Dubai: Your Complete Travel Guide to this Land of Excess

If you’ve been dreaming of skiing and suntanning in the same day, drunk on $5k bottles of Cristal, Dubai is your opulent paradise.


Have you ever dreamed of completely exhausting your credit card in the world’s largest shopping mall, then having your driver carry your bags up to your suite at an opulent 5-star hotel, while you give benjamins to all the many, many staff who assist you along the way? How about partying until dawn while scantily-clad bartenders bring you sparklers in $5k bottles of Cristal? Or skiing indoors, in the summer, then reclining on the beach, wearing diamonds? Neither have I. But for those who do, there’s a place where that lifestyle is a reality for some: Dubai. The city is as artificial as its island, and yet its population has tripled in the last decade. It’s the land where even the cops drive Lamborghinis and Ferraris (yes, really!)

Dubai: Your Complete Travel Guide to this Land of Excess

You’re probably on the edge of your seat, booking the plane tickets now, aren’t you?

Dubai: Your Complete Travel Guide to this Land of Excess

The Dubai Skyline

But wait, you have your bags packed and your sunglasses draped over your head, but there is one final hurdle that is stopping you from jumping on the next plane to Dubai: Is it safe there?

Safety and Dress Code in Dubai

You can throw your worries into the same trash can you’ll be throwing any expenditure restrictions; Dubai is one of the safest places to travel to. I know it might be hard to imagine that, given its location in the Middle East: a little too close to Israel and Syria for comfort. But honestly, Dubai is one of those places where you don’t have to give a second thought about taking a midnight walk after a hearty, Arabic-style dinner.

Dubai: Your Complete Travel Guide to this Land of Excess

That being said, I do think it would be wise to not venture to Emirates like Sharjah and Al-Ain at night. But metropolises like Dubai and Abu Dhabi are very safe, especially if you’re travelling alone as a woman.

Dubai: Your Complete Travel Guide to this Land of Excess

There isn’t any lawfully-enforced dress code in Dubai, except in mosques where women and men are expected to cover their heads in traditional Arabic scarves.

Pack the same clothes as you would if you were taking a summer trip to Hawaii.

Dubai is a city with a population of 90% expats, most of whom come from (cold) countries in Europe. Enforcing a dress code that requires people to cover themselves up would drive most of these expats out of the city, which would all but ruin the local economy — and lawmakers are well-aware of this.

Now that we’ve covered safety, let’s move on to how to get there, all the fun things to do there, and what to pack:

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Avatar of Paakhi Bhatnagar

Paakhi lives in the United Arab Emirates and is an avid reader of historical fiction. She is a passionate feminist and blogs about politics and feminist issues. She likes to listen to music and document her life in a series of journals she will probably never show to anyone.

Reader Discussion: 56 Comments

  1. Avatar of Ariel Myers

    Ariel Myers

    Dubai is really awesome. Really rich county. you can tell just by the clean streets and high-end buildings. Such luxurious country.

  2. Avatar of Rubby Hankins

    Rubby Hankins

    Dubai is one of the best and most beautiful places in the world. It has world tallest building” Burj Khalifa” which has 163 Floors and you can look at the entire city, the best time is sunset its called Prime hour.

  3. Avatar of Geraldina Lee

    Geraldina Lee

    Dubai is the place where I enjoyed my best time with my friend last year. Their structural view and saw the sea-beach is just mindblowing. I am a great fan of Dubai.

  4. Avatar of Francis Walton

    Francis Walton

    I know Dubai is one of the best city to Travel, but still, I do not go there. But I hope to travel there with my friend as soon as possible. This article makes me more crazy to visit Dubai.

  5. Avatar of Cody Pierce

    Cody Pierce

    Thanks for the article. Dubai its a place of magic, a place for entertainment and adventure, a lot of activities for children and whole lot of fun to go with family and friends, desert safari is just amazing car ride; bounce is a must go and for food and shopping 🙂

  6. Avatar of Deborah Henry

    Deborah Henry

    It is a very well written blog and a whole lot of information put together in one place. After reading this it has eased many jitters I was having. I am definitely going to refer this to plan my upcoming trip to Dubai! Thanks a lot again!

  7. Avatar of Kimberly Thompson

    Kimberly Thompson

    Great guide! Wish it was published a month ago. Last month on a visit to Dubai, we went out to Babs Al Shams for cocktails, dinner and a beautiful sunset. It was a nice escape from the concrete jungle of Dubai and it was only 45 minutes away by private car. Next trip, we are staying out there for a few weeks. ?

  8. Avatar of Lin Del Rey

    Lin Del Rey

    Love the article! I too am a solo female traveler. I have a question not necessarily about safety or harassment but about regulations. I heard that you have to be a certain age to be able to stay in Dubai if you are alone. I’m 24 years old and would like to go to Dubai but am I allowed to enter and stay in Dubai if I don’t have anyone with me the whole time?

    • Avatar of Paakhi Bhatnagar

      Yes of course you are. There’s really no truth in that. I think Dubai is a very safe place to travel, especially solo. Tourism is one of their main sources of revenue and they take tourist safety really seriously.

  9. Avatar of Jae Medina

    Jae Medina

    Very good read with lots of insider info someone might not be able to find in a typical guidebook. Excellent tips! I will certainly be paying attention to these on my upcoming trip to Dubai ?

  10. Avatar of Kaitlyn Barrett

    Kaitlyn Barrett

    Great advice for having a beautiful trip to Dubai. As on coming month I am going for a trip to Dubai with my friends group. I hope your tips will be helping us to have memorable days out there.

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