About the Place
Dubai is one of the 7 Emirates that makes up the United Arab Emirates. Dubai is also the most populated and economically progressive emirate of the country. As an emerging global city, Dubai’s main source of economic activities are tourism, aviation and financial services. Surprisingly, Dubai does not derive much of its wealth from oil industries.
How to Get to Dubai
Cebu Pacific and Philippine Airlines (PAL Express) fly non-stop from Manila to Dubai utilizing Airbus A330 fleet. Manila to Dubai is almost 10 hours.
Filipinos are required to have a Tourist Entry Permit prior to arrival. A hassle free Dubai Visit Visa can be obtained through the help of travel agencies. Only a passport is needed but you need to book at least 2 nights of hotel rooms with them. Normally, travel agencies have Dubai Packages with visa and hotel included.
Suggested Dubai Itinerary for Solo Travelers
For a short vacation to one of the world’s most expensive cities, I am suggesting this Dubai Itinerary for first time travelers which I did myself last December 2013. This is my suggested Dubai Itinerary for solo travelers.
Since Cebu Pacific and Philippine Airlines flight arrive in the evening, leave Day 1 to “acclimatize” yourself. Have a good sleep. Haha.
Dubai City Tour using the Red Line of Dubai Metro Train
Forget the Hop-On Hop-Off Bus this time around. Dubai can be explored using the Dubai Metro Train and we start with its concrete jungle!
IBN Battuta Mall
IBN Battuta Mall is one of the most beautiful malls I have seen. IBN is the world’s largest themed shopping mall with a total space of 521,000 square meters, additional 28,000 square meters expansion is on its way. IBN Battuta Mall has 6 courts inspired by some countries: Egypt Court, India Court, China Court, Andalusia Court, Tunisia Court
and my personal favorite because of its grandness – Persia Court.
At the back of the mall are the Gardens and Discovery Gardens, Lost City and Jebel Village
To get to IBN Battuta Mall, take the Dubai Metro Train Red Line and get off at IBN Battuta Station (currently the end of the Red Line). Also in this station are buses going to Abu Dahbi.
Dubai Marina is a man-made marina — a man-made canal city which is the home of the world’s tallest block of super skyscrapers. Princess Tower – currently the world’s tallest residential building is also here. However, Pentominium Tower, when finished, will de-throne Princess Tower. Feast yourself with tall buildings in Dubai Marina and if you have time and budget, dine-in in the many restaurants in the area. Being here reminds me of Singapore.
To get to Dubai Marina, take the Metro Train Red Line and get off at Dubai Marina Station or Nakheel Station. It’s on the right hand side.
The Palm Jumeriah and Atlantis Resort
The Palm Jumeriah is an artificial archipelago in the shape of a palm tree. I have always dreamt of personally being here in The Palm. I have always been impressed by its architectural and engineering wonders. The videos and photos I have seen truly speak for themselves. The Palm is really spectacular and a must-visit when in Dubai.
The Atlantis Resort is one of the resorts in The Palm located at its crescent. It is a destination of its own.
To get to the Palm Jumeriah, get off at Nakheel Station of the Red Line. If you are adventurous enough, just walk from Dubai Marina to The Palm, which I did 😉
To get to Atlantis Resort, take the monorail at the Gateway Station.
Mall of the Emirates
The Mall of the Emirates is another huge shopping complex. Should shopping be your waterloo, Dubai is a place to die for. Lol.
To get to the Mall of the Emirates, take the Dubai Metro Redline and get off at the Mall of the Emirates Station. It is 3 stations away from Nakheel.
Burj Al Arab
Dubbed as the only 7-star hotel in the world, Burj Al Arab is the most identifiable landmark of Dubai. Burj Al Arab has become synonymous with Dubai. It stands on an artificial island in Jumeriah Beach.
There is a public beach near to it and has great view of Burj Al Arab!
To get to Burj Al Arab, one can take a bus or taxi at Mall of the Emirates
Burj Khalifa and Dubai Mall
Burj Khalifa is the world’s tallest structure whose design mimics the spiral minaret at the Great Mosque of Sammara, Iraq.
Like a childhood dream, seeing Burj Khalifa ‘in the flesh’ is nostalgic. I cant help but be amazed of its greatness.
All these can be done in a day if you wont get tired. Just in case, you may omit Burj Khalifa and Dubai Mall and reserve it for next day.
Dubai Desert Safari
If you are not driving your own 4×4 in Dubai, chances are you need the services of a travel agent for you to do this tour. There are different tour options for Dubai Desert Safari. You can choose from: morning desert safari, afternoon desert safari and overnight desert safari. I took the afternoon program.
Dubbed as Dubai’s most exciting adventure activity, the Afternoon Desert Safari starts at 4PM and ends at about 9PM. The activity includes dune bashing, camel ride, dinner and some belly dancing shows. However, tourists are not allowed to drive during the dune bashing activity. It could be best if they allow tourists (of course with necessary lessons, license and gears) to try it.
Redo Day 2!
But this time around, shop and dine like an Emirati! Or you may try some out-door activities before flying out of Dubai.
Or you may opt to visit Gold Souk and Spice Souk (Nearest Train Station is Al Ras of the Green Line)
Whole Day -Sharjah + Abu Dhabi
Whole Day – Ferrari World Abu Dhabi
Half Day – Dhow Cruise
Whole Day- Hatta Mountain
Where to Sleep in Dubai
Since Dubai is a luxurious city, you wont run out of hotels. I stayed in a cheap hotel called Panorama Hotel for 100usdd/night. I call it cheap because it is one of the cheapest hotels in the city. It is located about 3-minute walk from Al Fahidi Metro Station (Green Line). Also near my hotel are shopping centers, convenience stores and restaurants.
How Much Would A Trip To Dubai Cost?
Cebu Pacific and PAL Express regular roundtrip airfare from Manila to Dubai is around 20,000.00 – 25,000.00. If you avail of zero or Piso fare, it will be around 12,000.00 for a return flight. Hotel accommodation is roughly at 4,000.00/room per night. Your budget for sight seeing tour should at least be 4,000.00. Food in Dubai is not really expensive. So granting for the sake of argument that you were able to get a promo fare, needed budget for a 4D3N Dubai trip is about 20,000-25,000.00 (around 500usd). Else, you need roughly about 35,000.00 (800USD). Is it worth the cost? Cyempre naman!
When is the Best Time to Visit Dubai?
Hands down, the best time to visit Dubai is during ‘winter’ – from late November to Early February.
1. Indians and Filipinos are ‘locals’ in Dubai. The ‘locals’ are like the tourists.
2. Hotels are expensive, car and gasoline are not.
3. Dubai doesn’t feel like you are in a Muslim country. Fashion is out-going and trendy.
4. You think water is scarce in the desert? Not in Dubai!
5. Walking is part of life. Imagine walking almost a kilometer from Dubai Mall Station to the Mall itself and to Burj Khalifa!
Travel Agencies in the Philippines offering Dubai Visa and Dubai Tour Packages
I got my Dubai Visa from J8 Travel Services. You may email them at firstname.lastname@example.org. Apart from Dubai Visa which they sponsor without requiring the applicant to have a bond, they also offer Dubai Tour Packages.