Heading to Dubai soon? Here are the information you need to know to prepare yourself for your ultimate trip!
Pre Travel Guide
Where to book flights?
Cebu Pacific Airlines is the largest and low-cost carrier in our country and the only one that offers direct flights from Manila to Dubai. It’s a non-stop 5.5 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.
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.)
Where to get cheap tours?
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!
- iVenture Card – let you explore Dubai unlimitedly for 5 days and have access to over 20 key locations.
- Burj Khalifa Observation Deck– you wouldn’t miss witnessing the view of Dubai City from the world’s tallest tower’s perspective, right?
- Abu Dhabi Full Day Tour– a jam-packed day tour in the wonders of Abu Dhabi City.
- Dubai Overnight Desert Safari Tour– THE BEST AMONG THE REST! An adventure of a lifetime in the magical desert of Dubai!
Mode of Transportation:
- Dubai City Sightseeing Bus Pass – an open top bus tour of the city with unlimited travel for one day
- Private Car Charter – let you explore the city at your own pace in a chauffeured vehicle
- Rent a 4g Wifi to stay connected:
- 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.
- UberX and Careem Go:
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!
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 Charter: This 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.
- Book Here: Klook Private Charter
- 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.
- Book Here: Klook Hop On/ Hop Off Buses
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!
You can book via these platforms:
Where did we stayed:
- Name of Hotel: Dulf Hotel Dubai
- Rate: 1,426.65PHP / 2PAX
- Access: Dubai Creek Night Cruise (1.33 km); Reef Mall (1.35 km); Dubai Gold Souk (1.58 km); Bastakiya (1.74 km)
What To Consider In Dubai:
Dubai’s currency is called “dirham” or AED (Arab Emirate Dirham.) If converted to Philippine Peso, 1 Dirham equals 14.5 PHP. Keep in mind that the cost of living in Dubai is quite expensive compared to the Philippines. For example, an ala carte Big Mac here in the Philippines costs 150 PHP, while in Dubai it is at around AED 15.75 (228 PHP)! Apparently, Dubai isn’t really a country ideal for backpackers / budget- travelers. Nevertheless, there are still ways to minimize your expenses in Dubai.
Money Exchange: You can exchange your money on arrival at the airport. However based on my observation, the exchange rate at the malls are considerably better. Most shops also accept Visa and Mastercard are also the most commonly issued by banks in Dubai.
Clothing: There is really no unanimous advice on the dress code of the city. The unspoken and spoken rules of its dress code will surely leave you confused. You can observe places wherein people completely disregard it, and other places wherein the rules are absolutely and completely respected. Some of the top malls in Dubai have official policies that instruct visitors to dress appropriately. Mosques are also very strict with its dress code. Hence, considering these and that Dubai is also largely a Muslim country, it is recommended to dress appropriately.
PDA in Public: Public Display of Affection is illegal in Dubai- excluding holdings hands and a peck on the cheek.
Considering that Dubai is located in the Arabian Desert, this place is hot all year-round. However, temperature gets cooler during their winter months which happens on October through May, with average temperatures ranging from around 20 degrees centigrade to the mid-30s. During summer, on the months of June through September the weather is mega scorching, with averages from high-30s to mid-40s, making August the hottest among all.
Dubai is known for its multicultural cuisine thus whatever your cravings are, you could pretty much find them in this city. But what’s best among the rest is, of course, their Middle Eastern dishes. Popular ones are shawarma, kebab, hummus, curried dishes, basmati rice, and oh dates! Their Arabic coffee is a must-try as well. Additionally, since Dubai is a Muslim region, pork is not allowed. On the other hand, alcohol are permitted in licensed hotels, bars and restaurants in Dubai. You are not allowed to drink in public, and in order for you to purchase alcohol, you would also need a license.
Type L three-prong plug
Traveling to Dubai during their holiest month, Ramadan, might be quite challenging for us tourists. To give you a quick overview, Ramadan is where Muslims get to focus more on their faith and engage themselves more in religious observances which includes fasting where they abstain from eating, drinking and smoking. This is also a month where rules in Dubai get a bit stricter, where people dress more conservatively than normal, loud music are avoided and dancing is completely refrained. The level of activity in Dubai during daytime is decreased wherein usually, restaurants are closed as well as most attractions. There are still restaurants open but are only available for take-outs. On the other hand, food courts in the malls are open for dine-in and take-outs, but the dining area is screened or behind curtains.
Yes, as tourists, we are also expected to abide by their rules, which is also a way to give respect to their culture. This may be a bit of inconvenient to us, but come to think of it, this can be a totally different cultural experience for us, letting us witness a different side of life in Dubai City!
Dubai Budget Travel Guide:
Now that your equipped with the things you know before traveling to Dubai, here is a detailed travel guide that could help you plan your itinerary for your Dubai trip!