Dubai is the dream destination for all types of travellers – families with children, couples on their honeymoon, and even solo travelers! The best part of travelling alone is getting to enjoy some “me time” and doing things that you normally don’t get a chance to do when surrounded by other people. Dubai is considered one of the safest places for a solo trip, especially for women. Read on for all you need to know to plan a cost-effective solo trip to Dubai:
The basics you need to know:
Getting your visa
If you’re a citizen of the countries below, you can get a visa upon arrival for 30 days from the date of entry with their passports:
Australia | Canada | Hong Kong | Ireland | Japan | Malaysia | Russia | Seychelles | Singapore | Ukraine | China | New Zealand | United Kingdom | United States of America
If not, there are still multiple visa types you can apply for – some of which are even upon arrival. Click here for details on how to apply for a UAE visa.
Let’s talk money
Dubai is a shopping and foodie paradise – so best come prepared! The currency in Dubai is the Dirham or AED (Arab Emirate Dirham). One Dirham is divided into 100 fils and a US dollar is worth around AED3.67. Most places here accept credit cards, so you don’t need to carry cash everywhere.
Dubai can get extremely hot between May and August, but thankfully most places are air-conditioned. If you’re visiting Dubai in the summer, you can spend afternoons browsing souqs and mall and then head outside to beaches or pools in the evening once the weather is better. The best time to visit is between November and March.
Respecting the culture
Despite being a Muslim country, Dubai is liberal since it’s so multicultural. It is recommended to dress modestly, but you do not have to be completely covered up or wear a headscarf. Unless you’re at the beach, it would be recommended to keep shoulders and knees covered, especially if you happen to visit during the month of Ramadan.
You cannot purchase alcohol without a liquor license in Dubai, and you cannot drink or be drunk in public places unless they are bars with an alcohol license. We’d suggest heading over to The Huddle Sports Bar in Citymax Hotel Bur Dubai or Al Barsha for a drink, delicious pub grub, live sports and music.
The local language
English is widely spoken and understood in Dubai, so it is not necessary for you to know Arabic. However, here are some fun phrases to help you integrate with the local culture:
min faDlik (please)
shukran (thank you)
When you travel solo, safety is of utmost importance. A local SIM card in Dubai will cost you around AED 50 to AED 80. The most popular local telecom providers du & Etisalat have tourist packages. Some emergency contact numbers to keep handy just in case are:
Police / Ambulance – 999
Fire Department – 997
Planning your stay:
On a solo trip, you’re going to want to stay somewhere affordable, comfortable and safe, with a rooftop pool, gym, and awesome restaurants and bars. Take your pick between Citymax Hotel Bur Dubai or Citymax Hotel Al Barsha at the Mall! Free Wi-Fi will ensure that you stay connected to friends and family back home.
P.S. – Internet calls via Skype and WhatsApp are banned in Dubai, but you can use BOTIM to keep in touch via video call.
Getting around Dubai & UAE:
It’s easy to get around Dubai, especially if your hotel is located close to metro stations. Lucky for you, ours are! Our hotels also offer a free shuttle service to the beach, so your transport is taken care of.
The Dubai Metro is an excellent way to see the city, with journeys starting from just AED 3. You can get a NOL card from any station, and top it up with credit as and when needed. The NOL cards can also be used on RTA buses and trams. #ProTip:The RTA app has a ‘Journey Planner’ that lets you plan your journey across public transport like buses, metro, marine transport and taxis. If you’re not up to using the metro, you can check out Big Bus Tours, which is a hop-on, hop-off service that is an easy and fun way to explore the city.
Taxis are also easily available, or you can call for an Uber or Careem.
What to do once you’re in Dubai:
Struggling to find things to do and places to check out? Check out our blog for things to do in Old Dubai and New Dubai, where to shop and how to satisfy the adrenaline junkie in you! You’re going to be taking lots of pictures at the Burj Khalifa and the Dubai Marina, so make sure to carry a selfie stick and a phone charger or power bank wherever you go!
Dubai is a Muslim foodie’s haven with halal options available everywhere and lots of great deals on yummy food. Make sure to enjoy a delicious Indian meal at Claypot, or satisfy your Chinese food cravings at Sizzling Wok.