TRAVELING TO DUBAI AS A SOLO FEMALE TRAVELER
Are you planning a trip to Dubai as a solo female traveler? Then this post is for you!
Dubai, a dazzling gem in the United Arab Emirates, is a city of superlatives. Known for its breathtaking skyline, dominated by the Burj Khalifa, the world’s tallest building, Dubai merges futuristic innovation with rich cultural heritage.
This city in the Middle East, nestled in the Arabian Desert, continues to captivate visitors with its ambitious projects and luxurious lifestyle. But what it is really like for regular travelers? For solo female travelers? Or for anyone who does a Dubai solo travel trip?
When I started the blog, my intention wasn’t to focus strongly on travels to the United Arab Emirates. Still, somehow, Dubai has become one of the main focuses of my blog (apparently with my all-time favorite country Switzerland). After many visits and trying out a lot of different activities in Dubai, I feel confident enough to write about my experiences as a solo female traveler in Dubai.
Some of the questions I get asked the most is: Is Dubai safe for solo female travelers? I also get asked a lot about the best things to do in Dubai solo. So, today I am happy to answer your questions in this “Solo Female Travel in Dubai guide.”
TIPS FOR SOLO TRAVELERS TO DUBAI
Dubai is, I think, one of the safest places that I can think of and the best place to travel solo as a female.
Are there security issues? Yes. Can we trust all the security information we get from the government in the UAE? Surely not. However, this post is not about the political situation in the UAE (in terms of women´s rights or human rights) but rather how it feels actually to be there (while neglecting the political situation) as a solo female traveler.
Security Aspects in Dubai
Keep in mind that there is no real transparency when it comes to Dubai – so, we might not get the full picture, so I can only talk about my perception as a solo female traveler.
Overall, based on a woman´s traveler perspective, the country of the United Arab Emirates is totally safe. Although people might think countries in the Middle East might not be the safest places, I cannot second that – especially not for the UAE and Dubai.
- The crime rate in Dubai is extremely low, also because there are serious punishments for many crimes.
- It seems that the police are capable of doing their jobs efficiently. Maybe it is better not to know by which means the police achieve that. However, this makes me feel more secure than in many other places. I have been told by a person who lives there that even if something gets stolen, they will find it very quickly and solve the crime. After a few days in Dubai, I felt safe enough to leave my bag (unattended) at the table while going to the buffet and getting food for several minutes. In Germany, I would not do so. I actually get very careless in Dubai because it seriously feels safe. This does not mean that you should be like me, though.
- Actually, since alcohol is not drunk that much in public, I felt much more secure at night than in many parts of Western countries, where drunk people run around at the weekend and make me feel uncomfortable.
- I feel totally fine strolling popular places like Dubai Marina or Downtown Dubai by night.
- However, avoid Dubai Deira at night and exercise common sense and you should be fine!
Dress Code For Solo Female Travelers
Though there is no strict dress code for women. What does it mean though?
When you travel to Dubai, you should consider both the local culture and climate when deciding on your wardrobe. Dubai is modern yet holds traditional Islamic values, so dressing modestly is key.
So, you do not need to wear a scarf, long-sleeved tops or long pants. However, I would advise you to not wear the shortest pants you own or the most revealing tops.
For malls, there is actually a dress code (that, knowingly or unknowingly is often ignored by tourists): Wear clothing that covers your shoulders and knees, especially in public areas like malls, markets, and streets.
At the beach or hotel pools, swimwear is acceptable, but it should be conservative, meaning a bikini is okay but not necessarily a string bikini (again, something many tourists ignore). It’s also wise to carry a scarf or shawl for impromptu head covering if needed when visiting religious sites or out of respect for local customs.
Since the climate in Dubai is hot and humid for most of the year, lightweight, breathable fabrics like cotton or linen are the key. In air-conditioned indoor areas, however, it can get quite chilly, so having a light sweater or scarf on hand is useful.
Read more about what to wear in Dubai here.
How to Get Around as a Solo Traveler
As a female traveler in Dubai, navigating the city is convenient and safe, with options like taxis, the metro, and buses.
In Dubai, my experience with regular taxis, easily hailed or called, was always remarkably safe. Also, using Uber has never been a problem.
For an added layer of comfort, especially for women and families, the city offers “pink taxis,” exclusively driven by female drivers. These taxis, easily distinguishable by their color, provide an added sense of security and can be booked by calling 04-2080808.
Public transportation in Dubai is known for its cleanliness, efficiency, and high safety standards, including well-lit stations and vehicles, regular security patrols, and CCTV surveillance.
As a woman, I have used public transportation in Dubai often and without any problems. However, there are a few things to keep in mind.
