Dubai is a study in contrasts. It’s the kind of place where you might see billionaires driving Lamborghini’s having coffee with camel herders and not think twice about it. However, this emulsion of east and west, of old and new, of ocean and desert, is precisely why Dubai is one of the premiere tourist destinations in the Middle East and the world. It’s an oasis of opulence that also succeeds as a first-rate cultural hotspot, and a visit to Dubai will certainly stand out as an unforgettable travel experience.
Although the oil industry, among others, has certainly helped to elevate Dubai to its current status as a playground for the world’s rich and famous, travelers with less stratospheric credit limits need not worry. Dubai is a refreshingly affordable place to visit, as long as you know where to look. Transportation in particular is very cheap compared to those of other large cities around the world; the taxis in Dubai are plentiful enough that you won’t have to worry about trudging in the hot sun for lengthy periods of time. Dubai is also a remarkably accessible tourist destination for visitors from English-speaking countries, as English is widely spoken here, and Western influences are certainly rampant in the more upscale areas of the city.
One major reason why young people have shied away from visiting Dubai and other cities in the Middle East is the common opinion that the region frowns upon alcohol. One trip to Dubai will establish this as a myth. While alcohol is virtually impossible to find during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan, it’s as easy to find as it is elsewhere during the rest of the year, and the nightlife in cosmopolitan Dubai is simply world-class. Some important tips to keep in mind if you’re thinking of partying in Dubai is that the drinking age is 21 (same as America), and that most places close at around 3 AM; you’ll be hard pressed to find a bar or club staying open into the wee hours of the morning here. At most nightclubs in Dubai, an unspoken “classy-sexy” dress code is in effect. For a night out, wear clothes that are fairly conservative yet still figure-enhancing, and you’ll have the easiest time with the club bouncers.
Many visitors travel to Dubai under the mistaken impression that things will be overpriced, or that the culture shock will be too overpowering. In reality, Dubai is just as fun (if not more fun) as any other metropolis in the world. Yet it still retains an air of exoticism that, when mingled with its urban vibe, makes it irresistible. Indeed, the best of both worlds truly meet in Dubai.