Guide to moving to Dubai

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by Alessia Vurchio


Cultural Etiquette and Customs

Dubai, a city known for its stunning architecture, luxurious lifestyle, and rich cultural heritage, is a popular destination for expatriates from around the world. However, moving to Dubai involves more than just packing your bags and booking a flight. It requires an understanding of the local culture, customs, and etiquette to ensure a smooth transition into this vibrant city.

As is widely known, Dubai is part of the United Arab Emirates (UAE), a country deeply rooted in Islamic traditions that shape every aspect of daily life. As such, newcomers are expected to respect these traditions and adhere to certain cultural norms. One of the most important aspects of this is dressing modestly. While Dubai is more liberal than other parts of the Middle East, it’s still crucial to dress appropriately in public places. For women, this means avoiding revealing clothing and ensuring shoulders and knees are covered. Men should also avoid wearing shorts or sleeveless shirts in public.

In addition to dressing modestly, it’s also important to be mindful of public displays of affection (PDA). In Dubai, PDA is generally frowned upon and can even lead to legal trouble in some cases. Holding hands for married couples is acceptable but beyond that, it’s best to keep affection private.

Another key aspect of cultural etiquette in Dubai revolves around religion. Islam plays a central role in Emirati life and influences everything from dietary restrictions to daily routines. For instance, during the holy month of Ramadan, Muslims fast from dawn until sunset. During this time, eating, drinking or smoking in public during daylight hours is considered disrespectful and can result in fines.

Moreover, Friday is considered a day of rest in Dubai and many businesses will be closed. The weekend in Dubai runs from Friday to Saturday with Sunday being the first day of the working week.

When it comes to social interactions, respect for elders is paramount in Emirati culture. It’s customary to stand when an elder enters the room and to always greet the oldest person first. Additionally, when receiving or giving something, it’s polite to use your right hand as the left is considered unclean.

Language is another important aspect of cultural etiquette in Dubai. While English is widely spoken, making an effort to learn a few basic Arabic phrases can go a long way in showing respect for the local culture. Simple phrases like “As-salamu alaykum” (Peace be upon you) for greeting and “Shukran” (Thank you) can be very useful.

Lastly, punctuality is not as strictly observed in Dubai as it might be in Western cultures. It’s not uncommon for meetings to start late or for plans to change at the last minute. This is part of the more relaxed approach to time management in the Middle East and is something that newcomers will need to adjust to.

Weather and Climate

Dubai is situated within the Arabian Desert, which significantly influences its climate. The city experiences a tropical desert climate characterized by extremely hot summers and warm winters. The weather is generally sunny year-round, with over 3,500 hours of sunshine annually. This makes Dubai an ideal destination for sun-seekers but can be challenging for those not accustomed to such high temperatures.

The summer months from June to September are particularly hot, with daytime temperatures often exceeding 40 degrees Celsius (104 degrees Fahrenheit). During this period, the humidity levels also rise dramatically, making the heat feel even more intense. It’s not uncommon for the night-time temperatures to remain above 30 degrees Celsius (86 degrees Fahrenheit). Therefore, if you’re moving during these months, it’s crucial to stay hydrated and avoid unnecessary exposure to the sun.

On the other hand, the winter months from November to March offer a much milder climate. Daytime temperatures range between 24 and 35 degrees Celsius (75-95 degrees Fahrenheit), while at night they can drop as low as 14 degrees Celsius (57 degrees Fahrenheit). These months are considered the best time to enjoy outdoor activities in Dubai.

Despite being located in a desert region, Dubai does experience rainfall, although it’s relatively minimal and irregular. Most of the rain falls during the cooler months from December to March. However, when it does rain in Dubai, it can be quite heavy and cause flash floods due to the city’s flat terrain and lack of natural drainage systems.

In terms of preparing for Dubai’s weather and climate, there are several things you should consider. Invest in a wardrobe suitable for hot weather. Lightweight, breathable fabrics like cotton and linen are recommended for comfort in the heat. Don’t forget to pack a good quality sunscreen with a high SPF to protect your skin from the intense sun.

Air conditioning is ubiquitous in Dubai, from homes and offices to public transport and shopping malls. Therefore, it’s also advisable to have some light sweaters or jackets for indoor use as the temperature difference can be quite significant.

A final word: if you’re moving during the summer months, try to schedule your moving activities during the cooler parts of the day, such as early morning or late evening. This will help you avoid the peak heat times and make your move more comfortable.

