One fine morning while I was having breakfast with my family, my mom came up with the idea (demand rather) of visiting Dubai. The plan sounded pretty exciting but we all weren't very convinced since we had never visited any foreign country before. I started my preliminary search for famous locations that we could visit and found Dubai to be an exciting place. Our family has a tradition of organizing self-planned trips but, this would be our first international trip, because of which we were strongly considering hiring a professional tour organizer. Along with obtaining tour details from various organizers, I did my part of research on visiting Dubai, and felt, I might be able to plan it for myself. Now after smoothly completing the journey, I can say "Trust me guys, it's doable."
This article comprises of my experience at each point of the journey along with a few handy tips that will enrich your travel to Dubai. I will also be sharing links to various resources that I used to plan my trip. So let's start!
The Itinerary I created is based on the information I obtained from various internet sources. Along the trip I have added necessary details to make it more accurate. It includes various routes that can be opted to reach there, what kind of public transport can be used (metro, bus numbers, etc.), cost and time of travel. You can download the itinerary by clicking the below button.
Note: The information may not be true for current day!
Locations I covered.
Dubai Mall and Fountain Show
Abu Dhabi Mosque
Gold & Spice Souk
Aquaventure Water Park, Atlantis
Rush-inn is known for its excellent location and cost effectiveness. All types of public transport are available the moment we step out of the hotel. It is approximately 100 m away from Al Fahidi metro station. This was the best for me since I had planned most of my travel through metro. You will find all kinds of food courts, restaurants and grocery stores within a 5 minute walking radius. Rush-inn is cheap! It costed my around AED 407/night for a room accommodating 4 people. Rooms are neat and clean with hot water running all day. The staff and service is good.
Tip: Prefer a room above the 5th floor to filter out noise since there are 2 disco's at the ground floor.
Tip: Don't miss out on the delicious burger's available about 100m away towards the left-hand side of the hotel.
Dubai's public transport system is probably one of the best in the world that covers almost entire Dubai. It is the only city in the world to have Metro, Monorail and Tram. After reaching the hotel I rushed to the metro station to collect information on their rules and functioning. Unfortunately, I did not find any person to clarify my doubts in person, however, there was a huge touch-board installed at the station. It had a complete database of all public transport along with maps and locations. This was really helpful in planning my travel ahead.
Dubai's public transport follows zone-wise costing. If you travel within the same zone (source and destination are in the same zone), it will cost you AED 3, if the travel includes two zones, then it would cost you AED 5 and similarly it would cost you AED 7.5 for travel including 3 or more zones. Each travel can include multiple bus changes or stops, but the number of zones your travel determines the cost.
For using Dubai's public transport (bus, metro and tram), you would require a NOL card. Buy a Silver NOL card when you travel for the first time in metro and refill it with AED 50 (my suggestion). More details on Dubai Metro is available here. Similarly you can visit https://2gis.ae to plan your travel by bus.
You can call Dubai RTA for any information on public transport:
Tip: Ensure that you have atlease AED 7.5 in the NOL card before starting each journey else you would not be allowed to travel.
Note: On Friday's Dubai metro is not functional in the first half of the day. Metro is operational after 1 PM.
It is one of the best activities in Dubai! There are pick-up points from anywhere in Dubai city. The pick-up is around 3.30 PM and you will be back home by 10 PM. On the way to the desert, there will be one stop for Quad biking, after which there is 30 minutes of Dune Bashing that will completely shake you off. You can relax after reaching the desert location and enjoy the sunset. The mesmerizing cultural dance, fire show and belly dancing starts soon after the sunset. I spent great time with family and it's a perfect way to end a day full of activities.
Desert Safari costed me AED 120/person. You can contact these guys to book your safari:
Tip: Do not missout on buying some Sand Art items.
Dolphin & Seal show at the Dubai Creek Park was something I was very excited about. It was the first time I was seeing dolphins live in front of me. It was a 45 minute show and was worth each penny. I thoroughly enjoyed the show and was amazed how smart the dolphins were. You can either book tickets online or buy from the counter there itself.
Tip: The bird show at Creek Park has recently been introduced. Do you can try it out.
It is undoubtedly world's largest mall and the most beautiful mall I have ever visited. It's so huge that it is impossible to see it entirely in a single day. There are a few attractions inside the mall that really caught my attention. I have listed down a few of them:
Dubai Aquarium- It is the place where the "King Croc" lives. Go for it!
The Waterfall- A 100 foot waterfall built inside the mall.
Dubai Fountain- Worlds largest dancing fountains that jets up water upto 450 feet.
It is the world's tallest building! That's the only reason I visited Burj Khalifa. The view from the deck on the 124th floor comprises whole of Dubai. Also, we could see a plane flying below us! This just took my experience to a whole new level. I would suggest you pre-book your tickets online since it is impossible to get tickets immediately at the counter. You can book your tickets here- At The Top.
Tip: The best time to visit Burj Khalifa is around 5.30-6 PM. You get to see Dubai in both, daylight and night light.
I love thrill and action, and Ferrari World gave me just that. The ride I enjoyed the most is the Fastest Roller Coaster in the world. It is a 60 second ride in which the speed goes from 0 to 240 km/h in the initial 5 seconds. It was a great fun watching others too! We completed all rides with great enthusiasm and had a lot of fun. Ferrari world was action-packed!
Tip: The first thing you need to do after entering Ferrari World is to book your timing for go-carting.
Abu Dhabi Mosque
Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosquethe is the third largest mosque in the world, after the ones in Mecca and Madina in Saudi Arabia. Every aspect of the mosque including ambience, design, people and chandeliers are unique in itself. The most striking feature of the mosque is the Qibla wall on which 99 names of God (Allah) are crafted. It's worth a visit!
Tip: Do not miss visiting the washroom. Its a different world in itself.
Gold & Spice Souk
This market is a very amusing place to visit. The moment you step into the market, you will aw struck by the amount of gold put in display. Since the prices of jewelry were same as that in India, we did not buy any gold items. Even the spice market is pretty decent.
Tip: Please do have Shawarma near Gold souk. It's very delicious.
This miraculous garden is the best and the most beautiful place in Dubai! In fact I would say in the entire world! I am simply in love with this place. It has creatively built structures using small flower pots that are tied together so neatly that it is difficult to make out its internal structure. Roaming around the entire garden takes about 2 hours time.
Tip: The best way to get there is to get a taxi from Emirates mall. It costs around AED 50 to reach there.
I have visited a lot of water parks and Aquaventure is definitely one fo the better ones. However, the number of rides are very limited and it can easily get very crowded leading to long waiting times. Nevertheless, it is a great place to chill, enjoy and get a tan! Also the crowd there is amazing.
Tip: Travel there by metro-tram-mono rail. Metro tram are interconnected and the rates are applicable as per the zones using NOL card. Mono rail is private by Atlantis and costs 25 AED for round trip.
My total cost including living, food and travel came to around AED 12,250.
Dubai is an Awesome city and we had a very smooth and delightful journey. Trip to Dubai is comparatively easy to plan due to a lot of resources available online.