This comprehensive DUBAI TRAVEL GUIDE was created with plenty of help from friends who are based in Dubai. It has recommendations on where to stay, what tours to take, and how much to spend. Our SAMPLE DUBAI ITINERARY below also has a detailed budget breakdown! Happy planning!
A mixture of sadness, pride, and joy enveloped my heart when a very dear friend announced that she had been reassigned to their company’s UAE office. Sadness because I was losing yet another friend to a faraway land. We had been very close, and the thought of not being able to constantly see her or talk to her brought tears to my eyes. Pride because this was the promotion she had been hoping for. And joy, because — and I’m embarrassed to admit this — I finally found a reason to visit Dubai.
Well, in true Catriona Gray fashion, I’m always that guy who finds a silver lining and makes a run for it. Months later, I was in Dubai.
WHAT'S COVERED IN THIS GUIDE?
Dubai is a true global city, where people from all around the world come together. It is the capital of the Emirate of Dubai, one of the seven emirates that make up the United Arab Emirates (UAE). The other six are Abu Dhabi, Ajman, Fujairah, Ras Al Khaimah, Sharjah, and Umm Al Quwain.
Although Dubai City is the capital of the Emirate of Dubai, it is not the federal capital of the UAE. That title belongs to Abu Dhabi. Yet, Dubai is the most populous, with the biggest fraction of the population composed of migrant workers, like the rest of the country. For many, like my friend, it is a land of opportunity. Much of the economy is driven by foreign migrant workers, which make up 80% of UAE’s population and 90% of its workforce.
Dubai is also the most popular destination among tourists, registering an estimated 16.7 million visitors in 2018 alone. Dubai has become the region’s banner city for opulence and grandeur. It is well-known for its ambitious projects like its artificial offshore islands and towering skyscrapers like Burj Khalifa, the tallest man-made structure in the world.
Here are more facts about this city.
- Location: Dubai Emirate, United Arab Emirates. UAE lies on the southeastern chunk of the Arabian peninsula in Western Asia (what many westerners like to call the Middle East). The UAE shares its borders with Saudi Arabia to the south and Oman to the east. Coordinates: 25°15′47″N 55°17′50″E.
- Time Zone: UTC+4 (UAE Standard Time). Dubai is 4 hours behind the Philippines, Singapore or Malaysia; and 5 hours behind Japan.
- Language: Arabic is the national language and the official language of the UAE. But English is the second language and is widely spoken.
- Currency: UAE dirham (AED, Dhs, د.إ). AED 1 is roughly equivalent to PHP14, USD 0.27, SGD 0.37, EUR 0.24 (as of July 2019).
- Modes of Payment: Cash and credit cards are both commonly accepted.
WHERE TO STAY IN DUBAI
Dubai is a coastal city, a long stretch of concrete caught between the waves of the Persian Gulf and the dunes of the vast Arabian Desert. The city is divided into several districts but these are what tourists should be more familiar with.
- Downtown Dubai. If you haven’t been to Dubai, this is probably the image that first pops in your head when you imagine the city. Downtown Dubai is where you’ll find some of the city’s most iconic structures including Burj Khalifa, the world’s tallest building, and Dubai Mall, one of the world’s largest shopping complexes. It is also sometimes called the New Dubai.
- Dubai Marina. This is one of the most ideal places to stay in the city, which is probably why most European expats live here. It is hemmed in by a beach and is easily accessible. It is also close to a lot of attractions.
- Jumeirah Beach. Another seaside district that is linked to almost anywhere in the city. Jumeirah is centrally located, surrounded by the Marina, the Downtown area, and the Old City. It is home to diverse communities including Europeans, Pakistanis, and Filipinos.
- Al Barsha. Situated between Marina and Jumeirah. The great thing about this area is that it is well-connected to the rest of the city. You’ll also find several mid-range hotels here.
- Bur Dubai. The heart and soul of Dubai. When they say Old City, they usually mean Bur Dubai. This was the center of the city before all the developments happened. If you want a more cultural and historical approach to your trip, this is the place to be. Lots of vibrant souks (bazaars), traditional structures, assorted restaurants, and cheap accommodations.