Laws and rules

Dubai is one of the safest cities globally, boasting a low crime rate due to strict laws and efficient law enforcement. One of the first things you’ll notice about Dubai is its stringent adherence to rules and regulations. The city has a zero-tolerance policy towards drugs; possession, use or trafficking of drugs can lead to severe penalties including imprisonment or deportation. Alcohol consumption is also regulated; it’s permitted only in licensed venues such as hotels or private clubs, and public intoxication can lead to fines or imprisonment.

In terms of road safety, Dubai has modern infrastructure and well-maintained roads. However, driving can be challenging due to the fast-paced nature of traffic. It’s crucial for new residents to familiarize themselves with local driving laws and customs. For instance, using mobile phones while driving is strictly prohibited and can result in hefty fines.

Dubai experiences extreme heat during summer months with temperatures often exceeding 40 degrees Celsius. It’s important for new residents to take necessary precautions against heat-related illnesses such as dehydration or heatstroke. Drinking plenty of water, avoiding outdoor activities during peak hours, and wearing sun-protective clothing are some measures that can be taken.

Healthcare in Dubai is of high standard but can be expensive without proper insurance. It’s mandatory for all residents to have health insurance coverage. Ensure that your policy covers a wide range of medical services, including emergency treatment.

Dubai is a multicultural city with residents from various cultural and religious backgrounds. Respect for local customs and traditions is paramount. Public displays of affection are frowned upon, and during the holy month of Ramadan, eating, drinking or smoking in public during daylight hours is prohibited.

Language Barriers in Dubai

Arabic is the official language of the United Arab Emirates. It’s used in government offices, schools, and official documents. However, due to Dubai’s diverse population, English has become the lingua franca in business transactions and daily interactions. In fact, you’ll find that most signs and menus are bilingual, featuring both Arabic and English.

Despite this widespread use of English, it’s important not to underestimate the value of understanding some basic Arabic phrases. Even a rudimentary grasp of Arabic can go a long way in fostering good relationships with locals and showing respect for the local culture. Simple greetings like “As-salamu alaykum” (Peace be upon you) or expressions of gratitude such as “Shukran” (Thank you) can help break the ice and foster positive interactions.

Moreover, while English is widely spoken among Dubai’s expatriate community and younger Emiratis, older generations may not be as fluent. Therefore, learning Arabic can be beneficial when interacting with older locals or visiting more traditional areas outside the cosmopolitan city center.

However, it’s worth noting that the version of Arabic spoken in Dubai differs somewhat from Modern Standard Arabic (MSA), which is taught in schools and used in formal settings across the Arab world. The local dialect is known as Gulf Arabic or Khaleeji, which has unique vocabulary and pronunciation rules.

Fortunately for newcomers to Dubai, there are numerous resources available to help overcome the language barrier. Language schools offer courses in both MSA and Gulf Arabic, catering to different proficiency levels. Online platforms also provide flexible learning options for those with busy schedules.

In addition, Dubai’s multicultural environment means that many other languages are spoken in the city. Hindi, Urdu, Tagalog, Russian, and Chinese are just a few of the languages you might hear on a daily basis. This linguistic diversity can be a great advantage for those who speak these languages or are interested in learning them.

Dining and Cuisine

As an expat moving to Dubai, you will be spoilt for choice when it comes to dining options. The city’s culinary scene is as vibrant and varied as its population, offering a wide range of dining experiences that cater to all tastes and budgets.

Starting with the local Emirati cuisine, it is a must-try for any newcomer. Traditional dishes like Harees (a dish made from wheat and meat), Majboos (a spiced rice dish), and Luqaimat (sweet dumplings) offer a unique taste of the region’s rich culinary heritage. Many local restaurants serve these traditional dishes, providing an authentic Emirati dining experience.

However, Dubai’s food scene extends far beyond its local cuisine. Given the city’s cosmopolitan nature, you can find almost every type of international cuisine here. From Italian to Indian, Japanese to Mexican, there’s something for everyone. High-end restaurants run by world-renowned chefs dot the cityscape, offering gourmet dining experiences that are second to none.

For those who prefer a more casual dining experience, Dubai has plenty to offer as well. The city is teeming with cafes and bistros that serve everything from artisanal coffee to gourmet burgers. Food trucks have also become increasingly popular in recent years, offering a variety of street food options from around the world.

