Budget and Dubai may not seem to go hand-in-hand for most of us. After all, Dubai is popular as one of the most luxurious cities in the world. However, unlike popular belief, it is possible to have a budget-friendly holiday in the Emirate city of Dubai. There are various ways of saving money if you are careful and if you know where to go. With proper research and planning, you would be able to enjoy an amazing holiday in Dubai without spoiling your bank balance. This
Dubai travel guide
would help you to plan a budget-friendly holiday.
Tips to Travel Dubai on a Budget
The following are some tips that would help you to travel to Dubai on a budget.
Book Your Air Tickets Early
Air tickets to Dubai are quite expensive and usually take up most of your budget. In order to save money, book your tickets months in advance. It would also be a good idea to keep an eye on offers and discounts that airline companies offer from time to time. This way you would be able to save some money on the air tickets.
Look for Budget Hotels
Dubai is home to some of the most luxurious and opulent hotels in the world. In fact, it also has the Burj Al Arab, which is considered as the only seven-star hotel in the world. However, there are several budgets and mid-range hotels in Dubai as well. Hotels in the old area of Dubai, i.e. in Bur Dubai and Deira are cheaper and at the same time comfortable. Apart from this, you can also go for an Airbnb apartment in Dubai to save some money.
Opt for Public Transportation
Another great way of saving money in Dubai is opting for public transportation for commuting within the city. Instead of taxis, you can go for the Dubai Metro, which is convenient, efficient and cheap as well. The Dubai Metro connects the city quite well. Look for a hotel next to a Dubai Metro Station, so that you can travel to all the popular tourist places easily. Water taxis are also another great way of commuting in certain parts of the city. Moreover, taxis are also quite economical for short distance traveling.
Eat at Small Restaurants
Dubai is a gourmet city with an array of fine dining restaurants, some of which owned by Michelin star chefs. Although amazing, dining these restaurants would not suit your holiday budget. Instead, eat at local restaurants that serve amazing Indian and Lebanese dishes. Not only do they taste good but there are also clean and meet all the hygiene standards. Another cheap food option in Dubai is the shawarma, which is a local delicacy and can be found everywhere.
Free and Cheap Things to do in Dubai
Apart from the above-mentioned ones, another way of enjoying a budget-friendly holiday in Dubai is by opting for free and cheap things to do in Dubai. While most tourist places in Dubai have an entry fee, there are some interesting places and activities that you can enjoy for free.
1.Dubai Fountain Show
One of the best free things to do in Dubai is watching the Dubai Fountain Show. Right outside the Dubai Mall is the enormous Burj Lake, where you can watch the performance of the Dubai Fountain every night. The sight of the fountain dancing on the tunes of soulful music is quite mesmerizing. Added to these are the beautiful lights, which make the show even more marvelous.
The Dubai Mall is one of the largest shopping malls in the world. Although shopping at the 1200 retail stores of the mall may not be cheap, you really do not need to spend money to enjoy the mall. One of the free things to do here is visiting the Dubai Mall Aquarium. While the aquarium does have an entry fee, part of the aquarium tank can be viewed from outside without paying any money. Another place in Dubai Mall, which you can enter for free is VR Park Dubai, a virtual-augmented reality theme park. You can enter the place without an entry fee, although you would have to pay for the rides if you want to try them.
Timings: 10 AM to 12 AM
Location: Financial Center Road, Along Sheikh Zayed Road, Next to Burj Khalifa Tower, Dubai, UAE
Dubai is synonymous with shopping, but shopping at one of the malls (like Dubai Mall) may not be a good idea for a pocket. However, this does not mean that you should return home without buying anything. On the other hand, head to the old part of the city, where you would find the traditional souks, where you can buy everything from spices to gold. One rule you should follow while buying anything at the souks, be it a pair of shoes, perfume or even gold jewelry is that you must bargain before paying the price. Apart from this, if you really want to save money on shopping, you must visit Dubai during the Dubai Shopping Festival.
