Dubai is mainly used as a stopover destination for travelers flying in and from Emirates. While Dubai can simply be considered a stopover city where you hit the big sites in a few days, there’s a surprising amount of things you can do here for those seeking to spend additional time. I loved my amount of time in Dubai a lot more than I thought I’d! It’s a city trapped between your old and the brand new. A location in a conservative culture with old world customs while at exactly the same time a Middle-Eastern Vegas where anything goes (as long as it’s nowadays). I was surprised at just how much there was to accomplish in this city — and how even in weekly I barely scratched the top. Dubai is a remarkable, multi-cultural city that deserves greater than stopover and I am hoping you utilize this guide to greatly help plan a vacation that won’t break your budget!
Hostel prices — Hostels aren’t that common in Dubai. There are just a few here & most charge between 100-120 AED for a simple dorm. If you prefer a private room, be prepared to pay between 250-375 AED. Most includes free WiFi and several places also offer free breakfast. When you can avoid them, I’d because they aren’t that nice in the town.
Budget hotel prices — Budget hotels start between 200-250 AED per night for a simple twin or double room. Free WiFi is standard, and several budget hotels likewise incorporate extras like free airport shuttles or pools. Mid-range hotels start around 250 AED per night, but if you’re looking for something more luxurious, the sky may be the limit here! Airbnb can be a choice here (It is advisable to avoid other paid sharing economy services because they are reliable here). A shared room on Airbnb starts around 100 AED per night, while a whole home or apartment will be nearer to 400 AED.
Average cost of food — You will discover cheap meals in Dubai for about 30 AED, while junk food will cost a little less (around 25 AED). The very best meals are often shared by the table and contain hummus, pita, falafel, foul, fattoush, tahini salad, and grilled halloumi cheese. Operation Falafel is an excellent cheap restaurant chain with 7 locations around Dubai. If you prefer a meal at a mid-range restaurant, be prepared to pay nearer to 100 AED. For an all-day brunch extravaganza, be prepared to pay at least 375 AED per person. In the event that you anticipate cooking your own meals, groceries will definitely cost between 175-225 AED weekly. Debonairs in the Dubai Mall includes a lunch special for 15 AED ($4 USD). It’s among the best bargains I found. Make sure to go to Old Dubai for cheap eats. Meals at restaurants in this area generally cost 20-30 AED ($5-8 USD). I must say i loved Al Usted, an Iranian restaurant close to the Al Fahidi metro.
Transportation costs — The metro, without extensive, is efficient and well-maintained and the general public buses may take you anywhere. An individual fare will definitely cost between 4-8.50 AED (prices derive from how far you ‘re going) and a day-pass is 20 AED. Taxis are on the cheap side, though if you want to call one, call an Uber instead because the addresses here could be a bit wonky to describe over the telephone to a taxi company. The costs between your two are comparable, so stick to whatever is easiest. A bus to Abu Dhabi will definitely cost around 40 AED (you may also have a taxi there for 290 AED each way).
Suggested daily budget — 300 AED / $80 USD (Note: That is a suggested budget assuming you’re residing in a hostel, eating dinner out a little, cooking the majority of your meals, doing plenty of free activities, maintaining your drinking to the very least, and using local transportation. Using the budget tips below, you can always lower this number. However, in the event that you stay static in fancier accommodation or eat out more regularly, expect this to be higher! Dubai isn’t cheap nonetheless it doesn’t should be super expensive either!)
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Money Saving Tips
- Walk around — Dubai is filled with places that are absolve to enter and stunning to walk around. Spend your day at any mall or shopping area: Mall of the Emirates, The Dubai Mall, Ibn Battuta Mall, City Center Mirdif, Souk Madinat Jumeirah, Sunset Mall, Souk al Bahar, etc. There’s plenty to see and in the event that you leave Dubai without likely to a mall — you achieved it wrong!
- Eat hummus — Plenty of restaurants have hummus and “tapas” style food available. Have a filling meal by ordering 2-3 rather than ordering a primary meal. That is especially good if you’re eating with others so that you can split the bill too!
- Miss the Burj Khalifa at sunset — If you’re increasing the Burj Khalifa (not the best activity), tickets through the sunset hours are a lot more expensive. Because the sunset view really isn’t that far better, skip it. You’ll pay around 30% less!
- Speak to the locals — The people listed below are incredibly hospitable and sweet, making them an excellent resource for the intrepid traveler. Don’t hesitate to ask the locals for suggestions about places to eat, things you can do, etc. Not only do you want to get to connect to the populace but you’ll definitely get some good great, local insight!
- Pick your accommodation wisely — Stay within walking distance of a subway stop. The subway is actually cheap, if you can walk to an end, you’re able to reach so many places without much money or effort.
- DIY desert safari — Don’t rent an automobile. In the event that you know anyone who lives in Dubai, ask if indeed they have a friend who’ll take you to the desert. This isn’t a big deal as locals visit the desert frequently in the cooler months. You may even get lucky and discover someone who really wants to camp out there.
- Use Groupon — Groupon is quite popular in Dubai. Utilize it to find discounts on restaurants, activities, and attractions. When there is something you should do, check here first. You will get a discount!
- Attend a budget happy hour — The lifeblood of any drinker, happy hours are where one can head to save a buck: from McGettigan’s drink specials (29 AED ($8 USD) for selected house drinks) to Agency’s 100 AED ($27 USD) bottle of wines. Dubai is Filled with happy hours (and drink specials are available in The Entertainer too).
- Get The Entertainer — This magazine has discounts and specials for hotels, restaurants, and activities, including 2-for-1 offers. You may get a hardcopy at a supermarket or bookstore for 495 AED or download the app for 445 AED. While it’s expensive, chances are you are certain to get your money’s worth in the event that you plan on performing a lot.