Metro: The Dubai Metro has dedicated compartments for women and children only on each train. These are clearly marked and no men are allowed.
I always make sure to sit there as I have to admit the regular compartments make me feel uncomfortable as the staring of men, who are mostly from India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, or Afghanistan, make me uncomfortable. It probably feels a bit like India, so these women’s compartments are worth a lot.
Buses: Similarly, public buses in Dubai have sections reserved for women. These areas are typically located at the front of the bus and are separated from the general seating to provide a comfortable and secure space for female passengers.
Trams: Dubai Trams also have special sections for women and children.
Water Taxis: In addition, water taxis in Dubai can be a scenic and enjoyable way to travel, with no specific gender-based arrangements but are generally safe and comfortable for all passengers.
Alcohol as a Woman
Alcohol consumption in Dubai is allowed for tourists and non-Muslims, but caution is advised and be mindful of your alcohol intake.
Why? First, as solo female travelers, we always have to be more cautious. That is just a sad reality.
However, in Dubai it can affect you in two ways: If an incident, such as an assault, occurs under the influence of alcohol, local authorities may enforce stricter legal repercussions, potentially leading to penalties for the intoxicated individual.
Dubai’s laws on public behavior are stringent, and any misconduct related to alcohol can have serious consequences.
Accommodation for Female Solo Travelers
Dubai is known for its safety, including at night, but as a precaution, particularly for female travelers, it might be best to avoid staying in Dubai Deira – the old part of Dubai. This area is lively during the day but can feel less secure after dark, despite being one of the more budget-friendly options for accommodation in Dubai.
It’s a good idea to allocate a bit more of your budget towards lodging and perhaps cut back on spending on activities or dining.
For solo female travelers, areas like Dubai Downtown, JBR Walk, or Dubai Marina are the best places to stay as these areas are safer and more comfortable alternatives.
Dubai Marina is the best place to stay if you prefer to be in a lively part of Dubai, with the Marina, and numerous restaurants & cafes close by, but the hotels do not have direct beach access. However, you are quite close to several attractions, including Palm Jumeirah. My favorite hotel in Marina is this 5-star Hotel: Grosvenor House in Dubai
JBR Walk is a lovely area with many restaurants and shops, most hotels have beach access. It is also close to Dubai Marina and Madinat Jumeirah. Check out the 5-star Resort: JA Ocean View Hotel Dubai.
A nice 3-star budget hotel is Ibis Al Barsha. Admittedly, it is not perfectly located as it is further from some of the best places to visit in Dubai, but it offers good value for money and is still quite close to Dubai Marina. However, if you choose this place, you will also have to pay more for transportation.
Accommodation costs for solo travelers are nearly the same as sharing a room, which is a key factor to consider when planning a solo trip to Dubai. Yes, this is one of the main drawbacks when it comes to solo traveling all over the world – but in Dubai, where prices for accommodation is so high, it is even more frustrating.
You can find a detailed accommodation guide for Dubai here.
BEST THINGS TO DO IN DUBAI AS A SOLO TRAVELER
Dubai, a city that epitomizes luxury and innovation, offers an extensive range of activities catering to diverse tastes. Whether it’s marveling at the architectural wonder of the Burj Khalifa, experiencing the thrill of desert safaris, or exploring the historic old part of the city, Dubai has it all.
There is no shortage of activities in Dubai you can choose from – this post focuses on solo travelers in Dubai. So here are fun things to do in Dubai by yourself.
Dubai Downtown Sightseeing
When you travel in Dubai alone, you can be sure to feel safe in Dubai Downtown. It is the city’s busy tourism hub and home to many attractions like Burj Khalifa (the tallest building in the world), Dubai Mall (the biggest mall in the world), and Dubai Fountain (the biggest water fountain show in the world).
This part is crazy. Especially at night, it is crazy! There is no shortage of superlatives, and it will not be boring to travel alone. There is so much to see that you will probably be too overwhelmed even to realize that you are on your own.
You can visit Dubai Downtown easily as a solo traveler. If you are on a budget, you can enjoy the tallest building from a distance, watch the water fountain show for free, and do window shopping.
- If you want to get to the “Top of Burj Khalifa” (also known as the Top of the World), it saves you time to book your tickets in advance. Ticket prices vary depending on the level of access (levels 124 and 125 only are cheaper than access to level 148) and also the time of your visit.
Get the best rates for your Burj Khalifa tickets here:
Dubai Desert Safari
Desert safaris are one of the most popular activities in Dubai. The Dubai desert offers a mesmerizing landscape of endless dunes and a unique ecosystem, serving as a tranquil escape from the city’s hustle and bustle. Experience traditional Bedouin culture, enjoy dune bashing, and witness spectacular sunsets that paint the desert in vibrant hues.
