Adapting to a new home is never easy, but when it’s a whole new country with a completely different culture, it can seem like an absolute shock to the system. Nevertheless, I am staying in UAE for almost two years now and this city never fails to amaze me with its beauty. Dubai is a thrilling alchemy of profound traditions and ambitious innovative vision wrapped into ascetically evocative desert magnificence. It’s hard not to think highly of Dubai for its inexorable energy, An innovation-craving society that has birthed daringly high buildings and palm-shaped islands that anywhere else would never dig up the drawing board.
For most people UAE means Dubai, but it’s more than that. An hour’s drive south, oil-rich Abu Dhabi, the UAE capital, is positioning itself as a hub of traditions, sport, and leisure. Its mysterious silence is broken up only by the murmur of shifting dunes rolling towards Saudi Arabia. North of Dubai, Sharjah does art and legacy best, while tiny Ajman and Umm Al Quwain bestow glimpses of life in the pre-oil days and Ras Al Khaimah cuddles beside the mighty Hajar Mountains. For the best swimming and diving, though, head to the range to Fujairah to play in the clear waters of the Gulf of Oman.
UAE is a fertile environment favorable to breaking down cultural barriers and preconceptions. As UAE is ostentatious I am going to jot down things to do in UAE, accommodation, transportation, and food in UAE which is both budgets friendly and interesting. Indians can get UAE visa for 15 days to 3 months.
Currency in UAE
1 AED = 17.50 INR
Food and Languages in UAE
Setting up a trip to UAE and wondering what is on the platter to satisfy your hunger? Well, worry not! With an exotic blend of Arabic, Lebanese, Indian and Iranian food, UAE cuisine will abscond your longing for more and more. Hummus is a famous dip from Middle Eastern culture and served with various food items like Shawarma, Falafel, Mandi dishes and Stuffed Camel meat is something to splurge on.
Dubai is the world’s best place to try all international cuisines as almost all the restaurant serves Halal Food.
The official language is Arabic for both written and verbal communications. However, English is the most widely spoken language, especially when it comes to tourism and business.
Accommodation in UAE
There are nice hotels in UAE, especially in Dubai and Abu Dhabi are fairly expensive around $400-600 (8000 INR – 13000 INR) USD per night.
Hostels in UAE will cost around AED 60 per night (1100 INR) but hostel options are very limited in UAE.
Transportation in UAE
Since petrol is quite low-priced in the UAE, the main mode of transportation is the car. International car rentals and local companies offer great deals. UAE has brilliant road network. Those who do not want to drive themselves can always take a taxi.
As most people travel by car or taxi, public transportation options are uncommon. Buses and minibusses are only accessible in Abu Dhabi, Al Ain, and some parts of Sharjah. In Dubai Metro, services are very good and its public bus transport option are excellent.
Rent a Car
It will cost you around 60 AED (1062 INR) to 350 AED (6196 INR) per day.
The best part is a person holding an Indian driving license can drive in UAE provided if he takes the international license permit from the Indian issuing Authority.
Taxis are metered and available almost everywhere at relatively cheap rates. However, rates may differ depending on the Emirates. You can call or simply hail them on the street. The taxi fares in start at 12 AED (220 INR). For example going to Dubai airport from Dubai Marina will cost you about AED100 (1770 INR)
Metro / Bus / Tram
There is a metro card / tram / bus called NOL Card in Dubai, rechargeable, allowing you to take public transportation for cheap.From Dubai, you can get buses to other Emirates. There’s a bus station at IBN Batuta Mall as well where you can get buses to Abu Dhabi.
Tips: Never forget to tap the NOL card during your journey else you will end up paying hefty fines.
Things to Do In UAE
A trip to the sandy Emirates wouldn’t be absolute without hurtling around the perfect dunes of the Arabian Desert in a totally equipped 4×4. Desert Safari is hands down avital outdoor excursion in Dubai. An adrenaline-pumping thrill ride and chance to enjoy a myriad of thrilling desert activities, such as a camel ride, and rush sand-boarding and watch in awe as the birds take flight in a stunning falconry show. Once you’re comprehensively worn out, tuck into a traditional Arabic BBQ complete with authentic Shisha and some belly dancing. The desert safari trip is a must-try for anyone who wants to visit UAE, a must do things in UAE.
Price you can expect for desert safaris starts from:110 AED which includes (2000 INR)
Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque
Rising grandly from beautifully manicured gardens and noticeable from each of the bridges joining Abu Dhabi Island to the mainland, the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque symbolizes an impressive welcome to the city. With more than 80 marble domes on a roofline held up by 1000 pillars and punctuated by four 107m-high minarets, Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque is a work of art of contemporary Islamic architecture and design. While it includes orientation towards Mamluk, Ottoman and Fatimid styles
Visitors are welcome to enter the mosque except during prayer times. Mosque etiquette requires all visitors to wear long, loose-fitting, ankle-length trousers or skirts, long sleeves and a headscarf for women. If you are not having long cloths you can get it at the main Entrance.
With its splendid dome furnished in gold, set at a height higher than St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome, expansive and enormously stunning marble floor of a variety of colors from sunrise yellow to sunset red, Emirates Palace is a sight to behold.
It has bold arched gatehouses and flying ramps to the entrance hall, 114 domes and a 1.3km private beach. 1002 crystal chandeliers and 392 luxury rooms and suites. Witnessing the glory and grandeur of this 7-star-hotel in Abu Dhabi is certainly one of the memories you will cherish. There is no entrance fee.
