Top Tips for Flying to Dubai

Posted by & filed under Dubai.

When budgeting for a vacation, the cost of flights usually makes up a significant portion of the expenses. However, there are ways to help reduce those costs and make flying cheaper. If you are planning a flight to Dubai, here are some helpful tips to reduce the ticket price you pay.

Choose a quiet time of year

Summer is known as Dubai’s off-peak season, as many travellers are reluctant to take on the desert heat. However, a summer trip is still manageable for many, as so many of the facilities are indoors and air-conditioned. If you can brave the heat, you are likely to find your tickets to be cheaper as well.

The absolute cheapest time to travel is probably during the Holy Month of Ramadan. Ramadan is a time of fasting and prayer, so you’ll find that during this time, many restaurants are closed during the day, and many other activities, like music shows, go on hiatus. Because of this more austere environment, tourists are less likely to travel to Dubai during the month of Ramadan. However, if you can manage with these limitations, you’ll find the prices are quite low. The dates of Ramadan alter with the lunar calendar, so make sure you check before booking.

If neither of these times appeals to you, we recommend you try booking in September. It’s not quite peak season, so the fares are still comparatively reasonable, but the heat is much more bearable.

Fly in the middle of the week

Ticket prices tend to be higher on the weekends, so look out for mid-week flights to avail of cheaper fares. Choosing a less convenient time to fly, such as very late in the night, can also help reduce your ticket price.

Use a price protector

Book your tickets through a website that offers a price drop guarantee, like FlightNetwork. If the price of your ticket drops after you have already made a purchase, you’ll get credit back. In this way, you can enjoy worry free booking.

Try an alternate airport

Most flights will take you to Dubai International Airport. It’s a wonderful landing destination and one of the busiest airports in the world. However, there are other options that could prove to be cheaper. Dubai World Central is another airport in Dubai. It’s out of the way from the main city center, so flights landing there tend to be cheaper. It’s a decent option for the budget traveller – just make sure you arrange for transportation, as thanks to the long driving distance, a taxi or Uber to the city could be pretty pricy.

Another option is to fly into one of the neighboring emirates, such as Sharjah, These emirates tend to receive less tourist traffic, so tickets flying into their airports tend to be cheaper.

Split your booking

You may not know this, but booking as a group may cause you to lose out on cheaper ticket prices. For instance, suppose you are booking airline tickets for a party of four. The airline might have two available tickets selling for AED 2000, while the remaining available tickets are available for AED 2500. If you try to purchase four tickets at a time, you might not be shown those two cheaper tickets. However, if your book the tickets individually, you’ll be shown the two AED 2000 tickets as part of your options, allowing you to take advantage of the lower fares for those two tickets.

Sign up for newsletters

If you’re seriously planning a trip to Dubai, why not put your name on the mailing list for airlines such as Etihad, Emirates and Fly Dubai? In this way, you’ll be alerted to when these airlines are having a sale, allowing you to take advantage of the reduced fares.

Consider a stop-over

Of course, it’s very convenient to only have to deal with one flight. However, booking a flight with a stop-over is a great way to reduce your total fare cost. While you’ll add a few extra hours to your trip, you’ll save on your travel fare. Not to mention, you’ll get a chance to stretch your legs between hours of sitting.

You don’t have to blow your budget on purchasing tickets to Dubai. With some smart moves and planning, you can find great deals that will allow you to travel with confidence.  We hope welcome you in Dubai soon.

Dubai 2018 Year of Zayed

Posted by & filed under Dubai.

It’s wonderful to celebrate the start of the year 2018, as a new year always brings with it the promise of many new initiatives and events. One of the events of this year is the “Year of Zayed”, in honor of the late Sheikh Zayed. In this post, we’ll give you an overview of everything you need to know about 2018 Year of Zayed.

Who was Sheikh Zayed?

Sheikh Zayed is often referred to as the founding father of the UAE. He was critical in the negotiations that allowed different Trucial states to come together to form one country, the United Arab Emirates. He then assumed the role of first president of the UAE, a position he held for 33 years, until his death in 2004.

Sheikh Zayed was known for his keen eye for progress and reform. He helped transform the area from a collection of disparate desert tribes to a booming metropolis. He was also a passionate advocate for many causes, including environmentalism and education, showing him to be a compassionate ruler in additional to being a modernizing one.

Why was 2018 chosen as the Year of Zayed?

The year 2018 marks the 100th anniversary of the birth of Sheikh Zayed, which is why it was chosen as the year to honor him. As an interesting side note, the exact data of Sheikh Zayed’s birth has not been officially documented, as he grew up as part of a desert Bedouin tribe with little in the way of official record keeping. Thankfully, we are at least confident of the year.

What does the Year of Zayed entail?

The Year of Zayed will involve a series of initiatives and events aimed at promoting the causes that Sheikh Zayed most espoused – tolerance, progression, environmentalism, and charity. The late Sheikh Zayed greatly promoted the UAE’s reputation as a place where people of all nationalities could peacefully work together and co-exist, so it is likely the various events will highlight those beliefs as well. In addition, the Year of Zayed will also serve as a showcase of Sheikh Zayed’s many contributions to the growth of the UAE over the years, meaning that it is likely to feature displays and discussions of the country’s history as well.

Who can get involved with the Year of Zayed?

The Year of Zayed has been designed so that all can participate, across different age groups, nationalities and religions.

What are some examples of Year of Zayed initiatives?

Some initiatives for the Year of Zayed that have already been announced are:

  • A city-wide scavenger hunt: The idea is to find 15 special light bulbs hidden in the city. Light bulbs were chosen based on the idea that ‘Knowledge is a light that never fades’. Each light bulb has been designed by a local artist and represents a particular theme.
  • A special number plate auction: Dubai loves cars and vanity plates are a special way to stand out from the crowd. This year, a plate with the number Z-1971 will be auctioned off. 1971 refers to the year of the federal unification of the UAE. Z of course stands for Zayed, the man who helped achieve it.
  • An aquarium scuba dive: A group of policemen did a public dive into the Dubai Aquarium at Dubai Mall. When the reached the bottom, they unfurled a banner thanking Sheikh Zayed for his many contributions to the UAE.

