Before our trip to Dubai, I was looking for some practical information regarding public transportation in Dubai. There are so many ways to get around Dubai that I ended up browsing through so many different websites in order to research information on Dubai transport that’s truly interesting and useful for tourists…
So I thought I would make a short summary based on our experience with public transport in Dubai. This should save you lots of time trying to figure out public transportation in Dubai.
Good to know: This is in no way a complete guide to Dubai public transport, but it should be more than enough for any tourist visiting the city. Find out!
READ ALSO: Best Tours in Dubai
The easiest way to travel around Dubai is by taxi. Taxi in Dubai is very cheap and it’s also about the same price as Dubai Uber.
Taxi in Dubai costs less than a euro per kilometer. We used taxis a lot and with five of us in a car, it was often the cheapest way to travel around. The only disadvantage of taking a taxi in Dubai is the busy traffic.
Here are some examples of the cost of taxi rides in Dubai:
- Taxi from Dubai Airport to The Walk costs around 100 AED (25 EUR)
- The Walk to Atlantis (The Palm): 40 AED (10 EUR)
- The Walk to The Mall of The Emirates: 30 AED (7,5 EUR)
Good to know: Many hotels offer their own ‘taxi’ service. Hotel taxis are usually 25-40% more expensive than a regular taxi. Private airport transfers that you can book online are also much cheaper than what the hotels charge you.
The fastest way to travel big distances in Dubai is the metro. It’s easy, it’s efficient, and the trains run every couple of minutes. Disadvantages are the location of the metro stations (depending on where you are staying), and the long waiting times at the ticket booths.
Dubai is the cheapest transportation in Dubai for tourists!
The first time you use the metro, you buy a red NOL card, and they charge you 2AED for it. You can load a certain amount of money on the card and avoid having to queue every time you travel, or you can pay per ride.
In case you choose to pay per ride, make sure to use the same NOL card so that you don’t have to pay for a new one every time.
What does it cost? Red NOL card users pay the following tariffs (the same for everyone, including children 5 years and older): 2 to 6,5 AED (0,5 to 1,6 EUR) depending on the zones traveled.
We paid 6 AED/pp from Jumeirah Lake Towers (JLT) Station to Dubai Mall (Burj Khalifa) and the same price from JLT to The Mall of The Emirates which is only half as far, because the price is the same for 3, 4, or 5 zones.
Dubai tram requires the same NOL card as the meter. In fact, you can use your metro ticket with no extra cost to continue your journey by tram.
Dubai tram is a pretty short line though. It follows the coast (a part of the route is in one direction only), from The Walk to Al Sufouh.
In the future, it should reach as far as Burj Al Arab and the Mall of the Emirates. But for now, it’s only useful for traveling around a small part of the coastal area.
Monorail connects to the tram line at Palm Jumeirah station and is the fastest way to travel on The Palm.
Dubai Monorail is privately-owned and uses a separate ticket system than the metro/tram. Furthermore, you can only pay cash for it. Single trip costs 15AED, return – 25AED.
Dubai Marina Water Bus
With only 4 stops Dubai Marina water bus is a comfortable way to get from one side of the Marina to the other, but it isn’t by any means a fast way to travel around.
It runs every 15-20 minutes depending on the time of the day. We, and especially the kids, enjoyed it – it was a bit like a sightseeing tour of the Marina and saved us a 3km walk from Marina Promenade to Marina Walk. We walked back afterwards as the Marina promenade is a very lively and pleasant place to walk around in the evening.
Ticket costs 3, 5, 8, or 11 AED depending on the number of stops. Children under 5 travel free.
Dubai Creek Water Taxi
Dubai Creek is a very lively waterway that is buzzing with boats in all shapes and sizes.
There are more comfortable ways to travel on Dubai creek including a water taxi or a sightseeing water bus, but the traditional Abra (take the motorized version) is much more fun and it’s very cheap too.
The price is 1AED (0,25EUR) per trip. It’s one you should do if in the Dubai Creek area, even if just for the experience.
There are other ways to travel in Dubai, including bus, Hop-On Hop-Off bus, etc. But we didn’t use those, so I cannot comment on them.
Don’t forget that using different means of transport adds to your travel experience. Furthermore, it can be really fun, especially for children. Our kids loved taking the metro, the water bus, and the Abra water taxi.
Tips for Getting Around Dubai
If you are traveling in Dubai with a family, I would opt for a taxi for all your short rides in the city. It’s fast, cheap (often the cheapest option for 4-5 people), and convenient.
Taxi is also great for couples, of course. And it’s so cheap compared to most other destinations that it often makes no sense to even look at the public transportation options in Dubai at all.
TIP: Take the metro for longer distances and during rush hours. Traffic can be quite bad in Dubai at peak times, so keep this in mind when planning your day.
For transportation from the Dubai airport to your hotel and back, you can also book a private airport transfer. It’s cheaper than the hotel cars and you can be sure that there is a car for you exactly when you need it.
Where to Stay
Depending on how much time you have in Dubai, you may either want to stay in the Dubai Downtown area at the Dubai Mall/ Burj Khalifa or Dubai Marina area (for shopping and sightseeing) or at the beach (for a longer vacation that has it all).
With the convenient public transportation options, taxis, and private airport transfers, most of the popular parts of the city are comparable accessibility-wise.
Anyway, our personal recommendation for a longer stay is the Jumeirah Beach Residence (JBR) area. It’s close to the beach and is quite easy to get to everywhere else from there.
More travel inspiration and information for Dubai:
- What to wear in Dubai
- How expensive is Dubai
- Best tours and excursions in Dubai
- Things to do in Dubai with kids
- Free & cheap activities in Dubai
- Interesting facts about Dubai
- Dubai stopover – what to see in 1 or 2 days
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Saturday 8th of October 2022
Hello, I have a group of 20 people. Are there city buses like in Europe? If not, which transportation is the most convenient?
Monday 10th of October 2022
Hi Rose, depending on where you want to go, the metro is the easiest and the fastest option. But it won't get you everywhere in Dubai, so you'll have to research it route by route. Taxi can be quite cheap too and with that many people, maybe you can order bigger vans. An easy way to find the best public transport options (anywhere in the world) is by using Google Maps. You insert your location and your destination and then click on the small 'train' icon to see what's available. Where possible, it also shows you live data with bus/metro schedules, so you can immediately see the best way to get where you need to be.
Saturday 18th of June 2022
Thank you so much for all the helpful I formation.I am planning a trip to Abu Dhabi and this info was extremely helpful in so many ways.
Monday 20th of June 2022
Glad to help. Have a great trip!
Friday 3rd of January 2020
Hi, Did you carry children*s seats along for travel by taxi? Do you need these in Dubai?
Saturday 4th of January 2020
Hi Anna, since we didn't rent a car in Dubai, we didn't take travel boosters with us on that trip. We took a taxi maybe 4-5 times and just used seat belts. I have no idea what the laws are in Dubai, so you'd have to research it. I guess, it also depends on your kids age and whether youy ourself feel comfortable having them in the car without appropriate car seats. For all the trips where we rent a car, we always pack our own travel boosters (you can find more information about it in this article - best booster seats for travel). When our kids were younger and needed big car seats, we always rented them together with a car, instead of carrying our own.
Saturday 5th of October 2019
How much is 1 AED in USD?
Saturday 5th of October 2019
Did you try Google? Here you can calculate the current rates (at the moment 1AED is about 0,27USD).
Wednesday 11th of October 2017
Thanxx a lot ... It will really help me as i am planning to visit next year .
Saturday 5th of October 2019
Thursday 12th of October 2017
Good to hear that, Swapnil. Have a nice trip!