Moreover, Dubai is home to a number of food markets and festivals throughout the year. These events provide an opportunity to sample a wide range of cuisines in one place and often feature live cooking demonstrations by top chefs.

Vegetarians and vegans need not worry either. With the growing trend towards plant-based diets, many restaurants in Dubai now offer vegetarian and vegan options on their menus. There are also several dedicated vegetarian and vegan restaurants in the city.

When it comes to dining etiquette, Dubai is quite cosmopolitan and relaxed. However, it’s important to remember that the UAE is a Muslim country, and certain customs should be respected. For instance, during the holy month of Ramadan, eating, drinking, and smoking in public are prohibited from dawn until sunset.

Alcohol consumption is also regulated in Dubai. While it’s available in licensed restaurants and bars (mostly located in hotels), public intoxication is strictly frowned upon. It’s also worth noting that you need a personal liquor license to purchase alcohol from shops.

In terms of cost, dining out in Dubai can range from incredibly cheap to extremely expensive, depending on where you choose to eat. While high-end restaurants can be pricey, there are plenty of affordable eateries where you can enjoy a delicious meal without breaking the bank.

Social Life and Entertainment

We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again, Dubai is a melting pot of cultures, with over 200 nationalities calling it home. This multicultural environment has significantly influenced the city’s social scene. From traditional Emirati customs to Western, Asian, and African influences, the social fabric of Dubai is rich and varied. It’s common to find yourself in gatherings where multiple languages are spoken and different cultural norms are observed.

The city’s social calendar is packed with events throughout the year. Dubai hosts numerous festivals such as the Dubai Shopping Festival, Dubai Food Festival, and the much-anticipated Dubai International Film Festival. These events provide excellent opportunities to socialize, meet new people, and immerse yourself in the local culture.

Dubai’s nightlife is equally vibrant. The city is dotted with numerous bars, clubs, and lounges that cater to various tastes. Whether you prefer a quiet evening sipping cocktails at a rooftop bar or dancing the night away at a bustling nightclub, there’s something for everyone. However, it’s important to note that while Dubai has a liberal approach compared to other Middle Eastern cities, certain rules must be respected. For instance, public drunkenness and inappropriate behavior can lead to fines or imprisonment.

For those who prefer more relaxed forms of entertainment, Dubai offers plenty of options. The city is home to beautiful beaches where you can enjoy water sports or simply relax by the sea. There are also numerous parks and gardens perfect for picnics or leisurely walks.

Art enthusiasts will appreciate Dubai’s thriving arts scene. The city hosts several art festivals and has numerous galleries showcasing works from local and international artists. The Alserkal Avenue in Al Quoz is a hub for contemporary art, while the Dubai Opera offers a variety of performances, including ballet, opera, and musicals.

Sports fans are also well catered for in Dubai. The city hosts world-class sporting events such as the Dubai World Cup, the richest horse race in the world, and the Dubai Duty-Free Tennis Championships. There are also plenty of opportunities to participate in sports, with facilities available for golf, tennis, football, and more.

Dubai’s entertainment scene is not limited to adults. The city offers a plethora of family-friendly activities. From theme parks like IMG Worlds of Adventure and Dubai Parks and Resorts to educational attractions like the Dubai Aquarium and Underwater Zoo and the Green Planet, there’s no shortage of fun things to do with kids.

The UAE operates under a civil law system, heavily influenced by French, Roman, Egyptian and Islamic law. This unique blend of influences results in a legal framework that may be unfamiliar to many expatriates. Therefore, understanding the basics of this system is essential for anyone planning to move to Dubai.

One of the most significant aspects of Dubai’s legal system is its strict adherence to Islamic law or Shariah. This religious law governs various aspects of daily life, including marriage, divorce, inheritance, and criminal matters. For instance, alcohol consumption is regulated under Shariah law and requires a license for non-Muslim residents. Similarly, public displays of affection are frowned upon and can lead to penalties.

However, it’s important to note that Dubai is one of the more liberal emirates within the UAE when it comes to implementing Islamic law. The city has made significant strides in creating an environment conducive for foreigners by introducing laws that cater to their lifestyle needs while respecting local customs and traditions.

Another key aspect of Dubai’s legal system is its approach towards business and commerce. The city has established itself as a global business hub with its free trade zones offering 100% foreign ownership and zero taxes. These zones operate under their own regulations separate from UAE federal law, providing an attractive proposition for international businesses.