- Deira. Traditionally considered an extension of the Old City. Think of it as a more modern Bur Dubai, also with plenty of affordable dining, shopping, and lodging options. The best part about Deira is its proximity to the airport.
Best Area to Stay in Dubai
What’s the best area? It depends on what you want to experience and how much you’re willing to spend. The Downtown and Marina areas are closest to the modern attractions but are notably expensive. When you search for hotels online, don’t be shocked to see hotels at USD 400 to 1000 per night. Dubai is widely considered a luxury destination, so there are dozens of luxury hotels especially in these areas. There are a few more affordable options.
Bur Dubai and Deira offer a more traditional experience at a significantly lower price. If you’re on a budget, Bur Dubai and Deira may offer more options that are within your spending range. You can find a double room at a great hotel for USD 100 per night. Budget hotels are also available, offering much cheaper rooms.
Top Budget Hotels in Dubai
- Rove City Centre. Check Rates & Availability! ✅
- Rove Trade Centre. Check Rates & Availability! ✅
- Rose Park Hotel Al Barsha. Check Rates & Availability! ✅
- Roda Links Al Nasr. Check Rates & Availability! ✅
- Zabeel House MINI Al Seef. Check Rates & Availability! ✅
Top Dubai Hostels and Dorms
A more pocket-friendly option is staying at a hostel. Although very few of them are available, they are all around the city, even in the pricier districts. You can find a dorm bed for USD 20 to 30 per night.
Here are some Dubai hostels that can be booked via Agoda.
- AtTheTop Bed & Breakfast. Check Rates & Availability! ✅
- Backpacker 16 Dubai Hostel. Check Rates & Availability! ✅
- California Hostel Dubai Beach. Check Rates & Availability! ✅
- Super Stay. Check Rates & Availability! ✅
Search for more Dubai Hotels!
HOW TO GET TO DUBAI
Dubai is served by two airports: Dubai International Airport (DXB) and Al Maktoum International Airport (DWC).
Dubai International Airport (DXB). Located northeast of the city center, near Deira. DXB is the busiest airport in the world by international passenger traffic. DXB is also the hub for airlines Emirates and flydubai. These two airlines alone connect Dubai to over 150 cities around the globe.
Al Maktoum International Airport (DWC). Located south of the city center. Only a handful of commercial flights are operated here, primarily by Russia’s flag carrier Aeroflot and European low-cost airlines like Wizz Air. Most flights are seasonal.
If you’re coming from Manila, the cheapest non-stop flights are operated by Cebu Pacific and Philippine Airlines. Here’s a quick random search on SkyScanner.
Emirates sometimes reduce their rates when there’s a promo.
All three airlines use DXB. Travel time from Manila is usually 9 hours, 30 minutes.
DUBAI AIRPORT TO CITY CENTER
The good news is, the Dubai International Airport is situated not too far from the city center. In fact, you can get to Bur Dubai in 15 minutes or Deira in 5 minutes. Here are some of your options.
- BY METRO. Dubai Airport is directly connected to the metro system, so just find out the metro station closest to your hotel. Both Terminals 1 and 3 have their own metro station. There’s one train leaving either station every 10 minutes.
Operating hours: Saturday-Wednesday, 5:50am-12 midnight; Thursday, 5:30am-1am; Friday, 1pm-1am.
Travel time: 15-20 minutes to Bur Dubai/Downtown, 2-5 minutes to Deira
Fare: AED5 to Bur Dubai/Downtown, AED3-5 to Deira,
- BY TAXI. There’s a cab queue right outside the terminal. For taxis picked up at the airport, a flagdown rate of AED25 applies. Then, AED1.96 is charged per succeeding km.
Travel time: 10 minutes to Deira, 15-20 minutes to Bur Dubai or Downtown
Estimated fare: AED50-60 to Bur Dubai, AED 60-70 to Downtown.
