Be it the food, towering high rises,navigation in the city, malls, adventure activities, hotels or shopping, Dubai has made sure everything is perfect. I was always hesitant about visiting a city, that was completely man made, with very little natural resources ( except oil of course).
Just to cover a place in my checklist called “Places to visit” , I planned the trip to Dubai and Abu Dhabi in the most ideal month possible, December. The tour was partly through a packaged tour for selected spots while the rest was planned by me
Being a highly developed city, navigation in Dubai is the easiest things to do and sometimes fun too
The primary navigation mediums include metro train, sky train,mono rail, trams, buses, taxis and even a chopper (if you’re wealthy enough). The best thing about all of this is that, its all centralized(except the taxi and chopper). So a single transport card makes you eligible to travel in all of them till your balance runs out. You can top it up directly online or at any metro station
Every destination in Dubai, be it the Dubai Mall ,Mall of the Emirates,Internet City or even the Palm Islands, its well connected through the metro rail. This eliminates a need to rely on travel agents or packaged tours, esp during shopping. Yet there are destinations like Ferrari World, Desert Safaris and the City tour that needs a package
So here’s a mini travel guide for navigation in Dubai
Almost all travel agents would suggest you the three tours : Dhow Cruise with Dinner, Desert Safari/Dune Bashing with Dinner and a City Tour
The above three tours would give you a great glimpse of Dubai’s lifestyle and its history. The city tour in particular takes you around the Dubai Museum, Jumeirah Beach and around the Palm islands
So in addition to the above, you shouldnt’ come back from Dubai without doing the following things
Abu Dhabi/Ferrari World : With a short trip to the famous Sheikh Zayed mosque in Dubai, you should head to the world’s largest indoor theme park, built exclusively by Ferrari. An adventure park filled with high speed rollercoasters, 4D shows, Ferrari rides and visual spectacles, this is something you absolutely cannot miss.
Pro Tip : if you’re on your own, head straight to the Ferrari World and try getting a deal for the Gold Pass. Gold Pass in Ferrari allows you to take the ride without waiting in queue for 1 hour. All travel agents by default gives you only the bronze pass
Dubai Mall and Burj Khalifa : The worlds’ tallest tower, Burj Khalifa is situated on top of the Dubai Mall . So its pretty easy to combine both and visit them. Prebook a slot for the Burj Khalifa, go up to the 124th floor to the observatory deck, where you can get to see the stunning skyline of Dubai. A view that should definitely be seen towards late evening. Come down the elevator and shop to your heart’s content at the Dubai Mall
Given that, its the world’s largest mall ,shopping there can easily take half a day. So leave enough time to shop, eat and also see the Dubai Fountain show that takes place every half hour from 6PM
Navigating to Dubai Mall is pretty easy. You can take any metro and get down at the Dubai Mall stop which will lead you directly at the entrance
Gold and Spice Market : Dubai is famous for three things. Oil , Gold and Spices. So the gold and spice market at Deira is something you shouldn’t miss. Even if you are not planning to buy any gold, a good stroll around this market is a great time pass, as you see thousands of shops selling gold right next to each other at competitive prices. Remember that the price per gram(18/22/24 carat) is fixed for gold, but the making charges isn’t. They may charge anything from 10%-40$ and its up to your negotiation and bargaining skills to bring this variable component down
Navigation to Gold Market : If you are staying in the Bur Dubai side, walk up 800metres until the river creek where you’ll find a boat taxi, that’ll take you to the Gold market for just 1AED (roughly Rs.18). This is the most easiest and fun way to cross the river and explore the gold market
Water Park: If you’re going as a group of friends or even as a couple, a must visit place is one of the two waterparks in Dubai. These include Wild Wadi waterpark and the Aquaventure theme park (which is located inside the Atlantis Hotel). Both of them have exclusive rides and you can choose either one depending on the ticket price. Do not miss out on getting your swimsuits here. Else you may have to shell out a heavy price to purchase the same inside
Both have constant offers that are happening, so do check out a “Deal book called the Entertainer which usually has a Buy 1 Get 1 free ticket. The Atlantis website also has flash sales which gives 50% discounts sometimes
Navigation to Aqua Venture : Since its located inside the Atlantis Hotel , travelling from the centre of the city can be quite a pain. You have to take a metro till Nakheel Metro Station, get down and take the tram to the Gateway station( The same metro card can be used for the tram too). From here you can either hail a taxi for 22 AED to aquaventure or take a MonoRail directly to Aquaventure (15AED one way per person) and takes roughly 10 minutes only
Advantage of Monorail includes seeing the entire 7 islands in the Palm from a top view. But other than that, it’s pretty expensive when you are going as a group or even as a couple. Metro fare from Dubai centre to Gateway station is 14AED (up and down for 1 person, including the tram)
Street Shopping: if you are on a tight budget , the best place for you to go are as follows :
Meena Bazaar: Dates/ Chocolates/ Perfumes/Fake watches and Bags/ Decent Indian food
Day to Day Supermarket: Literally everything for 1-20 AED .So many items available here are at unbelievable prices. You can get a nice boots/jerkin/perfumes/tshirt/jeans and even shoes for as low as 20AED (~ 350Rs). Highly recommended to do your entire shopping and in this one store itself.
Other key stores include Lulu Hypermarket and Carrefour Supermarket