I love a good desert safari in Dubai. I am actually not sure how many I have done so far. But what I know for sure is that I loved each tour.
A desert safari is not only for families or love birds (the BBQ in the desert, which often comes with a safari, is indeed extremely romantic) but a top thing to do for ANY traveler to Dubai.
The desert safari is actually one of the best activities to make friends. Depending on the kind of safari you get picked up from your hotel, and while there are tons of jeeps (like a caravan), it feels like you form a little team with the other ones in your car.
Most tours include dune bashing, belly-dance shows, a diner, and stargazing.
Somehow, no matter if I ended up with a family or a group of friends, we stuck together, dined together, and had a great time together. If you prefer to be yourself during your whole Dubai trip, you can, of course.
But it is a great way to connect with other Dubai travelers and exchange ideas and experiences. There are also morning desert tours, but my tip is to do the evening desert safari – another fun activity to do alone in Dubai at night.
Find the best desert safari tour for your trip.
- Find one of the most affordable desert safaris here.
- Do you prefer the morning desert safari? Then find out more here.
Here is another top place to visit in Dubai alone – one of the numerous beaches!
Dubai’s beaches are renowned for their pristine sands and crystal-clear waters, offering a perfect blend of relaxation and luxury. From the bustling Jumeirah Beach to the exclusive shores of Palm Jumeirah, these beaches provide an array of activities, including water sports, sunbathing, and dining with stunning views of the Arabian Gulf.
Sometimes I am paranoid – unfortunately. That is probably why I am not so much into beach holidays. I am always afraid my stuff gets stolen while I am in the water. I am stressed out and not relaxed. In Dubai, I don’t have this feeling, just because Dubai is so freakingly safe. I can leave my valuables at the beach and hop into the water.
And I even feel safe enough to turn my back and leave my stuff unattended for a few minutes. All thanks to a low crime rate. So, if you are in Dubai, you can feel free to hit the beach – even if you are as paranoid as I am. Okay, still – exercise common sense and keep an eye on your items but there is no need for paranoia.
The best beaches in Dubai to visit solo: La Mer, Jumeirah Beach (Kite Beach), and the private beaches on Dubai Palm.
Boat and Abra Rides
Given the Persian Gulf and Dubai Creek, you have enough options to experience boat rides.
I openly admit that I am into boat rides – speedboats, dinner cruises, or whatsoever. Just put me on a boat and let me enjoy the city from a different perspective.
Dubai is great for boat tours – as a solo traveler, you have the chance to make friends. If you prefer being on your own, you can enjoy the beauty of the city while sailing around.
If you are on a budget, try out an abra ride in Dubai Deira and the Creek.
Dubai Creek, a historic saltwater estuary, is the lifeblood of the city, bustling with traditional abras and offering a glimpse into the old-world charm amidst Dubai’s modern skyline.
The traditional water taxis are fun, very cheap, and a great way to get around. It is just 0,30€ for a ride – a fun and very affordable thing to do in Dubai alone.
Here are some more boat cruise options:
- Check out this Dubai Marina dinner cruise with drinks and live music
- Here is a speedboat tour which allows you to see some of the city´s main sights
- This is a new boat cruise with a buffet dinner and afterward, you are dropped off to watch a La Perle show.
Souks in the Old Part of Dubai
In the heart of Dubai’s heritage lies the vibrant area of the Gold and Spice Souks, a bustling maze of narrow lanes lined with shops offering an array of exotic spices, dazzling gold jewelry, and traditional artifacts. This historic quarter, situated near Dubai Creek, encapsulates the city’s rich trading history and cultural diversity.
Some females have told me they disliked strolling the old town of Dubai, Dubai Deira, because people stare. I understand their point. It is a lovely area full of life with many foreign sellers who actually stare at women (including catcalling).
I normally dislike this. However, I tend to dress more conservatively and try to take it easy. I talk to the salespeople and ignore them if it gets too much. If you know how to ignore people or keep them at a distance, it is fun to visit – even as a solo traveler. Even as a female solo traveler.
It probably is NOT a place I would visit in the evening on my own, though.
Day Trip to Abu Dhabi
Abu Dhabi is the capital of the United Arab Emirates and the biggest city/emirate in the country. It is a blend of opulent modernity and rich cultural heritage, known for its stunning landmarks like the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque and the Louvre Abu Dhabi.
Abu Dhabi might be less famous but also a great place to visit. It is about 130km from Dubai and makes a great day trip.
