Dubai Travel Guide for First Time Travelers

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.

UAE | Dubai Travel Guide for First Time Travelers

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.

Dubai Visa

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.

dubai visa

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.

Day 1
Since Cebu Pacific and Philippine Airlines flight arrive in the evening, leave Day 1 to “acclimatize” yourself. Have a good sleep. Haha.

Day 2
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

UAE | Dubai Travel Guide for First Time Travelers

UAE | Dubai Travel Guide for First Time Travelers

and my personal favorite because of its grandness – Persia Court.

UAE | Dubai Travel Guide for First Time Travelers

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.

UAE | Dubai Travel Guide for First Time Travelers

Dubai Marina

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.

UAE | Dubai Travel Guide for First Time Travelers

UAE | Dubai Travel Guide for First Time Travelers

UAE | Dubai Travel Guide for First Time Travelers

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.

UAE | Dubai Travel Guide for First Time Travelers

UAE | Dubai Travel Guide for First Time Travelers

The Atlantis Resort is one of the resorts in The Palm located at its crescent. It is a destination of its own.

UAE | Dubai Travel Guide for First Time Travelers

UAE | Dubai Travel Guide for First Time TravelersTo 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.

UAE | Dubai Travel Guide for First Time Travelers

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.

UAE | Dubai Travel Guide for First Time Travelers

UAE | Dubai Travel Guide for First Time Travelers

There is a public beach near to it and has great view of Burj Al Arab!

UAE | Dubai Travel Guide for First Time Travelers

UAE | Dubai Travel Guide for First Time Travelers

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.

UAE | Dubai Travel Guide for First Time Travelers

Like a childhood dream, seeing Burj Khalifa ‘in the flesh’ is nostalgic. I cant help but be amazed of its greatness.

UAE | Dubai Travel Guide for First Time TravelersUAE | Dubai Travel Guide for First Time TravelersAll 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.

Day 3

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.

UAE | Dubai Travel Guide for First Time Travelers

UAE | Dubai Travel Guide for First Time Travelers

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.

UAE | Dubai Travel Guide for First Time Travelers

UAE | Dubai Travel Guide for First Time Travelers

UAE | Dubai Travel Guide for First Time Travelers

Day 4

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.

UAE | Dubai Travel Guide for First Time Travelers

Or you may opt to visit Gold Souk and Spice Souk (Nearest Train Station is Al Ras of the Green Line)

Extra Day

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.

UAE | Dubai Travel Guide for First Time Travelers

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.

Dubai Trivia

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!


  1. Great step by step procedure for first time UAE. However, what if I will travel on the month of December (fixed season) how much do you think the plane ticket will cost?

  2. The webpage is very informative. Please how can I get a working visa in Dubai? Am Terry Adoro and I reside in Nigeria.

  3. Thanks for sharing such informative blog. Dubai is one of the best destinations for visitors so, many people want to visit there. If you are planning to visit Dubai and want to take the help of travel guide then contact with Altdubai travel agency which is one of my favourite agencies. I am sure it will definitely help you to get a safe and enjoyable trip.

  4. You mentioned that it’s easier to get a visa from travel agencies, did you get yours from a travel agency? Can you recommend one?

  5. Hi. Very nice informative blog. There are many shopping outlets as well as many good websites. One can find wide range of products be it Clothes, be it Fragrances, etc. Dubai has many things to explore than shopping. I feel many people travel on a pack schedule, so rather wasting time on shopping. One will keep on exploring new places. On my visit to Dubai last year, i had actually saved my time on shopping because i shopped Online. There are many sites offering wide range of products like Jadopado, Souq and Beyonder. Out of all i found cheaper for most of the products, Hence it saved my time as well as my money.

  6. I’d like to travel and visit my girlfriend in dubai where will I took my visa and plane ticket package? Is it okay if I dont get a hotel? coz my girlfriend picking me up when I get there in dubai, and is it nessecary for me to get a round trip ticket? coz my girlfriend says that she will get my ticket when my visa is nearly expire and when im ready to get back home here in the Philippines. I want a 90days visa can you give me an estimate how much money do I have to prepare for my packe visa? thanks and more power.

