Often known as the playground for the rich, you can actually travel Dubai without breaking the bank. Other than its glitzy skyscrapers, lavish night scene, luxury brand hotels, and mega-malls, Dubai is also a melting pot of Arabic, Indian, and Middle Eastern cultures with a variety of free off-the-beaten-path experiences, efficient public transportation, affordable boutique hotels, thriving art scene, and cheap delicious food.
Dubai’s other wallet-friendly side is often left unexplored and here they are:
Al Marmoom Smart Camel Racing Track
Witness 60 camels race through the gates, making their way as fast as they can down one of the biggest camel tracks in United Arab of Emirates (UAE) at Al Marmoom Smart Camel Racing Track. Camel racing season is usually held from October to April between 7 AM to 9 AM. It is advised to call in advance to check on scheduled races before heading down.
Dubai Crown Prince Camel Festival
Camel racing dates back centuries ago that is not to be missed by residents and tourists in Dubai. From 1 to 13 February 2020, head to Dubai Crown Prince Camel Festival and cheer on for the purebred Arabian camels going head-to-head in thrilling races and watch buyers bid for exquisite camel breeds during the camel auction at the heart-pumping event patronised by His Highness Sheikh Hamdan Bin Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Crown Prince of Dubai and Chairman of the Executive Council.
Cross the Dubai Creek with Abra
Cross the Dubai Creek with Abra (traditional water taxi) like a local at just AED1 (S$0.40) and admire the bustling city and passing of traditional houses, towers, trade cargos, and wooden dhows.
Bargain at the city’s most vibrant and traditional Arabian markets – Spice Souk, Perfume Souk, Textile Souk, and world-famous Gold Souk.
Dubai’s most influential creative enclave for edgy arts events, endless pop-up concept, and cutting-edge galleries. It also features artisan eateries, diverse fashion and homeware stores, a vintage showroom, Dubai’s only independent record shop, a local arthouse cinema, and even a fitness studio.
Al Fahidi Historical Neighbourhood
Wander through the narrow winding alleys and sand-coloured houses topped with the traditional wind towers at Al Fahidi Historical Neighbourhood, taking a glimpse into how Emiratis from past generations lived their lives while discovering a plethora of cultural activities, museums, art galleries, craft shops, and courtyard cafes.
Ras Al Khor Wildlife Sanctuary
During winter months between October to March, nature lovers can head to Ras Al Khor Wildlife Sanctuary to spot countless species of reptiles, fish, invertebrates, and is prominently a haven for birds of around 180 different species, including hundreds of gorgeous wild pink flamingos.
La Mer is the city’s newest urban beach cred and hottest Instagram spot filled with playful graffiti art murals and laid back charm at every turn. Stroll along the palm tree-lined boulevards and timber walkways to discover tantalising cafes, ice cream parlours, home-grown boutiques and unwind in one of the many beach sports, water play or beachside cabanas.
Art-themed Boutique Hotels at Affordable Rate
- Rove Hotels – located in 6 different central neighbourhoods with easy access to public transport and provides modern and clean amenities with plenty of add-ons.
- Zabeel House Mini Al Seef – perfect for eager explorers where it features playful, pocket-friendly rooms and is situated right in the heart of hustle and bustle in Dubai Creek.
- FORM Hotel Dubai – a timelessly designed boutique property for the forward-thinking travellers through its custom-crafted spaces, modern minimalist design and curated amenities.
- Studio One Hotel – where life and creativity collide, showcasing perfectly equipped rooms and award-winning restaurants suitable for both family and business travellers.
Affordable and Delicious Meal Options
- 2nd December Street – (previously known as Al Dhiyafah road) in particular is a single bustling neon-lit strip that hosts many of the delicious bites.
- Al Mallah
- Ravi Restaurant
- Firas Sweets
- Koukh Al Shay
- Al Ustadl Special Kebab
- Al Reef Labanese Bakery
- SALT burgers
- Last Exit Food Truck Park
- The Cheesecake Factory
- Shake Shack
- Five Guys Burgers and Fries
Dubai Summer Surprises
Held annually between June to August, the city’s biggest shopping and entertainment festival offers incredible bargains and activities for visitors and residents alike, from spend-and-win promotions to daily deals at unbeatable prices to exciting live concerts and world-class entertainment.
Nearly every attractions, hotels, and malls in the city partake in the celebration, giving everyone a slew of fun things to do from morning to night.