Touring Dubai on a budget

Dubai is a beautiful city to travel to, but it can come off as expensive, especially if you're travelling from a country which has a lower currency value. Or maybe, you just want to travel on a lower budget. The good thing about Dubai is that it has something for everybody, and you don't have to spend a fortune taking in it's awesome sights! If you've been putting off travelling to this city because of budget constraints, here are some tips for you.

Book cheap tickets: While there are some very popular airlines in Dubai, there are also some cheaper options, such as Air Arabia. It's a no-frills airline that will also do your visa but the only catch is that you will land in the neighbouring emirate of Sharjah. But that's taken care of by the shuttle service they offer to Dubai. There are other cheap airlines as well, but unless you are eligible for a visa on arrival, it will cost more to acquire a tourist visa separately.

Shop at the right places: The malls are the best places to look around, but if you're interested in bargain ware, check out some lesser known places such as Dragon Mart and Day To Day. The quality is not much to speak of, but you can get some cheap souvenirs! Otherwise, keep an eye out for sales. The sales in Dubai are absolutely worth it. You'll be able to shop for top brands at half the prices. Also check out the Dubai Outlet Mall.
Dubai Creek Park

Check out the free stuff: So much of Dubai's beauty and excitement is available without having you part
with a single dirham! See the musical fountains and a close-up view of the Burj Khalifa at the Dubai Mall. There's a Sound and Light show at the Wafi Mall everyday. Visit the open beaches and community parks around the city that have a free entry. Take a stroll around the Creek. Head over to the Festival Promenade at Festival City and the Madinat Jumeirah for some lovely views.

Fun at a bargain: Even if they're not free, lots of places have entry fees that are negligible. There are some amazing parks such as the Jumeirah Beach Park, Mamzar Beach Park, Creek Park and many more. The Global Village is open for five months a year. Check out the Dubai Aquarium at The Dubai Mall which is totally worth it for AED 75. You can enjoy a dhow dinner cruise for as little as AED 100, but just be sure to take a look at the dhow at first. Many allow bookings on the spot. A desert safari experience can also be had for as little as AED 150.

Use public transport: The Dubai Metro goes to all the big malls and connects the whole city. If you're staying for more than a week, it's wise to buy a Nol Card to travel, in which you will not be charged more than AED 14 per day. The buses are also very useful in connecting the smaller parts of the city. Use them to get where you want. Dubai is a pedestrian-friendly city and walking around will let you explore the city better. There are also special buses which go to Abu Dhabi and Sharjah for as little as AED 5 if you want to explore those cities.

Desert Safari
Food on the go: Dining out can be expensive, but not if you eat on the go, such as food courts in malls.
There are small cafeterias across the city but they are really only good at making the traditional shawarma sandwich. Also, there are lots of little restaurants especially in Old Dubai areas. The hygiene and standard of food across Dubai is good, so you don't have to worry about stomach bugs.

You can visit Dubai anytime of the year, but the calendar of events is generally different during the Dubai Shopping Festival and Dubai Summer Surprises. Also, things are a little subdued during the religious month of Ramadan (dates differ every year). The Dubai Calendar website has all the details.

So, get packing, and visit this exciting city for some sun, sand and shopping!

(Pics: Tarana Khan, Desert Safari by Kondo Yukihiro)
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Vinma said...

These are some amazing pointers to travel in Dubai! Thank you for this. We have cousins and friends in Dubai but still I haven't had a chance to visit the country yet. I will certainly book mark this page for my future references :)

Tarana Khan said...

Glad you found it worthwhile!

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