Before our trip to Dubai I was looking for some practical information regarding various ways to travel around the city. I ended up browsing through so many different websites for every single means of transport available, so I thought I would make a short summary here based on our experience. This is not a complete list, but it should be more than enough for any tourist visiting the city.
Dubai transport practical information: taxi, metro, tram, monorail, water taxi, and water bus
The easiest way to travel in Dubai is by taxi. It’s not very expensive; kilometer price is around 2,5-3 AED (0,6-0,75 EUR). We used taxi a lot and with five of us it was often the cheapest way to travel around. The only disadvantage of taking a taxi in Dubai can be the busy traffic.
Here are some examples of the cost of taxi rides in December 2015/ January 2016:
Airport to The Walk (Jumeirah Beach Residence): 100 AED (25 EUR)
The Walk to Atlantis (The Palm): 35 AED (9 EUR)
The Walk to The Mall of The Emirates: 30 AED (7,5 EUR)
Many hotels offer their own ‘taxi’ service, they are usually 25-40% more expensive than a regular taxi.
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.
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 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 travelled. 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.
Tram requires the same NOL card as the metro and you can use your metro ticket with no extra cost to continue your journey by tram.
It’s a pretty short line though, going next to the coast (a part of the route is in one direction only), from The Walk to Al Sufouh. In the future (2020) it should reach as far as Burj Al Arab and the Mall of the Emirates.
Monorail connects to the tram line at Palm Jumeirah station and is the fastest way to travel on The Palm. At the moment monorail uses a separate ticket system than the metro/tram, and 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 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 ( Abra)
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 motorised 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 Dubai Creek area, 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.
If you are traveling with a family I would opt for a taxi every time because it’s fast, cheap (often the cheapest option for 4-5 people), and convenient. Take the metro for longer distances and during rush hours.
Don’t forget, however, that using different means of transport adds to your travel experience, and it can be really fun, especially for the children. Our kids loved the metro, the water bus, and the Abra water taxi.
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