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Life as an Expat Column: Dubai on a Budget

Posted on 04 April 2012 by Alice

That’s

right, DSF is over and nothing’s on sale anymore! But… don’t despair, there are so many things to do in Dubai that are either free or cost very little.

Souk visit & Abra trip

The best, and cheapest way to cross the Creek. Copyright A E Johnson

The hustle and bustle of Bur Dubai and Deira’s souks are a favourite among visitors. Have a wander around Bur Dubai’s textile souk then take a ride on an Abra across Dubai Creek for just AED1. On the Deira side the Dhows bob up and down unloading their wares and the wafts of spices and incense greet visitors to the spice souk. Don’t miss a walk down ‘Hindi lane’ in the textile souk, next to the Hindu temple and the Dubai Museum just before the textile souk (only AED3 entry).
Location: Stretching along the mouth of the creek on both banks.
Pros: Totally free! The Abra is also only AED1 across the creek.
Cons: Don’t visit during the summer – it gets very hot; the souks also close between 1pm-4pm.

Take in the views

At The Top... of Dubai. View from the Burj Khalifa observatory terrace. Copyright A E Johnson

There are a multitude of restaurants and bars with glorious views over the city: check out some of these for a real visual treat:
Vu Bar, Emirates Towers, 51stfloor.
Neos Restaurant, The Address Hotel, Downtown Burj Khalifa, 63rdfloor.
The Observatory, Dubai Marriott Harbour Hotel & Suites, 52ndfloor.
Pros: Staff don’t generally mind if you look at the amazing views.
Cons: These are restaurants, so if you want to wander around taking pictures (and not buy anything!) for more than a few minutes, visit the At the Top attraction in the Burj Khalifa – the world’s tallest tower.

Dubai Spectacular
While some things in Dubai are pricey, other attractions are COMPLETELY FREE!
Ibn Battuta Mall
Ibn Battuta Mall is named after the ancient Arab traveller, who traversed the globe centuries ago. Each court in the mall is themed after one of the locations he visited – such as China, India and Egypt. Each court also features information points, describing Ibn Battuta’s discoveries.
Pros: Almost a museum in itself, with stunning indoor architecture.
Cons: The mall is built on one long level, so take your walking shoes!

Dubai Mall Fountains
The dancing fountains at Dubai Mall are famous for their squirts of water programmed to perform a very special show to a variety of tunes, every half an hour. Take in a view of the fountains from the Japanese café in Kinokuniya – the book shop – for a different way to see the show.
Pros: Completely free and very entertaining.
Cons: Very busy and crowded at the weekends.

*Alice Johnson is a freelance writer and editor based in Dubai.
www.aejohnson.co.uk
www.facebook.com/alicethewriterjohnson
@Aliceejohnson

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