How to get to Dubai and to travel in and around Dubai.
We have broken down Dubai travel into certain categories
Find the Perfect Cheap Hotels and Cheap Car Rentals in Dubai and at Dubai Airport
Getting in to Dubai
Travelling by plane
There are several airports in Dubai. Visitors are granted automatic visa on entry. One may wish to speed up immigration formalities and save passport pages by purchasing an e-gate card. The e-gate card office is located in the upstairs food court vicinity of the departures concourse. The card costs AED 150. Note: If you intend to buy an e-gate card in Dubai, you must enter UAE via Dubai airport.
Dubai International Airport
Dubai International Airport (DXB) is the largest aircraft center in the Middle East and the home base of the Dubai's flag carrier “Emirates”. It can get very busy, especially during the peak hours around midnight: immigration lines can be in queues and it can be difficult to find a place to sit.
Like any international airport, DXB is but even more famous for its duty-free shopping. Alcohol is also available to purchase at an inbound duty free store, in the baggage reclaim area (the allowance is four bottles (or four 6 packs) per person).
Public taxis are available at the visitors’ disposal straight from the airport, just outside arrivals. Airport taxis use the meter system and start at Dhs 20. For those who already know their way around the city, bus is another option - buses 401 and 402 (Dhs 3) go to the Al Sabkha and Al Ghubaiba bus terminals signed correspondingly. The Dubai Metro, which is planned to get open in 2009, will have a station destined to the airport.
Sharjah International Airport
Sharjah International Airport (SHJ) is situated in the emirate of Sharjah. Favourably located just half an hour away from Dubai, due to the high demand, it currently takes an increasing number of international flights as well. The main carrier here is Air Arabia, which is a low-cost carrier, operating for the Middle East and South Asia. A taxi ride from here to Dubai will normally cost Dhs 50. The amenities at the airport are fairly basic, but ever expanding attributable to the raising number of visitors.
Maktoum International Airport
Maktoum International (JXB), known as "Dubai World Central", is colossal and as said, the world's largest airport under construction on the west side of Dubai. It starts taking cargo flights in 2008, passenger services will be available a few years down the line.
Travelling by car
One and only Dubai's international road borders with Oman, at Al Wajajah. Visitors do not require the permit to exit Oman by road (not like expatriate residents of Oman, who will require an official permit to do so). There is a charge per vehicle to exit Oman, consisting of OMR 3.000 and, if returning, one has to retain the charge receipt, as it will be required to reenter. Make sure that your insurance is valid for the UAE. For those who happen to lack the existence of the mentioned above insurance, temporary UAE insurance can be purchased at the border for a premium price.
There are also road borders between Emirate of Abu Dhabi (neighbor Emirate) and Oman at the Al Burami Oasis, which divides the sister cites of Al Ain and Al Burami, Oman.
Dubai is a busy trading center for dhows from around the Indian Ocean. Guests wishing to arrive to the city this way will have to make their own arrangements with the captain of the vessel, etc.
Travelling from Iran: a boat service by Valfajr Shipping Company leaves Bandar-e-Lengeh (and also bandar abbas) theoretically every second day and docks in Port Rashid in Dubai. It returns to Bandar-e-Lengeh (and also bandar abbas) the following day. Crossing the Persian Gulf takes approximately 6 hours; two way ticket costs around USD 88 (IR 950, 000). The price of the ticket includes lunch (Iranian style). To use this service you will require a 3 month visa, which costs IR 1, 550, 000.
Getting around once you are in Dubai
Taxis in Dubai are usually not so easy to find. The best place to catch one is at the Taxi queue rank, in one of the Malls. If you decide to get one by waving down your hand, you’ll find out that it’s an impossible way to attract taxi driver’s attention. Taxi drivers can turn out to be quite “choosy: some of them may refuse short rides in congested areas.
Taxis are metered at AED 1.60/km. The rates of all taxi companies are the same (Dubai Transport, National, Cars, Metro, and Arabian).
From the airport- AED 20; all other street pickups charge standard of AED 3.00 during the day, 3.50 at night (10 PM-6 AM).
You can call a taxi at 2080808, but the service is quite poorly — booked taxis often never arrive, and there's a surcharge of AED 3 to boot.
If you, have to get somewhere on time (the airport or a meeting, for example), it's advisable to book a hotel taxi in advance, and get their prognosis on what the traffic could be at that particular time.
A better way to get around is using the bus ( you will be waiting for at least an hour for a taxi to get to the Mall in Dubai )
Dubai Public transport is a cheaper means of traveling in Dubai. Public buses are clean and cheap, but could be quite infrequent on some routes. Buses are most useful for getting between different areas of central Dubai, or even between numerous suburb areas.
The main bus stations are Gold Souq Market (in Deira) and Al Ghubaiba bus station (in Bur Dubai). Clear route maps and time-tables are displayed inside a few bus stands. Ramadan timings differ. The front seats are reserved for women. The fare for an in-town is usually 1.50 AED, up to 3.00 AED for an hour-long ride to the suburbs.
Hop on - hop off tour, try the Big Bus Company. It runs two routes: the blue route through Jumeirah and the recently constructed areas, and the red route going around older parts of Dubai. The start/finish stop for both routes is Wafi City mall, ticket at 175 AED covers 24 hours of riding.
There are an endless number of Rent-A-Cars places that will provide you with a vehicle for very reasonable rates and very little paperwork. An International Driving Permit is not obligatory, but hire companies may not rent you a car without one. This depends on which country you are from :UK, USA & Australian licenses are acceptable. Temporary driving permit could be obtained (driving license holders only) at the licensing office in the 'City Centre' shopping mall.
Beware when driving on the main roads, as junction numbers could not be in logical order and rarely appear as shown on the maps. Road names can be confusing (due to transliteration from Arabic) being very important. Don’t forget the construction work that is taking place throughout and around Dubai that can make searching for your destination quite a challenge - temporary signs can be misleading or non existent.
It is not recommended during morning and afternoon peak hours due to the traffic jams. Lack of parking spaces will make your journey even more daring.
There is zero tolerance for driving under the influence of alcohol; stiff penalties are applied including jail and deportation.
The best way of crossing the Dubai Creek is by abra, basically a small ferry. Abra stations can be found along the Creek on both the Bur Dubai and Deira sides. The cross-river trip costs 1 Dirham (AED 1) per passenger, payable to the driver after the boat has left the station, and offers an amazing unforgettable view of the city. Abras are available round-the-clock and they set off on a regular time table.
Abras can also be hired for a private tour, which is quite a popular activity at sunset on a clear day, especially if the driver or guide will support this tour with stories about the buildings and their history. Make sure though that the purpose of your abra hire tour is clear, otherwise you'll be in for a very expensive cross-river trip or a crowded private tour.
There are also many boats offering dinner cruises with on-board entertainment, etc.
The Roads Transport Authority has embarked on challenging project introducing a Metro Rail system. Construction has already started and the estimations are for the first phase to be completed by late 2009. In due course more than 6 metro lines will be put in function covering various Dubai developments.
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