Travel Buddy in Dubai

Travel to Dubai, a city in the United Arab Emirates, located in the Middle East. A megacity that will leave you speechless. Once established in the 18th century as a small village in the desert, the city grew rapidly into a cosmopolitan metropolis. It is now the most populous city in the UAE, a popular tourist destination, and full of expats. 

You have to visit at least once in your lifetime!

Plan your next trip to Dubai

Planning a trip to Dubai, but don't know where to start? This is the perfect guide for you! From the top things to do, to daily expenses and hidden gems. This guide will help you to have an unforgettable holiday with your friends. 

Top Things to do in Dubai

Desert Excursion

A must-do in Dubai! Get your headscarf ready and bash into the dunes. You can also drive a quad or do sand surfing.

See Burj Khalifa

One of the most famous buildings in the world, and also the tallest - the Burj Khalifa! Most likely, you have already seen pictures of it.

Drive a super car

Do you love cars or want to experience the lifestyle of the rich and famous? Renting a supercar, like Ferrari or Lamborghini, is relatively cheap here.

Relax at the beach

Dubai has amazing beaches to offer, as well as beach clubs and resorts. You deserve it!

Visit the Old Town

Dubai has more to offer than just skyscrapers, in the old town of Dubai, called Deira, you can see and feel the rich culture of the United Arab Emirates.

Visit museums

Take a couple of hours to learn about the history of Dubai at “Etihad Museum”.

Or the “Museum of The Future” is super interesting as well. Read more about the best museums in Dubai later.

Go shopping

Lots of malls are waiting for you! Just try not to get lost, they are huge. Dubai Mall even has an online map - it's that big.

Dhow cruise

Go on a dinner cruise at a traditional Dhow ship and watch some fun live shows there, together with your friends.

Party hard

The party scene in Dubai is huge. There is ALWAYS something going on. 

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The 5 best Instagram Spots in Dubai

Do you love Instagram as much as we do? Perfect! Here are our top 5 Instagram spots in Dubai. Great pictures are guaranteed!

Miracle Garden

The world's largest natural flower garden, (over 72,000 square meters), with over 50 million flowers and 250 million plants. We would love to see all your cute pictures with flowers in the background.

Dubai Mall Waterfall

Inside Dubai Mall, you can find a stunning waterfall. Search for the heart-shaped frame to take your perfect Instagram picture.

Burj Khalifa

The best spots with the famous Burj Khalifa in the background are the Palace Hotel, the Wings of Mexico Statue, and the Dubai steel heart.

Gold and Spice Souk

The perfect background for a colorful shot. At the Souk (market) you can get nearly everything. From spices and teas to souvenirs and clothes.

Al Bastakiya

A village close to Dubai creek with amazing buildings, built in a traditional style. An incredible architecture. Check out the Arabian Tea House as well.

The Best Dubai Travel Itinerary 

We want you to have the best time of your life in Dubai! What places to visit in the most popular city in the United Arab Emirates? Continue reading to find out more!

How many days do you need to visit Dubai? 

We would say, 3 days is enough for a stopover to get an idea of the city. But we highly recommend staying for a week, to explore more of this beautiful country and get to know the culture. If you have more time, even better! There are plenty of things to do.

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Day 1

After arriving at your accommodation, you might want to head straight to the most famous spot in Dubai - The Burj Khalifa!

It is located Downtown right next to the Dubai Mall, one of the biggest malls in the whole world. You can spend hours there without getting bored and believe it or not, there is even a waterfall inside the mall!

Things to see

  • Dubai Mall Aquarium 
  • Ice Rink
  • Dubai Mall Fountain 
  • Fountain light show (outside the mall)
  • multiple shops and much more...

Go see the Burj Khalifa and the light show at night! It's an incredible experience, believe us!

What's the best spot to see the Burj Khalifa? We recommend eating or just having drinks, at OPSO Dubai. They have very special cocktails, you will definitely be surprised.

Day 2

Beach day!

Let's have a relaxed second day, should we? Dubai has a lot of public beaches to choose from. We recommend the following beaches:

  • JBR Beach
  • La Mer
  • Marina Beach
  • Jumeirah Beach

Some hotels offer a shuttle service to the beach. Otherwise, you can take a taxi, it's super cheap anyway!

Our favorite beach is Marina Beach, and we explain why:

There are lots of restaurants and bars close by as well as a lot of water activities to do, for example, driving a jetski! Also, we just love the vibe there.

