Cheap oil and numerous budget airlines made the United Arab Emirates (Dubai, in particular) one of the major crossroads for backpackers on their way to Asia. Thus, we’ve been to this country many times and we are deeply persuaded that there is absolutely nothing to do there unless your pockets are full of crispy dollars.
The cheapest hostel we could find in Dubai is called “Youth Hostel” and it cost us $30 per night (!). Not what you are looking for when traveling cheap, huh? Most of other options are hotels, which are really expensive.
Visa costs $70-80 depending on how you get it. The price of visa on arrival can grow up to $100.
One of the most expensive stamps we’ve ever seen.
Of course, you heard about famous dancing fountains and, yes, they are beautiful. But it’s fun for about 15 minutes and what about the rest of your time? No ancient buildings, no adorable downtowns and even the historical museum, frankly speaking, is not very impressive. The tallest building of Dubai, Burj Halifa is also a highlight, but to get to the top, you have to pay $109. And there is no guarantee that there is no smog above the city (which happens to be a lot of the time) and that you’ll see something. Jumeirah mosque is worth visiting as well, moreover, it allows women to experience wearing hijab, but the only time you can enter it is 10 am and it’s really hard to get there if not by taxi.
That’s what you should expect to see in the historical museum.
Dubai has a quite developed metro system, and we appreciate it. But if you want to go anywhere else and don’t want to wait for 3 hours for a bus, you have to take a taxi, which is cheap, but not really. One day of metro + taxi travel cost us $45.
We love walking, but in Dubai it’s impossible.
There are just a few parks in Dubai. All of them have little trees and lots of flowers and if it’s not +45 C you can have a pleasant walk there. We’ve only been to Safa park, all others were closed for Illia, as it was lady’s day and men were just not allowed to enter. Not cool.
The desert and the Persian Gulf are the main highlights of Dubai and it’s hard to deny that the majority of people come here to go on a desert safari and swim in the transparent waters of the Persian Gulf. Personally we love the latter (even though in summer the water is around +35 C, too hot even for bathing, I guess) and we don’t care much about the former, so it’s the issue of taste.
Blue water of artificial lakes in Dubai downtown
Maybe you had different experiences while traveling to Dubai? Don’t hesitate to share them with us!
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