What are the first things you think about when you picture Dubai? No doubt there was some glitz and glamour in your picture somewhere. But all that glitz doesn’t mean it has to be expensive and it is possible to enjoy a family trip to Dubai on a budget.
While the large resorts and fancy restaurants will sap your savings, there are lots of things to do that cost next to nothing. Here are 7 free and cheap family attractions to see in Dubai on a budget.
Usually, beaches in front of a resorts top hotels are private or expensive to access but Jumeirah Beach is public and you can stroll right past the 7 star Burj Al Arab Hotel. It is a lovely walk along the waterfront and you are getting the same views as all the guests in expensive rooms!
Turtle rehabilitation project
The Turtle rehabilitation project rescues sick or injured Turtles and works to release them back into the wild. The sanctuary is based at the Jumeirah Al Naseem hotel and entrance is free. You can even valet park, alongside the Rolls Royces, and access the swimming pools as long as you buy a drink or some food to get your ticket validated. Feeding sessions are held at 11am on Wednsedays.
Dubai mall is the epitome of the city. It’s a shopper’s paradise but it is also filled with lots of attractions worth seeing – a waterfall, a Ferrari but most of all the huge fish tank at the Dubai Aquarium. Stretching 51m high, you can spot sharks, stingray and over 140 species swimming around. It costs £22 per ticket to go into the aquarium but the 10million litre tank steals the show and that’s free!
Burj Khalifa and fountains
You can’t travel to Dubai without visiting Burj Khalifa, the tallest building in the world. You can travel to the top for an amazing view of the city for £27 per adult but we chose just to view it from below for free and you still ger the full effect of its scale. Even better, if you visit at 1pm, 1.30pm or 6-11pm in the evening, you can experience the fantastic fountain show. It is set to music and lights and the dancing water stretches 140m high.
Old town Dubai
Visiting the old town leaves you feeling like you are in a totally different city. A boat ride over the creek only costs 20p! It is a lovely experience, especially for the children, and transports you back in time where you can wander through the souks and explore the courtyards in the Al Fahidi historical neighbourhood.
Arabian wildlife centre
The Arabian wildlife center in Sharjah has to be the biggest bargain of our trip. You can see snakes, birds, leopards, gazelle and baboons and many other animals for £3 per adult and children under 12 are free. This ticket also gives you entrance into the children’s farm where you can see camels, as well as the botanical gardens. It is located further out in Sharjah and you would need a car or other transport.
Al Mamzar beach
The Al Mamzar beach park is further out of town but can be accessed easily via public transport. It is a large park with multiple beaches, BBQ areas, playgrounds and swimming pools. Entrance is £1 each or £6 for a car. It is a lovely day trip with lots of areas for picnics and plenty to keep the kids amused.
So, apart from food and car hire, we spent next to nothing on our trip to Dubai! We had an amazing time soaking up the sun, seeing wildlife and taking in some of the glitz and glamour of the city.
What are your top free or cheap family attractions in Dubai? What are your tips for seeing Dubai on a budget?