Dubai is a fascinating destination
Dubai is a fascinating destination, but it can be different from what you've experienced in other parts of the world. Here are some tips and pointers for a visit Dubai
- Adina N.
- 20 October 2023
Dubai is a fascinating destination, but it can be different from what you've experienced in other parts of the world. Here are some tips and pointers for a visit to Dubai:
Getting a SIM Card: To have access to the internet and calls, it's recommended to purchase a SIM card at the airport, especially if you don't receive one for free at passport control. The complimentary one typically includes 30 minutes of talk time and internet access for a day, which can be recharged online following the instructions on the package. To activate it, you must use the passport details provided during passport control; otherwise, it won't work.
Respecting Islamic Practices: Islam is the dominant religion in Dubai. Respect and be aware of religious practices. Avoid visiting mosques during prayer times and dress modestly in sacred places. Ladies, in general, should dress decently outside of beaches and tourist areas.
Alcohol Consumption: Alcohol consumption is restricted to licensed places, such as hotels and clubs. It is illegal in public. If you wish to consume alcohol, you can purchase it at the airport upon arrival or from some well-hidden shops. You need to present your passport as identification and consume it in your room.
Friday is a Rest Day: Friday is the day of rest in Dubai, and many businesses and government institutions have reduced hours or are closed. The weekend typically falls from Thursday to Saturday, so plan accordingly. Some tourist attractions have special schedules and prices during the weekend.
Currency: The official currency is the United Arab Emirates Dirham (AED). Most places accept card payments, but it's a good idea to carry some cash for various expenses. Exchange your money at exchange bureaus in malls for a favorable rate, not at the airport.
Tipping: Tipping is a common practice in Dubai to reward good service and show gratitude. While not obligatory, it is appreciated. Tipping rates can vary, but 10-15% of the total bill is standard in restaurants and cafes.
VAT Refund: VAT (Value Added Tax) refund is possible for foreign visitors in certain circumstances, but the process can be complicated and involves specific rules. To be eligible for VAT refund, you must meet the following conditions:
- You are a foreign visitor (not a resident of the UAE).
- You are a tourist or business traveler.
- The purchase must be from stores participating in the Tourist VAT Refund Scheme.
Ask if VAT refund is available at the stores where you shop. Purchases should exceed AED 250. You need to present your passport for scanning, and a Tax-Free barcode is attached to your invoice. Keep all invoices and receipts.
When you're departing for home, look for Tax-Free validation points at the airport, both before check-in (arrive early for this) and after security checks. Visit these counters and request Tax-Free validation. They may ask to see the purchased items. They will scan your invoices and enter your card details, and you'll receive the refund within 10-14 days. Be sure to request VAT refund before leaving Dubai or the UAE, as you may not be able to recover it after leaving the country.
These are just some insights to help you prepare for your trip to Dubai. Always check current information before your departure, as rules and requirements may change. Have a fantastic journey!