13 MISCONCEPTIONS ABOUT DUBAI
1. Alcohol– While so many tourists think that they’ll dry up in Dubai, alcohol is widely available at many bars, restaurants, hotels and leisure clubs. You can also purchase alcohol by applying for a liquor license (takes less than 10 mins to do so).
2. Dress Code – Contrary to other Islamic cities/countries, Dubai has an extremely relaxed tolerant outlook in relation to western fashion and generally has a relaxed attitude to dress code. Women don’t need to cover their heads or wear black gowns. A little social problem has occurred though as the number of expats roaming in the malls with too much skin exposure is increasing.
3. Language – When in Japan, it is critical to learn Japanese but here in Dubai, English is widely spoken by the expat community which comprise of more than 80% of the population. Arabic, however is taught in private schools as a foreign language.
4. Rain – Most tourists want go home looking healthy with a lasting golden tan and while Dubai is sunny pretty much all year round, it rains during the month of December-January. This year, we had so much of rain in a day that what would have been in 5 years!
5. Desert – Considering that Dubai grew out of the desert, visitors may be surprised by the many lush and lovingly tended green areas around the city.
~ Safa Park, Dubai: one of the numerous parks with lush vegetation ~
~ Aerial view of Dubai Creekside park ~
6. Crime – When you hear Middle East, crime and violence rings a bell but Dubai has one of the lowest crime rates in the world. It is very safe to walk alone at night, even for females.
7. Religion – Islam is the main religion but other religions are freely practiced in this diverse city. The ruler of Dubai even donated to build the Catholic Church (which is situated right next to a mosque!).
8. Pork– Pork is prohibited in the Islamic diet but pork and pork products are readily available in some supermarkets. If you are in Dubai and looking for pork, go to Al Maya at Reef Mall, Sunrise Supermarket chains, Spinney’s in Al Ghurair City.
9. Modernity– Dubai has the impression that there is nothing older than cheese. This is after all a very new city, with modern facilities and countless new buildings rising from the sand every single day. But in the Deira part of the creek you can find Dubai’s rich history.
- Sheikh Saeed Al Maktoum House – Built in 1896 from coral covered in lime and sand was the house of the grandfather of the current ruler and has now been turned into a museum with photographs depicting the history of Dubai.
- Heritage and Diving Villages– Heritage Village incorporates a small museum displaying ancient artifacts from several archaelogical sites dating back to 550 BC. The Village also sells traditional crafts, pottery, woven goods and Bedouin jewellery.
The Diving Village displayes historical features on what was once the major industry of Dubai, pearl diving.
- Bastakiya Quarter – You can find the architecture of the traditional courtyard houses which dates back to the end of the 19th century.
- Al Fahidi Fort and Dubai Museum – The main attraction in the district of Bur Dubai, the fort is build in the late 18th century. It has been, in the past, a seat of government, the ruler’s main residence, a military barrack and prison.
10. Mosques– Islamic mosques do not allow entry to non-muslims. One mosque begs to differ. Jumeirah mosque situated in Jumeirah beach road in Dubai is the only place of worship that non-muslims are allowed to enter. The Sheikh Mohammed Centre for Cultural Understanding books organised tours every Saturday, Sunday, Tuesday and Thursday at 10 am.
11.Activities – Have you heard of the Dubai Desert Classic where Tiger Woods swings his club every year since 2001? or the Dubai Tennis Open or the most expensive (in terms of prize money) Dubai marathon? All of which are held in Dubai.
- Dubai Desert Classic – The finest golfers in the world make the trip to Dubai every year for this $2.2 million tournament. Over the years, the Desert Classic has become and important part of the Dubai social season.
- The Dubai Tennis Championships – attracts the world’s best player ever year. Great facilities, perfect weather
12. Food – Never think you’ll be only eating dates and olives all throughout your stay in Dubai. It is very likely that you can find restaurants from different countries all over the world in the city of Dubai.
13. Nightlife – Don’t ever think it doesn’t exist here just because I haven’t written anything about it in this blog. It’s just that I haven’t been to one. Holidays in Dubai don’t end with the sun going down. There is an energetic and cosmopolitan feels about many different nightspots that Dubai has to offer. Most clubs are open until 3am.