Dubai is an interesting city, a modern oasis right in the middle of a harsh desert. Built almost entirely with oil money and in the last few decades, it is a metropolis of wide avenues, parks, rows of skyscrapers and shopping malls filled to the brim with the most expensive luxury brands. Unsurprisingly, it has become a major center of commerce and international business within the last 20 years.
Situated on the edge of the Arabian Pennisula, Dubai is warm even in December and offers tourists many comfortable lodging options. The city is home to the Burj Al Arap, one of the most luxurious hotels in the world, the world's tallest building the Burj Khalifa, the artifical Palm Islands and numerous shopping malls. You can also take a desert safari in the surrounding area. Electronic goods in particular can be found and purchased for advantageous prices.
Many international firms have offices in this large city, which was once just a small fishing village. For this reason foreign residents outnumber the native Arab citizens by a large degree. The city is served by Dubai International Airport, which is reachable via taxis, metro, or city buses.
Taxi rates in Dubai are quite cheap. Since the airport is located in such close proximity to the city center taxis are one of the most preferred methods of transportation. Especially if you’re traveling with a few people! Airport taxis belong to a state-run company and all of them operate by using a taximeter. Most of the taxi drivers are immigrants who speak English. The taxi ride to the city center from the airport is quite short, when there’s no traffic. For example, it takes about 10 minutes to get to the city center and about 15 minutes to get to the World Trade Center. You can find airport taxis at the arrivals hall exit of every terminal.
Buses are the cheapest transportation alternative to get to the city center but taking a taxi is a bit more laborious. Buses are also a slower method of transportation especially if you have a lot of luggage and land during rush hour. People who are familiar with the city generally prefer taking the bus. You can access different buses from the airport’s three terminals. However, the main bus line passes by the bus stop in front of Terminal 1. Most of the international flights to Dubai land at Terminal 1. Some lines pass by more than one terminal. There are bus lines with various routes that run every 20-30 minutes from Terminal 1. The most widely used bus lines to get to the city center are lines 401 and 402. Bus line 401 departs from Dubai International Airport and goes to the Al Sabkha stop, with stops along the way including DNATA, Al Maktoum Road, and Deira Taxi Station.
Bus line 402 departs from the airport and goes to the Al Ghubaiba stop, with stops along the way including Deira City Center, Al Karama, Golden Sands, and Al Mankhool.
In addition to these two main lines there are other lines that pass in front of Terminal 1. You can take the C1 bus to Satwa Bus Station, bus No. 4 to the Rashidiya stop or Gold Souq stop, or bus X28 to destinations that are further away, like the Jebel Ali stop. You can also access these stops taking other buses that follow different routes.
Buses usually operate from 5 am to 11 pm. The operating hours for certain bus lines can vary. There are also bus lines that operate at night. For example the C1 line is a night bus, which departs from Terminal 3, passes by Terminal 1, and runs on the following route to the Satwa Bus Station, Cargo Village, Flame Intersection, DNATA, Clock Tower, and El Maktum.
The N4 bus, which goes to the same station but passes through Deira City Center, is another. The N1 night bus departs from Terminal 2, stops at Terminal 1, and goes through Deira City Center all the way to the Jebel Ali Gardens.
Passengers going to Abu Dhabi from Dubai need to get on the buses departing from Al Ghubaiba. Abu Dhabi is located 160 km from the city center and the bus ride there takes about 2 hours.
Similarly, those who want to go to Sharjah, which is located 10 km from Dubai, can find buses that depart from the same stop. One thing to take note of is making sure to get your bus ticket or bus card before boarding the bus because you cannot pay in cash on the bus. You can purchase a single use or daily use bus card. You have to swipe your card twice on the bus, once when you get on and once when you get off.
One of the easiest and most comfortable transportation alternatives to get to the city center is by metro. By using Dubai’s modern metro network you can get to the city center and surrounding locations avoiding any traffic. A standard metro ticket is slightly more expensive than the bus but it is still very reasonable. The metro also features different ticket classes for those who want a more comfortable experience. The Gold Class ticket is twice as much as a standard ticket. The Dubai Metro also has areas reserved solely for women and children. These areas are not mandatory but women who want can travel in a separate section by using these areas. The Dubai Metro runs from 5:50 am to midnight, except on Fridays. On Fridays the metro doesn’t start to run until 1 pm. If you have to go to the airport after midnight you won’t be able to use the metro.
The Dubai Metro operates two lines, the Red Line and the Green Line. You can access the Red Line from Terminal 1 and Terminal 3 at the airport. The metro system is fully automated and runs without a driver. The metro departs every 4 to 8 minutes.
Trains that depart from the Rashidiya Station to Jebel Ali Metro Station pass by the following stops respectively, Emirates, Airport Terminal 3, Airport Terminal 1, GIGICO, Deira City Center, Al Rigga, Union, Burjuman, Al Karama, Al Jafiliya, World Trade Center, Emirates Tower, Financial Centre, Dubai Mall, Business Bay, Noor Bank, First Gulf Bank, Mall of Emirates, Sharaf, Dubai Internet City, Nakheel, Dubai Marina, Jumeirah Lakes Tower, Nakheel Harbour, Ibn Battuta, Energy and Danube. A significant part of this route is above ground so you can enjoy views of the city. The Union and Burjuman stops along this route intersect with the Green Line, which passes through the Old City. Passengers can transfer to the Green Line from these stops and head to different areas. The Green Line operates between the Etisalat Metro Station and the Creek Metro Station. Stations on the Green Line are Etisalat, Al Qusais, Dubai Airport Free Zone, Al Nahda, Statdium, Al Qiyadah, Abu Hail, Abu Baker Al Siddique, Salah Al Din, Union, Baniyas Square, Palm Deira, Al Ras, Al Ghubaiba, Al Fahidi, Burjuman, Oud Metha, Dubai Healthcare City, Al Jadaf, and Creek.
You can get off the metro at a stop that is convenient for you and transfer to a bus or take a taxi to reach your destination. There are many hotels and shopping centers that are located about 15-minutes away from these stops on foot.
You can rent a car at the airport from rental car companies located in each terminal. The price of gasoline in the city is fairly cheap, which allows for a more flexible itinerary. For example, if you rent a car while in Dubai you could travel to other cities in the United Arab Emirates like Abu Dhabi or Sharjah. Visiting these cities by car is much more convenient than using public transportation options.
There are 12 rental car companies at Dubai International Airport; Avis, Budget, Al Wefaq, Diamondlease, Dollar, Europcar, Fast, Hertz, National, Payless, Sixt and Thrifty.
There are many hotels in Dubai that offer shuttle services to and from the airport. However these services are usually for a cost. We recommend inquiring about these services when making your hotel reservation. Some hotels that are located in close proximity to the airport might offer this shuttle service for free.