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Safe to spend a few days sightseeing in Dubai & Abu Dhabi on an extended Emirates layover?

We were just about to book tickets on Emirates, with a layover in Dubai extended to a couple days for sightseeing. Now, with current events in the Middle East, we are just wondering if visiting Dubai and Abu Dhabi in 2020 is a good idea for westerners. We are wondering if we should pay more and, instead, route through Amsterdam or Paris (the two next best options for our flight to Johannesburg). We are not shy about traveling to adventurous places and we're actually headed to South Africa, which has risks of its own. I would love to hear the wisdom of this group on this topic. How would you handle? Thank you in advance for sharing your point-of-view.

Posted by
4685 posts

Climate and month of the year make a big difference here. Because they are prosperous, authoritarian states, I think you have little to worry about. You are applying a broad brush to a huge area.

We were disappointed by our three days in Dubai, on the way to East Africa. An historic building there, is one over 50 years old! Luxury shopping is the least of our interests.

Posted by
1099 posts

While they're trying to portray themself as a modern country, the UAE has some harsh medieval islamic laws that you need to be aware of.

But, when reading the news recently I feel like that is an area I'd like to avoid. I don't mean to get political, but if the US-Iranian conflicts escalates, I'd prefer to go through Paris and stay away from the region.

Posted by
3981 posts

I am heading from London to Sri Lanka next month on Emirates and have added 4 nights in Dubai en route. We are watching the situation in the region, but at present, we have no plans to change our itinerary. Any retaliation could be on US soil - no one knows at present.

Flying via Paris could mean problems with strikes or air traffic control issues.