As you can see, the events set to take place this year will vary greatly, from quirky nods to the late leader to well-organized activities that span the country. There are options for each and every resident and visitor to participate.

2018 is set to be very promising. It will be a great time to reflect on the key values of the UAE and think about how we can incorporate them into our lives. We look forward to seeing what other exciting events 2018 Year of Zayed has to offer.

Dubai Frame

Posted by & filed under Dubai.

Dubai FrameAnyone who has visited Dubai recently will have seen an eye-catching structure rising up against the skyline in Karama. The Dubai Frame is set to be the newest addition to Dubai’s collection of architectural icons. This project has been a long-time coming – in fact, it was originally set to open in 2015. However, good things come to those who wait. We are happy to say that the Dubai Frame is now completed. Since its official opening date has now been set for January of 2018, we thought we would share everything you need to know about the Dubai Frame.

What is the Dubai Frame?

The Dubai Frame is 150-meter-by-150-meter rectangular structure, with a void in the center. According to the architect, instead of just being another structure on the Dubai skyline, it was designed to ‘frame’ Dubai’s development – past, present and future.

When you look through the frame from one side, to the South, you can see the glitzy skyline of Downtown Dubai, including famous landmarks like the Burj Khalifa. This view represents the modern side of Dubai, with all its glamour and ambition. However, when you look through the other side of the frame, to the North, you see the heritage regions of Dubai, where residents of the past dived for pearls, traded spices and lived simple lives.

How is the Dubai Frame decorated?

The Dubai Frame is opulently decorated with a stainless steel gold cladding, in a nod to Dubai’s reputation as the ‘City of Gold’. The shining exterior is striking against the blue sky. Fun fact –the honeycomb-like design on the Dubai Frame is a reference to the symbol of the upcoming Dubai Expo 2020.

Can you go to the top of the Dubai Frame?

Yes – the top of the Dubai Frame consists of a 93-meter long bridge. This allows visitors to enjoy views from up high. The experience is managed by the same people in charge of ‘At the Top’, the Burj Khalifa’s own viewing deck experience. This way, you know you are dealing with a team that is experienced in managing huge attractions like this endeavor.

How do you get to the top of the Dubai Frame?

Thankfully, the top of the Dubai Frame is accessible by elevator. In fact, the elevator is designed by ThyssenKrupp, the German engineering company that actually sponsored the competition where this design first took fruit. Impressively, the elevator is designed to only take one minute to reach the top, so just getting there will be an experience in and of itself.

Where is the Dubai Frame located?

The Dubai Frame is located at Zabeel Park in Karama. Karama is a lot closer to old area of Dubai, rather than the new. This makes sense, as the extra distance allows for a more encompassing view of the towers that make up Downtown Dubai. In a similar vein, by being closer to the Dubai Creek, the visitors can enjoy watching the sharper details, like the abras on the water.

If you are travelling to the Dubai Frame by metro, you should take the Red Line to the Al Jafiliya Metro Station. Our guide to using the Dubai Metro will help you out. If you wish to travel by car, there is public parking available inside Zabeel Park, outside Gate One.

How much are tickets to visit the Dubai Frame?

Tickets to the Dubai Frame cost AED 50 for adults and AED 30 for children. Tickets are free for children under the age of 3 and people over the age of 60. The tickets are valid for a one-hour experience.

The ticket system for the Dubai Frame to similar to that of the Burj Khalifa, wherein it is highly recommended that you book your tickets in advance. Each individual tour is set to take 20 people. While you might get lucky sometimes and find a group with an opening, your best bet is to reserve in advance.

Is the view from the top all the Dubai Frame has to offer?

No – the Dubai Frame is also home to a museum on the mezzanine floor. In keeping with the theme of the Dubai Frame, the museum is focused on Dubai’s development from humble fishing village to iconic global metropolis. What makes this museum particularly unique is that it doesn’t just rely on displays to convey information. Instead, it incorporates projections, mist effects, scents and movement to create a one-of-a-kind interactive experience.

Dubai has gone through massive changes throughout the course of its history. It is apt that there is now a monument paying tribute to the city’s past and future. We can’t wait for the official opening of the Dubai Frame, which will give us a chance to celebrate all that the city of Dubai has accomplished.

Louvre Abu Dhabi

Posted by & filed under Dubai.

You’ve probably heard of the Louvre  – the famous museum in Paris, France that is home to legendary works such as the Mona Lisa. What you may not know is that on November 8th, 2017, the Louvre opened up a satellite museum in Abu Dhabi, UAE. The Louvre Abu Dhabi, as it is known, is the latest offering in the UAE’s arts and culture scene. In this post, we will tell you everything you need to know about visiting the Louvre Abu Dhabi.

Where exactly is the Louvre Abu Dhabi located?

The Louvre Abu Dhabi is located in the Saadiyat Island Cultural District in Abu Dhabi. Saadiyat Island is a large, low-lying island around 500 meters off the coast of Abu Dhabi. It is about a five-minute drive from downtown Abu Dhabi and a one-hour drive away from Dubai.

How big is the Louvre Abu Dhabi?

The Louvre Abu Dhabi is the largest art museum is the Arabian Peninsula. It spans an area of 24,000 square meters, with approximately 8,000 square meters dedicated specifically to gallery space.

What is the relationship between the Louvre Abu Dhabi and the Louvre in Paris?

The Louvre Abu Dhabi is a separate museum on its own. However, the two museums are linked by a branding and training agreement that is set to last for the next 30 years. This means that the Louvre Abu Dhabi will be able to take away best management practices from one of the most famous museums on the planet, allowing for any visitor to have a world-class experience.

What can be found at the Louvre Abu Dhabi?

Louvre Abu DhabiThe permanent collection at the Louvre Abu Dhabi houses over 600 artworks – not bad for a museum that only opened last month. The works at the museum were specially chosen to bridge the gap between Eastern and Western art, thereby celebrating Abu Dhabi’s position in the crossroad of the globe. As a result, the works on display span geographical regions and historical time periods. Visitors can admire Impressionist and Surrealist paintings from famous European painters, as well as historical carvings from ancient China and Iran. Despite this mix, the curators have done a careful job of weaving together a cohesive narrative for visitors. The galleries are arranged by time period and theme, allowing visitors to feel a sense of coherence as they explore.

