Three days on a budget in Dubai
When travelling to the beautiful city of Dubai, it’s hard not to become enchanted with the shopping malls, pristine beaches, and expensive cocktails. But it is possible to have a long weekend in Dubai on a budget. Perhaps when your next layover is in this wonderful city, you won’t think twice about staying a few days and experiencing as much as possible on a low budget.
As part of our trip to Australia in 2015, we made a stop in Dubai for a few days. Our aim was to explore as much of this place as possible but on a budget. We created a three-day budget itinerary with the help of The Entertainer coupons, which for approx. £50 is well worth it. Our coupon book was actually gifted by a friend and we chose the vouchers that we wanted to use. The Coupons actually included cafes, attractions, nightspots, retail, services, leisure, and dining. These are our three days on a budget in Dubai.
With keeping costs down we decided to book an apartment. Most of the hotels and accommodation that we found in Dubai wanted a marriage certificate. But because Mr J and I aren’t married, we opted for this affordable accommodation that we found on Booking.com . From what we wanted this approx £50 pp per night apartment fitted our three days on a budget in Dubai trip perfectly. The room was clean and comfortable and in a good location to access local amenities. The only thing I would say that you will have to put down a deposit on arrival and that there is different Golden Sands Appartments, so make sure you find the right one. When arriving at the hotel we were greeted with prune juice and a smile, nothing was too much trouble. That evening we headed to a local restaurant with our voucher, Centro Citta. The Italian food was amazing and I would definitely recommend a visit.
Day one was a journey to the Palm Atlantis and in particular the Lost Chambers of Atlantis. As you enter the doorway of the Lost Chambers you are transported to the underwater kingdom of Atlantis. You are greeted with a cylinder tank of luminous lights and enchanting fish. With a usual price of AED 100 (Approx. 20 GBP), with the Entertainer coupon, we were able to enjoy two for one. As you sit on the Arabian inspired cushion, you become transfixed as you watch the marine life flourish. After an hour or so inside the lost city, we ventured around the Atlantis. Before we leave I watch in amazement at the cleaner attempting to clean the grand tank of an assortment of fish. The extent of the tank was about the size of a grand wall.
We wander to the next stop with our entertainer vouchers – the cold stone creamery. Here the ice-cream makers are more like artists as they throw the scoops of ice-cream in the air. Attending this eatery is more like a show, as the artists create a performance with the ice cold delicacies. The extensive menu includes smoothies, shakes and unique creations, with an opportunity to decorate your pudding with nuts, sweets and fruits. With the entertainer voucher, you are able to enjoy a two for one treat.
Following a cooling ice-cream, we wandered around the Palm Atlantis, before taking the Palm monorail back to where we were staying. In the entertainer voucher, we were able to get an offer on the monorail pass. Once arriving back to the Monorail station, we got a taxi back to the apartment. When using the taxi’s in Dubai, avoid the white cars, as these are a lot more money.
This evenings meal was at Russo’s New York Pizzeria, which has to be one of the best Pizza’s that I have ever eaten. Russo’s also have a great gluten-free menu, for those that are unable to eat gluten. With the Entertainer vouchers, you are able to use these vouchers to save money on your purchase. The pizzeria is on Jumeirah St, which is a ten-minute drive from the Golden Sands Apartment.
We enjoyed a morning by the swimming pool in our apartment block and had booked a 4X4 tour with ‘Arabian Night tours’. They offer many activities including the Desert Safari which Includes Sand-Boarding. The tour group pick you up at 3:30/4pm and you venture into the Desert, following the pick up of all the other guests. The journey to the Desert was roughly 45 minutes – 1 hour, depending on where your hotel is situated.
The tour includes the 4X4 safari as well as; Entertainment (Belly dance/tanoura dance performance), Free drinks, a buffet of Arabian inspired food, sand boarding, camel rides and henna tattoos. You arrive back to your hotel at 10 pm. There was no need to spend any extra money as food was provided. You could purchase alcohol and photos once at the camp.
The first part of the tour included dune bashing through the sand, with a stop for sunset photos in the Desert. Following the sunset pictures, we finished our sand safari at the camp. The great food and entertainment that was provided created a wonderful evening, with opportunities of sand boarding and camel rides. Extras such as a shisha (Hookah), popcorn and photos were available at an extra cost. We were escorted back in the 4X4 to our hotel at roughly 10pm.
We decided to venture to the souk markets to do a bit of exploring and shopping. Instead of taking a taxi, we decided to take the metro to save some money. It was fairly easy to navigate the metro, although be advised that there is 1st class, female only carriages and mixed – be sure to get on the right compartment. We decided to firstly enter the gold souks, which was beautiful with the glistening of the gold chains in the windows. From there we headed to the textile souk, which was a lot more exciting.
To get to the textile souk, we had to cross the Dubai Creek via a boat. After walking an hour or so, we stumbled upon the dock where we paid to cross over.
Once we reached what looked like the old town, from the crumbling buildings. The colours from the textiles hanging outside the market stalls and the beads from the middle eastern styled shoes have an enchanting presence. I walk past the pestering sellers and refuse the offer of famous designers – I know that they are fakes. But past the stallholders and intrusive sellers, I stumble down little lanes of colour into those hidden gem shops. Following a day of shopping around the markets we ventured back to our apartment, before an evening of more shopping.
Later that evening.
We took a taxi to see the world’s tallest existing structure, the Burj Khalifa. We walked around the Dubai Mall, which is a definite must. The mall is the biggest that I have seen and the shops are luxurious and expensive. After a quick walk around the mall, we had our dinner at Carluccios (where we had another Entertainer voucher), be advised that on national holidays the coupons may not be valid. The staff here were so attentive and friendly, despite the problem we had with paying the bill (don’t ask!) After a delicious Italian meal, we stepped outside and watched the fountains dance to music right in front of the Burj Khalifa. In the entertainer book, there is also coupons to go up the Burj Khalifa, which is something that I want to do next time.
Do you have any tips for budget travel in Dubai?