One of the world's most exciting destinations, Dubai is a heady blend of desert paradise, shopping mecca and magnificent beach resort.
Dubai boasts a subtropical type climate with sunshine throughout the year. Summer months are hot with temperatures sometimes reaching 45° C, so many people prefer to travel to the city between October and April when lower temperatures of about 25°- 35° C can be expected.
December is a popular month for visits to Dubai as National Day is celebrated on the 2nd. Those planning to visit for the Eid celebrations that mark the end of the ninth month in the Islamic calendar should check dates before travelling as festival dates can vary.
It's worth checking that you are covered for all routine vaccinations in plenty of time before travelling to Dubai. Those planning a holiday during Ramadan should adhere to local customs and laws. Eating or drinking or smoking are not allowed in public during the day, and the United Arab Emirates has strict regulations on alcohol consumption.
In general, Dubai compares favourably with London in terms of living expenses, with prices around 45% lower in restaurants of a similar standard. However, goods that are imported from Europe are more expensive. Visitors will pay much less for electronics in Dubai, but should be sure to haggle in souks to get the best price.
The city is at Gulf Standard Time or GST. That's UTC/GMT + 4 or three hours ahead of the time in London, so visitors should remember to change watches upon arrival in Dubai.
Most people planning a holiday in the city will arrive at Dubai International Airport (IATA: DXB). The airport has good transport connections to the centre of the city and the red line on the metro system stops at terminals 1 and 3 about every 10 minutes. The metro green line trains stop near terminal 2 at the Airport Free Zone. Trains run from 6 am to 11 pm between Saturday and Thursday, and from 1 pm till midnight on Friday. Expect to pay roughly 4 AED for travel in 1 zone, 2 AED for 2 zones, and 8.50 AED for 3 zones. Tourists can also pick up a handy red ticket which covers a maximum of 10 journeys and is valid for 90 days.
Accommodation prices can vary from the cheap to the luxurious, and visitors will pay about 100 AED for a dorm style hostel. Single hotel rooms are approximately 800 AED per night, and it is advisable to book early if planning to visit during the September to May peak period.
Local transport is cheap, and it's about 4 AED for a single on the bus or metro, and 50% cheaper again for those with a red ticket. Taxi prices are higher than public transport, but they're still much cheaper than the UK thanks to much lower petrol prices.