If you are by yourself, you can do a guided tour to Abu Dhabi – or take a taxi. While the latter option is not very environmentally friendly, the taxi ride prices are not high. You pay around 50-70€ for more than 100 km (so 100-140€ in total).
In Abu Dhabi, you can visit the most beautiful building in the world – Grand Zayed Mosque. But there are more fun things to do in Abu Dhabi. Like Dubai, Abu Dhabi is super safe to travel alone.
- Check out guided tours to Abu Dhabi from Dubai.
- If you are looking for things to do in Abu Dhabi in 1 day, check out my quick guide here.
Marina is an expensive neighborhood in Dubai with stunning skyscrapers, many restaurants & shops, and one of the largest man-made marinas in the world. So you can admire the skyscrapers – the density of high buildings is crazy.
While it is also nice to walk along in the daytime (if it isn’t too hot), it is even more fun in the evening. When the buildings are illuminated, the restaurants get busy, and people get here to enjoy their evenings. I have been here so many times on my own, and it makes me so happy to stroll the area.
Since there are many foreigners from all over the world, families, couples, and solo travelers, it is also easy to meet other people and make friends. It is also easy to get to know people here because it is also popular amongst younger people who enjoy a night out.
Dinner in the Sky
Dinner in the Sky Dubai is a restaurant service that uses a crane to hoist its diners, table, guests (up to 10-16), and waiting staff 150 feet (50 meters) into the air. If you want to meet people and like to have dinner with others – then try out Dinner in the Sky (or have lunch or high tea).
This way you get to meet others and don’t have to dine by yourself (if you mind that). I found it a lot of fun. Music, good food (vegetarian/vegan food available on request), entertaining staff, and hopefully some nice dinner guests – this is a fun activity for solo travelers.
JBR – The Walk
JBR – The Walk is a popular outdoor dining and shopping promenade in the Jumeirah Beach Residence/Dubai Marina area. It is another fun place to visit solo. There is a beach section, restaurants, bars, and shops. Whether you like to be alone to meet others – here is the chance to do both.
Bring your towel and swimwear if you plan to spend a day at the beach. Water activities are big here – you can rent some equipment and try out water ski. SUP, or any other of the many options.
PLEASE NOTE THAT THE MUSEUM IS CURRENTLY CLOSED AND UNDER RENOVATION
If you like to see a different side of Dubai, I recommend visiting the Dubai Museum in the city’s old town. The museum is located in Al Fahidi Fort – the oldest building in the city and features galleries about souks, marine life, and more.
Established in 1787, the fort has served various roles, including a royal residence, an arsenal, and a prison, before its transformation under Sheikh Rashid bin Saeed Al Maktoum’s rule.
Coinciding with the formation of the United Arab Emirates in 1971, it was converted into the Dubai Museum. This museum brings to life the cultural heritage and pre-oil era of Dubai, with detailed exhibits depicting traditional Arab homes, mosques, marketplaces, and agricultural landscapes, along with scenes showcasing the desert and maritime heritage of the region.
For a small entrance fee (about 1€), you can learn a lot about this rapidly growing city’s history and culture.
Best Time to Visit Dubai
The best time to visit Dubai is between November and March, when the weather is relatively cooler and more pleasant, with temperatures ranging from 17°C to 30°C (63°F to 86°F). This period, known as the Dubai winter, is ideal for outdoor activities, sightseeing, and exploring the city’s numerous attractions without the extreme heat of the summer months.
The cooler weather is perfect for desert safaris, beach outings, and enjoying the lush outdoor terraces of the city’s many restaurants and cafes.
However, it’s also the peak tourist season, so expect larger crowds and higher prices, especially for accommodation. Despite this, the comfortable weather and the lively cultural scene make this period the most favorable time for a visit to Dubai.
If you want to visit Dubai in the summer months, check out my guide to find out what to do then.
Conclusion: What to Do Alone in Dubai
I think Dubai is one of the most secure places to visit as a solo female traveler. Of course, there is no freedom of the press in Dubai – so we only learn about things the government wants us to learn about. So, even if there are incidents, we will probably never find out. However, from my own personal experience – as someone who regularly does a solo trip to Dubai – I can say that I feel safe.
It is not only because of the absence of mugging but also because of getting hit by men constantly. Also, Dubai is fun. I travel solo because I enjoy doing activities on my own. But I also am chatty and like to meet new people once in a while – and meeting people is quite easy in this city.
By the way: I have a thing for countries in the Middle East though I have not traveled much in that area, mostly because I do not know whether I could feel safe in the region. Lebanon is very high on my list).
If you are also thinking about visiting Lebanon, you can find out How safe it is to travel to Lebanon?