DUBAI CITY GUIDE
The futuristic city of Dubai is now a world-renowned hub of both innovation and pleasure: a place where beaches are pristine, the architecture is daring, and business is perpetually booming. It’s astronomical growth since the discovery of oil in the 1960’s has meant that it now accounts for almost a third of the United Arab Emirates GDP, and thousands flock to the city each month to do business.
- DUBAI’S WORKING WEEK
Dubai’s working week runs from Sunday to Thursday (although some will still work a half-day on Saturday) so bear this in mind when organising meetings. Forward-planning is a critical Islamic business principle – a pitch will be better received if presented as part of a well-defined agenda.
Most people have Friday off work, when Muslims gather for congregational prayers. Businesses are traditionally closed for a few hours in the afternoon, although many now remain open throughout the day.
- DO YOU NEED A VISA
If you’re travelling on a British passport, you can get a visitor’s visa on arrival in the UAE. This visa allows visitors to stay in the UAE for up to 30 days. Your passport should be valid for a minimum duration of 6 months from the date of entry into the UAE.
- GREETING A BUSINESS ACQUAINTANCE
Handshakes are standard in business, however men and women from the UAE will generally not shake hands with the opposite sex; wait for a hand to be offered. In place of a handshake, you can place your right hand over the heart.
A visit to Dubai should never be all work and no play however – here are a just a few of the highlights to check out during your downtime:
- SCALE THE ICONIC BURJ KHALIFA
Towering at a stunning 828 metres high, the Burj Khalifa is the world’s tallest tower, and the magnetic centrepiece of the Dubai skyline. Take a trip up to the observation deck on level 124 for breath-taking views across the city, topped only by those available at the At The Top Sky Lounge on the 148th floor. If you’d prefer to take it all in over a meal, At.mosphere restaurant on level 122 offers fine dining and the chance to tick eating at the world’s tallest restaurant off your list.
- SHOP ‘TIL YOU DROP
Home to countless shopping malls and two enormous annual shopping festivals, Dubai is a retail addict’s paradise. The sprawling Dubai Mall stretches out in the shadow of the Burj Khalifa: home to more than 1,200 shops, 150 restaurants, an indoor theme park, a huge indoor waterfall and choreographed outdoor fountain as well as the famous Dubai Aquarium and Underwater Zoo, you will likely need much more than a day to explore all that this colossal development has to offer. If you’re in need of a less time-consuming shopping expedition, there are numerous other urban shopping malls to be found around Dubai, as well as traditional Souqs where you can barter for bargains.
- RIDE CAMELS IN THE DESERT
Explore the ethereal desert surrounding Dubai in the most traditional way possible – on the back of a camel. A number of companies offer different experiences and treks, including the chance to ride camels as the sun sets, or combine a camel trek with other desert-based activities such as quad biking and sandboarding.
- RELAX ON THE BEACH
Dubai boasts some world-class beaches, and most resorts along the coast come with their own private stretch of pristine white sand lapped by warm, aquamarine sea. Pull up a sunbed for a lazy day of tanning and cocktails, or head to Jumeirah or Kite beach to try out a few water sports.
- VISIT THE PALM ISLANDS
While the towering skyscrapers of Dubai are certainly a breath-taking spectacle, the city’s man-made archipelagos are also quite something to behold. The most widely recognised of these, Palm Jumeirah, is shaped like a palm tree; it includes a ‘trunk’ and 17 fronds, and is ringed by a 7 mile long crescent-shaped island. The islands are dotted with luxury hotels and boast a combined 40 miles of pristine beaches, and from the Dubai mainland, they can be reached via a monorail or an underwater tunnel. However if you’d prefer to view the astonishing collection of islands from above, you can take in its entire shape as you hurtle towards it on a skydiving excursion, or descend more gently in a parachute.