Dubai Travel Guide: A 16,800 PHP Itinerary

It’s no understatement to say that Dubai has been one of the most amazing city I’ve ever witnessed in my life to date! After all, this city is known for its rich collection of spectacular buildings and structures of innumerable architectural styles. In fact, it is home to the tallest building in the world, Burj Khalifa!

From its sparkly and breathtaking cityscape to its magical sand dunes, this multi-cultural metropolis definitely is a city worth exploring. This emerging cosmopolitan city, which was once a small Creekside fishing village, offers everything and anything beyond what you expect- world-class shopping, alluring beaches, man-made islands, thrilling adventures, world’s tallest skyline, cultural experiences, name it! Dubai, indeed, is worthy to be in your bucketlist!

However knowing Dubai as one of the most expensive city in the world, this might discourage you to book a flight to this city. Well, if you choose to stay in a fancy hotel, eat out at the best restaurants, shop in big malls, then your stay will definitely be expensive. But it doesn’t have to be that way. You can explore the city in a budget! This Dubai Travel Guide will point you to most of the major attractions you can explore in a budget way!

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Pre Travel Guide

pink-airplane-mode-on-512.jpg Where to book flights?

Cebu Pacific Airlines is the largest and low-cost carrier in our country that offers direct flights from Manila to Dubai. It’s a non-stop 8 hours flight and will typically cost you at around 6,000 PHP TO 13,000 PHP one way. But if you’re lucky, you can score a ticket for as low as 967PHP!! Moreover, Cebu Pacific Airlines has daily flights to Dubai usually at 4:45PM – 10:40PM.

1200px-Cebu_Pacific_Logo-2016Click here to BOOK

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If you’re still unconvinced on booking your flight via Cebu Pacific Airlines, let me provide you reasons why this airline is the best one for your Siargao trip!

  • Ultimate Convenience– direct flights to Dubai doesn’t always happen to most local airlines. But as for Cebu Pacific Airlines, it is definitely possible. Ang hassle ng connecting flights, you know.
  • Lowest Year-Round Fare– Cebu Pacific Airlines offers one of the cheapest (or probably the only cheapest one) flights from Manila to Dubai.

To score the cheapest rate, here are some tips:

  • Visit their websites regularly to see promos and discounts
  • Like their Facebook Page to be updated on their ganaps(You can also use the “See First” thing on their page to get a higher chance of knowing their promos.)

Read: Long Haul Flight Survival Tips


untitled Where to get cheap tours?

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Based on my experience, I highly recommend you to book discounted tours for your trip in Dubai from KLOOK to enjoy a hassle-free way of exploring the city. Don’t worry, as most of my suggested tours from KLOOK are reasonable and are within the fair market value + of course, has your money’s worth!

Recommended Tours:

Mode of Transportation:

Essential:

  • Rent a 4g Wifi to stay connected:
    1. Google Maps: This has been my ultimate travel buddy during my trip in Dubai. I consider this as my “how to get there-buddy,” as it provides me with routes and walking trails towards my destination.
    2. UberX and Careem Go

 stock-vector-passport-book-cartoon-vector-and-illustration-hand-drawn-style-isolated-on-white-background-222314308.jpg Do we need UAE Visa?

For Philippine Passport Holders, we are required to secure a visa before entering UAE. Based on our experience, getting the UAE Visa is the easiest one we got- but it is quite expensive!

Read more: UAE VISA (DUBAI VISA): Requirements & How to Apply


samuibus_banner_logo_red.png  How to get around?

From / To the Airport:

  • Public Taxis: One way you can access Dubai City is via their public taxis. There is a taxi terminal outside the airport with a bunch of taxis parked awaiting your arrival. These taxis can take you to your accommodation or preferred destination in under 30 minutes. There’s an AED25 flag charge from the airport and will charge you an additional AED1.96 per each km. They also accept most major credit cards and soon enough, wifi will be available on board for passengers to stay connected. Moreover, apps like UberX and Careem Go can be alternatives to hire a taxi.
  • Metro: The Dubai Airport metro consists of the two lines: the green and red lines. Most stations in these lines can connect you to buses and taxis when you get off. To get to the city center, use the red line. The train cost depends on the number of zones you pass through but is always extremely affordable- averaging at around AED 5.8 / PAX.