- BY UBER/CAREEM. Uber operates in Dubai, so if you’re more comfortable with it, you can use this app to reach the city effortlessly. Aside from Uber, there’s also Careem, another transportation app, which you can use to book a private car or even taxi.
Note that if you decide to take the metro, you’re allowed only 2 suitcases and you must store them in dedicated areas.
HOW TO GET AROUND DUBAI
Dubai has one of the most advanced transportation system in the region, with a very uncomplicated metro, plenty of ride-sharing options, and the usual taxi service. But before we delve deeper into each, it is important to be familiar with the transport zones.
The city’s public transportation network is run and managed by Roads and Transport Authority (RTA), a branch of the local government. The agency has centralized all modes of transportation into a system that appears intimidating at first, but is more forgiving once you get the hang of it.
The city is divided into seven fare zones. But for tourists, most of the points of interest are within Zones 2, 6 and 5.
Here are the zones that cover some of the most visited areas:
- Zone 2: Dubai Marina, the Palm Jumeirah, Al Barsha
- Zone 6: Downtown Dubai (Burj Khalifa, Dubai Mall), Bur Dubai
- Zone 7: Deira, Dubai International Airport
You can use RTA’s Journey Planner to figure out the best route you can take and the corresponding fare. The fare depends on the number of zones your journey will straddle and the type of ticket you use. Speaking of tickets…
Understanding Nol Cards
Nol cards are reloadable cards that give you easy access to Dubai’s public transportation system including the metro, buses, trams, and the Dubai ferry. All you need to do is hover the card above the reader and go. It’s similar to Hong Kong’s Octopus card or Singapore’s EZ card, but because of the zonal fares, it’s actually much closer to Melbourne’s myki, if you’re familiar with it.
There are four cards available: red, silver, gold, and blue (personalized). Assuming that you’re staying in Dubai for a short time, let’s just focus on the RED TICKET because it’s the most suitable for tourists.
The RED Ticket is a disposable paper ticket that you can top up. Here’s what you need to know about it.
- Price: AED 6 (AED 2 for the actual card and AED 4 balance that you can use immediately)
- Reload limit: Can only be used up to 10 single journeys or 5 daily passes. (I’ll explain these daily passes later).
- Types: It can only be used on one mode of transportation at a time. For example, METRO only or BUS only. You cannot use one card for metro and then a bus later. You will have to buy separate tickets if you change the mode of transport.
- Validity: Valid for 90 days.
For short-term visitors, the RED Ticket is often sufficient. But if you’re interested in other types, we have a separate post for it.
If you feel like you’ll be taking public transportation multiple times a day, you might want to consider purchasing a pass instead of paying for every single ride. Purchasing a pass means you get to use the metro or bus for an unlimited number of times within the covered period.
The pass comes in five variants, tagged by number of days: 1-day, 7-day, 30-day, 90-day and 365-day passes.
A 1-Day Pass that covers all zones costs AED 22 (AED 2 for the card + AED 20 balance).
Note that your RED TICKET must have a minimum balance equivalent to 1 trip or 1 daily pass. Other cards must have a minimum of AED 7.5. Spot checks are done, and penalties apply.
Wifi Rental and Local SIM in Dubai
For extra help when navigating or taking public transportation around Dubai, stay connected! A good Internet connection will allow you to use travel apps like Google Maps and Uber. You can also use one of the many Dubai Metro apps available.
Klook offers pocket wifi devices for rent and local data SIM cards that you can pick up at Dubai International Airport. Choose whatever is better for you. Both options will give you access to the city’s 4G/LTE network. If you’re a group, the pocket wi-fi might be more convenient.
Dubai Metro links most of the city’s most popular attractions. It is composed of only two lines: RED and GREEN. It’s also easy to use. Just touch on your Nol card as you pass through the gates and make your way to the platforms to catch a train.
Trains run frequently from 5:50am-12 midnight (Saturday-Wednesday); 5:30am-1am (Thursday); 1pm-1am (Friday). Note that in Dubai, weekend is Friday-Saturday.
Here are some things you need to know about Dubai Metro.
- It is generally comfortable, but expect some crowding during rush hours (7-9am and 4-7pm).
