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Dubai travel guide suggests things to do in Dubai, Various attractions and sightseeing, budget tips to safely stay, travel, and plan your Dubai trip.
Dubai Travel Guide – About Dubai
Dubai is primarily used as a stopover destination for travelers flying in and out of Emirates. While Dubai can easily be a stopover city to visit the great sites in a couple of days, there is a surprising amount of things to do here for those looking to spend more time. People generally love their time in Dubai more than they expect! It is a city caught between the old and the new. A place in a conservative culture with old-world customs and at the same time a Vegas of the Middle East where anything goes (as long as it is behind closed doors). You would be amazed at how much there was to do in this city, and how even in a week you would barely scratch the surface. Dubai is a fascinating and multicultural city that deserves much more than a stopover and this guide would help you to plan a trip that doesn’t break your budget.
Dubai Travel Guide – Accommodation costs in Dubai
Hostels are not as common in Dubai. There are only a few here and most charge AED 100-120 for a basic bedroom. If you want a private room, expect to pay between 250-375 AED. Most will include free WiFi and some places also offer free breakfast. If you can avoid them, I would, as they are not so nice in the city.
Budget Hotel Prices
Budget hotels start at AED 200-250 per night for a double or twin room. Free WiFi is standard, and many budget hotels also include extras like free airport transfers or pools. Mid-range hotels start at around AED 250 a night, but if you’re looking for something more luxurious, the sky’s the limit here! Airbnb is also an option here (I suggest you avoid other shared pay economy services as they are reliable here). A shared room on Airbnb starts at around AED 100 per night, while an entire house or apartment will be closer to AED 400.
Dubai Travel Guide – Premier (Inn) Hotels in Dubai
If you are a premium traveler or heading for a business trip you can opt from the following Hotels in the city. These hotels provide excellent services and are best suited for any business trip.
- Majestic City Retreat Hotel ( Formerly Majestic Hotel Tower)
- Gevora Hotel – World’s Tallest Hotel
- Emirates Grand Hotel – Near Burj Khalifa
- Citymax Hotel Bur Dubai
- Emirates Grand Hotel Apartments -Near Burj Khalifa
- Grand Excelsior Hotel Bur Dubai
- City Seasons Towers Dubai
- V Hotel Dubai, Curio Collection by Hilton
- Landmark Grand Hotel
- Fraser Suites Dubai – On Sheikh Zayed Road
- Hyatt Place Dubai Al Rigga
- Ascot Hotel
- Hilton Dubai Al Habtoor City
- Dukes The Palm- A Royal Hideaway Hotel
- PARK REGIS – Near Burj Khalifa
- Golden Sands Hotel Apartments
- HYATT PLACE DUBAI JUMEIRAH
Average cost of food
You can find cheap meals in Dubai for around 30 AED, while fast food will cost slightly less (around 25 AED). The best meals are generally shared by the table and consist of hummus, pita, falafel, disgusting, fattoush, tahini salad, and grilled halloumi cheese. Operation Falafel is a large chain of cheap restaurants with 7 locations in Dubai. If you want a meal in a mid-range restaurant, expect to pay closer to 100 AED. For a great, all-day brunch show, expect to pay at least AED 375 per person. If you plan to cook your own meals, groceries will cost between AED 175-225 per week. Debonairs at the Dubai Mall has a special lunch for AED 15 ($ 4 USD). It is one of the best bargains I found. Be sure to go to Old Dubai for cheap eats. Restaurant meals in this area generally cost AED 20-30 ($ 5-8 USD). He really loved Al You, an Iranian restaurant near the Al Fahidi subway.
Dubai Travel Guide – Transportation Costs
The subway, while not extensive, is efficient and well-maintained, and public buses can take you anywhere. A one-time fee will cost between AED 4-8.50 (prices are based on how far you are going) and a daily pass is AED 20. Taxis are on the cheap side, although if you need to call one, call an Uber as the directions here can be a little odd to explain over the phone to a taxi company. The prices between the two are comparable, so stick with what’s most convenient. A bus to Abu Dhabi will cost around 40 AED (you can also take a taxi there for 290 AED each way).
