Dubai

UAE

A City of Superlatives

In Dubai, land of glamorous tourist resorts, extravagantly-themed property developments and futuristic skyscrapers, there is simply no such thing as over the top. With its split personality of luxury malls and traditional souks, upscale brands and local craftsmen, Dubai is a place where normadic tribal heritage and modern society co-exist in a bizarrely paradoxical fashion.

When contemplating a move to Dubai, you may wonder what lies beneath all of the glitz and glamour. Scratch the surface and you will find that there is far more than meets the eye than sprawling developments and tax-free shopping malls. Take the old city center for example, a haphazard ensemble of old-style souks and traditional Arabian houses where you can find people of all nationalities mixing together.

Living here means abiding by the rules of a non-Western culture, something sadly that many expats forget. However, this doesn’t necessarily mean that you can’t have fun. The city is packed full of hotels, nightclubs and beach bars that welcome well-behaved expatriates and offer those living in the city a social life that rivals that of any city in the west. The cityscape, nightlife, school systems and shops are modern and well developed. Bars and nightclubs serve alcohol, pork is sold in supermarkets, women can drive and nearly everyone speaks English.


What’s the draw?

  • Ethnic diversity and fascinating glimpses into many different cultures in what is truly a multicultural city.
  • Year-round sunshine and a tax-free income.
  • A liberal country that offers a very modern and Westernized lifestyle.
  • You name it, Dubai has it. Or if it doesn’t have it, it’s building it.

Live there:

Dubai really can be an amazing place to live. However, many of the customs, traditions and bureaucracy that are present in Dubai belong very much to this part of the world and, if you’re not forewarned, can come as a big surprise. Living amongst such contradictions can seem confusing and somewhat overwhelming. Our guide to living in Dubai contains everything you know to deal with the reality of life in this awe-inspiring metropolis:

  • Dubai can often be perceived to be so liberal that it is easy to forget that you are in an Islamic country in the Middle East. As a result of this, many expatriates unwittingly offend the locals or find themselves in trouble with the authorities as a result of failing to respect the cultures, laws and traditions. Our guide contains everything you need to know to make sure that doesn’t happen to you.
  • The Dubai housing market is in a continual state of change as the city develops and grows. Our insider guides contains up-to-date information about what properties are available in which neighborhoods and gives you all the information you need to make an informed decision about where to live.
  • The visa processes in Dubai are very complex and change according to nationality and background. Our guide breaks down the complicated visa structures into easy-to-understand sections and explains what you need to do to get the right visa to meet your professional and residential needs.

If you are going to live in Dubai, be prepared and get ready for an experience that may be many things, but will never be dull!

About Dubai we have

Our guide was written by Joanne Roxburgh and last published on Wednesday 18th August 2010.

Read this guide »

Five top tips

01Dubai might look like a Western country but it is still a Middle Eastern country. Make sure you know the rules and stay on the right side of the law.
02While Dubai is unbelievably hot in the summer, the weather in winter is wonderful. Make the most of it by investigating the many outdoor activities.
03Choose an area to live and a school for your children which is close to work location. This will save the whole family a lot of commuting time.
04When you first arrive, there will be a lot of bureaucracy to deal with. Make sure you have a good supply of passport photocopies and lots of patience.
05With the high turnover of expatriates, people are very welcoming and extremely helpful in practical matters as well as in helping you settle in.

Interesting fact

Dubai has a population of over 1.3 million, but 80% of these are foreigners.