Despite what you may have heard, Dubai is not just a holiday destination for people with money. It’s entirely possible to visit this paradise getaway without spending a small fortune. With a few tips from locals, the so-called playground for the rich and famous suddenly becomes accessible and stress-free. Here’s what you should see when you plan Dubai on a budget.
How to visit Dubai on a budget
You don’t need to stay at a fancy hotel to take advantage of the white, sandy beaches. Next to the Burj Al Arab – the most luxurious hotel in Dubai – there is a public stretch of beach that is completely free to enter. Other free beaches include Kitesurfing Beach, Bu Qtair Beach and 4×4 Beach. As an added bonus, they’re all likely to be less crowded.
If you’d like to get out into the sea, Cozmo Yachts are a charter service that can be hired to take you past Burj Al Arab. If there are several of you splitting the cost, it’s still affordable.
At least one night a week, everyone can feel like an honoured guest at some of Dubai’s most expensive bars. Tuesday night is Ladies Night in Dubai! Nearly every bar will have some sort of deal from 2 free drinks to free all night. Stay in one place if it’s free all night or plan a route to take in the 2 free drinks in each place. Traditionally popular places are The Westin, Carters, Boudoir, Double Decker, Longs Bar and Rock Bottom. Men’s nights are a little rarer than Ladies Night, but they do exist.
A seasoned traveller will know that the cheapest, and quickest, way to get around a city is by metro. Dubai is no different; a day pass will only get you back 14 AED, and it covers travel to all zones. Sit back, beat the traffic, and hop on and off when you see somewhere you’d like to explore.
Dubai is well-known for its high end, five-star restaurants. Fortunately, you don’t have to starve if you’re trying to keep to a budget. The place to go for delicious, and cheap, food is 2nd of December Street. This mile-long stretch of road is packed with street cafés, hole-in-the-walls and shawarma stalls. Be sure to check out Ravi in Al Satwa if you can find it – it is a local legend which serves huge bowls of Pakistani curry and tea-tray size naan breads for between 30-40 AED.
Even if you’re not on a budget holiday, you should see the side of Dubai that isn’t all glitz and glamour. Hop in an abra – a traditional boat – to cross the creek for as little as 1 AED. On the other side of the creek is Old Dubai, preserved to keep this part of history alive. Wander around the stalls, snack on samosas, and see how far Dubai has come from a small pearl diving and trading community based around the creek.
This ‘Dubai on a budget’ post was contributed to The Lady-like Leopard.