Life in Dubai can feel like a never-ending vacation, with endless sunshine, clear beaches, plenty of activities and a variety of unique things to do... the city has a lot to offer! Contrary to the preconceived notion that Dubai is an expensive place to visit, you can travel the city on a budget and have an amazing holiday without having to break the bank. Here are some travel tips you ought to know before your visit:
Dubai Trip Planning
Best Things to Do in Dubai on a Budget
Although Dubai has a reputation for being known as one of the world’s most expensive cities for travellers to visit, there's lots you can do on a budget. You can snap tons of pictures with Dubai’s icon – the Burj Khalifa in Dubai Downtown, enjoy unobstructed, 360-degree views of the city atop the tallest observation deck in the world, chill by the many beautiful beaches that offer much more than you expect or even marvel at the many unique cultural and monumental attractions around the city.
1. Discover the Charm of Souks of Deira – Everyone knows Gold and Spice Souks of Deira. Located in the heart of Old Dubai, the gold and spice souk (market) is a definitely sight to see. Even if you are not interested in purchasing anything, just taking a stroll along the streets, chatting with shopkeepers and gazing at the jewellery in abundant display takes you into the local culture. At the market you can eat street food, shop for fabrics and simply immerse yourself in exotic aromas and flavours from all the different spices.
2. Ride an Abra in Old Dubai - If extreme sports if not really your thing, then a ride across the Deira creek on an abra is a relaxing way to enjoy the sights and sounds of Old Dubai. The abra is a small traditional boat and is the best way to explore the local architecture and busy port where Dubai started.
3. Explore the Shopping Malls in Dubai – Dubai is known world over as a shopper’s paradise, and If you feel like exploring the shopping malls to sample shopping (or window shopping), dining and entertainment experiences during your visit, head to the Dubai Mall - world’s biggest mall and entertainment complex as per area; Mall of the Emirates (stay at ibis Mall of the Emirates, which is less than a 2-minute walk from the mall); and Deira City Centre (ibis Deira City Centre Hotel is within walking distance from the mall). Other leading shopping and lifestyle destinations in Dubai include Burjuman Centre, Mercato Mall, Ibn Battuta Mall, Wafi Shopping Mall etc.
4. Travel the World at The Global Village – For a wholesome day of good fun for entire family just head to Global Village (GV) – Dubai’s largest open-air theme park in Dubailand. GV, also touted as the world’s largest tourist project and the region’s first major cultural attraction, conducts a wide range of entertainment, shopping, cultural and festive events. There is something for everyone in this annual cultural extravaganza that runs from October until April every year, when pavilions are set up to represent more than 75 countries from MENA, Europe, Far East, Africa, The Americas, and South Asia. Every country pavilion has cultural shows, shopping stalls selling unique merchandise, restaurants and leisure activities for the family.
6. See the world’s largest dancing fountains – The largest choreographed water fountains in the world are definitely a sight to see. Covering an area of 30 acres across a man-made lake, the Dubai Fountains perform daily every 30 minutes in the evening. Famous soundtracks include the tunes of Michael Jackson, Whitney Houston and Andrea Bocelli’s signature song.
7. Visit Heritage Village / Dubai Museum – Discover a museum by the Dubai Creek that showcases how life used to be in the city before the oil boom. Dubai Museum should be a top of your list if you are someone looking for local culture and history. Located bang in the centre of Old Dubai in Al Fahidi district, Dubai Museum has many dioramas and artefacts that showcase the city’s rich past. Getting to the museum is very convenient, with the closest Dubai Metro and Bus stations only a 7-minute walk away.
8. Marvel at the Miracle Garden – Don't miss the world’s most ornate floral garden with over 45 million flowers gracing the vast 72,000 square meters of landscape of Dubailand area. Having won one too many wards in the past, including the Moselle Award for New Garden Experience of the Year by the Garden Tourism Awards 2015, It is home to Dubai Butterfly Garden – world’s largest and the region’s one and only indoor butterfly garden – which has a collection of over 15,000 butterflies belonging to 26 different species.