Dubai’s strict alcohol laws don’t dampen its long list of lavish nightclubs, pumping beach bars and famously hedonistic brunches, which kickstart the weekend every Friday morning. Massive music festivals and even bigger sporting events fill the calendar in November, and you can zip around Abu Dhabi’s Formula One track yourself, strapped into a Chevrolet or behind the wheel of a go-kart. Get more thrills and spills at adrenaline-pumping water parks and theme parks, including the high-octane Ferrari World, where the world’s fastest roller coaster races from 0 to 240km/h in 4.9 seconds.

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Ski the slopes in the Mall of the Emirates then tackle the rest of Dubai’s mega-malls, or hunt a bargain in the ancient Arab souks either side of Dubai Creek.

Dune-bashing or camel-riding through the desert offers another glimpse of traditional Emirati culture. And you can also see the sand from the viewing platform of the Burj Khalifa, the loftiest skyscraper on the planet, towering above Dubai’s glittering collection of luxury hotels and resorts downtown.

This sparkling City of Gold is the global capital of over-the-top opulence, and your trip to Dubai is worth every last dirham.

Dubai by Night

To drink in Dubai as a tourist, you’ll need to stick to the designated areas and can’t be drinking (or be drunk) in public. It is also an offence for tourists to buy alcohol from an off-license. Keep an eye on what you post on social media - pictures of your friends throwing up after too many tequilas on a #dubai post might catch the wrong kind of attention.


Out of the desert springs a well of world-class watering holes, from the sun-kissed sands of the Palm to the sultry rooftops of Downtown. Dubai’s weekend runs Friday and Saturday, so Thursday and Friday are the big nights.

And while the locals head out for a chilled-out shisha and a virgin cocktail, party animals flock to pumping dance floors with big-name DJs on the decks — check out Hype Magazine and Resident Advisor for up-to-date club info.


Getting past the door can be tough for big groups of guys without women on their arms, and the cover charge is normally Dh50-200 for blokes. Dress codes can also be strict — something smarter than jeans and trainers, thanks gents — but beach clubs are naturally more laid-back. Most clubs don’t open until 10pm, crank up around midnight, then close at 3am.


Boozy brunch buffets on Fridays are a Dubai tradition as indulgent as the city itself. Almost every hotel sets up a smorgasbord with bottomless bubbly to boot, so you can kick-start your weekend on Friday afternoon with a hedonistic feast. Check out our Tropical bottomless brunch complete with resident DJs and unlimited food and drink between 1pm and 5pm.

Sizzling beach clubs like Nikki line the coast as well — nab a sun bed near the pool then sip on mojitos and margaritas as the DJ spins chilled summer tracks until dusk.

Dubai During Ramadan

You’ll be glad to know that alcohol is not banned during the Holy Month of Ramadan. However, **clubs are completely shut and bars, while open, will not play any music or serve alcohol before 8pm.**This means you may want to consider booking outside these dates.


Keep in mind that during this 30-day period locals will be particularly reflective, so do your best to be respectful in public. Most restaurants will not be open between sunrise and sunset (to coincide with the fasting practice), but convenience stores and designated cafes still cater to non-Muslims.

Dress codes definitely get more conservative during this period: women should cover their shoulders and legs in public (a shawl will do wonders in a pinch), while men should not wear shorts above the knee.

Getting Around Dubai

Dubai has built more than just a showy skyline — the city’s transport infrastructure is top-drawer, too.



A clean, quick and cheap metro system links 47 stations — including the airport — with all the major sights for Dh4, 6 or 8.50, depending on the length of your journey. Grab a red Nol prepaid ticket from any stop for Dh2, which you can then load up with 10 trips or 5 daily passes. Services stop from 1am to 5am,so hop in a cab or an Uber instead of stumbling around drunk in a town that doesn’t tolerate boozy behaviour.

A stack of bus lines also cov areas the metro doesn’t — pre-pay for your ticket on your Nol card.


Taxi or Ride-Share

Cabs charge Dh12 plus Dh2 per kilometre — a great-value trip home from the club, with taxi stands outside most malls and hotels. Uber and a local app called Careem are also popular — roughly the same price as taxis, but much nicer cars.



The Nextbike bike-sharing system has pick-ups at the Burj Khalifa and Marina Walk if you feel like pedalling around town — Dh15 for 30 minutes and Dh80 for the day.

As for walking? That’s a dangerous game with such heat and such crazy drivers.



You can hop on an abra — the old wooden boats chugging across Dubai Creek — for just Dh1. But for some signature Emirati luxury, book your own private yacht to cruise along the coastline.



Conquer the desert like an Arabian night behind the wheel of a dune buggy, smashing through the sand on a dune-bashing safari, or saddle up a camel and trek across the Dubai Desert Conservation Reserve on humpback.

Staying Safe in Dubai

Dubai dodges the unrest that rocks the rest of the Middle East, and strict policing stamps out violent crime. Like all big cities, petty crime can happen — but the biggest threat to your safety is one too many glasses of Moët at brunch, because public drunkenness is a major no-no. You hear stories about visitors being locked up for ‘crimes’ like kissing or flipping the bird, let alone some of the things you might get away with on a stag do in Prague or Dublin. Keep your booze inside the bar, though, and you’ll be fine.

Hot Tips


Free SIM Card

When you land at the airport, the passport control officer will hand you a free SIM card with 20MB of data and three minutes of calls already loaded on it, so you can get online straightaway.

You can then put 2GB and 40 minutes on it for Dh110. Bye bye, rip-off roaming charges.


Ski in The Desert

Creating a winter wonderland in the heat of the Middle East was one of those pie-in-the-sky, only-in-Dubai ideas… until it was unveiled in 2005. Ski Dubai boasts an 85m high mountain with 22,500 sq m of powder, three lifts and five different runs, including a 400m black diamond trail

The first in the world under a roof. Oh, and there’s even a penguin colony you can meet.


Check out Dubai Theme Parks

Dubai’s excellent array of amusement parks aren’t cheap, but you can get free tickets when you stay at some hotels. For example, Atlantis The Palm includes access to Aquaventure, while Jumeirah hotels like Jumeirah Beach Hotel, Al Qasr Hotel and Mina A’Salam throw in admission to Wild Wadi. Build your Dubai stag weekend with Chillisauce and we can book you entry to Ferrari World, Warner Bros World or the famous Bollywood World.

The good-value 2 Days Parks Pass also bundles together Motiongate, Bollywood Parks, Legoland and Legoland Water Park.