At first glance, Dubai may seem like a big city, difficult to move around. But when you learn to do it, you can just enjoy the warmth, beaches, monuments and great attractions.
If you are still wondering whether it is worth going on a family vacation to Dubai, this short, practical guide will help you decide:
How to get to Dubai?
You can get to Dubai with Emirates airlines flying to Dubai International Airport (DXB) from 159 countries. Low cost airlines lands at Dubai World Central Airport (DWC). There are luxurious conditions in Emirates business class and also great in economy. Airplanes are equipped with an on-board entertainment system, which is an important for anyone traveling with children. We know it can be hell when the child is bored on the plane. On the Emirates planes, each seat has its own screen, on which the child can watch fairy tales or films for children. A kid’s menu is also available for small passengers. Children receive gifts – traveler’s bags and coloring pages. Tickets do not have to be expensive – you look for occasions.
How to get to the Dubai airports?
Dubai International Airport (DXB) is an airport close to the center of Dubai, with a very good connection by public transport to the city. There is Dubai Metro running every 10 minutes and buses. This is a child-friendly airport – there are special check-in desks for families and trolleys that you can take to transport your toddler through a large terminal.
Dubai World Central Airport DWC has ambitions to be the largest airport in the world, and knowing the ambition, funds and consistency in pursuing the goal of the Dubaiians, this is how it will be. However, for now, the airport is out of town, in the industrial zone. You can reach the city by taxi or bus line F55 (runs every hour) to the metro station Ibn Batuta. The N55 line will take you to the center (Al Ghubaiba station) outside the metro hours. However, if you are going to Dubai Parks, then World Central airport will be more convenient for you than Dubai International, because the entertainment complex is located further behind the airport, viewed from Dubai.
What about walks with a pram?
Dubai is stretched between the Gulf Coast and the desert for 80 kilometers. There is no chance to move here comfortably only on foot, because the distances are huge, and the infrastructure – outside the center and the seaside district – is not adapted for pedestrians or for prams. On the main roads crossing the street, which has six lanes in one direction, is a challenge for the pedestrian. Often you have to go a long way to the nearest passage.
Comfortable and air-conditioned viaducts can be found at the metro stations, so it’s better to decide immediately which side of the street you need to go through. And the most beautiful places for walks are in the vicinity of the city’s beaches and in the districts next to the sea. It is not as hot here as it is in the center, and there are beautiful exotic plants. Take a swimming suit and a towel with you when going for a walk, because on the city beach you can hop to warm water.
In the summer, the heat is so large that it is difficult to pass even a short section with a child. That’s why almost no one walks here. Locals most often in an air-conditioned home get into an air-conditioned car and drive to an air-conditioned garage in an air-conditioned office. Nannies taking children to the city parks ride air-conditioned taxis. The city playgrounds fill up at dusk, when the heat fades a little. Fortunately, in the center between the metro stations and the most important buildings, there are long, air-conditioned corridors with moving floors. They lead among others to Dubai Mall and Burj Khalifa as well as the Mall of Emirates and Ski Dubai. Therefore, if you intend to move in Dubai by communication, it is important that your hotel is close to the subway. We found a very nice and inexpensive hotel with breakfast near the red metro line, on Booking.com. And every day we thanked ourselves that getting to the airconditioned station takes only a few minutes.
Dubai metro – the fastest transport and attraction for children
Public transport in Dubai is comfortable and reliable. For our son riding a subway that no train driver is a great attraction. He always gets into the first wagon and “directs the train”, “opens the door”, “releases passengers” and is delighted with his responsible tasks.
Dubai Metro is the longest unmanned train system in the world. For passengers there are 1st and 2nd class carriages. The first class car is always at the beginning or end of the line (depending on which direction the subway is traveling in) – you will see the markings on the floor of the platform. In class I, the seats are more comfortable, and there is no big crowd. When in the rush hour we had to pass a few trains, because we did not fit in with the pram, we decided to pay a bit more and we rode class I luxuriously.
Separate compartments for women
In the subway as well as in buses, there are also separate compartments for women and children. Very often, men stand crammed in their wagon, and women sit comfortably in their space. Markings where the wagon stops are also on the platform floor, and in buses it is the first part of the vehicle, and both zones are divided by a special barrier. At the beginning it seemed a bit strange for me, but over time I appreciated this very comfortable solution.
The red metro line runs along the most important artery of Dubai – Sheikh Zayed Road – a 12-strip (6-way one-way) highway. It reaches Dubai International on one end and the industrial part of Dubai near the DWC airport.
The red line in two places crosses with green, running through the old part of the city – Deira. The interchange stations are Union Square and BurJuman. Between the lines you change like in the London subway – on the same ticket. You must keep the ticket because you will have to validate it when you leave the metro station.
To get to The Dubai Palm you have to change to Monorail – a line running along the trunk of a palm tree. It has several intermediate stations and reaches up to the Atlantis hotel on the top of a palm tree. The Palm Monorail does not link with the Dubai Metro, so you will either have to park in the car park at the Gateway station or get a taxi to the Gateway station from Internet City Metro station. You can also use the metro to travel to the Marina where you can change to the tram and then go to the Palm Gateway Station.
In the buses you use the same tickets on NOL cards as in the metro. With the bus you will reach the city parks, ZOO, Jumeira Mosque, city beaches or the hotel-sail Burj Al Arab. Buses stop mostly at closed, air-conditioned stops. Their downside is that unlike the subway, they do not miss traffic jams during peak hours.
You pay by NOL cards for public transport in Dubai. You can buy them at points and in vending machines at subway stations, stations or airports. There are several types, but tourists are useful for two – red or silver. Red is the cheapest option. The carton costs 2 AED and can be recharged for 10 trips. Silver is a bit more expensive, but more flexible. It costs 25 AED (including 19 AEDs for use on journeys), you can charge a specific amount or a season ticket on it. More information and all types of cards in Dubai can be found HERE. The conversion of the local currency is very easy 10 AED = 2 GBP
In Dubai, you can also move by water transport and this is the most pleasant solution. There are water trams and taxis, and you can take a boat abra for only 1 AED. A refreshing breeze and wind in your hair is for free 🙂
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