An extensive guide for travelling to Dubai post COVID-19 right from top attractions to the COVID-19 rules and regulations as on September 2020.
Dubai is a hotspot for Indian travellers, as it’s one of the first international cities to allow Indian tourists post the novel corona pandemic. Whether you’re preparing for your first-ever visit to Dubai or your first international travel post Covid-19, this blog is for you.
Dubai needs no introduction. Even though it’s the second-largest city in UAE, it is loved by tourists more than the capital city, Abu Dhabi. The awesome architecture, shopping and entertainment in this city of wonders is unlimited. You should plan your itinerary based on your interest in locations before travelling to Dubai.
Add to this zero crime rates, most advanced infrastructure, multicultural environment, friendly people, and warm traditional hospitality. All these and beyond are some of the top reasons that attract over 16 million tourists per year to this land of mind-blowing contrasts. The experience of Travelling to Dubai post COVID-19 lockdown is completely different. Check complete details like Dubai Visa, Dubai Desert Safari etc.
What to Expect at the Airports?
The essence of travelling to Dubai is not the same. Coronavirus has spoiled the fun of travelling. You can’t sit without restrictions, you can’t breathe, you can’t enjoy without being doubted or doubting others.
The process of reaching immigration is twice as long because the queues move slower to avoid crowding. You have to carry a million documents while travelling to Dubai, and fill at least 4-5 forms before and after you board the flight. After landing in Dubai, everyone has to get a free swab-test and follow 24 hours quarantine. You are allowed to move out only after you receive the reports on the online portal.
Best time to visit Dubai
Even though Dubai is open for tourism all year around, the best time for travelling to Dubai is during winter. If you enjoy scorching heat and staying indoors, you can visit this city in the summers. You can also prefer to come here in summer if you wish to skip the crowd and queues.
Dubai Rules and Regulations
- The fines in Dubai are sky high and you’ll be burning a hole in pocket if you don’t take the rules seriously.
- More is less. If you have those outfits that make you feel ‘extra’, pack them right away.
- Many websites and internet calling apps, like WhatsApp or Skype, are blocked in Dubai. If you want to access them, you will need a VPN. Alternatively, you can download BOTIM. It is the officially authorized VOIP service which works all over UAE.
- Mandatory documents required for a visa are health insurance, passport and RT-PCR negative certificate.
- Don’t forget to carry a Universal power adapter. Some hotels do not have Indian power sockets.
- Mandatory 24 hours quarantine in Dubai on arrival.
Tourist Visa for Travelling to Dubai
The documents required for applying for Dubai Tourist Visa from India are:
- Valid Passport
- Passport Sized Latest Photo
- Aadhar Card and PAN Card
- Health Insurance
- Bank Statement for the last 3 months
- Letter of the reason for travel
- Return tickets
- Hotel booking confirmation
The cost for applying for Dubai Tourist Visa could range anywhere between INR 6000 to INR 10000.
Day 1 – 21.09.2020
We boarded a 16:25 flight from Mumbai and landed in Dubai at 18:00 UAE time. All the passengers had to go through a swab test before exiting the airport. The process was super quick and organized. The results were expected to arrive within 24 hours, and we were to quarantine ourselves until then.
The last few rows of seats of the flight were kept vacant for ‘suspicious’ passengers.
Our arrival in Dubai was very smooth keeping in mind the Covid restrictions.
Day 2 – 22.09.2020
Dubai is known for its luxury hotels. However, there is no shortage of reasonable hotels in Dubai either. If you plan your Dubai tour at least two to three months in advance, you can get the best rates for flight tickets, hotels, and other passes.
Best location to stay in Dubai
In terms of the best location, you should first think of Dubai as a long strip before travelling to Dubai.
At one end is the Dubai Marina with Palm Jumeirah and Burj Al Arab in the vicinity. The hotels here will also be expensive.
On the opposite end is Bur Dubai, the Dubai airport and Old Dubai. The hotels here are relatively cheaper, and it will take minimum 15 minutes to get to the prime locations.
Based on your budget and interests, you may choose to stay closer to one of these landmarks and plan your travel accordingly.
Since we couldn’t go anywhere for 24 hours, I took this opportunity to get some extra sleep since I knew the next few days are going to be hectic.
We stayed at Al Smana Raffa – Bur Dubai. The hotel gave us complimentary breakfast along with our stay.
I didn’t like the location of the hotel that much. They also charged for extra water. Some of my friends later informed me, most of the Dubai hotels do that.
Our Covid reports were posted online by afternoon. We went down near our hotel to get some dinner in the evening from a fast-food joint called FFC. Later we took small walks in the neighbourhood.
We went to a close-by mall, and everything was empty. Shops were open but there were not many customers. The shopkeepers were hopefully waiting.
Day 3 – 23.09.2020
Dubai Desert Safari
The first activity planned was Dubai Desert safari at Al Awir, followed by dinner and live performances.
