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March 4, 2024 | Viewed: 336

Leisure in Dubai 2024. When is the best time to go? How much does it cost? What to see?

Today, it seems that Dubai is talked about from every corner: as a business location, about real estate. But today we will talk about something else – about leisure in Dubai. How to get here, where you can save money, where you can go absolutely for free. And, of course, the main question: is it worth going to Dubai for vacation at all?

Is it worth flying to Dubai for vacation?

If you have ever contacted tour operators and looked at tours to the United Arab Emirates, you know that the United Arab Emirates consists of seven emirates, and tours to Dubai are among the most expensive. So the first question is: is it worth flying specifically to Dubai for vacation? I’ll put it this way: if you are interested in beach holidays and plan to spend most of your time on the beach, then going to Dubai makes no sense. There is, for example, a very cool option – neighboring Sharjah. It takes only 30-40 minutes to drive from Sharjah to the center of Dubai (excluding traffic jams). But if in Sharjah you can rent a nice four-star hotel within walking distance of the sea for the same money, then in Dubai for the same money you will only be able to rent, well, something not so great… a three-star hotel somewhere in the outskirts.

And by the way, you can get there both by public transport and by transfers. Most hotels in Sharjah provide absolutely free transport to the center of Dubai, to Dubai Mall. This way, you can save a lot on transportation.

Dubai or other emirates?

As an option, there are two emirates such as Ras Al Khaimah and Fujairah. That is, in Ras Al Khaimah, the vacation will be much calmer, it’s already a small town, there will be much quieter beaches. Well, if we consider Fujairah, then Fujairah is not even the Persian Gulf, it is the Gulf of Oman, and it is practically the Indian Ocean. This is my favorite place, where I go regularly once every two or three weeks, because there is a magnificent underwater world with turtles, fish. You can go diving, snorkeling, the sea is the purest and most pleasant, the gulf, the ocean. There is a very cool beach holiday, but you should understand that all good hotels in Fujairah are located outside the city, and you will find yourself in such a village where there will only be your hotel and some neighboring hotels with their territories. If you want to go to Dubai, you can always take a tour and get to the center of Dubai in an hour and a half or two hours.

The fifth emirate we will talk about today is Abu Dhabi. This is the city of Abu Dhabi, which is also the emirate of Abu Dhabi. I’ll put it this way: Abu Dhabi is so self-sufficient that if you come for 10 days or even 20 days, you can go to different world-class places every day. This includes Ferrari World, the official branch of the Louvre, Warner Brothers amusement park, and various water parks. There is also good, classy shopping, Michelin-starred restaurants. By the way, a huge number of world stars come to perform, mostly in Abu Dhabi rather than in Dubai. So in Abu Dhabi, you will actually get everything at once: shopping, entertainment, restaurants, and a good beach holiday with uncrowded beaches with white sand. You can, for example, go to Dubai once to see it with your own eyes, go to the Burj Khalifa, take a walk in Dubai Marina, and that will be more than enough. So, if you choose a vacation package and you choose one emirate, in my opinion, it is much better to stay in Abu Dhabi.

Where to stay in Dubai

Well, if you just dream of coming and relaxing in Dubai, then the question arises: where to stay in this city? Again, everything will depend on your preferences. If you want a beach vacation, then make sure your hotel is close to the beach, and this should be given special attention because even if, seemingly, the hotel is close to the beach on the map and it seems like you can walk there in 30 minutes, you need to understand that Dubai is not Sochi, it’s not Turkey, it’s not other resort places where you can leave your hotel and calmly walk to the beach in 30 minutes along pleasant streets, as we did in Sochi, as we did in Turkey. No, here, often when you leave the hotel, you’ll enter a megapolis, a very noisy city, with big roads where you can’t cross the street, and ultimately you’ll need to rely on taxi services, and taxis are expensive here, you’ll spend about 1200-1300 rubles on a taxi for a short trip one way. Buses here run poorly, they exist, but essentially you can’t rely on them because you can wait for a bus for an hour. Also, most hotels provide transfers to the beach, but you need to understand that you will adjust to the transfer because it has a schedule, you need to book in advance, and if this option suits you, then you can consider hotels that are a bit further from the beach.

