Although Dubai is often associated with being a luxury city, with billionaires parading around in supercars and lunching at the tallest buildings in the world, that doesn’t mean YOU can’t enjoy it in a more frugal fashion! Here’s our guide for getting the most out of a Dubai holiday on a shoestring budget:
If hiring out a bright red Ferrari doesn’t factor into your budget, don’t worry! You’ll be able to get around just as well AND without the traffic on the Metro. A day pass is a mere 14 AED, which is only £2.70! You’ll be able to hit all the hotspots of the city, including Jumeirah Beach and the marina.
The popular taxi service is also available in Dubai and is just as easy to use as it is at home. Drivers are readily available in almost any location in the city and if you ask nicely, they will happily tell you about the sites as you pass them.
There are two prominent regular taxi services in Dubai and it can be difficult to tell them apart when trying to get the cheapest deal. They’re both cream coloured but the smaller size that fits four is the less expensive option, as the bigger version has a pre-set rate 3x higher. The cream taxi is a convenient means for your Dubai travel around the city as you’ll see them practically everywhere and you don’t need an internet connection to hail one down.
Before Dubai became the shopping, jewellery and relaxation haven that it’s known as today, it was best known for its fishing and pearling trade. That was until the discovery of oil, which kickstarted the city’s vast renovations. Visit the Dubai Museum for as little as 3 AED, which is 58 pence, to see the city’s oldest building and take a walk through how the locals lived before the mega-malls and ultra-modern skyline appeared.
Even if you’re not travelling on a tight budget, visiting Al Karama is one of the most enjoyable experiences you’ll have in Dubai. Best known for the Al Karama Centre, you can haggle till you lose your voice and get the best deal for knock-off designer goods.
True to its roots before the billionaires moved in, Deira is unlike anywhere else in the city. The centre of the fishing trade which has operated on the harbour of the Persian Gulf since the mid-20th century, you’ll be able to capture visually stunning photographs of what Dubai was like before the glamorous makeover.
The best location to visit on a tight budget and empty stomach is Beirut, which is a quaint little street-side eatery, where you’ll have great food with Lebanese and Persian flavours to accompany the perfect people-watching location.
A mouth-watering platter of Indian food features dishes for everyone, including seafood and vegan meals. The best time to hit up this buffet haven is on a Friday, between 12 and 3pm for the best prices.
A much more family-friendly brunch spot in the city. Children can enjoy themselves in the games room while the adults are welcome to complimentary alcoholic beverages when purchasing the buffet meal.
The whole JBR district is a day out in itself and everything you could need is a short walk away from each other. The area consists of over a dozen restaurants, a cinema and not to forget, Jumeirah Beach itself!
Even if you’re not looking to buy anything, just walking through the vibrant market in Deira will give you a first-hand experience of the hustle and bustle of the bazaar. Be sure to check out the extremely popular spice and textile souks to see why tourists and locals are so fond of them.
One of the most mesmerising sights in Dubai is iconic fountain dance right outside Dubai Mall. Occurring every 15 minutes, the fountains leap and spiral to the tune of a song, which varies from movie theme songs like James Bond and Mission Impossible to the latest hits.
Ideal if you’ve got a few hours of layover and you don’t particularly fancy walking around. The Big Bus tours cover various routes so you you’ll only see what you want to, whether that’s Dubai’s downtown skyline or even the various beaches.