7 Best Things to Do in Dubai on the Cheap

So you really think that Dubai is a posh delight only for the rich? Well, think again. Let’s take a glance at some of the best nuances of a Dubai tour that can be experienced at the cost of peanuts (okay, almost peanuts)! Dubai is an integrated mix of all modern day bliss that can bring to you a never-to-forget experience.

The mantra to enjoy Dubai inch-by-inch is of course to plan your trip. Planning and judicious selection can by far give the best slice of Dubai without digging a hole in the pocket! So, here’s a list of things to do in Dubai on the cheap.

#1 Eat

Food is intriguing. Luckiest are those who can resist their temptation about food. However, considering that almost every backpackers’ secret desire is to taste new food in a new land, let’s pick some food corners and restaurants which swear by delivering the best of Dubai food, that too within an affordable budget.

China Sea, Afghan Kebab House, Delhi Durbar, Ravi’s, Betawi Café, The Chalet, and loads more. You just need to be vigilant and a thorough traveler by heart to pick such eateries which of course comes from much exploration and traveling to places you’re unaccustomed to, or seeking advice from a travel lover or avid destination explorer.

#2 Stay

dubai on the cheap

Dubai is not just affluence. There is a flip side as well. For those who believe that traveling is all about exploring the land and not merely staying in star-rated hotels, here’s a guide to finding some of the best budget hotels available.

Holiday Inn, Arabian Park Hotel, Ibis World Trade Center, City Seasons Hotel, Dubai Youth Hostel are just some from the big pick. To experience real Dubai in economic lodging is crucial. Often budget is mistaken for compromise, but this is not so in Dubai.

#3 Commute

One thing that pops out of mind when talking about budget travel in Dubai is the Abra. It is a trusted mode of transportation in the glitzy city from time immemorial. Abra is a unique wooden boat that runs in prime locations in Dubai. The fare is minimal but the pleasure is optimum.

One other cost efficient way of traveling in Dubai is to travel in a metro. It saves time, money, and also allows you to access your desirable location at your own discretion. The ambiance is uncompromising enough to make you feel good.

#4 Shop

Yes, you can shop in Dubai on a budget. Pick the souks over the malls. This promises to satiate the ardent desire of shopping, from extensive options and affordable prices (well, affordability depends on one’s bargaining skills). But, what’s a “souk” anyway? It’s the Arabian way of articulating a “marketplace”! It could be as big as a whole market of various stocks ranging from rugs to vegetables or a simple stall or cart in a market selling specific products.

We have all heard of places which sell out some specialties at cheap rates compared to other parts of the world. But here in Dubai, you can get the costliest of things at affordable and budget friendly prices if you’re wise enough to go for the appropriate destination for purchasing the specific things you want, such as choosing a perfume souk over a “flashy” perfume outlet in a mall which could make a difference of hundreds. Now, whether you take it as a caveat or a veteran’s advice, it depends on you!

Gold is one of the chief items which Dubai sells considerably cheap. Gold Souk in Dubai is the place where you need to be while buying gold. So when in Dubai, grab some VAT free gold.

For textiles, Meena Bazaar and Textile Souk are ideal. And for that aromatic spice collection, you have to be at Dubai Spice Souk.

#5 Go on Safari

dubai on the cheap

The sand dunes are totally impeccable and you get to experience them while in Dubai. There are innumerable service providers who give you a taste of the Desert Safari in Dubai. You just need to choose the right one for you.

The prices are varied. So, choosing the one that fits you economically does the trick. An ideal safari ride will bring to you nothing but the best. Camel ride, palatable desert food, local dance and music make the experience over whelming. For the best customized experience, you need to choose the right package from your tour provider. Get familiar with the offerings of each package and your tour expectations to choose the package accordingly. Packages could vary from combo to trio packages and morning safari to sundown safari, ranging from as cheap as USD 58 to USD 217 per person.

#6 Ride the Waves

If you have been aiming to spend some really good time out in the waters, you have to visit some of the water parks in Dubai that can thrill you from the core.

The famed Wild Wadi guarantees to gift you the best water park experience, and there are discounted rates offered on rides, games, and activities.

Dreamland is yet another themed water park. Though it cannot be counted as a match at all to the other splendors of Dubai, it certainly saves you a good amount of money and gives you memories for a lifetime.

Iceland is another such place to spend on a budget holiday. This first offering of WOW RAK is a mix traditional extensively themed water park in a snow and ice offering.

#7 Walk Through History

dubai on the cheap

If you wish to have a taste of old Dubai while sticking to a budget, then a visit to Bastakiya Quarter must be a top priority. The old Wind Towers is a top choice. Bastakiya also gives you a taste of the old emirati houses which accumulated air from the outside and then circulated it — a unique heat management tactic! There are old fashioned, rather traditional shops, mosques etc. to spend the day well.

Nearby attractions are the Al Fahidi Fort, Dubai Museum, and Dhow Cruise across the Creek. The Al Fahidi Fort, a 17th century shield of the land against foes is a great place to spend some time at.

They used corals and shells cemented by lime to build it. However, in recent time it has undergone elaborate renovation. From serving as an office, to a cell for the prisoners, an armory, and serving as a barrier against the enemy, this fort has done it all. Now, it bears remnants of the past by harboring the old Dubai Museum. The Arabian Dhow right near to Al Fahidi Fort is also a significant attraction.

At the base of the Al Fahidi Fort, there is the Dubai Museum that speaks at length about the celebrated history of Dubai. The city has come a long way to be like what it seems today. Opposed to the dazzle of modern day Dubai, this building presents to us a rather hard and tattered past which invariably is true. There are two cannons right at the entrance which speak multitudes about the stringent security of the city. The other exhibits in the row include pottery articles, paintings, jewelery, and dioramas.

Budget is no longer a deterrent to hold you back from visiting Dubai, at least once in your lifetime. And you now know about how to visit Dubai with a constrained budget. So what are your waiting for? Dubai is calling!

Neha Signh is a postgraduate in Mass Communications who loves everything about life. Traveling is extremely close to her heart and writing came to her naturally. She is an avid trekker & explorer who often takes off some time from her busy life for mountaineering. She always shares her travel experiences on her blog. She loves meeting new people and gets attached to their cultures very easily. Her ambition is to explore as many places as she can in her life. She strongly believes in the Gandhian principle, “Simple living, high thinking.” Photos from Pixabay.



  1. Bruno says:

    Very nice tips.

  2. Fantastic job sharing these tips! These are all very helpful specially for destination like Dubai.

  3. Shofey says:

    I am planning to visit Dubai but I have a short budget. your information is very helpful for me to visit Dubai in a Low Budget.

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