By Sharon Harvey Rosenberg and Myscha Theriault www.vancouversun.com
Dubai, in the United Arab Emirates, is a city known around the world for its lavishness. However, serious savings are possible in Dubai.
You just need to know the experts. Here’s what our sources had to say about seeing this Middle Eastern city on a shoestring.
Accommodation: The folks at Hostelbookers.com know how to keep it cheap. For less than 70 bucks per night, you can stay at the traditionally decorated Orient Guest House in the historic Bastakiya area and be within walking distance of Meena Bazaar and Dubai Creek. Rooms at the Admiral Plaza Hotel on Al Nahda Street come with access to a spa, fitness center and pool for $49 per night.
Food: Sean Banville, founder of breakingnewsenglish.com, a lesson plan website for English language learners, visits Dubai frequently. His top tip? Check out the Indian eateries frequented by the country’s Dubai-based workers. Banville routinely scores $3 plates of assorted curries with sideline snacks of samosas for 30 cents. Tea? It’s 25 cents per cup! For last minute deals on things to do in and around Dubai, Banville recommends www.gonabit.com/dubai.
Entertainment: Lara Dunston and Terrance Carter of grantourismotravels.com recommend the Dubai Creek area for enjoying Dubai’s cultural heritage on a budget. For free, you can visit the Shindagha – the city’s first settlement – to explore the area’s fishing and pearl diving history. Drop a couple of bucks to take in the Dubai Museum, and stroll the area to see elegant, restored wind tower residences, shop the Bur Dubai Souk and catch a view of the Grand Mosque. For a culinary splurge in this part of town, Dunston and Carter love Kan Zaman, an alfresco Arabic eatery. Mezza, fresh juice and a Middle Eastern entree rounded off with a strawberry sheesha – an Arabic water pipe – will sink you 20 bucks tops. This is divine at night, when the view of the creek is enhanced by countless white lights, according to Dunston.
Transport: The Dubai Metro goes right by the airport. So if your hotel’s along its route, you can easily skip the taxi cab fees and cruise to your destination at a fraction of the cost. Jazeera Airways offers budget flights to Dubai from numerous cities around the Middle East. We’ve seen tickets from Kuwait City for less than 8 Kuwaiti Dinar (roughly $29).
Expat info: Checkout the The Dubai Expat Diaries, (http://ixpats.com/dubai-expats) for inside information about deals, bargain and travel details. The online journal features information about holiday vacation deals and the Dubai Flea Market.