How to Enjoy Opulent Dubai On A Backpacker’s Budget

Dubai fountain, Dubai on a budget
Guest Post by Neha Singh.

Howzat? Opulence and a backpacker’s budget? Yes, you read that right. And yes, it’s definitely possible in Dubai. Dubai’s opulence is in its very air, which means that the city is not meant for only the rich. Did you know that most of the great things you can see and do in Dubai are all for free? Bet you didn’t know that. Read on and get ready to enjoy Dubai on a budget!


Opulent Attractions To Enjoy In Dubai On a Budget

Dubai Desert Conservation Area, Dubai on a budget

It’s true – opulence doesn’t always come at a price. Visit these fabulous attractions without spending a penny and have fun in Dubai!


Jumeirah Mosque

This glorious mosque is a huge affair made out of shimmery white marble. During the day, you can see the mosque’s white glow from far away. At night, when the 4 domes and the minarets are lit, the mosque is like a fairy castle come alive.


Dubai’s Many Parks

As we mentioned before, Dubai is an opulent city. Nowhere can you find luxury lavished as in the city’s parks. There are a number of totally free-entry, beautifully landscaped parks in the city, just waiting for you. Enjoy visiting the Creekside Park and its sandy shores, Safa Park and its gardens, or the Dubai Desert Conservation Area with its heritage corner and desert adventures and many others. Most parks come with parking, BBQ areas, picnic facilities and play areas. Respectable tour operators such as Rayna tours offer easy-on-the-budget tours in and around Dubai including most of these picturesque parks.


Souqs Galore

Do not miss Dubai’s famous gold souqs! Nowhere else will you find yourself surrounded by such sheer opulence as in a gold souq! You’ll find several old-style gold souqs in Bur Dubai’s Meena Bazaar. There are gold souqs in several malls as well. While you’re at it, explore the spice and perfume souqs at Deira. These old markets have a charm of their own, and you can smell the spices and the indigenous perfumes from a mile away!


The Dubai Mall

The Dubai Mall is entirely free to enjoy, as are many attractions within it:

  • Just put your face against the main tank outside the Dubai Mall entrance and you’ll see all the marine creatures in the aquarium, and for free!
  • At night, head out to the Dubai Mall’s Olympic-size ice rink and play broomball. It’s free, trust me. It’s great fun since the lights are all off and only the rink is lit up.
  • If you head to the Ferrari Store on Level 1, you can drive a purpose-built F1 simulator that’s come straight from the Ferrari F1 factory in Italy. Hit the pedal and zoom – if you don’t feel like a real F1 driver, we’ll pay you!


Dubai Museum at Al Fahidi

Dubai Museum, Dubai on a budget

This museum is housed in the Al Fahidi Fort which was built in 1787 – the oldest building in Dubai. Enjoy looking at the colorful dioramas that describe everyday life before the oil discovery. There are galleries that recreate souks, date farms, Arab houses and mosques. There’s a lot to see and enjoy, and entry is absolutely free.


The Dubai Fountains

Can you think of anything more beautiful and more opulent than the enticing, dancing Dubai fountains? And of course, it’s completely free to watch too! Get a bird’s eye view from outside the Dubai Mall, or walk along the Burj Lake and find a good spot to watch the show.


Dubai Heritage Village

Walk around the beautiful heritage village and enjoy looking at mud houses and old wind towers that were used for cooling. Buy a souvenir from the craftspeople that make beautiful and useful objects-de-art here.


Watch Richie Rich Cars

Car freak? Get yourself to Jumeirah Beach Residence walk and you’ll see the richest people in the world roar up in their uber-expensive sports cars. Walk the restaurant-lined waterfront promenade and make the acquaintance of custom-built Lamborghinis, Ferraris, Rolls Royces and several others.


Enjoy A Free Dance with A Free Drink

On Fridays, the Societe pub in Marina Byblos Hotel, Dubai Marina puts on a free dance, where anyone is welcome to come and shake a leg. It’s a luxurious shabby-chic environment with huge lampshades and leather sofas. Here you can nurse a complimentary drink and jive to the best hits from ‘80s and ‘90s.


Visit the Camel Museum

The Camel Museum in Al Shindagha has enchanting displays that show how man and camel have relied on each other for millennia in the UAE. You’ll come out of there feeling totally enlightened.


Enjoy A Free Movie Outdoors

Get to the Pyramids Rooftop Gardens on a Sunday evening, lounge back on a plush seat with a drink and watch a movie. It’s all free, and you get to enjoy a movie under the brilliant stars.


Stay Opulently and Still Save Those Dirhams!

Dubai Youth Hostel, Dubai on a budget

  • A private room in the Dubai Youth Hostel at Al Qusais, near the Sharjah border, costs only Dhs200. You get a private toilet, shower, TV, phone and fridge. What’s more, the Stadium Metro Station is nearby. All this and breakfast on the house as well; talk about opulence!
  • The Marina Byblos Hotel in Dubai Marina is another choice for backpackers who are looking for luxury a reasonable price.
  • Bur Dubai has its share of affordable luxury, and they offer better rates to walk-ins. Look up Hostelworld for good discounts.
  • Check out the Citymax Al Barsha chain of hotels; they’re economical and offer good service.
  • Al Qusais and Al Nahda Roads have several hotels that offer quality accommodation and good service, for lesser money (


So now you know that Dubai’s opulence is not meant just for those with deep pockets. Carry just spare change and still enjoy Dubai as it is meant to be enjoyed. It’s your life, your money and your choice to spend it where you choose. The best things, as they say, are for free. Dubai is the living proof of this idiom.


About the Writer

As a Mass Comm post graduate, Neha naturally has an artistic take on everything about life. This is quite evident in her writings as well. An avid trekker, explorer and a true foodie; She finds happiness in small endeavours of life and loves to pen them down as a cherished memory. A firm believer that “we have just one life to live and so much to do”, Neha lives every moment to the fullest.


Have you tried visiting Dubai on a budget before? What tips do you have for travelling to Dubai on a backpacker’s budget? Please share your thoughts in the comments below.



2 Comment

  1. hey there,
    Well written guide on how to enjoy Dubai on a budget. Thank you from a budget traveller.

  2. oneadventuretraveler says: Reply

    Love it! Great Budget Guide on Dubai by your guest 😃 Thanks for sharing! #feetdotravel

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