A beautiful sight I caught in Apr' when I visited my friends in Vienna
I've gone missing for a while I know, because I was really busy working. Even when I had spare time, I spent it on either solo traveling or reading in bed
(I'm so gonna get Dan Brown's Inferno when I get to NYC - if they come in paperback edition!)
I've tendered my resignation and that felt strange to me. It's gonna be a huge change. I'm no longer gonna live in an "all-expenses-paid" apartment, going to lose some freedom and independence I have when I'm in Dubai. I will also lose the opportunity to keep traveling, but I do want to come home to spend time with my loved ones and friends. One year and four months, in a job I spend my days abroad, I've outwitted myself in doing so.
People often ask me how's living like in Dubai, because of the numerous horror stories they read online. However, many tourists do stop by for a visit when they do their transit stop because Dubai owns a very centralised location (well, it's also known as middle east for some reason), and to avoid spending 14-24 hours of direct flights in the cramp economy seats, it's easy to get a tourist visa to spend a day or two in Dubai.
Dubai is a conservative country since it is part of the UAE, yet it is also the most liberal and cosmopolitan one out of the 7 states. You would probably not find yourself adapting that well if you were in Doha or Sharjah, and perhaps even more difficult if you visit Saudi Arabia due to the strict Sharia law and the Muslim culture. It IS still very different from Singapore although we do have a Malay community, living in the UAE means you do respect spoken and unspoken rules in this community.
Hmm, let me elaborate in my own terms.
When in public places, I try to refrain from wearing clothes that reveal my shoulders and thighs - but that doesn't mean I stop wearing my skirts or short sleeved tops...
If you read my past few posts relating to Dubai, you will realise that I do wear sleeveless tops. If I reveal my shoulders, I will make sure that I will wear a jeans or a knee length skirt... &... I always have a cardigan or scarf to throw on since the malls and restaurants set their a/c temperature really high for some reason :\ Some malls, like the well visited Dubai Mall does have a dress code, but if you do what I recommend, you should be fine.
I don't encourage shorts because you won't like to invite stares from men... ;)
In the pool, you're more than welcome to wear your bikini/monokini/one piece swimsuit. Simply put, no nudity.
Yes, alcohol is allowed in Dubai. We have them in duty free (cheap) and most pubs/restaurants/clubs do serve alcohol. We have the most amazing range of foreign restaurants and cafes - Laduree/Paul/TGIF/Cold Stone was in Dubai before it was even franchised in Singapore and Magnolia/CheesecakeFactory/IHop and many more American hangouts are will be badly missed by me when I come home :-(
Regarding pork, we have supermarkets and restaurants that are licensed to sell them, so people should stop telling me Dubai doesn't allow pork -_-
When you know Dubai better, you will find that it has a good variety of Asian cuisines and restaurants, I secretly think Korean BBQ and pancakes taste better in Dubai than SG's.
Dubai is supposedly tax-free so most electronics are affordable, as compared to European/American regions. Iphone was priced the same in Dubai/Singapore/HongKong, so I find it pretty competitive.
When in Dubai mall, it's hard not to shop. There's free wifi in the mall so that you can ask your friends if the color of your dress suits you, or if you would like to buy dates with almond or without.
It's one jam-packed mall with everything you can find, from luxury shopping to your usual spanish clothing outlets.
Public display of affection is restricted in Dubai. You can hold hands, but avoid anything more in public. If you're engaged, do bring a copy of your marriage certificate with you if you're sharing a room. I know of people who're just boy and girlfriends and sharing a hotel room, but you would really want to avoid being caught in this situation.
During the holy month of Ramadan, the rules of the above-mentioned must be strictly followed, and there will be few restaurants which will open during the day, so I would avoid traveling to Dubai as a tourist during that one month. Eating and drinking in public places is not allowed as a respect for Muslims who fast. So I do stock up my own groceries to cook at home for breakfast and lunch :) Deliveries and takeaways are allowed, so you see - it's actually rather flexible.
Dubai is a safe place to travel and live in, if you look at the crime rates in perspective. The laws in Dubai is kept strict for crime prevention and anything illegal in Singapore, is also illegal in Dubai. Avoid jaywalking, eating in train cabins and etc.
In clubs, do avoid sharing a drink or leaving a drink at your counter, I think this rule works everywhere.
Also avoid taking taxi alone in the middle of the night, especially if you're unfamiliar with the roads or traveling out of the prime area.
Would recommend prime area - so hotels in Sheikh Zayed (which is Dubai's Orchard Road, kinda?)
If you think it's pricey because of its prime location, try Bur Dubai, it's 10-15 minutes drive from Sheikh Zayed.
- Arabian Adventures (Safari Tour)
- Dubai Mall
- Dubai Fountain Show
- Burj Khalifa (tallest building in the world)
- Barasti (Beach pub)
- Cirque du Soir (Club)
- Traditional Gold Souk (market)
- Burj Al Arab (supposedly the only 7 star hotel)
- Souk Medinat / Medinat Jumeirah on the Palm
- Drive/Bus to Abu Dhabi for Ferrari world/Mosque
More on tripadvisor
Dubai is relatively clean and malls are smoke-free. Roads can be rather sandy. Traffic jams are not too bad as well, taxi fares are cheaper as compared to SG with the minimum charge of 10 dhs (3+ SGD) and starting fare at 3.50dhs (1+ SGD). Exchange rate is currently pegged at 1 SGD= 3 DHS.
Well, that's about it! It's time for me to snooze, I've called in sick so that I can rest well tomorrow. Can't wait to be back in 3 weeks :)