Virtually a desert 20 years ago, Dubai has since evolved into an ultramodern mecca
of real estate, business, and tourism, and is on the fast track to becoming a global
city. Dubai is the most populous city in the United Arab Emirates (UAE), which is
located on the southern coast of the Persian Gulf on the Arabian Peninsula. The
UAE is surrounded by Oman and Saudi Arabia.
Dubai is notorious for its ostentatiousness (including its ultramodern buildings),
where everyone is treated like a VIP and in turn is tempted to spend money like
a one. Dubai makes it easy to drop cash like you are the Prince of Monaco with its
dizzying array of flamboyant hotels, chic shopping malls, high end nightclubs, yacht
and golf clubs, and posh restaurants.
The Joint Commission International (JCI) has accredited 11 hospitals and clinics
in Dubai including a maternity and children’s hospital, and the city is home to
the first hospital accredited in the Middle East by the JCI. Billions of dollars
have been invested in the healthcare system and thus accredited hospitals/clinics
in Dubai have western standards of healthcare and facilities, and employ physicians
with western certifications or equivalent. Dubai is quickly gaining popularity as
a medical tourism destination due to its low cost, English speaking medical staff,
and virtually no queues for treatments.
In 2010 there are plans to open the Dubai Healthcare City and it will be the largest
international medical center located between Southeast Asia and Europe. There are
also plans to include a branch of Harvard Medical School within the Healthcare City,
which will bring it one step closer to being one of the most prestigious foreign
healthcare facilities outside of the West.
Dubai offers a myriad of first-class medical treatments including cochlear implants,
diabetes treatments, orthopedics, cardiology, oncology, obesity surgery, neurology,
plastic & cosmetic surgery, physical therapy, dermatology, rheumatology, ophthalmology,
lung treatments, and urology.
The official language of Dubai is Arabic, however Hindi, English, Persian, Tagalog
and Chinese dialects are widely spoken with English being the lingua franca.
The climate in Dubai is subtropical with
clear skies and ample amounts of sunshine. The hottest months are June to September
where temperatures can reach as high as 113oF (45oC). The
coldest months are December to March where temperatures are generally in the 70’soF
Visa / Entrance Requirements
*If your passport has an Israeli stamp, you will not be able to get a visa to Dubai.
U.S. and Canadian citizens are required to have a tourist visa in order to enter
Dubai. However, you can get a free visa on arrival at the airport or if you are
arriving by land you may have to pay 20-30 dirhams ($5-$8 USD). Visas are valid
for 30 days and you must also have a valid passport.
Airlines Servicing this Destination
The airport serving Dubai is called the Dubai International Airport (DXB).
The following airlines have flights to Dubai:
- United Airlines
- British Airways
- Air France
- Air India
- Middle East Airlines
- Olympic Airlines
- Pakistan International Airlines
- Virgin Atlantic
Dubai has a myriad of 5 star accommodations that range from $87 to $5,448 USD per
night. These luxurious habitations include beach resorts, golf resorts and spas;
some of which feature a croquet lawn, a children’s center, tennis courts, spectacular
gardens, an exclusive beach, swimming pools, and a putting green. 3 star hotels
start at $64 USD and unfortunately, there are not many budget accommodations in
Dubai but the few that are available range from $20 to $30 USD per person per night.
The currency of Dubai is the Dirham (AED),
The exchange rate of U.S. dollars to United Arab Emirates dirhams is $1 USD to 3.67
AED (exchange rate subject to change).
The international access code for the United Arab Emirates is 971.
The area code for Dubai is 4.
In order to call Dubai from the U.S. or Canada you must dial 011 (exit code), then
971 (country code for the United Arab Emirates), then the area code for Dubai (4),
and then the phone number (seven digits).
To call a cell phone in Dubai from the U.S. or Canada you must dial 011 + 971 +
area code (two digits, begins with the number 5) + phone number (seven digits).
In order to call the U.S. or Canada from Dubai you must dial 00 + 1 + area code
+ phone number
Cyber-cafes are widely available in major cities and towns. Larger hotels and most
private hospitals throughout the country offer Broadband Internet connection.
Emergency Telephone Numbers
U.S. Embassy in Abu Dhabi: (971) 2-414-2200
U.S. Consulate in Dubai: (971) 4-311-6000
Despite its small size Dubai has many sights to offer. Lifestyles of the Rich and
Famous (if it were still on the air) could do an entire segment on leisure activities
in Dubai. The world class Dubai Creek Golf & Yacht Club is popular among golf enthusiasts
and the PGA. The 18 hole championship course was host to the PGA European Tour Desert
Classic. It is also a full-service yachting center that can hold boats up to 131
feet (40 meters). After a day of yachting and golfing, Cleopatra’s spa is a must.
It is one of the most luxurious spas in Dubai and it offers all of the amenities
for rest and relaxation. Other venues for rest and relaxation are the Hatta Rock
Pools, which are nestled within the Hajar Mountains and features waterfalls and
turquoise pools, and Jumeirah Beach, which is described as tranquil and a haven
for women because certain days are designated as women only.
Religious and architectural enthusiasts will enjoy the Jumeirah Mosque, which was
built in the modern Islamic tradition while the H.H. Sheikh Saeed House is a remnant
of late 19th century Arabian architecture. Last but not least, you can wind down
with a desert safari that includes tours of the red dunes of Murgam, a camel ride,
and entertainment by belly dancers. Fun for the whole family!
Dubai is known as a retail haven, especially during the months of January and February
when the annual Dubai Shopping Festival is held. The festival attracts shoppers
from around the world who want to take advantage of marked down prices and promotional
offers. During this time, hotels offer discounted prices and Emirates Airlines offer
special rates on airfares. However, if you do not plan on traveling to Dubai at
the beginning of the year, do not fret because the city is rife with malls and shopping
centers (mostly high end). Al Ghurair City has a range of high end stores such as
Guess, French Connection, and La Chateau. The Warba Center is a mall that is described
as a 5 star facility and the Twin Towers is the most popular shopping center in
Nightlife and the Arts
Nightlife in Dubai is considered by many to be the best in the Middle East, regardless
of whether or not you took a strict oath of sobriety. Alcohol does not flow freely
in the city and in order to enjoy a spirit you must either buy liquor from the duty
free shop at the airport, go to a nightclub or go to a hotel bar, with the latter
two options being the most expensive. Note that some clubs have a ‘couples only’
policy in which couples and single ladies are allowed admission (sorry fellas),
and single men are charged an exorbitant entrance fee if they are allowed into the
club. However, if you wait outside until a group of ladies walk by and ask if you
can enter with them, most will be happy to oblige especially if you offer to provide
a ‘thank you’ drink.
Horse racing fanatics will enjoy the Godolphin Gallery, which is named after one
of the founding stallions of modern Arabian thoroughbreds. It displays the trophies
won by Godolphin’s leading horses, written accounts of races, and victory photographs.
If horse racing is not your style, Dubai is home to the Dubai National Museum, which
is considered one of the best museums in the city as well as the Majils and the
Four Seasons Ramesh Art galleries. Also, Dubai is home to the luxurious Madinat
Theater and the Dubai Community Theater and Arts Center.
Dubai has four English language papers:
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- Khaleej Times
- Gulf News
- Gulf Today
- 7 Days