In terms of property rights, expatriates can buy freehold property in designated areas in Dubai. This was not possible until 2002 when the government introduced laws allowing foreigners to own property. However, it’s worth noting that property laws can be complex and often favor landlords over tenants, so it’s advisable to seek legal advice before entering into any property agreements.

Dubai also has strict laws regarding personal conduct and decency. Offensive language, gestures, or behavior can lead to fines or imprisonment. The city places a high value on respect for others and public order. Therefore, understanding these laws and adhering to them is crucial for anyone planning to live in Dubai.

The legal system in Dubai also extends to online behavior. The UAE has stringent cybercrime laws, and offenses such as online harassment, posting defamatory content, or sharing inappropriate material can lead to severe penalties.

Transportation in Dubai

Dubai boasts an extensive and efficient public transportation network, managed by the Roads and Transport Authority (RTA). The RTA oversees a variety of transport modes including buses, taxis, water taxis (known as Abras), and the Dubai Metro. The latter is particularly noteworthy as it is one of the most advanced and cleanest systems in the world.

The Dubai Metro consists of two lines: the Red Line and the Green Line. These lines intersect at two points, Union and BurJuman, providing seamless connectivity across the city. The metro operates from 5 am to midnight on weekdays, with extended hours until 1 am on weekends. It’s worth noting that first-class cabins (known as “Gold Class”) are available at a higher fare for those seeking extra comfort.

Buses in Dubai are another reliable means of transportation. They cover nearly all areas of the city and run at regular intervals. Most buses are air-conditioned – a necessity given Dubai’s hot climate – and some even offer free Wi-Fi. Bus stops in Dubai are also air-conditioned for passenger comfort.

Taxis are ubiquitous in Dubai and can be hailed from virtually anywhere at any time. They’re metered, ensuring fair pricing, and can also be booked in advance through various apps or by calling the RTA hotline. For those who prefer ride-hailing services, Uber and Careem (a Middle East-based service) operate extensively throughout Dubai.

For short trips across Dubai Creek, consider taking an Abra – a traditional wooden boat. It’s not only an affordable way to travel but also offers a unique cultural experience. Alternatively, for travel to the Palm Jumeirah or other offshore islands, water taxis and ferries are available.

Dubai also encourages sustainable transportation. The city has an expanding network of cycling paths, and bicycles can be rented from various stations around the city. Moreover, electric vehicle charging stations are becoming increasingly common as part of Dubai’s commitment to reducing carbon emissions.

For those planning to drive in Dubai, it’s important to note that the city follows right-hand drive rules. Traffic can be heavy during peak hours, and parking in some areas can be challenging. However, most residential and commercial buildings provide ample parking spaces. International driving licenses are accepted, but expatriates planning to stay long-term will need to obtain a UAE driving license.

A final piece of advice: the Nol Card is a must-have for anyone using public transportation in Dubai. This prepaid card can be used on all RTA transport modes and even for paying at parking meters or certain retail outlets.

Healthcare Services

Dubai boasts an extensive network of public and private hospitals and clinics, all equipped with state-of-the-art medical technology. The city’s healthcare sector is regulated by the Dubai Health Authority (DHA), which ensures that all medical facilities adhere to international standards. This means that whether you choose a public or private healthcare provider, you can expect world-class medical care.

However, there are some differences between public and private healthcare services. Public hospitals in Dubai offer free emergency treatment to everyone, regardless of their insurance status. For non-emergency treatments, UAE nationals receive free healthcare, while expatriates are charged at lower rates compared to private hospitals. On the other hand, private hospitals offer a wider range of services and shorter waiting times but at higher costs.

One of the key aspects of Dubai’s healthcare system is mandatory health insurance. In 2014, the DHA implemented a law requiring all residents, including expatriates, to have medical insurance coverage. This law ensures that everyone in Dubai has access to necessary medical care without worrying about the cost. Employers are typically responsible for providing health insurance for their employees. However, dependents and domestic workers may not be covered under these policies, so it’s crucial to check your specific situation.

The scope of coverage can vary significantly depending on the insurance plan. Basic plans typically cover essential health services such as GP visits, specialist consultations, surgical procedures, maternity care, and emergency treatment. More comprehensive plans may also include dental care, optical care, physiotherapy sessions among others.

