Traveling in Dubai

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Disability Horizons

If you are looking for a vacation spot to pamper yourself, look no further than Dubai! Dubai has been lauded for its lavish lifestyle experience, ranging from luxury hotels to extravagant shopping centres to a dynamic nightlife scene. It is also known for its modernity, with most of its infrastructure having great accessibility. Two travelers, Srin and Zubee weigh in. 

So, how truly accessible is Dubai? 

Accessible Transport

Dubai airport offers a large, well-oriented space with easy access to services such as immigration queues and check-in desks. Trains to the baggage reclaim hall are also accessible. The airport also provides free designated parking spaces for people with disabilities. One note of concern from Zubee, who travelled to Dubai in 2015, was the waiting time between departure and receiving her wheelchair. She had a slight scare upon her return to London after her trip when the airport staff could not locate her wheelchair. After 25 minutes of waiting, everything was resolved, and her wheelchair was returned to her.

The metro system in Dubai is a newly constructed infrastructure, and is built to be accessible. There are no gaps between the train and the platform, and trains have designated seats for passengers with disabilities. Another form of public transport, taxis, are also wheelchair accessible, and can be booked in advance. However, Srin, who visited Dubai in 2014, noted that the wheelchair accessible taxis vary in quality, and are also limited, and hence, it is important to plan your days well.

Cars are also available for rent. A call to the Dubai police for a permit before you arrive is necessary, and it enables you to occupy free parking spaces around the city.

Both Srin and Zubee faced a couple of common issues in Dubai. The first was the wide distance between the metro stations and the attractions. The second was the pavement kerbs, which were too big, and they had to receive assistance each time to get up and down the kerbs.

Accessible Accommodation

Dubai is known for its luxury hotels, some of them even holding a 7-star rating! Most of the hotels have adapted rooms with accessible bathrooms. While booking his accommodations, Srin realised that communication was key when relaying his needs. He was satisfied with his room at the Conrad Dubai, which was spacious and had a roll-in shower. Similarly, Zubee stayed at Arabian Courtyard Hotel, which also accessible amenities like a walk-in shower, handrails, and a shower chair, making her stay an equally pleasant one.

Accessible Attractions


buildings in dubai

Dubai offers a multitude of attractions to visit and activities to do, one of which is shopping. Dubai can be seen as a shopping haven. For instance, the Dubai Mall itself has 1200 outlets! A more unique architectural-style shopping centre is the Ibn Battutta, boasting an 8m elephant and a Persian dome. Most of the shopping centres are equipped with lifts, wide doors, accessible toilets, and parking spaces. Between the months of November and February, Global Village hosts an international market fair, bringing together a celebration of different cultures.

Plenty of tours are also offered in Dubai, and they cater to people with disabilities. They usually offer specially-arranged transport, personal tour guides, and good access to destinations. One such trip is the desert safari tour, which Zubee went on. Travelling there is either by a 4×4 jeep or a coach, taking you through the wondrous desert landscape. In the desert, more activities are offered, including henna painting, camel riding, and performance shows in the evening, to say the least.

“This is a must see for everyone who visits Dubai. I know some disabilities may make it trickier for some people, but this shouldn’t stop you.”

Other tours offered in Dubai include visiting the 16th-century Hatta Heritage Village, dhow (wooden boat) cruises, and city tours, truly offering something for everyone.

There are other attractions that tourists can visit on their own, including the Dubai Museum, which is fully accessible to all, and the Burj Khalifa, which is the tallest skyscraper in Dubai with an astonishing 148 levels. The Burj Khalifa is also the site of the world’s fastest lift! Zubee also ventured to Abu Dhabi, 2 hours away from Dubai by coach, and visited the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque and Yas Island, where she was welcomed with warm hospitality and fantastic service.

Things to do in Dubai are aplenty, and with such accessibility throughout the city, Dubai is certainly a holiday destination for all.

Share this post with someone who is considering where to head to for his/her next vacation!

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