We recommend going to The Cheesecake Factory, for some delicious food, especially sweets.

At Dubai Marina Beach, you will have an amazing view of the Dubai Ain - the world's tallest ferries wheel.

Things to See:

  • JBR Beach
  • Marina Walk
  • Ain Dubai (Ferris wheel)
  • Dubai Marina Mall

Recommended additional activities: 

Flying Cup, Skydive, Dinner in the Sky

What to do in the evening?

The day is not over yet!

In the evening, you can do a Dhow Cruise with a dinner buffet and some fun dance shows. Or go to a club - we recommend the Billionaires club. Check out current events online, to make sure where the party is going on tonight.

Day 3

Deira / Old Town Dubai

Of course, no Dubai holiday is complete without visiting the old town of Dubai!  You can spend the whole day at Deira, visiting museums and the markets. Have some Tea at the Arabian Tea House or check out the Starbucks there (the architecture is amazing). 

Things to see:

  • Spice Souk (market)
  • Gold Souk 
  • Textile Market
  • Dubai Creek (boat ride)
  • Al Shindagha Museum
  • Wall of old Dubai
  • Arabian Tea House
  • Heritage Village

Take a short boat ride (Abra) from one side of the creek to the other for only 1 Dirham, like the locals. You will see Dubai Creek from a completely new perspective.

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7 Day UAE Itinerary

Do you have more time to explore? In 7 days, you can not only experience Dubai itself, but you will also have time to explore outside of the city and visit places around. Dive deeper into the rich history of the United Arab Emirates and make memories that will last forever.

Day 1-3 

Follow our 3-day itinerary first, to experience everything Dubai has to offer in just 3 days! 

Day 4

Day Trip to Abu Dhabi

A trip to Abu Dhabi, the capital of the United Arab Emirates, is one of the best day trips that you can do from Dubai. Abu Dhabi is a stunning city and there are many things to see!  You can also spend more than one day in this stunning city.

You can rent a car and go on your own, but parking might be a hassle. To have a stress-free experience, book a tour starting from Dubai. They are very affordable, and a guide will explain to you all about the history and most famous sights there.

Things to see:

  • Emirates Palace
  • Sheikh Zayed Mosque
  • Ferrari World
  • Heritage Village
  • Markets and Malls
  • And much more!

Day 5

Day Trip to Hatta 

Or choose one of the multiple other day trips. We let you know our favorite ones later!

If you are interested in history, this day trip is perfect for you. Hatta is located about 1.5 hours from Dubai, close to the Oman border. This part once belonged to Oman and at the Hatta Heritage Village, you can still see what the houses once looked like and how people used to live there.

There is also a lake where you can relax and do activities like kayaking.

It is recommended to book a day trip from Dubai with an agency, but you can also rent a car and go on your own. Guided tours are affordable, but even better to go in a big group to get an amazing deal.

Once back in Dubai, you can head out to experience the nightlife of Dubai again. What about a nice rooftop bar? We recommend 

Day 6

Malls, Malls, Malls!

We haven't been to any other city that has so many malls! Spending time in malls in Dubai is a lot of fun, each one is different. So go and check out Mall of the Emirates, our favorite mall in Dubai in the morning.

In the afternoon, we recommend doing a desert safari! What desert safari should you choose?

If you book an organized desert excursion (and we definitely recommend doing so), you can decide if you want to do it in the morning or the evening. We highly recommend the evening desert trip, as you will have a night show with belly dancing and fire dancers.

You will get picked up by your driver in the afternoon for the evening desert experience. Most of the time, the following activities are included:

  • Dune Bashing
  • Dance Show
  • Barbecue Dinner Buffet 
  • Sandboarding
  • Camel Ride
  • Henna Tattoo
  • and much more…

Make sure to compare different operators and have a look at what's included in the price, to get the best value for money.

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Day 7

This day is all about your own interests. Dubai has so much to offer - and we don't want to choose for you - we understand that everyone has his own preferences! Depending on your flight departure, you can decide, based on your interests, what to do.

