Skip to main content

A Complete Guide for First Time Travelers in Dubai

Dubai Travel Guide for First-Time Visitors

Welcome to Dubai, a dazzling metropolis where modernity and tradition harmoniously coexist. It has rapidly emerged as one of the world’s most sought-after travel destinations. With its iconic skyline and resorts, the city offers a captivating blend of Arabian hospitality and cosmopolitan charm. This complete guide is designed to help first-time travelers navigate the city. Get ready to immerse yourself in the fusion of Arabian heritage and contemporary marvels.

Entry Requirements and Visa

Before planning your trip to Dubai, it’s important to check the entry requirements specific to your country of citizenship. Visit the official website of the United Arab Emirates (UAE) embassy. Get detailed information. Some countries have visa-exempt agreements with the UAE. Thus allowing their citizens to enter Dubai without a visa for a certain period.

Types of Visas

Dubai offers various types of visas based on the purpose and duration of your visit. It includes tourist visas, business visas, transit visas, and employment visas. Tourist visas are commonly sought by visitors and typically allow for stays of up to 30 days. They can be extended for an additional 30 days.

Required Documentation

When applying for a visa, you will generally need the following documentation:

  • A passport with a minimum validity of six months.
  • A completed visa application form.
  • Passport-size photographs.
  • Proof of travel arrangements, such as a return ticket.
  • Proof of accommodation in Dubai, such as a hotel reservation.
  • Sufficient funds to cover your stay in Dubai.

Best Time to Visit

The best time to visit Dubai is from November to March, during the winter season in the region. During these months, the weather is pleasant and mild, making it ideal for outdoor activities and exploring the city. The average temperatures range from 20°C (68°F) to 30°C (86°F). The Dubai Shopping Festival and the Dubai Food Festival are held during this time. Moreover, the Dubai International Film Festival was also held in December.

On the other hand, it’s advisable to avoid visiting Dubai during the scorching summer months. Generally, from June to September. Dubai experiences extreme temperatures like above 40°C (104°F). The combination of high temperatures and high humidity can make outdoor activities uncomfortable. However, if you do choose to visit during the summer months, you can still enjoy indoor activities and events like the Dubai Summer Surprises Festival.


Dubai offers a diverse range of accommodation options to suit various budgets and preferences. Whether you’re looking for luxurious resorts or hotels on a budget, you’ll find plenty of choices in the city.

Popular Areas to Stay

Popular areas to stay in include Downtown Dubai, Jumeirah Beach, Dubai Marina, and Deira. When selecting your accommodation, consider some factors, such as proximity to attractions, public transportation options, and your preferred budget. It’s advisable to book your accommodations in advance. Especially during peak travel seasons, to secure the best rates and availability.

Getting Around

Getting around in Dubai is convenient and well-organized. Thanks to its reliable public transportation system and various transportation options.

Dubai Metro

The Dubai Metro is a popular mode of transportation for both residents and tourists. It is a fully automated metro network with two lines: the Red Line and the Green Line. The metro covers many major attractions and areas in Dubai. It includes downtown, business districts, shopping malls, and residential areas. It’s an efficient and cost-effective option for traveling between different parts of the city.


Dubai’s bus network is extensive, covering a wide range of routes across the city. Buses are a reliable mode of transportation. They offer an affordable way to reach different neighborhoods. Also, those areas that are not serviced by the metro.

Car Rentals

Rent a car in Dubai is an option for those who prefer more flexibility and independence in their transportation. Dubai has several car rental companies offering a wide selection of vehicles. Book your daily, weekly, or monthly car rental according to your requirements and budget.

Ride-Hailing Apps and Taxis

Ride-hailing apps like Uber and Careem Plus taxis are also available in Dubai. These allow you to book a private car with a driver using your smartphone. It provides convenience and a more personalized transportation experience.

Currency and Money matter

The currency used in Dubai is the UAE Dirham (AED). When traveling to Dubai, it’s advisable to exchange your currency for Dirhams upon arrival. Currency exchange services are available at Dubai airports as well as at banks. Credit cards are widely accepted in Dubai. You can use them for various transactions, including hotel bookings, dining at restaurants, shopping, and entertainment. ATMs are readily available throughout the city.

Local Customs and Dress Code

Dubai is a city deeply rooted in Islamic culture and traditions. As a visitor, it’s essential to respect the local customs and adhere to the dress code guidelines. When in public places and religious sites, it is recommended to dress modestly. Both men and women should avoid clothing that is revealing or excessively tight-fitting. For women, it is customary to cover their shoulders and knees and avoid wearing low-cut tops or short skirts. Men should avoid wearing sleeveless shirts or shorts that are above the knee.

