Dubai is already a huge stopover hub for flights en route to China, Japan, India, South East Asia, Australia and New Zealand as the home of Emirates, one of the world biggest airlines.
And from 1st April, thanks to a new partnership between Emirates and Qantas, the other huge airline servicing the same side of the world, it’s set to become a lot more popular as Qantas begin to stopover in the Arab state too.
So the question should really be; if you have to stopover in Dubai, and you have the chance to spend a few days exploring this unique city as an added extra, why the heck wouldn’t you grab the opportunity with both hands?!
The sad thing is, many of those travellers won’t even see outside of the airport departure lounge as they spend a few hours sat in Burger King and stocking up on duty free before carrying on with their journey.
Maybe that’s because many people aren’t aware of the option for a longer stopover, maybe it’s because they don’t have the time, or maybe it’s because they’ve been sucked in by a few age old myths about travelling to Dubai.
Think Dubai’s Not For You? Think Again…
Below are 5 myths we commonly hear about travel to Dubai. Reasons which, somewhat unfairly, stop people from making the decision to explore Dubai for themselves. So it’s time to bust them – once and for all!
See something a little different to the insdie of the departure lounge on arrival in Dubai.
Dubai Myth 1 – If you’re stopping-over there, you only get a chance to see the inside of the airport.
If you’re stopping over in Dubai you could choose to spend a few hours within the confines of the airport departure lounge. Or, you could ask your Travel Expert about extending your stopover (for free!) and spend a few days becoming better acquainted with the exquisite Arab state.
Adding a few days stopover to your Emirates or Qantas flight itinerary is easy peasy, and even if Dubai has never particularly entered your list of places to visit, if you’re passing through then what better opportunity to spend just a few days exploring?!
We’ve got stopover packages of 1 or 2 nights, although if you have time I’d recommend staying for 2 so that you can take an exhilarating ride through the desert on a 4WD Desert Jeep Safari and settle down for an authentic Bedouin dinner under the stars, a great opportunity to get a taste of both modern and traditional Dubai in a short space of time, and all taken care of as part of the stopover package.
Dubai Myth 2 – There’s nothing to do in Dubai except go shopping or chill by the Pool.
Wrong! Oh, so wrong.
There are tonnes of other things to do in Dubai! Obviously the shopping and tanning opportunity here is the biggest draw – Dubai sits up there with great cities like New York, London and Tokyo when it comes to shopping and thanks to the incredible weather and gorgeous beaches, the tanning potential is extremely good.
But, Dubai also has water parks, desert safaris, golf, river cruises, skiing (yep really), museums, a dolphinarium, horse racing and you could also book yourself onto a city tour to make sure you see the most amazing sights (there are a lot) in a short space of time. Check out our Ask the Experts blog post about making the most of Dubai for some help on how to spend your time.
There are loads of adventures to be had just outside of the city
Dubai Myth 3 – There’s no history or authentic culture
Dubai is a new city, but that doesn’t mean there isn’t something for history and culture buffs. A great example is the ancient Arab ruins at Ras Al Khaimah not far from the city, where you can wander round remains of buildings dating back to around 2,500BC!
There’s also the Dubai Museum to explore, meaning an afternoon spent enjoying something a little more culture and history heavy is never far away. Or, if you’re feeling reeeeeeeally adventurous the Sultanate of Oman is not far away at all, therefore allowing you to embark on your own mini Middle Eastern tour.
There is a lot of history to be found just outside the modern glitz and glamour.
Dubai Myth 4 – it’s Expensive
Dubai is as expensive as you’d like it to be! Yes, it’s a land of excess – some of the hotels here are among the most luxurious in the world – but depending on how much of a treat you’re allowing yourself, you’re sure to find something in your price range.
Ok, so you won’t find any mixed bed hostel dorms to enable you to keep your spending to an absolute minimum, but there are tonnes of reasonably priced hotels. A couple of our favourites are the Ibis Deira City Centre and Arabian Park Hotel.
If you’re really keen to experience Dubai but want to keep the costs down as much as possible, here are some helpful way’s to protect your dough:
Money saving tips:
– Eat in food courts of shopping malls where the food is cheaper!
– Take the metro instead of a taxi
– A lot of hotels offer very cheap rates during the summer months of May – Sep, but beware – it’s HOT.
– Almost all hotels offer free shuttle services to different locations in Dubai so take advantage of those
– Most hotel bars offer happy hour, so get your drink on early!
A general idea of costs:
– Metro: 2 AED for a single fare (approx 35p) or 14 AED for a day ticket (approx £2.50)
– Dinner in a budget restaurant: 2 courses will be between 15-25 USD (approx £10)
– Can of coke: 3 – 4 USD (approx £2) in a restaurant and 0.50 cents in super markets
– Small bottle of water: 2 USD (approx £1.50) in restaurants and 0.75 cents in super markets
Whether you want to experience a taste of ultimate luxury, or you have a more modest budget, Dubai has it all
Dubai Myth 5 – You Can’t Drink Alcohol
Most of the hotels in Dubai have licences to serve alcohol, as a Muslim country, Dubai is a little more strict on the consumption of alcohol, for example you’ll need a permit to buy it outside in off-licences.
However, most nightlife in Dubai is now confined to within the hotels, meaning you can easily get a drink in a bar, restaurant in a nightclub or enjoy one beside the pool. But beware, alcohol is one of the things that is actually pretty expensive here, you should expect to pay around 10USD for a small beer, so it’s maybe a good excuse to give your liver a holiday too!