Do you love museums? Here are the best museums in Dubai with their entry prices

  • Museum of The Future (36€)
  • Etihad Museum (6€)
  • Al Shindagha Museum (including Perfume House and Dubai Creek: Birth of a city) (3,70€)
  • Heritage Village (free admission)
  • Women's Museum (5€)
  • Infinity des Lumiéres (varies)

You are an adrenaline junkie? These activities are perfect for you

  • Skydiving at Dubai Marina
  • Skiing at the Mall of the Emirates
  • Aquaventure Waterpark
  • iFly Dubai 

You can easily spend another day just at the beach - you deserve it! Or check out another mall for some more shopping. The options are endless. 

Read more about our Hidden Gems in Dubai later!

Do you want to relax some more? Here are the top 5 beach clubs and resorts in Dubai

  • Nikki Beach Club
  • Riva Beach Club
  • Zero Gravity
  • Barasti Beach
  • Blue Marlin

Flyback home or continue traveling in the evening or the next day. We hope you will have a great time in Dubai!

The best Day Trips from Dubai

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Abu Dhabi: A trip to Abu Dhabi is probably the most famous day trip from Dubai. Abu Dhabi is a stunning city and there are many things to see! Make sure to visit the Sheikh Zayed Mosque (pictured above) as well as Emirates Palace and Ferrari World. You can even spend more than one day there.

Hatta: If you are interested in history, this day trip is perfect for you. Hatta is located about 1,5 hours from Dubai close to the Oman border. This part once belonged to Oman and at the Hatta Heritage Village, you can still see what the houses once looked like and how people used to live there. There is also a lake where you can relax and do activities like kayaking.

Musandam: How about visiting Oman? Musandam is located in the northern peninsula of Oman and is physically separated from the mainland of Oman by the UAE. It is a great place to swim, snorkel or do a boat tour.

Sharjah: Sometimes you don't have to go far for a day trip. The city of Sharjah is only 30 km away from Dubai and worth a visit for sure. Sharjah is a more traditional and family-oriented emirate, so please make sure to dress accordingly. You can visit some museums, see the Al Noor Mosque and go to Al Noor Island, a small but beautiful island with a butterfly garden.

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Best Time to Visit Dubai

To make it easy for you: You can visit Dubai all year round! BUT it might get very hot.

If you are sensitive to extreme heat, you should visit Dubai in “winter”, between 

November to February/March

The temperatures will start to cool to around 30˚C after the hot summer, in November.

How is Dubai in summer?

The summer months will be super hot! The temperatures regularly reach 40˚C or above in summer. But if you have nothing against that, we totally recommend going for it. 

One of the reasons why we love traveling to Dubai in the off-season is because everything will be way more affordable! Also, there will be a bit fewer tourists as well.

Most parts of Dubai are not made for walking, you will use a taxi or public transport to get to your destination, spend some time inside one of many malls, visit museums or be at the beach and the heat won't bother you at all. All buildings have good air conditioning, don't worry!

Events: When planning your trip to Dubai, do research about huge events happening there, for example beginning of the EXPO, which will be crowded and more expensive.

Ramadan: Traveling during the holy month of Ramadan might affect your daily life, so plan accordingly. Restaurants outside might be closed, while those in hotels will be open. You can still eat outside after sunset when the fast is broken.

Whatever month you will choose, it will be an amazing experience for sure!

Hidden Gems in Dubai

Here are out top 5 hidden gems in Dubai! Explore more than a typical tourist does and take amazing pictures!

Dubai Frame

A huge frame in the middle of Dubai and a budget alternative for going on top of the Burj Khalifa, with an incredible view of Dubai.

Love Lake

A bit outside of the city, a heart-shaped man-made lake, perfect for a romantic walk with your significant other

Ras Al Khor Wildlife Sanctuary

We are convinced, not many tourists know about this place. You can see lots of different animals and even flamingos at this wildlife sanctuary.

The Farm

Escape the busy city of Dubai and go to this relaxed restaurant surrounded by nature and enjoy good food by the lake.

Dubai Garden Glow

The largest glow park ever, it feels like being on a different planet. Located close to Dubai Frame.

Getting Around Dubai

The best way to get around Dubai? We recommend using public transport as well as taxis, or a combination of both, depending on where you're going.

Dubai Metro and Bus

If you want to use public transport regularly,  we highly recommend getting a metro card. You can get it inside metro stations, and load it up with money. Each time you enter a bus or train, scan the card and do the same when you exit. 

Prices vary depending on how many zones you cross and which card you own, between $0.8 and $2 per way.