It is important to note that just because this is not the Paris Louvre, that does not mean the artwork is of a lesser quality. The Louvre Abu Dhabi has invested a significant sum to bring unique works of art to its galleries.

Some of our favorite objects d’art at the museum are:

Composition with Blue, Red, Yellow and Black

A deceptively simple abstract painting by Piet Mondrian, that is made up of horizontal and vertical lines and primary colors. Instead of being bound by the natural form, it is pictorial language at its most simple and free.

Funeral set of Princess Henuttawy –

This 10th century Egyptian funeral set is incredibly well preserved, with the colorful embellishments still visible. You can still see the painted outlines of the princess’s delicate features.

A Young Emir Studying

a 1878 painting by Osman Hamdy Bey of Istanbul. This painting is a great example of cross-cultural artwork as it incorporates a traditional Islamic subject with a hint of the Western painting style.

How much is admission to the Louvre Abu Dhabi?

We recommend purchasing tickets online, to avoid queues when you enter. Tickets to the Louvre Abu Dhabi cost 60 AED. Children between the ages of 13 and 22, as well as students studying at a UAE educational institution, receive half-price tickets. Furthermore, children under the age of 13 can enter for free. If you are disabled, you and one companion can also enter for free.

As an additional note, you can rent an iPad for approximately 20 AED when you enter the museum. This iPad provides you with additional information about the various exhibits and gives you a guide to the 12 galleries. It’s a great way to enhance your experience.

What are the hours of the Louvre Abu Dhabi?

The Louvre Abu Dhabi is closed on Mondays. On Saturdays, Sundays, Tuesdays and Thursdays, it is open from 10AM to 8PM while on Thursdays and Fridays it is open from 10AMto 10PM.

How long does it take to explore the museum?

You’ll need around two hours just to do the most basic walk-through of the museum. However, as you are likely to want to linger and examine the various pieces of art. We recommend budgeting at least 4 hours to thoroughly enjoy what the museum has to offer.

Does the museum offer parking?

The museum offers free parking. There is also the option of valet parking for 40 AED. If you are not driving, there is a convenient drop-off point at the main entrance that is frequented by taxis.

We are huge fans of museums here at Dubai by Foot. While we love the Dubai Museum that we pass on our Old Dubai tour, we can’t help but be excited for the global offerings of the Louvre Abu Dhabi. It’s a big step to cementing the UAE’s status as a premier art destination. And if you’re interested in learning more about art in the UAE, our Dubai Art tour demonstrates the effect these historical influences have on the scene today.

Dubai Pearl Museum

Posted by & filed under Dubai.

Dubai Pearl MuseumIn the city of Dubai, there lies a hidden gem – well, technically, an entire trove of them. Tucked away in Deira, in the headquarters of Emirates National Bank, lies the Dubai Pearl Museum. It is a one-of-a-kind attraction celebrating the UAE’s pearl-diving heritage.

Before the oil boom hit the UAE, the area was known for the beautiful natural pearls that could be found in the warm, shallow waters along the coast. Pearl diving and trading represented a huge part of the national economy. Ali Bin Abdullah Al Owais was a pearl trader who hailed from the Al Shamsi tribe of Sharjah. His son, Sultan Ali Al Owais, chose to pursue a career in international banking instead. Furthermore he retained his family’s love for pearls and continued to add to the family collection. Eventually, he donated his collection to the bank where he served as chairman, and so the Pearl Museum was inaugurated.

Where is the Pearl Museum Located?

Today, the Pearl Museum lies on the 15th floor of the Emirates National Bank headquarters. It houses one of the world’s most exquisite collection of saltwater pearls. The display is absolutely stunning and the trip to the museum is worth it just to glimpse that level of luxury.

However, the Pearl Museum does not exist just to show off wealth and splendor. Pearls and pearl diving play a vital role in Dubai’s history and culture, and the Pearl Museum explores the many facets related to that. Some of the interesting facets explored in the museum include:

The Lives Of The Pearl Divers:

Dubai Pearl MuseumThe Pearl Museum explores everything from life on the boats (dhows) to the actual diving activity. Such information helps you truly get a feel for what life was like for these divers – both the challenges they faced on the harsh seas and the techniques they used to keep their spirits up. For instance, did you know every pearl diving dhow was staffed with its own musician? Or that pearl divers began their training at the tender age of ten?

The Pearl Economy:

Before the discovery of oil in Dubai, pearls were the most important part of the national economy. The museum describes the business of pearl trading in Dubai, including how the traders made their deals and where the pearls were most frequently exported.

Pearl Quality:

If you’d like to be a connoisseur of pearls, the museum can teach you everything you need to know. You’ll learn how to pick out the most valuable pearls based on their size, weight, shape, color, and luster. You’ll also learn how to tell cultured pearls from genuine seawater pearls.

Pearl Jewelry:

In Dubai, pearls were primarily used as a vehicle for trade. So, they were not always set into necklaces, bracelets or rings. However, pearls are actually well suited for use in jewelry as they can be used ‘as-found’ – there is no need to do any cutting to add shine or luster. The museum is host to some dazzling pieces that show off the luxurious pearls to their best advantage.

How To Get There:

The Pearl Museum is not like other museums in Dubai. There are no set hours of operation. If you want to visit, you can’t just walk up to the front desk at Emirates National Bank and purchase a ticket. Instead, you have to contact the museum in advance and they will arrange a showing for you with a guide. This procedure allows them to ensure the safety of their valuable display, as well as that of the other bank assets.

The Pearl Museum can be contacted through this form. However, the museum prefers to open its doors to small groups of around 8-10 people. If your group doesn’t meet that number, you might try contacting the team at Dubai by Foot and we can work to connect you with others looking to visit the museum. Our tours explore the Old Dubai area where the museum is located quite thoroughly, so we’d be happy to help you get there.

Today, pearls are no longer the bedrock of Dubai’s economy. The growing popularity of cultured pearls combined with Dubai’s oil boom means that their economic importance has faded. However, they are still important from a historical, cultural and aesthetic perspective. This museum is a great way to explore this central part of Dubai’s heritage, and marvel at the beauty of these water-dwelling gems.