    1. Hi kuya. Same as yours im planning to visit my bf sa dubai din. Nakaalis ka na ba? Gusto ko na simulan mag ayos ng papers pero gusto ko muna mag tanong tanong sa mga same case ko kasi natatakot ako baka di ako makalusot sa immigration masayang lang lahat.

  7. Hi. I like your blog. There are many shopping places, a malls and much more destinations or we can say that it has many things to explore than shopping or etc.

  8. Nice article.
    Dubai is one of the best place for visit. Khasab is near to Dubai & offers the perfect starting point to explore the unknown Musandam. Khasab is one of the best place in Oman for Camping. Enjoy Khasab beach camping under starry sky with your loved ones.

  9. I’m a first timer traveling to Dubai and I got my visa already how much will the immigration require for my PTA or BTA

  10. I have to commend you for producing such an engaging blog. Starting by briefing about Dubai is an intelligent way of swaying readers into your blog. Then guiding on getting to Dubai and Dubai tourist visa further deepens the interest. The way you have planned your itinerary shows you are a true traveler who knows how to enjoy the most even on a short vacation. So keep inspiring solo travelers.

  11. A Perfect Guide!
    Covered almost all the topics a traveller needs to know. I think you have missed adding a shopping destination (yeah, you have added the malls. but not a specific shopping location). So here it is – I do my shopping from the City centre Mirdif all the time when I am in Dubai 🙂

  12. Its easy to get visa, how about in phil. immigration? Is it easy also to exit? Waht the immigration need? Original copy of visa or email is okay??

  13. This blog is a must-read for anyone traveling to Dubai for the first time and those traveling on a limited budget.Persia court is an actually beautiful place to be.
    Also, every place has a how to get there section which is helpful.
    Desert safari camel riding in Arabian style is a close experience of Emirati lifestyle.
    Do not miss a trip to Desert camp for belly dancing, henna painting, and shisha smoking and a night under the starry lit sky.
    If you are a shopper please go on Dubai shopping trip.

  14. It seems you committed a blunder by not visiting the Dubai Mall. Of course, IBN Battuta Mall is beautiful, but my personal favorite is Dubai Mall. Had you visited it, you would have got plenty of shopping, dining, and entertainment options. Moreover, it is so close to Burj Khalifa. If you are revisiting Dubai anytime soon, don’t miss it again. I guarantee you that one entire day will fall short given the things you can do there.

  15. Dubai is the most joyful as well the most beautiful place that one should visit once in a lifetime. This is just a pack of wonders where you will experience the safari, world famous places and malls what not we have so many places to visit and enjoy. I travelled for the first time there and trust me i just stunning by seeing the beauty of the place and those most amazing malls to shop. Your article fully gives the overall picture of Dubai which most of the people should know and visit this amazing place and i just loved shopping there.

  16. Excellent post, ! I love Dubai, I have been living here for 5 years now and visited countless times before. It’s not for everybody and I completely understand that but what irks me is bloggers who write posts having a go at Dubai when much of what they are saying is wildly inaccurate. Your post is a refreshing exception, thank you

  17. Dubai is one of the best places that i enjoyed to visit anytime. Not only Dubai, Abu Dubai stands in the first place whenever i visit Dubai. I missed those special food items and historical places that i must visit but i have never known that these also exist at that place. Whenever i make time this time i will definitely visit those special places and enjoy the most. Thanks a ton for the special article that really a great source for me to explore the most.

  18. Your post was very helpful. I can now pack capris and long sleeve tops in general. Your photos were helpful as well. What type of food is served at the desert safari? I don’t eat beef or pork and have dairy allegeries.

  19. Not just the travel, i believe fashion and other things are also the best parts in Dubai which one can travel and visit them and enjoy a great experience in the budget. Generally, Dubai is a great place for the fashion lovers so whenever you travel over there do not leave the chance of shopping for sure.

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