Red Nol Card - perfect for everyone who is not planning to use public transport often. The price of the card is the cheapest, $0.5, but you can only use it for up to 10 trips and the rate for each trip is more expensive than with the silver Nol Card. It is valid for 90 days.

Silver Nol Card - perfect for anyone who stays longer in Dubai or uses public transport often, as well as residents. The price is $6.2 ($4.7 already included as credit) and you will get better rates for each trip than with the red metro card. It is valid for 5 years.

Gold Nol Card - the gold card costs as much as the silver card and has the same validity. However, each trip will cost you more than the other cards. You have access to the VIP cabin on the trains, which is nice in rush hour, as you will have a seat.

There are also cabins only for women and children available in the metro. They are marked pink.

Taxi / Uber / Careem 

Download the app and choose your type of car. With the Careem app, you can order normal taxis (Hala) and even Uber black with fancy Teslas. 

Prices of course depend on the distance. We paid about $8-12 per way for a ride within the city center.

And $15-20 from Downtown to Dubai Marina, a 20-minute ride.

Car rental

Renting a car can be an option if you are planning on traveling outside of Dubai without any guided tours. Within the city, it's better to use public transportation or use taxis. Prices for rental cars vary depending on the type of car and rental period.

Private Transportation

Getting around with pre-arranged transport by a tour operator is a good option too, to explore the city without having to be stressed. There are a lot of different operators to choose from. If you book a day trip, have a closer look if pickup is already included in your rate or not.

Pre-arranged pickups by your hotel will be on the pricier side. We recommend comparing prices online.

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What does it cost to travel to Dubai?

Most people would think that Dubai is very expensive. We do agree, compared to other cities in the world, that Dubai is indeed on the pricier side. But we do believe that you can also visit Dubai on a budget. 

Would you like to save some money while in Dubai? Check out our blog about 5 budget tips in Dubai! With these tips and tricks, you will save a lot on your trip!

How much money do I need in Dubai per day?

The costs below are estimated and are for a single individual. If you share accommodation, costs per person will be cheaper.

Daily costs, on average, excluding accommodation to consider when traveling to Dubai:

a) Budget-friendly: $40-50

b) Mid-range budget: $70-120

c) High budget: $200 and above

A. Accommodation:

You will be surprised, but Dubai actually has cheap hostel accommodations for you if you're on a budget. There are affordable hotels as well as more luxurious hotels to choose from.

Budget-friendly: 

  • Hostel: around $15-25 per night for a single bed in a shared room 
  • Hotel: (outside of the center) for about $30-45

 Mid-range budget:

  • Hotel rooms with better ratings can be anywhere around $65-100
  • Airbnb: Can be a good option as well

High budget:

  • ·a hotel in the city center, about $160-200
  • luxury hotel: may go up to $1.600 per night depending on your preferences
  • ·  Apartments/Airbnb in the center can be quite expensive, prices vary depending on the size and when you book,  about $170-400 per night (cheaper for longer stays)

B. Food:

Costs per day for varies depending on what you decide to go for, eating local food or dining at an expensive restaurant, as well as the location. Restaurants in the center and popular locations will be more expensive.

 Budget-friendly

  • ·In areas like Deira, the old town can be really affordable. We found lots of Indian and Philippine restaurants that are not expensive. We found meals for as low as $3.

Mid-range budget

  • · Food courts at Malls have affordable prices, a meal will be about $9-13
  • Regular Restaurant: Expect to pay between $12-17 for a meal (depending on the location)
  • Cooking on your own might be an option too if you rent an Airbnb/Apartment. 

c) High budget:

  • ·Upper restaurants: about $50 and upwards

Food delivery apps in Dubai:

Ordering food and even groceries are super easy and fast in Dubai. Watch out for some special deals or referral codes. There are multiple apps like

  • Careem
  • Deliveroo
  • Talabat

Transportation:

Transportation prices per day differ considerably based on where you stay and how far away you are from sightseeing spots and activities.

More information can be found in “How to get around Dubai”

a) Budget-friendly:

  • ·  Public transport: Depending on how many zones you cross, between $0.8 and $2 per way. We recommend getting a red or silver metro card.

b) Mid-range:

  • ·Uber/ Careem: In general very affordable compared to western countries. 

c) High budget:

  • Hiring a car with a driver
  • Private Transport: Arranged by your hotel or tour operator 
  • Both prices can vary a lot 

The above list of prices for accommodation, transportation, and food expenses in Dubai is for a single individual.