- There are separate cars for GOLD class passengers. You must only use it if you’re holding a GOLD nol card. Otherwise, you might be fined a substantial amount.
- Female passengers may also choose to use the FEMALE-ONLY cars.
- Chewing gum, eating, drinking, and sleeping are prohibited onboard the metro.
- Nol cards have a minimum balance that you must maintain. It’s AED 7.5 for silver, gold, and blue cards; and the equivalent of one trip or a daily pass for the red ticket.
- Spot checks are sometimes done so always follow the rules. You don’t want to get fined.
There are plenty of Dubai Metro apps available on App Store and Google Play that you can use. Just make sure you know the nearest station to your origin and destination and it will show you how to get there (including the transfers) and how much the fare is.
With its network of wide roads, Dubai is a city ruled by cars. Despite the reliable metro, the taxi remains a very popular transportation mode. There are thousands of taxi units roaming the streets of Dubai.
A special fleet of pink cabs have also been deployed to serve female passengers. These taxis can pick up solo female passengers and groups with female members, but not solo males or male-only groups.
The standard taxi rate si AED 1.75/km. But take note of the following surcharges:
- Minimum fare: AED 12
- Regular taxi starting fare: AED 3 when hailed on the street, AED 6 when booked. A slightly higher night time rate applies (10pm-6am).
- Ladies taxi starting fare: AED 6 from 6am-10pm, AED 7 from 10pm-6am
- From the airport: AED 25
- When passing through the Sharjah border: AED 20
- When crossing a toll gate: AED 4
By Uber or Careem
Uber operates in Dubai, so if you’re more comfortable with it, you can use this app to reach the city effortlessly. Aside from Uber, there’s also Careem, another transportation app, which you can use to book a private car or even taxi.
According to my Dubai-based friends, the taxi is still slightly cheaper but Uber and Careem have better service. But between Uber and Careem, the latter is the better, cheaper option.
By Hop-On Hop-Off Bus
If you’re a fan of HOHO tourist buses, you’ll be glad that it’s also available in Dubai. If you’re not familiar, these are the open-top sightseeing buses that roam the city and makes a stop at some of the city’s most popular attractions. You don’t need to busy your mind with fares and navigation. All you need to do is hop in, present your ticket, and get off at your desired stop.
Here are some of the stops covered by the sightseeing bus.
- Burj Khalifa
- Jumeirah Mosque
- Mall of the Emirates
- Dubai Mall
- Dubai Creek
- Deira City Center
- Miracle Garden
- Global Village
- Old souks
- and more
There are 6 day routes and 2 night routes available. Each bus is also equipped with multi-lingual audio guide that can give more information about every stop. Every ticket also comes with FREE tours!
THINGS TO DO IN DUBAI
Burj Khalifa Observation Deck
Ride the world’s fastest elevator to the 124th-125th floor of the world’s tallest man-made structure, the Burj Khalifa. Enjoy a fantastic view of the emirates! If you want to skip the lines, you can book in advance below.
Hours Open: 8:30am–11pm, daily
Nearest Metro Station: Burj Khalifa/Dubai Mall Station (Red Line)
Dubai Desert Safari
This is definitely the most unforgettable tour that I did in Dubai! A desert safari tour usually starts in the afternoon and ends at night. It will take you on a 4×4 ride on the red dunes of the Arabian desert. You also get to watch the sunset and have a glimpse into the Bedouin culture. At night, dinner will be served as you enjoy a traditional show, including a tanoura and belly dancing performances.
You’ll find a lot of desert safari tours on Klook, and almost all of them offer the same package. But the two below are the most popular. The first one is the regular tour, while the other is a more premium service. Both options include hotel pickup and drop off, and service of an English-speaking guide.
IMG Worlds of Adventure
This is the world’s largest indoor theme park! It spans an area of 1.5 million sq. ft., featuring dozens of attractions inspired by Marvel (Thor, Spider-Man) and Cartoon Network (Powerpuff Girls, Ben 10) among others. There’s also a spooky Haunted Hotel, for horror fans out there.