Getting Around The City:

Getting around the city can be pretty much easy since there are a lot of selection for you to hop from one place to another. However, do take note that Dubai can be really traffic at times especially during rush hours which happens at 7-10am and 4:30-7pm. One more thing to consider is their work week which happens during Sunday to Thursday, while their weekend days are Fridays and Saturdays. There is less traffic during the weekend.

  • Hire A Private CharterThis will let you explore the city at your own pace in a chauffeured vehicle with a private driver. In this way you could plan your own route and avoid stifling buses and long taxi lines.
  • Taxis: One of the most common transportation means in Dubai is riding a Taxi.
    • Rate: Normal Fare: AED 5 starting rate + AED 0.5 for every 292 meters. During the night, starting rate is at AED 5.5 while during peak hours, starting rate is at AED 12.
    • Uber or Careem App: As said earlier, you can also book a taxi via these app.
    • For you to save money while hiring the taxi, avoid the fancy Lexus taxis and opt the regular ones instead.
  • Metro: Dubai’s Metro System is developed and won’t give you a hard time to utilize it. These cars can take you to most of the popular neighborhoods in the city. However, this might also be time consuming in some cases since there are stations that are a bit far from the attractions and would require you to have a long walk for a couple of minutes. Nevertheless, this could also save you from traffic during rush hours.
    • If you’re planning to maximize the Metro, I highly suggest you to purchase a prepaid NOL card which can be used for the Metro, Tram, buses and taxi. This is like our own version of Beep Card which definitely save time from purchasing tickets station by station and also gives you a discount on standard fares.
  • Hop On/ Hop Off Buses: An open top bus tour of the city with unlimited travel for one day. All you have to do is hop on the bus, hop off whatever tour stop you wish to explore, and then when you’re ready, just hop back on the next incoming bus at the stop.

77b94a5ca91d20947b7dbfd94955b5e0_house-outline-clipart-clipart-house-outline-free-clipart_558-595.png  Where to stay?

You will definitely not have a problem when it comes to finding hotels that fit your preference. Ranging from airbnbs to luxury ones, Dubai have them all! I highly suggest you to book your accommodation in advance since based on our experience the price in the booking platforms compared to the walk in rates are incredibly different!

Budget Tip: Avoid luxury hotels and book a place near Deira, Bur Dubai and Karama instead.

You can book via these platforms:

Where did we stayed:

  • Name of Hotel: Dulf Hotel Dubai
  • Rate: 1,400PHP / 2PAX
  • Access:  Dubai Creek Night Cruise (1.33 km); Reef Mall (1.35 km); Dubai Gold Souk (1.58 km); Bastakiya (1.74 km)

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A Beginner’s Guide to Dubai

Dubai Travel Guide: Everything You Need to Know Before You Visit

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Places Not To Miss In Dubai

Dubai is home to innumerable places to visit, but aiming to explore all of them might be time-consuming as well as expensive. Hence, here are the places you MUST not miss despite the numerous attractions available in this vibrant city:


Abu Dhabi Day Tour

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Without further ado, what if you spend a day away from Dubai City, and explore the wonders of Abu Dhabi instead, the capital city of United Arab Emirates? What we did is we booked a day-tour from Klook which took us to the popular attractions of Abu Dhabi city! It was a jam-packed day tour and already includes roundtrip transfers.

Moreover a trip to Grand Sheikh Zayed Mosque is one of our highlights in this tour. This place is actually the one of the largest mosque in the world and the UAE’s main place of worship, hence witnessing its beauty is already an honor from our part.

