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Things to do in Dubai in 5 days on a low budget

In this guide, you can find some of the top things to see and to do in Dubai in 5 days on a low budget.

aquarium mall of the emirates

When talking about some of the most luxurious destinations in the world, Dubai it’s usually on the list.

It’s the most populous city of the United Arab Emirates and the second in size after the capital Abu Dhabi. In just a few years, Dubai went from being an anonymous and scarcely populated fishermen village to being one of the fastest-growing cities in the world and renowned luxury capital.

How did the Emirates manage to do so? The Oil, discovered in 1966, definitely helped, but today the main source of income is tourism and the real estate. In Dubai, you can find the tallest building in the world and many other incredible skyscrapers and malls.

Today Oil extraction represent just about the 5% of the income for this city.

Where to stay in Dubai on a low budget

What does all of this mean for those who love traveling? It means that Dubai is generally a very expensive city. It is however possible to find some good deals for accommodation and flight tickets if you search well in advance. If budget is your priority then you should avoid the New Dubai area (the area near the famous Palm shaped Islands) and look for something cheaper near the creek, in the east of Dubai. I’m sure that you can find good deals on Booking.com or on Agoda. Remember one thing though: your hotel should be as close as possible to the subway. I’ll tell you later why this is a priority.

To find cheap flights to Dubai book well in advance. Another idea, and that’s what I did, is to take advantage of any Emirates flight that does a stopover in Dubai: spend a couple of nights in the city before continuing to your final destination.

What to do in Dubai in 5 days

Dubai is quite big but with a good schedule you can manage to see pretty much all the important landmarks in few days.

Dubai Mall

mall of the emirates aquarium dubai

It was the biggest mall in the world (the new biggest mall it’s the New Century Global Center in Chengdu, China). There are over 1200 stores and a huge 3-stories aquarium. If you love shopping, this is your paradise.

skating rink dubai

You’ll also find a Gold Souk, a skating rink, and tons of restaurants. But most importantly it’s free.

The Burj Khalifa

burj khalifa of dubai and dancing fountains

With its 828 meters, it’s the tallest building in the world (so far) and the landmark of all the UAE. This building tells you how much money there are in this country.

There is an observation deck from where you can view the city but honestly, I don’t think it’s worth the money. First, you won’t have a 360° view since the area where you can stay is pretty small, and second, the deck is not at the very top of the building.

This means that the Shanghai Tower, though being a bit shorter, has the highest observation deck in the world, and the view is even better (a complete 360° view of the city).

The dancing fountains in front of the Burji Khalifa are much better than the view of the city from the deck.

If saving money it’s your priority don’t waste them on the Burji Khalifa. But if you really want to visit it then you can book the ticket online and save a few dollars.

The spices market and the gold souk

spices souk dubai

Spices are the symbol of Arabia and in this market, you’ll find all of them (but don’t forget to bargain!).

gold souk dubai

Close to the spices market, you can visit the gold souk. I bet you have never seen so much gold in your life (unless you visited the Gold Vault of the FED).

Visiting both places won’t cost you a dime and will keep you busy for a while.

A tour of the creek

creek dubai

Crossing the creek by boat is probably the cheapest thing you can do in Dubai. It will cost only 1 Diram. The trip is short but it’s interesting to see the city from a different point of view.

Mall of the Emirates

ski slope dubai mall

Another giant Mall of Dubai is the Mall of the Emirates. Though a bit smaller than the Dubai Mall it’s still huge compared to most of the malls I’ve visited in other countries. If you want to you can even ski inside of it, since there is a short slope.

Swimming near theBurj Al Arab

7 stars hotel dubai

Though the Ocean is not as nearly as nice as the Mediterranean Sea or the South -East Asia Ocean, swimming in Dubai is an interesting experience because the water is very warm all year round.

The beach you see in the picture is public and this means you won’t have to spend anything.

Desert Safari

desert dubai

If you get tired of shopping you can book a day tour in the desert and experience something (probably) new: driving on the dunes and watching the Bedouins show in the evening.

dubai things to do and things to see

It’s not the most authentic experience in the world but it will take you outside of the city for a while.

Is Dubai a safe city?

Yes. Dubai is very safe and the crime rate is considerably lower than most of the cities in Europe and America.

Since tourism is heavily encouraged by the government, the citizens of most countries won’t need a Visa for up to 30 days.

Useful tips

gold souk dubai
  • If you want to visit Dubai look for a hotel near the subway. Dubai is very hot (actually incredibly hot) for about 6 months and it’s not pleasant to walk in the sun, not even for 5 minutes. Plus there aren’t many walkways. Taxis are cheap but if you can find an apartment or a hotel near the subway it’s better.
  • I strongly suggest you avoid the summer because it’s simply too hot. It can get up to 50° C!
  • Respect the local culture and pay attention to the dress code. There are many tourists and sadly some of them don’t seem to pay much attention to the way they dress. Other cities of the Emirates are stricter. In Abu Dhabi, for example, you can’t wear shorts or sleeveless shirts.
  • If you can’t find a place just take a taxi. They are very cheap.
  • If you have time, do a one day tour in Abu Dhabi to visit the White Mosque (Sheikh Zayed Mosque).
  • Some websites, like Skype, are censored. Don’t forget to get a VPN before leaving.

Here are more pictures I took in Dubai. Here you find my article about the top things to do in Bruges in one day.

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