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A major aviation hub and the ultimate stopover, Dubai draws travelers with its shopping, futuristic architecture—including the world’s tallest building, the Burj Khalifa—and mix of old-world culture and over-the-top attractions. Scout bargains in the old town’s ancient souks and luxury brands at a 1,200-store mall; scuba dive inside a huge tank at the Dubai Aquarium and Underwater Zoo or hit the slopes at indoor snow park Ski Dubai; take a cruise aboard a traditional dhow; and head into the desert for dune-bashing in a 4x4 followed by dinner under the stars in a traditional Bedouin camp.
The best times to visit Dubai are late fall through early spring—anytime from November to March—when average temperatures range between the high 70s and high 80s Fahrenheit and you can enjoy the outdoors (provided you’re armed with sunscreen). Summer temperatures hover around 100°F and come with high humidity, making Dubai something of a sauna from May until September, but hotel rates also plunge by up to 75 percent, and you can simply hop from one air-conditioned attraction to another.
Dubai’s heat and highways work against walking, although it’s easier to go by foot in Deira and other older districts. The easiest alternative is a taxi, with plenty to flag down and reasonable rates—think about $1 to $2 per kilometer, plus an initial standing charge. For longer distances, use the Dubai Metro, which runs between Dubai Airport and the Creek, and on to Jumeirah, Dubai Marina, and Downtown. To save hassle, buy a Nol card, and pre-load it to avoid the often-long ticket lines at stations. You can also use your Nol on Dubai’s buses, trams, and waterbuses.
If you’re after cheap souvenirs away from Dubai’s upscale shops, the Karama Market in the old town is the go-to of savvy locals, and does a roaring trade in low-cost clothes, gifts, and accessories. Don’t be surprised if you’re invited into backrooms filled with replica designer handbags and watches, and brace yourself for lots of elbow-tugging and pleading from the vendors. One rule: There’s no point in shopping here unless you haggle—and haggle hard.
Hotels and restaurants automatically add a 10- to 20-percent service charge to bills, and sometimes an extra tourism levy of around six percent. That’s quite a sting, but it’s still customary to leave a 10- to 15-percent tip at restaurants, and to give porters and hotel room cleaners a few dirhams. Bear in mind that service charges don’t usually get to waiters and that hospitality worker earnings in Dubai are usually low. In taxis, it’s customary to round up fares to the nearest five dirhams at least.
Dubai’s futuristic architecture is unmissable, with the 2,723-feet (830-meter) Burj Khalifa skyscraper, sail-shaped Burj Al-Arab, and mighty Atlantis hotel on Palm Jumeirah stand-out sights. Hot on their heels—and we mean hot—is the desert, an ocean of orange dunes that feels light years from Dubai’s high-rises....More
After admiring Dubai’s mega-buildings, there’s plenty else to do. Ride a camel or 4WD in the desert before a barbecue under the stars. Browse glitzy malls, roam scented souks, and chill on a yacht or dhow (wooden boat) cruise. Or simply absorb the glam vibe at the pool and ocean....More
Dress codes are more relaxed than you might expect. At pools and beaches, swimwear is acceptable. Dress more modestly inside hotels, malls, and restaurants by covering knees and shoulders—although shorts are usually okay. In souks and mosques, avoid sleeveless tops, shorts, and sandals. Mosques require women to wear head coverings....More
Dubai is known for its extravagant skyscrapers, opulent hotels, showy malls, and top-notch restaurants—and the A-lister lifestyle organically entwined with them. Other signature attractions include its crop of all-singing theme and water parks. In stark contrast is its desert, a beautiful and empty wilderness, which lies silently around it....More
Yes, non-Muslim tourists can drink alcohol in Dubai. If you’re over 21, feel free to imbibe at licensed hotels, restaurants, and bars. However, alcohol is illegal in public places, including public beaches, and can trigger severe fines or prosecution. Note that during Ramadan most licensed venues won’t serve alcohol until early evening....More
Yes, Dubai is expensive. Lavish hotels and luxe lifestyles are synonymous with Dubai, although it’s still possible to budget in the emirate. Target the city’s Deira area for inexpensive hotels and eateries used by locals. There are also numerous free and low-cost attractions, including public beaches, souks, museums and creek boat rides....More
Lake Tahoe is the largest alpine lake in North America, and is famous for its beauty: Located on the Nevada-California border high in the Sierra Nevada Mountains, its azure waters are ringed with snow-capped mountains. Lake Tahoe is also renowned for its ski resorts, and hosted the 1960 Winter Olympics....More
Lake Tahoe offers dozens of warm-weather activities for outdoorsy types in the summer months, from kayaking, parasailing, paddleboarding, and fishing to hiking and biking. Once the sun sets, South Lake Tahoe's bars, restaurants, and craft breweries are a popular destination for visitors looking to kick back and relax....More
As one of the country's most popular ski destinations, Lake Tahoe is host to 15 different resorts, each of which promises thrilling slopes, alternative winter sports like snowboarding and snowshoeing, and a lively après-ski scene. You don't have to be intrepid to take in soaring views from the Heavenly Gondola....More
To make the most of your time in Lake Tahoe, head to the lively Tahoe South, where the bulk of the lake's casinos, restaurants, bars, and other attractions are found. The resort city of South Lake Tahoe is near many in-demand resorts and beaches, and is a convenient base....More
Yes, Lake Tahoe has a bustling nightlife scene, much of which is concentrated along the southern half of the lake. The city of South Lake Tahoe offers a lively array of bars, restaurants, casinos, shops, and resorts, and during the winter season, the après-ski scene is its own attraction....More
Don't miss Emerald Bay State Park, which is known for its unspoiled beauty and the historical Vikingsholm mansion. Summer boat trips on Lake Tahoe are essential, and in winter, its ski resorts are a must. Visit Palisades Tahoe, which hosted the 1960 Winter Olympics, and ascend the famed Heavenly Gondola....More
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