The best of Dubai on a budget

2017-05-19 22:09
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A city of wonders, from its majestic architecture, state-of-the-art theme parks, to bargain finds at the souk and a AED1 Abra ride.

What may have seemed only but a dream destination is now within your reach – here are some ways for you to enjoy the sights and sounds of Dubai.

·         Do not resist the amazing attractions – Dubai Parks and Resorts is the first integrated resort destination in the region.  It is home to three world-class theme parks and a water park, as well as Riverland Dubai, and Lapita Resort – a Polynesian-themed family resort. 

·          IMG Worlds of Adventure, which opened last year, is the world’s largest temperature-controlled indoor themed entertainment destination in the world, covering an area more than 1.5 million square feet. With the capacity to welcome over 20 000 guests a day, the destination features a unique array of adrenaline-pumping roller coasters and thrilling attractions based on popular Cartoon Network characters, iconic Marvel superheroes, and sine-tingling dinosaurs. The park offers special rates for children under 1.2m, who get AED20 (R71.50) off the original ticket price of AED245, with children under 1.05m being able to enter for free. Senior citizens get AED95 off the original ticket price.

SEE: PICS: First part of new, R42bn Dubai Parks & Resorts opens

·         Journey back in time when you visit the Etihad Museum, which gives visitors a more detailed look into the UAE’s past. The newly opened museum explores the era before the country was founded. Children below the age of five years enter for free, and there is also a discount of AED 5 (from the original price of AED 25) for people with disabilities and a group of 10 people or more.

·         No stay in Dubai is complete without visiting the tallest performing fountain in world, the Dubai Fountain, located in Downtown Dubai. At over 900 ft. in length, the Dubai Fountain has a unique design comprising five circles of varying sizes and two arcs, and features powerful water nozzles that shoot water up to impressive height – simply majestic!

·         Jumeirah Mosque: Enjoy unique opportunity to learn about Emirati culture in a relaxed, casual, and open atmosphere at this iconic mosque, one of only two mosques in Dubai that are open to non-Muslims. One of the most beautiful landmarks in Dubai, Jumeirah Mosque is large enough to hold up to 1,200 worshippers, and was built entirely from white stone in the medieval Fatimid tradition, with towering twin minarets framing a large central dome. Don’t forget your camera! AED40 for 2 people. 

ALSO SEE: Emirates' Iftar meal boxes return for month of Ramadan

·         If you also visit the famous Mall of the Emirates, you will be spoilt for choice. While parents can enjoy the array of stores, young kids have the opportunity to watch the penguins free of charge from a viewing deck at Ski Dubai.

·         The Dubai Mall, Underwater Zoo & Aquarium - One of the largest tanks in the world at 51m x 20m x 11m and featuring one of the world's largest viewing panel at 32.8m wide and 8.3m high. Dubai Aquarium has more than 33,000 living animals, representing more than 85 species including over 400 sharks and rays combined.

Prices start at AED 100 per person, or free from the outside.

This plethora of activities can make the best of travellers seek out some rest and recuperation. Look no further than these budget friendly accommodation hotels - click here to do a full search based on your dates.

·         Rove Hotels – conveniently located in central neighbourhoods across the city, these hotels have easy access to public transport. Designed for comfort and convenience, Rove Hotels come with super spacious and family-friendly rooms at affordable rates, featuring high-speed Wi-Fi, plenty of add-ons and ultra-modern amenities. 

·         XVA Hotel, Al Fahidi District - Inspired by the heritage and history of the region, the XVA Hotel boasts unique guest rooms which highlight architectural and cultural motifs. The hotel is located in the heart of Al Fahidi neighbourhood – one of the oldest in Dubai. Known for its architectural heritage, maze-like alleyways and proximity to the Creek, Al Fahidi is viewed as one of the most important heritage sites in Dubai.

·         Novotel World Trade Centre Dubai - Check in to four-star comfort at the Novotel World Trade Centre Dubai hotel. Located right next to Dubai World Trade Centre, the hotel features airy, contemporary rooms ideal to work or relax with impressive skyline views.

SEE: Dubai: The land of plenty

Now that rest and recuperation is duly out of the way, there is still more to see and do and places to eat!

·          Kite Beach is a firm favourite with kite surfers, kayakers, soccer, and volleyball players. You can soak up the sun and still enjoy fun and free outdoor activities, too.

·         Lunch at Sheikh Mohammed Centre for Cultural Understanding: Enjoy a traditional meal with local flair while chatting with an Emirati host about UAE culture, customs, and religion at the Sheikh Mohammed Centre for Cultural Understanding, set in a traditional wind tower house in the historic Al Fahidi neighbourhood.
AED200 for 2 people. 

·         Dinner at XVA Art Hotel’s Café: Tucked away in the charming quarters of the Al Fahidi district, the XVA Art Hotel and Café is an interesting, eclectic space for artistic and cultural expressions. The café is set in a traditional open-air courtyard and offers a wide variety of vegetarian dishes inspired by the cuisine of the region – including pumpkin kibbeh, beetroot kebabs, an eggplant burger, a rose cheesecake and refreshing mint lemonade.
AED100 for 2 people. 
Travelling the city has never been easier:

·         Abras are motorised traditional wooden boats linking the historic areas of Dubai across the Creek. The fare of Dh1 one-way is payable directly to the driver, with two routes available:

·         Bur Dubai Abra Station to Deira Old Souq Abra Station; operates daily between 5am and midnight.

·         Dubai Old Souq Abra Station to Al-Sabkha Abra Station; operates around the clock.

·         Dubai Metro - Fares vary from AED2 for stops within a single zone to AED6.50 for stops within five zones.

Opened to the public in 2009, the Dubai Metro is the one of the cheapest and most convenient ways of getting around Dubai. Running for almost 75km across key sites in Dubai, the extensive metro features the Red Line, running for 52.1km parallel to Sheikh Zayed Road from near Dubai International Airport to Jebel Ali, and the Green Line, running for 22.5km and linking Dubai Airport Free Zone with Dubai Healthcare City. Trains arrive every 2 to 5 minutes, from 6am to 11pm Saturday to Thursday, and 1pm to midnight on Fridays. Cabs and feeder buses are available from most stations to take you to your destination. Fares vary from AED2 for stops within a single zone to AED6.50 for stops within five zones.
So, make Dubai your next stop, be it for a family vacation or quick business trip. 

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