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Dubai (دبي) is one of the seven emirates that make up the United Arab Emirates. It is rather like an independent city-state and is the most modern and progressive emirate in the UAE, developing at an unbelievable pace in the tourist and trade sectors especially. Recently Dubai won the bid to host EXPO 2020, a Universal scale Registered Exposition approved by the Bureau of International Expositions (BIE), Paris.
A relatively new tourist destination, Dubai was gaining popularity in recent years until the global economic crash of 2008. Dubai is essentially a desert city with superb infrastructure, liberal policies (by regional standards), that became popular for its excellent tourist amenities. Just 5 h from Europe and 3 h from most parts of the Middle East, the Near East, and the subcontinent of India, Dubai makes a great short break for shopping, partying, sunbathing, fine dining, sporting events, and even a few sinful pleasures. It is a city of superlatives: for the fastest, biggest, tallest, largest and highest, Dubai is the destination. It has the largest immigrant population in the world. The weekly day off is on Friday. Note that, since September 2006, a harmonised weekend of Friday and Saturday has been adopted for the public sector and schools. Government departments, multinational companies, and most schools and universities are now off on Friday and Saturday (after years of a mixed bag of Friday/Saturday and Thursday/Friday weekends). Some local companies still work half a day on Thursday with a full day on Saturday, but larger companies tend to permit relaxation and time off work for their employees on Friday and Saturday.
Dubai’s main airport is the Dubai International Airport. You can also enter Dubai by using Sharjah International Airport (SHJ) in the nearby emirate of Sharjah and Abu Dhabi International Airport (AUH) in nearby Abu Dhabi. Frequent visitors from countries granted automatic visa on entry may wish to purchase an e-gate card to speed up immigration formalities and save passport pages. The e-gate card office is situated in the upstairs foodcourt area of the terminal 1 departures concourse. The card will cost AED 200. Note: If you intend to buy an e-gate card in Dubai, you must have entered UAE via Dubai airport.
Airlines are often having price wars to glamorous destinations like Dubai and this can work to your advantage by careful planning and comparison of the various airlines serving Dubai. Emirates is Dubai’s official airline carrier which connects Dubai to over 100 destinations while FlyDubai is Dubai’s low-cost carrier. Etihad has shuttle services from their exclusive check in facility in Sheikh Zayed Rd or Central Business District of Dubai to and from Abu Dhabi Int’l Airport, you can also fly with Sharjah’s low-cost carrier; Air Arabia which flies to over 46 destinations within the Middle East.Dubai International Airport
Dubai International Airport (IATA: DXB) is the largest hub in the Middle East and the home base of Dubai’s flag carrier Emirates and its low-cost wing FlyDubai. In fact, it has grown at such a furious pace that the present terminals are bursting at the seams, especially during the peak hours around midnight.
The Dubai International Airport has three terminals and another one in the making as of end 2010.
Terminal 1 is the main terminal, used by most major airlines and long-haul flights.
Terminal 2 serves regional and low-cost flights, including all FlyDubai flights.
Terminal 3 is used exclusively by Emirates.
Terminals 1 and 3 are directly connected to each other via the airside (no immigration needed for transfer), while Terminal 2 is located at the other end of the airport. Terminals 1 and 3 are models of modern airport design, but Terminal 2, despite the recent renovations, is still reminiscent of developing world airports, with long check-in lines, queue-jumping and every other passenger checking in 70 kg of luggage. Shuttle buses between the three run every 20-30 min. However shuttles to Terminal 2 are sporadic at best, so a 30 min taxi ride may be your only option. A low-cost option for traveling to Terminal 2 is to catch the metro to a nearby station, such as GGICO metro station, and from there catch a taxi to Terminal 2.
The airport is famous for its duty-free shopping . However, prices in the airport’s duty-free stores are equal or higher than what you can find in the many malls of the city. Alcohol here is very cheap, though. Alcohol is also available at an inbound duty free store situated in the baggage reclaim area. The amount of alcoholic beverages and beers should not exceed 4 liters of alcohol beverages, or 2 cartons of beer (each consisting of 24 cans, not exceeding 355 ml for each can or its equivalent).Taxi: Most visitors will opt for public taxis from the airport, which are readily available just outside arrivals, which use the meter and start at Dhs 25. Taxis are on the left when you come out of terminal 1. Public transport: Terminals 1 and 3 are served by the Dubai Metro. There are also buses just steps from the baggage claim, the most useful for visitors being lines 401 and 402 (Dhs 3), which go to the Al Sabkha and Al Ghubaiba bus terminals respectively. Al Maktoum International Airport (Dubai World Central, DWC)
Al Maktoum International Airport, better known internationally as Dubai World Central (IATA: DWC) opened for passenger transportation in October 2013. Dubai plans to develop the airport into the world’s largest passenger and cargo hub. Right now though only a handful of flights land and depart there every day (for example low cost flights with Wizzair). Public Transport is limited right now to bus F55 and bus F55a (night bus) that connect to Ibn Battuta metro station. F55 runs between 06:00 and 22:00 on every full hour. The journey takes 43 minutes. F55a runs all the way to the Satwa Bus Station via Ibn Battuta that is located near Bur Dubai. F55a runs between 23:00 and 06:00 hourly on the hour. The journey from DWC to Satwa takes around 90 minutes. Sharjah International Airport
Sharjah International Airport (IATA: SHJ) is located in the emirate of Sharjah. It is only 30 min by road from Dubai and takes an increasing number of international flights as Dubai airport struggles to keep up with demand. Be aware that during morning rush hour from Sharjah and afternoon rush hour into Sharjah, travel times to cross the border between the two emirates normally run more than one hour and can run over two hours. Traffic can be bad between Sharjah and Dubai 24 hours per day, so plan accordingly. The principal carrier here is Air Arabia, a low-cost carrier serving the Middle East and South Asia. The airport is fairly basic but is being expanded. A taxi ride to Dubai will typically cost Dhs 50. A Bus service by Air Arabia also runs from the Airport to the Rashidiya Metro Station in Dubai. Rashidiya metro station is located close to the Dubai International Airport. More Info: Dubai