Opening time: 11am until sunset.
Closing time: Between 8pm and 11pm, depending on time of the year and day of the week.
Closest Metro Station: Mall of the Emirates Station (Red Line). From here, you can take a cab to IMG Worlds of Adventure.
Legoland Dubai is the first Legoland in Western Asia. It harbors 40+ Lego-themed attractions and divided into six zones! It’s perfect for kids and kids at heart!
Opening time: 10am
Closing time: Between 6pm and 8pm, depending on time of the year and day of the week.
Nearest Metro Station: Ibn Battuta Station (Red Line). From here, take the bus to Dubai Parks and Resorts. There are 26 trips from 7am until 11:15pm.
Dubai City Tour
One of the best ways to truly appreciate the city is by joining a group tour. Not only will you get to see the tourist sites, you also learn about them along the way, with insights from locals. Klook’s Dubai City Tour will take you to some of the city’s historic and modern wonders alike including Burj Al Arab, Burj Khalifa, Jumeirah Mosque, Dubai Museum, and Palm Island. Hotel pick up and drop off are included.
Dubai Mall is one of the largest shopping malls in the world. Aside from a great selection of stores and restaurants, it houses a lot of attractions that the whole family can enjoy including KidZania and the VR Park.
If you plan on trying out three of the attractions here, it would be best to purchase a Dubai Mall Attraction Pass, which you can use for up to 30 days. It also comes with a FREE SIM card worth AED65.
Hours Open: 10am-12am, daily.
Nearest Metro Station: Burj Khalifa/Dubai Mall Station (Red Line).
Mall of the Emirates and Ski Dubai
The Mall of the Emirates is another well-known mall in Dubai with over 600 retail shops and 100 restaurants. Aside from shopping, it also takes pride in its fun attractions including Ski Dubai, an indoor ski park where you can enjoy snow activities like skiing and hamster balling!
Mall Hours: Sunday-Wednesday, 10am-10pm; Thursday-Saturday, 10am-12am.
Ski Dubai Hours: Sunday-Thursday, 10am-12am; Friday-Saturday, 9am-12am.
Closest Metro Station: Mall of the Emirates Station (Red Line).
Wild Wadi Water Park
Although situated next to a vast desert, Dubai has an obsession with water parks. One of the most established name is Wild Wadi Water Park, which boasts 30 heart-racing waterslides and rides, including the 32-meter Jumeirah Sceirah, the tallest slide in the region. I think this has been featured on the Amazing Race a couple of times, too!
Operating hours: 10am until sunset. Closing time is between 5:30pm and 10pm, depending on time of the year.
Closest Metro Station: Mall of the Emirates Station (Red Line). From here, you can take a cab or the Bus 81 to Wild Wadi.
Dubai Marina and Jumeirah Beaches
The coast of Dubai Marina and Jumeirah District are fringed with public beaches (JBR Beach, Jumeira Public Beach). You can swim, get a tan, or simple admire the view here.
Aside from the beach, visitors tend to gravitate towards The Walk, a waterfront boulevard flanked with retail outlets, cafes, and restaurants.
Dubai Miracle Garden
This is the biggest natural flower garden in the world, covering an area of over 70,000 square meters. The park features flowering plants that are creatively sculpted to mimic landmarks, animals, and other beautiful shapes. It’s a vibrant destination for the whole family, especially children!
It is not open year-round. The garden is routinely closed to the public in the extreme summer months (some time in April/May until October). It reopens some time in November.
Entrance Fee: Adult, 50 AED; Child (2-12yo), 40AED; Child below 2yo, FREE.
Operating hours: November-April, 9am until 9pm/11pm.
Closest Metro Station: Mall of the Emirates Station (Red Line). From here, you can take a cab or the Bus 105 to Dubai Miracle Garden.
Global Village is an international cultural theme park that combines tourism, entertainment and shopping. The cultures of around 90 countries are featured here, which makes a visit fascinating and, to a certain extent, educational. I enjoyed my time exploring this park, especially at night!