 

 

 

La Perle By Dragone

Posted by & filed under Dubai.

La Perle Whether it’s the fabulous fireworks displays on New Year’s Eve or the daily water and light shows at the Dubai Fountain, Dubai is a city that loves a spectacle. That’s why we are so excited about the La Perle show, which is set to be the city’s first resident show. We’ve got all the information for you here:

What is the La Perle show?

The La Perle show was created by Franco Dragone, one of the world’s most celebrated artistic directors. It is a breathtaking live production, featuring 65 artists who perform amazing acrobatic, aquatic and aerial stunts to create a breathtaking stage performance. The storyline was written as a nod to the spirit of Dubai, making the show a great option for a visiting tourist.

Where does the La Perle show take place?

The La Perle show takes place in a specially designed theater. This theater  incorporates state-of-the-art technology and both a dry stage and an aqua stage. The theater seats 1300 people, but only contains 14 rows. This allows every audience member an up-close and intimate view of the performance. The theatrical area is also encircled by 360-degree projection screens for visuals. Furthermore it is embedded with speakers for optimal sound, which creates a truly immersive experience.

The theatre lies in the center of Al Habtoor City, a multi-use luxury development in Dubai that is host to several 5-star hotels. The theatre is easily accessible from Sheikh Zayed Road, close to the Business Bay area.

How much do tickets for the La Perle show cost?

The theatre seats are laid along a 270-degree angle, allowing every seat in the house a nice view of the performers. However, there are certain tiers with the seating. The most luxurious option is to purchase a VIP ticket. Not only are you allowed a spectacular panoramic view, you are provided with lounge-style seating and an individual table with complimentary snacks. The VIP tickets cost AED 1600.

If that’s a bit out of your budget, you can also consider the non-VIP seats. These are offered in Gold (AED 800), Silver (AED 600) and Bronze (AED 400) tickets, depending on the seat’s location. As a note, the first two rows of seats closest to the stage are in the ‘splash zone’, so be aware of that.

The La Perle show also offers an Early Bird special, which provides a 30% discount on Gold, Silver and Bronze seats if purchased more than 30 days in advance.

How often does the La Perle show run?

The La Perle show has 10 shows a week. It runs from Tuesday to Friday at 7:00pm and 9:30pm, and on Saturdays at 4:00pm and 7:00pm. Each performance lasts around 90 minutes. This particular run is meant to go on till December 2018, but other performances are being planned once this run is completed.

Is there parking available?

There are several parking options available:

Free Parking: If you follow the signs for Al Habtoor City Parking, you will find the complimentary parking area. These parking spots are available for a maximum of 3 hours.

Paid Parking: You can also make use of the paid parking in nearby Safa Park

Valet Parking: If you’ve arrived in heels, or if you just don’t want to circle around for a slot, you have the option of valet parking. Valet parking is complimentary for VIP ticket holders, and costs AED 50.00 otherwise.

What’s the dress code to see a show at La Perle?

The dress code is Smart Casual

Can I take photos and video?

Yes! Just be careful to turn your flash off.

Are there dining options available?

There are plentiful fine restaurants in the area, serving Asian, South African, British and Mexican food. There’s also a great selection of lounges, for some pre or post show cocktails. You can see the list of available restaurants here.

The La Perle show is a truly one-of-a-kind experience that captures Dubai creative and innovative spirit. If you’re looking to add some wonder to your trip, the show is a great way to create some unique memories of a spectacular show.

Women’s Museum

Posted by & filed under Dubai.

While the UAE is a conservative country, it would be wrong to assume that it is one that negates the rights of women. On the country, the UAE has worked hard to promote the opportunities and achievements of its female citizens. Women make up two-thirds of government employees and one-third of the country’s cabinet. In fact, Sheikh Mohammed, Ruler of Dubai and Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE, has said “We are not enabling women, we are enabling the whole society with women”.

Dubai Women's MuseumOne way of doing so is by honoring the achievements of women in the UAE, both in the past and present. That is why Dubai is home to its very own Women’s Museum , dedicated to exploring the lives of women in the UAE. In this post, we’ll tell you everything you need to know about the Dubai Women’s Museum.

What is the Women’s Museum?

The Women’s Museum is a national archive and documentation center. It is dedicated to exploring the different facets of the lives of Emirati women – professional and personal, past and present. It includes artwork by various female Emirati artists, photographs showing the contributions of Emirati women. Examples of their Emirati jewelry and dresses and an exploration of how past and current rulers have affected the role of women in the UAE.

Who founded the Women’s Museum?

Dr. Rania Obaid Ghubash founded the Women’s Museum. An Emirati woman herself, Dr. Ghubash grew up on the shores of the Dubai Creek. Her mother taught her to value the history and culture of her home country, and this love permeates the museum. It is far from a clinical look at the past, but instead, a loving tribute to a precious lineage of strong Emirati women.

Where is the Women’s Museum located?

The Women’s Museum is located in Deira, by the Gold Souq (close to where Dubai by Foot offers its Old Dubai Tour). The house itself called Bait al Banat, which translates to The Girls House. It was built in the 1950s and was originally a residential home. Here three unmarried Emirati sisters lived – so even the building itself is of historical interest.

The entrance to the Women’s Museum can be tricky to find. When you are walking through the souq, turn left at 45th street. Once you reach the road, turn right and take the third street on the left. On your right, you should see a small sign directing you to the museum. If you’re having difficulty with the directions, don’t hesitate to ask one of the locals and they would be happy to guide you.

What are the hours of the Women’s Museum?

The Women’s Museum is open from Saturday to Thursday, from 10am to 7pm.

How much are tickets to the Women’s Museum?

A ticket to the Women’s Museum costs 20 dirhams.

How long does it take to see the Women’s Museum?

A tour of the Women’s Museum will take approximately 60 – 90 minutes. There are a lot of interesting artifacts on display, but the space itself is not very large so there is not a lot of walking from one exhibit to the next.

Does the Women’s Museum have a giftshop?