Dubai Travel Guide – Suggested Daily Budget
On average 300 AED / $ 80 USD using the local transportation. Using the budget tips below, you can always reduce this number. However, if you stay in more luxurious accommodation or eat more often, expect it to be higher! Dubai isn’t cheap, but it doesn’t have to be super expensive either!)
Dubai Travel Guide – -Tips to save money
Dubai is full of places that are free to enter and amazing to walk. Spend the 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 is a lot to see and if you leave Dubai without going to a mall, you did it wrong!
Many restaurants have hummus and tapas-style food available. Have a hearty meal ordering 2-3 instead of ordering a main meal. This is especially good if you’re eating with others so you can split the bill, too!
Skip the Burj Khalifa at sunset
If you are going to climb the Burj Khalifa (not my favorite activity), tickets during sunset hours are much more expensive. Since the sunset view really isn’t much better, skip it. You will pay around 30% less!
Talk to the locals
The people here are incredibly hospitable and sweet, making them a wonderful resource for the intrepid traveler. Don’t hesitate to ask the locals for suggestions on places to eat, things to do, etc. You will not only be able to interact with the population but you will definitely get an excellent local vision!
Choose your accommodation wisely
stay within walking distance of a metro stop. The subway is very cheap, so if you can walk to a stop, you can get too many places without much money or effort.
DIY Dessert Safari
Don’t Rent a Car If you know someone who lives in Dubai, ask if they have a friend to take you to the desert. This is not a big problem since locals go to the desert very often in the colder months. You may even be lucky and find someone who wants to camp there.
Groupon is very popular in Dubai. Use it to find discounts on restaurants, activities, and attractions. If there is anything you want to do, check here first. Chances are you can find a discount!
Attend a budget happy hour
the soul of any drinker, happy hours are where you can go to save money – from McGettigan’s drink specials (29 AED ($ 8 USD) for select house drinks) to the bottle The Agency’s 100 AED ($ 27 USD) Dubai wine is FULL of happy hours (and special drinks can also be found at The Entertainer).
Get The Entertainer
This magazine has discounts and special offers for hotels, restaurants, and activities, including 2-for-1 offers. You can get a printed copy at a supermarket or bookstore for 495 AED or download the app for 445 AED. While it’s not cheap, you’re likely to get your money’s worth if you plan on doing a lot.
Dubai Travel Guide – Best places to see and do in Dubai
Visit Burj Khalifa
The tallest building in the world allows you to go up to the 128th floor for AED 100 ($ 27 USD). From there, you get panoramic views of the city and the desert. When I went it was quite misty, but still made a beautiful contrast. I would highly recommend it (but don’t pay AED 500 ($ 136 USD) for the 148th floor. Not a big difference!). At night, the building is lit by a spectacular light show of fish, palm trees, and other scenes as the fountain below dances to music.
Take a desert safari
If you want to try the dessert, go on a day safari with Arabian Adventure. You can ride a camel, hold a hawk, explore the desert, and eat some traditional food. A day trip will cost around AED 315. ( Note: there are other desert safaris that may be cheaper, but this is the complete experience).
Visit Global Village
This is a massive entertainment show, with shopping, dining, and live performances coming together to create an incredible cultural experience. This is like the Epcot Center at Disney World, except it shows the different cultures of the Middle East. There are dance and sword shows as well as many local foods to try. Admission is only 15 AED!
Dubai Miracle Garden
This time is worth spending time in this quirky and colorful garden. The garden opened in 2013 and stretches over 72,000 square meters, making it the largest natural flower garden in the world with more than 109 million flowers planted. Don’t forget your camera for this. Admission is only 40 AED. ( Note: it looks better during the day).