Book Your Abu Dhabi Day Tour Here: Abu Dhabi Full Day Join-In Tour

Itinerary: 

  • 8:00am-9:15am: Hotel Pick Up
  • Start Tour:
    • Ferrari World
    • Date market
    • Corniche
    • Heritage Village
    • Marina Mall
    • Emirates Palace Hotel
    • Sheik Zayed Mosque
  • 5:00pm-5:30pm: Drop off at Hotel

Important Notes:

  • Women and men are to wear conservative, loose fitting, non-transparent clothing: long sleeves (wrist length), long skirts (ankle length) or trousers
    • Women will be asked to wear a headscarf and a traditional robe before entering the mosque
  • Men must not reveal any flesh above their knees and their shoulders must be covered
  • Visitors dressed unsuitably may be denied entry


Level 43 Sky Lounge

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A visit to Level 43 Sky Lounge on the 43rd floor is a must-do for every visitor in Dubai who desires to witness a different view of Dubai’s skyline. What’s more is that from a perspective of 155 meters above ground, we were able to score a 360 degree view of Dubai’s skyline for FREE. We only bought a drink shared by us for courtesy since we’re using their lounge bar for sight-seeing.

Opening Hours: 2PM- 2AM, Daily

How to get there?

  • Level 43 Sky Lounge, Four Points by Sheraton Sheikh Zayed Road, Dubai Sheikh Zayed Road
  • Level 43 Sky Lounge is not walk-able distance from the metro station, you need to take a taxi to access the building.


Dubai Creek

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Dubai isn’t just known for its gliterry tall buildings and breathtaking skyline. In fact, this city has retained a completely different side of Dubai- and that’s in Dubai Creek, a place rich in history and tradition. We witnessed picturesque old-style arabian buildings, traditional style wooden dhows, and bustling souks. What’s unique in our experience is we get to ride an old roofed boat on a sunset, which is called an abra ride, which will take you from Bur Dubai to Deira and vice versa. The view was unexplainably one-off!
At the other side lies a small spice souk market, a traditional place to find a wide range of spices , herbs, incense and traditional medicinal products. We wandered around the stalls within the area and learned a lot about these various spices offered. It was interesting to know that these spices aren’t just designed for cooking but can also be utilized as fragrant teas and such. Moreover, there is also a great selection of nuts, oils and saffron available from these stalls.
Opening Hours:
  • Saturday to Thursday: 10am – 10pm ; closed between 1pm- 4 pm
  • Friday: 4pm -10pm

How to get there?

  • Nearest metro station: Al Ras Metro Station (Exit 2)


Bastakiya

Another historical side of Dubai is the Bastakiya Quarter which is a 19th century merchant town and is considered as the the oldest standing residential area of Dubai. In contrast with what Dubai is known, Bastakiya is a step of the past. Winding alleyways led us to discovering wind towers which are traditional air conditioner of the Middle East, as well as traditional Arabian houses made with coral, mud, gypsum and palm wood.

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Arabian Tea House

Inside this charming town lies an equally charming tea house which features a secret garden inside supplemented with turquoise benches, white rattan chairs, lace curtains and beautiful flowers which gives a relaxing and fresh ambiance. This tea house offers breakfast meals- Arabian or Western ones, refreshments, and of course, premium teas and traditional delicacies.

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Other Attractions:

  • Dubai Museum
    • Opening times: Sat to Thurs, 8:30am – 8:30pm, Fri 2:30pm – 8:30pm.
    • Location: Al Fahidi area, Bur Dubai.
    • Price: Adults 3AED; Children (under 6): 1AED
  • Al Fahidi Fort


Souk Madinat Jumeirah

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Home to some boutique brands, homeware, fashion, jewellery and souvenirs, Souk Madinat Jumeirah boasts a number of Middle Eastern shopping stalls that will surely satisfy the soul of a shopaholic. What’s more amazing is this shopping paradise has a part that offers a stunning view of the iconic Burj Al Arab Jumeirah!

