Car Hire Dubai - Airport, United Arab Emirates
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Very first time visiting Dubai? We want you to get the most from your car hire Dubai experience. For this reason, we have enrolled the support of a local travel expert to help get you on the road. Stick to these valuable travel tips and appreciate the very best that Dubai is offering...
After, admire the traditional old architecture in the narrow lanes of the atmospheric Bastakiya quarter nearby, or sign up for a Bastakiya Heritage Tour with a guide from the Sheikh Mohammed Centre for Cultural Understanding.The Centre also offers brilliant Cultural Breakfasts and Lunches, where you can learn about local traditions and customs while you try Emirati food, and tours of elegant Jumeirah Mosque, which give a great insight into Islam. At the very least, call into the Centre’s beautiful Bastakiya building and pop up to their rooftop for the fabulous views.
The Bastakiya’s breezy lanes are home to art galleries situated in historic merchants’ residences such as XVA, which is also a café and boutique hotel and Majlis Gallery, along with an annual fringe art fair, Art Dubai.
Dubai has a vibrant contemporary art scene, with half a dozen galleries scattered around industrial Al Quoz, including The Third Line, Meem Gallery, Sawa, and Ayyam Gallery. You’ll need to take a taxi or hire a car to get to them.
Shop: Most tourists make a beeline for Dubai’s shiny shopping malls, such as the monumental Dubai Mall and Mall of the Emirates, kitschy themed malls, such as Ibn Battuta, based on the travels of the legendary Arab explorer, and Italian-inspired Mercato Mall. Colossal and sumptuous, they’re worth a visit. In addition to shops and department stores, they’re home to theatres, cinemas, galleries, an aquarium, and even an indoor ski park.
Much more fun, however, is shopping Dubai’s souks (Middle Eastern bazaars), such as the Gold Souq, where the stores have jaw-dropping window displays, Bur Dubai textile souq, which has lovely wooden arcades to wander, and Deira’s chaotic covered souk, which isn’t really like a market at all, but is a sprawling quarter of ramshackle shops on narrow lanes that are easy to get lost in.
The malls are where you head for fashion, cosmetics, Oriental carpets, and electronics, but the souks are the spot to pick up sheesha pipes, bellydancing outfits, frankincense and Arabian incense burners.
Eat: You won’t go hungry in Dubai. There’s everything from affordable ethnic food – Lebanese, Iraqi, Persian, Filipino, and even Ethiopian – to contemporary fine dining restaurants with celebrity chefs at the helm at the five-star hotels.
Dubai’s must-do celeb-Chef-driven restaurants include Reflets par Pierre Gagnaire for contemporary French, Maya by Richard Sandoval for modern Mexican, and Vineet Bhatia’s Indego for Michelin-starred Indian.
If you need to refuel while shopping, Dubai’s malls boast terrific eateries like Almaz By Momo and Emporio Armani Caffe at Dubai Mall, Bella Donna at Mercato Mall, and The Noodle House, at several shopping centres.
For a cheap street food experience, you can’t go by the ubiquitous shawarma, sliced off a vertical spit at a stand outside most Arabic eateries. I love Al Mallah on Dhiyafah Road, Satwa, and Ashwaq Cafeteria one block from the Gold Souq. A shawarma and freshly squeezed mango juice will cost you just a few pounds.
Drink: The most sublime spots for sundowners are on the verandah at colonial style Bahri Bar and from a lounge on The Terrace overlooking tranquil Dubai Creek. For exotic Arabian Nights atmosphere you can’t beat the enchanting vibe of The Rooftop or under the palm trees illuminated by fairy-lights at Arabian Courtyard, where you can recline on cushions and smoke sheesha.
Dubai does glam well and Neos bar, as well as the bars at Zuma and Okku are the spots for dressing up and downing potent cocktails. Those who don’t like to mix their drinks, should hit Bar 44 for bubbly and The Agency for wine.
Stay: If you’re in Dubai to soak up some sun and work on your tan, stay at one of the dozens of luxury five star resorts on Jumeirah Beach, such as One&Only Royal Mirage, Mina A’Salam or Al Qasr at Madinat Jumeirah, or Le Royal Meridien, all of which have wonderful swimming pools and access to the sand and Arabian sea. If shopping is high on your agenda, check into Kempinski Mall of the Emirates, Emirates Towers, InterContinental Dubai Festival City, or Park Hyatt Dubai, where you can also enjoy a round on the adjoining golf course. Orient Guest House and XVA are ideal for exploring old Dubai and Dubai Creek, while the best budget hotel options are the various Ibis hotels around the city.
Walk: It’s a myth that you can’t walk in Dubai. You can, just choose your times wisely. Avoid walking anywhere in the middle of the day and in summer stick to evening strolls by the water. On the Deira side of Dubai Creek, the dhow wharves on Baniyas Road make for a fascinating walk, while on the opposite side, the historic Shindagha waterfront is lined with splendid old residences with traditional wind-towers, such as Sheikh Saeed al-Maktoum House. It’s also home to the kitschy Heritage and Diving Village, where traditional activities and performances are held on winter evenings. It’s an enchanting area to amble. During the cooler winter months, the palm-shaded Creekside Park on Dubai Creek in Bur Dubai is a delight to stroll, while the 51-hectare green space of Zaabeel Park, is a fantastic place for families with its lakes and ponds, picnic spots and Stargate entertainment complex.
Get Out: Get in a car and head to the desert. Dubai residents, Emiratis and expats alike, love to drive the emirate’s sand-swept roads the first chance they get, whether it’s for some camel spotting, simply to enjoy the rugged landscapes, or for a weekend unwinding at a luxury desert resort and spa such as Al Maha or Bab al Shams. Alternatively, you can go for a sunset camel ride, dune-driving, sandboarding, or sleep under the stars on a desert safari with Arabian Adventures orNet Tours.
Listen: In Dubai you’ll hear everything from classical Arabic music being plucked on a traditional oud (Arabian lute) in the lobbies of luxury hotels such as Mina A’Salam to Oriental lounge music from the DJ turntables at bars like The Rooftop. If you like what you hear, Virgin Megastore at Deira City Centre, Dubai Mall and Mall of the Emirates, has a wide selection of music from the Middle East.
Avoid: Wearing short skirts, sleeveless tops and shorts – the locals will think you’re naked! Dubai is a city-state in a Muslim country, so dress modestly out of respect and don’t wear your bikinis anywhere but on the beach. Shopping centres and other public spaces have strict dress codes, so take heed of any signs. Also refrain from being affectionate in public.