This visitor submit is by Monica Chapon, a California-based desert fanatic.
Exploring the Center East can typically really feel intimidating for vacationers, and much more so for solo girls.
Whereas I personally like to journey all through this area, I can definitely perceive the hesitancy! It is a very misunderstood a part of the world, and it isn’t all the time portrayed as very “feminine pleasant.”
However in case you are dreaming of sweeping orange dunes, spice-filled souks, intricately embellished mosques, and a glimpse into Muslim tradition, then Dubai within the United Arab Emirates is the proper place to dip your toes.
The UAE is a small nation with a powerful spiritual basis. Islamic regulation dictates day-to-day life and traditions on this neighbor to Saudi Arabia. Actually, it’s fairly lovely.
After an oil growth, Dubai shortly went from a “small city” within the desert the now-glittering hub that we see at present.
Due to these quick modifications, Dubai is actually a metropolis of duality. Every time I go to, I discover myself pondering the juxtaposition of towering, record-breaking skyscrapers simply minutes away from hand-built, rustic camel farms within the sand.
Whereas the UAE is among the most secure international locations on this planet to go to, it spiritual roots and fast modernization imply that not everybody who lives and works there may be accustomed to seeing a solo feminine traveler.
So, whereas I extremely suggest the UAE as an incredible place for girls who journey alone, it isn’t with out some challenges. Beneath are my finest insights for girls touring solo in Dubai.
Solo Feminine Journey in Dubai
1. Crime charges are tremendous low.
Before everything, know that the crime charges in Dubai are very low. Theft and violent crimes are extraordinarily uncommon. The truth is, the charges within the UAE are light-years higher than my residence nation, the USA.
As such, I’ve by no means felt unsafe right here by way of crime. I’ve by no means had any objects stolen, and I’ve by no means felt in peril of any kind of assault. (For higher or for worse, CCTV is widespread in downtown Dubai.)
As a solo girl in Dubai, relaxation assured that you’re in a rustic the place the legal guidelines are taken very critically.
2. However you may be stared at.
Notice that whereas most individuals is not going to harass you in any method, you’re a little bit of an anomaly. Although solo feminine journey isn’t a brand new idea within the Western world, it’s nonetheless considerably “new” on this area.
The vast majority of stares you obtain are merely out of curiosity. Folks will marvel why you might be alone or the place you’re going, and a few will simply be intrigued about how “completely different” chances are you’ll look.
Most males will look away shortly as soon as you come back their gaze, proving that it was innocent. But when anybody tries to carry your eye or use it as a motive to strategy you, be cautious. Belief your intestine. Steadiness courtesy with warning.
3. Ladies’s locations in school, residence, and work differ from these within the West.
It’s value highlighting a bit about girls’s roles in Emirati society.
Faculties and universities are segregated by gender, although extra girls attend school than their male counterparts do.
Nevertheless, the overwhelming majority of ladies don’t enter the workforce and as an alternative go for marriage and elevating youngsters. The Emirati girls you do see within the workforce will usually be employed in schooling, well being, and authorities companies. I do see a number of expat girls within the workforce, too.
Whereas I don’t know the way a lot of that’s selection and the way a lot is societal expectations, I’ll say that UAE society locations a excessive worth on these roles.
There isn’t a denying that patriarchal ideology remains to be seen in UAE life, however I do applaud the small strides that the nation has taken lately.
4. Dubai is a melting pot.
Over 80% of the inhabitants within the UAE is made up of expats, and the overwhelming majority of them reside in Dubai. Right here you’ll find everybody, from Indians to Pakistanis to Lebanese to Canadians — and every little thing in between.
Dubai is a real melting pot. It’s a colourful mix of many alternative cultures, dwelling and dealing in numerous industries and making a life on this small piece of the Arabian Peninsula.
5. It may value a lot lower than you assume.
You’re most likely acquainted with Dubai’s popularity for riches.
The Burj Al-Arab resort has a glamorous Royal Suite that goes for $24,000 USD per evening. The town constructed a number of artifical islands within the form of palm bushes. And there may be even an ATM in close by Abu Dhabi the place customers can withdraw stable gold. Stable gold!
So, it’s probably not stunning that I’m typically requested how I can afford to remain there.
Fortunately, these excessive instances — whereas plentiful — usually are not the norm. It’s fairly simple to search out inns and guesthouses for underneath $40 USD per evening. And first rate ones, too! Comfy beds, Wi-Fi, a kitchen, and a washer could be included for that worth.
I like to recommend checking within the Deira and Al-Barsha areas for these offers, although I’ve incessantly discovered them within the Marina as nicely.