Pharmaceutical services in Dubai are also top-notch with a wide array of pharmacies scattered across the city operating round-the-clock. Prescription medications are generally available, although it’s advisable to check the availability of specific drugs before moving, especially if you require long-term medication.

Dubai also places a strong emphasis on preventive healthcare. The DHA regularly conducts health awareness campaigns and offers various preventive services such as vaccinations and screenings for early detection of diseases. This proactive approach contributes to the overall health and wellbeing of the city’s residents.

Despite the high standard of healthcare in Dubai, language can sometimes be a barrier as not all medical staff may be fluent in English. However, due to the city’s multicultural population, many hospitals employ staff who can speak multiple languages.

The Education System in Dubai for Expats

Dubai’s education system is primarily divided into public schools, private schools, and international schools. Public schools are government-funded and follow the UAE’s national curriculum, which is taught in Arabic. These schools are typically attended by Emirati students, as they focus on Islamic and Arabic values. However, they are open to expat students as well.

Private schools in Dubai offer a variety of curricula from around the world. These include the British GCSE and A-Level system, the American High School Diploma and college preparatory tests like SATs, the International Baccalaureate (IB), Indian (CBSE/ICSE), French, German, Filipino, Japanese, and many others. The medium of instruction in these schools is usually English, although there are schools where it could be French or German depending on the curriculum.

International schools are a popular choice among expats due to their multicultural environment. They follow internationally recognized curricula like the IB or those from the US or UK. These schools often have state-of-the-art facilities and offer a wide range of extracurricular activities. They also tend to have smaller class sizes compared to public schools which allows for more individual attention.

The quality of education in Dubai is generally high across all types of schools. The Knowledge and Human Development Authority (KHDA) oversees the private education sector in Dubai and regularly inspects private schools to ensure they meet quality standards. Schools are rated on a scale from ‘Outstanding’ to ‘Very Weak’, with inspection reports publicly available on KHDA’s website.

Admission processes vary across different schools. Generally, it involves filling out an application form, submitting necessary documents, and in some cases, the child may need to take an entrance test or attend an interview. It’s advisable to start the admission process well in advance due to high competition for places in top-rated schools.

School fees in Dubai can range from affordable to quite expensive, depending on the type of school and its rating. Public schools are free for Emirati students, while expats are required to pay a nominal fee. Private and international schools can be quite costly, with fees varying greatly depending on the curriculum, facilities, and reputation of the school.

The academic year in Dubai typically starts in September and ends in June or July of the following year. It’s divided into three terms: from September to December, January to March, and April to June or July. There are two main holiday periods: winter break in December and summer break from late June or early July until September.

Finding Accommodation in Dubai

Identify the area that best suits your lifestyle and budget. Dubai is divided into several districts, each with its own unique character. For instance, if you prefer a bustling urban environment with easy access to shopping and entertainment facilities, areas like Downtown Dubai or Dubai Marina might be ideal for you. On the other hand, if you’re looking for a quieter residential area with plenty of green spaces, consider locations like Arabian Ranches or The Springs.

Once you’ve identified your preferred area, it’s time to decide on the type of accommodation that suits your needs. In Dubai, you can choose from apartments, villines (a local term for townhouses), and standalone villas. Apartments are the most common type of accommodation and come in various sizes ranging from studio units to spacious four-bedroom flats. Villas and townhouses offer more space and often come with private gardens or pools but are generally more expensive.

When it comes to finding available properties, there are several resources at your disposal. Numerous online portals list properties for rent or sale in Dubai. Websites like Dubizzle, Property Finder, and Bayut are popular choices that offer comprehensive listings with photos and detailed descriptions of each property. Additionally, hiring a real estate agent can be beneficial as they have extensive knowledge of the market and can help negotiate rental or purchase prices.

Before finalizing any agreement, it’s crucial to understand the rental laws in Dubai. Rent contracts are typically for one year and require upfront payment of rent by one to four cheques. It’s also standard practice for tenants to provide a security deposit, usually amounting to 5% of the annual rent for unfurnished properties and 10% for furnished ones.

It’s worth noting that utilities in Dubai are not usually included in the rent. Tenants are responsible for setting up and paying for their electricity and water supply, which is provided by the Dubai Electricity and Water Authority (DEWA). Internet and cable TV services are also additional costs that tenants need to consider.

One final note: always ensure that your landlord is the legal owner of the property. This can be verified through the Dubai Land Department’s website. It’s also advisable to have your lease agreement reviewed by a legal professional before signing.

