Dubai: a hugely multicultural city bursting full of sights to see and things to do. From shopping in the malls to relaxing on the beach in Jumeirah, there is something for every traveller to enjoy. However, even in a city that thrives from its expatriate population and foreign businesses, the locals still know best: from eating like an Emirate to exploring the surroundings, take a look at our top tips below.

How to navigate Dubai like a local

Always be polite

When you’re exploring the city, a little bit of kindness can go a long way! So, say shukran/shukria (meaning thank you) to anyone who helps you out, whether it’s in a taxi, at your hotel, or in the souks.

Get around in style

Although Dubai is many things, it is definitely not walkable. Not only is it boiling hot most of the year, but there is a distinct lack of pedestrian walkways. So, the way forward is public transport. Over 29 air-conditioned metro stations, 11 tram stations, and numerous bus stations make up the public transportation system, and all are included in the city’s Nol card program (nol translates to “fare” in Arabic). You can also download Careem, the local version of Uber, and get a fast and friendly taxi at the touch of a button.

Eat like a local

When visiting a new country, for most of us the new food and drink we’ll get to try is one of the most exciting parts of the trip. In Dubai, there are thousands of restaurants offering both international and local cuisine, which may seem overwhelming at first! If you’re looking to eat locally, check out the cafes and restaurants on Jumeirah Beach Road, which are popular amongst the locals of Dubai. 

While you’re visiting you can also try out local food traditions, like having a coffee date. No, this doesn’t mean heading to your local coffee shop to meet up with a friend or partner like you may think, but actually involves eating a date with your coffee! 

Or, if coffee isn't your thing, you could try out a traditional Friday brunch: as the working week in Dubai runs from Sunday to Thursday, locals like to indulge in a luxurious brunch on Fridays. A typical brunch starts around 12:30pm, and lasts for 4 or 5 hours. What’s not to love?!

Get yourself some bargains

In Dubai, shopping is a huge part of the culture. Rather than heading for the mainstream malls that Dubai is famous for, why not make like a local and head to the souks and places like The Courtyard or the D3 Design District, where local Emirati artists have set up shop. The vintage and second hand clothes stores are not to be missed, as are markets selling traditional foods and spices. And, where you can, haggle for a bargain when you’re visiting the souks and markets!

Explore the outdoors

If you want an adventure, there is plenty to do in Dubai. If it’s an adrenaline rush you’re after, you can head to the Dubai Autodrome for a kart racing experience, take on Aventura ziplines in Mirdiff, or try your hand at dune bashing. Plus, the public beaches also have a wealth of things like volleyball courts and skate parks to keep you entertained. 

If you want to see the sights of the city, you could even try camping in the desert - the stars in the desert are unpolluted by light, and you may even get to see a sky full of shooting stars. Or, if you’re an early bird, you could go for a morning cycle ride at Al Qudra track around the desert lakes and catch a glimpse of gazelles and oryx.

Feeling inspired? Can you see yourself acting like a local in Dubai? If you want any more information about living and working in Dubai, you can click here to read an article written by one of our very own consultants, who is a regular visitor there. Or, if you think you want to kickstart your teaching career in this fantastic Emirate, click here to browse our available roles.