Plan Your Itinerary Carefully

When planning your itinerary for Dubai, be sure to include the city’s iconic landmarks. Start with a visit to the Burj Khalifa, the tallest building in the world. Explore the vast Dubai Mall, home to numerous shops, entertainment options, and the mesmerizing Dubai Aquarium. Don’t miss the opportunity to relax and unwind on the luxurious Palm Jumeirah. Take a yacht ride along Dubai Marina. By carefully planning your itinerary to include these must-see places. You can make the most of your time in city and create unforgettable memories.

Adventure and Entertainment

Desert Safari

Embark on a thrilling desert safari adventure. You can experience dune bashing, riding on a camel, and try your hand at sandboarding. Watch mesmerizing traditional performances like belly dancing and Tanoura dance. End the evening with a delicious BBQ dinner under the starlit sky in a Bedouin-style desert camp.

Dubai Parks and Resorts

Explore Dubai Parks and Resorts, a mega entertainment complex that features multiple theme parks. MotiongateTM Dubai offers rides and attractions based on popular Hollywood movies, while Bollywood ParksTM Dubai immerses you in the world of Indian cinema. LEGOLAND® Dubai is perfect for families with its interactive LEGO-themed experiences and rides.

Ski Dubai

Escape the desert heat and indulge in winter sports at Ski Dubai, an indoor ski resort located in the Mall of the Emirates. Enjoy skiing, snowboarding, or simply have fun in the snow at this unique attraction. Ski Dubai also offers encounters with penguins, tobogganing, and snow park activities for all ages.

Food and Dining

Dubai is a food lover’s paradise with a wide range of culinary delights from around the world. Explore local Emirati dishes and savor Middle Eastern, Indian, and Asian delicacies. Here are some must-try food experiences:


Indulge in the mouth-watering flavors of shawarma, a popular Middle Eastern Street food. It consists of succulent marinated meat, typically chicken or lamb. It is wrapped in warm pita bread with fresh vegetables and delicious sauces.

Hummus and Falafel

Enjoy the creamy goodness of hummus, a chickpea-based dip, accompanied by freshly baked Arabic bread. Don’t forget to try falafel, deep-fried balls made from ground chickpeas or fava beans, served with tahini sauce.

Arabic Sweet

Try baklava, a sweet pastry made of layers of filo pastry filled with nuts and drenched in honey syrup. Sample other delights like Kunafa, Luqaimat (fried dough balls drizzled with date syrup), and Umm Ali (a rich bread pudding).

Safety and Etiquette

Dubai is known for its relatively high level of safety. But it’s always important to take precautions to ensure a smooth and secure experience during your visit. Here are some safety guidelines and cultural etiquette to keep in mind:

Personal Safety

Dubai is generally a safe city for travelers. However, it’s advisable to take common-sense precautions like avoiding isolated or poorly lit areas, particularly at night. Stay vigilant and be aware of your surroundings. Keep your personal belongings secure and be cautious of pickpockets in crowded areas.

Respect for Local Customs

Dubai is a Muslim city with strong cultural and religious values. It’s important to respect local customs, laws, and traditions. Dress modestly, especially in public places and religious sites. Avoid wearing revealing or inappropriate clothing. Public displays of affection, such as kissing or hugging, should be avoided as well.


When taking photographs, be respectful. Avoid capturing images of individuals without their consent. Additionally, refrain from photographing sensitive areas. Military installations, government buildings, and airports fall under this category.

Things not to carry in Dubai

Here are the items not to carry in Dubai

  • Illegal drugs, including narcotics and marijuana
  • Alcohol without the appropriate permits
  • Offensive or immoral publications;
  • Weapons, firearms, and explosives without proper authorization;
  • Restricted medications without necessary permits or documentation


This comprehensive guide provides essential information for first-time travelers to Dubai. Understand entry requirements and visa procedures and the best time to visit. Now you have the knowledge to plan your trip with confidence. Remember to respect local customs and traditions. Ensure your safety by taking necessary precautions, and indulge in the diverse culinary offerings the city has to offer.

Dubai has a blend of modernity, cultural richness, and warm hospitality. It guarantees an extraordinary experience and unforgettable memories. So, pack your bags and get ready to embark on an incredible journey in the dazzling city of Dubai.