In Dubai it is common that your company provides your accommodation or provides a housing allowance. In most cases, the company provides housing, meaning you will live together with your colleagues. Something that is not very customary in The Netherlands. However, I believe it definitely has its benefits. Most people are in Dubai for the first time and this way it is easier to get friendly with your colleagues. Also, in this case, the company provides for the transport to and from your workplace. I would advise checking out the accommodation in advance so you can decide which option you prefer.
2. Public Transport
Public transportation in Dubai is very clean because it is strictly forbidden to eat and drink while traveling. Even chewing gum is prohibited! The police checks very strictly and you will get a fine if they catch you. The busses and trains are equipped with special areas reserved for women and children, mostly in the front of the vehicle.
Public transportation is very cheap and organized, however a lot of people choose to travel by cab, as these are also very cheap. I still miss taking a taxi whenever I feel like it! You will also find pink taxis especially for the ladies (obviously, these taxis are originally meant for the Muslim ladies but as a non-Muslim you are also allowed to use it and you must admit, a pink taxi is pretty cool!).
Dubai is a very modern country and about 80% of the population is expat. It is very modern and in general tolerant; just keep in mind you ARE in an Islamic country and try to respect this at all time. During Ramadan, everybody works 6 hours (even non-Muslims). Eating, drinking and smoking during the daytime of Ramadan is considered a minor offence and will be punished. Also important to know: the weekends run from Friday to Saturday. I could never get used to it!
4. Al Safa Park
I LOVE AL SAFA PARK! There are beautiful gardens with waterfalls, playgrounds and there is a small lake where you can rent a paddleboat. You will also find a lot of sporty types, as there is a jogging track, volleyball, basketball, football and tennis facilities. Every Friday a farmers market takes place and every 4 weeks a flea market. I can especially recommend a visit to the farmers market. At Al Safa Park you can also find a lovely cafe called “The Archive”, where you can enjoy a lunch or a coffee.
5. Ladies Night & Friday Brunches
A lot of outlets participate in ladies night, which mainly takes place on Tuesdays and Wednesdays. In general, ladies get a few free drinks and an additional discount on food. Ladies nights are always very popular and I must say, most of the times, the drinks are pretty good (no cheapie cocktails). How I miss those ladies nights!
Another household word in Dubai: The Friday Brunch. Almost every restaurant in Dubai provides a weekly Friday Brunch. A lot of people like to go with a group of friends, as you pay an all in price for unlimited food and (alcoholic) drinks. Good times guaranteed!
6. Dubai Marina
When I think of Dubai, I think of Dubai Marina. Dubai Marina is a popular expat area, however it is rather expensive. Beautiful surroundings, lovely boulevards, amazing harbor and a dazzling beach. In the weekends the expensive cars come out, so just sit back & relax on the boulevard and enjoy the show!
7. Desert Safari
Even though this is a very massive touristic attraction, I highly recommend taking this tour. The desert is an amazing creation of Mother Nature and I think it is just fascinating as it is always changing. The tour starts with a wild dune drive across the desert to the campsite where you have the opportunity to take a camel ride, try out henna and smoke shisha (another must do in Dubai!). You can also enjoy a buffet with local food. An overnight stay is also possible. All my visitors loved this safari and so did I!
Finally, I would like to say that Dubai is truly amazing but keep in mind, not everybody is in Dubai to experience the jet set lifestyle, but for a better life.