Dubai is known for its lavish luxurious lifestyle, but you don’t have to be a millionaire to enjoy yourself on holiday there.
So if you’re booking a trip to Dubai, keep reading. We’re about to tell you the best months to go, the cheapest places to stay, and where to get a bargain – along with some thoughts on where and how to haggle.
And best of all, we’ll only charge you one hundred Dirham for the pleasure.
(Just testing. It’s free.)
When is the best time to visit Dubai?
Like many holiday hotspots around the Persian Gulf, it’s best to avoid the sizzling summer months when temperatures hit 48 degrees – and that’s before the heavy humidity! Stick to October to April to avoid heat exhaustion when you’re out exploring.
Where are the cheapest places to stay?
Dubai is big on luxury – it’s home to the world’s first seven-star hotel after all. But if you’re looking for a bargain, consider somewhere in the city’s old town or by the creek. Not only are these hotels more modestly priced than those downtown (where you’ll find the world’s tallest building, the Burj Khalifa) but they also offer a real glimpse into the authentic Emirati culture – long before the days of the city’s gold rush.
Cheap things to do
- Shop for bargains
It might sound like a contradiction given Dubai’s massive malls (including Mall of the Emirates which features the world’s first indoor ski resort), but your shopping doesn’t have to be exclusively designer. There are plenty of markets where you can get a discount – if you do your haggling properly that is (keep reading for our tips).
- Visit the markets
Some markets worth going to include Dubai Flea Market in Al Safa Park, New Naif market in Old Dubai – known for its wide selection of clothes – and the old Spice Souk, located along the creek.
- Go to museums
The biggest and most well-known historical hotspot is Dubai Museum. Located in the historic district of Bur Dubai, it’s been open since 1971. Today the museum contains artefacts and models, some of which date all the way back to 3,000 B.C. Who said Dubai lacked heritage?
- Grab some food
For some cheap eats, head to Al Dhiyafah Road where you’ll find old-school Arabic food alongside Lebanese, Persian and Indian cuisines too. While you won’t find a drop of alcohol on the menus, you’ll get a taster of the country’s traditional dining (and prices) – without a Rolex in sight.
Finally, the one golden rule for bagging a bargain in the Middle East is to perfect your negotiation skills (that’s haggling to you and me).
Many Brits tend to feel embarrassed by the practice, but you can’t go to Dubai without at least having a go. After all, it is a local custom.
Just remember to remain calm, polite and friendly throughout your dealings (these are some good tips). Here are some places to give it a go:
Where to haggle: Markets, souks and dress shops such as Satwa Souk, the Gold Souk, the Spice Souk, Karama Shopping Complex (great for souvenirs) and Meena Bazaar (known for its tailors and fabrics). If you fancy buying some new gadgets, Khalid Bin AlWaleed Road (better known as Computer Street) is a haggle-friendly zone too.
Where not to haggle: Don’t attempt to bring the price down at restaurants, cafes, bars, hotels or any of the mainstream malls such as Mall of the Emirates and Dubai Mall – you’ll only embarrass yourself!