Our SUV came to pick us at around 4:30, and we were sharing it with 2 other passengers. The Toyota Land Cruiser was spacious and comfortable. It took us approximately an hour to get to the campsite.
As we entered the desert, the driver prepared the car for impact. The next minute we were jumping out of the seats and screaming in excitement.
We headed further into the desert for the real sand dune bashing. It was one hell of a drive. It was super thrilling, and our hands and legs were shaking when we got off the car. Our minds were absolutely boggled.
We went on a wild ride through the desert. It felt as if we were on a rollercoaster! I don’t like rollercoasters but I loved this.
This was just the beginning, after the Dubai Desert safari he drove us to the campsite where a VIP dinner and live performance was planned for us. There was a mind-blowing belly dancer, Tanura artist and fire show.
Other additional activities that were available there were camel ride, sheesha smoking, henna tattoo, taking a picture with a Falcon named Natasha and sand art in a pot. I took a souvenir which said ‘MSK X DUBAI 2020’ written in sand in a glass pot for AED 40.
After a crazy cultural night, we reached our hotel at around 10:30 PM and called it a day.
Day 4 – 24.09.2020
The next day our car was ready to pick us up at 3 in the afternoon for a small city tour and take us to Dubai Mall. We reached the mall at around 4, grabbed a quick bite, exchanged some currency and rushed to Burj Khalifa as we had booked the VIP tickets for At The Top at prime time.
Our Experience at the Burj Khalifa
Who doesn’t know Burj Khalifa? The tallest building in the world, Burj Khalifa is a marvel of records. It has the fastest elevator by OTIS, and takes you to the 148th floor in 1 minute and 30 seconds.
We were awestruck, and the feeling of being on top of the world was unreal. There were 2 views from the top, and a balcony. The high-rise is wonderfully managed by their staff, and all the tourists were well disciplined.
However, the 126th and 125th floor was more crowded and noisier. There was a Burj shop on this floor to buy knick-knacks and gifts for your family and friends. There was a souvenir machine, which printed out a design of your choice. I experienced jumping off of the Burj Khalifa in VR.
Watching the Dubai Fountain Show
The Dubai Fountain Show takes place outside the Dubai Mall. It is also known as one of the world’s largest choreographed fountain system. People never miss this beautiful spot while travelling to Dubai.
We waited 30 minutes before the show started at 7:30 PM. It was a quick performance on a song and not as exciting as we expected. We walked on the boardwalk, watched the show from the boardwalk and went back to the mall.
This day was pretty tiring as the mall is huge and you can only walk around. You can easily spend one whole day here and the place promises you 100% entertainment.
Day 5 – 25.09.2020
Al Seef Heritage – Curio Collection by Hilton
We checked out of Al Smana and checked into Al Seef Heritage – Curio Collection by Hilton to experience the actual Arab Culture.
This heritage-style hotel had a beautiful bait system, and a buggy to take us across the property overlooking the Dubai Creek. The rooms were beautiful, which looked like it’s from a different time period.
I can’t emphasise enough, how big of a pain Covid-19 proved to be. We wasted our first day to quarantine and this day to get tested again, to return safely to India.
We got tested at NMC hospital, after spending AED 150 per head and 5 hours of chaos. We spent the evening exploring our hotel property and had dinner at Canopy.
Day 6 – 26.09.2020
The Dubai Frame
We left at around 3:30pm for a quick city tour, and finally to Zabeel Park to go on top the Dubai Frame. It is said to be about 150 meters high with a 90-meter long gallery for viewing at the top floor. It basically frames the views of the old on one side and the new Dubai on the other. You should plan this location and add it in your itinerary while travelling to Dubai.
People can walk on a smart pathway made of glass, which turns transparent and you can immediately see the ground below.
At the base, they checked our tickets. There was hardly any crowd and we entered easily. Inside the premises, at the bottom of the frame is a thorough showcase of past Dubai, with beautiful presentation of how things worked around here. There were dummy Old Dubai Souks, and projections and mist effects giving an Emirati feel.
Dhow Cruise Dinner at Dubai Marina
Dubai touring is incomplete without a Dhow Cruise Dinner along the magnificent views of The Dubai Marina. It an extraordinary experience to soak in the views of massive skyscrapers towering the Dubai Marina. The dinner was not that great, because we were served packed food for Covid-19 safety precautions.
Day 7 – 27.09.2020
There was slight confusion on the way back home. Our gates changed in the last minute and we were literally running for our flight. The Dubai Airport Duty Free kept alluring us to keep shopping, but we just didn’t have the time.
Some of the other popular activities that I plan on doing in my next trip to UAE are visiting Abu Dhabi, sky diving and water sports, visiting Abu Dhabi Sheikh Zayed Mosque, going to Ferrari world, and maybe even stay at Al Burj Arab.
I hope you have enjoyed my blog and I also hope it was helpful if you’re looking for some things to do in Dubai. If so, share your thoughts with us below! Share with us your crazy travel stories, and we might even post them.
Live your Life. Live your Dream.