Where to stay in Dubai?

Business Bay / Downtown (close to Burj Khalifa)

Dubai Marina / JBR (Close to the beach)

Deira (old town, very affordable)

Fun fact: a lot of people that work in Dubai live in the neighboring city Sharjah because accommodation there is way cheaper!

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Must-Try Foods in Dubai


What would be a travel guide without including some food recommendations? Here are some of the best foods that you need to try when in the United Arab Emirates.

Shawarma

A popular dish, well known outside of the UAE. Similar to a sandwich, but wrapped in a Roti

Camel meat

Definitely only for adventurous people like you!

Fattoush

A classic middle eastern salad with tomatoes, cucumber, lettuce, and khubz.

Samboosa

A good example of the Indian influence, is fried pastries filled with meat and veggies, like a samosa

Khubz

A round flatbread, eaten on its own or together with other Emirati dished

Falafel

Deep-fried chickpea patty, usually eaten with hummus. Also well-known around the world

others:

Arabic coffee

Coffee is an important part of the culture and it is prepared in a special way

Kanafeh

Originally from Palestine, but very popular in the UAE. Crispy dough with cheese and pistachios, soaked in sugar syrup

Lgeimat

Plays a big role in weddings and tea parties. Similar to a mini donut, dipped in saffron

Special Deals

If you are female, you should keep an eye on Ladies Nights! Dubai has some amazing deals for women, where you will get free drinks when purchasing a meal. Especially alcohol is very expensive in Dubai and going out with your friends on a Lady's Night, will save you a lot for sure.  

Travel Tips for Dubai 

Culture

The official language in the United Arab Emirates is Arabic. English is also widely spoken. The official religion is Muslim, with 76% of the population. 9% Christians and 10% Hindu and Buddhists. When in Dubai, you will see people from all around the world, there are many ex-pats living in the city.

Entry requirements

Make sure to check your entry requirements ahead and check regularly, as they might change within short notice due to Covid restrictions. Currently, entry is allowed with a negative PCR test. There is no quarantine needed. Dubai offers a free visa on arrival for some countries. Please check online for more information.

Currency

The currency is Dirham (AED). You can exchange money at the airport, inside malls, or get it straight from an ATM.

1 Dirham = 4.75 Euros

1 Dirham = 5.17 USD

Tap water

Tap water is not drinkable in the UAE. Bottled water can be found in shops anywhere and are also affordable. Make sure you always have enough water with you when going outside, as Dubai can get very hot.

How to dress

Compared to the other Emirates in the UAE, Dubai is very modern and open-minded, with many ex-pats and thousands of tourists, you will see people everywhere dressing in a western style. But still, keep in mind that the UAE is a Muslim country, and dressing in a way where you don't reveal too much skin is highly recommended. Especially if you’re visiting the historic part of Dubai you should dress appropriately to not put too much attention on yourself and to be allowed to even enter some places. This is both for men and women and means not showing cleavage, shoulders or knees.

When going out at night you can wear shorter dresses to the club, but I suggest having a vest or scarf with you to cover up, just in case for example when on the way home. If you are at the hotel pool or the beach, you can wear your swimming clothes without any issues.

By the way, kissing or holding hands if you're not married is also not allowed as well as homosexuality!

Traditional clothes

The traditional clothes for women are dresses called Abaya, they are long and loose and come in different colors, but black Abayas are more common. Combines with a hijab (headscarf). Some women also cover their faces, wearing a burqa.

Men wear (mostly white), single-piece long clothes called Kandura along with Gutras or Shemaghs on their heads.

You will still see many people around wearing these types of clothes, and we think that's beautiful. You can get these types of clothes in a mall or most tourist places for affordable prices up to high ones (based on quality and type).

Drugs

Any drugs are prohibited in the whole UAE. Rules are very strict, so better follow them!

Payment Methods

It shouldn't be a problem to find ATMs in such a big city and credit cards are accepted nearly everywhere. Make sure to have some cash with you when visiting the markets or for tipping people. Tipping is not expected but will be appreciated and is sometimes already added on top of your bill at restaurants. 

Weather

Most of the year weather in Dubai is extremely hot, make sure to drink enough water, but only bottled one, as tap water is not drinkable. On the other hand, air conditioning inside most places and public transport can get very cold, so you might want to carry some extra clothes with you.

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