Moreover, hostels have began to crop up in Dubai. This was not a factor after I first traveled there seven years in the past. With the cultural expectations demanded of women and men, this was not a sleeping association that was “allowed.” These days, it’s an possibility. (Word that in additional conservative areas, like Sharjah, this can seemingly nonetheless not be the case).
Keep away from the massive and costly eating places and go for tasty, genuine meals stalls as an alternative. Falafel sandwiches, fresh-squeezed juices, and fragrant Indian dishes could be had on a budget.
6. You’ve gotten a number of transportation choices.
In Dubai, there are a number of methods for solo girls to get round.
The metro system is reasonable, clear, and on time, in my expertise. Uber operates in Dubai, too. And it’s potential to rent non-public drivers, although this would be the costlier route.
Sure, girls can drive and lease a automobile within the UAE. Will probably be no drawback to take action. Nevertheless, visitors could be intense within the metropolis, and there are loopy drivers right here, identical to in all places else!
One distinctive transportation possibility in Dubai is women-only pink taxicabs. If you’re feeling notably nervous, these can be an effective way for a solo girl to journey round Dubai. Search for the telltale pink rooftops that point out “girls solely.”
7. Be conscious of the way you costume.
In Dubai, you will note a number of variation in the way in which that girls costume.
Native girls usually put on an extended black costume referred to as an abaya and a head masking referred to as a hijab. It isn’t unusual to see much more conservative costume, equivalent to a full burka, masking girls’s total physique apart from the eyes. (In distinction, males put on an extended white kandoura.)
However additionally, you will see vacationers exhibiting cleavage and midriffs, carrying short-shorts, and finally dressing like they’re in laid-back Bali moderately than conservative Dubai.
When you would possibly get away with it, I’d strongly warning solo girls not to decorate this fashion in Dubai. On the very least, you may be inviting a number of undesirable consideration and definitely offending native sentiments.
As an alternative, your Dubai packing checklist ought to embrace objects like free palazzo pants, flowy kimonos, and scarves (which will probably be wanted to cowl your head when getting into mosques). A very good rule of thumb is to cowl the shoulders, elbows, knees, and head.
8. You might must work tougher to get off the grid.
Once I first traveled to the UAE, my purpose was to spend most of my time deep within the desert, close to the Saudi border, exploring and tenting on this lovely panorama.
Spoiler alert: I did make that occur! And I’ve performed the identical factor on virtually each subsequent go to.
Nevertheless, it did take a number of persistence.
Solo girls could have no points getting round Dubai. However in case you are attempting to get to the far corners of the nation, you’ll most likely run into some points.
In Islamic tradition, it isn’t widespread or accepted for a person to be alone with a lady that he’s not associated to or married to. So it took rather a lot of persistence for me to discover a driver who would do that.
9. Pay attention to native legal guidelines.
That is one thing vacationers ought to do no matter their vacation spot, and solo feminine vacationers in Dubai are not any exception. That is particularly necessary within the UAE, as it’s ruled by sharia regulation, which most Western vacationers might not be acquainted with.
The foundations and legal guidelines within the UAE forbid things like consuming alcohol, utilizing crude language, kissing in public, taking somebody’s picture with out asking (notably girls), homosexuality, and an extended checklist of different infractions.
A couple of authorized exceptions do exist, like buying alcohol at bigger inns or institutions. And although Dubai is probably the most liberal of all seven emirates, I nonetheless suggest not testing the waters.
10. Solo girls will get a singular perspective.
One good thing about being a lady in Muslim international locations is that you’ll get a singular perspective that your male counterparts can’t.
Males are usually not be capable of work together in any method with native girls they don’t seem to be associated to. However as a lady, it is possible for you to to strategy different girls, communicate with them in regards to the space, or ask them for assist when you want help.
One of many experiences I worth most in touring is to get to know native folks and customs, so that is one among my favourite advantages of solo feminine journey in Dubai.
Pin me for later:
The United Arab Emirates is among the most secure international locations on this planet to go to, and Dubai specifically is among the most liberal of all Center Jap cities.
It’s an incredible place to journey if you would like a protected and comfy crash course in Center Jap life. For those who go there understanding the advantages and challenges of solo feminine journey in Dubai, you usually tend to have a enjoyable and profitable journey!
In regards to the creator: Monica Chapon has traveled to 6 continents solo and chronicles her adventures on her weblog, This Uncommon Earth. She will often be discovered exploring the deserts of the world, taking impromptu street journeys, or performing as an aerialist on silks. Comply with together with Monica’s adventures on Instagram.