Dubai, your next holiday destination, says Nandita Nair
So if you are looking for a short vacation, Dubai offers the hues of modern, safe and an adventurous land.
• It is close to India.
• It prefers to be known as the gastronomic capital of that region.
• Its shopping malls offer the best in the world.
Reaching Dubai: From any part of India it takes no more than three to four hours. Early reservations will get you good tickets rates. Air Arabia (flies into Sharjah), Indigo, Fly Dubai and Air India offer good value for money, low-cost airlines. A return ticket for one from Chennai will cost INR 12,000/- onwards. The tickets in peak season (summer / winter break, Eid, Onam, Christmas holidays) are a notch up so planning an off-season vacation in Dubai is a good beginning.
The climatic conditions: Arid climate with hot summers and pleasant winters welcome tourists. July and August are the hottest. People from western countries can be seen enjoying the sun anytime of the year. We, Asians, are more selective. So I recommend October till March.
Dress Code: Keep cool clothes (not sleeveless OR shorts), hats and eye shades handy.
Food Dubai offers great variety of food. A range of vegetarian restaurants in Bur Dubai and Karama area are doing flourishing business. The food is great quality and tasty. Non-vegetarian food from all continents is widely available at affordable rates. But if you are visiting in Ramzan, food is not available to eat at the restaurants in the day time. All the restaurants and cafeterias are open throughout the night during this festive season. An average complete Indian family (4 persons) meal may cost Approx AED 45 to AED 185. Indian food is within means at any given time.
Stay: Dubai alone has more than 30,000 hotel rooms to offer. The rates are from AED 500 per month to as high as one can imagine. Breakfast is complimentary each day of stay. Cheaper places are also available for stay.Pick up and drop is chargeable and may be booked in advance. Though exchange rate varies frequently, still we can fix it to 1 AED to about 17 Indian rupees (for better clarity).
There is an array of hotels. The rates for a family room:
a. Taj Palace Hotel, Deira – Around AED 900/- to 1,000/- for a 3 night stay
b. JW Marriot, Business Bay – Around AED 1,800/- for a 3 night stay
c. Auris Plaza Hotel, Al Barsha – Around AED 1,300/- for a 3 night stay
d. Ramada, Downtown Dubai – Around AED 1,700/- for a 3 night stay
This is just an indication. There are plenty of other hotel apartments too which will suit a family’s short stay requirements. Rates are dependent on the area of stay.
Transportation: Driving on UAE roads is like gliding in space if not stuck in traffic. Roads are unbelievably smooth and guided by adequate signs.
There are car rentals available at every hotel and throughout the city. If one has an International OR UAE driving license, driving in the city is a good experience. Please remember the vehicles / roads are left-hand drive.
Tourist buses ply into the city for sight-seeing adventure and shopping too. The hotels will provide the companies running these buses.
If you are looking for classy shopping, Dubai is the place to visit. Dubai Mall, Mall of Emirates, Deira City Center, Reef Mall, Mirdiff City Center and I can go on endlessly to name these heavenly places. The Gold Souk at Deira is a favourite visiting place by Indian tourist. Currently, the gold rate is AED 132.5/gm for 24 carat gold & AED 126.25/gm for 22 carat gold.
Deira and Bur Dubai has vendors who sell replicas of branded bags, glasses etc. Please beware of fake sellers and stick to real shops.
Ski Dubai in Dubai Mall is one place not to miss, if you need respite from the heat outside. Dubai Mall and adjoining Burj Khalifa (the tallest building in this world) with the fountain show are a treat to eyes and mind. The grandeur is visible from afar. The experience from close quarters is indescribable.
A place worth mentioning is the Global Village which is a seasonal event in Dubai – from November to March. It offers various countries’ fares in different pavilions. People throng in groups to enjoy the lighting, cuisines, dancing and other performances, rides, games and once again shopping.
Dubai Creek, Dubai Marina, Jumeirah Beach are great places to experience walking, beaches, coffee shops etc.
A Desert Safari may cost approx. AED 150 for an adult and AED 120 for a kid. It is about six hour’s trip where the pick-up and drop off is included in the charges. Dune bashing, henna designing, shisha smoking, refreshments, belly dancing are included in this adventure.