Dubai is not known as a budget destination but you are able to explore the city without breaking the bank. Following are a few tips how to enjoy Dubai without a personal bankruptcy.
Entertainer Voucher Book
Entertainer Voucher book is well known among Dubai residents. The book costs 495 dirhams and offers you hundreds of 2for1 offers to restaurants, cafes, sightseeing and activities. This booklet can save you a lot especially if you have a bigger family. At least during previous years booklet has always included 2for1 vouchers for the most popular waterparks Aquaventure and Wild Wadi. You can buy the book at least from bookstores (e.g. WHSmith), Carrefour, Waitrose and Spinneys. Nowadays there is also an app which is slightly cheaper but at least I had problems with it during many occasions (and you will always need a Wifi), therefore I prefer the traditional book version. You can always try to circulate the book to other tourists traveling to Dubai.
If you are planning a pampering trip, I recommend to buy Entertainer Body version which includes offers to fancy spas. Check also the Fine Dining version which includes offers to more upscale restaurants.
Groupon ja Cobone
Groupon wasn’t successful in Finland but in Dubai it seems to function better. You will find a lot of low quality offer/places on offer. I especially recommend to avoid the desert safari offers in Groupon and use the offers in the Entertainer instead but there are a few gems to be found. Keep your eyes open and you might find a great deal to 5* spa’s and brunch. Cobone is another site where we found a few good quality deals.
Dubai Mall fountain show
Show that doesn’t cost a thing (unless you decide to break the bank in Dubai Mall). You can access the showsite from Dubai Mall lower groundfloor (LG). The show has been designed by the same company who is responsible for the Bellagio fountain show in Las Vegas and the water can reach up to 140 meters. You are able to admire the show also from various restaurants in Dubai Mall, Souk al Bahar and nearby hotels. I recommend to make a restaurant reservation beforehand since they are usually nicely packed during the show. Keep in mind that there is also an afternoon show around 1-2pm. You might be able to catch a table easier during those hours and take an advantage of many good lunch offers (although the show is more stunning in the evening). JBR open beach
JBR beach has been there already for a while but a few years back a new promenade called The Beach was opened. It doesn’t cost a thing to stroll there during the evening and enjoy the lively atmosphere. You will also find plenty of cosy restaurants and cafes. The JBR beach is public and there is a park and a small splash area for the kids (splash area costs 60 dirhams per hour).Free Outdoor Cinema JLT (Jumeirah Lakes Towers)
In JLT park (close to cluster P) you can catch a free outdoor movie. They usually have shows a few times per month during the cooler months. Keep an eye on the Free JLT Outdoor Cinema Facebook page. Water shuttle in Marina and Abra in the old Dubai
If you have a limited budget and/or do not want to spend your money renting a fancy yacht, you can do a small sightseeing in Marina for a few dirhams with a shuttle boat that runs from Marina mall to the other side of Marina (Spinneys side). The boats run every 15 to 30 minutes depending of the season and the ride takes about 15 minutes.
For 1 dirham you are able to catch an Abra in Creek and sail to explore the souks. It’s hard to get any more traditional than this.Souks in old Dubai
If your hotel is located in Marina or close to Burj Khalifa, I recommend to visit also the older part of Dubai to get the feeling how things were before the skyscrapers. Feel the joy of bargaining and the scents of spices in the Spice Souk. There is no need to even buy anything, just wandering the small alleys gives a totally different view of Dubai.
In addition, following are a few additional Dubai budget tips:
- Metro is a convenient way to move around the city where trafic is jammed way too often. Buy a Nol Silver Card at the metro station and you don’t have to worry about buying a ticket every time you use the metro. The card costs 25 dirhams but will include 19 dirhams purse-value . The metro trains and stations in Dubai are very clean and modern.
- The city offers many good lunch deals on weekdays. If you are on a budget but still want to try out some of the best restaurants in town, check out good lunch alternatives in our already published article of Business Lunch.