We love Dubai.

In fact, we love it so much – we decided to call it home. We created this travel guide to Dubai so you can fall in love with it too.

It’s an incredible, multi-cultural city that brings the world together.

Over the years, Dubai has developed an image of being an expensive, luxury destination. But any of our team members (many of whom have been here for more than 20 years) will tell you that there is SO MUCH MORE to Dubai.

So here’s the Ultimate Travel Guide to Dubai, Nas Daily Style.

dubai travel guide

Things to do in Dubai

When you see a travel guide to Dubai you’re very likely to see fancy hotels, huge malls, and unique restaurants. And let’s not forget the tallest building in the world, the Burj Khalifa. But that’s not all Dubai has to offer. We found you a bunch of activities that you can do even if you’re not on a millionaire budget.
dubai beach

Go on a Desert Safari

For any tourist visiting Dubai this is a MUST-DO. So of course it’s in this travel guide to Dubai. A typical desert safari includes dune bashing, camel riding, quad biking (usually at an additional cost), belly dancing and dinner.
You can use companies like OceanAir Travels, Platinum Heritage or Dream Journey to book your trip. It usually costs about between $60-$80 per person.
places to visit in dubai

Go Jet Skiing

If you’re still feeling adventurous and want to keep the adrenaline rush going –  hop onto a jet ski at one of the many beaches in Dubai. Renting a jet ski costs about $80. You can use companies like Shark Jet Ski for quick and easy bookings.
Warning: Jet Skis go really fast, and it’s quite easy sometimes to lose control. So be careful if you’re getting on them for the first time. There’s a hefty fine of $140 for damaging a jet ski.
jet ski in the united arab emirates

Visit the Most Beautiful Building in the World

We’re not talking about the Eiffel Tower on the Louvre Museum. We’re talking about the Museum of The Future on Sheikh Zayed Road in Dubai. This place is an architectural wonder with the Arabic language all over the building’s structure on the outside and is a super popular spot among tourists coming to Dubai. Tickets do tend to sell out quick, so make a booking in advance. Tickets cost about $40 and can be bought here.

Visit Global Village

No travel guide to Dubai can be complete without a trip to Global Village. Here you’ll see products, performances, and food from every country in the world, and that’s why it’s such a crowd favorite in Dubai. Tickets cost about $5 which is a bargain for everything you can see inside!
travel guide to dubai: global village uae

Go to a Theme Park

Dubai and nearby Abu Dhabi have built some insane theme parks in the last few years. Any trip to Dubai needs to have at least one theme park visit.

IMG Worlds of Adventure

The World’s Biggest Indoor theme park isn’t in Paris or New York it’s actually in Dubai. IMG World’s of Adventure is located on the outskirts of Dubai and is one of the most-loved theme parks here, thanks to it’s crazy rides and attractions. It has a rollercoaster with a 90 degrees vertical drop and a haunted hotel that’ll freak you out for days. Tickets cost a little above $90 and can be bought here.

Motiongate

Another theme park located just at the border of Dubai and Abu Dhabi. If you’re into the Smurfs, Kung Fu Panda and Hotel Transylvania, this park is for you. Unlike IMG World’s however, Motiongate does cater a little more to its younger visitors. So if you’re an adult, you might be slightly disappointed with the rides here. Tickets cost about $80 and can be bought here.
theme parks in the united arab emirates
If you’re feeling extra adventurous, pack your bags, rent a car and head to nearby Abu Dhabi. This city has an island called Yas Island which is entirely dedicated to theme parks.

Ferrari World

The World’s Fastest Rollercoaster is here (no surprises there), and it is FAST. You can’t ride it without goggles, and you’ll come out of it looking like you’ve weathered a storm. But it’s totally worth it. Tickets cost about $84 and can be purchased here.

Yas WaterWorld

They have the World’s Largest Tornado Water Coaster called Dawwama, and it’s a ride you have to experience to understand the thrill fully. But it doesn’t end there, they’ve got 39 other rides and attractions all around the park to keep you busy all day.
Tickets cost around $74 for a day pass and can be bought here
Note: You can get bargains on tickets on websites like Groupon and Platinum List so do check them out before you book.

