Getting to, from and around Dubai
There are now more than 25 airlines that offer flights to Dubai from the UK and with so many airlines vying for your attention, flight prices have dropped dramatically in recent years. Fly direct with airlines like Emirates and British Airways or indirect with airlines like Air France or Qatar Airways. You can fly from Glasgow, Stansted, Manchester and other regional airports too.
Dubai has a simple but very efficient monorail system which runs through the city from north to south. It's a great, budget friendly option for getting about the city, however, taxis are also very cheap for when you want to head away from the main monorail line. Driving in Dubai can be a little crazy at times (there can be a lot of traffic at rush hour, and hiring a car is possible from the airport, or often from your hotel.
Things to do in Dubai
Dubai has grown incredibly over the past few years and with such huge growth, comes plenty of activities, theme parks and attractions to keep yourself busy. Many simply visit Dubai to enjoy the almost guaranteed sunshine, so having a hotel with a pool isn't such a bad idea. Some of the more budget hotels, such as Holiday Inn Express don't usually offer swimming pool facilities so bear this in mind when booking, however, right along the coastline, Dubai's beaches are a great opportunity to sunbathe when you don't have a pool available at your disposal.
The waterparks are certainly not to be missed. Wild Wadi Waterpark is joined to the 5-star Jumeirah hotels so has free entry to guests, whilst Acquaventure is part of the 5-star Atlantis hotel, so also offers free entry to its guests. Not to worry if you are travelling on a budget though. Entry fees can vary with discounts for children and families.
A great excursion for Dubai visitors is a half day desert safari. It's a fun adventure out into the desert to experience the sand dunes, san boarding, camel riding, as well as Emirati traditions, such as henna tattoos, traditional Arabic music and traditional dress. Prices are around £44 per person.
Dhow boat trips are also a fun activity to save you from another day at the beach. Dhow boats are the traditional boats used by Emiratis for fishing and transportation and give a little insight into the unique middle eastern culture.
Shopping in Dubai has become infamous, whether it's for the likes of American clothing chains or gold and jewelry. It has also become well known for its knock-off brand shopping area, Karama in a northern area of the city, just south of the Dubai Deira Creek. For the big malls, take a look at Mall Of The Emirates or Dubai Mall for the biggest fashion brands.
The beaches are another reason to visit this part of the United Arab Emirates. Soft white sand line the coast, with popular areas including JBR Beach (the largest in the city), Sunset Beach with its iconic views of the Burj al Arab and Kite Beach, which is great for watersports. Some hotels even have their own private beach.
Where to stay in Dubai
There are plenty of hotel options for a holiday to Dubai and where you stay will depend on what you want to enjoy most while in Dubai but booking flight + hotel together as a package can save you money.
For beach and sunshine resort style holidays, try areas like Jumeirah Beach or the Palm Jumeirah, with beach hotel after beach hotel offering expansive views across the Arabian Gulf. If it's shopping, culture and sunshine, then staying further in the city is a great option. Areas like Downtown Dubai or Al Barsha are perfect for this and are still only a short trip by taxi to the beaches. Dubai Marina and JBR can also be good areas for easy access to the city.
Budget hotels are normally further inland or scattered along the Sheikh Zayed Highway. These can be a great base for getting out and about, especially if it's only a short walk to the nearest metro station.
One of our favourite hotels in Dubai has to be The Atlantis The Palm, a five-star resort style hotel which offers guests an absolute treat on holiday. From the opulent interior with it's own aquarium to the fantastic beach and Aquaventure waterpark access, The Atlantis will surprise and delight each and every day of your holiday.
If all you're interested in is the sunshine and access to the beach or pool, then take a look at some of the resorts in Ras al Khaimah, an area north of the city which often boasts cheaper rates.
Emirates Holidays to Dubai
As part of the Emirates brand, the company also offers a range of holidays to Dubai using it's flights and hotel partners, for either Dubai as the destination, or Dubai as a stopover city. Sometimes, booking with Emirates Holidays can mean big discounts and special offers on your holiday, especially when booked as a package to include flights, hotel stay, transfers and even waterpark access or other excursions. What's better, Emirates Holidays are both ABTA and ATOL protected.
There aren't too many all-inclusive holiday options to Dubai, however, one or two hotels do offer this. But then you would miss out on the huge number of fantastic restaurants on offer, serving dishes from the Middle East and around the world.