If you’re planning to travel in Dubai, here’s everything you need to know about getting around once you’re there. Transport links can be confusing in any foreign destination, so this guide will put you on the right path.
Even though Dubai is a rambling city, it was very easy to get around after I landed. I didn’t bother hiring a car and undertaking the busy streets myself, as there are many options for regular public transport.
You can always be on the move in Dubai
For a city, as big as Dubai, round-the-clock transport links become a priority and Dubai boasts a well-placed network of metro trains and taxis which keep the city and its people always on the move.
The Roads and Transport Authority (RTA) runs the Dubai public transport which includes Dubai metro, buses, water buses and abras (water taxis) and road taxis. Let me talk you through each one, and you’ll pretty quickly map out your itinerary in Dubai according to your transport links.
The Metro is Dubai’s lifeline
The Dubai Metro was signposted off in 2009 and now runs two lines – the Red and Green lines – covering a over-all distance of close to 75 km. The Dubai metro running times have been set from 6 am to 11 pm from Saturday to Thursday and 1 pm to midnight on Fridays. The metro fares range from 1 Dirham to 13 Dirhams depending on the route.
Whilst there, I purchased the "Nol card" which allows unlimited metro and bus travel throughout the day. It cost me 25 dirhams, and can be bought at any station, which includes 19 dirhams as purse value. I thought it was easier and more convenient having one card for all modes of transport, which I could simply top up. It reminds me of the oyster card in London.
Exploring Dubai using Taxis
My ride from the airport to the hotel was the longest and most expensive one. So most likely, yours will be too – the reason is because all the rides from Dubai airport attract a flag-fall charge of 25 dirhams if you use a mini-van sized vehicle. It took around 35 minutes and cost me 95 dirhams, which is approximately £16.00.
Considering this, the taxis are cheap, they are very clean, and also reliable transport method in Dubai. If you’re taking the taxi away from the airport, the flag fall is only 10 dirhams, and they all have metres in them so you only pay for what it reads.
I was also surprised that they catered for the safety of females, or any females who might not want a male driver. Females travelling alone who might feel uncomfortable with a male taxi driver have the option of a Ladies’ Taxi – driven by a female driver and identifiable by their pink-painted roofs.
With a network, as big as Dubai, taxis are a appropriate way of travelling around Dubai. There are different kinds of taxis in Dubai which are distinguished with their roof colours. For example, the yellow are national taxis and orange are metro taxis.
So be it admiring the Burj Khalifa during the day, heading for a desert 4x4 excursion in the noon, or spending the night in the deluxe rooms of DAMAC Maison De Ville Breeze, the Dubai transportation guarantees that you have a relaxed and cost-effective ride to your destination.
Dubai is intersected by a section of water called Dubai Creek. This is a bay from the sea that spreads several kilometres inland and at its broadest, is 3-400 meters across. It is also deep enough to be navigable to the traditional Arabian Gulf and Indian ocean wooden sailing dhows.
Often a lovely visit to the Creek-side, particularly on Dubai’s Deira side during the cooler months of January, February, November and December, is a enjoyable and colourful walking experience: a way of contrasting the old Dubai with the newer, more ostentatious developments of the last 12-15 years which are mainly focused on the other side of the Creek, flanking the main Sheikh Zayed highway, between the Dubai International Finance Centre and Jebel Ali Port.
One of the wonderful transport steals is right here – a Creek crossed by a water taxi or abra, which costs very little. There are, however, just three abra stations, one on the Deira side of the Creek and two others on the opposite Bur Dubai side.