The many mosques of Dubai are perhaps one of the most beautiful aspects of the city. Intricate, Islamic architecture and domed roofs adorn even the simplest of streets. If you’re a non-Muslim, you’ll find that the majority of mosques in Dubai can only be admired from the outside, however Jumeirah Mosque, happens to be one of the exceptions.
As a bit of a nerd for history and culture, and well, admittedly someone who just loves intricate detail, I’ve always found myself fascinated with Islamic art and architecture. As such, even glimpsing some of Dubai’s many mosques from the outside was high on my priority list when considering things to do in Dubai. Jumeirah Mosque’s exterior is gorgeous, and worth the visit even if it’s just from the outside. The Mosque is designed in the Fatimid architecture style, which originated primarily in Egypt, and combines architectural elements of Egypt, Syria, Iran, and Iraq. After seeing Jumeirah Mosque, take a short walk over to Imam Hussein Mosque for a taste of Iranian architecture. Alternatively, continue towards the beach for a day at trendy beach club staple, Nikki Beach, also located nearby.
When I was searching for mosques in Dubai prior to my trip, I found more contradictions than almost any other attraction I’ve tried visiting during my travels. Oftentimes, Jumeirah Mosque is misrespresented as the ornate Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque in nearby Abu Dhabi. Jumeirah Mosque is not as large, and is more beige in color, rather than white. Claims that only two mosques are open to non-Muslims in Dubai are also somewhat less than accurate. Only two of the major mosques in Dubai are officially open to the public. The majority of mosques in Dubai are closed to non-Muslims, however there are a couple smaller, but still gorgeous, mosques that offer tours to the public, and are not frequently mentioned, such as Imam Hussein Mosque, one of two Iranian mosques in Dubai.
Touring Jumeirah Mosque is a fantastic way to introduce yourself to Emirati culture and religion while in Dubai. The Mosque’s tour is offered as one of the cornerstones of the Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Centre for Cultural Understanding’s “Open Doors, Open Minds,” program, which seeks to educate expatriates and visitors on the UAE’s traditions and customs, as Dubai becomes increasingly modern and cosmopolitan. As stated on SMCCU’s website, “With its motto Open Doors, Open Minds, all questions – no matter how sensitive – are welcome and answered.”
After traveling to Dubai myself, I’ve sorted through some of the confusing information on visiting Jumeirah Mosque, and am here to share what you should know before going:
JUMEIRAH MOSQUE LOCATION
JUMEIRAH MOSQUE HOURS
Jumeirah Mosque is open to Muslim visitors from 10am to 8pm. If you’re not Muslim, you must check into the tourist entrance and visit at one of the guided tour times. Tours are offered every day except Friday, at 10am and 2pm. Outside of tour hours, the mosque is closed to the public for prayer.
HOW TO GET TO JUMEIRAH MOSQUE
Taxi is the best choice for reaching Jumeirah Mosque, unless you already have a rental car or prefer to ride in limousines. Taxi from my hotel in Business Bay, The Oberoi, was about 15 minute ride and roughly $5 USD. Taxi in Dubai in general is much less expensive than in other major cities, such as New York in Paris. In general, I found it to be 25-35% of the price I would pay for a cab going the same distance in New York.
As I’ve searched countless travel forums on Dubai, I’ve seen concern come up that taxi in Dubai may be similar to taxi in other Middle Eastern and North African cities, in which you need to haggle your ride fare and/or pay cash. This couldn’t be further from the truth. The official RTA taxis in Dubai are metered, and every driver has a card reader in their vehicle. What you do need to watch out for are the white Lexus cars, which do not have meters and are typically 3-4x the RTA taxi fare and approximately 2x Uber.
Taxi in Dubai is generally incredibly safe. As a solo female traveler, safety is always one of my top concerns when visiting somewhere new. Taxis in Dubai have GPS tracking, and also alert drivers when they when they’re driving to quickly. I was impressed by how safely many of my drivers in Dubai drove, compared to taxis elsewhere. Of course there are exceptions to the rule, i.e. my driver who decided texting through my 30 minute ride was a good idea, but every legitimate taxi in Dubai should have a sticker inside the car on the window with the taxi number and help line in case you need to report an issue. If you’re a solo female traveler who still isn’t comfortable taking a taxi in Dubai, keep an eye out for the pink lady cabs. These cars are driven by female drivers, and grant priority to female passengers and families with children.
Careem is a ride booking app, primarily operating in the Middle East and North Africa. It’s actually a subsidiary of Uber. Unlike Uber in Dubai, Careem has a partnership with Dubai’s RTA, which operates Dubai’s taxis and public transportation service, to allow for e-hailing taxis in addition to their limousine services that mirror Uber. Booking a taxi with Careem is slightly more expensive than finding one on the street, as you need to pay a booking fee. For long distances, Uber may end up being less expensive than Careem due to surge.
Careem certainly makes hailing a taxi in Dubai easier, but in my experience, taxi in Dubai is readily available and easy to find. Drivers would actually frequently pull over if they thought that I even might need a cab without me stopping and hailing one, in an attempt to get a ride. My hotel called my taxi to get to Jumeirah Mosque, and I had no issue finding one to leave, even on a side street.
Uber in Dubai doesn’t operate in the same way it does in the United States. Unlike in the United States, all Uber cars in Dubai are limousines, and therefore more high end vehicles. It’s a great option still if you want to be able to track your ride on the app, and have a more comfortable car. I found Uber to still be much less expensive than regular taxi or Uber X in New York for the same distance, and felt as though it was a good value for the quality of the car.