Opening Hours:

  • Shops: 10:00AM – 11:00PM
  • Restaurants: 08:00AM – 2:00AM
How to get there?
  • Souk Madinat Jumeirah is not walk-able distance from the metro station, you need to take a taxi to access the mall.


Desert Safari

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What better way to experience Dubai than immersing ourselves to the rich Arabian Desert of the city?! A 20-minute drive away downtown Dubai, this trip definitely left us living our life-long Alladin fantasy – an authentic Arabian experience, undeniably! We got to experience dune bashing where we embarked on an adventurous and thrill seeking car surfing through the Arabian deserts. This ride took us to our camping site where the real Arabian Desert adventure begins. Different activities like off-roading, quad biking and sandboarding are available in the area complemented by traditional barbeques, henna and camel rides. During the night, we were able to enjoy an Arabic buffet dinner while watching cultural dance performances and shows. What’s more is that we also experienced camping out in the Arabian deserts under the stars and was able watch the sun rise the next morning. Indeed, it was an experience of a lifetime!

Book Your Desert Safari Tour Here: Dubai Overnight Desert Safari Tour

Itinerary:

  • 3:00pm-3:30pm Hotel pick up by 4×4 Land Cruiser
  • 4:30pm Arrive at souvenir shop
  • 4:45pm Enter the desert
  • 5:00pm Dune bashing, Sand boarding
  • 5:45pm Stop to view sunset, Depart for desert camp
  • 6:15pm Arrive at camp (Desert camp activities: camel riding, henna painting, belly dance and tanoura show, shisha, etc.)
  • 7:30pm BBQ dinner
  • 8:30pm-7:00am Overnight stay at camp
  • 7:30am Breakfast
  • 8:00am Depart from camp
  • 9:00am Drop off at hotel

Additional Expenses:

  • Camel Ride:
  • Photo with the Eagle:


Burj Khalifa

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Burj Khalifa is the place you should never ever miss when you’re in Dubai. Well, IT’S THE WORLD’S TALLEST BUILDING! Standing 828 meters high, we got a chance to ride the fastest lift in the world as we reach this tall building’s peak in just a few seconds. Considering that this is the tallest one on Earth, this iconic attraction truly gave us a unique 360 degree view of Dubai city from its 124th floor- which stunned us in a heartbeat. Dubai is AMAZING.

TIP: Book your tickets in advance with Klook to avoid waiting in long lines.

Book Your Burj Khalifa Ticket Here: Burj Khalifa Observation Deck

Opening times: 

  • Daily: Non-prime hours: 8am – 3pm ; Prime hours: 3pm – 6:30pm
  • Friday & Saturday: Early opening from 5.30am
How to get there?
  • Location: 1 Mohammed Bin Rashid Boulevard, Downtown Dubai.
    • The Burj Khalifa Metro Station is a 10 minute walk away.
  • By metro: Take the Red Line to Burj Khalifa/Dubai Mall Station. Enter the Burj via Dubai Mall which in itself is a spectacular attraction (stop by the aquarium as you make your way over)


The Dubai Mall

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Right next to Burj Khalifa is the largest mall in the world by total area, the Dubai Mall. Consisting of 1200+ shops and 150 restaurants, a day in this shopping paradise in not enough to experience these all. What’s more amazing is that it’s interior are aesthetically pleasing- every corner are luxuriously beautiful. Dubai Mall is also home to several attractions such as an indoor theme park, an ice rink, an indoor waterfall, an outdoor fountain which dances during the night and the giant Dubai Aquarium and Underwater Zoo.

Opening times: 10AM- 12AM, Daily

How to get there?

  • By metro: Take the Red Line to Burj Khalifa/Dubai Mall Station.

