Everything you need to know about visiting Dubai in May
If you are looking for a beachy getaway holiday then get set because May is the month for you in Dubai! Hot, but not summer extreme hot; plenty of activity still happening around town, Eid-ul-Fitr celebrations and sea temperatures hit their sweet spot with little chance of rain – welcome to sunshine time in Dubai!
Whilst the emirate of Dubai is still very much welcoming tourists to return in 2021, there are currently restrictions in place surrounding entertainment, dining and hotel capacity. Do expect that advertised events may continue to be cancelled or postponed. Stay up to date with UAE COVID Information for travellers here.
Dubai weather in May
Daytime temperatures rise significantly over the course of May. Your average daytime maximum in May is 37.8°C (100°F), but don’t be surprised if temperatures can hit as high as 43.5°C (110°F) by the end of the month. You can expect overnight lows down to 25.2°C (77°F).
Humidity is at the lowest point in May so it is a drier heat than usual, and rainfall is unlikely – though not unheard of – in May in Dubai. Dust storms may be experienced at this time of year too.
Sea temperatures are not quite at their summer peaks but do significantly warm up in May making it ideal for beachgoers to still enjoy a dip in the azure waters of the Arabian Gulf. You can expect lows of 26.3°C(79.3°F) in the water through to highs of 31.2°C (86.2°F) by month-end.
Dubai Special Events May 2021
May in 2021 will be dominated by the Holy Month of Ramadan, proceeded by Eid-ul-Fitr celebrations mid-month (likely a long weekend from 11 May to 15 May). Gone are the days when Ramadan was considered a quiet month in Dubai where nothing happened – quite the opposite – Ramadan 2021 in Dubai is shaping up to be an exciting time of cultural enrichment with limited changes to the tourism offering.
- Holy Month of Ramadan – the 9th month of the Hijri calendar will fall on approximately 13 April to 12 May 2021 (the official start and end dates are determined by a moon sighting committee)
- End of Ripe Market season – the last market to be held on 1 May 2020
- Dubai Comedy Festival – several venues across the city this annual event will this year run from 13 to 22 May 2021
- Eid-al Fitr – the end of fasting is a 3-day Muslim celebration marked with prayers and celebrations from sundown 12 May 2021 (it’s not unusual for the Government to last-minute declare the whole week as a public holiday – it gets announced quite last minute)
Will cafes and restaurants be open during the day in Dubai during Ramadan?
Since 2019, dining establishments are no longer being asked to apply for a license nor blackout their windows during the Holy Month. The Government have confirmed this is again the case in 2021 as they continue to promote tourism at all times of the year.
It is still disrespectful (and in most cases against the law) to be found eating or drinking in public outside of dining establishments during Ramadan. We talk more about the exact rules in our Dubai Ramadan Guide.
Suggested Dubai Activities in May 2021
Bearing in mind the Holy Month of Ramadan, it’s important to note that business opening hours will change at this time of year. Some shops and attractions may open earlier than usual, then close for the afternoon, reopening after Iftar (the evening breaking of the fast). Always check the details closer to the time with anything you’ve booked.
We suggest that the following activities may be a great way to spend your time in Dubai in May this year:
- Experience a traditional Iftar at the Sheikh Mohammed Centre for Cultural Understanding in the city’s Al Fahidi Historical Neighbourhood
- Take a night cruise down the Dubai canal to experience the thriving evening culture (NB entertainment program altered during Ramadan)
- Enjoy a morning desert safari – the mornings in Dubai are much cooler than the late afternoons and evenings during May. If you’d like a more pleasant Dubai desert safari experience, head out pre-dawn for maximum enjoyment – try a hot air balloon experience for a completely unique and unforgettable experience.