Dubai is not a walking city. Allow me to repeat that: Dubai is not a walking city. I had heard it over and over before going, but didn’t really believe it. It’s so true. A good comparison to Dubai’s walkability would be Los Angeles, but honestly I think even LA might be more walkable, which is saying something. As such, if you’re planning on doing a lot across the city, or visiting other Emirates or cities such as Abu Dhabi, Sharjah, or Hatta, you may find that a rental car is just more convenient. Fret not, there is a large, free parking lot across the street from Jumeirah Mosque. I noticed parking frequently around Dubai in general, especially in more popular areas for tourists.
Jumeirah Mosque can be reached by the Number 9 bus, for 3 AED (approximately $0.82 USD) each direction. Although public transport in Dubai is rather inexpensive, transportation is a bit scattered around the city and you may find yourself walking 15+ minutes just to reach your station. I’m all for saving money when practical, but given the low cost of taxi in Dubai, and the extremely high temperatures of the city that make any walking difficult, I can’t help but feel like taxi is a bit more worth it than dealing with public transportation.
JUMEIRAH MOSQUE ENTRANCE FEE AND TOUR
If you’re visiting the mosque for the guided tour (mandatory for non-Muslim tourists), the fee is 35 AED (approximately $9.53 USD). Tours are offered everyday except Fridays, at 10am and 2pm. Pre-booking is not necessary but is recommended, otherwise registration opens 30 minutes prior to the start of each tour. The tour is approximately 75 minutes long, and includes traditional Emirati Fuala (traditional Emirati light refreshments such as luqaimat, dates, chebab, and Arabic coffee) 30 minutes prior to the start of the tour, so be sure to arrive early!
WHAT TO WEAR TO VISIT A MOSQUE
Mosques in the UAE tend to vary in how strict their dress code is. Some only require women to cover their arms and legs, regardless of how, while others require women to be in the traditional Emirati abaya. Hair must be covered, with a scarf or other head covering. Jumeirah Mosque’s website details that guests are expected to dress modestly, and women are required to bring a head covering.
If you would like to visit the mosque but don’t have appropriate clothing, fret not! The mosque has kandoora, the Emirati national dress for men, and abaya and sheila, the Emirati national dress and headscarf for women, to borrow if your clothing isn’t covering enough.
WHAT TO DO NEAR JUMEIRAH MOSQUE
Dubai is rather spread out, so it’s always best to try to visit nearby attractions when you can! Here are a few places to check out near Jumeirah Mosque:
IMAM HUSSEIN MOSQUE
Jumeira First – 226 Al Wasl Rd – JumeirahJumeirah 1 – Dubai – United Arab Emirates
Located just a 7 minute walk from Jumeirah Mosque, Imam Hussein Mosque boasts traditional Iranian tile architecture. This mosque does allow non-Muslims to visit on guided tours during tourist hours. Visiting hours for tourists are 8:30am to 10:30 am and 4:30pm to 6:30pm daily. Like Jumeirah Mosque, tours include Emirati fuala and traditional dress may be borrowed for those who do not have appropriate clothing.
Pearl Jumeirah – Dubai – United Arab Emirates
Looking to get some sun after your visit to Jumeirah Mosque? Nearby Nikki Beach offers plush day beds, private beach, and a pool. A single lounger for one comes at a price of 300 AED (approximately $81.67 USD), however 250 AED ($68.06 USD) of that fee may be applied as food and beverage credit.
WHERE TO STAY NEAR JUMEIRAH MOSQUE
Unless you’re looking to keep it chill and spend your trip focusing on Dubai’s beaches and resorts, I strongly recommend staying at a hotel in Downtown Dubai or Business Bay. This location will keep you in good proximity to many of the more cultural and historically rooted activities Dubai has to offer, in addition to the impressive Burj Khalifa and Dubai Mall.
I have previously stayed at The Oberoi Dubai in Business Bay, and loved every second. This 5 star property offers impeccable service; large rooms with floor to ceiling windows, some with views of Burj Khalifa; and a convenient location. With the high caliber of service, location, and indulgences such as a pillow menu, and housekeeping and turn down service twice daily, the Oberoi is well worth the nightly rate. Click here to check room rates at the Oberoi Dubai, or click here for my full property review.
Dubai is known for its luxury and opulent properties, but that doesn’t mean that affordable budget hotels in Dubai don’t exist! The Ibis Styles Dubai Jumeirah is located just a 15 minute walk from Jumeirah Mosque. This 3 star hotel from affordable hotel chain, Ibis, offers base room rates as low as $25 a night. Click here for more information on Ibis Styles Dubai Jumeirah and to view other budget hotels in Dubai.
Looking to spend your Dubai trip soaking up the sun? Nikki Beach Resort and Spa Dubai is located just a 6 minute drive from Jumeirah Mosque, or 30 minute walk. This resort from beach club classic, Nikki Beach, features beautiful views of the Arabian Gulf, and like its other properties, is known for its day club and beach parties. Click here to learn more about Nikki Beach Resort & Spa.
If you’re looking to take in some of the luxury of Dubai’s resorts while staying right in the center of it all, the Palace Downtown may be the property you’re looking for. Located in Souk Al Bahar, the Palace Downtown Dubai boasts opulent Arabian architecture combined with modern luxury in a palatial property. With views of the Burj Khalifa and the Dubai Fountain, this unique five star property is in a truly ideal location. Click here to discover more of the Palace Downtown.
WHAT I’M WEARING
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