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Dubai tourist places in a few hours. How to plan your trip?

dubai tourist places - how to get around dubai

How to visit Dubai tourist places in a few hours? This question often comes up in our conversations with friends and readers. With convenient connections offered by Emirates, you can easily and quickly get from Europe via Dubai to Asia, Australia, and Africa. Many travelers extend their stopover in Dubai on purpose to get out of the airport and feel the atmosphere of this unique city. We have prepared our guide especially for them! So how to see best Dubai tourist places in a few hours?

TOP DUBAI TOURIST PLACES

We assume that you leave from Dubai International Airport and move primarily with metro. Why? Metro is the fastest way to move around this crowded city. You may get stuck in a traffic jam even at 3-4 a.m.! Unfortunately, you can’t get everywhere by metro – you’ll have to take a taxi or tram to visit some places. You will find a short summary of all means of transport in Dubai at the end of the post.

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DUBAI MALL

We start our tour in one of the largest shopping centers in the world – the Dubai Mall! You have to walk a while here from the metro station via an air-conditioned link. Besides luxury boutiques, chain stores and impressive Cafés with Arabic sweets, there is much more waiting for you. First of all, a huge aquarium – with more than 300 species of marine creatures, including 400 sharks… Pretty impressive, right? If you don’t have time to go inside I’ll tell you frankly, that the aquarium from the outside looks even better 😉 You can also go ice skating or fly Airbus A380 in the Dubai Mall! But if you like shopping, of course, you also won’t be disappointed – you can choose from more than 1,200 stores. You should visit them in January in particular when the Dubai Shopping Festival lasts and you may come across really great bargains and promos (eg. Bath & Body Works cosmetics at AED 10/2,5 EUR…). If you get tired while walking around the shops, you can take advantage of… electric cars, which will drop you in front of your fav boutique 🙂 In the Dubai Mall you will also find one of our Dubai’s secret places.

dubai tourist places - how to get around dubai - dubai mall

If you have some more time, watch the fountains show at Burj Khalifa – daily from 6-11 p.m. every half an hour, also 2 performances during the day – 1 p.m.and 1.30 p.m. (on Fridays at 1.30 and 2 p.m. as partygoers need to get enough sleep ;-). The boat trip between the dancing fountains is also a pretty cool option (65 AED/15 EUR per person).

METRO: Burj Khalifa/Dubai Mall

BURJ KHALIFA

Our second stop is the tallest building in the world, reaching 829 meters, also one of the most crowded Dubai tourist places. To go to the top, you have to make your way through the Dubai Mall (the route is well-marked). There are 2 observation decks, one located on the 125th floor, the second one on 148th. The entry fee depends on the time of your visit as well as which deck you want to enter. I advise you to buy tickets in advance because they sell out quickly (however, it’s hard to predict if there would be any issues with visibility, eg. due to a sandstorm). When should you visit Burj Khalifa? An interesting option for me is going there in the time of the day when you weren’t flying over Dubai while on plane 🙂 I was always flying in the morning and for this reason, I decided to visit it at night – city lights create a colorful mosaic, winding roads make a big impression. In addition, you can enjoy the fountains show while at the top!

dubai tourist places - how to get around dubai - burj khalifa

Sheikh Zayed’s Road from the top of Burj Khalifa

TICKETS: Burj Khalifa – a little piece of advice, follow UAE Groupon, sometimes you can find good bargains for tickets there!

METRO: Burj Khalifa/Dubai Mall

MALL OF THE EMIRATES

We go back to the metro and head for a winter adventure! Yes, this is a mall with the famous ski slope. If you don’t have time to ski or snowboard, you can for example…. meet the penguins. Yes, you read it well. For only AED 500 (approx. 120 EUR) you can see a penguin in Dubai…. Well. Maybe just a selfie with the slope in the background is enough 😉 If your time is limited, you can safely skip the Mall of the Emirates and spare some minutes.

dubai tourist places - how to get around dubai - mall of the emirates - ski slope in dubai

TICKETS: Ski Dubai

METRO: Mall of the Emirates

MADINAT JUMEIRAH & BURJ AL ARAB

My favorite place, a bit off-the-beaten Dubai tourist places. Madinat Jumeirah is the luxury hotels area, decorated in Arabic style – on the roofs, you can spot the distinctive wind catchers, generously decorated wooden shutters and marble floors… Here you will find a rich, modern souk, market with a hint of Arabic soul and outstanding restaurants, located on the banks of canals. Walk to the beach, enjoy shisha in Shimmers if you have time and enjoy the views of Burj Al Arab. Yes, you can see this building at its best. You can also enter this hotel – however, you will find yourself among the thousands of tourists coming here just to tag themselves on Instagram in one of the best hotels in the world…. Who cares they didn’t stay there? 🙂

dubai tourist places - how to get around dubai - madinat jumeirah

HOW TO GET THERE: unfortunately you have to go by taxi (approx. 8 EUR from the Mall of the Emirates) or by tram, but you would need to change in Dubai Marina or Jumeirah Lakes Towers, which is a bit inconvenient