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The Dubai Fountain

Just outside Dubai Mall lies a stunning man-made lake where the world’s largest choreographed fountain is located. Here you can witness an awe-inspiring dancing fountain show that will astound you in an instant! Imagine a water fountain show that features water streams as high as 150 metres in the air?! Unbelievable!

Show Schedules:

  • Afternoon: 1PM & 1:30PM Only
    • Except Fridays: 1:30PM & 2PM Only
  • Evening: Begins at Sundown and takes place every 30 minutes
    • Last Show: 11PM

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Other Attractions:

  • Dubai Aquarium & Underwater Zoo
  • Indoor Waterfall


The Palace Downtown

Considered as one of Dubai’s secret, this 5-star hotel boasts a picture-perfect view of the iconic Burj Khalifa. What’s amazing about this place is its open-space in front of the hotel which is open to public. Hence, you can take photos of the area without checking-in the hotel. Yeay!

How to get there?

  • 5 minutes walk away from Dubai Mall


Atlantis Aquaventure Waterpark

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A day in Atlantis Aquaventure Waterpark is a day filled with thrill and excitement! Who wouldn’t love to be in the world’s largest man made island?! We felt like we were kids blissfully enjoying the happiest place in Dubai!

Recommended Rides:

  • Aquaconda- world’s largest water slide
  • Tower of Poseidon
  • Lost Chambers Aquarium

Book Your Tickets Here: Atlantis Aquaventure Water Park

Opening Hours:

  • 10:00am- Sunset, Daily
  • Opening hours may vary depending on the time of year

How to get there?

  • Address: Atlantis, Crescent Road,The Palm Jumeira, Dubai, UAE.
  • By public transport: Take the Dubai Tram towards the Al Sufouh Metro Station. Get off at Palm Jumeirah. At Palm Jumeirah, take the monorail that will take you directly to Aquaventure Water Park.
  • By taxi: Aquaventure Water Park is a 25 minute drive from Deira (city centre of Dubai). Will cost approximately 110 AED


More Attractions:

Since our time was limited, and our travel period was during their Ramadan and Summer season, the attractions we could visit was also limited. Too bad we weren’t able to explore some of the top attractions that are worth-visiting. Hence, if you guys have time and opportunity to do so, don’t skip the following places:

  • Jumeirah Beach Residence Walk
  • Dubai Marina
  • Dubai Frame
  • Dubai Miracle Garden

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4D/ 3N Itinerary

Day 1

  • Abu Dhabi Day Tour
    • 8:00am-9:15am: Hotel Pick Up
    • Start Tour:
      • Ferrari World
      • Date market
      • Corniche
      • Heritage Village
      • Marina Mall
      • Emirates Palace Hotel
      • Sheik Zayed Mosque
    • 5:00pm-5:30pm: Drop off at Hotel (Or in our case, let your driver drop you off at Level 43)
  • Level 43- for sunset watching

Day 2

  • Dubai Culture & Heritage Tour
    • 9am-11am: Dubai Creek
      • Abra Ride
      • Spice Souk
      • Gold Souk
    • 11am- 2:00pm: Bastakiya
      • Arabian Tea House
      • Dubai Museum
      • Al Fahidi Fort
  • Desert Safari
    • 3:00pm-3:30pm Hotel pick up by 4×4 Land Cruiser
    • 4:30pm Arrive at souvenir shop
    • 4:45pm Enter the desert
    • 5:00pm Dune bashing, Sand boarding
    • 5:45pm Stop to view sunset, Depart for desert camp
    • 6:15pm Arrive at camp (Desert camp activities: camel riding, henna painting, belly dance and tanoura show, shisha, etc.)
    • 7:30pm BBQ dinner
    • 8:30pm-7:00am Overnight stay at camp
    • 7:30am Breakfast (Next Day)
    • 8:00am Depart from camp
    • 9:00am Drop off at hotel

