Arabic words to learn in Dubai

21 Useful Arabic Words/Phrases for Solo Women Travellers in Dubai

Imagine yourself sitting in a posh restaurant in Dubai, having a delicious meal. Now a cute guy approaches you and asks you something in Arabic. But you don’t understand it, look confused in front of him, and he leaves. It feels a bit bad, right? Well, learning a few useful Arabic words on solo travel to Dubai may come in handy in such situations. Or any situation for that matter.

When travelling to a different country, learning a few words in the country’s most-spoken language will only enhance your solo travel experience. Even though many people speak English in Dubai and most United Arab Emirates states, learning a few Arabic words or phrases would not hurt. Also, it will help you save from some of the tourist scams that you may come across in Dubai.

When I had travelled to Japan, I did not know that many Japanese phrases or words, which made my almost perfect solo trip a bit difficult. That’s when I had decided to learn a few useful Arabic words on my solo trip to Dubai. And guess what, the experience turned out to be quite amazing!

I have created a list of some useful Arabic words that will help you communicate better with the locals and have an overall amazing experience in the country!

Greetings and Being Polite

1. marḥaba

Translation: hello

It is one of the most basic Arabic words you can learn for your solo trip to Dubai. It will help you start conversations in a polite manner. When Arabs see you trying to learn and communicate in their language, they will be more than happy to help and assist you in any way possible.

2. shukran/shukran jaziilan

Translation: thank you/thank you very much

A very useful Arabic word for solo travel to Dubai, you can make use of it in a number of ways. You can use it while speaking to someone you recently met or people you may regularly see, such as your hotel manager, room service, etc. Being polite never gets old, and it will enhance your travel experience for sure!

3. ‘ahlan wa sahlam

Translation: you’re welcome

Many people do not respond to thank you. During my solo trip to Dubai, I realised not replying to thank you is considered rude. Ever since I got to know this, I have been replying you’re welcome in Arabic to anyone who politely says thank you to me.

General phrases

4. ismii *your name*

Translation: my name is *your name*

This is one of the most useful Arabic words you can learn for your solo trip to Dubai. It is important for you to be able to introduce yourself whenever needed. This one small phrase will also help you make friends and start conversations easily on your solo trip. 

5. maa ismuk?

Translation: what is your name?

It is only polite to ask the other person’s name when you first introduce yourself. This phrase will make it sound like you are interested in talking to the person. Once done with these two phrases, you can continue the conversation by telling the other person you are on a solo trip to the country and keep the conversation flowing.

6. hal tatakallam ‘inglilizi?

Translation: do you speak English?

It may not be possible to learn Arabic in just a few days. This phrase will come in handy when you only know English. Since English is a universal language that many people in the world speak fluently, you can ask the Arabs if they know English.

7. anaa la ’atakallam al- xarabiyya

Translation: I do not understand Arabic

When travelling solo to Dubai, this phrase will be your best friend in many places. If you do not understand Arabic, you can let the locals know by using this phrase. Accepting that you do not understand Arabic is much better than pretending to know it or lying about it. If the people you are interacting with know English, they will speak to you in that language.

On my solo trip to Dubai, I did not know a lot of phrases either. But I made sure I learned this one phrase as it helped me interact better with the locals. The Arabs were very friendly, and they communicated in English after I told them I do not understand Arabic that well!

8. kayfa Haaluka/Haaluki?

Translation: How are you? (Male/Female)

This phrase will come in handy to know the general well-being of the people you are talking to. It will also show them that you are genuinely interested in talking to them. Also, you can use this phrase to know how a person’s day is going.

9. anaa bikhayr, shukran

Translation: I am fine, thank you

A very simple phrase but so important while having conversations. When someone asks you how you are, you can reply with this phrase. It is a polite way of saying I am good. 

10. madhaa taquul?

Translation: what did you say?

Considering the fact that you are not fluent in Arabic, this phrase will save your life. When you meet people in Dubai, especially locals, you will realise how fluently they speak Arabic. This only suggests that you may not understand everything they say. And there is no harm in asking them to repeat what they said. This phrase will also let the other person know you are a non-Arabic speaker, and he/she might speak more clearly to help you understand!

Other phrases

11. hal hunaaka maTxamun jayyidun?

Translation: where is a good restaurant?

In the age of technology, you may feel like relying on the internet to give you restaurant suggestions. But trust me, nobody knows the place the way a local does. If you want to eat some delicious Arabian food, then I would suggest you use this phrase.

12. kam huwa th- thaman?

Translation: how much does that cost?

A very useful Arabic phrase, you can use this one when you go shopping, especially street shopping as malls usually have fixed prices on products. Make sure you use this phrase at the right place to avoid looking like the odd one out.