Yes, the Women’s Museum is home to the Um Al Duwais Perfume and Gift Shop. Perfume is a very popular amongst women in the Arab World. For one, it is a great way to mask sweat in a country that historically did not have a lot of access to water. For another, perfume was a way for women to ‘decorate’ themselves without having to wear immodest clothes. The Um Al Duwais Perfume and Gift Shop allows visitors to purchase high-quality, traditional Arabian fragrances and oils, making it a souvenir you can savor.

Furthermore, the museum also has its own café. The Banat Bu Ghanem Café is actually a public space, linking the museum to the surrounding Deira community. In addition to traditional eats and rich Arabian coffee, visitors can also purchase artisanal crafts, artwork and jewelry.

What’s the difference between the Women’s Museum and the Dubai Museum?

The Women’s Museum is within walking distance of the Dubai Museum, so it is only natural to wonder whether it makes sense to do both. There are several key differences between the two museums. The Dubai Museum is larger, less expensive, more crowded and covers a broader array of topics. The Women’s Museum is more of a hidden gem, with a specialized focus of women. Unlike the Dubai Museum, the Women’s Museum showcases artwork in addition to artifacts. Furthermore, the Women’s Museum has more of an emphasis on the UAE’s political history. The museum you choose to visit will depend on your personal interests and what you are hoping to get out of your visit.

The UAE works to respect and honor its female citizens. The Women’s Museum is just one way that it does so. It truly is a hidden gem of the city and one of our most frequent recommendations for visitors looking to head somewhere ‘off-the-beaten-track’. We hope you get a chance to visit and learn about the amazing contributions women have made to the UAE.

Basic Information About the UAE

Posted by & filed under Dubai.

UAE Quick Facts : UAE 101

The UAE is a country that you may have heard about before. Perhaps you’ve heard about the staggering skyscrapers in Dubai or heard about the oil-wealth of Abu Dhabi. Yet, you may not be familiar with the varied details of the country. In this post, we’ll give you an overview of the UAE and tell you everything you need to know.

What is the UAE?

The UAE is a small country in the Middle East, spanning 83,600 sq km. The abbreviation ‘UAE’ stands for United Arab Emirates. The term ‘Emirate’ refers to a principality. It comes from the term Emir and specifically references principalities that are ruled by a dynastic Islamic monarch. There are seven emirates in the UAE – Abu Dhabi (which serves as the capital), Ajman, Dubai, Fujairah, Ras al-Khaimah, Sharjah and Umm al-Quwain. Each emirate has its own monarch, but Abu Dhabi serves as the capital and the Emir of Abu Dhabi serves as President of the UAE.

Flag of the UAE

UAE Quick Facts The UAE’s flag is made up of a red vertical stripe and three horizontal stripes in green, white and black. These colors are traditionally the Pan-Arab colors. Furthermore, the black stands for defeat of enemies, the white for peace and calm, the green for hope and growth and the red for strength and courage.

History of the UAE 

UAE Quick Facts Archaeological findings show that the land of what is now the UAE has been occupied for thousands of years. The people of the region were generally tradesmen, as the UAE has a very strategic location. Because of this, piracy was always a threat. So in the early 19th century, Britain signed a treaty to help protect the area from pirates (this also gave Britain access to the UAE’s strategic location). The different sheikhdoms in the area became collectively known as the Trucial States (from the word ‘treaty’). However, Britain began to feel stretched thin by the responsibility. At around the same time, the Trucial States began to desire freedom from Britain’s influence. On December 2nd 1971, the Trucial States signed an agreement for independence and became known as the United Arab Emirates.

Politics in the UAE

The UAE is an absolute monarchy. The various emirates all have their own emirs, but the Emir of Abu Dhabi serves as President and the Emir of Dubai serves as Prime Minister. These titles of President and Prime Minister are hereditary.

The current president of the UAE is Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, Emir of Abu Dhabi. He is the son of Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, the country’s founding father who was responsible for uniting the different emirates. After Sheikh Zayed passed away in 2004, Sheikh Khalifa ascended the throne.

The Prime Minister and Vice President of the UAE is Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Emir of Dubai. Sheikh Mohammed is credited with pushing Dubai’s growth to one of the most cosmopolitan cities in the world.

Economy of the UAE

 With a GDP of $407.2 billion in 2017, the UAE boasts the second-largest economy in the Arab world (right after the economy of Saudi Arabia). Approximately one-third of the GDP is from oil revenues. The UAE actually has the most diversified economy in the Arab World and the non-hydrocarbon sector is actually growing at a faster rate than the hydrocarbon sector.

Aside from energy, the next biggest contributors to the UAE economy are real estate (around 20%), retail (around 12%) and tourism (around 10%). It’s no wonder, when you consider the country’s staggering skyscrapers, massive shopping malls and multiple tourist attractions.

Demographics of the UAE

The UAE has a population of almost 9.5 million people. The native Emirati population only makes up about 11% of the population- the other 89% is made up expatriates who live and work in the country without obtaining Emirati citizenship. Some of the most common foreign nationalities found among UAE residents are Indians (27%), Pakistanis (12%), Bangladeshis (7%), Filipinos (5%), Iranians (5%) and Egyptians (4%).

The official language of the UAE is Arabic. Thanks to the country’s diverse population, however, you will also hear many other languages being spoken. English, Hindi and Urdu are some of the most common secondary languages in the country. Tourists who can speak English will generally have no issue getting around.

The official religion of the UAE is Islam. It is followed by approximately 75% of the population. Christianity is the next most common religion, at around 9%, with all other religions accounting for approximately 15%.  Of the other religions, Hinduism, Sikhism, Jainism and Buddhism are the most common. The government follows a policy of tolerance towards other religions, and churches and temples have been built in the UAE. However, people of other religions are strictly expected not to interfere with the Islamic practice of Muslims.

Gender in the UAE

Men far outnumber women in the UAE- there are 2.2 males for every female in the country. This gender imbalance is mainly due to migration – either bachelors looking to earn money in the UAE before settling down, or blue-collar workers who prefer to leave their families in their home country, where the cost of living is often cheaper.

For women who do reside in the region, they still have access to many opportunities. Currently, the UAE is ranked 42nd out of 188 countries as per the Gender Inequality Index. The government has also introduced the UAE Gender Balance Council, aimed at raising that ranking to top 25.