Travel guide to Dubai: What to Pack

No travel guide to Dubai would be complete without a packing list. When preparing your packing list for Dubai, keep in mind that there is a conservative local culture. However, in general, it is fairly relaxed and you can wear whatever you feel comfortable in. But it never hurts to be respectful.

packing for dubai

The amount of clothes your pack will depend on how long you plan to stay. But whether it’s a week or a month, this list will help you stay prepared for every activity the city has to offer.

Clothing

In and Around the City:

  • Modest clothes that cover your arms and legs: Essential to visit mosques, government buildings, or local homes.
  • Light and breezy outfits for the summer: Choose fabrics like linen or cotton. Temperatures can go up to 50°C/122°F with high humidity
  • Light layers for the winter: Winter in Dubai is pleasant and cool, but can get windy. Layers you can easily take with you are essential
  • Swimwear: Dubai has beautiful beaches and a long list of watersport activities you can do. Carry at least one pair.
clothes for hot weather

For the Desert:

  • Covered sneakers or running shoes: Sand and sneakers may seem like a weird fit. But in the desert, protection is key. The sand could easily burn you. We’ve also personally seen scorpions milling around. So it’s always better to be safe than sorry.
  • Covered sportswear or casuals: The key is to protect yourself from the desert elements. The sun is harsh, and the sand gets easily carried by the wind. Try to choose clothes that you don’t feel too bad about getting ruined.

For Luxury Hotels or Nightclubs:

  • Smart Casuals/Elegant Cocktail Options: Luxury hotels, fine dining restaurants and nightclubs in Dubai often have dress codes. Women may be required to wear heels, and closed formal or semi-formal shoes are advised for men.

Travel Guide to Dubai: Essentials

In this Nas Daily Travel Guide to Dubai, we recommend the following items to help make your trip to Dubai even more memorable:

How to Get To Dubai

travel guide to Dubai international airport

Dubai is the world’s busiest international airport.

That means there are hundreds of carriers flying in and out every day. For the Ultimate Guide to Dubai, we’ve rounded up some of our favorites:

  • Emirates

    This is one of the two national airlines of the UAE. It is honestly one of the best in the world. Emirates flies to over 158 destinations across the world. That means no matter where you live, there’s probably an Emirates flight to Dubai nearby. Emirates also gives you the option to take an extended stopover in Dubai (48 hours) if you’re on your way to a further destination. This means two vacations in one – so we won’t complain.
  • Flydubai

    A more low-cost offering. That also happens to be from the Government of Dubai. Flydubai goes to around 100 destinations across the globe, making it a great choice for budget travelers.

  • Turkish Airlines

    Known for connecting the most countries in the world – Turkish Airlines is a good bet wherever you live. They fly to over 300 destinations and offer a good, budget-friendly experience.

Where to book your flights to Dubai

flights to dubai

Where to Stay in Dubai

Nothing beats Arab Hospitality. And Dubai is proof.

Dubai is home to some of the most luxurious concept hotels in the world. And most international hotel chains have multiple properties around the city, and the UAE in general. For the Nas Daily Guide to Dubai, we’ve shortlisted a few unique properties that will help you make the most of your stay.

For Budget Travelers:

  • Four Points by Sheraton Downtown Dubai

    The Four Points is a budget-friendly 4-star option in Bur Dubai that gives you the flexibility to go anywhere in the city within 15 minutes. It is well connected to malls, public transport and taxis. Its location in Bur Dubai also makes it a great place to explore old Dubai, from museums to souks and delicious yet cheap food from around the world.

    • How Expensive: Rooms from $30 a night.

For Culture Lovers:

  • Al Seef Heritage Hotel, Curio by Hilton

    Al Seef is a beautiful area by itself. Along the Dubai Creek, you’ll find some of the best preserved parts of Old Dubai, including the beautifully converted Al Seef Heritage Hotel. Stepping in here is like time traveling – from the old-world check in to the vintage telephones and decor. If you’re looking to immerse yourself in Dubai’s traditional culture – it doesn’t get better than this.

    • How Expensive: Rooms from $55 a night

For Artsy Travelers:

  • Zabeel House

    Sure, you could stay at one of the many well-known luxury properties around Dubai – or you can stay at a hidden gem. Zabeel House is a boutique hotel with ridiculously great design. It’s quirky, it’s luxurious, and it’s in an amazing location. Unlike regular tourist favorites – you’ll find that Zabeel House is filled with a local crowd. That means you’re in the right place in Dubai.

