We love Dubai, and it’s beauty and splendor, but travelling, especially for a family can be a costly affair – we are proud to bring to you the best of Dubai, on a budget. See all the wonders from its majestic architecture, state-of-the-art theme parks, to bargain finds at the souk and a AED 1 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, without breaking the bank, Hello Joburgers.
Theme Parks and Family Fun
• 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 spine-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.
• 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.
• 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 https://thedubaimall.com/
Budget Friendly Hotels
• 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. www.rovehotels.com
• 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. Visit them here
Out and About in The City
• 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. www.cultures.ae
• 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. www.xvahotel.com/cafe
• 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:
o Bur Dubai Abra Station to Deira Old Souq Abra Station; operates daily between 5am and midnight.
o 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.
Hello Joburg was first published in April 1980 as a monthly restaurant and entertainment magazine. Over the years we have developed a network of patriotic Joburgers that love nothing more than sharing their experiences in this beautiful city!