Dubai , one of the top visited destinations in the world primarily for tourism, is one of the seven Emirates of the United Arab Emirates. It’s become one of the most preferred spots for tourism, primarily from India. Given its relatively travel costs and affordability, Dubai is now overtaking the likes of Singapore , Malaysia and Thailand in terms of Tourism revenue. This Dubai Holiday Smart Itinerary gives you the complete info on how to plan for your trip and also an ideal itinerary that you can follow, for your trip
As a personal note, having traveled across many countries over the past decade, I’d strongly suggest never to take a “package” from any travel agent especially for all countries within Asia and the Middle East.
Instead, book your flights and hotels directly yourself at discounted rates offered by the online travel sites and once you reach the hotel, just take the exact same tours from your hotel travel desk at much cheaper rates than the ones offered by the Indian counterpart. Plus this way, you get to decide which tour to take on which day given your schedule and preference. A lot of hotels also offers free pickup and drop from airport if you book through them and inform them in advance about the same
A Short Bio on UAE
An Emirate actually refers to a political territory (Sheikhdom in the regional language) and is ruled by a king . The seven emirates in United Arab Emirates(UAE) include Abu Dhabi, Sharjah, Ajman, Umm Al Quwain,Ras Al Khaimah, Fujairah and of course Dubai. Though UAE is part of the world that enjoys the major quantity of oil production , Dubai is limited to only < 5% of the overall oil resources in UAE and primarily sources revenue only from tourism. This part of the world enjoys a completely altogether different climate, culture, food, language and of course specific traditions which are followed quite seriously.
Having very less natural resources (With just the water from the Arabian Gulf and the other end is covered by a vast desert) , it’s always amazing to see how they have built this enormous city of Dubai, in terms of skyscrapers, infrastructure, tourist attractions among many other things
Cost of Travel for A 5 Day Dubai Holiday
The currency of Dubai is Dirham and is valued at roughly 18 INR = 1 AED(Dirham)
An average trip cost to Dubai would come up to 25K-30K per person including Visa (excluding flights). A to & fro trip to Dubai from India would be around 20-22 K in Emirates Airlines and 15-17K if you book in the budget airlines(like Air Arabia, FlyDubai, Indigo,Spicejet ).
Rates during off season can be almost 50% of that , so watch out for those deals and grab the airfares at the lowest rate possible
Cost of Dubai Visa
Visa will cost you around 5,500 for a 30 day Tourism Visa and usually provided by the airlines if you apply through them. Dubai requires an additional Ok To Board Visa from selected cities ( so ensure to get that as well while applying for the main visa).
Note : Tourism Visas are issued by an airline to Dubai only if both onward and return journey is booked through them. If you happen to book onward and return flights in different airlines,they’ll refuse to issue the visa and it may create a huge travel block for you. So remember to fly through the same airline.
Travelling around Dubai and Sightseeing ( Points to Note )
Dubai is well connected by metros, monorails, trams, buses and taxis and even a river boat taxi to get you across the river. When you are just one or two people travelling, its easier to take one of the above shuttles to head to the destination. However if its a family of 3-5, a simpler way would be to take a tour package directly from your hotel at very low prices ( given you are a hotel guest ) for the selected attractions. For all other shopping related areas, a trip via the metro is the most convenient, cheap and fastest.
What to Shop in Dubai :
- Dates (especially the chocolate covered Almond stuffed dates)
- Dubai engraved mementos
Dubai Holiday Smart Itinerary
- Day 1
Hopefully, you may have landed the previous night or the first day morning. My most favourite thing to do on the first day is to explore the city by foot. Grab a map from the hotel concierge(Almost every hotel travel desk would give you one for free) and start exploring the nearby shops, mini cafes, restaurants and get to adapt to the flavour of the city.
If your hotel is near the riverside ( Bur Dubai area or Deira) you can easily walk down to the Dubai creek (Dubai river) and revel in the beautiful calm sight in front of you. Come back by lunch and get the adequate rest you need (after all those hours of travelling).
Dubai’s beautiful creek is lit up by beautiful boats called Dhows. These Dhows have lower and upper decks that host a sumptuous dinner and a 2-hour cruise along the river with some cultural activities. This is a great way to relax, have dinner in the dhow and enjoy the magnificent buildings surrounding the Dubai River.
