When a budget airline announced their daily direct flights from Manila to Dubai, I wasn't the only one who's overjoyed. My family and friends in the Philippines were so excited about it as well. In fact, most of them are already planning to visit Dubai soon. Since travelling to Dubai is already cheaper, their only concern is how to enjoy the city even on a budget!
Dubai may be a city of glitz and glamour, but it is definitely possible to have fun without spending a fortune!
Here are the top 10 Cheap/Free Thrills in Dubai:
1. The Dubai Fountain
The Dubai Fountain is the world's largest dancing fountain with a length of 900 ft and has nozzles capable to shoot water sprays up to 500 ft high! The fountain dances to famous tunes and creates an amazing spectacle every 30 minutes, from 6 PM until 11 PM. You can watch as many shows as you want for this attraction is free.
2. Burj Khalifa
If you don't want to spend 125 AED (around Php 1,300), skip Burj Khalifa's observation deck and head to the Burj Park or at the Dubai Fountain area at Downtown Dubai to have an amazing, unobstructed view of the world's tallest tower.
Location: Downtown Dubai
3. Dubai Aquarium
The Dubai Aquarium and Underwater Zoo is a home to over 30,000 marine animals. It has the largest acrylic panel in the world. You can view the Guiness World Record's largest aquarium for free at The Dubai Mall. If you want to see the marine animals up-close, a ticket costs 50 AED.
4. Burj Al Arab
Burj Al Arab, the sail-shaped 7-star hotel, is Dubai's iconic structure! Though it's mainly for the rich (dinner costs 365 AED/person and a night stay costs a whopping 5,600 AED), you can still enjoy Burj Al Arab from afar. Head to Umm Suquiem open beach and gaze at one of the world's most luxurious hotel. No entrance fee at the beach!Location: Umm Suqueim Beach, Jumeirah
5. The Dubai Metro
The Dubai Metro is the world's longest fully automated metro network spanning at 75 km. There's a metro station at every prime spot, so it is the easiest and the cheapest mode of transportation to see the city. You can do your own city tour using the metro, refer to my post: Dubai City Tour via The Metro.
Fare: 2 to 6.50 AED only
Location: Red Line runs from Rashidiya to Jebel Ali / Green Line runs from Etisalat to Healthcare City
6. Abra Ride
For only a dirham, you can cross the Dubai Creek on board a traditional wooden boat. The Dubai Creek is known to be the heart and soul of Dubai. It served as a gateway for traders years ago, and has now become one of the major tourist spots in the city. If you want to explore Old Dubai more, check out my post: Old Dubai DIY Walking Tour.
Fare: 1 AED
Location: Old Dubai, Bur Dubai
7. Dubai Museum
You can have a glimpse of Dubai before it turned into a mega city at Dubai Museum! It is believed to be the oldest building in the city. It showcases the Emirati life before oil was discovered in the 60s and the country's growth from a simple city in the midst of a desert to a city of tall skyscrapers and unique architecture.
Admission fee: 3 AED
Location: Bur Dubai
8. Souk Hopping
Souk is an Arabic word which means "market". There are several souks in Dubai, one mainly for gold and another for spices alone. I know, shopping has never been cheap, but window shopping at the Arabian market place is! Gawking at the shiny shimmery jewels, smelling the exotic scents of herbs and spices and just walking around the souk are free yet amusing things to do in Dubai.
Free, unless you got tempted to buy a fab 24k necklace!
Location: Gold Souk and Spice Souk in Deira / Old Souk in Bur Dubai
9. Beach Bumming
This one is for the sun worshipers and beach bummers like me. One of the things I love in Dubai is that most beaches are only minutes away from the city. Head to the open beach where you can enjoy the sun, sea and sand for free.
Location: Jumeirah Open Beach / Dubai Marina Beach / Kite Beach / Umm Suqueim Beach
10. Cheap Eats: Shawarma, Cheese Mannakish, Falafel
Hungry? You can always find a shawarma stall somewhere along the road. Stuff yourself with a yummy shawarma and you're good to go! Want to try something new? Have some Cheese Manakish, also known as the "Lebanese Pizza", or Falafel, a traditional Arabic food made of ground chick peas.
Cost: around 5-10 AED
Location: just around the corner :)
You don't have to be a millionaire to see this amazing city. So, when you see a promo fare from Manila to Dubai next time, don't be intimidated and book your tickets as soon as you can!