Most nationalities can simply get a visa on arrival at the airport but visitors should check their visa requirements before arriving. Both Dubai International Airport (DXB) and Al Maktoum International Airport (DWC) have a range of helpful facilities and public transport options. Money changing facilities and taxis are readily available, as well as car rental services, convenience stores and information desks for general queries.
The currency in Dubai is the dirham, which is shortened to AED (United Arab Emirates Dirham). One dirham is divided into 100 fils. The dirham has been pegged to the US dollar for since 1997, meaning the exchange rate never changes. One US dollar is worth AED3.67.
With a coastal location on the Arabian Peninsula, Dubai enjoys a warm climate all year. The ‘winter’ months last from October to May with warm temperatures ranging from 20–35°C (68–95°F). The summer season lasts from June to September with hotter temperatures reaching the mid-40s (~110° F) – and the city’s wide range of indoor and outdoor.
Dubai is a cosmopolitan city and a diverse melting pot where almost all attires and cultural expressions are accepted. Swimwear is permissible at beaches, waterparks, public pools and spa areas but is not considered appropriate in areas such as business districts and shopping malls. Dressing conservatively is appreciated in Dubai's historic neighbourhoods and places of worship. There are specific requirements for entering a mosque, like wearing clothing that covers shoulders, arms and legs – and headscarves for women.
Dubai is a warm and friendly city and you will come across many people who will greet you with a smile and wish you well. A handshake is customary, but do note it is typically accepted that this should be initiated by women. Public displays of affection are best kept to a minimum. Holding hands is acceptable, but kissing and hugging in public areas is not permitted. Alcohol is served in licensed establishments such as hotels, bars and specialised shops to those over 21 years of age. However, drunk and disorderly conduct and drunk driving are not acceptable. Use or possession of illegal drugs is also strictly prohibited.
Dubai is home to hundreds of nationalities and both Arabic and English are spoken across the city. Learning a few Arabic words can certainly make the trip more memorable! As you explore the city you're very likely to hear Russian, Tagalog, Hindi, Urdu, Portuguese and many other languages. Follow our detailed guide for a list of handy phrases.