Soon after you finish the breakfast at hotel , opt in for the 3 hour city tour. This tour will give you a glimpse of the Dubai history, its architecture, a visit to the museums, a panoramic view of the Palm islands and also a short visit to the Jumeirah beach with a beautiful view of the Burj Al Arab hotel
Note : These tours organized by the agents generally include a 20 minute visit to an “culture artefact” shop that usually sells very high priced goods generally targeted at foreigners from US & UK. So would suggest to just stroll in , have a glance and come back . Everything is priced at 7-8 times the price of the local markets. So just see the item, add it to your checklist and you’ll find the same thing in the markets at probably 5-10 AED ( 100-200 Rs)
A trip to Dubai is never complete without a visit to their wonderful desert. The Desert safari tour that you can avail at pretty much any travel shop would entail you an adventurous ride on a 4*4 vehicle as he literally flies off the sandunes and gets to do roller coasters around the desert.
With two days packed of morning to night activities, it’s suggested to keep it light the third day . You can spend it by going to the following places :
- Gold shopping at Deira Gold & Spice Souk (by crossing the river in the 1AED boat taxi)
- Shopping at Lulu Hypermarket (near Karama market) or other markets
- Visit the Mall of Emirates / Ibn Batuta Mal
- Shopping at Day to Day Supermarket (that sells everything at 2-20 AED only) including perfumes, jeans, tshirts, shoes, dates, chocolates, keychains and almost everything else)
Evening – Night :
Towards late evening, book yourself a ticket to the Burj Khalifa l ( you can book it online yourself in their website directly) and roughly costs 125 AED per person (2500 INR). Burj Khalifa happens to be the world’s tallest tower and situated right next to the Dubai Mall. So just take a metro and head directly to the Dubai Mall station. Head straight to the Burj Khalifa lifts and get enthralled by the amazing sights from the 164th floor
Once done, come down to the ground floor and spend 3-4 hours in one of the world’s largest malls, The Dubai Mall. A mall for almost everyone, you’ll be amazed at the wide array of international brands offering products at unbelievable prices ( especially during the Dubai Shopping Festival held between Jan – Feb of every year )
Day 4 : Ferrari World & Abu Dhabi City Tour
One of my biggest highlight of the Dubai tour is Ferrari World , the world’s largest indoor amusement park built by Ferrari( of course) . A spectacular theme park, this also has the world’s fastest rollercoaster that can go upto speeds of 240Km/H in less than 4 seconds. This tour is preceded by a visit to the spectacular Grand Mosque in Abu Dhabi (though women are expected to wear a Burqa/Abhaya before entering the same)
One of the major disadvantages of going through a travel agent is that , it never includes a trip to Abu Dhabi or Ferrari World (as it incurs a lot of expense to travel agents) . So if by chance you are availing a package from a local travel agent, insist to include a Ferrari World & Abu Dhabi tour by all means .
It’d roughly cost extra 75 USD per person for the above tour. This includes the 5000 rs entry ticket to Ferrari World ( that entails you to unlimited of free rides in all activities).
Trip to Abu Dhabi roughly takes 2-2.5 hours one way and minimum time needed at Ferrari World will be around 4 hours to finish all rides and hence by the time you are back home it’ll be around 8-9PM
Night Bazaars @ 9 PM : In case you still have some energy left, you can always do some wonderful shopping at Meena Bazaar (situated in Bur Dubai area ) nearby to the Al-Fahidi Metro Station. Meena Bazaar is a great place to have good Indian food ( especially vegetarian ) and also an ideal place to buy first copy (replica) watches & handbags , chocolate covered almond dates and even some Arabic perfumes (for around 50-70 AED )
Day 5 :
Tickets for the theme park for each one of them comes to around 250 AED (5000 INR per person). (Tickets for either of these parks can be bought online by yourself at much cheaper prices) and you can go visit them in a metro and taxi quite easily
In case you are visiting the Aquaventure Theme park, take a metro from your hotel till the Nakheel metro station. Get down and shift to the Tram Lane. Go till the final Palm Jumeirah staton and from there you can either take the Monorail to Aquaventure directly or simply hail a taxi directly from this Palm Jumeirah tram station
This is just a suggested itinerary for an ideal trip to Dubai , covering almost all the key areas for a tourist. Do drop in your suggestions if you feel I have missed out any nice place.