Asia,  Travels,  United Arab Emirates

1 day in Dubai

We visited Dubai round our trip to the Philippines. We had about 24 hours to have a good sleep, eat, visit and enjoy the city and catch the next flight to Manila. Do you think, is it possible to visit Dubai within 1 day? 

As usual before our journey, I was preparing a list of things to do. It was a long list, and I had to decide what we want to see. If you have 24 hours to visit all the attractions, you will spend the whole day on the jump, and in the end, you will be exhausted. Nonetheless, it is possible visiting must-see attractions in Dubai for 1 day, but you have to prepare a good plan.

Are you going to Dubai or are you thinking about it? In my opinion, it is worth to visit the city with the world’s tallest building, highest restaurant, biggest shopping mall, largest indoor snow park, the longest automated unmanned metro, etc. Wherever you look, you can find many places or buildings listed in the Guinness Book of Records. If they currently are not, don’t worry, Dubai works at claiming these titles.

As you know, Dubai is the largest city in the United Arab Emirates. It is the capital of the Emirate of Dubai, one of the seven emirates that make up the country. Dubai is also a global business hub of The Middle East and a transport hub for passengers and cargo. Additionally, it is the world’s famous city thanks to its construction projects, in particular, the world’s tallest building named the Burj Khalifa.

Public transport in Dubai

Unfortunately, it is not possible to get to all Dubai attractions on foot. Firstly, the distance between them is too long. Secondly, the temperature in Dubai is high. Thirdly, sometimes it happens that a pavement suddenly ends and is no other road and you have to turn back.

But don’t worry, Dubai has a well-developed public transport used by the majority of its citizens. Thanks to that you can easy and fast reach every place you want.

There are many options for getting around the city. You can choose between the metro, tram, bus, and taxi.


Dubai’s metro is modern and fully automated. As I mentioned above, Dubai has the world’s longest automated driverless metro. In my opinion, it is the fastest way to get to almost all the attractions in the city.

Dubai's metro
Dubai’s metro

There are 2 metro lines: red (from Al Rashidiya to UAE Exchange, with 29 stations) and green (from Etisalat to Creek, with 20 stations). You can change line at Union or Burj Juman station. The red line starts to operate from 5.00 am to 12.00 am from Saturday to Wednesday, on Thursday from 5.00 am to 1.00 am the next day, and on Friday from 10.00 am to 1.00 am the next day. The green line starts from 5.30 am. Trains run every 4 minutes during peak hours, and every 7 minutes at other times.

Trains in Dubai include from the front the first class (for gold class tickets holder only), and a small section designated for women and children only, and general cabins. Remember that you can drink neither eat in a cabin.


Dubai’s tram is the latest mode of public transport in the city. It opened to the public in November 2014. The tram network links Dubai Metro and the Palm Monorail and it runs along Al Sufouh Road and Jumeirah Beach Road. There are 11 tram stations and the entire journey takes about 40 minutes.

Currently, there are 11 trams in operation. Every tram includes 5 carriages, and just as in metro, there are special sections for gold cards holders and women and children.

Trams start to operate from 6.00 am to 1.00 am the next day between Saturday and Thursday, and on Friday from 9.00 am to 1.00 am.  


The Dubai’s Public transport agency provides public bus service across the whole city. The number of buses reached to 1 518. In the city operates extended bus network of 119 lines.


As I mentioned earlier, Dubai is not a pedestrian-friendly city. If your destination point is far from metro station, taxi is the best option to travel there.

Dubai Taxi Corporation’s Fleet is made up of about 3,854 vehicles working 24 hours a day, 7 days a week including public and religious holidays. Taxis are regulated by the government and should have a taxi meter.

To comparison to other cities, Dubai taxis are relatively cheap. The minimum fare is 10 AED for your journey.

Tickets types and prices

If you want to use Dubai’s public transport, you have to buy special Nol card. You can use it to travel on the metro, bus, water bus or tram. Cash payment is not accepted.

The Nol card is available in different types. For example, the red nol card enables you to make single trips and pay only for the exact trip you travel. The card costs 2 AED, but additionally, you have to buy a minimum of 1 trip.

If you want to use public transport frequently, I recommend you to buy silver nol card. It costs 25 AED and includes AED 19 e-purse value. The gold nol card costs the same as asilver card, but it gives you the privileged access to metro’s gold class seats for premium charges.

You can buy nol card at ticket vending machines, ticket offices, or RTA customer service centers.

You should remember that Dubai’s transport system is divided into 7 zones. The price for your journey depends on the number of zones passed through and type of your nol card. The fare is charge at the end of your trip. You can check zone fares here.