NOT open year-round! It welcomes visitors only from late October/early November until early April. Closed from April to October. The exact dates vary every year.
Entrance Fee: Adult, 15 AED; Child below 3yo or senior above 65yo, FREE.
Operating hours: 4pm to 12am (weekdays), 1am (weekends)
Closest Metro Station: Mall of the Emirates Station (Red Line). From here, you can take a cab or Bus 106 to the Global Village.
SAMPLE DUBAI ITINERARY
Here’s a sample 4-day 4-night Dubai itinerary. This assumes the following:
- You’re a party of 2 pax, splitting some of the costs like hotel and cab fare.
- You’re arriving at Dubai International Airport in the evening, so we added a Day 0.
- You’re staying at a budget hotel/hostel in Deira for AED72 per night per person. Check the nearest Metro Station.
- Your food budget is AED 25 per meal. You’ll find a lot of fast food chains or inexpensive restaurants within this budget. ZOOM, a convenience store chain in Dubai, also sells cheap packed meals.
- You only have 1 theme park visit. For Day 3, choose among IMG Worlds of Adventure, Wild Wadi and Legoland.
- Prices below are in UAE dirhams.
Note that the times here are just estimates, for sample purposes only. Actual times may vary so double check before your trip.
Feel free to change anything in the itinerary in order to match your preferences or flight schedule.
DAY 0 – ARRIVAL
09:40pm – Arrival at DXB
11:00pm – Buy nol ticket, top up, AED 10
11:30pm – Metro to Deira, AED 3
11:45pm – Walk to hotel
12:00pm – Hotel Check in
DAY 1 – CITY TOUR + BURJ KHALIFA
07:00am – Wake up call
08:30am – Hotel pick up
09:30am – Dubai City Tour, AED 50, Book here!
01:00pm – End tour
01:30pm – Lunch at Dubai Mall Food Court, AED 25
03:00pm – Explore Dubai Mall
05:00pm – Burj Khalifa Observation Deck, AED 140, Discounted here!
07:30pm – Dancing Fountain Show, FREE
08:00pm – Metro to Deira, AED 7.5
09:00pm – Dinner, AED 25
10:00pm – Back to hotel
DAY 2 – DESERT SAFARI
10:00am – Wake up call
11:00am – Shop at supermarket for food/water, Budget: AED 40
01:30pm – Back to hotel
02:30pm – Hotel pick up
03:00pm – Desert Safari Tour w/ Dinner, AED 115, Book here!
09:30pm – Back to hotel
DAY 3 – OPTION A: LEGOLAND
08:30am – Wake up call
09:30am – Metro to Ibn Battuta Station, AED 7.5
10:30am – Bus to Legoland, AED 5
11:30am – Legoland, AED 220, Discounted here!
12:30pm – Lunch, Total food budget: AED 75
07:30pm – Bus to Ibn Battuta Station, AED 5
08:30pm – Metro to Deira, AED 7.5
09:30pm – Dinner, AED 25
DAY 3 – OPTION B: IMG WORLDS OF ADVENTURE
09:30am – Wake up call
10:30am – Metro to Mall of the Emirates Station, AED 7.5
11:00am – Lunch, AED 25
11:30am – Cab to IMG Worlds of Adventure, AED 30 (60/2pax)
12:00pm – IMG Worlds of Adventure, AED 175, Discounted here!
07:00pm – Cab to Dubai Mall or MotE, AED 30 (60/2pax)
07:30pm – Metro to Deira, AED 7.5
08:00pm – Dinner, AED 25
DAY 3 – OPTION C: WILD WADI WATERPARK
09:30am – Wake up call
10:30am – Metro to Mall of the Emirates Station, AED 7.5
11:00am – Lunch, AED 25
11:30am – Bus 81 to Wild Wadi, AED 3
12:00pm – Wild Wadi, AED 210, Discounted here!