THE PALM ISLAND

The famous island in the shape of a palm tree, with “hotel with a hole” Atlantis The Palm as cherry (coconut?) on top. I recommend you watching the island from the monorail moving above the ground, which goes through the whole “trunk” of the Palm. From the height, you can see perfectly how enormous this project is – you won’t see this from the taxi windows… The island is filled with thousands of blocks, houses, clubs, and hotels. When you get off at the last stop Atlantis The Palm, I strongly encourage you instead of taking pics of the hotel in the background as thousands of tourists to go a little further and photograph the best skyline in Dubai.

dubai tourist places - how to get around dubai - the plam island - atlantis hotel

HOW TO GET THERE: To get on the monorail, you have to go to Gateway Station, return ticket costs 25 AED/6 EUR. How to get to this station? The best option is a tram which stops at Palm Jumeirah, which goes both from Madinat Jumeirah, as well as from Dubai Marina and Jumeirah Lakes Towers metro station. 

DUBAI MARINA

If you want to feel like a beautiful, sexy and rich (a.k.a. the Russian oligarchs), go to the nearby Dubai Marina. The number of skyscrapers, sports cars, expensive boats per square meter is impressive. Definitely, one of the most popular Dubai tourist places, especially when you stay a bit longer. Go towards the sea, and get to one of the most popular beaches in Dubai – Marina Beach. Put on your bikini or shorts and make proper use of sunshine!

dubai tourist places - how to get around dubai - dubai marina

dubai tourist places - how to get around dubai - dubai marina

METRO: Jumeirah Lakes Towers, walk to the beach approx 20 minutes.

DEIRA – OLD DUBAI

Going back to the airport, you should stop by Deira area also known as Old Dubai. You won’t find many skyscrapers made of glass and steel, glamorous houses and luxury cars. However, you will have the opportunity to see how Dubai looked just 20 years ago… and it’s also not crowded as the other Dubai tourist paces. It’s much more modest, now this area is inhabited mainly by poor immigrants from Asia. But this is Dubai, so even here you will come across some glamour. The Gold Souk is located here, the best place in Dubai to buy gold jewelry. Price of products depends on the current price of gold plus “labor costs” but don’t forget to bargain! You will get a better price if you pay in cash rather than by card 🙂 A few streets away you will find the Spice Souk, where you may buy spices from around the world. However, you must be patient and assertive, as sellers will try to drag you into their shops in every possible way 🙂 If you have time, go on the other side of the Dubai Creek with traditional abra boat (for the entire 1 AED / 0,25 EUR)!

dubai tourist places - how to get around dubai - deira - golden souk

METRO: Al Ras, metro station on the green line, while going to airport you have to change from red to green line at Burjuman

PRACTICAL HINTS

METRO IN DUBAI

By far the best way to travel through Dubai tourist places, with good access to most attractions. You must obtain the card Nol Card, which is “pay as you go”. You pay, depending on how many stops and zones you crossed. You may choose between two types of cards – Silver and Gold – the latter entitles you to ride like a boss, in the first golden carriage, where you don’t have to squeeze with thousands of fellow passengers and have a great view through the windshield. Minuses? Your trip is twice more expensive. Don’t get into this carriage without Gold Nol Card, the random checks are very common! If you decide to travel with a silver card in your pocket, I need to loyally warn you that crowds during peak hours are truly amazing (only subway in Tehran beats it), and your better half will very quickly run to “women only” carriage after a few “accidental” touch ups…

dubai tourist places - how to get around dubai - metro in dubai

UFO like metro stations

Do not eat, drink or chew gum while in the metro, Emirati are very strict about it! I remember that I saw once a guy calling the metro guard, that another person was chewing gum… On the next station, there was a guard along with a ticket waiting for this poor boy!

TAXI IN DUBAI

They are very affordable, but traffic jams will quickly discourage you from using them too much. Unfortunately, due to the rather modestly developed subway network, you will have to use them. Approximate prices? Drive from Burjuman Metro Station to Dubai Mall costs about AED 20/5 EUR. Remember that if the taxi driver doesn’t turn on a taximeter, you don’t have to pay – taxis are regulated by the government. Uber also works very well. One more hint – if you are a girl, you can select one of the taxis with a pink roof, where the driver is a woman 🙂

BUSES IN DUBAI

Just don’t use them. I used them twice – the first and the last time. Due to the traffic jams, they come very randomly, you never know if the one which is 30 minutes late is actually the one which was supposed to come an hour, 20 minutes or maybe five minutes ago…

TRAM IN DUBAI

You can use it with the Nol Card. Unfortunately, the tram network is also limited to the area between Burj Al Arab and Dubai Marina. But, hey! there are air-conditioned tram stops 🙂

RENTING A CAR IN DUBAI

Renting a car in Dubai is a similar solution to taxi… you’ll get stuck in traffic jams rather than discovering Dubai tourist places. Driving itself is surprisingly nice, if I was able to do this, you’ll make it for sure 😉 Renting a car at the airport will cost about 25-50 EUR per day, gasoline is super cheap (0,40 EUR per liter). In some places you have to pay a special toll, eg. for driving a route to the Madinat Jumeirah, which will be deducted from your credit card by renting company. If you have aspirations to explore further, make sure that the car you rented can cross the border with Oman – usually, this is expressly forbidden.

