Dubai is a shimmering oasis in the desert, a gateway to the Middle East and beyond, and an impressive example of what can be accomplished with unbridled imagination, drive, and the means to make things happen. No matter what you want to do when you visit Dubai, you’re guaranteed to find what you’re looking for – bigger and better than anywhere else. Dubai’s amazing skyline says it all, with some of the most architecturally breathtaking structures on the planet, from the gleaming tip of skyscraper Burj Khalifa, to the meticulously planned Palm Jumeirah in the sea. For the traveller, Dubai is a wonderland of exquisite hotels, a fantasy world of unsurpassed shopping and attractions, and never-ending carousel of fabulous restaurants and bars. Dubai tourism is a hard act to beat.
That said, there’s a lot more to this fascinating city than upmarket boutiques and five-star resorts. Not so long ago, this Emirate was a sleepy pearling and fishing port, and to this day retains its beguiling old city centre, complete with a labyrinth of bustling souks interspersed with traditional Arabian houses. Here, along Dubai Creek, you’ll find thriving fragments of the city’s ancient past.
Dubai is also home to an emerging cultural scene, with world-class art galleries, museums, a film festival and dynamic opera district in the Downtown area. Surprising, eclectic and often puzzling, Dubai is much more than just a stopover.
- Country: United Arab Emirates
- Currency: Dirham (AED)
- Offical Language: Arabic, English
- Visas: Australians travelling to the United Arab Emirates as tourists are eligible for a free 30-day visitor visa on arrival. You may extend this at a UAE immigration office for a further 30 days for United Arab Emirates Dirhams (AED) 600 (around 200AUD). Note: Visa and other entry and exit conditions can change at short notice, so contact one of our Flight Centre Travel Experts for up-to-date information.
- Tipping: Tips of around 10 to 15 per cent are optional for good service
- Electricity: Outlets in the United Arab Emirates run on 220 volts and use type C, D and G plugs
Temperature (max C)
J 23, F 24, M 27, A 30, M 34, J 36, J 38, A 39, S 37, O 33, N 31, D 26
Rainfall (max mm)
J 23, F 23, M 10, A 5, M 0, J 0, J 0, A 0, S 0, O 0, N 10, D 36
Join Flight Centre Travel Expert Greer Gardiner as she explores what Dubai has to offer in a 48 hour stopover in the Dubai episode of the 48 Hour Destination TV show.
Let’s call out the big one to start with – the Burj Khalifa. The world’s tallest building is Dubai’s most famous must-see attraction and even better than standing back and gazing at it in awe is taking the lightning-fast lift to the viewing platform on Levels 148, 125 and 124. From here, you can enjoy the most spectacular views of Dubai.
Dubai Mall is another highlight of Dubai, especially if you love shopping! With over 1,200 shops to browse through covering an area larger than five football fields, you may opt for the comfy, customised buggy to take you from A to B, C, D ...
If you’re seeking the heart and soul of Dubai, don’t miss your chance to explore the souks of Dubai’s Old Town. Jump aboard an abra – a traditional boat made of wood – and travel from one souk to another, across the ancient waterway of Dubai Creek.
Discover more things to do in Dubai here.
Dubai offers every visitor the chance to enjoy their favourite style of food as well as experiment with some enticing new flavours in what has to be one of the world’s most international dining destinations. The top hotels are renowned for their impressive restaurants, while the city itself offers a huge choice of restaurants serving up western, Asian, Middle Eastern cuisine and more. While there’s no shortage of world-class dining, visitors to Dubai can also dip into the relaxed dining scene that’s also available. From simple seafood eateries to casual, warehouse-style bistros and popular cafes serving contemporary Emirati cuisine, Dubai offers something for every taste and, refreshingly, every budget.
Find out more about where you can tempt your tastebuds in Dubai.
Wonder how the ‘other half’ live? You could rub shoulders with them by booking a room at the Burj Al Arab hotel. The self-proclaimed 7-star property is the epitome of all-suite luxury.
If your budget doesn’t quite stretch to unbridled opulence, you will be more than comfortable at chain hotels in Dubai such as the Hyatt, Hilton, InterContinental, Sofitel, Raffles – and the list goes on.
Don't despair if your Dubai accommodation budget is lean – such properties do exist, but note the high season across all places to stay is September to May so it's worth booking in advance if you anticipate visiting Dubai during these peak times.
Discover more about accommodation in Dubai.
The fact that Dubai is home to the world’s largest mall – and hosts scores of other, smaller but still gargantuan malls, as well as atmospheric souks and even a shopping festival – marks this out as a place that knows its retail. From the world’s most luxury brands (think Bvlgari, Balenciaga and the like) to top quality saffron and exquisite, hand-crafted gold jewellery from the souks, shopping in Dubai is a perpetual delight.
For a guide to shopping in Dubai, read more.
Essential Dubai Travel Information
Dubai is a Muslim city and while the general feeling is one of tolerance, visitors will need to remember that they are guests in a foreign country and local laws closely reflect Islamic practices and beliefs. If you’re travelling to Dubai, it’s important to familiarise yourself with local laws and their impact on your personal circumstances. Note: UAE law applies to you even if you’re only in transit and remain within the airport.
Here are a few tips on etiquette and local customs:
Clothing: As a general rule, make sure your holiday wardrobe keeps you covered from shoulders to knee. Women do not need to cover their heads or wear Muslim dress. A dip in the pool in swimwear is acceptable, just make sure you cover up straight afterwards. Also avoid sheer or really tight clothing.
Alcohol: In Dubai it is illegal to drink alcohol or be intoxicated in public so make sure you don’t drink to excess.
Greetings: It’s advisable not to offer to shake hands unless the other party initiates this gesture. Use your right hand to greet someone, or take or give something.
Social media: The UAE has strict laws regarding online behaviour, including comments made on social media and the sharing of images. Be aware of these before you travel.
In public: Public displays of affection such as kissing, hugging or petting can be considered an offence to public decency and is a serious offence. Definitely no swearing, no offensive remarks, no rude gestures and no staring at women.
For more advice on etiquette and customs when travelling to Dubai, talk to a Flight Centre Travel Expert or consult the Australian Government’s Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade website: smartraveller.gov.au
Did you know...? It may be the desert, but you can ski any time of the year in Dubai. Ski Dubai is an indoor ski resort in the Mall of the Emirates, featuring 22,500 square metres of snowfields. Find the world’s first indoor black run as well as gentler beginner slopes. Don’t worry about packing your ski gear – it’s all available for hire, as is expert tuition.