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World Travel Guide > Guides > Middle East > United Arab Emirates > Dubai

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Getting around Dubai

Public transport

Dubai Bus (tel: +971 800 9090; www.dubai-bus.com) operates a modern public bus service on around 80 routes. Fares depend on destination and are paid to the driver upon boarding; it is useful to have the exact change ready. Timetables and bus maps are available from the bus stations in Deira and Bur Dubai. Routes and bus numbers are posted in both Arabic and English.

The Dubai Metro (tel: +971 800 9090; http://dubaimetro.eu) has two lines, the Red Line and the Green Line, with additional lines proposed, but not confirmed.

Dubai Tram (tel: +971 800 9090; http://dubaitram.rta.ae) opened in late 2014, connecting Dubai Marina with Al Sufouh.

Simple wooden boats, locally referred to as abras, cross the creek from Bur Dubai to the Al-Sabkha Station. These are operated by Dubai Municipality (journey time - 5 minutes) and are a good-value, enjoyable and useful way of avoiding a traffic-constricted road journey. Air-conditioned Dubai Waterbus (tel: +971 800 9090; www.rta.ae) also run across the creek but charge four times as much.

Nol smartcards (www.nol.ae) are valid on buses, trams, waterbuses and the metro.

Taxis

You can hail air-conditioned taxis on the street or pre-book them by telephone. The Dubai Taxi Corporation (tel: +971 4 208 0808) operates metered taxis. Occasionally, drivers do not have detailed knowledge of the city and might ask passengers for directions so beware if you’re a new arrival. Fixed fares are applied to journeys outside the city boundaries. It is also possible to hire a taxi for half a day or a full day for sightseeing. Tipping is not expected.

Driving

Dubai has an excellent and well-signposted road network. Unfortunately, driving standards do not match the quality of the roads. Many local drivers travel at speed, change lanes with wild abandon and make sudden and dangerous manoeuvres. Accidents occur frequently and visitors are advised to drive defensively.

Traffic congestion is nothing like it was but can be a problem during the morning and evening rush hours, and in certain heavily populated districts such as Deira, or two-lane roads such as Al Wasl and Jumeirah Beach Roads. The Salik (Arabic for ‘clear’) road toll system has been a revenue-spinning success with drivers passing under gates on Garhoud and Maktoum bridges, Al Safa Interchange and near Mall of the Emirates deducted AED4 a time from their in-car tags. Drivers should note that there is an exit tax on leaving the UAE.

Two centrally located covered car parks are situated near the Spice Souk and Bani Yas Square in Deira.

Car hire

A valid International Driving Permit, passport and credit card are required to hire a car in Dubai. Fully comprehensive insurance is essential. Drivers must be at least 21 years old, although the age limit is often raised to 25 years for more expensive models. Payment must be made by credit card. Major providers include Avis (tel: +971 4 224 5505; www.avis.com), Hertz (tel: +971 4 429 0915; www.hertz.ae) and Fast Rent a Car (tel: +971 4 430 5995; www.fastuae.com).

Bicycle hire

Considering the desert environment, cycling in Dubai is not advisable in the summer heat. Nevertheless, some hotels hire out bicycles and the city is in the process of developing a network of safe bikeways and off-road cycling tracks, with some sections already completed.

Dubai also has its own bikeshare system, Byky (tel: 800 3330, in the United Arab Emirates only; www.bykystations.com/en/dubai).

Featured Hotels

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Jumeirah Emirates Towers

These two ultra-modern skyscrapers are among the tallest buildings in the Middle East. Part office, part hotel, each state-of-the-art room is geared towards business guests and have all the essentials, including super-speedy Wi-Fi. Although most of the rooms are ultra-modern, the deluxe rooms come with their own opulent chaises longue.

Grand Hyatt

Few business hotels come with a lobby floor decorated with mosaic tiles made from real gold but then again this is Dubai. Away from the lobby things are a bit less bling and very comfortable – think huge cushions and beds with crisp white sheets. It also boasts good restaurants and an excellent spa.

Citymax

Citymax has targeted the budget market in a bold way, opening large properties in Al Barsha and in the heart of the central Bur Dubai district. Its Al Barsha hotel is conveniently close to Mall of the Emirates and boasts comfortable, clean rooms – all within striking distance of the beaches and nightlife of the Marina.

EasyHotel Dubai

Sunglasses at the ready – Dubai's EasyHotel is almost entirely decked out in the Easy brand's trademark bright orange and white. That said, the hotel is comfortable and super-cheap, and offers free Wi-Fi in all of its rooms. The main downside is the location – Jebel Ali is about 25km (16 miles) from Jumeirah.

Desert Palm Dubai

Set away from the hustle and bustle of Dubai proper, the Desert Palm Dubai is a peaceful spot that conspicuously lacks the bling that characterises many of the city’s ultra-luxe hotels. Gorgeous gardens and a full-size polo field surround it, while the onsite spa is particularly good.

InterContinental Dubai Festival City

Set in one of Dubai’s many shopping, culinary and entertainment destinations, InterContinental Dubai Festival City offers a luxury yet affordable experience. It is also conveniently located by a massive Event Centre, with exclusive direct access to Dubai Festival City Mall.