DUBAI ON FOOT

NEVER EVER! Dubai is not a pedestrian-friendly city and this is possibly the worst way to explore Dubai tourist places. Apparently, there are some sidewalks, but… there are no pedestrian crossings. To go through the main street Sheikh Zayed Road, you have found a metro station and go over the ground by the tunnel. Otherwise, you may not make it. Running between 6 lanes full of cars is not an easy task. Add to this enormous distances, the 40-degree heat and now you know, why we do not recommend walking tour in Dubai.

Click here to book your perfect hotel in Dubai!

Do you want to know about other Dubai tourist places? Let us know! If you have more than a few hours, check out our secret places in Dubai. Or maybe you are afraid of going to Dubai?

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Top Dubai tourist places - our guide with practical hints. How to plan your stopover or longer holidays in Dubai?

 

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9 Comments

  • Reply
    Angie
    February 18, 2017 at 08:52

    Dubai is one of the cities on my list to visit. Keeping this for future reference. 🙂

  • Reply
    Scarlett Mansfield
    February 18, 2017 at 22:49

    Wow great post, I’d love to visit Dubai, looks like an amazing city. Are there many excursions to do from Dubai/ anything else worth seeing? I’ll have to show this to my parents as they’re planning a stopover there too.

    • Reply
      Magda
      February 19, 2017 at 10:00

      Absolutely! Dubai has much more to offer than popular attractions… I summarized our fav less known spots here: http://followtheview.com/our-7-secret-spots-in-dubai/

      Anyway, if they are looking for something more, it’s always a good idea to go on desert safari and have some fun among dunes with 4×4 car. If there is some more time left, visiting Abu Dhabi (especially Sheikh Zayed Mosque) or a cruise among fiords in Oman in Musandam and Khasab are good options too. Cheers!

  • Reply
    Monica @ Not a nomad blog
    February 19, 2017 at 15:06

    Ahaha I learned so many things from this post 😀 I think Dubai will be an inevitable stopover for me, so these tips are definitely useful! Looking forward to seeing this incredible city!

    • Reply
      Magda
      February 19, 2017 at 16:20

      Thanks a lot, just let us know if you need any advice! 😉

  • Reply
    talesofelsewhere
    February 23, 2017 at 12:49

    I went to Dubai in January but only had a few hours so decided not to leave the airport – what a big mistake I made!! It sounds really expensive though – any tips for doing it on a budget?

    • Reply
      Magda
      February 23, 2017 at 13:17

      What a pity! It may look like an expensive city (generally it is), but if you are looking for something more budget-friendly, some tips:

      1. Use metro! It’s not expensive, depending on distance and zones, you gonna pay approx. 1-3 EUR per ride. It’s also better than taxis because of incredible traffic. To get to more distant places, you may use Uber – it works perfectly and is approx. 10% cheaper than taxis.

      2. Hotel – look for accommodation in Deira/Bur Dubai area. However, may not look fancy at first glance, it’s a district where you can feel the atmosphere of old Dubai. Look especially for hotels next to Burjuman Metro – the nearby area also have a lot of perfect cheap food options – I remember eating wonderful Indian food of approx. 2-3 EUR. These restaurants are really tiny, nothing luxurious – however food was better than in many high end Dubai hotels and malls. You should try also Lebanese manakesh – looks liked rolled pizza, costs 3 EUR and is so yummy!

      3. Go off the season if you don’t mind heat… Maybe not during Ramadan as not being able to drink water in public may be exhausting, but let’s say March-April is cheaper and still fine.

      4. Look for coupons! I know it may look a bit cheap 😉 However, for me eg. a price you pay for Burj Khalifa was a rip-off these days… view may be a bit disappointing, but it’s somehow on everyone’s bucket list! I usually Googled if there are promo offers, and actually I went for eg. desert safari or to Oman for half price thanks to coupons haha 🙂

      5. Attractions – a lot of them looks amazing also from the outside, so if you are tight on budget, you can skip entering them (eg. Aquarium in Dubai Mall or Burj Khalifa). Beach is for free and far more relaxing than crowds in these places 😉 ANd if you decide to go in hotter months, you can also skip Miracle Gardens – flowers are not blooming so stunningly anymore due to lack of water…

      6. Become an abstinent at least for these couple of days… Alcohol is super super expensive, a beer costs approx. 10 EUR, shot of vodka 15 EUR (and it’s not even served in 50 ml glass! 😉

      Please let me know if you have any other questions!

  • Reply
    Kristine | The Petite Wanderess
    February 26, 2017 at 09:57

    Great tips about Dubai! Agreeing there’s no way to cross the roads.. the lanes are chockful of traffic!

  • Reply
    Anamikaa
    June 19, 2017 at 09:47

    Very informative!! Even i just love these

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