Thousands of visitors use Dubai Metro to reach Gitex Global 2022
File photo used for illustrative purposes only. Image Credit: Ahmed Ramzan

Dubai: Have you got a job offer from Dubai? Or are you planning to come to Dubai to explore options to set up a business or work here? Hence, you might be wondering what the best areas are for you to live in.

As a Chinese citizen on a visit visa, you can drive a rented car with your Chinese driving licence in Dubai. But once you apply for a residence visa, you will need to convert your Chinese driving licence to the UAE driving licence. Although you can drive easily in Dubai, you may choose to not own a car and instead opt for public transportation such as the Dubai Metro or Dubai tram.

If that is the case, here are seven areas with easy Metro and tram access in Dubai, which you might want to consider.

1. Deira

As one of the earliest established communities in Dubai, Deira carries its own warm and welcoming charm. It is a place where the new and the traditional meet – along with bustling office and residential buildings, the district is also home to the Gold and Spice Souqs.

This area has many malls, with a broad selection of international brands. In case you miss flavours from home, the biggest Chinese supermarket in Dubai is located by the iconic Deira Clocktower. Additionally, there are a variety of authentic Chinese restaurants in the Al Rigga, Naif, Al Muraqqabat and other neighbourhoods in Deira, which offer different cuisines, such as Sichuan and Cantonese, or a mix of cuisines from different regions in China.

You can also choose to live in neighbourhoods next to these areas, like Abu Hail, Hor Al Anz, or Al Qusais, which all fall within the larger Deira district.

This area has a number of Metro stations on both the Red and the Green Line:

1. Emirates (Red Line)
2. Airport Terminal 3 (Red Line)
3. Airport Terminal 1 (Red Line)
4. GGICO (Red Line)
5. City Centre Deira (Red Line)
6. Al Rigga (Red Line)
7. Union (Interchange station)
8. Al Ras (Green Line)
9. Gold Souq (Green Line)
10. Baniyas Square (Green Line)
11. Salah Al Din (Green Line)
12. Abu Baker Al Siddique (Green Line)
13. Abu Hail (Green Line)
14. Al Qiyadah (Green Line)
15. Satdium (Green Line)
16. Al Nahda (Green Line)
17. Dubai Airport Freezone (Green Line)
18. Al Qusais (Green Line)
19. Etisalat (Green Line)

RTA Metro map - Deira
RTA Metro map - Deira Image Credit:
Dubai Metro lines – what you need to know
Dubai Metro operates two lines – Red and Green – which cater to different areas in Dubai. You can switch from a Red Line to a Green Line at some Metro stations, which are referred to as ‘interchange stations’. The interchange stations are where the Red and Green Lines meet. These are:
1. Union Metro station in Deira
2. Burjuman Metro station in Bur Dubai
3. Jebel Ali Metro station in Jebel Ali
Remember to get a Nol card
If you are planning to use public transport, you would first need a Nol card, which is required to take public transport in Dubai. You can buy a Nol card from any of the Metro stations that you visit.

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2. Bur Dubai

The Bur Dubai district covers many commercial and residential neighbourhoods, and this might even be one of the first areas you visited when you landed in Dubai, as it has many popular four- and five-star hotels, as well as the Burj Khalifa and Downtown Dubai area.

However, the larger Bur Dubai district also covers neighbourhoods that were one of the first commercial centres in the Emirate – like Meena Bazaar in Al Hamriyah neighbourhood and other neighbourhoods like Al Mankhool, Al Jaffiliyah, or the Sheikh Zayed Road strip, which has many short-term and long-term accommodation options.

It is an area where you can experience urban life as well as a business atmosphere, with the World Trade Centre and Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC) located in the district. Living here will give you an opportunity to interact with residents from different cultures. The district also has many schools and shopping malls.

Apart from a few Chinese restaurants, you can also find other options, with restaurants that serve Emirati, Mediterranean, Indian, Japanese, Thai or Vietnamese cuisine.

These are Metro stations in the Bur Dubai district:

  1. Al Ghubaiba (Green Line)
  2. Sharaf DG (Green Line)
  3. Oud Metha (Green Line)
  4. Dubai Healthcare City (Green Line)
  5. Al Jadaf (Green Line)
  6. Creek (Green Line)
  7. Burjuman (Interchange station)
  8. ADCB (Red Line)
  9. Max (Red Line)
  10. World Trade Centre (Red Line)
  11. Emirates Towers (Red Line)
  12. Financial Centre (Red Line)
  13. Burj Khalifa/Dubai Mall (Red Line)
  14. Business Bay (Red Line)
Metro map - Bur Dubai
Metro map - Bur Dubai Image Credit:

3. Al Barsha

You can reach Al Barsha neighbourhood by using the Mall of Emirates (MOE) Metro station or Sharaf DG Metro station. You will find multiple Chinese restaurant options in this area, and if you are the type of person who enjoys art works, you may visit the many art galleries that are available in Al Quoz – an area right next to Al Barsha.

