Dubai public transport guide for tourists

Getting Around Dubai – Tourist Guide to Dubai Public Transport

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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

 

Dubai Taxi

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.

Dubai Metro

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

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.

Dubai Monorail

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 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.

Map of Dubai Marina water bus stops
Dubai Marina Water Bus Map
 

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.

Dubai Creek water taxi Abra
Abra – traditional water taxi, Dubai Creek
 

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.

Take the metro for longer distances and during rush hours.

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.

More travel inspiration and information for Dubai:

 

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Getting around Dubai - public transportation guide for tourists

Comments

  1. Hi, Did you carry children*s seats along for travel by taxi? Do you need these in Dubai?

    1. Author

      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.

  2. How much is 1 AED in USD?

  3. Thanxx a lot … It will really help me as i am planning to visit next year .

    1. Author

      Good to hear that, Swapnil. Have a nice trip!

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