Top What to See and Do in Dubai
- Visit Burj Khalifa — The tallest building on the planet lets you rise to the 128th floor for 100 AED ($27 USD). From there, you get panoramic views of the town and desert. When I went it had been pretty hazy, nonetheless it still made for a lovely contrast. I’d recommend it (but don’t pay 500 AED ($136 USD) for the 148th floor. It’s not that a lot of a difference!). During the night, the building is illuminated by a magnificent light show of fish, palm trees, and other scenes as the fountain below dances to music.
- Have a desert safari — If you would like to have a taste of the desert, leave on a day-long safari with Arabian Adventure. You’ll manage to ride a camel, hold a falcon, explore the desert, and eat some common food. A day-long excursion will definitely cost around 315 AED. ( Note: there are other desert safaris which may be cheaper, but here is the full experience).
- Visit Global Village — That is an enormous entertainment extravaganza, with shopping, dining, and live performances all coming together to create an unbelievable cultural experience. That is like Epcot Center at Disney World, except it showcases the various cultures of the center East. There are dance and sword shows, and a lot of local foods to try. Admission is 15 AED!
- Dubai Miracle Garden — This quirky and colorful garden will probably be worth spending time seeing. The garden was opened in 2013 and is spread over 72,000 square meters, rendering it the world’s largest natural flower garden featuring over 109 million flowers planted. Remember your camera because of this. Admission is 40 AED. ( Note: it’s best observed in the daytime).
- Visit Kite Beach — If you’re into kite surfer or water sports, that is a great spot to catch some waves. The winds grab in the afternoon, rendering it a good time going to the water or simply sit back watching others do it. If watersports aren’t your thing, just come here to catch some rays and relax. The best, more “local” restaurant is named Tent Jumeriah, and it’s on the walkway between Kite Beach and the Burj Dubai Hotel.
- The Marina — The marina area is surrounded by tall buildings possesses a beautiful boardwalk. You can view the fancy boats and get some good stunning photographs of the harbor and skyline. Make sure you have a look at Pier 7, which is seven floors of restaurants and bars on the water. I liked Asia Asia, using its gaudy Asian theme (it has 2-for-1 specials in The Entertainer too!).
- Souk Madinat Jumeirah — This souk (market) is today’s building designed to appear to be something out of Aladdin, but it’s home for some incredible restaurants, like Agency, today’s wine bar with numerous wines and yummy meat and cheese plates. There’s a lovely inner courtyard pond in this complex, too.
- Dubai Museum — A little museum in Old Dubai with very little information but some awesome displays. It explains the annals and culture of Dubai and life in the desert. At $1 USD admission, you can’t fail.
- Visit Old Dubai — That is Dubai since it used to be. Markets (just like the famous gold market) pepper the region, small shops line the streets, and you may get lost in a maze of alleyways. Have a boat over the river, wander aimlessly, go to the Dubai Museum, eat at a number of the traditional restaurants, explore the art district, and see Dubai since it is from the glitz of the malls and high-rises.
- Hit the mall — Malls in Dubai aren’t like malls somewhere else in the world. Between your Dubai Mall and Mall of the Emirates, you’ll look for a ton of amazing what to see and do. Beyond shopping, you can view the nightly fountain show (think Vegas) or go to the aquarium at the Dubai Mall, or go indoor skiing at the Mall of the Emirates. Be sure that you dress appropriately (avoid tank tops and mini skirts).
- Go to the Grand Mosque — Situated in nearby Abu Dhabi, the Grand Mosque is certainly worth a half-day trip. It’s a 90-minute drive from Dubai (about 290 AED each way in a taxi or 40 AED on the bus), and you’ll want to be sure you wear appropriate clothing. They do have cover-up items available there, however, for anybody without suitable attire. Admission is free.
- Stroll along Jumeirah Beach — That is a great spot to sunbathe and stroll along the boardwalk. There are plenty of shops to go to, and there is even a patio movie theater. Not merely is this an excellent spot to visit, but it’s an excellent area to remain because you’re surrounded by so a lot of things to accomplish.
- Enjoy Ripe Market — This outdoor market has many locations around both Dubai and Abu Dhabi. Browse organic foods and crafts created by people surviving in Dubai. That is in a gorgeous park, so grab lunch from the meals trucks and take a seat on the grass to relaxingly eat it.
- Go dancing at Barasti — This dynamic outdoor bar is filled with locals and expats. It’s multi-level with a beach in the bottom (so don’t wear heels). There’s an enormous dancefloor, sheesha smoking, food, a food truck, and several different lounge areas. Drinks are 45-75 AED each (normal for Dubai).
- Watch a patio movie — By the beach or through to a rooftop, when the temperature dips in the wintertime, Dubai supplies the perfect spot to catch a screening of your preferred films outdoors. So grab some popcorn, curl under a blanket and unwind beneath the stars at these open-air cinema experiences. There’s one at the Galleria Mall, Wafi Mall, Cinema Akil, and Reform Social and Grill.
- Go deep sea fishing — It’s rather easy to book an area on a boat and leave to sea if you need to try your hand at deep sea fishing. Operators like Go Fishing Dubai focus on all ages and degrees of experience, & most packages even include lunch. Prices will change depending on what type of vessel you book but more luxurious boat packages will definitely cost up to 900 AED.
- Go to the Jumeirah Mosque — This beautiful mosque is 1 of 2 in the city it is possible to visit. It includes one large room and there’s a guided tour each day at 10am. It’s 20 AED and includes a great breakfast spread. In the event that you don’t know much about Islam or the role it plays in the UAE, it’s pretty a interesting tour.