More information about the nol card you can find here:


5 must-see Dubai attractions & places to visit

As I mentioned earlier, I had a long list of places and attractions in Dubai worth seeing, but I prepared for you 5 of them which I really recommend. If you have your own list, don’t hesitate to share it with us.

1. Old Quarter in Dubai

I surprised you surely, but my number one in Dubai is the Old Quarter. It is a place where you can find out more about a history and a tradition of the city.

These days, Dubai is a famous tourists destination thanks for its skyscrapers and Guinness records, but many people forget that Dubai was only a village of a fisherman who lived around the creek. I recommend all of you to visit this part of the city to feel the old Dubai’s climate.

Visit the Gold and Spice Souk

Even you don’t want to buy jewelry or spices, it is worth to visit the most popular and visited places in Dubai. You can find them in the heart of Deira, near to Al Ras metro station. They are open from Sunday to Thursday between 10.00 am to 10.00 pm and on Friday from 4.00 pm to 10.00 pm.

You can find here a labyrinth of covered walkways, where a lot of retailers offer a big selection of jewelry and spices. They can be a little strident but it is normal here. It will bother you, but unfortunately, you have to get to used to their behavior.

The Gold Souk in Dubai's Old Quarter
The Gold Souk in Dubai’s Old Quarter
You can buy any spices on the Spice Souk
You can buy any spices on the Spice Souk

If you want to purchase something, always haggle because, for tourists, the prices are higher.

Watch local workers

Along the Dubai Creek, you can observe workers parceling products up to the ships, which go out for a trade. It is a contrast of life between newer and old parts of Dubai. In the past, these boats were used to trade and still serve to these days. They are old and battered. Workers work hard despite a hot day. They look exhausted and dirty. Unfortunately, it is a sad view.

Ships with a products for trade
Ships with a products for trade
Take a boat ride across Dubai Creek

If you are in Dubai, you should take a boat ride around Dubai Creek. It is a very popular mode of transport not only for tourists but also for residents.

The boat is called Abra. It is a small motorized boat, used as a water taxi, which can hold about 20 passengers. The boat trip costs 1 AED, and it is the cheapest and fastest option for traveling between Deira and Bur Dubai.

Abra - a small motorized boat, used as a water taxi
Abra – a small motorized boat, used as a water taxi

There are 2 routes across Dubai Creek. The first runs from Deira Old Souk to Bur Dubai and takes 5 minutes. The second goes from Sabkha to Deira Old Souk and takes 7 minutes.

Taking a boat you have a real way to see a Creek, one of the main channels for trade.

Dubai Creek
Dubai Creek
Visit Al Bastakiya Quarter

You can walk around the oldest residential quarter in Dubai, dated back to the 19th century. It was built by Persian merchants due to the excellent trading conditions of the area.

The Bastakiya Quarter is the city’s most picturesque heritage site. It is the area where you can find and feel Dubai’s old climate and life. Today, the quarter is home of art galleries, cafes, and boutique hotels. Being here, you should walk through its narrow alleys and visit some interesting sites: the Sheikh Mohammed Centre for Cultural Understanding, Dubai Museum, Majlis Gallery and Arabian Tea House.

The Bastakiya Quarter in Dubai
The Bastakiya Quarter in Dubai
2. Burj Khalifa

A lot of tourists visit Dubai to see its showcase, the world’s tallest building, but for me, the Burj Khalifa disappointed me a little. Why? Because I was waiting 2 hours in a long queue (I booked tickets a few weeks before our journey at a scheduled time) and when I reached the top of the building I saw Dubai through dirty windows. The second problem was the crowd. Everywhere a lot of tourists were pushing me trying to take pretty pictures. Maybe I do not appreciate this place, because I was a little nervous and hungry, but I expected to spend there less time. Nevertheless, neither I recommend you, nor I advise you against reaching the top of the Burj Khalifa. A decision is yours.

Burj Khalifa in Dubai
Burj Khalifa in Dubai

The easiest way to get to the Burj Khalifa is by metro. To Burj Khalifa/Dubai Mall metro station leads a red line. When you get off at the right station follow the signs, which lead you a long air-conditioned tunnel through the metro station to Dubai Mall. A walk takes you about 20 to 30 minutes.

At the top of the Burj Khalifa

The Burj Kalifa is over 828 meters high and has more than 160 stories and offers a 360 view of the beautiful city. Tourists can end the journey at level 124 and 125 or can continue a trip to level 148. 

