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Check out my video of our 48 hours in Dubai here!
Heading somewhere exotic and flying with Emirates? Got the option of a layover for 48 hours in Dubai but it all looks so expensive? Do it, it doesn’t have to be! It’s very possible to see Dubai for cheap. Here’s how we did it for under £120 each, including accommodation, food, activities and transport.
I’ll admit, visiting Dubai had never been particularly high on my priorities. I’d pictured unnecessary displays of lavish wealth, and the city basically being a giant theme park. I wasn’t far wrong. but I’m so glad we visited all the same – it’s an amazing destination to add on to a trip somewhere East. Totally different to anywhere else I’ve ever visited, spending 48 hours in Dubai is undeniably a brilliant experience.
48 hours in Dubai on a budget!
Where to stay in Dubai?
So you’re arriving in Dubai and you’re going to be tired from your flight let’s be honest. But all the nice places to stay look crazy expensive? So here’s a great option: don’t bother going into the city to stay, the hotels at the airport are so much cheaper! We stayed at the Holiday Inn Express, and there’s a Premier Inn too. They run free shuttles to and from the Emirates terminal every thirty minutes. AND it’s so easy to get to the centre from here with regular metros. Realistically, Dubai is so large that you’re going to have to be on the Metro anyway, so you might as well be on it for 15 minutes more. From here, it takes about 40 minutes to reach the Dubai Mall. Buy a travel pass for the day, which works on all metros and buses (22AED). All in all, much cheaper!
Day 1 of 48 Hours in Dubai Itinerary:
Use Day 1 to see the city. Jump on the metro from the Emirates station (5 minute walk from the Holiday Inn) and head to Dubai Mall station (40 minutes). Get lost in the world’s biggest shopping mall! Make sure to head to the aquarium – it’s expensive to get in, but it’s possible to see some big sharks and rays from within the mall itself without paying entry.
After the mall, wander outside to the infamous Burj Khalifa. Towering above Dubai, it’s quite a sight. The Dubai Fountains are just at the bottom, and have beautiful displays every thirty minutes.
From here, walk back through the mall and follow signs for ‘tourist bus stop’, to catch bus 81 to Jumeirah Public Beach (about 40 minutes, 5AED). From here, you can get an amazing view of the beautiful Burj al Arab hotel, the world’s most luxurious!
After, hop back on the 81 further South to Basarti Beach Club for some well earned chill time. With free entry and free rose for ladies on Sunday/Monday/Tuesday, it’s a great venue for sundowners.
With a 20 minute walk first, it’s possible to get the metro all the way back to the Holiday Inn from here, anytime before midnight. I’d highly recommend stopping off at Dubai Mall again on your way back – this place comes alive at night, and the nighttime fountain show is even more impressive!
Day 2 of 48 Hours in Dubai Itinerary:
Spend a lazy morning wandering back to any sights you missed the day before, and then head out to the desert. There are hundreds of companies that run desert safari trips, so be careful not to get ripped off. We saw prices range from 115AED to 500AED per person, and they basically all do the same thing:
- Pick up from your hotel at 2pm (ish!)
- Drive to the desert, followed by 20 minutes dune bashing
- Drop off at the desert camp where there is camel riding and sand boarding included.
- Buffet style dinner and a bellydancing show included (!)
It wasn’t the best day I’ve ever had travelling, but I’m glad we went. It’s incredibly touristy, but the desert is beautiful!
So there you have it! Go and enjoy a great 48 hours in Dubai for less!