Burj Al Arab
The Burj’s graceful silhouette is to Dubai what the Eiffel Tower is to Paris. This iconic attraction sits on an artificial island off Jumeirah Rd and comes with its own helipad and a fleet of chauffeur-driven Rolls Royce limousines.
It’s worth visiting if only to gaze at an interior that’s every bit as gaudy as the exterior is gorgeous. The mood is set in the 180m-high lobby, which is adorned in a red, blue and green colour scheme and drawled with pillars draped in gold leaf. The lobby atrium is adequate to fit the Statue of Liberty within it.
Note: If you’re not staying in the hotel; you need a restaurant reservation to get past lobby security.
TIP: If you dream of visiting the Burj al Arab and you can’t afford to stay there then afternoon tea is your best bet. It’s not a budget activity but afternoon tea will set you at 285 AED (USD 78),(5045.75 INR)
One of the must to do things in UAE and Dubai’smost striking developments, Madinat Jumeirah is a modern construal of a traditional Arab village, complete with a souq, palm-fringed waterways and desert-colored hotels and villas ornamented with wind towers. It’s particularly enchanting at night when the gardens are adoringly lit and the Burj Al Arab shimmers in the background. There are beautiful details throughout, so if you see some stairs, take them – they might lead you to a hidden terrace with a mesmerizing view of the rambling complex.Fluttering bougainvillea, bushy banana trees, and towering palms characterize the charming grounds, which are thoroughly maintained by a small army of gardeners. Though the ambiance is too artificial to feel like an authentic Arabian market, the quality of some of the crafts, art, and souvenirs is actually quite high.
With around 1200 stores, this isn’t just the world’s largest shopping mall, it’s a small city, with a gigantic ice rink and aquarium where prowls the really astonishing King Crocodile, lots of sharks, jellyfishes and piranhas, a dinosaur skeleton, indoor theme parks and 150 food outlets. There’s a brawny European-label existence, along with branches of the French Galeries Lafayette department store, the British toy store Hamley’s and the first Bloomingdale’s outside the US.
In Dubai mall, you will find little coffee shops to glorious designer shops, Fashion avenue and the rich jewelry and wide range of halal food and quick food in the food court to the fine range of restaurants, from different cultures and parts of the world.
The Global Village is a sensational shopping sight and a seasonal attraction that happens every year, during winter when breeze is cooler, nights are longer, but that doesn’t mean it’s time to hibernate. When the mercury drops, Dubai comes yet more alive! It’s the right time to dine alfresco, to take pleasure in the great outdoors, and most of all, to hit the seasonal magnetisms that only open during the cool months.
Global Village Dubai is an important family entertainment and cultural appeal in the region that offers an elite shopping experience with its 30 pavilions, each on behalf of a different country, one of the best things to do in UAE.
If you want bragging rights to having ‘done’ Formula Rossa, the world’s fastest rollercoaster, then visit to Ferrari World in mandatory. Accelerating from 0km/h to 240km/h in 4.9 seconds, this is as close to an F1 experience as the majority of us are probable to get.
A theme park dedicated to the world’s most esteemed brand will have plenty to swank about so let me shed all modesty and begin: Flying Aces is an homage to the ‘ace of aces’ aviator, Count Baracca. Jump into your military bi-plane and climb 63 meters at a jaw-dropping 51-degree incline! Feel your pulse race as you fly from end to end the world’s highest rollercoaster loop.
Adult from Dhs295 (5220.79 INR), child under 1.3m from Dhs230 (4027.01 INR), with YasWaterworld from Dhs315/250 (5574.74/4426.10 INR)
Tip: If you have your Ferrari world ticket then you can directly jump to YasWaterworld since the access is free with each Ferrari World ticket and you don’t have to visit separately.
Sharjah Wildlife Centre
40-minute drive from Dubai, it’s a hidden little gem that many visitors to Dubai are almost certainly unaware exists. The Centre houses the world’s prime collection of Arabian wildlife and it really is an exciting array of animals. The zoo is divided into sections by species with reptiles, invertebrates, birds, nocturnal animals and large carnivores. The displays are in immaculate condition and designed very well. The Wildlife Centre is situated in the Sharjah Desert Park, which also includes a Children’s Farm and a Natural History Museum. Also visit the Sharjah Aquarium which is worth paying 25 AED.
Jebel Jais at RasalKhaimah
JaisMountain is part of the Hajar mountain range bordering Oman. The tallest part of the Hajar mountain range lies in the neighboring Oman and the Jais mountain is the second largest of it that lies in the UAE where it actually snows during winter. A trip to Jebel Jais from Dubai would take you at least 2 hours.During winter you can experience snow. Worth a drive and things to do in UAE during winter .
About 25km north of Fujairah, Khor Fakkan is subjugated by its super-busy container port. At times, a complete armada of ships can be seen on the prospect, queuing to dock, unload or refuel. Still, Khor Fakkan is not devoid of charm, particularly along the family-friendly Corniche, which is flanked by the beach, palm trees, gardens, kiosks, and playgrounds. More than a few kilometers long, it links the port and the fish market with the Oceanic Hotel.
To know about Top 10 must do things in Dubai visit this article of Halal Travel Blog