Favorite tourist area for tourists from the CIS in Dubai

Let’s also talk about the most popular area for tourists from the CIS – Dubai Marina. This is the most Russian-speaking area, and not the most expensive area for leisure. You don’t have to spend money on transfers there; you can walk or take the tram, which is available in Marina. Everything you might need for leisure is within walking distance. And the most interesting thing is that there are already so many tourists from Russia and the CIS that almost every hotel and restaurant has its own Russian-speaking manager.

Where and when to buy plane tickets to Dubai

Any journey starts with plane tickets. Now there are many flights to Dubai from Russia. I flew from Sochi to Dubai and back for just 15,000 rubles in the summer. Of course, now, during the season, the prices will be higher, but not extremely high. I think even now you can find tickets for around 25,000 – 30,000 rubles if you monitor them not too far in advance, but approximately 2-4 weeks before departure. By the way, when you look for tickets from Russia to Dubai, you don’t have to look for direct flights to Dubai; you can also look for flights to neighboring emirates, such as Sharjah or Abu Dhabi. And from Kazakhstan, a lot of flights go to Abu Dhabi. So, remember that you can look for tickets from your neighboring cities to neighboring emirates because it can be much cheaper.

What to take on a trip to Dubai

Once you’ve bought your plane tickets, the second question arises: what to take with you? I prefer to travel light. And actually, in hot countries, you can easily travel with just a backpack because the weather here is very stable. There is a warm season and a very hot season, and it’s not like it was 10 years ago when all malls and metros had extremely low temperatures, and all guidebooks said you must take pants, socks, and a sweatshirt with you because when you enter a mall, you need to dress warmly. Now it’s not like that anymore. Now all air conditioners are set to not +16°, but to comfortable +22-23°, so when you enter a mall wearing a t-shirt, you don’t need to put anything else on top. If you plan to visit a mosque, either take the most closed clothing with you, right up to the wrists and ankles, and a scarf, or you can always buy an abaya on the spot, which is traditional women’s clothing. It will cost around 2,000 rubles. It will also be a great souvenir from the United Arab Emirates.

Insurance for a trip to Dubai

I recommend getting insurance before your flight. They often don’t ask for it at the airport, but I recommend getting it because anything can happen in a foreign country, and healthcare here is very expensive. Also, I advise you to take with you a minimal first aid kit with the drugs you need, for headaches, stomachaches, because here, of course, you can find something in pharmacies, but these will be different names of drugs. Spending your precious time on vacation when you or your loved one are sick, searching for the right medicine, googling what a particular medicine is called here, will be long and stressful, I think you don’t need that.

They haven’t asked for a return ticket for a long time, and SIM cards are now distributed right at customs when they check your passport. They put the SIM card directly into your passport, and I recommend using it because it includes 1 GB of free internet, so if you figure it out a little, show just a drop of patience, then you can already leave the airport with a working SIM card and internet, which is very important to stay connected while traveling.

How to get around during your trip

If you arrive at the main international airport in Dubai (DXB), you can get to your hotel by metro. At the same time, you’ll visit one of the attractions – the local metro, which is very fast, clean, and comfortable. To use the metro, you’ll need to buy metro cards, and then you can get around using these cards.

If you arrive not at DXB airport, but at any other airport, for example, Al-Maktoum Airport (also a Dubai airport), or in Abu Dhabi or Sharjah, then you will, of course, need a taxi service. Here, there is a taxi called Careem, which is the cheapest. There is also Yandex Taxi, called Yango. In Abu Dhabi, there is Abu Dhabi Taxi. And, of course, the well-known Uber also operates here. You can also catch a taxi without ordering one, just by waving your hand at the airport, and the price will be the same. I recommend exchanging money right at the airport, at least a small amount for initial expenses. You can pay for taxis with both cash and card.

Car Rental in Dubai

Another option for getting around, which may be more attractive to me, is car rental. Car rental in the United Arab Emirates is very pleasant because it’s very affordable. I found a car rental for 70 dirhams per day. In terms of Russian rubles, it’s only 1,900 rubles per day. Of course, this will be a budget car, like a Kia Picanto or Nissan Sunny, but they won’t be old and falling apart cars, and you can easily get around in them. The cars will always be serviced, which will be very convenient if you like this style of travel. And almost all rental car services offer delivery, so if you plan your trip in advance, they can deliver the car right to the airport, where you can load your luggage and drive wherever you need to go, which is very convenient.