The UAE also places a high priority on women’s education. Women have a 95% literacy rate and they make up 46% of STEM graduates from UAE universities. In the working world, women make up two-thirds of public sector jobs. The UAE is also the first country in the world to make it compulsory for corporations and government agencies to include women on their board of directors.

National Animal of the UAE

Despite the preponderance of camels you may see in artwork around the country, the UAE’s national animal is actually the Arabian oryx. The oryx is a medium-sized antelope with two long, straight horns and a tufted tail. A picture of the orys is printed on the 50-dirham currency note. It has been suggested the white oryx, which in profile can look like it has only one horn, is the basis for the myth of the unicorn.

The national bird of the UAE is the Peregrine falcon or Falco peregrinus. This is due to the cultural importance of falconry among Emiratis in the UAE.

National Dress of the UAE

The national dress of the UAE has evolved to take into account both the desert climate and the cultural norms of modesty. Emirati men generally wear a kandura (also referred to as a thobe), a white long-sleeved, ankle length garment that resembles a loose-fitting robe or a long shirt. It is topped with a cloth headdress called a ghutra, held in place by a black cord called an agal.

 Emirati women traditionally wear an abaya, a thin, black flowing cloak that covers the body. Underneath, they usually wear a dress or jeans in a hue they prefer. They pair the abaya with a hijab, a veil meant to cover their hair, ears and neck. We talk more about traditional Emirati dress here, and also advise tourists on how best to dress.

Currency of the UAE

The UAE currency is called dirhams, abbreviated to AED (for Arab Emirates Dirhams).  Unofficially, you may see abbreviations like DH or Dhs. The dirham is subdivided into fils –  100 fils are equivalent to one dirham.

Coins in the UAE are are generally in the denominations of 1 dirham, 25 fils and 50 fils. Although coins of 1,5 or 10 fils exist, they are not often in use as most prices are rounded to the nearest 25 fils. Banknotes are available in a variety of values and colors – 5 dirhams (brown), 10 dirhams(green), 20 dirhams(light blue), 50 dirhams (purple), 100 dirhams (pink), 200 dirhams (yellowish-brown), 500 dirhams (navy blue) and 1000 dirhams (greenish-blue).

The dirham is pegged to the United States dollar, with 1 US dollar being equivalent to about 3.6725 dirhams.

Airports of the UAE

There are 10 airports in the UAE offering commercial service. One of them is Dubai International Airport, which is the world’s busiest airport by international passenger traffic. The other airports in the UAE are Dubai World Central (Al Maktoum International Airport), Abu Dhabi International Airport, Al Bateen Executive Airport, Al Ain International Airport, Fujairah International Airport, Ras Al Khaimah International Airport, Sharjah International Airport, Dalma Airport and Sir Bani Yas Airport. If you’re visiting Dubai, we recommend coming in via Dubai International Airport, as Dubai World Central Airport is a bit out of the way.

There are a lot of interesting facts about the UAE. The country has rich history and exciting present. Furthermore, we hope this overview has given you a good insight into the country. And if you’re looking to learn more, be sure to check out one of our many tours. Our guides will be happy to tell you everything you may wish to know.

 

 

The Best Dubai Bus Tours Reviewed

Posted by & filed under Dubai.

What is the Best Dubai Bus Tour ?

In this post we compare most of the popular bus tour options running all around Dubai., from hop-on, hop-off to amphibious buses etc.  Bus tours are a great way to see all the important sites in a city at your own pace. Most of the attractions in Dubai are widespread and cannot be accessed by metro alone. Furthermore taking a taxi to visit places like Jumeirah Mosque, Burj Al Arab or the Palm Islands may be too expensive for some travelers. In this case a hop-on, hop-off tour becomes more viable. Given that a walking tour with a professional guide is more detailed and gets tourists closer to the real history and story behind the monument; a bus tour can still be a great way to get a basic understanding of Dubai and its culture.

If you would like to go on a guided Dubai City Tour or Old Dubai Walking Tour do check out our Whet-Your-Appetite-City-Tour  and our Old Dubai Walking Tour.

Along with hop-on, hop-off service providers like City Sightseeing and Big Bus Tour, Dubai also has some unique bus tours like Dubai Trolley and Wonder Bus. So which Dubai Bus Tour should you go on in your next visit to Dubai?

Various bus tours operating in Dubai are:

  • Big Bus Tours
  • City Sightseeing
  • Wonder Bus
  • Dubai Trolley

In this post we go on these tours ourselves and give our feedback on how each bus tour was. So if you want to find out for yourself which is he best Dubai bus tour before booking, feel free to go through our feedback. Hopefully our input and experience will help you select the type of bus tour that suits your requirement and meets your expectations.

S.No. Factor Big Bus City Sightseeing
1 Air Conditioning Lower Deck if fully air-conditioned while upper deck if Partially air-conditioned in Green and Blue loops Lower Deck if fully air-conditioned while buses on all loops have partial air conditioning on upper deck aswell
 2 Sharjah Tour Sun, Tue, Thu Sharjah tour operates daily
 3 Bus Frequency Every 30 mins every 30 mins
 4 Airlines partnership No such Partnerships Partnership with Emirates airlines
 5 Dubai Palm Cruise No Yes (with 48 hour ticket)
 6 48 Hour Ticket Benefits Marina Cruise, Creek Cruise, Sharjah Tour, Rewards booklet with alot of offers and discounted tickets Dubai Aquarium ticket, Palm Cruise, Sharjah Tour, Costa Coffee (buy one get one free)
 7 Creek Cruise complimnetary with all tickets Complimentary with one day ticket
 8 Main interchange points Dubai Mall and Mall of the Emirates Dubai Mall main transit point
 9 Sharjah Tour Starting Point Wafi Mall Deira City Center
 10 Staff Friendly Friendly

 


Big Bus Tour

Reviews of Big Bus Dubai

best dubai bus tour, big bus tourBig bus has a Tripadvisor rating of 4.5 Stars out of 5 in Dubai and has been reviewed by over 5834 guests so far. Big Bus has a lot of stops compared to its competitors and its routes are longer and cover more attractions in Dubai. The staff is generally friendly and smartly dressed. The customer support service is also great. On the flip side the buses were some what old and the commentary was repetitive. Furthermore, the upper deck is partially air-conditioned only on the green and blue loops (the upper deck on the red loop is only shaded its not air-conditioned). Also Big Bus offers a Sharjah Tour only on 3 days a week which can be a deal breaker for those who are in Dubai for a limited time.

