15 THINGS YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT DUBAI


My visit to Dubai left impressions that were totally unforgettable, well, a classic for a first timer! It’s undoubtedly one of the cleanest and tidiest cities I’ve ever seen as well as the hottest (literally). Four days is a short time for travelling in my standard, but my latest trip to the most populous city in the UAE was eye-opening and surprising in a way. If you haven’t been to Dubai before, I hope this feature can be this little guide of knowledge before you actually going, but for those who have been, let’s take this as something to bring back the memories:

Here are the (not so) 15 things to know about Dubai.
1. DUBAI IS NEVER NOT HOT
I honestly didn’t expect that Dubai would be THAT hot and humid, and do note that on my visit it wasn’t even the peak summer days. During the day, it could be very hot and humid with temperature easily reaching up to 50 degree (do wear sunscreens on the day!), and during the night it’s just so moist with almost no air and temperature around 40 degree. I honestly didn’t see a lot of people walking on the streets as they prefer to ride cab and metro, well I would also.

2. DIRHAM IS THEIR CURRENCY
Dirham or DHS is Dubai’s national currency, as this post is published, one dirham equals to IDR 3.950
3. MALL OPENS UNTIL 12 AM DAILY
I am a mall person and I was more than happy to find out that the shopping malls in Dubai opens until 12 AM daily. That really helped me dealing with my boredom in my hotel room, and since I stayed in the Sheraton Dubai, The Mall of The Emirates was a joined building and all that I needed was to take the connecting elevator to reach the mall.






4. THEIR FRIDAY IS OUR SUNDAY
Yup, their regular public holiday falls on Friday daily, so their weekend usually falls on Thursday and Wednesday. You’re going to see restaurants and malls very packed during Friday.

5. ONE OF THE SAFEST CITIES ON EARTH
Not only Dubai is one of the cleanest cities in the world, it’s also one of the safest cities in the world with almost 0% crime rate!

6. BIKINIS ARE ONLY ALLOWED AT THE BEACH
Honestly, I thought that Dubai was going to be very strict, well in a way it was, but not in the most intimidating way. Not everyone is fully covered with traditional Muslim clothes (like burka, thobe, kheffiyeh, or kabaya), they were actually a little flexible when it comes to fashion there, but yes, a lot of people did wear trousers covering the knee-under, and I don’t see a lot wearing shorts. Bikinis are only allowed at the beach area and the beach only. Unlike Bali where you can wear bikinis or go shirtless walking around.

7. LIVING IN DUBAI IS NOT CHEAP
Thanks to the dropping Indonesia currency rate, everywhere I go now feels more expensive than it should, and Dubai is included. I went to several cafes and did compare last year’s exchange rate to this year’s and still pretty much expensive. For example, I had 4 cupcakes, one cake and two coffee drinks at Hummingbird Mall of The Emirates and that would cost me IDR 500k ($45). Main courses at restaurants and cafes starts at 70-120 dirham and an average spending for two would be around 250 dirham. I digged a little information online and Dubai is now the most expensive city in the UAE and the 22nd most expensive city to live in the world.

8. THEY HAVE THE LARGEST SHOPPING MALL IN THE WORLD – DUBAI MALL
Dubai Mall is gorgeous & GINORMOUS! I don’t even know if ginormous is already the appropriate word but shit that mall was very-very huge and spacious. I lost my path with friends and I was kind of lost inside the mall, so when I tried to reach where they’re at, if let’s say I walked from Kinokuniya to Blitz Megaplex in Grand Indonesia and needed 10-15 minutes, I literally spent 35-40 minutes just to walk and find them.






9. THEY HAVE INDOOR SKI IN THE MALL – MALL OF THE EMIRATES
Dubai is amazing at functioning a space and magically fitting another amazing thing to the arena. If you’re an avid ski fan, then you can check out their indoor ski located inside the Mall of The Emirates, but if you’re not a big fan but still want to enjoy looking at people skiing, I highly recommend having dinner at Cheesecake Factory (not the same as in Jakarta) and get the window seat as they have a clear access for it.

10. THEY HAVE GINORMOUS INDOOR AQUARIUM IN A MALL – DUBAI MALL
Dubai Mall impress me in so many ways! Not only for its size, but also because they host what probably was the largest and most gorgeous indoor aquarium I’ve even seen in my life.


11. HOME OF THE TALLEST BUILDING IN THE WORLD – BURJ KHALIFA

The existence of Burj Khalifa is often related to one of those memorable scenes from the movie, Mission Impossible 4 where Tom Cruise climbed on the tower (and he DID the scene himself without any stunt). I was mesmerized by the simple yet chic design and how visible the building was to my eyes, almost everywhere I went to in Dubai.


12. DUBAI CAN GET VERY FOGGY
One of the many reasons I didn’t upload a single picture of Burj Khalifa was because Dubai was quite foggy on my visit and I was in a way, upset. I really envied those who can take good and clear pictures of Burj (now I believe they might apply heavy editing to the picture), because on my visit, Burj Khalifa was not exactly clear and totally visible.
13. GOLDEN TICKETS TO THE BURJ KHALIFA
If you really want to get to the top of the magnificent Burj Khalifa, an online ticket purchase is HIGHLY RECOMMENDED, because if you choose to pay on the spot, you could be charged three times more expensive that the online rate, and do remember that you’ll be charged different depending on the level of height you decide to choose.

14. GENERALLY, THEY DO NOT SERVE ALCOHOLS
I got this information from a waiter who served me on my dinner at PF Chang’s. I noticed they wrote “cocktail” on the menu, but since I didn’t really drink one, I asked for the non-alcoholic version and he told me that their cocktails didn’t have alcohol in it and I instantly got what he meant, so instead of writing “mocktail” here, it’s kind of more to the ethic-code. The waiter added that alcohol is served at several places but I didn’t have any idea where it was.


15. THEY HAVE THE ONLY 7-STARS IN THE WORLD

Burj Al-Arab it is! It’s undoubtedly the most expensive hotel in Dubai (based on room rates) and one of the most expensive hotels to build. The cheapest room rate here is $2000/night. I might have to save more to really splurge like royals, Dubai style.

Additionals:
- To get that local and traditional Dubai feeling, then don’t forget to make your way to their souks where they sell spices and golds, they have the traditional ones located at the more sub-urban area and the most modern one like Souk Madinat Jumeirah.







- A lot of Filipinos working in Dubai, you’re going to see them working in restaurants and department stores.

- There’s not exactly camels in town, you can find them in deserts and normally a 1 hour car ride to the east will take you there.



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