Visit Kite Beach
If you like kite surfers or water sports, this is a great place to catch some waves. Winds increase in the afternoon, making it a good time to hit the water or just sit back and watch others do it. If water sports are not your thing, just come here to sunbathe and relax. My favorite, more “local” restaurant is called Tent Jumeriah, and it’s on the catwalk between Kite Beach and the Burj Dubai Hotel.
The marina area is surrounded by tall buildings and contains a beautiful promenade. You can see the elegant ships and get some impressive photos of the port and the horizon. Be sure to visit Pier 7, which is seven floors of restaurants and bars on the water.
Souk Madinat Jumeirah
This souk (market) is a modern building designed to look like Aladdin but is home to some amazing restaurants, such as Agency, a trendy wine bar with a large selection of wines, and delicious meat and cheese dishes. There is also a beautiful pond in the inner courtyard of this complex.
A small museum in Old Dubai with little information but some really cool exhibits. It teaches you the history and culture of Dubai and life in the desert. With a $ 1 entry, you can’t go wrong.
Visit Old Dubai
It is Dubai as it used to be. Markets (like the famous gold market) dot the area, small shops line the streets, and you can get lost in a maze of alleys. Take a boat across the river, wander aimlessly, visit the Dubai Museum, dine at some of the traditional restaurants, explore the art district, and see Dubai as it’s far from the glitter of shopping malls and skyscrapers.
Visit the Mall
Malls in Dubai are not like shopping malls anywhere else in the world. Between the Dubai Mall and the Mall of the Emirates, you will find plenty of amazing things to see and do. Beyond shopping, you can catch the nighttime fountain show (think Las Vegas) or visit the aquarium at the Dubai Mall, or go indoor skiing at the Mall of the Emirates. Just be sure to dress appropriately (avoid tank tops and miniskirts).
Visit the Grand Mosque:
Located near Abu Dhabi, the Grand Mosque is definitely worth a half-day trip. It’s a 90-minute drive from Dubai (around AED 290 each way by taxi or AED 40 per bus), and you’ll want to make sure you’re wearing the right clothes. However, they do have coverage items available to anyone without proper clothing. Admission is free.
Stroll along Jumeirah Beach
This is a great place to sunbathe and stroll along the waterfront. There are plenty of shops to visit, and there is even an outdoor movie theater. Not only is it a great place to visit, but it’s also a great area to stay because it’s surrounded by so many things to do.
Enjoy the mature market
This open-air market has many locations around Dubai and Abu Dhabi. Explore organic food and crafts made by people living in Dubai. This takes place in a beautiful park, so have lunch in the food trucks and sit on the grass to eat it in a relaxing way.
Dance in Barasti
This dynamic open-air bar is full of locals and ex-pats. It’s multi-level with a beach at the bottom (so don’t wear heels). There is a great dance floor, sheesha smoking, food, a food truck, and many different lounge areas. Drinks are AED 45-75 each (normal for Dubai).
Watch a movie outdoors
On the beach or on the rooftop, when the temperature drops in winter, Dubai offers the perfect place to watch your favorite movies outdoors. So grab the popcorn, curl up under a blanket, and relax under the stars in these outdoor movie experiences. There is one at Galleria Mall, Wafi Mall, Cinema Akil, and Reform Social and Grill.
Go deep sea fishing
It ‘s easy enough to reserve a spot on a boat and head out to sea if you want to try your luck at deep-sea fishing. Operators like Go Fishing Dubai cater to all ages and experience levels, and most packages even include lunch. Prices will vary depending on the type of boat you book, but the most luxurious boat packages will cost over AED 900.
Visit the Jumeirah Mosque
This beautiful mosque is one of only two you can visit in the city. It consists of a large room and there is a guided tour every day at 10 am. It is 20 AED and comes with a variety of breakfast. If you don’t know much about Islam or the role it plays in the UAE, this is quite an interesting tour.
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Top 5 Shopping Malls in Dubai
If you are a shopaholic person, you can explore these shopping malls for your favorite shopping. As a one time experience, it won’t let down.
- The Dubai Mall
- Global Village
- City Centre Mirdif
- City Centre Mirdif
- Mall of the Emirates