If you know me or have read anything about my travel then you must know I love to travel for cheap. I am the kind of person that will work it out so that I spend a month in a country rather than splurge and only visit for 1 week or so. I was in Dubai for my Birthday last month and I definitely had an amazing 2 weeks and my wallet did not fully suffer.
Here are a collection of ideas and tips on how to enjoy Dubai without a Sheikhs’ budget. Well even if you are on a sheikh’s budget some of these tips would still be a great addition to your planning.
The founder of Air B&B is one of my heroes after Uber and Hello food. As much as I want to spend less I never compromise on quality (could be debated though hahaha) and location (this one for sure never). As I was planning my short trip I knew I wanted to spend some time where all the action was aka Marina but I also knew I didn’t have or didn’t want to spend US$ 600 per night on accommodation. Fast forward I found a steal deal for US$ 40 dollars a night at Jumeirah Beach Residence. Really I had the proper views of the Marina and I could walk to Marina Promenade in 7 minutes
Have Awesome Friends 🙂
Well I would lend you all my friends but I am not good at sharing :). After a few days I opted to go stay with a friend and he lives in the World’s Tallest Residential Building right in the Marina are as well. The building has 97 floors and has a viewing deck of the city. This came in handy as I had my aerial view here rather than paying to go up Burj Khalifa 🙂
Sunbathe for free
I love the sun and I am glad I visited in winter meaning I just got enough dose of the Arabian heat. Kitty and Dave who I met through Couch surfing were perfect hosts and also very fun people. We took one of the afternoons and headed to Jumeirah beach. It free and you can bring your own snacks and gear for an afternoon of La dolce far niente.
Explore Old Dubai
Here is a post about my time there. It’s magical just seating at one of the cafes whilst there and just allowing you to be taken back in time. Opt for the local abra over the tourist cruise. The restaurants here are also so much cheaper than those in Bur Dubai.
Burj Khalifa from below
I have heard the views from the deck are divine but as I dint do it thanks to Princess Tower (97th floor viewing deck) I can’t really comment on that. However the view from down below is just as magical and the dancing fountain happens every hour all day hence you have plenty of time to experience it. I would definitely recommend doing this at night and waiting on the bridge for a few minutes prior so as to get the best views. Everyone is allowed a splurge once in a while and we chose to have dinner at Mango Tree as we waited for a particular Egyptian song – Enta Omri (I) by Hossam Ramzy that an Egyptian song claimed was the best tunes at the fountain :). This was our 3rd trial to catch the song but it was all worth it.
Travel on your Birthday
I know you are thinking what???? But hear this, as I was traveling on my birthday one week before and a week after, I was able to get FREE entrance to Aquavetures Park – Atlantis for a full day of bring out the child in me. In 2 other occasions I got discounts on my meals. So why not treat yourself on your birthday and let the destination you visit you shower you with love. On my actual birthday I was waiting for a different friend for lunch and 3 guys at Subway insisted to buy me a cookie to celebrate as I waited… oh how sweet 🙂
Ditch taxis in favor of the metro
Transport can be one of those costly things you endure when traveling. In Dubai the Taxi is not as expensive as I thought – but HEY all the oil is here. Either way taking the metro is rather convenient as it covers most places you would be visiting whilst on holiday there so why pay more for taxis.
Hit the clubs on ‘ladies’ night’
This was one of the BEST new things that I hadn’t read about or expected. As you know Dubai may be very cosmopolitan but where alcohol is involved it goes back to its religious side. As you need a special license to sell alcohol and most restaurants do not serve it -I think actually all restaurants on the Marina Promenade DO NOT serve alcohol. I digress … so the super duper coolest thing is that Tuesday is Ladies night meaning you drink for Free. Yap you hear me right you drink at no cost or barely any cost. So make sure on your next visit to Dubai to ensure your spend your Tuesday night sipping away some lovely drinks.
Get a cheap history lesson at a museum
Dubai Museum “Al Fahidi Fort” has an opportunity to get rich, full and integral knowledge of the very old history of Dubai that interacted with different people and civilizations across history. You will get the chance to get acquainted with the history of Dubai, which gives an impression that Dubai’s current development, modernism and distinction are only a continuation of a journey of a unique and distinguished civilization that was subjected to different cultures and people, as well as an example of the strong bond with Arabism and Islam. For entry fees of less than $1 it’s something you should do.
Look out for free events
With a city having a great population of expats and immigrants there is also event and many of which are free. Visit Dubai always shows what happening in each month and has a section for free events. Whilst there was a 3 days international Yoga Fest that was bee attended by thousands of people. I am sure there always art or music fairs as well that may be of interest or whatever it is that tickles your fancy. – (hush hush – was too lazy to get up at 6am for Yoga :))
Get cheap eats
Well if you are anything like me then food hold a big appeal to you. Dubai is one of those cities where you can get all types of food and they could be as close to authentic due to great numbers of immigrants and expats. I love Thai food but I also do not enjoy it (well that a lie I still love it) when I have to pay US$ 30 for a plate of pad Thai. A couch surfing friend Paul, living in Dubai was kind enough to show me a place away from all the sky scrapers where a Thai couple who barely spoke English run a small Thai place with delicious food that was quite inexpensive. They also allow for you to bring your own alcohol 😉 but I’ve heard they don’t allow it anymore.
Wander the malls
The one good thing with malls in Dubai beside been a place to run you broke they provide great malling adventures. If you are like me and little things fascinate you then you should be in for a ride. The car parade, aquarium an waterfall at Dubai Mall, Ski Dubai at Mall of Emirates are some of the cools things to see at no cost 🙂 Or just the gold atms haha.
So just because you are not crazy about shopping or having a queens wallet doesnt mean you cant do Dubai.