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Sunrise shot of Downtown Dubai and Burj Khalifa.
Photo by David Rodrigo / Unsplash

Where should I stay in Dubai?

Want to make your trip to Dubai a trip of a lifetime? Book one of the iconic luxury hotels in Dubai. Described below are two of the best hotels in the world. Cheap options also exist. Apartment hotels are the best value in Dubai. This is a bit tricky as most of it is personal taste. There are some extremely luxurious coastal resort hotels for the holidays but there are thousands of options in different areas of the city and on the creek. It really depends on what you want to get out of your trip. For the ultimate Dubai experience, try to see Atlantis the Palm or Burj Al Arab on Jumeira Beach, you will need a fat wallet but it will be a never forgetting experience.

Did you know that Atlantis has water rides, shark encounters, a teen and children's club and more? This is a ticket list item to tick, see it at our link above. We go to apartment style hotels for a stopover for a few days. These include kitchens and washing machines, which make life easier. They are towards a more budget-friendly end. The Golden Sand chain of apartment hotels in Bur Dubai are popular and usually have swimming pools. They are far from the coast but in a central area. We have stayed in some of their apartment hotels and they are very well priced. Consider transportation options. As a family of four, we usually find taxis easier and cheaper than the Dubai metro. If you are not clinging to budget luxury cars and shifting is easy to arrange.

2 hours drive from Dubai into the desert
Photo by Fernando Jorge / Unsplash

What is the best mode of transportation in Dubai?

When we visited, Dubai had two metro lines, red and green, covering most of the tourist areas within and around the city.

To the south of the Red Line is Jebel Ali. The ticket is per zone. For tourists, you can buy a red NOL card that allows travel on all metro, bus and tram networks. You can load your card with the amount and amount you want to use.

I really do not recommend catching the metro as it has always been crowded for us. On every occasion we have used it, we will have to wait for several full trains to pass before we can work our way up. Only carts benefit women while traveling as a family. Taxis are a convenient way around the city if you are visiting only a few places. For a family of 4, the cost is not much higher than the metro. They are all metering and you don't have to worry. Just be cautious during peak hours when you might get stuck on one of the many major roads of gridlock traffic. Buses are normal all over Dubai but I won't worry unless you really know where you are going. If you want to go then the NOL card will include travel in buses.

Flights to dubai

When we took a flight from Dubai, we were victims of a scam. Maybe you read this post on a 3 part booking before you pay for your flight (it opens in a new tab so that you don't lose this page). Most local airlines are very good indeed and are some of our favorite carriers in the world.

Both Etihad and Emirates are sometimes able to provide free accommodation for longer stays in Dubai.

Waiting for the sunset in Abu Dhabi, in June usually means temperatures above 40°C and humidity levels up to 95%.
But some times… even that is worth it.
Photo by David Rodrigo / Unsplash

Arriving at Dubai airports

Dubai has two airports located at opposite ends of the city.

Dubai International Airport with code DXB and New Al Makthoum International Airport with code DWC. Dubai International (DXB) is the main airport and one of the world's busiest in terms of international travelers. The information below was correct the last time we visited. It has a total of 3 terminals and is connected through terminals 1 and 3 (especially Emirates and Qantas), but Terminal 2 is on the other side of the airport. Getting into Dubai from DXB is easy with many options for taxis, private fare transfers, buses and even metro trains that stop at both Terminal 1 and 3 or Terminal 2 on a separate line.

Transfer between terminals 1 and 3 and terminal 2 requires a shuttle bus to allow a lot of time. DWC is located approximately 50 km south of the old city and is not connected by transport links. Probably the easiest option is to catch a taxi directly to your hotel when arrival. It is more expensive than taxis from DXB. Many airlines do not use the new airport and are unlikely to fly here. If you need to connect between DWC and DXB, you can catch the metro line from Ibn Batuta and then directly to the airport by a dedicated bus.

