Dubai International Airport is one of the busiest airports in the world, being the home base of the popular ‘Emirates’ airline. Dubai’s strategic position also makes it a perfect place to layover for people going to Europe and North America from Asia (and vice-versa).
Downtown Dubai is home to the city’s largest and most distinguished landmarks, which include Dubai Fountain, Dubai Mall and the Burj Khalifa. If you only have a couple of hours to spare in Dubai, this is a convenient and popular spot to visit. The modern complex that encompasses the landmarks mentioned, is situated along the Sheikh Zayed Road. To its south, you will find Dubai Creek and the Business Bay.
When it comes to getting to Downtown Dubai from Dubai International Airport, here are your transport options:
Option 1: Train
Dubai Metro is the most convenient way to get to downtown from the airport. Dubai’s Red Metro Line stops at both Terminal 1 and Terminal 2. You can easily purchase a single or return journey from machines at the train station or at a manned counter.
If you have a couple of days to spend in Dubai, consider getting one of the following:
This is a top-up card that can be used not only for the Dubai Metro but also for buses and water taxis. A trip using the Nol Card is less than a regular ticket and it will save you the time it would take to pay each and every trip. So if you’re planning to visit a couple of sites, using a Nol Card gives you more value for your money.
Dubai Metro offers one-day and multiple-day train passes, which allow you to take unlimited Metro rides within a designated period of time (1-day, 3-days) You may also purchase a day pass that is limited to just a certain line ( for example the Green Line).
The main disadvantage of getting a Day Pass is it can only be used for train rides and not the other transport options.
During our visit to Dubai, we opted to use a three-day pass because we were planning on seeing as many places as we could in the time frame.
The Disadvantage of Taking the Dubai Metro
Taking the train from Dubai International Airport to the downtown area is convenient. If you want to take it to get to your hotel, make sure your hotel is walking distance from a Metro Station. If this is not the case, consider other more suitable transport options.
Dubai Metro services end at midnight, so if your flight arrives after that, you will need to take another transport option.
Option 2: Taxi
Dubai taxis are reasonably priced compared to their counterparts in Europe and North America. But if you’re coming from the airport, there is a taxi flag fall fare of 25 Dirhams. Taking the taxi is the fastest option if train services are not available.
As you may expect, taxis in Dubai are clean and well-maintained. Drivers are dressed decently and always go by the meter.
Option 3: Bus
Taking the bus is the other cheaper option for getting out of Dubai International Airport. Although I would not recommend taking this if train services are available as buses are slower and subject to traffic conditions..
Bus services from the airport do not go directly to the Downtown Dubai complex. The CO1 bus goes to the Satwa neighborhood, which is the closest stop to Downtown Dubai. From there, you still need to travel around 15 minutes by car to get to Downtown Dubai.
Important Reminder: RTA (Road Transport Authority) Intercity Buses do not take cash onboard. You need to purchase and load a Nol Card prior to boarding a bus.
Option 4: Hotel Shuttles
Reputable hotels in Dubai tend to offer free airport shuttle services to their guests. So after booking your hotel in Dubai, you may ask them if they offer such a service. This could potentially save you a lot of trouble making your way to your hotel. Some hotels might offer a service, but it might be chargeable. In that case, always double check to see how much they charge per person to reach your hotel.
Option 5: Rent a Car
Rental car services are available at Dubai International Airport. Dubai’s roads are wide and well-maintained. Traffic is usually normal and jams happen only during peak hours (morning and afternoon).
Dubai drivers tend to drive quite fast on highways.
For more convenience, book your car rental ahead of time. You may make this arrangement through rentalcars.com.
Where Did We Stay in Dubai?
Finding a hotel in Dubai can be tricky if you are on a certain budget. Fortunately, we found a hotel that came with a reasonable price tag for its amenities it offers. Here is our full review of our stay at Ibis Hotel. To save you time, we also compiled a list of top hotels in Dubai according to costs and guest reviews.
Top Rated Hotels in Dubai Based on Verified Guest Reviews
Important: Mobile Users must swipe from left to right to see entire table.
|Star/Budget Range||Guest Rating: Hotel Provider 1||Guest Rating: Hotel Provider 2|
|Agoda.com (Dubai)||Booking.com (Dubai)|
|5 stars/Luxury||Burj Al Arab Jumeirah – 9.3/10||Residence & Spa, Dubai at One&Only Royal Mirage – 9.4/10|
|4stars/Comfort||Al Khoory Atrium – 8.9/10||Vida Downtown Dubai – 8.8/10|
|3 stars/Mid Range||Rove Downtown Dubai – 9.0/10||The Rove City Center – 9.3/10|
|2 star/ Budget||Holiday Inn Express Dubai Airport – 7.9/10||Holiday Inn Express Dubai Airport – 7.9/10|
|1 star/ Strict Budget||Sima Hotel – 7.0/10||Flordia Hotel – 6.9/10|
|Compare all room prices in Dubai using www.agoda.com||Compare all room prices in Dubai using booking.com|
- Properties rated based on ‘overall’ review scores from each respective website’s verified guests.
- Minimum of 50 verified guest reviews required to be considered eligible for comparison.
- All star ratings and verified guest review scores are tallied at the time of writing, and therefore, are subject to change.
Accommodation Map of Dubai: Only the Top Rated Properties
(Based on Verified Guest Reviews)
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- How to Get to the Burj Khalifa in Dubai
- How to Go Up the Burj Khalifa’s Observation Deck
- Top Places to See in Dubai For Free
- Where Did We Stay in Dubai?: Ibis One Central Hotel Review
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