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World Travel Guide > Guides > Middle East > United Arab Emirates > Dubai

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Travel to Dubai

Flying to Dubai

British Airways, Emirates, Qantas, Royal Brunei and Virgin Atlantic all operate direct flights to Dubai from the UK. If you're travelling from the USA, there are direct flights with Emirates. Peak travel periods include school half-terms, Christmas (inbound/outbound) and July (outbound), although good deals can be had during off-peak periods, such as Ramadan and the hottest months between June and September.

Flight times

From London - 7 hours; New York - 12 hours 40 minutes; Los Angeles - 15 hours 50 minutes; Toronto - 12 hours 50 minutes; Sydney - 14 hours 25 minutes.

Travel by road

The United Arab Emirates boasts an impressive network of first-class roads that connect major towns and villages, including a multi-lane highway between Dubai and Abu Dhabi.

Driving in the UAE is on the right-hand side. Speed limits are clearly displayed on road signs and are usually up to 60kph (37mph) in built-up areas, up to 120kph (75mph) on major roads, and up to 140kph (87mph) on motorways. Beware the abundant cameras which will flash should you exceed the limits. Certain minor traffic offences incur on-the-spot fines.

The police must be called to any road traffic accident (no matter how minor) and those involved in the accident must remain at the scene with their vehicles.

A valid International Driving Permit, valid national licence and passport are required to drive in Dubai. Visitors from many European, North American and Pan-Asian countries can obtain a temporary local driving licence if they do not have an international licence - a valid national licence, passport and two passport-size photographs are required to obtain this. Drivers must be over 18 years old. Third-party insurance is compulsory.

Arabian Automobile Association (tel: +971 4 266 9989; www.aaauae.com) can provide further information.

Emergency breakdown services

Arabian Automobile Association (tel: 800 4900, in the UAE only).

Routes

The E11 travels through Dubai from Abu Dhabi in the west and continues east to the Ras Al-Khaimah, near the Oman border. The E88 links Dubai with Sharjah, while the E66 connects the emirate with Al Ain. The fastest route from Fujairah is via the E84. 

Coaches

Buses for Muscat (capital of Oman) depart from the car park at the Airline Centre, Al-Maktoum Road, Deira. You can buy tickets from the driver or the Airline Centre. The Gold Souk Bus Station, off Al-Khor Street, and Al-Ghubaiba Bus Station, Al-Ghubaiba Road, are the main departure points for local and intercity services. Dubai Municipality (tel: 800 900, in the UAE only; www.dm.gov.ae) can provide further information.

Dubai Bus (tel: +971 800 9090; www.dubai-bus.com) runs regular inter-emirates buses between Abu Dhabi and Dubai.

Time to city

From Al Ain - 1 hour 40 minutes; Abu Dhabi - 1 hour 25 minutes; Muscat - 4 hours 30 minutes.

Travel by Rail

Services

A new railway network is under construction which will offer freight and passenger services within the UAE and eventually to neighbouring countries.

Operators

Etihad Rail (tel: +971 2 499 9999; www.etihadrail.ae) runs the new rail network, but there are currently no passenger services in operation.

Travel by boat

Dubai’s port (Jebel Ali Port and Port Rashid) is located 30km (18.5 miles) from the city centre. The Dubai Cruise Terminal located in Port Rashid caters for the emirate’s increasing number of cruise tourists. 

Ferry operators

Ferry services operate to ports in Iran from Sharjah, although these are not recommended for tourists and timetables are erratic. Plans have been mooted for a more developed and comprehensive regional ferry service but these are very much on the back burner at present.

Transfer

Taxis are the best way of getting into town. Dubai Cruise Terminal has its own taxi stand and runs free shuttles to nearby shopping malls.