13. hal hunaaka haatifun ’umuumiyyun huna?

Translation: is there a public phone around here?

Although the chances of you using this phrase are low, it would not hurt to learn it. In certain cases where you run out of phone battery, or you forget to purchase a local SIM card, then this phrase will help you out if you need to make a call.

During my solo trip to Dubai, one of the first things I did after landing at the airport was to get a local SIM card. This step helped me avoid running to find a public phone in a foreign country when I needed to make a call. I would highly recommend you do the same as well. If you decide to do it, I would suggest you get one from a mall or mobile operator stores. However, if you decide against it, this phrase will definitely help you out.

I understand the pronunciation of this phrase may be a little difficult to get on the first attempt. If you face any difficulty, you can click here for pronunciations of some of the difficult phrases.

14. anaa anzil *name of the place* zay?

Translation: how do I get to *name of the place*?

If you face difficulty reaching a certain place, you can ask the locals how to get there. They will help you with all the transportation timings that you may need to know. Now, you might think, why would one need to ask a local to get somewhere when we all have smartphones and internet connections. Well, if your phone battery dies or you end up in a place with network issues, this phrase will save your life!

15. wayn aghrab *name of the place or region*?

Translation: where is the nearest *name of the place or region*?

Well, this phrase is quite multipurpose. You can use it to ask the locals about anything that you might be looking for in a nearby area. It can be a public toilet, bus stop, taxi stand, etc. The locals will help you to the best of their knowledge and may even recommend other places that might be helpful for you.

16. hal tastaTiixa ’an tusaaxidani?

Translation: can you help me?

Again, a multipurpose phrase. If you get lost on your way to a tourist place or just need help to find something in the neighbourhood, this phrase will help you. But remember not to use this phrase in front of people that look suspicious. Although Arab locals are quite friendly, if you ever end up in a deserted area with narrow passageways, stay alert and do not speak to the people of that area. Reach a safe-looking area and approach either the police officers or shop and stall owners.

I got lost on the way to my hotel during my solo trip to Dubai. As I had learned a few basic Arabic words and phrases, the locals helped me get to my hotel. I tried not to look worried and anxious, and luckily, the Arab locals were helpful when I told them I am lost, and it was my first solo trip to Dubai!

17. ayna yomkanany shera *name of the product*?

Translation: where can I buy *name of the product*?

A very useful Arabic phrase if you love shopping. If you have a particular product in mind to purchase and cannot find it, you can easily ask the locals or the shop owners where you can buy it. 

18. hal haza howa et-tareeq ela *name of the place*?

Translation: is this the way to *name of the place*?

This phrase will help you if you are using maps on your mobile device to a certain place. Sometimes, the maps may show a place which you may not find even if you follow the exact directions. It has happened quite a lot to me as well. And I found this Arabic phrase to be quite helpful. 

19. ayna al hamam?

Translation: where is the washroom?

This phrase can prove to be very helpful, especially for female solo travellers. If you are in a busy street or market, chances are you may not be able to find washrooms or restrooms that easily. This is where this phrase will save your life. Do not be shy to use it. If needed, you can approach the female Arab locals and ask them where the washroom is.

20. ayna aqrab saraf aalee?

Translation: where is the nearest ATM?

If you run out of cash, do not worry, most malls and shops accept online and card payments. But it would not hurt to keep some cash with you in cases of emergency. And this is where this phrase will help you. 

I would recommend you get your cash exchanged or withdrawn from ATMs as soon as you land in Dubai. I realised the importance of cash in Dubai as there are some places in Old Dubai that do not accept cards and online payments. Also, Old Dubai is one of the must-visit places in Dubai, so if you plan to go there, carry some cash with you!

21. annee mafqood

Translation: I think I am lost

Lastly, this is one of the most important phrases you could learn on your solo trip to Dubai. When you travel to a new country, you may realise that you have forgotten the directions or just not able to find a particular place. In such cases, I would advise you to ask a local instead of trying to figure out the directions on your own. Asking for help may also prove to be less time-consuming and confusing.

These are some of the useful Arabic phrases that I would recommend you learn for your solo trip to Dubai. Now, you might be thinking in the age of technology and era where almost everyone knows English, learning these phrases may be unnecessary. But trust me, learning a few Arabic phrases and words will enhance your solo trip to a whole new level. You might even end up making a few Arab friends!

Now that you know the basic Arabic phrases pack your bags and get ready to have one of the best trips of your life because Dubai is waiting for you!

What is your favourite Arabic word/phrase?


An introverted blogger who is looking to make unforgettable solo travel memories with one short life.

Leave a Reply