If you are looking for a detailed tour and want to know about the history and culture of Dubai in depth, this tour is not for you. It would be better for you to go on a guided walking or city tour in that case. But if you prefer to to see the city on your own, then this Hop-on Hop-off bus tour is an excellent way to do it and offers good value for money.

Big Bus Hop-On, Hop-Off Tour Description

An open deck tour allows one unobstructed views of the city as you drive by a number of historic sites. Though if you do sit on the open upper deck, make sure to remain hydrated as the heat in Dubai can really get intense, specially around noon.

Big bus offers 4 types of tickets:
  •  24 Hours Ticket (Big Bus Classic)
  • 48 Hours Ticket (Big Bus Premium)
  • 3 day Ticket (Big bus Deluxe)
  • Big Bus Night Tour
  Additions Validity Adult        Child (5-15 years)      Family (2 Adult & 2 kids)
Classic Ticket 1 Day AED 255 AED 166 AED 676
Premium Ticket Sharjah Tour; Marina Cruise 2 Day AED 299 AED 192 AED 790
Deluxe Ticket Sharjah Tour, Marina Cruise, Big City Pass (Multi Attractions) 7 Day AED 339 AED 221 AED 899
Big Bus Abu Dhabi Upgrade 1 Day 205 133
Aquaventure Waterpark 1 Day 275 230
Sharjah Tour 1 Day AED 155 AED 155  –
Night Tour 1 Night AED 185 AED 120 AED 490

Other than Big Bus Night Tour, Sharjah Tour and Abu Dhabi Tour, all other tours are hop-on, hop-off tours. This means you can get down at any stop and board a different bus (from Big Bus) at the same stop or any of the stops as per the Big Bus route map.

With your booking you will receive a reward booklet with a lot of discounts and offers along with a complimentary earphones. This booklet will also act as your ticket, so make sure to keep it safe, else you won’t be able to hop-on, hop-off. You will also receive complimentary dhow cruise in the Creek and with a premium or deluxe ticket you will  receive complimentary Marina Cruise Ticket and Complimentary Sharjah Tour Ticket. Make sure to try at least the Sharjah Tour as it is considered the cultural capital of the UAE and is very different to Dubai in most aspects.

Prerecorded commentary is available on all the buses in 12 languages namely – English, Arabic, German, Hindi, French, Russian, Farsi, Italian, Mandarin, Spanish, Portuguese, Japanese.

The Hop-on, Hop-off tours run everyday and have 3 routes namely:
  • City Tour (Red Loop) – stops 1 through 13 – Runs between 8:50 AM to 5:50 PM
  • Beach Tour (Green Loop) – Stops 14 through 26 – Runs between 9 MA and 6 PM
  • Marina Tour (Blue Loop) – Stops 15 Through 38 – Runs between 9 AM and 6 PM

The Red loop takes around 1 hour 40 mins to complete; on the other hand the green loop takes almost 2 hours to complete and the Blue loop takes almost 1 hour 30 mins to complete. These timings depend on traffic, as Sheikh Zayed Road and the area around Dubai Walk in Marina may have heavy traffic at certain timings. The bus frequency at each stop is around once every 30 Minutes.

Best Dubai Bus Tour

The minimum amount of time required to complete all the loops without going out (Hopping Off) for sightseeing is 6-7 hours, depending on traffic. Best rule of thumb should be to complete the entire marina loop in one go and interchange between blue-green and green-red loops at Mall of the emirates and Dubai Mall respectively when ever these stops come up.

Sharjah Tour

Big Bus Tour, Best Dubai Bus TourIf you purchase a premium or deluxe ticket, you get complimentary ticket for a Sharjah Tour. This tour happens every Sunday, Tuesday and Thursday. It starts at 10:30 AM sharp from Wafi City stop and takes about 4 hours to complete. Make sure to be on time as the bus for this tour leaves only once (its not a hop-on hop-off tour). This tour includes live commentary and has 2 stops in total. One of the stops is at the Sharjah Heritage Village and the other is at the Sharjah Gold Souq. If you purchased a Big Bus Pass for any of the days when the Sharjah tour does not happen, don’t worry you can use the same pass to go for the Sharjah Tour on a different date when the tour does happen. The pass has 7 days validity for Cruise and Sharjah Tour.

Panoramic Night Tour

Big Bus also offers a Panoramic Night Tour, which is a quick way to see the major attractions of the city from a distance. This tour is for those guests who are on a layover in Dubai and want to see the city quickly. The Night Tour can also be good for those who may be tired due to various activities/tours in the morning but still want to see the city. This tour takes 2 hours and 45 minutes and is not a hop-on, hop-off tour.

Regular Departure Timings for Night Tour:

#13: Deira City Centre, 7:15 PM

#2/#14: Dubai Mall, 7:45 PM

#26/#27: Mall of the Emirates, 7:45 PM

#23/38: Souk Madinat, 8:00 PM


 

World Records Held By Dubai

Posted by & filed under Dubai.

In Dubai, everything is bigger and better. From the world’s tallest building (the 830 meter Burj Khalifa) to the world’s largest shopping mall by total area (Dubai Mall, at 1,124,000 m2), Dubai is a city that loves to think of challenges and figure out ways to meet or surpass them. Here are the top ten craziest Dubai world records that were listed in the Guinness Book Of World Records.

Dubai World Records

World’s tallest chocolate sculpture | Dubai World Records #1

As Dubai is home to the world’s tallest building, it only makes sense that the world’s largest chocolate sculpture should be a replica of that building. In 2014, Dubai Airport revealed a chocolate replica of the Burj Khalifa that stood at 13.52 meters tall. The sculpture was originally intended to be 17 meters tall, but as it was meant for the 42nd UAE National Day, time constraints meant the intended height had to be reduced.  The project required 500 tonnes of chocolate cubes and took 1050 hours of work to complete.

