Yes you can do Dubai on a Budget!

how to do dubai on a budget
July 21, 2014


Many tout Dubai as one of the most expensive cities in the world – and this is mainly because it provides everyone the best of both worlds. Alongside the constantly-changing skyline of this cosmopolitan city lies the older part of Dubai just a few kilometers away, filled with rich Arab culture and old infrastructures.

Although many people find Dubai intimidating when it comes to their travel budget, having lived here for many years I know that it’s totally possible to do Dubai on a budget, so your wallet can breathe a sigh of relief! Here’s how:

Devise your own Dubai City Tour using the Metro

There are 2 lines traversing the city of Dubai – the Red line starts from Rashidiya and ends in Jebel Ali. The Green line starts from Etisalat Station and ends in Al Jaddaf near Dubai Festival City.

The good thing about these 2 lines is that they both take you to different parts of Dubai. The Red line passes the whole stretch of the Sheikh Zayed Road, famous for its glistening skyscrapers and home to the tallest building in the world – Burj Khalifa, and access to the numerous malls and hotels along the main road. The Green line passes through the older part of the city where the Gold souk is, the fish market, the Abra along the Dubai Creek, the Heritage Village and the textile area of Al Fahidi.

Ride the Abra along the Dubai Creek

One way to enjoy the older part of the city is to take a water taxi ride along Dubai Creek. You’ll pay just 1 Dirham per person and for a small fee you can even hire it for an hour.

Dubai Museum. Dubai on a budget

Dubai Museum

Some places to visit near the abra route are the former home of Sheikh Saeed Al Maktoum, Dubai Museum, the Heritage and Diving Village and the Gold souk. You can alight near the Gold Souk and practice your haggling skills for some serious bargains if you have the money to spare.

Hop-on the Big City Tour Bus

Get around all the major sights of Dubai for up to 48 hours on the hop-on hop-off open top bus.  This is great for sightseeing while sticking to your budget, as you can travel around Dubai as much as you like without having to pay for each journey – you just flash your pre-paid ticket every time you get back on the bus!

Dubai big bus Tour. Dubai on a bus

Dubai Big Bus Tour

Downtown Dubai – visit 3 famous landmarks in one go

A quick train ride on the Metro’s Red line will take you to Downtown Dubai area. A leisurely stroll through one of the biggest malls in the world will take you to the biggest aquarium inside a mall. Just outside are the Dancing Fountains and the Burj Khalifa – the tallest building in the world.

Burj Khalifa Dubai. How to do Dubai on a budget

Outside the Burj Khalifa

The Dancing Fountain starts from 6 pm every day at intervals of 20-30 minutes. While waiting for the next show, why not use the opportunity for a photo shoot with the stunning Burj Khalifa as your background? Seeing these 3 attractions will not cost you a cent!

Go to the beach in Jumeirah

Your visit in Dubai is not complete until you set foot in the Jumeirah beach area. Soak up the sun and people-watch on the public beach along the stretch of Jumeirah Beach road, or shell out a small amount for the entrance fee to the private Jumeirah Beach park

Experience the best desert activities in a package deal

One of the most popular experiences in Dubai are the desert activities like dune bashing, camel riding, BBQ, music and dancing right in the middle of the desert.

Camel Ride Dubai on a budget

Camel riding in the Dubai desert

You will be whisked through the dunes in a 4×4 to the camps, which are designed to imitate the life of the Bedouins – the early settlers of Dubai. Complete with camels, they have comfortable cushions, low tables, a bonfire in the middle and an Arabic buffet. At the camp you can try the natural and flavoured shisha, and entertainment from a belly dancer who will invite everyone to dance along. This is one great party under the stars and shouldn’t be missed!

Now that you know the many ways to enjoy Dubai without breaking the bank, book your flight soon and experience the Dubai hospitality at its best!

About the author

Ria Cervantes

Ria is a mommy blogger and a full time career woman working in one of the world's most prestigious airline companies. She enjoys taking regular vacations with her family to other countries. Ria is also the author of The Travel Bug, a blog about her family's travels, hotels reviews, travel tips and places to eat.

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  • Jeffrey Rilles

    I’ll definitely bookmark your detailed and helpful post about Dubai…. looking forward to explore this modern city in the Arab region

    • Ria C

      Thanks Jeffrey! Enjoy Dubai!

  • @weareofficially

    Wow! Dubai is in my to-go list and I never thought it’d be costly. Anyway, it looks like you live there. I definitely will bookmark and search for this page for help when the time comes. 🙂

    • Ria C

      Yes, my family and I have been in this cosmopolitan city for the past 15 years. 🙂 This article will show every traveler out there that Dubai is not what it seems. Yes, the standard of living is at par with the great cities of the world but that should not deter other travelers to enjoy what Dubai has to offer in a BUDGET. 🙂 Hope you’ll be able to visit this place soon!

  • jo-anne

    I’ve never been to Dubai. I’ll check your tips again when I plan to visit this beautiful country. Hopefully soon

  • Flo Renze

    This is a great tip sis. am gonna keep this in my lists as i/we wanted to visit Dubai soon as we’re able 🙂

    • Ria C

      Do visit. It’s a wonderful place.

  • papaleng

    sound tips sis. Dubai is a great place pala to visit. Basta if ever magawi ako riyan, I’ll see to eat na maka-ride ako sa Camel. Obsession ko yun..

    • Ria C

      If you visit Dubai Kuya Papaleng, don’t forget to contact me. 🙂

  • Eileen Layno

    I would love to visit Dubai and have a picture taken near the Burj Khalifa (just like you!). A camel ride would be something to look forward to. I just hope they don’t stink.

    • Ria C

      Nope. They don’t stink hahaha. I had a camel-ride once during the desert safari.

      I have yet to check out the observatory at the top of Burj Khalifa. We’ll go there once of these days.

  • Mary Jane Tauyan Fitzsimmons

    very nice tips! my husband always go to dubai every after 2 months hahahabut i never managed to go with him since my daughter have school and the tax and fare is a little bit not in a budget for us. hopefully soon

    • Ria C

      You should Mary Jane. 🙂 You should come and visit Dubai. It’s a great cosmopolitan city in the middle of a desert!

  • Karen of MrsLookinggood

    Ria these are all wonderful tips especially for budget travelers! I have never been to Dubai and hope to go there someday.

    • Ria C

      Do give me a buzz when you’re in town. 🙂

  • tgf

    This is one place we’d like to visit someday, but first, I need to get our passports (me and my son’s). — Maria Teresa Figuerres

    • Ria C

      I would suggest you visit during winter time when the weather temp drops to 10-13 Celsius. 🙂 November-late April are great time to visit Dubai.

  • Shengkay Apuhin

    one of my dream place to visit. my cousin is working there and married an egytian.

    • Ria C

      Do visit sis when you get the chance. It’s a wonderful place!

  • Rossel Dacio

    Dubai is on my travel list. I want to have a vacation there with my family. I just don’t know when because we’re on a very tight budget now. My best friend used to live there with her family and according to her Dubai is a great city, not just because of its beautiful attractions but also because almost everything there is tax free. Wow, just wow!

  • ElizOF

    This is definitely on my list of go to places around the world…. such a beautiful and welcoming place too.