For more information on Al Barsha neighbourhood, check out this detailed guide.

Main Metro stations: Mall of Emirates (MOE) and Sharaf DG Metro station

4. Jumeirah Lakes Towers (JLT)

With man-made lakes situated inside JLT, this area gives off a unique vibe with a balance of office, residential and commercial buildings. It is also filled with great cafes and restaurants run by people from around the world. The design of the area is trendy and vibrant. While there are no big malls in this area, you can certainly get daily groceries from a supermarket around the corner, and you might even run into another person from China, as many Chinese people work and live here. Authentic Chinese hotpot restaurants, noodle shops, as well as restaurants serving diverse Chinese cuisines can be found here.

Main Metro station: Dubai Multi Commodities Centre or DMCC Metro station.

Tram station: Jumeirah Lakes Towers.

How much will it cost to rent an apartment in the area I choose?
To get a quick idea about the budget you will need to allocate for your rent, you can look at the ‘Rental Index’ that is released by the Dubai Land Department.

To know more, read our detailed guide on the Rental Index here.

5. Tecom

Also known as Barsha Heights, the Tecom area oversees a concentration of technology companies and media companies, including many Chinese ones. The Metro station in this area is Dubai Internet City Metro station. This neighbourhood carries a fast-paced tech-city vibe as well as a relaxed and flexible working atmosphere. Supermarkets are within the reach of residents living in nearly all residential buildings in this area.

Main Metro station: Dubai Internet City Metro station

What is the Dubai Tram?
The tram service operated by Dubai’s Roads and Transport Authority (RTA) links Dubai Metro and the Palm Monorail and runs along Al Sufouh Road and Jumeirah Beach Road. It is a convenient way to travel between these popular residential neighbourhoods.
Tram map - Dubai Marina
The Orange line here shows the Dubai Tram route, while the red line represents Dubai Metro’s Red Line. The two stations that connect the tram service to the Metro are the DMCC Metro Station and the Sobha Realty Metro station.

6. Marina

Nearly all tram stations operate within the Marina area, including:

• Mina Seyahi
• Marina Towers
• Dubai Marina
• Dubai Marina Mall
• Jumeirah Beach Residence 1
• Jumeirah Beach Residence 2

With long walkways along the Marina canal, and the Jumeirah Beach area, Dubai Marina is of particular interest for people who seek a sunny, beach lifestyle, especially on the weekends. It has a relaxed atmosphere, and many tourists choose to stay in this area for their vacations. You will find plenty of cafes and restaurants along the Marina, and people from around the world, including from China, enjoying their evening stroll here. You will also find some Chinese restaurants here, along with restaurants from many other countries.

Main Metro stations: DMCC and Sobha Realty Metro stations

7. The Palm Jumeirah

The Palm Jumeirah is a man-made island, shaped like a palm tree on the Arabian Gulf. It is one of the top places for tourists to visit and stay, given its uniqueness. With numerous hotels and resorts, this place exudes a strong, relaxing seaside vacation feel. It also attracts many residents who enjoy quiet neighbourhoods, to live here. Although it is slightly away from other residential hubs, like Deira and Bur Dubai, the Palm Jumeirah has its own complete community system, including shopping malls, cafes, restaurants, supermarkets, and residential buildings. Many authentic Chinese fine-dining restaurants can also be found here.

The Palm Monorail connects key landmarks of the Palm Jumeirah, with the line stretching for 5.5km and can be easily accessed.

International City

While Dubai's International City is not next to a Metro station, getting to this development is easy using public transport. If you are a new Chinese expatriate in Dubai, this is a place you may want to consider as it has a thriving Chinese community, with many businessmen who run operations in Dragon Mart, which is the largest Chinese retail trading hub outside mainland China.

The area also offers affordable rent options. To get to International City using public transport, you can take the following routes:

1. Metro Red Line to the Centerpoint Metro station (previously Rashidiya Metro Station). From the Rashidiya bus station gate station outside the Metro station, you can take Bus No. 310 or Bus No. 20 to Dragon Mart and International City. The bus trip takes approximately 20 minutes, and costs Dh5.

2. If you are near the Metro Green Line, you can also take Bus No. 367 from the Etisalat Metro station, which takes commuters to International City and Dragon Mart. However, the trip is slightly longer - it may take you 40 to 50 minutes to reach your location, even though the cost of the bus trip would still be Dh5.