Below are some ideas to help you explore and make the most of Dubai. These tips are based on my experiences living in the emirate for over 5 years.
1. Get the Entertainer App for discounts on Adventures/Food/Hotels – This is a handy app where you can take advantage of 2-for-1 vouchers when you dine in restaurants or go on tours (desert safari, bus tours, etc.), check in selected hotels or pamper yourself with spa experiences. While there is a cost to get the app, the savings you will get when you use the vouchers throughout the year will definitely be worth it. As a resident of Dubai, this has been a great money-saving tip and my wife and I have cut back thousands of dirhams when going out on dates.
2. Visit Cobone and Groupon for monthly deals – An alternative to the Entertaine, especially if you usually go out by yourself, you can visit deal websites like Cobone and Groupon and check out the available discounts on restaurants, getaways, etc. posted every month.
3. Day Tours on a Bus– If you have friends and relatives coming to Dubai and have a limited time, one of the ways to tour the city in a day would be to book hop-on, hop-off bus tours from City Sightseeing Tours or Big Bus Tours as this is a convenient way for you to explore and visit popular tourist attractions in Dubai. You may also opt to hire tours from various travel agencies in the city.
4. Take the Metro – The most inexpensive way to see Dubai would be to ride the Dubai Metro. This is more for do-it-yourself travellers who want to explore at their own pace and be more adventurous in checking out what tourist spots are available at each metro stop. An added bonus are the views of the city when you ride the metro as it passes through Sheikh Zayed Road route.
5. Tour Both Old Dubai and New Dubai – to better appreciate Dubai, it would be good to explore both its history and its amazing developments. Getting to see both sides of the emirate gives you a better perspective of how quickly Dubai has progressed.
Old Dubai – soak up the history of Dubai by heading to the Gold Souk and Spice Souk, ride the abra (traditional wooden boats) for only AED 1 per ride, and experience how to commute in the Dubai Creek area. Visit and explore the museum in Al Fahidi neighborhood, the oldest district in Dubai.
New Dubai – check out the towering skyscrapers in Dubai Marina, Burj Khalifa in Downtown Dubai and the buildings along Sheikh Zayed Road. Visit the Dubai Canal and you will be surprised at how this body of water came about when the area was simply all sand. Enjoy shopping in the Dubai Mall (the largest mall in the world) and Mall of the Emirates (where you can see an indoor ski resort).
6. Shop during Sale Season – If you’re up for some shopping, as a UAE resident, it would be better and more economical if you shop during sale seasons. The biggest shopping festivals include DSF (Dubai Shopping Festival) during winter season, DSS (Dubai Summer Surprises) during summer season and the GITEX (Gulf Information Technology Exhibition) Shopper Festival for computers and gadgets which happens twice a year. In between these biggest shopping festivals, there are flash sales that happen during special occasions in Dubai. You just need to watch out for them in news websites.
7. Learn Emirati Culture – Through the SMCCU (Sheikh Mohammed Centre for Cultural Understanding), you can learn about Emirati culture as they offer various tours where you can get a better understanding of UAE locals and customs. They offer Cultural Meals for a local food experience, a visit to the Jumeirah Mosque where you can openly ask questions about Islam culture, and other guided tours.
There are still many amazing things you can see and do in Dubai while on a budget. Let’s not forget the visiting public parks and beaches, going to the largest garden in the world (Dubai Miracle Garden), Global Village, and the ever-customary desert safari adventure.
About the Author:
Edcel Suyo is a travel blogger and photographer and has lived in Dubai for 5 years. He spends his free time taking pictures of places, adventures and food experiences and shares them in his blog – DubaiTravelBlog.com