    • How expensive: Rooms from $100 a night

For Backpackers:

  • Bombay Backpackers DXB

    The backpacking scene in Dubai is slowly growing. And while there aren’t too many great options yet – Bombay Backpackers is a firm favorite. Located on the 18th floor, this hostel gives you those exciting Dubai views in a comfortable, shared setting. And it’s really close to the beach!

    • How expensive: Rooms from $13 a night. Book it on Hostelworld.
No matter where you stay, one thing is for certain – you will be taken care of. Dubai’s service industry is incredible at every level. You can expect 5-star treatment at the supermarket, the water park, and even a backpacker hostel. Consider this a starter guide to Dubai’s amazing stays. There’s plenty more to explore.

Where to Eat in Dubai

food in dubai
It would be impossible to call this the ultimate guide to Dubai, without including some of our favorite restaurants. Take one look at any street in Dubai, and you’ll see people from all over the world. That means the restaurants here offer every global cuisine, at every price point.
This could have been an endless list. But if you’re just visiting for a few days, here are some places we love:

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  • Filli – popular midday or midafternoon snack corner

    Must try: Karak Tea. Dubai runs on karak tea. It’s a strong milky tea that Filli does really well. Pair it with a small sandwich.

  • Al Reef Lebanese Bakery – Iconic Lebanese breakfast and pastries.

    Must try: Manakish. It’s a wood fired flat bread with cheese, veggies or meat fillings. It’s the local favorite grab and go breakfast

  • Firas Sweets – the sweetest treats from the Middle East

    Must try: Kunafa. It’s a golden, delicious cheese pastry that’s unique to this region. If you don’t eat cheese – there’s plenty of baklava to choose from.

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  • Al Fanar – local Emirati cuisine

    Must try: Seafood or Machboos. Al Fanar is an amazing 1950s style restaurant serving up local Emirati food that Emiratis love. That’s how you know it’s legit. Don’t leave without a bite of the sweet Luqaimat after your meal. Note: not very vegan friendly

  • Nightjar Coffee – soak up the coffee culture

    Must try: Coffee on tap. The UAE is in a constant love affair with coffee. And Nightjar is among the best. (They often get voted Best Cafe in Dubai) Speak to the barista to find your perfect blend. They have great burgers too.

  • Al Baik – Dubai really loves chicken

    Must try: Broasted Chicken. Al Baik is one of those local staples that is ALWAYS crowded. No matter what time of day. It started in the 70s in Saudi Arabia, and everyone still LOVES it. It’s just an icon. Note: Not vegan friendly

vegan food in dubai

Vegan-friendly:

  • SEVA Table – our team won’t stop raving about it

    Must try: Eggless Omelette and their cakes! SEVA is a 100% organic, plant-based cafe that focuses on well being. If you’re health conscious, this is the place for you. And their food is delicious to boot.

  • Just Vegan – simple, easy vegan

    Must try: All Day Breakfast. Just Vegan has an exhaustive menu and even offers vegan meat replacement options for every palette. It’s great to grab a quick bite to eat. And the fact that it’s also pet-friendly means you’ll be meeting Dubai’s furrier residents too.

  • Wild and the Moon – luxuriously vegan

    Must try: Orange Blossom Pancakes, Wild Tacos. Wild and the Moon is a slightly more upscale vegan offering that focuses on clean and healthy eating. They make beautiful, delicious vegan food that makes no compromises on flavor.

How to Get Around Dubai

Dubai is quite well connected compared to most cities. You’re going to find metro stations in every nook and cranny, and even if you don’t, taxis are quite easy to find. Here are our top tips to help guide your travel in Dubai:

Use the metro

It’s cheap, fast and clean. Dubai isn’t notorious for traffic jams, but it can get pretty packed sometimes, and the metro is your best option during those times. You’re going to need a NOL card, which you can get at any metro station for around $7 (out of which $5 is your credit). You can top this up based on where you need to go, using top-up machines or through the help desk at the metro station.
best way to travel around dubai

Use the RTA Bus

Dubai has 109 bus routes with 2,085 bus stops – that’s a lot for a city as tiny as Dubai. And these buses are quite fast (and safe) since bus drivers have a packed schedule for the day. You can use your NOL card to pay for this too.