Dubai’s job market is diverse and dynamic, offering opportunities across various sectors. The city’s economy is not just oil-based but also thrives on tourism, real estate, finance, and trade. Therefore, job seekers can find opportunities in a wide range of fields. However, competition can be fierce due to the high number of expatriates seeking employment.

To start with, it’s essential to understand that networking plays a significant role in Dubai’s job market. Many job vacancies are filled through word-of-mouth referrals before they even get advertised. Therefore, building a strong professional network can be instrumental in landing a job in Dubai. Attend industry events, join professional groups on social media platforms like LinkedIn, and connect with people who work in your desired field.

Next, it’s important to note that while English is widely spoken in Dubai, knowing Arabic can give you an edge over other candidates. Although it’s not always necessary for most jobs, having Arabic language skills can open up more opportunities and make you more appealing to employers.

When it comes to applying for jobs in Dubai, ensure your CV is up-to-date and tailored to the Middle Eastern market. Highlight your skills and experiences that are relevant to the job you’re applying for. Also remember that qualifications matter in Dubai; having a degree or professional certification can significantly increase your chances of securing a job.

In terms of work culture, Dubai offers a unique blend of Western and Middle Eastern influences. While it’s modern and progressive in many ways, traditional values still hold sway. For instance, the work week typically runs from Sunday to Thursday, with Friday and Saturday being the weekend. Moreover, during the holy month of Ramadan, working hours are reduced.

It’s also worth noting that Dubai has strict labor laws that protect both employers and employees. Before accepting a job offer, make sure you understand your contract thoroughly. It should clearly state your salary, benefits, working hours, and other terms of employment. Be aware that once you sign a contract, it can be difficult to change jobs within the first two years without your employer’s consent.

While Dubai offers lucrative salaries and tax-free income, the cost of living can be high. Accommodation, schooling, and healthcare can be expensive. Therefore, when negotiating your salary package, take these factors into account.

Cost of Living

The cost of living is high compared to many other cities worldwide, but it’s important to remember that salaries are often commensurate with these costs. The city offers tax-free salaries, which can significantly offset the high cost of living. However, it’s crucial to negotiate a salary that will allow you to live comfortably and save money.

Housing is one of the most significant expenses in Dubai. The cost varies greatly depending on the location and type of accommodation. For instance, renting a one-bedroom apartment in the city center can cost anywhere from AED 60,000 to AED 100,000 per year. On the other hand, properties located further out from the city center are more affordable.

Utilities such as electricity, water, and cooling are also a considerable part of the monthly budget. Unlike many western countries where heating is a major expense, in Dubai, it’s air conditioning that can drive up your utility bills especially during the sweltering summer months. Internet and cable TV packages are also relatively expensive compared to other countries.

Food costs in Dubai can vary widely depending on your lifestyle and preferences. Eating out at restaurants can be pricey, especially at high-end establishments. However, grocery shopping can be quite reasonable if you stick to local produce and avoid imported goods which tend to be more expensive.

Transportation costs in Dubai are relatively low compared to other major cities around the world. Petrol is cheap due to the country’s oil reserves, making car ownership an affordable option for many residents. However, if you prefer public transportation, Dubai has an efficient metro system and reasonably priced taxis.

Healthcare in Dubai is of high quality but comes with a hefty price tag. It’s mandatory for all residents to have health insurance, and the cost of premiums can vary depending on the level of coverage. It’s advisable to factor in these costs when planning your move.

Education is another significant expense for those moving to Dubai with children. International schools are prevalent, offering various curriculums, but tuition fees can be high. Therefore, if your relocation package does not include an education allowance, this could be a substantial addition to your annual expenses.

Despite the high cost of living, Dubai offers a high standard of living with world-class amenities and infrastructure. The city is safe, clean, and offers a plethora of recreational and entertainment options. Moreover, its strategic location makes it a gateway to travel to other (cheaper) parts of the world.

Alessia Vurchio
Alessia, the globe-trotting maven with a quirky obsession for visa regulations, has seen more immigration offices than the average stamp in a passport. When she’s not decoding the Byzantine intricacies of entry permits, you’ll find her sipping tea on a slow boat in Laos, or accidentally hiking into restricted zones (because, maps are so mainstream). She has an unusual fascination for the intricacies of bewildering visa regulations and has never been known to overstay in a country despite many years of nomadic living.
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