I recommend searching for rental cars in advance on Google, rather than relying on rental cars available at the airport, because you can learn a lot of details in advance. One Click Drive is convenient because they have a wide range of cars, from cheap to very expensive. It’s a large company, so you don’t have to worry about your deposit. That’s where I found the cheapest cars starting from 70 dirhams per day. So you can check them out or any other rental car service, but I recommend choosing large aggregators to avoid problems with returning the deposit later on.

Let’s spend a couple more words on renting a car because it’s an important and serious topic. First of all, before your departure from Russia, make sure to obtain an international driving permit. It can be obtained quickly through the state services in a couple of days, and the fee is relatively small, around 1500 rubles. You’ll receive a card from the traffic police called an international driving permit, and with it, you can rent a car. Often, rental managers may tell you in advance, “Don’t worry, buddy, I’ll give you a car with your Russian driver’s license, it’s fine,” but in reality, they might just write some fake details from another license into the contract, like a nonexistent international number. Any minor problem, accident, or damage, and you’ll start facing issues, and they’ll demand money. So, to avoid all these problems, it’s essential to obtain an international driving permit because without it, the insurance won’t be valid.

You’ll have to pay for petrol yourself, but petrol is inexpensive here. I recommend always taking photos of the car before renting it. If you find any damages on the car, ask to include them in the rental agreement if they’re not already marked. Otherwise, they might claim that you caused damage to the car and charge you $1,000. When returning the car to the manager, make sure to get a document stating that there are no claims against you, that the car is returned in the same condition, and that you haven’t caused any new damages to the car. Also, set a reminder for yourself on the date of deposit return, and if they don’t return it on time, start writing to them angrily and insistently: “Guys, where’s my deposit? Return my deposit in full.”

When renting a car, ask the managers or check online how to pay for parking because it’s slightly different in various emirates. But in any case, if you get a local SIM card, you can pay for parking via SMS because not everywhere you’ll find parking meters where you can pay with cash or card. And the fine for not paying parking is very high.

Where to find accommodation in Dubai

Once you’ve figured out how you’ll be getting around, it’s important to decide where you’ll be staying. I don’t recommend using Booking – it’s expensive. I use Google Maps and directly. Let me explain how it works. Once you’ve chosen the area where you want to stay, simply type “Hotel” into Google Maps, and it will show you all the hotels in that area. Then, when you click on a hotel, Google will show you sites with the best and most attractive prices. Prices on Booking are usually 100 – 150 dirhams higher compared to Google, which gives you the best price, especially on Agoda.

I recommend booking, for example, three hotels and visiting three locations:

  • First, visit Dubai, where you can shop, see the dancing fountains at the Burj Khalifa, and take a stroll at Dubai Marina.
  • Then, it’s best to go to Abu Dhabi, the capital of the UAE.
  • There’s also plenty to see there, so you can decide based on your interests and explore the city. And finally, as the icing on the cake, spend 2 days in Fujairah, where you can swim, enjoy a fantastic beach vacation, and return home fully relaxed.

Where to Go and What to See in Dubai

Apart from the well-known dancing fountains at Dubai Mall, there are several other places in Dubai that I recommend visiting, some of which are either entirely free or quite expensive.

  1. Global Village: An international fair showcasing goods from around the world. It’s a great place to stroll around, with ongoing shows and various attractions, and the entrance fee is quite affordable, around 20 dirhams per person.
  2. Miracle Garden and Butterfly Garden: These are also worth visiting, offering beautiful and interesting experiences at reasonable prices.
  3. In another part of the city near Dubai Frame, you’ll find Zabeel Park, Dinosaur Park, and Dubai Garden Glow, featuring detailed handmade animal and flower figures made from lamps. The entrance fees are either free or very affordable.
  4. You can also visit Deira’s Gold and Spice Souks for free. There’s a beautiful waterfront promenade where you can stroll and soak in the abundance of Eastern culture. It’s very noisy and crowded, which some people enjoy and others don’t, but the memories will last a lifetime.

One thing I highly recommend spending money on in Dubai is visiting the water park. There’s a fantastic water park called Atlantis located on the Palm, where they offer very good discounts on birthdays. So, if you’re coming here to celebrate your birthday, you can also visit the Atlantis water park at a discounted rate and create lifelong memories.

I tried to gather all the information into this condensed article, quickly summarize, and provide a brief guide before traveling to Dubai. Of course, it’s impossible to fit everything into one article, so we will continue to talk about what to do in Dubai.

Author: Anna

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