Getting Around Dubai
The best way to get around Dubai is by taxi or by metro. Although prices are high here, taxis are relatively inexpensive and provide the freedom to move at your own pace without the hassle of navigating traffic. Dubai's metro system is currently undergoing expansion, but the existing lines transport passengers to major areas of interest, including the Dubai International Airport (DXB). DXB is just five miles from the city center. You can also rent a car at the airport, but driving here is not for the faint-of heart.
Taxis are the most cost- and time-efficient means of getting around Dubai. You can easily spot cabs by their tan bodies and red roofs; the pink-topped cabs are designated for female passengers only (they are also driven by women). All taxis are metered, with rates starting at 3 AED (roughly $0.80 USD) and increasing by roughly 2 AED (around $0.50) per mile. The minimum taxi fare required is 10 AED (just under $3 USD). Because Dubai addresses do not include building numbers, you'll have to specify your destination based on an intersection or a nearby hotel. Taxis also service Dubai International Airport (DXB) for a flat rate of 20 AED (roughly $5.50 USD).
The Roads & Transport Authority (RTA) operates more than 75 routes within Dubai city, as well as 15 inter-emirate routes. Like the metro, bus fares range from 1.80 AED (roughly $0.50 USD) to 5.80 AED (around $1.60 USD), and you can pay using your Nol Card. You can purchase a Nol Card at select bus stations, ticket vending machines, and RTA service centers throughout the city. Although buses run frequently, you will need to factor traffic delays and frequent stops into your travel time. Also, buses can be somewhat tricky for visitors to navigate; to save yourself time and a headache, opt for the metro instead.
Dubai revealed the first of its two metro lines back in 2009, and the system is continuing to expand. The red line services 29 stations between Rashidiya in the western part of the city and Jebel Ali in the south, stopping in downtown Dubai and at the airport. The green line also stops in downtown Dubai on its way from Al Qusais (just northeast of the airport) to Al Jadaf, a neighborhood located east of downtown along Dubai Creek. Two more lines are currently in the works. The routes are divided into zones, and fares range from 1.80 AED (roughly $0.50 USD) to 5.80 AED (around $1.60 USD) based on distance traveled. If you are planning on using public transport fairly regularly, consider obtaining a Nol Card, which is valid on Dubai's metro, buses, and waterbuses. You can purchase a Nol Card in all metro stations. Trains operate every day from 6 a.m. to midnight or 1 a.m., depending on the day. On Fridays, metro doesn't start service until 1 p.m., and it runs to 1 a.m.
Boats have always played a primary role in Dubai transportation, and today, they are still frequently used by both locals and tourists who need to cross Dubai Creek. For 1 AED (roughly $0.25 USD) per trip, you can cross the creek via abra, the traditional wooden boat that has graced Dubai's waters for centuries. You'll find abras lining the creek in the downtown area. There is no set schedule; boats simply leave when they are filled to capacity.
The Roads & Transport Authority recently launched a new boat service known as the Dubai Waterbus. These are more spacious and high-tech than abras (and provide air conditioning), and they service stations outside of the immediate downtown area. One way trips cost 2 AED (roughly $0.50 USD), and you can pay using your Nol Card.
|Car||Dubai's roads are well maintained and clearly labeled; however, driving etiquette is poor. In fact, traffic accidents are one of the leading causes of death in the UAE. That being said, a car will come in handy should you want to venture outside of Dubai city. You can rent a car in town or at Dubai International Airport. In order to drive here, you will need to obtain an international driver's license.|
Entry & Exit Requirements
Americans visiting the United Arab Emirates must have an official U.S. passport that is valid for at least six months following your arrival date. Travelers must also possess a return ticket or other proof that they will be leaving the UAE within that 30-day timeframe. Those staying for less than 30 days must obtain a tourist visa, which are available for free at Dubai International Airport (DXB) and all other ports of entry. For visits exceeding 30 days, travelers must obtain a visa prior to departure. Americans exiting the UAE by land transportation will be subject to a 20 AED (roughly $5.50 USD) departure fee, payable only in local currency. For more information, visit the U.S. State Department website.