Desert: Dubai, UAE Where-to Guide

In time with the announcement of one of Cebu Pacific Airline’s newest additions to its direct flights, I know a few who include Dubai in their travel bucket list this year. This October, Cebu Pacific Airlines will give an opportunity for Filipinos to visit the home of the world’s largest mall, the world’s most luxurious hotel, and the world’s tallest building—Dubai, UAE, at a more affordable price.

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For those who plan to visit Dubai, UAE read on to know more about the country and travel where-tos.

Dubai is one of the seven emirates that compose the United Arab Emirates.  The capital city of the UAE is Abu Dhabi, but Dubai sustains its allure to tourists and expatriates because of its unceasing modernism and ambitious metropolitan dreams. And, despite the cultural conservatism known to the Middle East countries, Dubai remains to be an open city, where tourists enjoy wandering around its streets without the need to wear abaya, hijab, or caftans (traditional clothes in Islam countries).

6 most important things to know when traveling to Dubai:

  1. There is no language barrier since its population is composed of a large percentage of expatriates; the English language is widely used.
  2. Although tourists can flaunt their bikinis in the beach and wear shorts and skirts inside the malls, always be mindful of the Islam religion and culture. Common sense knows what is not acceptable in public.
  3. As of May 2013, 1 dirham (UAE currency) = 11.30 Philippine peso
  4. Never ever put up a dirty finger to anyone in public. You’ll get in trouble.
  5. The weather goes extreme hot or extreme cold. The best months to travel to Dubai is between the last week of October and April. Temperature in summer can get as hot as 50°c (June-September).
  6. For shopaholics, Dubai Shopping Festival happens between January and February. For the gadget-savvy and techno buffs, the Gitex Shopper is an electric avenue that happens every October.  

Where to Shop

Where else!? Get whisked away in one of the world’s largest shopping malls—the Dubai Mall! Ladies, go gaga over Galeries Lafayette, Bloomingdale’s, Kurt Geiger, and a thousand more shops!

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Do not forget to buy pasalubongs for your friends and loved ones. The place to be is at the Old Souk in Baniyas Road, where you can experience riding an abra from the Al Shindagha water station.

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Another option for pasalubong buying is at Souk Madinat in Jumeirah, where tourists can also enjoy alfresco dining with the view of the grandiose Burj Al Arab.

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Artsy sand souvenir made by the talented Arab man

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Aside from low-cost oil and gas trade, Dubai also lures tourists and expatriates with Middle Eastern jewelries. Gold souks are everywhere. If you want to get good deals, visit the gold souk in Satwa or Deira.

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