Day 3

  • Continuance of Desert Safari:
    • 7:30am Breakfast
    • 8:00am Depart from camp
    • 9:00am Drop off at hotel (For our case, let the driver drop you off at Souk Madinat Jumeirah)
  • 9:00am- 11:00am: Souk Madinat Jumeirah
  • 11:00am – 1:00pm: Burj Khalifa
  • 4:30pm: Dubai Mall
    •  Visit to The Palace Downtown Dubai
    • 6:30pm: Dubai Fountain
      • Hotel

Day 4

  • 10am onwards: Atlantis Aquaventure

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Expenses

General:

  • Accommodation: 1,400PHP / 2PAX = 700 PHP
    • 700 PHP x 3 nights = 2,100 PHP 
  • RT Airport Taxi Transfers: 30 AED / 4 PAX= 7.5AED / PAX (109 PHP)
  • 4G Wifi (used for google only-as much as possible): 640PHP / 4 PAX = 160 PHP
    • 160 PHP x 4 days = 640 PHP
  • T O T A L: 2850 PHP

Day 1:

  • Abu Dhabi Tour: 1600 PHP
  • Transportation (Level 43 to hotel): 25AED / 4 PAX = 6.25 AED / PAX (91 PHP)
  • Food:
    • Brunch: 25 AED (Average Meal Cost) = 360 PHP
    • Dinner: 25 AED (Average Meal Cost) = 360 PHP
  • T O T A L: 2400 PHP

Day 2:

  • Transportation:
    • From Hotel to Dubai Creek: 20 AED / 4 PAX = 5 AED / PAX (72.5PHP)
    • From Bastakiya to Hotel: 20 AED/ 4 PAX = 5 AED/ PAX (72.5PHP)
  • Food:
    • Breakfast (Shwarma): 5 AED (72.5PHP)
    • Arabian Tea House Lunch (Ordered Local Breakfast Tray): 75 AED/ 4 PAX= 18.75 AED / PAX (272 PHP)
    • Dinner: FREE (Desert Safari Tour)
  • Dubai Creek:
    • Abra Ride: 60 AED/ 4 PAX= 15 AED / PAX (217.5 PHP)
  • Bastakiya
    • No Expenses
    • Skipped Dubai Museum
  • Desert Safari Tour: 3200 PHP
  • T O T A L: 3900 PHP

Day 3:

  • Transportation:
    • Dubai Mall to Hotel: 30 AED/ 4 PAX = 7.5AED / PAX (109PHP)
  • Food:
    • Breakfast: FREE (Desert Safari Tour)
    • Lunch (Dubai Mall Food Court): 23AED (333.5PHP)
    • Dinner: (Al Tasaj Family Meal) 135AED / 4: 33AED/ PAX (480PHP)
  • Burj Khalifa Fee: 1900PHP
  • T O T A L: 2800 PHP

Day 4:

  • Atlantis Aquaventure Ticket: 3500 PHP
  • Transportation:
    • From Hotel to Atlantis Aquaventure and vice versa: 140 AED / 4 PAX = 35 AED/ PAX (500 PHP)
  • Food:
    • Brunch: 30 AED (435PHP)
    • Dinner: 30 AED (435PHP)
  • T O T A L: 4870 PHP

T O T A L: 16,820 PHP

Note that the expenses above may vary depending on how you travel and budget your money. Basically, for us, we tried avoiding exploring paid attractions and opt to the free yet worthy ones instead. Moreover, most of our expenses came from transportation and food- although we really tried our best to save money from food- mahal lang talaga ang food nila! 🙂

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Join The Journey PH Team

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Shoutout to my team behind the Dubai content, Join The Journey PH!  We are a community of travelers, adventure-seekers, and content-creators, where TOGETHER, we travel and explore, and share these experiences to the world- may it be through videography, photography or writing.

Want to join the journey? Follow our page for updates: Join The Journey PH

Team Members:

First International Joiner:

Did you like this article?  Follow me on Facebook and Instagram for more travel updates! YES TO ADVENTURES! ❤

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