A view from Burj Khalifa - Dubai
A view from Burj Khalifa – Dubai

The first option ‘At the top 124 and 125 level’ costs 141 AED during non-prime hours (from 08.30 am to 2.30 pm and 7.00 pm until closing) and 216 AED from 3.00 pm to 6.30 pm. The second option ‘At the Top, Burj Khalifa SKY’ costs 370 AED between 11.00 am to 5.00 pm and 525 AED from 6.00 pm until closing. Additionally, you can choose the VIP option ‘World’s highest lounge’ and end your trip at level 154, 153, and 152. It costs 600 AED.

More information about the Burj Khalifa you can find on the official website:

3. Dubai Fountain

Outside the Dubai Mall, next to the Burj Khalifa, you can find the Dubai Fountain, the world’s tallest performing fountain, resting on the 30-acre Burj Lake.

The Dubai Fountain
The Dubai Fountain

The Dubai Fountain is worth to visit during a breathtaking show of lights and sounds. It is illuminated by 6,600 lights and 50 colored projectors and shoots water as high as 500 feet accompanied by a range of classical to contemporary Arabic and world music.

You can enjoy the evening shows from 6.00 pm to 11.00 pm every 30 minutes, and the afternoon shows at 1.00 pm, 1.30 pm and 2.00 pm from Saturday to Thursday, and at 1.30 pm, 2.00 pm, and 2.30 pm on Friday.

There is a special viewing platform for tourists who want to get up closer to the fountain.

Additionally, you can book a boat ride on the Burj Lake during the performance. It costs 68.25 AED.

4. Dubai Mall

The world’s largest and most-visited retail and entertainment destination, which is located in the heart of the prestigious Downtown Dubai. It has more than 3 million sq ft of leasable space and over 1,300 retail outlets.

As you can guess, The Dubai Mall is not the cheapest place where you can shop. Nevertheless, I recommend you walk through the mall and watch the shop’s displays. If you have a plan to visit Burj Khalifa, commit a little more time to wander through the Dubai Mall, because here are waiting for tourists a lot of attractions.

The most popular and visited place in the mall is the Dubai Aquarium and Underwater Zoo, which is located on its ground floor. It is the world’s largest suspended aquarium, with a capacity of over 10 million liters of water. The aquarium includes over 140 species and more than 300 sharks and rays. Additionally, the 48-meter long tunnel that gives fantastic 270-degree views of the gigantic aquarium wait for tourists.
The Dubai Aquarium and Underwater Zoo is open daily from 10.00 am to midnight. The last admission is at 11.30 pm.

The Dubai Aquarium and Underwater Zoo
The Dubai Aquarium and Underwater Zoo
Sharks in The Dubai Aquarium and Underwater Zoo
Sharks in The Dubai Aquarium and Underwater Zoo

The entrance fee starts from 130 AED and depends on your needs.
More information about the Aquarium price list you can read here.

Another attraction in the Dubai Mall is the Human Waterfall, where the cascading water occupies the height of the mall. It is an amazing art creation, which presents men sculptures with their hands spreading sideward, appearing to plunge downwards to the waterfalls.

The Human Waterfall in Dubai Mall
The Human Waterfall in Dubai Mall
5. Mall of the Emirates and the world’s largest indoor snow park

Being in Dubai, you should visit the world’s first shopping resort, the Mall of the Emirates. It is located in the heart of the city. To get there, you should take a metro and get off at Mall of the Emirates station. Remember, that the mall lies within the second zone of the city and the metro ticket price is higher.

The Mall of the Emirates is famous thanks to the world’s largest indoor snow park, named the Dubai Ski. It is unbelievable what you can create if you have an idea and a lot of never-ending many. If you are going to visit Dubai, you should see it in front of your eyes.

The Dubai Ski is located on the ground floor of the mall. It is open from Sunday to Wednesday between 10.00 am and 11.00 pm, on Thursday between 10:00 am to midnight, on Friday from 9.00 am to midnight, and on Saturday from 9.00 am to 11.00 pm. Snow Park offers a lot of activities and gives you a chance to ski, snowboard, and zip line. As you can guess, it costs a lot.

The Dubai Ski in the Mall of the Emirates
The Dubai Ski in the Mall of the Emirates
Snow Park in the Mall of the Emirates
Snow Park in the Mall of the Emirates

More information about the Dubai Ski you can find on the official website:

I prepared for you my five must-see places in Dubai, which I recommend you. As I mentioned before, a list of things to do and visit in the city is long. Nevertheless, I hope you find something for you.

Have you ever been to Dubai? What did you see? Which places do you recommend? Share with us!

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One Comment

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