Highest BASE jump from a building | Dubai World Records #2

Courtesy: Redbull.com

Fred Fugen and Vince Reffet achieved this record in April 2014. Naturally, they chose to achieve this record by jumping off the Burj Khalifa tower in Dubai. The duo leapt an incredible 2721 feet off of the world’s tallest building. To prepare, they spent time on a Swiss mountain in order to acclimatize to the altitude.

World’s tallest hotel | Dubai World Records #3

As you may know, Dubai is home to the world’s tallest building. But what you may not know is that it is also home to the world’s tallest hotel. The record belongs to the JW Marriott Marquis Hotel, which stands at 355.35 m from the ground level to the top of the mast. The hotel itself is actually made up of two towers, each with 77 floors. Both towers are entirely occupied by the hotel. If you’re visiting Dubai, you can see the hotel in Business Bay, on Sheikh Zayed Road.

You can see this hotel and even request a photo stop near it in our I-Own-This-Town City Tour

World’s longest handmade gold chain | Dubai World Records #4

Courtesy: Guinnessworldrecords.com

One of Dubai’s taglines is “Dubai City of Gold”. The city’s famous gold souk allows shoppers to buy beautiful pieces at bargain prices, making it a popular destination for anyone looking to purchase quality jewelry with authentic craftsmanship.  So, to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the Dubai Shopping festival, Dubai’s Deira Gold Souk Bus Station played host to a 5km long chain of 22k gold. Known as the Dubai Celebration chain, it weighed close to 240 kilograms and had over 4 million links. The entire chain required 100 crafstmen and it took over 45 days to produce. Afterwards, shoppers were given the opportunity to purchase parts of the chain for themselves.

Most nationalities singing a national anthem together | Dubai World Records #5

Coutesy – Gulfnews

Dubai is home to a huge expatriate population – 90% of the country’s residents are expatriates. Despite this, these expatriates still maintain their respect and appreciate for their adopted home.  In December 2014, to celebrate the 43rd National Day of the UAE, people of 117 different nationalities got together to sing the UAE’s national anthem.

The nationalities represented were:

Afghanistan, Algeria, Angola, Argentina, Australia, Austria, Bahamas, Bahrain, Bangladesh, Belarus, Belgium, Bolivia, Bosnia, Botswana, Brazil, Brunei, Bulgaria, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Canada, Chile, China, Colombia, Congo (Rep.), Cote d’Ivoire, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Djibouti, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Egypt, Eritrea, Estonia, Ethiopia, Fiji, Finland, France, Georgia, Germany, Ghana, Greece, Guinea, Hong Kong, Hungary, Iceland, India, Indonesia, Iran, Iraq, Ireland, Jamaica, Japan, Jordan, Kazakhstan, Kenya, Kosovo, Latvia, Lebanon, Libya, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malaysia, Malawi, Maldives, Malta, Mauritania, Mauritius, Mexico, Mozambique, Nepal, Netherlands, New Zealand, Nigeria, Norway, Oman, Pakistan, Palestine, Panama, Papua New Guinea, Peru, Philippines, Poland, Portugal, Qatar, Romania, Russia, Rwanda, Saudi Arabia, Serbia, Seychelles, Sierra Leone, Singapore, Somalia, South Africa, Spain, Sri Lanka, Sudan, Sweden, Switzerland, Syria, Tajikistan, Tanzania, Thailand, Trinidad & Tobago, Tunisia, Turkey, UAE, UK, Ukraine, USA, Uzbekistan, Venezuela, Yemen, Zambia and Zimbabwe.

World’s longest painting | Dubai World Records #6

Courtesy: Guinnessworldrecords.com

The world’s longest painting was created for a good cause. It was made to raise awareness for autism. The entire work of art was painted by children from schools across the country. They were asked to paint a self-portrait, as part of a campaign titled ”I’m different just like you” which was aimed at teaching children to accept the differences in others. Around 20,000 students participated to create the 10,850-meter painting. The painting was so long that, for a flat surface, they needed to use the track of the Dubai Autodrome.

Largest water screen projection | Dubai World Records #7

 Courtesy: Guinnessworldrecords.com

For a desert city, Dubai sure loves water and water-based attractions. One of its coolest records is that for the largest water screen projection. It involves a 893 m2 light projection displayed on a curtain of 30 water fountains and mist. The 360-degree display, called ‘Stardancer’ also included music, fireworks and dancing, although the record was for the water projection alone. Thousands of Dubai residents showed up to see the record-breaking show. Today, visitors can still see ‘IMAGINE’ shows at Dubai Festival City.

Fastest game of operation | Dubai World Records #8

Have you ever played Operation? It’s a popular board game, wherein players need to remove plastic ‘ailments’ from cavaties in a patients ‘body’, without touching the edge of the cavity opening. It requires an extremely steady hand, and so usually takes quite a lot of time to complete. However, at the Global Village Pavilion in Dubai,the record for the fastest game of operation was achieved. Maharoof Decibels managed to successfully complete the game in only 21.87 seconds.

Longest graffiti scroll | Dubai World Records #9

Courtesy: Emirates247

Dubai is a city that loves to mix the modern with the traditional. This record is a great example of that mindset – graffiti, a very trendy form of artwork, was used to tell the story of the history of the UAE. The entire scroll was 2 km long and created in the shape of the UAE. It involved over 100 graffiti artists (including 33 Emirati artists) painting under the theme Rehlatana, or ‘Our Journey’. Some examples of the artwork included are a women in a traditional niqab, looking up towards to the future and an Arabia Nights-esque representation of a towering mosque in the desert. The scroll was kept on display in Jumeirah Beach Park.

Smallest parachute canopy used for a jump | Dubai World Records #10

We talk about how things in Dubai are always bigger and better- however, those aren’t the only sort of records broken in Dubai.  In 2014, Ernesto Gainza fell from 14,000 feet, using a parachute of only 35m2. The average parachute today measures 70-90 m2, making this the smallest parachute canopy used for a jump. The feat was accomplished at Skydive Dubai, a popular sporting attraction in the city.

Records are constantly being made and broken, so it’s likely that this list won’t stay static. Nevertheless, it gives you a pretty good idea of the kind of city Dubai aspires to be – one that strives to be creative and to challenge itself in its quest to make a mark on the world.