We all know that Dubai is extra fancy. The world’s tallest skyscrapers, luxury hotels, extraordinary buildings, impressive shopping malls and artificial islands. It’s not a surprise that New Year’s Eve in Dubai is also spectacular. In fact, Dubai’s New Year’s Eve fireworks show is the most incredible in the world. In 2019, the record-breaking pyrotechnic show featured a total of 1,371 kg of fireworks, and was watched by one million people. Undoubtedly, Dubai is one of the best New Year’s Eve destinations around the world.
The main Dubai’s New Year’s Eve pyrotechnic show is held at the footsteps of the world’s tallest building, the Burj Khalifa. In 2019, this unforgettable performance lasted exactly 8 minutes, 43 seconds, and included 15,000 perfectly choreographed fireworks showcasing 48 pyrotechnic patterns. It sounds impressive, doesn’t it? Is New Year’s Eve in Dubai a good idea? How to plan it? Where to watch the show? Is it safe? In this blog post, I’m going to answer the above-mentioned questions. Let’s jump right into it!
IS NEW YEAR’S EVE IN DUBAI A GOOD IDEA?
My visit in Dubai was nothing else than a coincidence. I aimed to travel to Sri Lanka in January 2020 and it turned out that the cheapest flight to Colombo is from Warsaw with Emirates, via a layover in Dubai on New Year’s Eve. So Dubai was just a stopover before my final travel destination. Nevertheless, the idea of watching the pyrotechnic show at the Burj Khalifa seemed very exciting. Was it worth to spend New Year’s Eve in Dubai? Definitely yes! The fireworks show was a breathtaking and memorable experience.
HOW TO PLAN NEW YEAR’S EVE IN DUBAI?
I arrived in Dubai exactly at 9:40 pm on New Year’s Eve, which is only two hours before midnight. The journey from the airport to the Burj Khalifa is not too long. Metro will take you there within 30 minutes. So as you can see it was feasible to get to the Burj Khalifa before midnight, however, it was a bit risky too. If my flight was delayed, I would definitely be upset about missing the fireworks show. Luckily, it all went to plan. The plane from Warsaw set off on time and landed in Dubai ahead of schedule. Couldn’t be better!
An 18-hour layover in Dubai may seem not an ideal option but I gave it a go even twice, flying out of Warsaw to Colombo and going back too. Thanks to that I spent two days in Dubai and saw the most famous tourist attractions. I also made it to Sri Lanka in one piece and discovered the island step-by-step as included in this 3 week Sri Lanka itinerary. If you’re connecting in Dubai between Emirates flights for less than 24 hours, your luggage will not be available to collect. So pack your hand luggage wisely!
Be sure to check if you are eligible for visa upon arrival, and how long can you stay in the United Arabic Emirates. For example, Polish citizens can easily get a 90-day visa upon arrival at Dubai airport, free of charge. No advance visa arrangements are required. Dubai airport is quite huge but surprisingly, it was empty on New Year’s Eve. There was no line to passport control and the process went very smoothly. Another thing is that your passport must be valid for no less than 6 months before getting on board.
The best way to get to the Burj Khalifa from the airport is to take the red metro line (towards UAE Exchange). It’s only 10 metro stops and 30 minutes in total. As New Year’s Eve in Dubai is a massive venture, there are always some changes in public transport timings. It’s recommended to check the online announcements regularly. In 2019, the adjusted traffic plans for New Year’s Eve were revealed only a week before the actual date. Good news is the changes are pretty much the same each year.
One of the most significant changes was the closure of Burj Khalifa metro station from 10:00 pm on New Year’s Eve to 6:00 am the following day. In such case, you can get off the train one station earlier, at Financial Centre and take a 20-minute walk to the Burj Khalifa. Shockingly, a taxi ride from the airport to the Burj Khalifa may take you even more time than a metro ride. The ticket fare for Dubai metro for an adult from the airport to the Burj Khalifa is 4,20 AED. To compare, the taxi ride will cost you around 50 AED.
The other important change was regarding the metro operating timings at night. Usually, Dubai metro is not open 24 hours. On New Year’s Eve, it exceptionally runs all night long. Unfortunately, it wasn’t easy to catch a metro and get back to the hotel that night. Shortly after the pyrotechnic show at the Burj Khalifa ended, thousands of people were heading to the nearest metro stations. They were all packed for quite a while. I had to wait patiently for my turn to enter the metro station and get on the train.
Dirham (AED) is the currency of the United Arab Emirates. You can exchange your money in any exchange office at Dubai airport but honestly, it’s not a must. Credit cards are accepted in most places so you don’t have to stress too much about having cash with yourself on New Year’s Eve in Dubai.
Prices were very high for any kind of accommodation on New Year’s Eve in Dubai. I spent roughly 100 EUR for a twin room with no breakfast included and its standard was far from being desired. The hotel turned out to be a sleazy strip club with some upstairs rooms. Not to mention uninvited guests. Cockroaches. I’m not kidding. This is a true story. So if you happen to book a stay in Rush Inn Hotel in Deira, cancel it immediately. I’m sure that prices were extremely high due to New Year’s Eve. On my way back from Sri Lanka to Poland, I paid two times less for a night in Dubai and I stayed in a 4-star hotel.
WHERE TO WATCH THE SHOW?
Dubai hosts one of the greatest New Year’s Eve celebrations in the world. The most spectacular pyrotechnic show is held at the footsteps of the Burj Khalifa, at the Dubai Fountain. Eye-catching animations are displayed on the world’s tallest building at the same time too. To top it all off, there some other places where you can watch the New Year’s Eve fireworks show in Dubai. These are Burj Al Arab, Dubai Frame and Atlantis hotel. I won’t be surprised if there are even more pyrotechnic shows organized next year!
You don’t have to be super close to the Burj Khalifa to actually watch the main pyrotechnic show. As I had a limited time to get to the Burj Khalifa, I preferred to find a convenient place a bit further from the building rather than get stuck somewhere in the crowd, not being sure if I find a good spot or not. The key thing here is to find a place where you can see the entire structure of the Burj Khalifa. If you wish to watch the full performance, the fireworks show and animations, you must get to the Dubai Fountain before midnight.
IS IT SAFE?
Don’t forget that Islam is the official religion in the United Arab Emirates. On New Year’s Eve in Dubai streets were packed with people who celebrated this occasion in a festive but very common way. It was loud, it was crowded and there was alcohol (!), or at least people seemed to be drunk. Regardless, I didn’t witness any fights or aggressive behaviours. I didn’t experience any unpleasant or dangerous situation. Nevertheless, it is worth to say that I was not travelling alone. I was accompanied by a man. I think that I wouldn’t have gone to Dubai to celebrate New Year’s Eve on my own. But this is just my own opinion. The choice is yours!
If you could celebrate New Year’s anywhere in the world, where would that be? Maybe New Year’s Eve in Dubai? Let me know by leaving a comment below!