- Explore Souk Madinat Jumeirah with its traditional Arabian design and enchanting waterways, including superb views back to the Burj Al Arab
- Take a trip up the Burj Khalifa – it’s a quieter month so queues are short and visibility is good
Dubai with kids in May 2021
Dubai is a city burgeoning with family-friendly activities year-round. As May is getting quite hot to be outdoors unless you’re in the water why not try these ideas:
- Cool of at one of Dubai’s outdoor adventure playgrounds such as Aquaventure at Atlantis the Palm or at Wild Wadi, attached to Jumeirah Beach Hotel.
- Head out to Dubai Parks & Resorts – 4 theme parks in one location! Little ones will love Legoland Dubai while older kids will likely prefer Motiongate – advance book tickets to save on gate passes! (Note that since re-opening the Legoland water park only operates Thu to Sat)
- Special kids theatre onboard the QE2 (permanently docked at Port Rashid) from 12 to 22 May 2021 catch the Little Mermaid
- Enjoy night ziplining through the Ghaf tree forest in Mushrif Park at Aventura
- You can find our complete guide to Dubai indoors here
More frequently asked questions about Dubai in May
If warm weather and low crowds sound appealing then absolutely, May is a great time to be in Dubai. The day time temperatures are hot (averaging 37.8°C/100°F) but if you avoid heading into the sun in the peak of the day its still manageable for heat-lovers.
Just be mindful in 2021 and partly in 2022 the Holy Month of Ramadan will fall in the Gregorian month of May. There are modifications in some tourist behaviors expected during Ramadan – see the full guide here.
May was traditionally the start of low season for tourism in Dubai but in recent years this has not been the case so much. With the Holy Month of Ramadan falling over May now, this means the Eid ul Fitr celebration (breaking of the fast) falls mid-month.
This is a long weekend locally, and for all countries in the GCC region ,which leads to increased tourist numbers; you are unlikely to bag a bargain on accommodation over Eid. Visiting before or after Eid you may still be able to grab some cheaper accommodation. Note, some services and entertainment attractions will not run over Ramadan [13 April to 11 May approx].
This all depends on your heat tolerance levels and your interests. The daytime average in Dubai during May is 37.8°C/100°F, getting hotter throughout the month with highs as much as 43.5°C/110°F experienced.
The sea temperature in May rises from lows of 26.3°C/79.3°F to highs of 31.2°C/86.2°F making it the best month for beach weather if you love it hot but not spa like!
If you are pregnant, with young children or don’t like to be too hot and sweaty you will be pushing it by the end of May. There are plenty of indoor alternatives and the city is made to handle the heat but do expect to spend the middle of the day indoors. You can find our complete guide to Dubai weather in May here.
If you prefer to do more exploring on foot and day trips beyond the city, it may be getting too hot by May.
May is one of the traditionally quieter tourism months in Dubai. Most visitors who come seeking heat and sunshine come earlier in spring (March/April) in line with European school holidays. Local schools are in class during May, expect for maybe a few days of mid-term break, this differs across schools.
You will find a couple of busier points in May during 2021. The Eid-ul-Fitr celebrations, marking the end of Ramadan, will see a 4-5 public holiday mid-month which will bring a lot more people out than usual and many shopping sales and special events will be held (in line with social distancing and capacity rules in 2021).
There is sometimes another small peak in tourism experienced at the end of May when UK schools have a half term break. Due to COVID restrictions from the UK and many European countries in 2021, this is unlikely to have a big impact on tourism this year.
From late May 2021 and through to summer school break will be the least crowded time to visit Dubai in 2021.
Before you go… More important things you should know when planning a trip to Dubai
- Pop into our essential planning information page, it includes everything you need to know about getting around Dubai, a handy guide on what to pack and top tips for first-timers on the do’s and don’ts, laws and customs to be aware of.
- Check out this incredible list of 150+ places you should visit when you’re in Dubai.
- Pick up a Dubai Pass to save up to 50% on top Dubai attractions
- Don’t forget to pack your travel insurance!!!
- Discover the best areas to stay in Dubai, or bag a bargain on your accommodation here:
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