Timings: 9 AM to 10 PM (Saturday to Thursday) and 4 PM to 10 PM (Friday) – timings are approximate
An important place that you must visit when in the city is the Dubai Museum. Located inside Al Fahidi Fort, the Dubai Museum takes you back to the formative years of Dubai, long before the city became a sprawling metropolis. The museum has several interesting exhibits that show how the Arabs lived in the past. You would get to see Bedouin-style homes, traditional markets, attires, occupation, etc. of the Arabs in the past. There is also an audio-visual presentation at the end, which would show you the journey of the city from a fishing village to the ultra-modern city it is today.
Timings: 8:30 AM to 8:30 PM (Saturday to Thursday) and 2:30 PM to 8:30 AM
The Bastakiya Quarter is a window to the times when Dubai was a fishing village. The interesting homes with the unique wind towers were constructed by the Persian merchants, who came to Dubai for trading. Walking along the narrow lanes of the Bastakiya Quarter, you would come across several buildings that have been converted into museums, art galleries, cafes, restaurants, and hotels. One of the museums that you should visit here is the Coffee Museum, which would give you a detailed history of coffee through its exhibits. Moreover, it is free!
Location: Al Fahidi Historical Neighbourhood, Dubai, UAE
Duration: 1 hour
6. Abra Ride-on Dubai Creek
Dubai Creek is one of the most important spots in the city. It divides the city into Bur Dubai and Deira, and it was here that the Bani Yas tribe first settled when they moved from the desert. Today, both sides of Dubai Creek are dotted with important buildings and constructions. Still, one thing that remains true to the old times is the abra ride. The abra is a water taxi that was used for commuting from Bur Dubai to Deira and back. Even today, you can enjoy this ride throughout the day and night at the Dubai Creek at a really low cost.
Timings: 5 AM to midnight (Deira Old Souk Abra Station to Bur Dubai Abra Station)/24 hours (Sabkha Abra Station to Dubai Old Souk Abra Station)
Location: Bur Dubai or Deira
Duration: 5-7 minutes
Tickets: AED 1
7. Public Beaches of Dubai
As Dubai is flanked by the Persian Gulf, it has some of the most beautiful beaches too. Many of them are private beaches owned by hotels, some of which you can visit by paying an entry fee. However, you do not need to pay anything to visit the public beaches of the city. Some of the beaches including Kite Beach, JBR Beach, Jumeirah Beach, etc. are not only free but also are equipped with amenities. They are also great for water sports.
8. Ras Al Khor Wildlife Sanctuary
The Ras Al Khor Wildlife Sanctuary is a wetland reserve that is home to several bird species including sandpipers, grey herons, reef herons, egrets, osprey, etc. However, the star attractions of the place are the flamingos, which can be seen during the winter season. Spread around an area of 6.2 km, the Ras Al Khor Wildlife Sanctuary includes lagoons, mangroves, salt flats, intertidal mudflats, etc. It is a great way to see the natural side of the city amidst all the modern developments.
Timings: 6 AM to 6 PM (Saturday to Thursday) and 2 PM to 6 PM (Friday)
Location: Ras Al Khor Road, Dubai, UAE
Duration: 1-2 hours
9. Aquaventure Waterpark
Aquaventure Waterpark is located inside the premises of Hotel Atlantis and is one of the biggest waterparks in the world. Of course, it does have an entry fee, which is also not cheap. However, if you are visiting Atlantis Aquaventure on your birthday or birthday week, you can get a free entry. To get a free entry to this waterpark on your birthday, you need to register on the official website of the waterpark.
Timings: 10 AM to 6 PM
Location: Ras Al Khor Road, Dubai, UAE
Duration: 8 hours
Tickets: AED 354 (Free on your birthday and birthday week)
So you see, having a budget-friendly holiday is not an impossible feat. Proper research and planning would give you the chance to have an amazing holiday in Dubai without burning a hole in your pocket. Do not forget to apply for a Dubai visa online before you fly to this Emirate of UAE.