Apparently the reverse is the same. Please double this information by yourself, we try our best to remain in the present, but cannot guarantee it. If you have a large amount of baggage then I would not recommend it. The other option is a taxi which will be expensive and will take a long time. Allow traffic in Dubai as traffic can often be constant depending on the time of day. Abu Dhabi Airport is another option, Emirates / Etihad

Can I go to Dubai with Kids?

There are some superb things to do in Dubai with kids, for fun and for educational value.
Dubai is absolutely, without doubt, one of the best and easiest places in the world to take kids. There are hundreds of ultra-fun, family and kid-friendly things to do in Dubai. My children love the camel safari we mentioned above, but there’s also the mall, beaches, pools and theme parks. Just some of the attractions for kids in Dubai are below. Things to do in Dubai with kids, that are child-friendly, include:

Kidzania Dubai Mall
Sega World Dubai Mall
The Ice Rink at Dubai Mall
Dubai Aquarium and Underwater Zoo Dubai Mall
Desert Safaris as mentioned here
Legoland Dubai
IMG World of Adventure Theme Park
Kite Beach
Bounce Dubai
Wild Wadi Water Park near Jumeira Beach
VR World Dubai Mall
Dubai City Walk
Aquaventure Water Park at Atlantis the Palm
Dancing Fountains at the Burj Khalifa
Dolphin Bay at Atlantis the Palm
Our full post on Dubai with kids is coming soon.

Are Dubai Beaches good?

Dubai has all the beaches you could want. Here, Jumeira beach and the Burj Al Arab
The beaches were very clean and the water calm. Water temperature wasn’t as warm as you’d think but not as cold as the Mediterranean. The beaches have shops and restaurants backing them but there is little shade making it very hot and exposed in the middle of the day.

If you’re not staying on the beach, getting there will probably require a taxi or shuttle buses as the metro stopped a few blocks back.

What to visit in old Dubai?
Dubai Travel Blog Old Dubai
Old Dubai and the history and culture of this small coastal town are still there, if you know where to look.
It’s not just about gleaming skyscrapers. Down by The Creek you can find the Al Fahidi Historical District where wind towers ( see them above) coral block houses and well restored traditional Arabian doorways give you a glimpse into yesterday. The area is relatively small but is none the less fascinating. Take a tour as we did, before wandering down to The Creek, visiting the souks and Dubai Fort.

Dubai’s Gold and Spice Souks

Dubai’s souks are small but you will find the spice souk and gold souk side by side on the banks of The Creek
Again these Souks are small compared to those you see in Istanbul or Egypt, but none the less, you should go. Identify spices as you stroll the alleyways and be stunned by just how much gold it’s possible to wear. Just be very, very wary of buying. Some of the biggest rip-offs we’ve ever seen are here. ALWAYS ask the price first, even for camel milk ice cream.

Dubai Creek

You must take a look at Dubai Creek, take a ferry ride between the souks and markets on either side.
Dubai Creek divides Dubai into two areas, Deira and Bur Dubai. It was the main port and entry to Dubai for many years and it wasn’t until 1963 that the first bridge was built over it. You can still take boats across the creek but they are mainly for tourists and a few people commuting between the two areas. A boat ride costs very little and is a nice thing to do when visiting the souks and Old Dubai. These attractions are on either side of The Creek.

The Fish Market

The old Deira Dubai fish market which had been around for decades finally shut its doors as the new Waterfront market opened. The old market was a great place to visit but it was tired and was long overdue for an upgrade. Being so busy the vendors had taken to selling their wares in the parking lot out the front. Like most things in Dubai, it wasn’t updated but replaced with a brand new purpose-built market.

Located near Hamriya Port, the Waterfront Market offers fresh fish, meat, fruits, and vegetables. It has everything any modern market would have with coffee shops and restaurants opening as development progresses. It isn’t on the metro line so I’d suggest a taxi and get there early to see the day’s catch.