Take a boat

If you’re bored with the buses and metro, you can change it up by taking the RTA boat. You can hop on at Al Seef to explore the city through the water. The Nol card works for this as well.
travel guide to dubai by boat transport

Take an Abra

This is probably the cheapest way to commute in Dubai. You can take this boat to move from the newer Dubai to the old Dubai for less than $1. It’ll take you to the famous Deira Market where you can buy perfumes, spices, and clothes at a bargain price that you won’t get anywhere else in Dubai.

Use a Careem Bike

Careem bike stations are located in almost all major centers of the city. You just need to download the Careem app and book a bike, and it’ll magically unlock in front of you (quite tech savvy). It’s a great way to get up close and personal with the city without having to walk!

Take an Uber

Ubers in Dubai aren’t like Ubers elsewhere in the world. Here Ubers are driven by trained professionals and the cars are Lexuses and Teslas. Even though Ubers are super convenient, they can be quite expensive. And this travel guide to Dubai is trying to save your money not spend more of it, so we would recommend only using it if absolutely necessary. If you do decide to get one, you can book it through the Uber App
uber rent a car in dubai

Rent a car

Dubai has thousands of cars for rent. You can either go to a rent-a-car company like ezhire and get a car on rent for about $40 per day. Or you can download car rental apps like Ekar which allow you to book, unlock and pay for cars, all through the app.

Money-saving Tips for Dubai

There’s no denying Dubai can be expensive. But there are a few hacks that can actually save you a lot of money when you’re here.

Use the Metro

Public transport isn’t great in most countries, but in Dubai it actually is. So don’t be afraid of the metro and use it as much as you can.
metro dubai guide

Use free wifi

Literally, every part of the city has free wifi. Malls. Parks. Hotels. Shops. Everywhere you look, there’s wifi. Basically, there’s no need to spend on data, just use the free stuff.
wifi in dubai

Use internet calls

Since everyone is connected to wifi, you might as well use it to make calls too. However, an important thing to know about Dubai and the Emirates, in general, is that WhatsApp calls and Facetime don’t work here. But if you urgently need to use them, you can always use a VPN service like Nord VPN, or you can use other apps like Botim.

Get the Entertainer

It’s a great tool to get buy 1 get 1 offers on restaurants, theme parks and so much more. You can get it here for about $9.

Use Groupon

Groupon has offers on almost everything that you can do in Dubai. Sometimes the prices are almost 70% cheaper than what you’d see on the official website. For example, there’s an offer right now where you can go see Burj Khalifa for $45 instead of $97, which is crazy!
Note: Offers on Groupon are for a limited time however and they’re on a first come first serve basis. So if you find a crazy deal, you should get it asap – before it runs out.

Do the free stuff

There’s so much you can do in Dubai for free. Hit the beach. Visit the malls. Go for a walk in Downtown Dubai or Marina bay. All of these activities are really fun and don’t cost a single dollar!

Travel guide to Dubai essentials: How to get a Visa for Dubai

The UAE is one of the most traveller-friendly countries in the world. And depending on where you’re from, visa processes can range from Easy to “a bit of paperwork”.

how to get a visa for dubai
There are 2 general visa types for tourists:
  • Visa on Arrival

30-90 day visas which travellers can receive when they land in Dubai. Passport holders of most countries can choose this route, especially if you hold a valid USA or Schengen Visa.
  • Pre-arranged Visa

Passport holders of certain countries may be required to apply beforehand, and receive approval before flying into the UAE. These visas can range between 30-90 days, and will require you to apply through a sponsor – this can be one of the national airlines like Emirates, Etihad or Fly Dubai, your hotel, or even friends or relatives who live in the UAE.

While we’d love to offer an ultimate guide to Dubai visas as well, we’re not experts. So make sure to check your specific visa requirements here, on the Visit Dubai website.

Generally, when it comes to visas, Dubai is a quick turnaround destination.

If you’re wondering how to plan your trip to Dubai, it’s fairly easy. You don’t need to start your planning process months in advance. And that’s a huge part of what makes Dubai so easy for both first-time and seasoned travellers.

That’s all from us. Hope this travel guide to Dubai has made it a little easier for you to plan your next trip to the city. We’d love to hear your pro tips when you travel to a new country.

See you in Dubai!

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