How to Experience the Best of Dubai - On A Budget!

Heritage House - Al Fahidi District Dubai
That's me, going around Dubai on a budget.

Okay so I live here, and for me, a budget experience in Dubai is very different to a tourist’s. Heading to friends for dinner certainly takes the sting out of a pricey restaurant cheque, and taking a long drive with grammer friends – in their cars – into the desert or anywhere off the beaten path is an inexpensive way to relax. But for visitors flying into the city, Dubai can appear very expensive indeed. Fear not, there are tons of ways to make the most out of your trip to this magnificent city without breaking the bank, here are my top tips in experiencing Dubai on a budget!

Travel cheaply

photo of Dubai Metro Station Business Bay

Avoid taxis and UBER (they charge extra AED5-10, even more)! Yes, they are the easiest way to scoot around the city, but you’ll soon rack up the pennies if you go everywhere by car. Instead, opt for the Metro. It’s clean, efficient and unbelievably cheap - you can even travel first class on a gold cabin if you want to. In fact, with short journeys starting at just AED 3, it’s some of the most affordable transport in the world.

photo of Burjuman Metro Staion

Alternatively, you could always jump on a bike. Okay, so it wouldn’t be my first choice, but there have been a few bike rental schemes popping up recently by the Marina and elsewhere in the city.

photo of biking in Dubai

Discover Al Fahidi District

photo of Dubai Coffee Museum

Al Fahidi Historical Neighbourhood (formerly known as the Bastakiya) is one of my top places to go for touristy things to do in Dubai. It’s an incredible way to understand the unique Emirati and Islamic culture that underpins life in Dubai.

Admission here is free, and there's so much to see including traditional wind towers, bustling courtyards and maze of winding alleyways. In between these alleys are my favorite venues such as the Coffee Museum, Home of the Eastern Arts, Art Connection, and XVA Gallery - all of which are free of charge when you visit.

You won’t regret a visit – in fact, no trip to Dubai would be complete without a trip to Al Fahidi District.

photo of Bastakiya

Shop traditional

photo of Gold Souq

photo of Old Souq
Photo by Vishnu Valsan from LocalGuidesDubai Instameet
So Dubai is pretty well-known for a number of luxury goods that are available in the city – there’s certainly no lack of super cars, that’s for sure. But a shopping trip in the city doesn’t have to cost your life savings.

photo Dubai Creek side souq

Go down to the creek and experience shopping as it would have been a century ago. Discover mounds of spices and precious metals as you explore the souks.

photo of Dragon Mart 2

You will also be surprised to know that there is a mini China town in the heart of Dubai, a newly opened Dragon Mart 2 where you can find the cheapest yet stylish clothes from different parts of the world!

Hit the beach

photo of Dubai Kite Beach

Flying into Dubai, it’s impossible to miss the amazing emerald sea below. It is so enticing; you’ll just want to jump in. And guess what, you totally can! The beach is almost free to visit, and it’s spectacular.

Although much of the coast has been snapped up by the major hotels, there are still swathes of golden sand open to the public. For a few AED you can soak up the sun in comfort, just don’t forget to pile on the sunscreen and stay indoors in the height of summer!

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Do you have anything that you'd like to include in my budget list? Let me know and include it in the comments below! 

Sponsored post, photos are my own unless stated.

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