Dubai: Just touched down at Dubai International Airport and have eight to 15 hours to spare? While you can spend your layover at the airport, you can also make maximum use of the time to explore Dubai.
Dubai’s official tourism Instagram account, ‘Visit Dubai’, shared a curated list of spots transit passengers can visit during their layover.
Here are the details:
1. Al Seef District
Once you step out of Dubai International Airport, one of the first places to visit can be the Al Seef district, which has been built along the Dubai Creek. Dubai Creek has played a pivotal role in the trading history of Dubai, and the development provides visitors with a chance to shop for traditional handicrafts, home décor and souvenirs, made by regional craftsmen, along with many dining options.
According to Visit Dubai, it would be best to budget around two hours of time to enjoy walking along the ‘sikka’ or pedestrian streets in the area and learn about the city’s heritage and culture.
How to reach Al Seef district from Dubai International Airport
• Dubai Metro: 29 minutes from Dubai International Airport, Terminal 3.
1. Take the Metro from the Dubai International Airport, Terminal 3 Metro station to the Burjuman Metro Station. (Both these stations are on the Red Line of Dubai Metro)
2. Once you step out of the Metro station, you will need to take a 17-minute walk (1.3 km) to reach Al Seef.
• Taxi: 15 minutes from Dubai International Airport, Terminal 3
Nol red ticket: Can be purchased for Dh2, and is a single-use card. You can top it up for the specific trip you want to use it for.
Nol Silver card: The card costs Dh25, out of which Dh19 can be used to pay for trips. The card can also be topped up if you want to continue using public transport services provided by the Dubai Roads and Transport Authority (RTA), like the abra, bus or tram.
2. Dubai Spice Souq
When you are in Al Seef, you will be able to observe a whole world of activity on the other side of the creek, too. While Al Seef is on the Bur Dubai side of the creek, across the narrow waterway is Deira and the old souqs that make it a trading hub. According to Visit Dubai, your next stop can be the Dubai Spice Souq, which is in Deira. You can reach the souq either by taking the Metro or a taxi.
The Spice Souq was one of the key marketplaces in Dubai, dating back to around 1850. Even today, the souq is filled with tourist looking to discover aromatic spices and herbs from all over the world and resident business owners and traders going about their everyday business.
According to Visit Dubai, it is best to keep an hour to really explore this part of the city.
How to reach Dubai Spice Souq from Al Seef
• Metro: 22 minutes
To catch the Metro to Dubai Spice Souq, this is the route you will need to take:
1. Walk to Sharaf DG Metro Station from Al Seef Street. The distance is 1.1 km and it will take you approximately 14 minutes.
2. Once you reach the Sharaf DG Metro Station, take the Metro headed in the direction of Etisalat Metro Station and get off at the Al Ras Metro Station. (Both these stations are on the Metro Green Line)
3. Walk for six minutes towards Dubai Spice Souq.
• Taxi: 17 minutes
3. Abra Ride
The abra – the name for a traditional boat in Arabic – is one of the oldest and most convenient ways to cross the Dubai Creek. Historically, it was a key mode of transport for traders on either side of the creek. When you are at the Deira Spice Souq, you can walk across to the Deira Old Souq Abra Station and take an abra ride, which would take approximately 10 minutes. The ride often gives passengers a chance to see Dubai from a completely different point of view.
An Abra ride costs Dh1 (on a traditional abra) or Dh2 (electrical abra) per passenger for a one-way trip.
4. Dubai Gold Souq
When you do get on the abra, remember to let the abra driver know that you would like to return to the same station, so that you can continue your journey exploring ‘old Dubai’, with your next stop being the Dubai Gold Souq.
Once you have hopped off the abra, it will take you five minutes to reach the Dubai Gold Souq from the station, where you can either enjoy some window shopping or even invest in a piece of gold or precious gem incrusted jewellery. It will take approximately one hour to explore the Gold Souq.
5. The Dubai Frame
Dubai Frame, which was opened in 2018 is another great way to explore Dubai’s history and learn about its future vision. It offers panoramic views of Dubai’s historic districts as well as the city’s iconic skyline. Visitors can also walk over a see-through glass bridge and get a whole new view of Dubai from above.
Dubai Frame also has an interactive tunnel, which offers a peek into Dubai’s vision for the future. It will take you approximately two hours to explore the entire attraction.
Do I need a ticket to visit Dubai Frame?
The tickets are priced at Dh50 for adults and Dh20 for children under the age of 12.
Entry is free for children under the age of three and People of Determination, as well as for two companions accompanying the Person of Determination.
You can buy your tickets and book a time slot for your visit through this link: https://ticketingsales.dubaiframe.ae/index.php?lang=en or buy a ticket at the counter.
How to reach Dubai Frame from Deira Old Souq Abra Station
Taxi: 11 minutes from Deira Old Souq Abra Station
6. Museum of the Future
Museum of the Future, which has been described as ‘the most beautiful building in the world’, is the latest addition to Dubai’s iconic skyline along Sheikh Zayed Road. According to the museum’s website, the circular building represents humanity, the green mound it sits atop represents the Earth, while the space at the centre of the ring structure represents the future to be discovered. At the museum, visitors can ‘meet the future’ through interactive exhibitions, immersive theatre and themed attractions. It will take you around two hours to explore the museum.
Entry tickets are priced at Dh145 for visitors older than three years. Tickets are free for children under the age of three and People of Determination. You can book your tickets through this link: https://museumofthefuture.ae/en/book
How to reach Museum of the Future from Dubai Frame
Taxi: Nine minutes from Dubai Frame.
Do I need a transit visa during layover in Dubai?
If you have a stopover at Dubai Airport, it is first advisable to check if you need a transit visa. Citizens of GCC (Gulf Cooperation Council) countries and almost 50 other countries are eligible for a visa on arrival.
To find out if you eligible for visa on arrival, or if you need to apply for a transit visa, read our detailed guide here: