Dubai, a city renowned for its stunning skyscrapers and luxurious lifestyle, offers an array of convenient public transport options for tourists.
From the efficiency of the metro and the novelty of the tram to the scenic delight of the water bus and the traditional Abra on Dubai Creek, navigating the city is both easy and enjoyable.
Whether you’re zipping through on the monorail, hailing a budget-friendly taxi, or exploring the city on foot or by rented bike or e-scooter, Dubai’s transport system caters to diverse preferences and needs.
This guide delves into the various modes of transport available to tourists in Dubai, providing insights and tips to make your journey through this dynamic city a memorable experience.
Taking a taxi is an easy and affordable way to travel around Dubai. Taxis are relatively cheap, costing less than one euro per kilometer.
This can be a cost-effective option, especially for groups, as it often works out cheaper than other forms of transport. However, one downside is the heavy traffic in Dubai.
For example, a taxi from Dubai Airport to The Walk is about 100 AED (25 EUR), from The Walk to Atlantis (The Palm) is around 40 AED (10 EUR), and from The Walk to The Mall of the Emirates is approximately 30 AED (7.5 EUR).
Keep in mind that hotel taxis generally charge 25-40% more than regular taxis, and private airport transfers booked online can be more affordable than those offered by hotels.
The Dubai Metro offers a fast and efficient way to cover long distances in the city. Trains run frequently, making it a convenient option. However, the location of metro stations and the potential for long waits at ticket booths can be drawbacks, depending on where you’re staying.
For tourists, the metro is one of the most cost-effective means of transportation in Dubai. Initially, you purchase a red NOL card for 2 AED, which can be reloaded with money to avoid queuing for tickets. Using the same card for each journey saves the cost of buying new ones.
The fare for red NOL card users ranges from 2 to 6.5 AED (approximately 0.5 to 1.6 EUR), depending on the travel zones. For example, traveling from Jumeirah Lake Towers (JLT) Station to Dubai Mall (Burj Khalifa) or from JLT to The Mall of the Emirates costs 6 AED per person, regardless of the distance within 3 to 5 zones.
In Dubai, the tram system uses the same NOL card as the metro, allowing for seamless travel between the two without additional costs. The tram line is relatively short, mainly serving the coastal area from The Walk to Al Sufouh. Future expansions are planned to extend it towards Burj Al Arab and the Mall of the Emirates, but currently, it’s most useful for navigating around a specific part of the coast.
The Dubai Monorail offers a different experience, connecting to the tram line at Palm Jumeirah station. It’s the quickest way to travel on The Palm. Unlike the metro and tram, the Monorail operates on a separate ticketing system and only accepts cash payments. A single journey costs 15 AED, and a return trip is 25 AED.
Dubai Marina Water Bus
For a unique mode of transportation, the Dubai Marina Water Bus provides a scenic and comfortable way to cross the Marina.
While not the fastest option, it offers a picturesque journey and is especially enjoyable for children.
The service runs every 15-20 minutes, varying with the time of day. Ticket prices range from 3 to 11 AED, based on the number of stops, and children under 5 travel for free.
The Marina area itself is a vibrant and pleasant place for a stroll, particularly in the evenings.
Traveling on Dubai Creek offers a range of experiences, with the traditional motorized Abra being a particularly fun and affordable option. For just 1 AED (0.25 EUR) per trip, it’s a must-try experience for visitors in the Dubai Creek area, combining cultural immersion with practical transportation.
While there are more comfortable options like water taxis or sightseeing water buses, the Abra provides a unique glimpse into local life and a memorable way of exploring the waterway.
Dubai also offers various other transportation methods like buses and Hop-On Hop-Off buses, though experiences with these services may vary.
Incorporating different modes of transport into your travel can enhance the overall experience, particularly for children. As noted, kids often enjoy the adventure of trying various forms of transport like the metro, water bus, and Abra, making each journey an exciting part of the exploration in Dubai.
Exploring Dubai on foot offers well-organized walkways and pedestrian bridges, making navigation easy and safe.
Traffic junctions in the city are highly controlled, ensuring pedestrian safety. Walking is particularly pleasant during cooler months, starting from October.
Essential items for a walking tour include a sun hat, water, snacks, and sunscreen. Maps are available at hotels or can be planned online via the RTA Dubai website.
For a quicker mode of transport, Dubai provides regulated e-scooters, commonly found in areas like Jumeirah Lakes Towers, Downtown Dubai, and Dubai Internet City. Available operators include Skurtt, Tier, and Lime, with their apps directing you to the nearest scooter station.
Cycling enthusiasts can use the Careem BIKE Dubai app, the first major bike-sharing initiative in the region. Bicycles are conveniently located around popular tourist areas like Dubai Marina, Jumeirah, Dubai Water Canal, and Deira, offering an enjoyable way to explore the city.