04:00pm – Walk along Jumeirah Beach
06:30pm – Bus to MotE or Dubai Internet City Station, AED 3
07:15pm – Metro to Deira, AED 7.5
08:00pm – Dinner, AED 25
DAY 4 – DUBAI SOUKS
08:00am – Wake up call
09:00am – Early check out, leave bags
09:30am – Metro to Al Ghubaiba Station, AED 3
09:45am – Explore Souk places
12:00pm – Lunch, AED 25
01:30pm – Explore Bur Dubai, buy pasalubong
03:30pm – Metro to Deira, AED 3
04:00pm – Pick up bags at hotel
04:30pm – Metro to Airport, AED 3
05:00pm – Flight check-in
07:35pm – Flight out
If you follow the itinerary above, the total cost depends on what you choose for Day 3. But here are some ballpark figures per person:
- Option A (with Legoland Dubai): AED 870 (PHP 12,110, USD 237, SGD 323, EUR 213)
- Option B (with IMG Worlds of Adventures): AED 825 (PHP 11,500, USD 225, SGD 306, EUR 202)
- Option C (with Wild Wadi Waterpark): AED 810 (PHP 11,280, USD 221, SGD 300, EUR 198)
The above estimates do NOT include accommodations, airfare, travel tax, and shopping expenses.
If you spend AED 72 per night on accommodations, Options A-C will cost you the following:
- Option A (with Legoland Dubai): AED 1083 (PHP 15,100, USD 299, SGD 402, EUR 265)
- Option B (with IMG Worlds of Adventures): AED 1038 (PHP 14,500, USD 283, SGD 385, EUR 254)
- Option C (with Wild Wadi Waterpark): AED 1019 (PHP 14,200, USD 277, SGD 378, EUR 249)
The above estimates do not include airfare, travel tax, tips, and shopping expenses.
We added a little bit of extra allowance to cover incidental expenses, price adjustments, and other costs we might have missed.
There are many ways to further reduce the expenses. See the next section!
MORE DUBAI TIPS FOR THE POOR TRAVELER
- Find a hotel that is within walking distance of a Metro Station, so you don’t need to take a cab all the time.
- Cut your food budget. The itinerary above assumes you’re spending AED 25 per meal. But you can find cheaper options especially at Asian restaurants. Shawarma, manakish and sandwiches are also a lot cheaper.
- If you can also find a place with a kitchen, you can prepare your own meals instead of eating out all the time.
- Form a group with other travelers. This will allow you to reduce food and taxi costs.
- Hit a supermarket or convenience store. A small bottled water at a restaurant can cost as much as AED 5. But you can find 1.5L of water at supermarkets for less than AED 2. Some convenience stores also sell cheap packed meals.
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS ABOUT DUBAI
Is Dubai safe?
It is generally safe. The government also wants to build its reputation as one of the safest destinations in the region. There are shady areas, but most of the touristy parts of the city are very safe. That said, practice common sense and beware of pickpockets especially at crowded places.
In addition, make sure you follow the local laws and customs. Although relatively loose compared to its neighbors, Dubai is still pretty conservative by Western standards.
Do we need a visa to visit Dubai?
If you’re holding a Philippine passport, yes, you need a visa to visit Dubai or any part of UAE. The good news is, it’s easy to get one. We have a separate post for the application here: HOW TO APPLY FOR A UAE VISA!
When is the best time to visit Dubai?
November to March, when the temperatures are pleasant and comfortable and when most seasonal attractions are open. There’s a reason why some of these sites are closed for business for the rest of the year.
While April and October can be tolerable, May to September is when the heat can be unforgiving.
Note that weekend in Dubai is NOT Saturday-Sunday. Instead, workdays are from Sunday-Thursday. Weekend is Friday-Saturday.
What type of power plug / socket is used in Dubai?
Type G, with 3 cornered pins. 220/240 V, 50 Hz.
What is the tipping custom in Dubai?
Tipping is appreciated in Dubai but NOT mandatory. At restaurants, the bill usually includes a service charge already, but if you enjoyed the service, tipping 10% is customary.
For taxi drivers, you can tip AED 5 or tell them to keep the change if it’s less than 10 dirhams.
For bell staff, AED 5-10 is sufficient.
What is the escalator etiquette in Dubai?
Walk to the left, stand to the right.